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February 2012


Marketing Has to Be Central from the Start

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Many small – and large – businesses make the mistake of not putting enough resources into marketing from the start. It may not seem necessary as you’re developing your product or service, and perhaps even reaching your market easily. But for any size company, if you don’t create a solid marketing plan from the start your business will suffer. You may max out the market you’ve been successfully reaching for years, or not stay up to speed with the best communication vehicles, or maybe you’ve had a marketing plan but didn’t consistently hone it in relation to the constantly changing digital opportunities. You may not even see it for awhile, but somewhere down the line you’ll find that you won’t be able to maintain a steady pace though the ebbs and flows of the business cycle.

I’ve seen this often in small businesses who are putting all their resources into getting off the ground. But I’ve been surprised to find out how many big businesses also fall into this trap. As I read several case studies, I found that the main reason big businesses don’t provide enough resources for marketing is simply because the decision-makers don’t grasp the long-term implications. Other functions have priority at a given time and marketing seems like an extra. Resources go to creating a product or expanding a product line, finding the right distribution channels, seeking capital, etc. I’ve seen businesses allocate resources to their sales department and still not adequately fund marketing. But it’s hard to sell a product that’s not marketed well.

So even though there’s more capacity in our digital world today than there ever has been on relationship building with one’s customers, and more innovative ways to do it, many businesses are still lagging behind. And the businesses that don’t move forward are losing competitive ground. But the good news for small business owners is that they are poised to take advantage of so many of the current opportunities. Operating on a small scale, they have more flexibility than they often realize, and can take advantage of a huge variety of low-cost options while creating marketing plans that build in continuous change.