Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Thoughts on Marketing

I’m taping a TV show next week about marketing for small business. In preparation, I wrote up some of my thoughts on the topic for the producer, and then thought I'd share them with you here. Basically, this is the framework for my contention that most entrepreneurs need help to become good marketers.

Let me know what you think. The Comments link at the end of the post is here (as always) for you.

Thoughts on marketing:

"I see marketing as a core incompetency for most Canadian entrepreneurs.

"In my experience, most people get into business because they have a particular skill and a pre-existing customer relationship, often from their previous job. As they develop their company, they grow its capacity, product line and relationships, but they often neglect basic marketing. They presume that their current and growing relationships with prospects and customers, along with their basic competence and market knowledge, is enough.

"While they work hard at cultivating direct relationships, they really don't know anything about direct marketing, advertising, soliciting referrals, etc. Many have trouble distinguishing between marketing and sales. And they are reluctant (or genetically uninclined) to ask for help in these areas. (Many entrepreneurs don't trust what they don't know.)

"Another almost universal problem: they are poor at marketing themselves. I just facilitated a roundtable yesterday consisting of a dozen entrepreneurs from a wide variety of fields. The first job was introducing ourselves. Not one of them had a compelling personal statement to introduce themselves and their business. Few were capable of clearly explaining what their business does in jargon-free language. And most of them mumbled so badly that I would not have known the names of their companies if I had not had the list in front of me!

"So I believe there is much we can do to promote marketing skills among small business. We could talk about the basic skills many entrepreneurs lack, marketing success stories that illustrate some of the wins that are out there, and how entrepreneurs can learn more."

For more info on this topic, see this 2001 story from PROFIT Magazine: Why Canadians Can’t Market.
It’s a fun piece.

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