Does Your Small Business Make These Common Marketing Mistakes?

A small business needs to manage a number of operations on a regular basis to run smoothly. While some business operations might be common to all small businesses, others, like attorneys, might be on an as-needed basis. For instance, an attorney will be necessary if a small business has some intellectual property that has to be protected.

One of the most essential operations is marketing. It’s not something that would be nice to do to increase sales, it’s something that you must do to stay in business. Consequently, when it runs well, then leads are generated and sales are made. Conversely, when it does not run well, then, the business is in trouble because you will not have sufficient revenue to cover overheads.

Here  are some of the common marketing problems small businesses face:

  • They don’t have enough marketing resources.
  • They keep making the same expensive mistakes over and over again and campaigns flop.
  • They have no clear idea of how they should market their products or services.
  • They don’t have enough money to market.

Let’s take a closer look at what you should do if your business has any of these marketing problems:

1. What to do if your business has insufficient marketing resources:

When it comes to marketing, your small business may not have all the resources it needs for marketing. Perhaps you don’t have enough people to run the campaign or you may not have experienced staff to manage a particular type of marketing. Fortunately, there are B2B services like Allegra, that help fill in the gaps. Your small business, for example, may need a partner who has enough people and know-how to efficiently process mail pieces like self-mailers.

2. What to do if your business does not know why a marketing campaign flopped:

If you carefully planned a marketing campaign but got a poor return on your investment, then it’s important to figure out why it didn’t work out.

Simply doubling down on a campaign will only increase your loss and you might make the same mistake if you just launch another type of marketing campaign.

When faced with a puzzling situation, it’s helpful to use a conceptual tool from Six Sigma called DMAIC.

DMAIC is an acronym for define, measure, analyze, improve, and control.

First, define your problem. What exactly is not working out for you?

Second, measure how bad the problem is.  What do you need to measure to quantify your problem?

Third, analyze the root cause of the problem. What are things causing the problem?

Fourth, improve the situation. What solutions should you try?

Fifth, control future issues. How can you make sure that your solution stays effective?

3. What to do if you don’t have any clear marketing strategies:

Hire someone who has a track record of developing effective marketing strategies. This consultant will not only help you develop a marketing strategy but will also train your team on how to use it effectively until you get results.

4. What to do if you don’t have a sufficient marketing budget:

It’s essential that you market, so you must either find the money you need or find low-cost ways to market.

You might be able to improve your marketing budget by taking away money from other less essential operations.

You might also be able to borrow the money you need to fund your marketing efforts.

If you can’t come up with money for marketing, then you may have to use some guerrilla marketing techniques like a publicity stunt or making viral videos.

In conclusion, if your business is struggling with its marketing, then it’s time to troubleshoot your marketing. If it’s a question of resources, then outsource the work. If it’s trying to figure out why your marketing isn’t working, then use DMAIC. If it’s a question about how to market, then hire a marketing consultant. And, finally, if it’s a budgetary issue, then either find the money you need or opt for low-cost (but time-intensive) ways to market your business.

The Product Decides the Marketing

The world of product marketing is quite complex and fascinating. It typically involves intense research, testing, psychology, logistics, and maybe a little bit of luck. However, despite the many years it takes to study and master product marketing, there are basic principles that everyone can easily use when they have a product that needs marketing.

Do you have something you want to sell? How you go to market depends on two primary questions. What is your product? and Who are your customers? Once you can answer these questions, then you can get the ball rolling on the rest of the details, such as costs, pricing, how to get your customers to learn about your product, and how can you put it into their hands (and take their money).

What is your product?
It’s important to clearly define your product before deciding how to go to market. It stands to reason that the best way to sell baby clothes is very different than how to sell photography art prints. A seller of baby clothes will want their product to be on the shelf of clothing stores and baby boutiques. A photographer, on the other hand, will want to list their prints in art shops, reach out to interior designers, and sell on art-centric websites like Etsy.

This is a vital first step in the marketing process. Until you define your product — what it is and what it does — you won’t be able to determine who it’s for and who will give you money.

Who are your customers?
One of the most important steps in developing a marketing strategy is to define your target audience and potential customers. Who are the people who want your product and will give you money for it? Sometimes, extensive research is required to determine your target audience. Other times, it can be more obvious. If you sell baby clothes, it’s very likely that your customers will be younger parents, especially mothers. A manufacturer of a high end computer video card will likely try to target video editors and gamers.  Photography prints will attract people who want to hang art on their walls. Who are these people? Likely homeowners, business offices, and interior designers.

When defining your potential customers, the price of your product matters as well. After all, mass-produced photography prints in Walmart will have a very different target audience than the art galleries selling expensive prints in high-end frames.

What are your costs and prices?
Many factors come into play when deciding how to price your product. How much does it cost to make your product? What overhead costs are associated with running your business? Do you work out of your home, or do you rent office space? Do you have employees and pay for their health insurance? What do your competitors charge for a similar product?

It also comes down to the basic economics of supply and demand. How badly do people want it, and how much of your product is available? Hotels charge more for a room during the holidays since demand is up and fewer rooms are available.  Likewise, airlines charge more for holiday travel because seats are limited and the demand is high. A one-of-a-kind photography art print can be sold at a premium, compared to the low price of massively produced prints which are available everywhere in stores like Walmart, Target, and Amazon.

Product marketing is a complicated process and being an expert will certainly help. But there are basic concepts that can be applied without requiring an advanced business degree. When you have defined your product and its purpose, determined who your customers are, and calculated a pricing model, then you can set a marketing plan in motion.

Once you know your customers, you’ll know where to promote your product to make them an offer. If you can increase their demand while making it appear that supply is limited, you’ll be able to sell your products at the right price to make your business profitable.