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Monday, May 23, 2011

Don't get lost

Today I find myself contemplating the erroneous and irresponsible way many businesses approach their marketing.  It’s scary and even scarier is the number of small businesses who take a hap-hazard approach when at the end of the day they simply do not have the advertising budget to throw away like that.  For every business, but small businesses in particular, it is imperative to make every dollar count.  Most business owners will whole heartedly agree with that statement.  So why is it then that most small businesses are so entrenched in “media hopping”?

You don’t have to be a marketing guru to do a quick google search that returns thousands of results from amateurs to experts all saying the same things: Repetition and consistency; frequency; the right headline; the right ‘copy’; your ad has to get noticed; you need to use the right words…  It goes on and on.  So why is it that so many small business owners feel compelled to take the position of “Well that’s all fine and dandy, but it won’t work for my business.”  or “But my industry is different.”  Really?!

I’m sorry but you have to face the fact, “your” industry and the basic premise of your business is not unique.  Again, a quick google search will tell you that.  So why fight it?  Rather than throwing good money after bad; rather than making excuses as to why each media vehicle doesn’t work for your business; why not focus on the true source of the problem… your message.  It’s not going to matter “where” you advertise if you’re not getting anyone’s attention.

The current buzz – online, Facebook, Twitter, Social Media, Viral marketing . . . THAT’S where the people are, THAT’S where media, news and information is and where marketing should be taking place!  What astounds me is that the same people who spout this advice are often the same people who complain about the quality of information, about the gossip and pettiness of the conversations (if they can be called that) taking place on the “have to be” places of Social Media.  For those of us who do or have partaken in Facebook and Twitter, we understand the overwhelming amount of information that is getting thrown at us and how we pick and choose what we are going to read and absorb based on what grabs our attention.  So at the end of day, it still comes back to the traditional concept of “what” your message says.

The moral of this story?  You need to place your focus on your message before you get sucked into the blackhole of Social Media that will have you marveling at your sudden loss of available time and productivity.  Don’t confuse my convictions about your marketing message as a siege against the Internet or Social Media – you NEED to do these things – but if you’re not doing them right they will waste your time.  But first you need to spend your time researching YOUR industry, and the messages you need in order to cut through pages and pages of textual information that are now flooding people by the hour (no longer by the week or day).  If anything, it is even more important than ever that you have the right message that will get your customers attention or quite frankly, you won’t stand a chance.  Don’t forget that in our economy EVERY business is your competitor, not just businesses that offer similar products or services.  Consumers are not just deciding “Do I go with provider A or B” – they are deciding “Do I go with product A to Z”, they have so many options available to them that you have no choice but to sell them on your industry as well as on yourself.  If your message isn’t getting through to them, it’s not going to matter where you put it, it will get lost. 

Tanya Thibodeau

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