wood for tthe trees

courtesy Hugh McLeod

20 years of working with small businesses and it seems the attitudes to marketing have not changed much.

Most recognise the change in the tools. They seek to engage with social media by being “on facebook” and “Liking”  a few people, having a few Apps and sharing photos on their phones,  and many have a website that is little more than an electronic brochure at best. The list goes on a bit, but the reasons for this lack of recognition of the importance of marketing have a very few, but very common roots.

Founder focus. Most founders come from a specific background, engineering, accounting, bricklaying, and they are good at it, focus on it, and seek to provide service by doing it better, more often, they often see just lots of one sort of tree, rather than a forest.

Where is the money? The limited funds small businesses have are generally allocated against the specifics they understand and need to build a businesses. T

o continue the analogy, an better computer system, bigger truck to carry the building materials around, things that relate to the core reason for being in business, not this fluffy ill defined marketing stuff. Besides,” I have a website, and it does nothing for me”.

Everyone’s a marketer. Probably the deepest, darkest hole. Everyone knows a kid who can set up their devices and do a website for them, or they edited the school magazine so know how to write and edit copy, the summer intern “knows” social media, and the flaky new age couple down the road know all about the new stuff ‘happening”. God save me from pretend marketers, but they are cheap, if not free, and usually make an unholy mess.

This will sell itself.  The product is so good, all we have to do is make it available. How often have I heard that old furphy?

Better do something! And the last, often literally, reason marketing pops onto the radar is a recognition that if nothing changes, the “cleaners” will arrive. “We are suffering, better do something, maybe marketing is the answer”. Too little too late, and there is often insufficient money left to make a difference.

Sad but true for way too many.

What have I missed that you have seen?

The right way to go about all this is to recognise that everyone must be in marketing from day one, weather they like it or not, it is an investment in the business, no different to the truck, or computer system necessary to deliver the service you offer.