When small businesses talk about marketing, more often than not, they are really talking about “advertising.” Advertising is not marketing. Advertising is a marketing tactic. And a limited one, at that. Advertising is an intrusion, an interruption. It is frequently something most people (that includes your customers) see as something to be avoided. Marketing is a strategic set of intentional actions designed to cultivate a relationship with a customer. There is a huge difference.

Small businesses do not need Marketing, A Tale of Two Myths

  1. Small business success is simply about providing the best product or service for the best possible price in the right place.
  2. Promotion (advertising/marketing -they are the same thing, right?) is needed only when sales start to drop off. And promotion simply means “blasting” a message to as many people as possible, even the people who would never be interested in the product or service, no matter how much the product or service cost. Blast away at unwilling “prospects” until they relent, until they buy. Marketing’s job, then, is to find as many tricks and gimmicks to advertise, that is to say “blast,” as cheaply as possible. Marketing is the process of beating potential prospects into submission, hitting them as often as needed until they come through the door and buy our stuff.

Are you still reading? Sound familiar? Sound Cynical? Unfortunately, these myths, established in the 1950’s, are still the underlying belief-structure of most small business owners. As professionals marketing consultants for more than twenty years, we have heard this line of reasoning frequently. It was a wonderful myth. Promoters were in charge. Product and price differences mattered, and lasted for months, years, even decades. “Mass” audiences could be easily reached with “mass” media. The fact is, small businesses are finding it harder and harder to “promote” successfully. Mass media no longer commands attention. Digital media has destroyed the myth.  The 1950’s four “P’s” fail precisely because they are not marketing. The more businesses “blast,” the less people care. While a business spends more and more to promote their product, price and place, the audience listens less and less. Marketing is not about the blast, marketing is actually much easier. Learn more about strategic small business marketing?

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