Small business frustration


by Lynda Kavanagh


Have you reviewed where you want to take your business in 2017?


I run into soooooooo many businesses that become frustrated because they think their marketing isn't working when in fact they really aren't marketing at all. They are just doing a bunch of sales techniques – a guaranteed way to become frustrated.


It's easy to become confused between marketing and sales, but you may not see the results you are looking for if you don't totally get the difference. Here's the down-and-dirty definition of sales and marketing, and how to make sure you are marketing properly using the most effective sales techniques.


What is Marketing?

Marketing is the overall strategy of creating a message that will capture the interest of a specific group of people (potential customers). This is a business' first step.


What is Sales?

Sales happen after you have developed your marketing strategy. Sales is all the techniques that will help you reach that group of people by providing information they will find useful in making a purchase decision, and using the mediums they consider to be sources of information.  Sales put action to your marketing strategy.


The Reality!

What happens to many small businesses is they are doing everything backwards; implementing sales techniques before they even have a marketing strategy. Sales techniques are things like putting ads in media, messages on social media, promotions, contests, events, face-to-face meetings.... that is NOT marketing.


If this sounds like what you are doing, here's how you can see if you are marketing or if you are just implementing sales techniques. Can you answer ALL these questions with a YES?

  1. Do you follow the SMART formula?
  2. Do you have at least 5 personas developed for your key targets?
  3. Have you conducted a strategy canvas?
  4. Do you have a written annual marketing plan, with a defined budget and have assigned that budget to your sales techniques?
  5. Have you developed a competitive advantage chart with your top 3 competitors? 
  6. Do you have a brand philosophy?
  7. Have you developed key messages that match your brand philosophy specifically for your key targets?


If you have not done ALL of these then you are not marketing, you are implementing sales techniques.


When you conduct sales activities without doing your due diligence (that's answering all those questions above), you may become frustrated because: 

  • You don't really know who you are talking to
  • You don't really know what to say to them
  • You don't really know what is the best medium to use to reach them
  • You don't really know how to stand out in the marketplace
  • All you are doing is spending money with "best guess" ideas


Follow this information and develop a 2017 marketing strategy. If you are unsure of what those seven steps above mean, surf the web and follow directions from reliable sources. Don't miss any of those seven steps in developing your marketing strategy. It will take time to do this but it will save you HUGE amounts of money and frustration in the future.


Lynda Kavanagh has owned and operated WOW Communications & Training since 1994. Her company provides business coaching and training focusing on sales and marketing issues.

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