So what is marketing anyway?

"What is marketing?"

So many small business owners get this wrong that it hurts me. I mean it, I literally cringe when I hear their answer to my question. As a marketing consultant, before I can offer a single word of help, I need to know their current understanding of what marketing means to them and how they see themselves applying it to their business venture.

When the question of what is marketing is posed, many business owners immediately think of advertising. But advertising - whether broadcast media such as radio radio or tv; print media like newspapers, magazines, brochures, flyers or direct mail; outdoor methods including billboards, signage or posters; and even the much praised but poorly executed "word of mouth" - is not marketing. These are merely components of a marketing plan and can be used alone or in combination with other marketing elements.

It's not that the definition of marketing is extremely difficult or complicated, it's simply that many small business owners have never considered exactly what marketing is and what the proper application of marketing principles can mean for their business. They presume to know, but in the day to day pressure of running their business, they have not stopped to consider the essential role marketing plays in their overall business plan.

If they even have a plan.

Come on, you know what I'm talking about. You meant to write a plan. You've been told you need a plan. Your accountant may have even asked to see your plan...and she's still waiting!

Within the pages of every well developed business plan is a section entitled: Marketing.

Marketing is a targeted, planned, ongoing series of activities designed to draw attention to your business, product or service offering.

Read that description again.

This very short definition for marketing encompasses virtually every aspect, every facet of your business venture including the physical premises, customer service, staffing, advertising, sales, product and package design and includes both your off line and

online presence. Knowing precisely what marketing is, and understanding how to put it to work for your business is absolutely essential. It can not be left to chance. It must not be ignored. Ignorance of basic marketing strategies sets you up to fail, to be devoured by savvy, more educated competitors.

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