22 Sep There’s nothing more dangerous than being safe in small business marketing
We’ve never met a small business owner that opened a business in hopes that someday they could be mediocre or struggle to pay their bills. The opportunity is great. Should they succeed, the entrepreneur will achieve something much greater than mediocrity. In order to do so, risk is inherent. So why, when looking at the average small business marketing plan, is there an overwhelming sense of “playing it safe until things get going”? How will things get going if they always play it safe? Seeking safety in small business marketing is the most dangerous tactic a small business owner could employ.
Deciding to open a business is, by nature, a fairly risky career option. Most people that open businesses are upper tier performers in their industry. They could easily stay in a less risky situation and work for someone else. But, that’s not what they decided to do. But why, then do they fear taking a risk in their small business marketing plan?
Disclaimer: before your current safe marketing firm sees this and tells you not to take any risks and do things like everyone else and tells you how they’ve been in your industry for a million years working for huge companies and this is what everyone does, please understand we are not advocating a helter skelter approach to small business marketing. Taking stupid risks is not the point. By the way, if a marketing firm utters the words “I’ve been doing this same thing for years in your industry”, you might want to run – you’re about to get a “me too” small business marketing plan.
Signs that you might be employing dangerous small business marketing tactics in an effort to play it safe:
Small business marketing goals are set too conservatively. Conservative goals will result in conservative attempts to achieve them which will result in failure. It’s always nice to set a goal you can achieve. However, small business marketing plans start with goals and then develop tactics to achieve them. The problem is most people do not understand how much work it takes to achieve a goal. It always takes far more effort than you think. If you target an easily achievable goal and underestimate the effort needed, it’s a disaster. Better to shoot for the stars and hit the moon than shoot for the ceiling and hit the fan.
Pricing in a small business marketing plan is set in the middle. Please take note: the absolute worst place to be in the competitive landscape is smack dab in the middle. The amount of small business owners that see this as advantageous is astounding. Customers have no idea what your value to them is. Pick a side. Being a luxury brand OR a low cost producer is always preferable to being kind of good AND kind of cheap. Unless your tag line is “we’re mediocre”, take the risk and pick a side – it’s much safer.
The product or service you offer is just like everyone else. Too often, new business owners put themselves in a really bad strategic position by coming into the market thinking that they need to be like other successful competitors. They offer the same products or services, develop the same promotional strategy, and try to match the same pricing. It’s not surprising that potential customers have no idea why they should buy from them and are not necessarily interested in taking a chance on a “me too” company that’s just starting out.
In small business marketing, as in any ultra competitive arena, differentiation is critical. It’s difficult sometimes to strike out on your own and have the guts to be different. It seems unsafe to blaze a trail and employ innovative small business marketing tactics. Keep in mind being remarkable is much safer than being like everyone else.