small business marketing

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Small companies are the least likely to talk about brand strategy.  That’s because, for the most part, they don’t have people “dedicated” to marketing. They can’t afford them. So marketing falls to the founders and owners. In such cases, marketing becomes tactical: Make the phone ring. Get leads. Generate floor traffic. Build a website so Google can find us.

In each of these scenarios, small companies often turn to outside content creators. Designers. Coders. Writers. Media companies.  But what do they tell these outside agents? They certainly don’t provide them with brand strategy — a boil down of customer care-abouts and brand good-ats. A brand strategy boil down is a specialized piece of work; work smaller companies would be smart to invest in.  When tactical work is given to outside content creators, it has the benefit of governance and focus.

Small companies can save thousands of dollars and scores of hours with a simple investment in brand strategy.




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The words “achievement gap” are often used when discussing education. When discussing poor schools or the allocation of federal funds in order to fix the societal ills. Pols and social scientists often suggest underachieving populations are so because of class, race, geography, and social perception. I can’t disagree. John Wannamaker’s famous line about advertising (“I know only half my advertising is working, the problem is I don’t know which half.”) could also be said about marketing. And follow similar causative logic.

There is a mad achievement gap in today’s marketing landscape.  The larger companies are more likely to achieve, but it’s not always the case. Mid-size and small businesses (SMB) are more likely to underachieve.

In mid and small companies class equates to budget (amount of money to be spend on marketing). Race equates to diversity of background and thought; mid-size and particularly small companies are more likely to be homogenous. Geography dictates the pool of marketing and creative talent. The burbs don’t index high for brilliant designers, writers and coders.  And when it comes to social perception, mid and small companies often don’t have the luxury to invest in or understand the complexities that are marketing – so they do it themselves or shop for marketing partners at Wal-Mart not Macys.  Perceptually, they undervalue marketing; thinking it’s advertising or a website.

Margaret Mead while working at the American Museum of Natural History made psychotherapy mandatory for her direct reports. Her belief being that people who better understood their own psyches were more healthy.  Small and mid-size businesses can minimize the achievement gap, but they can’t do it themselves or on a shoe string budget. They need to better understand marketing to reduce the achievement gap. Peace.     


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What happens when you put a lawyer and marketer in a room together? A lot of quiet. What happens when you put a lawyer and a small business marketer in a room? Nothing, it doesn’t happen. The same is often true for mid-size marketers because like Ocean Beach, NY, long known as the “land of no,” small businesses operate by a don’t ask don’t tell ethos – and they don’t want to pay lawyer fees either.

Enter, a company with a great name which combines “trademark” and “Wikipedia.” The name passes the Is-Does test – a big plus for start-up businesses. Trademarkia CEO, Raj Abhyanker, also a patent and IP attorney, realized that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and patent attorneys have not yet caught the Web 2.0 train. Furthermore he realized that there are millions of expired company names, logos and slogans in the morgue, all of which are marketable.

Mr. Abhyanker’s press releases refer to Trademarkia as the “freshest, easiest way to create a Brand” and though that goes beyond just the Wikipedia metaphor, it does capture the essence and functionality of the site. One can go to Trademarkia and for about $159, buy an expired mark and secure it. Or search for a never been used mark through the Trademarkia database and secure that.  The searching part is free. (Trademarkia was a TechCrunch50 participant this year.)

Trademarkia does a lot of other things like send competitive alerts but its single biggest breakthrough is creating a place filled with lay explanations and search tools, to help business owners and marketers chop through the jungle that has to date been the expensive provenance of trademark lawyers. Peace!

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