John Wannamaker, founder of Wannamaker departments stores in the USA and considered the father of modern advertising is credited with saying.

“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half”.

This is the dilemma for many business owners; how do I promote my business and get the biggest “bang” for my marketing spend?

Most business owners use a couple of trusted methods to promote their business: for example: website, leaflets, social media, or through business front signage .

How do you market your business to set yourself apart from your competitors?

If you do a Google search for a definition of marketing, you will get approximately 5 million results trying to explain this concept. Some definitions talk about products, others about supply and demand, advertising and even needs, but one thing is obvious, not even the experts can agree on a single definition. However, Marketing to us is simple –

It is about raising awareness of how your business can satisfy potential clients’ needs, so when they are ready to buy, they know who to see.

There is nothing complex about that. It means two things:

  • Telling potential customers  how you can help them.
  • Telling potential customers how to contact you and do business with you when they are ready.

What makes marketing your business complex is actually getting to these points!

That requires planning and consideration of the following points:

  • Identifying what makes you different from competitors in your market.
  • Identifying the characteristics of clients, you want to attract.
  • Determining how best to tell these potential customers  about your business.
  • Deciding on what specific service or group of services will attract them to your business.
  • Agreeing on how you will manage and follow up your activities.

In other words:

  • Who do we want to attract to our business?
  • What are their needs and issues?
  • What services/products will satisfy these needs and issues?
  • How do we tell them about us so that they understand how we can help them with these needs and issues?

The mistake that many businesses make is in telling potential customers about absolutely every service/product they offer. This can overwhelm a potential customer  and leave them wondering “How can this business help me with my needs?”

Marketing your business is a great time to practice the K.I.S.S. principle – Keep It Simple Silly!

Obviously, the alternative is just as bad. Not telling anyone about your business is unlikely to see you flooded with a constant stream of new business. One area of marketing that is surprisingly overlooked is identifying the competition.

We are still amazed at the number of business owners who do not think they have any competitors! Competitors don’t need to offer identical services/products to yours; they may offer a slightly different service/product. What makes these services/products your competitor is that they are competing for the same customer. This is why it is so important to be able to differentiate your business from the business down the street.

Go back to basics: rather than telling every potential client how many great services/products you offer, tell them how your business will help them with their needs and deliver value. Once you address this, the medium you use to get your message out will become obvious – direct mail, word of mouth, telemarketing calls, advertising in the local paper, networking, etc.

So if you go back to our definition you will see that you have begun the process of marketing your business. By shifting the emphasis from marketing services to marketing value, you immediately set your business apart.


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