Which Way To Go… ?


The story you are about to hear is… well, you know it’s true. The names have been changed so you can plug in your own…

Monday morning. All six incoming lines are full; all on hold for you.

You pick up the first call… it’s Joe from Channel 63. They’re doing a cross promotion with The Shoe Leather Cafe. Today and today only, for just $525, they’ll produce a 30 second spot and run it 45 times between 1am and 3am next Sunday morning. You’ll also get your logo printed on coffee napkins, and distributed ‘exclusively’ for the next three weeks.

Line 2 is Bob from WBZR – Bizarre Radio, ‘just checking in’ to see what you need. He’ll ‘check in’ again in two weeks.

Mary with “All Things Business” is on line 3. It seems that today, one of your competitors decided not to renew their contract, and she needed to connect with you right away since “a spot like this won’t last for long!”

Joan and Missy from ‘Fox Cities Compassion in Commerce’ are in the lobby. You’ve never heard of the organization, but they’re looking for Thanksgiving donations from “a few of the top companies in the area, and knew you’d want to be involved.” You’ll receive mention as a ‘community sponsor’.

Line 4 is Jeremy from the local Hometown Times and Gazette. They’re sponsoring the Annual Holiday Expo and he “wanted to give you first dibs on a booth.” Of course, he needs to know today, because otherwise “his boss says he needs to call Farnsworth down the street.”

Line 5 and 6 just hung up… unfortunately, those were prospective customers.


NOTE: Please be aware that I do believe most media and advertising outlets are valuable for one purpose or another; it’s just that most of them are not the best choice for your small business. Also, remember that when you are on the receiving end of a spontaneous advertising offer, the rep on the other end is trying to meet their own production goals, not yours.

One of the common challenges you face as a small business owner is that there’s no limit to the number of activities and options that can stretch your marketing resources and budget. The opportunities and channels to market your products and services are everywhere.

Fortunately, as we discussed in a previous article, every decision-making process can be made much easier… and marketing is no different. For the purpose of this discussion, let’s focus on three points.

The first and most important is that your marketing must be planned. As fundamental as this sounds, many businesses…large and small… do not have a proactive marketing plan that is tied to a specific set of strategies, and that is subordinate to a calendar and budget. This allows for many marketing surprises, and unplanned media or promotional buys that come literally out of nowhere.

Second, as true as it is that ‘not every idea is a good idea’, it’s even more important to understand that ‘not every good idea is the best idea’. Bad ideas don’t usually carry much danger, because… well, everyone can see that they’re bad ideas! But good ideas are different, because they can keep us from seeing what would have been the best course of action.

In marketing, the best idea is the one that accomplishes a very specific objective with the least amount of stress on whatever resource is required.

Third, as effective as traditional marketing channels may have been, new media technologies are dramatically altering the marketing landscape. Not only are they incredibly cost effective, they also provide a level of customer engagement that was incomprehensible in the past.

Further, and do not miss this… they have leveled the playing field. In fact, small businesses who are served by visionary and flexible leaders may now possess a decided marketing advantage over large enterprises that require substantially more time to make culture shifts.

I look forward to hearing from you.



You can invest your marketing resources anywhere… but not everywhere. Have a comprehensive marketing plan.

There are hundreds of marketing tactics within the old media, new media, and no media channels; choose wisely.

Invest assets only in activities that fit entirely into your strategy, calendar, and budget.

Decide now to eliminate all marketing surprises and impulsive media buys.


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