The results of a confidential, four-year study of small business owners and their marketing functions by Miser Advertising and Marketing in Carlsbad, CA, have revealed a somewhat disturbing, but entirely understandable, conclusion.
Marketing is a “time waster” in the view of most small business owners studied. Too many small business owners see marketing as gobbling up too many limited company resources on a monthly basis and yielding too few results to make it worthwhile, the firm found.
According to Miser Advertising and Marketing, having and executing a marketing plan, predictably, didn’t seem too important to small business owners, either. The firm found small business owners created a marketing plan in the process of writing an initial business plan to launch their enterprise, but since opening their doors for business, that marketing plan is too often little more than a door stop. Add to that the fact that small business owners have a vague understanding -at best- of their customers’ psychographic and demographic profile, and the picture that emerges is somewhat grim.
When compared to the attitudes of large companies toward marketing, those held by small business owners couldn’t be more different. At big companies, attention is given to marketing on a daily basis. Among small business owners, marketing gets short shrift, the firm found.
I bring this up because it offers a clue about what I too often find in the digital signage market. Granted, advertising is only one of many components in an effective marketing effort, just as digital signage is only one of many advertising media options. But given my background in the digital signage market, the findings of Miser Advertising and Marketing seem spot on.
Without question, large businesses approaching my company about digital signage have a plan with specific marketing goals and benchmarks for the roll out of their digital signage networks and the communication that will be played back. Smaller companies, when they do approach us, often seem unsure of their specific goals for digital signage as well as their message and what specifically they expect to accomplish.
Who can blame them? Small business owner are often so busy with the business of their business that they lack the time and the resources for anything they see as being even the slightest bit extraneous to their core focus. However, regardless of their limited resources, these businesses still compete with larger ones that are knowledgeable about their customers, know what messages they wish to convey and how to convey them, and have the resources to execute their plans. That’s not exactly a comforting thought for small business owners, but it is reality.
The cold, hard truth is not every business succeeds. Many fail each year for a wide variety of reasons. Lack of a coherent marketing plan that’s consistently implemented and tweaked along the way to ensure it’s relevant and effective is an important one. While it may be a painful stretch for small business owners, hiring the internal marketing talent or outsourcing that function to a talented firm with a proven track record will improve their odds of survival.
Only then can various marketing communications strategies be evaluated and implemented. Somewhere, beyond that point decisions about ad budgets, media and campaigns get made. In that process, some will find digital signage is the right approach.
But those things need to be done and in place before digital signage even enters the equation. I know once they are, digital signage will prove to be the right medium for many seeking to execute their newly created -and now much appreciated- marketing plan.