The phrase “Marketing” can be intimidating to the small business owner.  It brings to mind “Mad Men” style boardrooms and endless high-pressure deadlines and glasses of old-fashioned. Now while I have had my share of stress over the years, I’ve somehow STILL not been able to look as dapper as Don Draper.  It may be my allergy to wearing ties.  It’s true, ask my physician.

The point is marketing doesn’t have to be intimidating.  At it’s most elemental, marketing is nothing more than knowing how to tell a story.  It may be a simple story like, “We sell great hammers” or it can be more abstract like associating your company/product with positive feelings or emotions.  Whatever your story is, it’s important to make sure that it conveys a positive message about who you are and what you can do for a client. The difference between marketing and advertising is that marketing is the overall plan and message and advertising is concerned with the media used to get the message out.  Advertising would include print ads, web ads or even social media. Marketing includes everyway you interact with your clientele. This can be through Advertising, Public Relations, Sales or even Customer service.

Sometimes stories can be inappropriate for the people with whom you want to share your message.  For instance if you are selling aluminum siding, you may not want to sell it to teenagers.  Figure out who your average customer is, what interests them and what problems they may have.  It will be easier to fashion the appropriate message.

Be conscious of the venues that open up for your advertising.  Not every placement is a good placement.  For instance you may not want to place an ad on a cobranded airsickness bag – unless you’re Pepto Bismol.  This might form an unwanted connection between your brand and illness.  Ads in Penny Savers might be fine if your average customer relies on them, but they may also give the unintentional impression that your brand is cheap and disposable.

A good example of the type of story you may want to tell is the “Problem/Solution” style of story.  In this type of marketing you present a problem and then tell how your service/product provides the solution.  Going back to the hammers.  You may want a headline like, “Screwdrivers not able to hit the nail on the head?” Then you can provide the solution with the subhead, “MC Hammers will drive them home every time!”  And yes, you could add the tagline “It’s Hammer Time!” Following that marketing gold, if you had the space you could add a paragraph touting the benefits of your unique brand of toolbox equipment.  Barring the fact that you may be sued by an old 80’s pop star for using his name, this marketing “story” clearly conveys what the product is and how it can positively affect the life of the reader.

What is your brand’s story?  What is the one thought or feeling you want people to walk away with while thinking of your brand?  Just some points to consider before gather everyone around the campfire.

Now where’s my drink?


Jim Wright
WrightBrain Design, LLC