Use a Consultant to Overcome Small Business Marketing Challenges

20 04 2013

When you are starting, revamping, adding a new product line, or rebranding your company, there often comes a time when you look at your marketing strategy and wonder, “Is this right? “Have I looked at all possible options”?  These questions do not arise because of lack of experience or education in marketing. In fact, many small business owners do have either a business background or higher education in the subject.  According to a poll done by the National Federation of Independent Business nearly half of all small business owners possess at least a bachelors degree, with nearly half of those having majored in business.  Having an education in business or even a background in marketing is a strength, and can provide you as a business owner with some advantages.

However, whether or not you have a business degree or background in marketing, as a small business owner you will still have several common challenges to successfully implementing a marketing strategy for your business. These challenges are why it is imperative to either contract a marketing consultant for their expertise and specialization, or hire a full time marketing director.  The most common challenges are: Time, perspective, research, current marketing trends, and implementation.

  • Time is the biggest obstacle to many small business owners. With so many parts of a business to run, trying to handle all aspects of it on your own is very overwhelming. Unless you can honestly dedicate the necessary time to your marketing effort, without hampering other functions of your business, you need a marketing consultant.
  • Perspective is an often overlooked challenge in the marketing field. Typically business owners look at a product and how it will be branded, promoted, priced, and placed through what we want, not as how the consumer desires or needs it. Having an expert in marketing who is in touch with the needs of your target market is critical to optimizing the ‘four P’s’: Product, Promotion, Pricing, and Placement.Marketing Mix
  • Research is a critical measure to undertake to understand exactly who you are targeting, what methods of marketing work best to reach them (do you use traditional, social, video, word of mouth, or some combination of these advertising components), and who your competition is.  This is important whether you are a start-up or an established small business expanding locations or product line.
  • Marketing Trends are similar to perspective, however the difference in marketing trends is in planning for future events. A good marketing strategy will use a SWOT analysis to measure your companies strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to help with forecasting various internal and external trends that will affect your business. For example, if you are in the roofing business, your market depends on many factors: the building industry, the environment and climate changes, economy, and government regulations. A good marketing consultant will help you to plan for most foreseeable events, so you can have a contingency for best or worst case scenarios. If there is a market trend that shows a shifting from shingles to Spanish tile in your area, you want to be prepared for that, and know who your potential suppliers could be. Or maybe there is an increased interest in PV solar installations, so you would be wise to co-market and work with a solar contractor for additional opportunities in that industry.
  • Implementation. OK, so you finally have taken the time, done the necessary marketing research, looked at marketing trends, and have gained an outside perspective on your customers needs and wants. Now what? Now, you need to formulate a marketing strategy and implement it into your daily business operations. This is where it gets hard, because this is where the time factor really comes into play.  You have done all this work and to not use it is not just wasteful, it can ruin your business.  A marketing consultant will help you draft your marketing strategy, and then if you desire, they can either implement it for you, or find the right person to do it.  Implement your Strategy

The goal of any marketing plan is to do two things: Increase your brand awareness and increase your conversions. If you are simply getting the word out about your product, but not gaining more customers, there may be an issue with pricing, placement, or even the product itself. Your conversions are great but you find that they are mostly repeat clients or you are not reaching the percentage of the target market you desire, you may need to alter your promotional methods. Again, working with a marketing consultant can help you achieve this, but there is one final piece of advice to offer. Make sure whomever you work with as a consultant is a willing team-member and has a buy in to your product.  If they cannot empathize with your passion and share in your desire to be successful, then you may want to look elsewhere. They may be a great consultant, but perhaps your particular industry is just not the right one for them to consult on. Do your due diligence and find your success!


Co-Marketing Vs. Co-Branding Explained for Small Business Owners

6 03 2013

As a small business owner, you have probably had networking sessions and referred work to others in either the same or different field of work.  When I worked as a boy for my father’s construction company, I would notice that for some jobs that were either outside of his scope of expertise or just did not have time for, he would refer them to another contractor in town. Developing a relationship like this with other companies is a key component to survival, and if the referrals are returned in favor, then it can lead to a prosperous referral partnership.

Co-Marketing and Co-Branding are different from networking and referrals.

Co-Branding is when two separate brands come together to form a new product or integrated product. An example of co-branding would be Oreo and Dairy Queen and their famous BlizzardMint Oreo Blizzard,               Chevrolet Bumblebee Transformers Limited Edition Camaro, 2012-chevrolet-camaro_100354380_l and Taco Bell’sDoritos Locos Tacos

Co-Marketing is a true partnership between two separate brands that will use their combined efforts to market each others products. A new product is not created, but because there is commonality between the two products, a co-marketing venture makes sense.  Some common examples of co-marketing are Kohl’s with the Food Network (if you watch any Bobby Flay show, like “Worst Cooks in America“, you cannot help but to notice this almost overwhelming marketing effort),  Omega Watches with James Bond Omega and 007 , and Honda with the NHL.

As a small business owner you may wonder how these multibillion dollar organizations can be similar to your company. The fact is that there are co-marketing opportunities around you all the time. For example, while looking for new opportunities to increase market share and brand awareness for a very small water treatment company, I developed a relationship with a solar company. Bringing the two owners together, we found there was a common interest in providing top of the line products and services to homeowners. So they entered into a co-marketing agreement that allowed them to sell both company’s products across the floor, promote each other in their materials, and increase brand awareness to each others current and new customer base.

If you have a pool service company, maybe you may utilize a co-marketing agreement with a landscaper, since you are both offering a service that many homeowners require. You love maintaining pools, but cannot stand the thought of doing landscaping. So why open another part of your business? Just find a reliable, reputable partner to duel invest your marketing dollars with and you will both benefit from this partnership.  If you are a hairdresser and you have a friend who does nails, you could both market each others’ services and draw in additional customers that way. You do not need to relocate or set up shop next to each other, just a nice link on each others website, some promotional materials describing your partners business and why you recommend them, and perhaps a video ad showcasing how fabulous your clients look after a visit to your hair salon and their nail salon.  The opportunities are endless, but they are time consuming and require finding the right partner. If you would like a free consultation on how to set up a co-marketing or co-branding strategy, please do contact us.

For a free whitepaper on how to implement Inbound Marketing for your small business,   Tayloe Marketing WhitePaper  and fill out the form. You will receive a welcome email with a whitepaper attachment as our thank you.

3 Facebook Tips for Small Business Owners

13 02 2013

Do you desire to tip your marketing efforts back into the right direction, but do not have a large, or any, advertising budget? One of the advantages of social media is that it is basically free. However, being free does not mean that it is without effort or technique. Let us use Facebook as an example. There are many different ways to optimize your business’ Facebook Page. The following are some basic tips to help you reach out to your customers and have more interaction with them. After all, the goal of ‘social media’ is to be social, have a conversation, and extend your businesses presence in a way that will build trust, awareness, and ultimately a decision to purchase your product or service. Enjoy the tips and please feel free to add to them and/or comment!

Tayloe Marketing Blog

1. If you have a website (and you SHOULD!) make sure it is listed at top of your ‘About’ section, so that visitors do not have to click on  the ‘About’ tab to get to it. How you ask? Simple. Click “Edit Page” on the top right of your page, then click on “Update Info”. Make sure all sections are filled out  and do NOT put anything in the “Official Page” box as this is only for fan pages of other businesses, bands, etc. |Be especially certain you have listed the correct address and other pertinent contact information. Make sure to edit your profile to have just the name of your organization as the sub domain URL: In the “Short Description” box, located just under the map, enter your website first, then hit enter and finish filling out the box with a short description of your business. You will still want to add your website below in its own box. The advantage of doing this again, is so your website is visible as soon as someone visits your page. Remember, you want to make it as easy as possible for your visitors to find out about you and lead them to your website, where hopefully they will continue down the purchase funnel. See the image at the bottom of this post for a visual example!

Tayloe Marketing Blog2. Use pictures! People love pictures, so whether you are a contractor, restaurant, Realtor, flower shop, or dance studio, there are always pictures of your work, your product that you can share! Better yet, share some images of happy customers (with their permission) or ask guests to post their pictures on your Facebook page using your product or visiting your store. Utilizing pictures increases “Likes” by 53% and comments by 104% research has shown, as posted by HubSpot (by the way, if you are looking for good inbound marketing information, make sure to follow @HubSpot on Twitter or subscribe to their blog).
Tayloe Marketing Blog3. Keep in mind, that just because you have a good number of “Likes” does not mean all your new activity is showing up on their Facebook wall. Facebook uses an algorithm that is based on consistency and current engagement. In other words, if someone liked your page a few months ago, but has not liked any other posts or commented recently, chances are that your page is no longer getting prime time on their wall. Of course if they want to check your business out again, they will see everything posted, but the important thing is to keep your customer engaged. Do not just post promotions, ask questions! Like: “What is your favorite sauce to use when visiting Almighty Tacos?” or “Who all plans on attending the XYZ County Fair?” or “We will have a booth at the Realtor Convention and would love to see you!” This type of activity engages the prospective customer to stop and comment.
I hope you have enjoyed this blog and are able to implement some of these tips. If you have any questions or would like to know more, please feel free to contact us at Tayloe Marketing and Consulting. Thank you for reading and “Make it a Great Marketing Day”!

Facebook Tips from Tayloe Marketing

%d bloggers like this: