Marketing Takes a History Lesson

When asked for what help they need, practically every study of business owners I have read mentions the need for help with marketing.

So this week, let’s take somewhat of a historical ride through history using expressions we have heard or events we have witnessed.

It becomes pretty obvious, given this high demand for assistance, that “build it and they will come” just doesn’t get the job done. We know that and we write about it but hearing from other business owners so loudly should give a clear signal that something else is needed. All media channels are filled and growing with messages for one product or another. Some are subtle, some are clever, and some just straight forward. But the majority don’t translate to more people coming in the door.

Which leads us to another historical event, change and evolution. Even if we could figure out the perfect marketing plan, it won’t last. I suspect everyone in the United States has heard of Facebook. Yet some are predicting that it will fade in the coming years (and some say it could happen relatively quickly and relatively soon). I won’t take a stand on that issue but am very comfortable saying that a new not marketing means will be here within 5 years. Or at a minimum, Facebook will make significant changes in how it operates. So as a business owner be ready to change and evolve.

Yet just as things evolve, the often quoted, “what goes around, comes around,” saying tells us that some of our best marketing methods may be in those once used but now forgotten. I couldn’t find a historical time frame for when those words were first used, but they certainly are true.

And as we consider marketing, it is important to remember the historical Aesop fable of The Tortoise and the Hare. You maybe can start off quickly but it is the slow, steady pace that wins the race. So it is with building a business. It rarely happens quickly. Instead a solid, consistent stream of marketing can create and sustain your business.

Yet after saying marketing tools come and go, there remains some truth in another old saying, “only the strong survive.” In some sense this is true in marketing. Probably the two strongest means of marketing are the networking of the owner himself or herself and the testimonials of clients. Those two means have, and I predicted, always will lead the list. So consider how you can work them into your marketing plan.

And finally, humans are driven by a need to explore. We see that constantly in our historical records. And the same should be true for the business owner looking for what marketing tools to use. It remains important to stay aware of new trends and tools. Given the importance of marketing and the understanding how it changes and flows, staying abreast of marketing tools and trends should be an everyday constant for the business owner.

Bottom line – Marketing is crucial. Marketing changes. Marketing takes time. Marketing needs regular attention.

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About gmuske

Glenn Muske believes in rural, small businesses as the cornerstone of a strong economy. His current efforts, as his own boss, focuses on helping those business owner achieving success. Previously, he did this for North Dakota State University Extension Service and Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service.

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