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What Does Marketing Mean to You?

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Like many terms in business, marketing has a pretty broad definition. Depending on who you are and what you do, marketing takes on different looks, feels, smells, etc! Is it being “known”? Not necessarily. We all know plenty of businesses with terrible reputations that are struggling to hang on. So being known isn’t enough by itself.


A simple Google search says marketing is defined as, “the action or business of promoting and selling products or services, including market research and advertising.” Very broad definition indeed! If we break this down, it leads to even more questions. What does “action or business” mean? We think it means “deliberate steps that generate interest in your product or service”. Taken a step further leads to another question. Who are you generating interest in (demographic, psychographic)? It’s not enough just to generate interest, but you must generate interest among the right people. Those that are interested in your product or service AND are likely to need/want it! Reverse mortgages are interesting as a concept to me, but I’m not the right person to target. I’m too young and have many years before considering such a move, whether it’s good or bad!


A common practice among small business owners is to wear all hats at once. It’s the “chief cook and bottle washer” syndrome. It basically means they try to do everything themselves. What many business owners find is that something suffers greatly. Either your customers get less than stellar service or one of the many other jobs you’re attempting to do fail. You should hire experts to do the things you don’t have time for. Things that will likely bring you more opportunities. Marketing help is a great place to start. Hiring a marketer allows you to instantly gain years of expertise. An experienced marketer will help you determine how to execute the 4 P’s of marketing: Price, Product, Promotion & Place. It also allows you to stay laser focused on what matters most…your customers! Those are the people that are “signing your paycheck” every week. Give them the service and attention they need, and they’ll keep coming back. Worry about something else and there’s a good chance they’ll go somewhere else when your quality begins to slip.


Like anything else, you must take your time and find the right marketing firm for you and your business! Ask specific questions that apply to your market and your industry. Company X may have had great success with a Widget Maker in St. Louis, but what about Phoenix? It’s a different market within the same industry.  Don’t be afraid to dig in. Any reputable marketing firm will expect you to ask tough questions. One of the most important qualities to look for is their willingness to explain what they do and why they do it that way. You’re not asking for trade secrets or the recipe to their secret sauce. Just a general overview of their methodology. If you don’t understand it, ask them to “dumb it down” for you. Not very politically correct, but you get the meaning. It should be easy to explain at a very high level without getting into the weeds and using a bunch of industry jargon. If they can’t make you understand their process, there’s a good chance this is the wrong company for you!


Now what? If you did your due diligence and asked lots of relevant questions, it should be an easy relationship from here on out. Clear, consistent communication is key to any relationship…this one included! If you have questions, reach out and ask. The company should get back with an appropriate answer in short order. If you ask a simple question and don’t get an answer for a week, you may have missed the target and hired the wrong company. Marketing companies thrive on repeat business and referrals. Slow communication is a poor way to get either! If you feel you’re not being heard, let them know.


Finally, just a reminder that there is no magic formula for success in marketing. It’s hard work. It’s expensive at times. It’s a grind. If there is a secret…it’s that slow and steady wins the race! Successful marketing takes many forms. Be prepared to stick with your process for the long term and you’ll win time and time again. Staying in business longer than your competition leads to many more opportunities for you ? If it were easy to win in business, then everyone would have success and be in business for decades. We all know that isn’t the case.

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