Every few days one hears about the closing of a fairly recently opened business. Recently, I heard one of the owners of a just closed business attribute her restaurant’s demise to “poor marketing, we weren’t able to sustain staying open.” Other problems cited were delayed opening in December rather than in a more robust time of the year (as far as restaurant patronage goes, opening during the Thanksgiving – Christmas period is a terrible mistake) and a poor choice of name which gave mis-cues to the customer as to the restaurant’s concept.
Low budgets often blamed for lack of marketing
Every new business needs a marketing plan. Your marketing must start prior to your opening. But many small business owners feel that they are on short financial leashes and so jettison any marketing plan. But, I think many confuse marketing with advertising.
What marketing is
Marketing is a systematic approach to understanding and communicating relevant information about your products with your potential customer. It includes a messaging strategy often called a communications plan that encompasses public relations, social media, paid advertising, community relations and events. It may or may not include paid ad placement. Every new business plan must allocate resources to marketing your business. These resources are time and money.
Be where your customers are
As you begin to develop your marketing plan you must comprehend where and how your customers seek information about the category of goods you sell. If you are selling a product primarily for women between the ages of 25 and 35, understand what influences these women, where they get their information and plan a strategy to have information in those channels.
You can create your own marketing plan
In the case of some businesses, you may find you have less time than money and so you pay a professional to assist with the development of your marketing and communications strategies. If you are a very small business, you can often create and implement your marketing plan yourself, however, in no instance can you choose to believe “If I build it, they will come.” Nor should you put all your eggs in the viral (e.g. “I’m going to create a new video and it’s going to go viral.”) myth basket. It’s great if an aspect of your business catches the attention of customers, but what will sustain actual paying customers?
Provided your services or products meet a need or create a new need and are well made, available to the market with a good distribution system, properly priced, provided with superior customer service and people know about you, and you consistently share interesting information, you will meet with success.