There are mighty few small business owners who acknowledge they’re awash in marketing questions about their business. Especially those in service industries. Small business product marketers know what they know best: the product. The food tastes good. The lawns are properly manicured. The artwork is captivating. But they may still have questions about pricing, targeting and distribution. On the service side, selling what may seem to be commodities, e.g., insurance, healthcare, financial products, the product is pretty static and it’s the delivery that counts. Those owners have even more questions. Questions they leave to the marketing Gods…and perhaps Google.
Marketing is the science of selling. And small business owners are often not scientists. Certainly not in this art. So they turn to so-called marketing/branding/advertising consultants or agents for help.
Here’s why this often goes off the track: The people small business owners turn to are way more familiar with their own business, i.e., search, art direction, research, than they are with the business they’re supposedly helping. Brand planners, actually, are paid to know more about their client’s businesses than the client. Hard to believe I know. And while the business owner may, on volume, know more than the brand planner, the planner has done the heavy lifting to remove the ancillary things from the equation. To boil down the care-abouts and good-ats. To provide the real focus.
Brand planners are needed more at small businesses than at their larger cousins. But the owners are so used to doing everything themselves they don’t see strategy as a priority. And those that do ask for help, often ask people who don’t spend the time to really get to know the brand and the business. Often, because they are small businesses too. Hee hee.