Blackstone Valley Business Center

Blackstone Valley Business Center Marketing

There are many definitions of Marketing. Webster's simply states the obvious: to sell or expose to sell in a market. College textbooks would define marketing as "a process of transferring goods and services from producer to consumer." To the average small business person, these definitions may not help very much. For many reasons (but mostly financial) Marketing support for small businesses has been elusive. An ad in the newspaper here, a direct mail piece over there, does not constitute a marketing program. The Blackstone Valley Business Center attempts to provide key marketing support by integrating each component of a marketing campaign into a coherent strategy. In Small Business Management the acronym P.O.D.C. defines the basic process of Planning, Organization, Direction & Control necessary to create a marketing strategy. Once this principal of management is understood, a marketing strategy can be implemented.

The process begins with understanding the nature of your business from the perspective of your customer needs. A simple example goes back to Henry Ford. He thought he was in the car business. He created the fist assembly line for the manufacture of the model T. His philosophy was simple: Anyone can drive my car, as long as you can operate the stick shift, you have $500, and you like the color black! A few years later, General motors came along and understood the customer may like a different color, or a different style, and thus, many styles and colors were designed, greatly enhancing GM"s market share.

Apropos to the Railroad and airline industry's, "are we in the "Railroad business or the transportation business." Perhaps if railroad executives took a marketing oriented approach to their business 100 years ago, they would have invested heavily in airlines and would still be in business today. Alas, they have long since gone out of business or are dependent on the government for subsidies.

Today, every major business understands marketing orientation. A key function of the Business Center is to apply these basic principals to every client we serve. As a matter of course, we will help you identify what business you are in - not from your perspective, but in relation to the need you are fulfilling for the client. Next, once you understand the true nature of the business you're in, a strategy can be implemented. Not until.

Let's have some fun: Consider the following from the French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre - (1908-1980), credited with coining the phrase or theory of "existentialism." Existentialism can mean almost anything to anyone, but for our purposes, it is simply the study of existence or the state of being. Sarte found himself sitting in a Paris Cafe, he was completely anonymous, no one in the cafe knew him, but he had this sense that everyone was looking at him, steering at him. He felt he was exposed, that every person in the cafe was analyzing him and knew as much about him as he knew about himself. Have you ever had a similar experience?

He became "self aware", and he termed this concept "existential self awareness." With regard to human interaction, to be existentially self- aware borders on paranoia, it's not a normal everyday, human characteristic. It's rather pathological. However, from a Marketing perspective, you had better be "existentially aware" of what others think about your business. You should be in control of every aspect of your business, from the products you sell to the image you portray. In order to control your image and message, you must be existentially self aware at all times! In practical terms, it is irrelevant what you think about your product or service - you are not the customer!

In the late 1970's American Automakers were losing market share to foreign competitors. Executives in Detroit couldn't understand what was happening. Well, everyday they drove their car to work and had top mechanics tinkering with the performance of their vehicle. They were deluding themselves into thinking their experience translated to the average customer. They were hopelessly unaware of the everyday experience of their customers.

One more example: Years ago, I was involved in a partnership with a fellow salesman. This particular person went on a sales call and was convinced he had turned this client around and had made a great sale. When I followed up, not only had we not made the sale, we lost our existing business. The sales tactics employed had so infuriated the customer we lost the entire account. My partner was completely unaware of the impression he had made. He had completely misread the client. Can you see the danger? It's an all too natural a trap to fall into, but it's also an easy one to avoid. With help.

Think about it this way: egocentrism, defined by Webster's as "self-centered or limited in outlook or concern to one's own activities or needs, is the enemy of understanding the true nature of your business as perceived by the customer. Let that sink in.

A professional Marketing Consultant ( a business shrink, if you will) will help the small business person understand the needs of their customer, creating a framework of understanding which will enable a proper or "marketing oriented" definition of the business. Once a marketing oriented framework is established, an integrated plan can be implemented. Not until. The Blackstone Valley Business Center's entire mission is to make these services (once only available to larger companies) available to the small business person. Helping "Small businesses accomplish more with less!" is what we do everyday. Marketing is not ancient wisdom, in many ways it's common sense. The Business Center can work with any sized business to create a marketing plan suitable to the existing business. Interested in learning more?

Give us a call, or e-mail dwhite@BVBusinesscenter.com

Remember:

The foolish man is right in his own eyes,
But a wise man listens to counsel.

Book of Proverbs