1. ‘It’s not for businesses like mine’

Businesses big or small should include marketing as an integral part of their yearly business plan. It’s the third most important aspect of maintaining business success. Many businesses assume that once they are up and open people will just come knocking on their door. However, experience has taught me that nobody knows who or where you are unless you tell him or her! Sounds simple but it is amazing how many businesses fail every year because of this simple assumption. Remember there is always another business just waiting to take your place. Marketing is for everyone.

2. ‘We don’t have time’

Quite simply – make time! The first thing to do is review your business, products or services. Focus on areas that need bringing to your customers’ attention. It’s amazing how many businesses don’t think ahead. Hiring a brand and marketing professional to help you create a simple marketing plan will help you manage deadlines, and will keep you one step ahead of your competition.

3. ‘We don’t have the budget’

Every business should set aside at least 5 – 10% of revenue for marketing every year. But marketing doesn’t have to be expensive. There are hundreds of low cost ways to promote your business, from promotional t-shirts (everyone loves a useful freebie!) to blogs – items that either evoke a response or that customers get to keep. Word of mouth is obviously one of the best forms of public marketing.

It also helps to use a variety of different marketing methods; just ensure you have a strong message with a clear call to action that captures your customers’ attention.

Whether you are a new enterprise or established business, you should have a clear marketing plan on how you aim to promote your business 6 – 12 months ahead. Keep your ear to the ground for up and coming social or seasonal events that could create great promotional opportunities.

4. ‘Now is not a good time’

Just think if every business thought the same way. Imagine what kind of opportunities we would all be missing. There is no doubt that a recession puts a strain on a business’ ability to maintain its marketing.

However, the ones who hold their own, and even thrive in the recession, will do so by increasing, and more importantly, using targeted and Internet Marketing.

5. ‘We’ve tried it and it doesn’t work’

It’s true, there are no absolute guarantees. However, you can increase your chances of marketing success by testing your ideas with friends and colleagues. Low cost digital printing and email is another way to test-market your promotions before a big launch. Carrying out monthly customer reviews, and questionnaires, can also be a great way to find out your customers’ wants and needs. Just don’t stop. Your marketing is your Olympic flag, so fly and swoosh it higher than everyone else!

Debbie A Evran is an independent brand and marketing professional who helps companies transform their business image and marketing communications to increase profits.

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