Is marketing a luxury in troubled times?

Many small and medium enterprises (SMEs) – and some large ones, for that matter – have difficulties when it comes to marketing. That should come as a surprise, given that Amazon in the UK alone lists more than 65,000 titles on the subject.

But that may be just where the problem lies. In difficult and complex areas of business it is sometimes difficult to see the wood for the trees. Outlined in this article is a simple view of what marketing is and the critical elements to be managed for success. It has been developed over years of working with SMEs and start-up businesses with little or no marketing budget.

There are three main questions to consider:

  • What is marketing, really?
  • Why should customers choose you?
  • How can you attract motivated prospects?

1. What is marketing, really?

Marketing is the process of defining who the people are who want to buy the type of product or service you offer, and why they should choose yours. Once you understand that, you need to communicate with them so that they are motivated to buy.

Virtually all businesses will derive about 80% of their business from just 20% of their customers. This is called the Pareto Principle and it turns up all the time. It is therefore critical to understand who that 20% are:

  • Where do they live?
  • What are their interests?
  • What motivates them?
  • What do they value in life?
  • How frequently do they buy your product or service?
  • What else could they choose to buy instead?

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