Very often marketing is seen as a ‘nice to have’. It’s the first piece to go when the waters get rough. And I can understand the desire to lighten the load when it’s to prevent a sinking ship. However, marketing doesn’t have to be just awareness and education. When marketing is tied to your business plan it’s all about achieving the goals that push your business forward. And what business wouldn’t want that?
The best roles (and most fun) I’ve had have allowed marketing and sales to work closely together. These roles focused on improving sales which had a direct measurable impact. And the clients I’ve met with that come to me with clear goals of what they want to achieve are usually the happiest when we’re done. Knowing what you want your marketing to achieve is an important step to spending those marketing dollars wisely.
Marketing strategically takes direction from organizational goals. And organizational goals are guided by the company mission. (Hint: You should be able to answer the question, ‘what business are you in?’) This applies to all companies, but for small businesses it can be daunting to craft a business plan complete with mission and vision and a marketing strategy based on market share increase. After all, market share is based on past purchases and not future ones. For small businesses I’m usually more specific because for them (to start) it’s about the short game. They need to increase sales quickly so most of their plans should involve a close relationship with sales. As companies grow they gain the confidence to look longer term plan a year or two out. This means that they gain a better understanding of their target customer, they can map their sales cycle, they can education a prospect through the buying process, and they can be patient for (and work towards) those larger sales.
The question is which are you? And what combination of marketing is most effective for your company?

Carolyn Bergshoeff is the founder of WindWater Marketing, a small business marketing firm based out of Toronto Canada. Carolyn helps her clients choose the best marketing tactics to fit their business goals. Visit www, for more information on how WindWater Marketing can help your small business.