why most small businesses suck at marketing

i believe the reason most small business owners view marketing & advertising efforts as mostly ineffective and a huge a waste of money is because they suck at marketing. based on 10+ years of anecdotal experience, here's my list of the top 5 reasons why most small business marketing sucks ::

5. the business lacks clear objectives

in other words, what's the destination? are you looking to double your total revenues in the next 18 months? or increase the volume of your most profitable services and products by 20%? if you don't where you're going, how can you possibly know when you arrive (or whether or you're any closer to getting there)?

4. the business lacks a marketing strategy

a marketing strategy is all about defining how you plan to arrive at your destination. so if the goal to double your typical number of new sales leads, an effective strategy to implement might be to build a formal network of referral partners. wrapped within the strategy should be a series of tactical plans and steps needed to create that network. john jantsch of duct tape marketing has written a number of excellent blog posts on this subject ("marketing without strategy is the noise before failure" is a good one).

3. the business fails to define and measure success

not only can "success" mean different things to different people, but it can also vary from project to project. "success" for a $1,000 coupon campaign might entail bringing 100 new customers in the door. "success" will be measured very differently for $5,000 spent to create or upgrade your website. knowing what you want to achieve and defining how much additional revenue or other benefits is needed to make it worthwhile is the only way to evaluate how well your time & money is being spent.

2. the business hires someone to help, but it's the wrong kind of help

even when a small business owner realizes they're not an expert in marketing (or any other discipline, for that matter), the reality is they still don’t know what they don’t know. it's easy to become misinformed, misguided or even misled in these circumstances, and relying on references or referrals is usually not enough. this is an area where holistic assistance programs like ZENCubate can really help.

and finally, the #1 reason why most small businesses suck at marketing...

1. the business takes a "do-it-yourself" approach

it's true that many marketing agencies and related experts are beyond the financial reach of many small businesses. the truth is, however, a solid marketing program should not only pay for itself, but also generate profit.

you can't do it all yourself. bringing in the right resources at the right time for the right money is what it's all about.

jack speranza is ceo and founder of main street ventures and passionate about building profitable, independent businesses.

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