Never mind the marketing buzzcocks

It’s been a while since I contributed to the blog. . .
And as well as spending that time contemplating my navel, I’ve also been giving the whole practice of marketing some …

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2nd October 2008 at 10:49 pm

It’s been a while since I contributed to the blog. . .

And as well as spending that time contemplating my navel, I’ve also been giving the whole practice of marketing some serious thought. . . .

And my conclusions are:

– At best marketing (and brand) plays a significant role in underpinning (and in some cases sense checking) business success. (‘Cos if it’s not about the customer guys. . .then what is it about??)

– At worst marketing is rightly labeled the authority on hyperbole. A function designed to over promise and then wag a smug finger when the business (whatever it may be) under delivers.

The latter is the kind of flimsy, fluffy and downright dishonest kind of practice that gets marketeers a bad name.

OK. Rant over. What does this mean in practice if you are a small business, contemplating your own navel and suspecting (or firmly believing) that marketing has to be part of your arsenal to grow your business?

First of all it means that marketing is probably going to be part of a five spoke strategy to small business success (the other four spokes being 1) the entrepreneurial idea and leadership, 2) the operational infrastructure to make it happen, 3) smart financial mangement to make sure it pays, 4) technology in some shape or form to underpin delivery). 

So marketing (and the ability to sell) as number 5 are integral to the start-up equation. But the key to successful marketing is to actively take your message out to the market.  Marketing as an internalised function of business is a nonsense.  And in many cases, for small businesses, that means marketing involves hitting the road or picking up the phone and having a well thought out and engaging story to tell.

Second it means that whatever your marketing strategy is or does, it has to be based on truth.  It can paint a picture of a perfect truth that your business has yet to aspire to.  But it should not take a step too far. 

Because if your product or service repeatedly falls short of your own marketing benchmark, your business is living on borrowed time.  And these days with lending at an all time low, your borrowed time is bound to be very, very short.

Sara Scott

Sara is a marketing specialist with a wealth of on-line and traditional experience. With award winning credentials as an advertising writer, her career also spans the disciplines of planning and strategy for both B2B and consumer clients. Having worked for one of the the UK's biggest non-London agencies, Sara now works on a consultancy basis for clients large and small. http://www.smallbizpod.co.uk/blog

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