Marketing at the local small business level has many challenges. One of the biggest can doing what you do for the right reasons. For example: There are lots and lots and lots of things you can do with advertising, marketing and promotion. Most small business owners, to their painful loss, fail to ask the “Jurassic Park” question:
Just because we can, does that mean we should?
Applied to you, the small business owner, the question becomes “just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.” Do what you do for the right reason Be wary of investing in things because of ANY of the following reasons:
- They are popular,
- Are normal and customary,
- Are what “everybody” does,
- “Cool kids” do it,
- Giants do it,
- It’s the latest “must-have-gonna-make-everything-easier-magic-button-whiz-bang-flavor-of-the-week.”
Be resistant to pressure by media salespeople, marketing “gurus” biased to or selling particular tools, and employees, peers, friends and family.
I know this will comes as a huge surprise and a harsh reality. perhaps even a genuine shock: Not everyone has your best interests in mind. Not everyone with options has qualified options.
It is YOUR responsibility to hold each investment and activity up to harsh assessment and measurement, to minimize risks, avoid waste, and obtain positive returns.
Why are we doing this?
The story is told of the newlywed couple who were cooking their first Thanksgiving ham. The new wife cut off an end of the ham before putting it in the brand new oven. When asked why she cut of the end, she said: It’s the way my mom always did it.”
The unconvinced and frugal husband then called his mother-in-law to inquire about this practice. Her response: “I have no idea, but I’ll call my mom and find out. That’s the way she always did it.
From 2 generations back, his wife’s grandmother said: “Oh dearie, that’s the way we had to do it. We only had one pan and most hams would just not fit.”
As a small business owner with a limited marketing budget you can’t afford to guess at what works and what doesn’t. Only choose those marketing approaches that have the ability to prove their ROI value to you.
If it’s not provable, it’s not valuable
To stay within the bounds of the real world, I will admit there may be marketing that is not provable that works great. The problem is you’ll never know it. For local businesses, you have to be picky about where you put your limited resources for marketing.