Is Marketing The Backbone Of Any New Business?
When a new business first begins to operate, one of the most important things for it to focus on is marketing. Too many new business owners see marketing as an add-on, far less important than the core activities around which their work is based and something that can be dealt with after the initial rush of getting things going is over. These businesses don’t tend to last very long. Without marketing, there is no market, and without customers, no business is going to survive.
Why marketing matters.Some businesses don’t think they need marketing because they’ve already connected with companies willing to buy as much as they can produce in the immediate term. The problem with this approach is that stability can never be taken for granted in business. The only way to stay afloat is to keep moving. Times when there is enough business to get by should not be taken as opportunities to rest but, rather, as opportunities to source further business so that if existing buyers cease trading or go elsewhere there won’t be a crisis as a result. Some people think of marketing and advertising as the same thing. In fact, marketing is something far more expansive. It covers every activity undertaken with the aim of sourcing new customers, including things like networking and building up a social media presence. Developing a marketing strategy is about coordinating disparate activities to make sure they’re sending out complementary messages and are effectively drawing people into key points of contact were sales can be made.
Setting a marketing budget.Early on, when money is tight, it’s tempting to do marketing on the cheap. In fact, it’s possible to do this very effectively, but successful low-budget marketing takes something else that new business teams tend to have very little of - time. Deciding how much money to invest in marketing is about establishing the right balance between financial commitment and time commitment. Whether it’s time or money, marketing really does require investment to generate results. Businesses that invest too little face a serious risk of stagnation and often significantly underperform in financial terms in relation to their actual productivity.
Traditional marketing strategies.Although a lot of marketing takes place online these days, that doesn’t make the old techniques any less important. They include the following:
- Networking and sourcing potential leads at trade and social events.
- Running stalls and giving talks or hosting workshops at trade shows.
- Producing merchandise—everything from badges and mugs to t-shirts and car bumper stickers—to raise visibility.
- Producing and distributing posters, leaflets and flyers to raise visibility.
- Undertaking targeted telephone marketing campaigns, especially in the business-to-business sphere.
Online marketing.The focal point of any online marketing campaign is the business website, with everything else pointing potential customers back to it. This can include social media (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn), image-based media (Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat) and video-based media (YouTube, Vimeo, Vine), with material from the latter often embedded in the website itself to good effect. It also includes blogging, which is a good opportunity to keep customers up to date on what the business is doing and which can help improve the ranking of a website by keeping it active. Blogging about related subjects (for instance, providing diet and exercise advice to promote a health business site) can help to draw in extra customers. Search engine marketing—making astute use of keywords and tags—can help to raise the profile of marketing materials, but needs to be done carefully to avoid filters designed to weed out spam.
Managing a launch.There’s never a better time to get publicity for a business than when it has something new to announce, and the first possible announcement will always be its own creation. This is a time to go all out with a coordinated marketing campaign centered on a press release, which should be distributed to all general news outlets in the area where the business will be trading and to the trade press and any other media relevant to what it does. It should also be sent to press agencies like Caters News, as this helps to boost website ranking in the long term (as long as the website is mentioned in the release, of course).
Setting long term marketing goals.Over the long term, it’s important to set realistic marketing goals. Although marketing is very important, taking on too many things and not managing them properly can be damaging to a company’s reputation. Each business needs to decide on its marketing priorities, work out how it can sustain them, and go beyond this only on special occasions such as during product launches. Good marketing is practical marketing, and it can help to give business long term resilience.
This is an article contributed to Young Upstarts and published or republished here with permission. All rights of this work belong to the authors named in the article above.