How-To

Marketing Strategies For Small Businesses

Marketing continues to be a mystery… to those who create it and to those who sponsor it. Often, the ad that generates record-breaking volume for a retail store one month is repeated the following month and bombs. A campaign designed by the best Madison Avenue ad agency may elicit a mediocre response. The same item sells like hotcakes after a 30-word classified ad, with abominable grammar, appears on page 35 of an all-advertising shopper tossed on the front stoops of homes during a rainstorm! The mystery eludes solution but demands attention.

This publication is devoted to the idea that your marketing results can be improved through a better understanding of your customers. This approach usually is referred to as the marketing concept.

Putting the customer first is probably the most popular phrase used by firms ranging from giant conglomerates to the corner barber shop, but the sloganizing is often just lip service. The business continues to operate under the classic approach – “Come buy this great product we have created or this fantastic service we are offering.” The giveaway, of course, is the word we. In other words, most business activities, including advertising, are dedicated to solving the firm’s problems. Success, however, is more likely if you dedicate your activities exclusively to solving your customer’s problems.

Any marketing program has a better chance of being productive if it is timed, designed and written to solve a problem for potential customers and is carried out in a way that the customer understands and trusts. The pages that follow will present the marketing concept of putting the customer first. Marketing is a very complex subject; it deals with all the steps between determining customer needs and supplying them at a profit. In addition to some introductory material on marketing, this publication includes practical material on the marketing approaches to budgeting, layout design, headline writing, copywriting and media analysis. You have to spend money on marketing; the purpose of this publication is to help you get the most for your money, or the most bang for the buck.

For the entire publication, visit SBA.gov