Companies of all sizes tend to run the business through the responsibilities of various departments. Chances are, each department has a large workload and a budget to reflect their perceived importance. When budgets are tight, which department is first to get their budget slashed? More than likely, it’s the Marketing department. Many managers fail to recognize the importance of the Marketing department; they do not see Marketing as a primary component to a successful business. When the Marketing budget is cut, the business will not do nearly as well. Fact is, Advertising and Marketing are a must in every business plan – they are probably doing more for your business than you realize. Here is what you may have overlooked:
- Your business creates or distributes amazing products or offers meaningful services and experiences. You know this. Let everyone else know too. The main drive of the Marketing department is to educate your customers on what you have to offer. What makes your business special and unique? Why would someone choose to give you their business? They may not even be aware your business exists, or what it does. Additionally, many niche products or services require literal education for your consumers.
- Along with education comes attraction. Yes, you can provide all the education required and more, but consumers will move right past if there aren’t a few bells and whistles to catch their eye. If the consumers don’t even know you exist, they will not consider you at all.
- Our economy is generally operated as a free enterprise society, allowing you the freedom to run your business as you choose. Just remember, the other guys have the same freedom, and you can bet that they are utilizing Marketing, digital and otherwise!
Today’s consumers have more options than ever. Educate your consumers about your business to earn a place in this mass competition.
One last thing to remember: If your business isn’t large enough to support a full-time Marketing department, a Marketing Agency can be the perfect solution!
The year is 2004. Mark Zuckerberg launches Facebook early in the year. This social network is to be made available exclusively to Harvard students; at the time, ‘Myspace’ was the universal social network to the rest of the universe. Facebook slowly expands to surrounding universities until eventually, 2006 brought the opportunity for anyone to register. Even then, Facebook is still only utilized by the younger generation. I say this with certainty because I made my profile in 2006 as a junior in high school. The only ‘friends’ you had were the ones from your school and maybe your friends from Myspace. At the time, it was essentially the same idea as Myspace, yet people ultimately chose to stay with Facebook. So many people use it, you are considered ‘off the grid’ without an account. I don’t even know when it happened, but Facebook has undeniably become this huge platform for advertising to an older crowd. Here is my take on why:
- Intro to Internet conversation. The older demographic never used Myspace. In fact, for a long time most considered internet conversation dangerous, lazy and actually making kids unsociable due to the lack of face to face communication. Ironically, much more conversation occurs. They realize this is a way to easily connect and keep the connection with those who they aren’t able to see very often and dig it. It is a breakthrough to their internet connections whereas younger folk already experienced that.
- It renews their youth. Again, they realize you can keep connected. Thus, reconnections. It is a high school reunion every day. Connecting with those from high school has the way of keeping you in high school.
- Time. They have it. The older generation is spending a large amount of time on Facebook because of the open schedule. Generally, anyone under age 35 is too busy. Between work, school and young children there is literally enough time to give a quick scroll through the feed and maybe post a picture of your kids.
Companies are realizing these points and because of this their ads and engagement on Facebook pays off now more than ever. Additionally, Facebook allows you to track these metrics for any business owner to see the return on this free to low-cost investment.
Why the Midwest?
Marketing a local product, service or business is a no-brainer for the local marketing agency. They know their audience and understand the supply and demand of the area. But what if you are looking to take your business national? Is your agency in New Jersey going to understand how to reach the people in Oregon? The U.S. boasts an array of personalities, religions, traditions and more. You need to have knowledge of all the target demographics, and relate to them where they live, geographically and metaphorically. Here’s why the Midwest offers the perspective you need to take your business national:
- We are right in the middle. Situated smack in the middle of the country, we often encounter people from the surrounding territories, bringing us into contact with an array of personalities. Being that it snows a minimum of four months a year, Midwest folk tend to do a lot of traveling. With much of the country geographically accessible, we have lots of options. This travel allows us to shop at your stores, eat at your restaurants, and take advantage of the services you offer. We experience the different demographics and personally interact with your citizens and, ultimately, national consumers.
- We experience all four seasons. Yep, along with the weird weather and inconsistent temperature changes that happen in-between. We know what it’s like to live in all weather conditions (sometimes in the same day!) We know the bitter and sweetness inherent to each season. We do the activities each season calls for, from snowblowing to pool cleaning. The activities – and products – that involve weather are something we are quite familiar with.
- We are a mix of rural and urban population. There is plenty of big and small cities here. Our home, Michigan, has small farming towns as well as the big guys like Grand Rapids and Detroit. Our workforce consists of people who come from both backgrounds and understand the perks of living the small town life in the big city. As many folks from these parts, we have also moved away – and come back – so we have lived all over the U.S.
- We understand the industry. We do. The Midwest has its own melting pot of industry. Partially due to the aforementioned four seasons, as well as the urban/rural population mix. We are farmers, nature caretakers, tourist services, manufacturers. Chances are, we have at least a general knowledge of your field of business.
Thank you, internet. You’re allowing the opportunity to be a stay-at-home mom and provide myself with income. It’s great – in fact, there are countless opportunities to work online from home, as Pinterest and many bloggers have let you in on. Articles and lists have been made of suggesting home-based businesses. One thing they forgot to tell you about… how do you market your business? Speaking as a small business owner with a Marketing and Advertising background, please read these very basic tools and take a step toward marketing success:
Put your mind in that of your consumer. What’s the nature of your business? Where would people go to find your product or service… wherever it is- get there! Occupy that entire space if you can. If it’s homemade crafts, get on Etsy. If it’s rebuilt motors, get on Ebay- just to name a few.
Understand the marketing evolution, then adapt.
I’m talking about the concept as a whole. Right now the internet and digital space are fruitful but will it always be? Be open to what is happening around you and be prepared to strike while the iron is hot.. or even before. Take Social Media, get ahead of the curve and implement social outlets that are proven to be up and coming and of course those which are booming.
Plan and budget.
A business is s business no matter how small. So the concept still applies- it takes money to make money. Set a realistic budget for your business but not before creating a timeline and strategy to ensure you are getting the most bang for your buck.
Never stop marketing.
Satisfied with the amount of business you have? Great, so lessen your marketing efforts, but never stop. You still need to maintain awareness and let your customers know you are always interested in their business.
Don’t be shy, ask for help.
A little overwhelmed with the idea of marketing? Administer outside help for various projects- graphic designers, financial help or even a Marketing Agency to get yourself started.