Most small business owners will agree that marketing is an essential component of their business strategy, but marketing means many different things to different people. It’s also used to achieve many different objectives. For your own business, what are your marketing priorities and how do you set them?
Marketing priorities: what comes first?
For some small business owners, marketing is synonymous with advertising. While that’s a narrow view, sometimes your marketing activities may not encompass much more than that. For other businesses, marketing is a way to establish the business’ voice in its industry, or a way to strengthen customer relationships. Among the many things that marketing can achieve, what are your marketing priorities, and what should they be?
Thought Leadership. According to Forbes Magazine, thought leadership “is an individual or firm that is recognized as an authority in a specialized field and whose expertise is sought and often rewarded.” Many small businesses are simply focused on keeping the doors open, so establishing thought leadership may not rank as highly among competing marketing priorities.
But in the Omobono/Business Marketing Association survey of 2013, establishing a thought leadership position was not only among 63% of respondents’ top 3 marketing priorities, it was number one among all marketing priorities for 21% of respondents. More respondents to the survey said that thought leadership was their top marketing priority. Small businesses sometimes lead the way, making radical changes in their industries and dramatically altering the competitive landscape. Establishing your business as an authority can sometimes help your business dominate its niche.
Deepening Customer Relationships Among marketing priorities, developing and strengthening customer relationships should be high on the list, if your business is customer focused. In the Omobono survey, this ranked 4th among absolute top marketing priorities, and 55% of respondents named it among their top three marketing priorities. Working with customers you’ve already served is sometimes easier than it is to recruit new customers. And among existing customers, if they like your products and services, they’re more likely to recommend them to other likely buyers within their circles of influence. This is one area in which small businesses can excel. Underscoring the importance of the customer always resonates well, as long as the marketing matches the customer experience.
Brand-related priorities. Developing brand positions and raising brand awareness were the two other absolute top marketing priorities that respondents of the Omobono study indicated. Positioning and brand awareness are often first-steps in a larger marketing plan. New businesses will want to focus on these as marketing priorities to help them establish themselves in a sometimes-crowded marketplace. Innovators will also make these their marketing priorities to help develop consumer interest and underscore emerging needs.
If you would like more information about setting marketing priorities for your business, or would like to develop a marketing plan, please contact our Creative Director, Dave Ramsell or give Dave a call at (330) 243-0651 to set up a consultation.
Photo Credit: iwanbeijes, via FreeImages.com