No matter what your business is into, marketing is without any doubt a key function that determines the success or failure of your business. The death of many small businesses is one way or the other linked to marketing. Marketing is how you get the attention of those you need to inform about the extraordinary things your business have in stock for them.
No matter how extraordinary your products/services are, no one will come looking for them until you make known to them the existence of such extraordinary products/services through marketing. Despite the obviousness of this statement, many small businesses still struggle to get the attention of their target market.
This is hugely because marketing in the traditional sense of it is expensive. Marketing costs money and money as you rightly know is one of the few things small businesses have in abundance.
Over the years, many small businesses have been in the dark fighting their way with limited financial resources to get the word out about the extraordinary things they have for their target market. This has somewhat made the marketing playing field available to the big businesses who always have abundant financial resources set aside for marketing purposes.
For long, small businesses couldn’t dare to compete with their big counterparts because they didn’t have the marketing funds to also capture the attention of target customers as the big competitions do. For long, marketing seemed to be the luxury of the businesses with big purse.
But thanks to the advent of the internet, such days are long gone. The marketing playing field has been leveled and the primary resource needed to compete in this new playing field is not just money as before, but now creativity. The quest to win the attention of the target market is no longer the exclusive privilege of a certain few businesses that have the financial power to do mass-marketing.
How do I mean?
In the past, there existed only three major marketing channels available for businesses to send out marketing messages to their target audience. Collectively they were called mass media. What were they?
- Print -newsapers, magazines, billboards, handbills or flyers etc.
With these three major weapons of marketing, the age of mass marketing was born. Businesses simply had to create campaigns and just spread them through these mass mediums. The war of winning the market was won by the business with the biggest purse who could spread their message or marketing campaigns through all three mass media.
The more of these three channels they could spread their messages through, the more of their target audience they reached. This was how the marketing term advertising came to be very popular. The way it worked was very simple, hire some group of creative minds who called themselves advertising agencies to craft a marketing message or campaign for your business and simply spread them through any or all of the three major mass media depending on your budget.
Marketing then was all about the money; only those who could pay for exposure on these mass media channels had a higher market share. This made more and more small businesses to be left in the dark and contributed to their limited growth. Again, this is no longer the case. The game has changed because there has been an addition to the three major marketing channels available.
This new addition is not one-way communication or broadcasting as the previous three (print, radio, and TV) where only the marketer was allowed to spread their message to their target audience. This new addition is a two-way communication between you the marketer and they the target customers.
This new addition is not mass media, it is called social media and it is powered by the internet. The internet is the fourth marketing channel available to businesses to get their messages out to their target audience.
So today, we have the following marketing channels;
- Print – newspapers, magazines, billboards, handbills or flyers etc.
The playing field of marketing changed forever with the invention of the internet. Why? Because it didn’t cost as much to be on the internet as it cost to be on the three previous marketing channels. Unlike other three marketing channels that existed before the internet which were privately owned and controlled by media companies, the internet is a public domain.
Meaning that no one person, company, country or government owned or controlled the internet. This simple difference made all the difference in the world of marketing. Because no one determined who uses the internet, it made it completely affordable for any one and indeed everyone to go online.
All it takes is a having website, which serves as your office online or your marketing platform. Because no one controlled the price or cost of being online, small businesses now have a chance to make their mark in the world of business. Now small businesses are giving the big marketing spenders a run for their money. How does that make you feel as a small business owner?
Don’t know about you, but I personally believe that this is the best time to be in business. The playing field has been leveled. Anyone with a product/service can find, attract, convert and retain their target market into profitable customers using the internet as a marketing channel.
Today, small, medium and big businesses now compete for the attention of the customer through the same channel –the internet. Today, with some little funds backed with a lot of will power and creativity, a small business can out-market the big competition leveraging on the power of the internet.