Small Business, Big Marketing

David Day

3 min read
You don’t have to be a multi-billion dollar brand to act like one. There are lots of things you can do that the big brands do –but without the huge marketing budget. Here’s what the big brands do, and you should too.

1. Focus on quality. Every successful brand has quality standards for their product, service, or both. Do you measure your quality? What passes or fails? Establish quality standards and make sure everyone in your organization knows what they are. Producing a quality product or service is everyone’s responsibility, and when every team member holds each other accountable, quality becomes part of the company culture.

2. Dominate a Segment. It can be as broad as you dare, or as narrow as you like. If you want to be the best sports shoe in the business, just do it. Or if you want to be the best women’s pink walking shoe with glitter soles, more power to you. I know a fast food chicken chain that only serves one thing: chicken. No beef. No salads. No milkshakes. No kidding. Just fried chicken strips. And they are raisin’ cane in college markets all over the US.

3. Become known for something. It’s not enough to be known. You gotta be known for something. When your prospect sees or hears your name, they say “Oh, you’re the company that…” Can you finish the sentence in a few words? If not, you’re in trouble, just like Sears and Radio Shack. Their brand recognition is very high, but they’ve lost their identity–and sales have suffered.

4. Build the brand and the product/service. It’s been shown that an average of only 7 percent of your target audience is in the market for your product or service at any given time. If you’re just pushing product in your ads, you’re just noise to the other 93%. Make your ads stick by addressing the other 93%. Do it by building your brand in their minds, not just selling your product. Tout your points of differentiation. Use a consistent jingle, tagline, or slogan, and address why you’re the best choice, not just what you sell.

5. Stay Consistent. Stop changing your advertising strategy every week. Don’t fall to the temptation to shift into a promotion a week after you launch your brand campaign. If you’re on TV, stay on TV. (TV advertising works. If your spot isn’t’ working, I promise it’s not your TV.) Don’t change your slogan every ten minutes. A professional agency can help you create consistency and develop a reputation over time. Develop a solid strategy and stick with it.

The big brands have big money to put behind their campaigns, and yes, money buys reach and frequency. But sound marketing principles are free, and they are just as important. Start with these principles before you declare your advertising a bust. You can always pay more…

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