Many small to medium sized business owners are overwhelmed with trying to run the day to day operations of their business.  The last thing most of them want to think about is dealing with the marketing and advertising of their product. And many of them don't even understand the difference of the two and where to start.

What's the difference you may ask?

I explain it to my clients this way.  Marketing is creating the messaging of how to sell your product or service.  Advertising is actually getting your message out there in the market place.

Many of you have probably heard about the 4 P's of Marketing- product, placement, price and promotion.  Basically, as I said above, it's creating the Messaging itself and the components around it. Advertising is choosing and utilizing the mediums to get the message out to your customers and potential customers.

Do you really know who your target audience actually is or are you guessing based on your "gut." Are you just casting a wide net with your messaging in hopes that people will come buy your product or service?

So the main question of today's article is: Do you need both Marketing & Advertising?

Unless you like flushing money down the toilet, then yes.

Research is a huge element of Marketing. Spend the time digging in to understand who your customer is and how they make decisions. This information will help you determine if the messaging you are creating is accurate. Spend the time and money to do the research necessary to talk with them directly.  This doesn't have to be done through expensive focus groups any longer by the way.

This past year, I walked one of my clients (that runs a $9Million dollar business) through this process. He offers a service to a wide array of customers, across multiple demographics.

I encouraged him to spend a small amount of money to actually understand the current demographics of who was actually buying his service.  The results were astounding.  He had been catering to a large group of baby boomers and their parents. 
Not bad for a multi-million dollar business now, but what about in 5-10 years when his clients were dying off?

What if he had continued to run ads in the newspaper (the Advertising element) without going through the Marketing process first?

He would have continued to spend unnecessary money. We uncovered his brand awareness with his current and non-customers in the baby boomer segment was off the charts. They were doing a great job talking to his current target over and over again. Great for "reach" but bad for targeting new customers in a broader audience. 

In my next post, I'll reveal what we changed and how it changed their strategy so stay tuned. Hate to be so long winded in just one post!

Does your business need help with the Marketing, Advertising or PR? We'd love to help!

Many years ago, marketers only had to be savvy enough to understand TV, PR, print, radio and OOH. And the good ones knew how they worked well in conjunction.

Those days are long gone.

If marketers don't understand the impact and engagement factor of social media, they are not only behind, but are doing a disservice to their brand.

Does that mean that traditional mediums go away?  Not a chance. Many brands still need those mediums if they have a very broad audience with very big budgets.

However, small to medium sized businesses have opportunities to make a bigger impact with less budget now than ever before.

else is needed?

The social connection.

Brands now have all the opportunities in the world to connect with their audiences on a deeper, more personal level.
Years ago, advertising meant pushing messages out, with no real feedback without spending thousands of dollars on focus groups.

That situation has changed. Over the next couple of weeks we'll be discussing why without social media, your brand will become irrelevant and showcasing brands that do it well.
So stay tuned and feel free to leave us your comments as we go. If you follow us on Twitter and Like us on Facebook, we'll follow back!