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Old 05-01-2006, 02:34 AM
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Business Week - In the scheme of things, how important to a small business is marketing?
I could start with the fact that if you don't have a customer you don't have a business. Most small businesses are in the marketing business if they're successful, or they need to view their business that way ** no matter what they make, ship, or sell.

How so?
It starts with my definition: Marketing a small business is getting someone who has a need to know, like, and trust you. That's as basic a definition of marketing as there is.

If you could advise a small business on a few key things that are essential to marketing itself, what would they be?
There are three things that every small business really needs to do:

One: Absolutely differentiate yourself from everyone. You have to find a way [to make] people say you're something different, whether that's to focus on a narrowly targeted market or [through] packaging. Otherwise you're just competing on price. And the line I use all of the time is that price is a really bad place to compete because there's always someone willing to go out of business faster than you.

Two: It's more important than ever, and easier and cheaper, to embrace technology, and specifically the Internet, as a tool to educate, market, and generate leads. It offers a tremendous way to automate the whole process and is a great tool for customer service and project management ** things that add value with clients. If a small business isn't taking advantage of these tools, they're giving up a great way to level the playing field with much larger companies.

Three: I always ask people how they got to where they are now. Amazingly, it's mostly through word of mouth referrals. The follow up question is: What do you do to systematically take advantage of that? One of the most powerful tactical aspects of marketing is referrals, and when it's done right, there could be zero cost.
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Old 05-01-2006, 02:36 AM
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Originally Posted by [b
Quote[/b] ]The line I use all of the time is that price is a really bad place to compete because there's always someone willing to go out of business faster than you.
How true is this?

So think of ways to differentiate yourself from your competitors!
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