Marketing - Getting Back to the Basics

We have read a lot of articles, blogs and posts in our time about “tips for marketing”.  Everything from DIY research to using various free marketing tools.  This is all great information to have and we think business owners, especially those with limited resources, can benefit greatly by reading some of these pieces.  These all tell you how to do things, but they don’t often tell you the what  or the why and we think this is equally important.  By understanding what marketing is, or isn’t (what), and the theory and technical knowledge (why) behind those tools business owners are able to successfully market their business regardless of the “tools of the day”.  For that reason, we are going embarking on a three part blog series to help you learn more about marketing.  To kick that off, lets’ start our discussion off by discussing “the what”.

It is not a Crystal Ball

Many people have a vague idea of what marketing is, kind of like the term IT.  Marketing is a broad field with many different skill sets, niches and tools.  It is a bridge between a business and its customers.  But it is not a crystal ball.  For every Cinderella story in marketing there are an equal number of marketing failure stories.  The reason is marketing is a science and an art.  The science it straight- forward, the art is not.  For this reason marketers can never guarantee a company or a client a particular outcome.  If you meet one that does . . .run.  They best they can do is use their skills, knowledge and experience to create and implement the best possible strategy they can.  This is why a marketing program should always include a measurement component.  Regular measurement and data analysis allows a marketer to make sure things are working out how they anticipated.  If not, they will reassess the situation and try a different path.

It is not a Band-aid

Sometimes businesses, especially new ones, enjoy a period of stellar growth simply through word of mouth or minimal effort.  Then, one day, the growth comes to halt, or worse, things decline.  Many business owners decide they finally need marketing as a way to solve all of their problems, and solve them now.  But that view is unrealistic.  Marketing is not a “quick fix”, it is a long-term solution.  Ideally, a marketing strategy is something that should part of the business from day one.  Building a following on social media, creating an effective advertising/promotion program and effectively networking all take time to come to fruition.  Even SEO (search engine optimization) can take over a year to produce any meaningful results.  

It is not an Afterthought

Yes, there are many inexpensive options for marketing your business.  But even inexpensive costs something.  In order to have a sustained, effective program you need to have some sort of budget set aside each month for marketing.  With some elbow grease and time even a very modest budget can produce results.  We have found that businesses that view marketing as an investment into their business experience sustained growth more than businesses that regard it merely as an afterthought or necessary evil.

Whether you are a marketing DIYer or a business looking for a marketing partner to help you grow, Ascent is here to help.  Follow us on Facebook to stay on top of current marketing tools and trends as well as information geared for the small business owner.

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