Large companies have long known that it is necessary to have a marketing department within its organization. The services of this department are invaluable in directing and promoting products and services.

Many small businesses, on the other hand, have avoided putting any focus on marketing. They reason that they do not have sufficient resources to perform these activities. But things are changing. With the marketplace becoming more and more competitive, small businesses are finding that strong marketing objectives and strategies are necessary for survival.Many small enterprises were started because the owner was able to identify a niche in the market that he or she would be able to fill. This may be all right for a time, but then things change. In order to identify this change and adjust accordingly, the small-business owner needs to develop some marketing techniques.

Of course, many small businesses do not have the resources to establish a full-blown marketing department. Because of this, it is important to work marketing into the plans of the small business with the owner allocating a certain amount of time to this project or assigning it to a subordinate. A part-time student intern could also provide for an effective marketing service at a low cost.

The good news is that small businesses have an advantage over large corporations in the area of marketing. A small business can get better results for its dollar than a larger company. The reason for this is that small businesses can stay in contact with the customer more easily than larger firms, and staying in contact with the customer is the essence of marketing.

Modern technologies also help the small business in its marketing activities. With a personal computer and a desktop publisher, a small-business operator can design a professional survey or mailer at a low cost. Inexpensive copiers and fax machines also add to the marketing potential.

There exist a number of different marketing activities that a small business can perform. These include market research, image evaluation, customer service and advertising.

Surveys are one way for small businesses to get information and promote products or service. This analysis can provide necessary information to the small-business owner about their customers and market. Surveys can take many different forms. These include a suggestion box, customer satisfaction survey, surveying current customers to see if there is a way you could do more business for them in other areas, and surveys can be sent to potential customers to discover market trends or new segments that need your goods or services.

Surveys and mailers are also a good way for a company to obtain name recognition. As surveys are sent out, people will become more familiar with the name of the company. This can be a valuable selling tool.

Mailing lists for a small company can he fairly easy to maintain. Names and addresses can come from many sources such as invoices, customer receipts, phone books, or they can even be purchased.

View Comments

The key to the marketing activities of a small company is to target a market. Large companies spend millions of dollars in a shotgun approach to selling their product while a small business can direct its efforts to a specific segment of the market that they can affect.

The marketing unit of a small company can also concentrate on the image that the business projects and customer service. By studying how customers and employees interact, and looking over the facilities, the market researcher can assess what kind of image is being portrayed to the public. They can see if changes can be implemented and work with other employees to better satisfy the customer.

Another source of market information is research that has already been done. Various gov-ern-ment and industry publications carry information that can be worked into the marketing efforts of a small business.

There are many different ways to perform marketing activities and the best way to go about it depends on the individual business. Hence, the question is no longer do I need to market, it has become what is the best way for me to market. If a small-business owner thinks marketing is too expensive, he or she should look at the cost of failure.

Join the Conversation
Looking for comments?
Find comments in their new home! Click the buttons at the top or within the article to view them — or use the button below for quick access.