After my last blog post, Is Branding Right For Your Business? Yes It Is!, I was asked by a reader from Atlanta, Georgia, “What is the difference between branding and marketing? Maybe I didn’t make a clear distinction between the two, so let’s revisit this topic of branding and marketing again.
In a nutshell, “marketing is tactical and branding is strategic”. Meaning that marketing helps contribute to your brand but your brand is the lasting impression you leave in the minds of your customers. When you’re marketing, you're pushing a certain product, event, service, etc... When you're branding, you're selling the value and reputation of your company to promote loyalty from your customers.
The American Marketing Association (AMA) defines a brand as a “name, term, sign, symbol or design, or a combination of them intended to identify the goods and services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of other sellers.” For example, Walmart is a brand because it has built a reputation for providing quality products at affordable prices. Walmart is also a champion at effective marketing with their advertising campaigns, sponsorships, community outreach, visual consistency of their stores, etc…these consistent efforts are what drives the Walmart brand. Their brand is so strong that the Walmart name alone evokes an idea in the minds of customers and they know what to expect from Walmart….that’s branding.
I stumbled upon a great blog post “The Difference between Marketing and Branding”, by James Heaton. The following is an excerpt from that post. “Marketing may contribute to a brand, but the brand is bigger than any particular marketing effort. The brand is what remains after the marketing has swept through the room. It’s what sticks in your mind associated with a product, service or organization—whether or not, at that particular moment, you bought or did not buy.” Mr. Heaton provides great insight about this subject so it may be worth your time to look at his post as well.
Branding comes with time, effort and consistency. It is not a monster to be feared or avoided, it is to be embraced. Once your product or service is established and proven, then you should start branding. I’m not saying you need to be in business a certain number of years before you can brand but I am saying you need to be established in your chosen field. Just remember, every time you embark on a marketing campaign or event, it is an opportunity to build brand identity with your target audience.
Now listen to the Mad Lady, marketing is a component of branding. Building a brand comes with how your product or service is perceived and received by your customers. Your ultimate goal is to promote trust and loyalty in your customers so they will want more of what you have to sell.
Don’t let this monster get the best of you! Oh, by the way, Happy Halloween!
“The Difference Between Marketing and Branding”, by James Heaton http://www.tronviggroup.com/the-difference-between-marketing-and-branding/
Definition of Branding – American Marketing Association
Branding is that one piece of the marketing puzzle that most business owners don’t understand. It goes well beyond name recognition, a nice website and a logo. Listen to Mad Lady Marketing as I answer some questions on this puzzle we call branding!
What is branding? It is a way to create a memorable response in the minds of your chosen audience. It goes beyond name recognition of your business but it is also the perceived value of your business.
What is a brand? Your brand is more than just the logo on your letterhead and business cards or your business name. It is your corporate identity. An effective brand tells the world who you are, what you do and how you do it, while at the same time establishing your relevance to and credibility with your prospective customers.
How do I create my brand? To establish your brand, your brand must be used consistently and frequently in everything your produce, whether it is letters to clients, business cards, brochures, quotes, invoices, advertising, promotion, on your website, on the front door of your place of business and on your products. And don't forget to be consistent in your use of color schemes. These can be powerful brand reinforcers.
Where should I start? As branding is a complex and a vital component to marketing, I seriously suggest you hire a professional who specialized in marketing and branding. You as a business owner should not attempt to create a brand for your business if you don’t really know what you’re doing. Branding, when done right is an effective way to market your business. Conversely, branding can hurt your business if done improperly. Always seek professional help (and always know Green Leaf Marketing can do it! *wink*).
Once you've created your brand, you need to market and promote it, in addition to your products and services. This is how you establish your credibility and relevance to your target market. The tips discussed in this article will give you a starting point when it comes to branding your business. Be sure to do your research and seek professional help to make sure you are putting out the right message and sending that message to the right audience. Brand awareness amongst your target market will allow you to more easily introduce a wider range of products and services without having to start over again selling who you are, what you do and how you do it first. Your brand has already presold YOU. Your job then is to sell your products and services to a market who knows who you are and wants what you have to offer.
Best Tips for Branding Your Company by Leslie McKerns - http://aboutpublicrelations.net/ucmckerns3.htm
Branding Your Business by Elena Fawkner - http://www.thewritemarket.com/articles/index.php?art=fawkner2&title=Branding%20Your%20Business
Yes, I know, as a business owner your budget to market is either tight or non-existent, but you need to grow your business, so sitting around and complaining that no one is beating down your door is not going to work.
You’ve come to the realization that “word of mouth” is not working either. Your only option is to put your business in the street with some “out of the box” thinking. So, let’s get out of the “box” and discuss some ways to get the word out about your business.
So, put your business in the street and get seen! And as I always says, market, market and market some more!
I always say that marketing is important to the success of every business and effective marketing is the key to that success. To be effective with your marketing you don’t have to have any over-the-top marketing strategy or a website with every “bell and whistle” or some elaborate marketing plan. You just have to “keep it simple” and do those things that are within your budget and will help you reach the customers you seek.
So how do you “keep it simple”?
With a new business or an established one you need to do the one if not all of the following:
These are just a few ways to “keep it simple” but still have effective marketing. Don’t think marketing has to cost a mint but do know that marketing will have a cost be it minimal in many cases. If you have the budget or the professional assistance to be elaborate then by all means please, market to the hilt. But if you have budgetary constraints then keep it simple but by all means KEEP MARKETING!
OKAY LISTEN UP, FOLKS! Often small business owners choose “tried and true” marketing methods that are usually too costly for their marketing budgets but there are several low cost marketing methods that can yield the similar results as their more costly counter parts.
Get A Website PLEASE!
I love to shout this from the roof tops, “Get a website!” I tell small business owners, if your doing business and don’t have a web site, you’re not in business. Every business should have a website; one that is professional and represents your business in a positive light. Your website is your twenty-four/seven calling card. It is what people look for when they are searching online for a particular product or service. In the eyes of a consumer, having a website is a measure of viability, of stability. In short, if you do not own a website, then your customers might not take you quite as seriously as they would if you did, says Darryl Mobley author of “The Importance of a Website to Your Small Business.”
Now when I say advertising, I don’t mean run out to your local television or cable station and do a commercial. Nor do I want you to take and ad the local newspaper or put your face on a billboard. These are a few of the “tried and true” methods I big businesses can afford but if you are a small business, you may want to avoid these methods. Instead, try online advertising. It is less costly and can yield excellent results. Pay per click is one way you can reach a large customer base yet control how much you spend to reach those potential customers.
Flyers Work…YES, THEY DO!
Flyers have not gone out of style. If you are a competent graphic designer, you can create unique flyers that will get attention. Stay from the typical 8.5 x 11 flyer, either do two or three to a page so that you get more for your money and it is easier for people to pick up and keep. Once you have the flyers printed, stop by local businesses, churches and schools to ask if you may leave a few of your flyers there for their employees and customers. If you are not in competition with that business, most will allow you access to their customers.
Cross-Promotion…SHARE THE COST!
This is a way to “partner” with other non-competitive businesses to advertise together. It saves on cost and allows you to the opportunity to expand your reach to customers who may not otherwise come to your business. For example, if you are a boutique and you partner with an ice cream shop, both businesses are reaching a different customer base yet each base now has the opportunity to learn about a new business and may become a customer by seeing your ad at your “partners” business.
LET'S SUM IT UP!
These are just a few of the inexpensive ways you can market your business. By utilizing these methods, you will reach new customers and retain your current customers. These methods can help you increase your profit margin so you can move on to more expensive advertising methods. But if these methods work for your business, just keep doing them and watch your business grow.
1. “The Importance of a Website to Your Small Business”; Darryl Mobley (2011) http://www.advertisingindepth.com/86/the-importance-of-a-website-to-your-small-business/
Although I am MAD about Marketing, I am also MAD about Breast Cancer Awareness. As women, too often we neglect our health and YES, I’m speaking about myself too. We get so bogged down with career, husband/boyfriends, children, paying the bills and just taking care of everyone around us except ourselves. This month it is so important that we take time to remember our health. Without good health, we won’t be able to do all the things that everyone around us depends on us to do.
Know the symptoms so you can take control! Listen to the Mad Lady!
What are the symptoms of breast cancer? When breast cancer starts out, it is too small to feel and does not cause signs and symptoms. As it grows, however, breast cancer can cause changes in how the breast looks or feels. Symptoms may include the following:
October is Breast Cancer Awareness month but this shouldn’t be the only month of the year that we think about breast cancer. Be proactive, not reactive. Get a mammogram and do the follow-up screenings every two years.
Your life and the people you love are depending on you!
What are the symptoms of breast cancer?
Understanding marketing and applying marketing techniques can be a daunting task but knowing what marketing can do for your business will make you embrace marketing with open arms.
Marketing is important!
Understanding marketing can be a daunting task for some, but marketing is not the frightening beast some people believe it to be. Marketing is an important business tool and I will tell you why, marketing is the most important thing you can do for your business if you want to grow and maintain your business.
Marketing is a friend, not a foe!
Larger businesses “get” marketing. They put a lot of money into marketing and rely on the expertise of professionals so they receive maximum return on investment. For some reason, small business owners believe they can “go it alone," and shy away from marketing because they do not understand it or they believe it is too costly. Marketing can be difficult to understand but with a little time and research, you will see that marketing is a friend, not a foe. There are some key things you should know about marketing that may make you appreciate what it can do for your business.
A thorough understanding of what marketing is and how marketing can help your business is the first step in appreciating what marketing can do for your business. A simple definition of marketing is as follows: According to Merriam-Webster, "marketing is the process or technique of promoting, selling and distributing a product or service". In other words, marketing is the many different ways in which you tell others about your product or service in an effort to entice customers to utilize your product or service.
Have a Plan!
A marketing plan can be as detailed or a simple as you want it to be. The plan is not some long and drawn out document that only scholars can understand, it can be as simple as a list of attainable goals you’ve set for your business or event. If you do not know how to write a professional marketing plan, I suggest you seek professional assistance but a simple plan will include a budget, time frame, ways to market your product or service and expected results. Mind you, this is a very basic guideline but it is a good place to start.
If you can't do it yourself, hire a professional!
Now that you have a better understanding of marketing, you have considered what you want and need from marketing now the only thing you have left to do is...market. Marketing will only work if you actually do it. If you want to reach 1000 new customers each week and you have no idea how to do that then you may want to hire a marketing professional. A Marketing Consultant or marketing agency may be your best decision. These professionals will know how to best market your business so you will get the maximum return on your marketing dollars.
If you utilize the three key things I have mentioned, you will have a better understanding of marketing. In time, you will come to appreciate marketing, especially when you see the positive impact effective marketing can have on your business. Remember, marketing should not be feared but embraced.
There is an old saying “fair exchange is no robbery” which simply means, “a contract is fair as long as both the parties understand and agree to the conditions willingly; after a deal is closed neither side can turn around and say that he was unfairly treated.” With regards to marketing, if the marketing agency is doing the job as listed in the contract you’ve signed then don’t complain about how much or little you’re paying because you’re getting the service you’ve agreed to.
Too often many businesses who need marketing assistance are the ones who are ill equipped to pay or when they do pay they complain about how much they have paid. Marketing is foreign to them and they don’t understand the value of effective marketing.
As a small business owner, get to know how marketing works so you will understand why you need it for your business. Know that you can only afford what your budget allows so don’t over extend yourself behind some expensive marketing campaign and then get upset because you are not seeing a positive ROI (return on investment). If you can’t afford to purchase a billboard then don’t. Instead run and ad in a newspaper or on the internet or consider some other cost-effective marketing techniques.
Marketing works and is well worth the investment but you, as a business owner must know how much to invest. You must also find marketing agencies or professionals who are willing to work with your budget, willing to stay with you for the long haul and treat your business as a partner and not just money in their pocket. Get the services they will offer in writing along with how much you will pay for those services. If everyone is on the same page then your marketing experience should be a positive one.
Fair Exchange Is No Robbery (Definition)
Most often, business owners are entrepreneurs who have a dream and a passion for owning and operating a business. Yet unfortunately, too often, most don’t know how to run their business professionally. Being “professional” means, being confident, skilful and behaving in an ethical way. It also means treating your customers/clients in a respectful manner and always acting in their best interest.
I don’t know about you but I’ve encountered more unprofessional businesses than I care to remember. Professionalism is also another aspect of marketing. You may be thinking that’s quite a stretch connecting professionalism to marketing but it is not as much of a stretch as you may think. A business with an owner or staff that is unprofessional makes a negative impression on its customers. Those customers will tell others and there goes your “word of mouth” marketing.
Take these examples for instance, a professionally run businesses will have/do the following:
Anything you do that promotes your business or represents your business in a public arena is marketing. So always be professional. You are your first and number one marketer. People remember what you do and how you treat them and people will talk so always be the best you can be. Like my mother use to say, “It doesn’t cost anything to be polite”.
As I’ve said over and over, marketing is a needed service for most every business. As I’ve also said, you can’t get this service for free. Now that you understand this, the next thing you must understand that negotiation is the key to getting the services you want without overpaying for things you don’t want or need. Marketing comes with a cost but more often than not, the benefits outweigh the cost.
Most small businesses and non-profits can’t afford to hire a full-time marketing person. In Houston, Texas, the median salary for a *Marketing Assistant is $38,000 annually and for an experienced marketing position such as a *Marketing Manager you can expect to pay somewhere in the ballpark of $84,000 annually. If you decide you can’t afford a full-time marketing employee, chances are you can afford to hire a large or mid-sized marketing firm either. *Most large marketing agencies can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $25,000 p/mo. Mid-sized to Boutique agencies charge from $3000 to $10,000 p/mo. So, my suggestion for small business owners is to look for an Independent Marketing Agency. This the best option for small businesses because these types of agencies charge the least and are willing to negotiate their price because they want your business. It is with these agencies that you can receive personalized attention and exceptional service at a price you can afford because you’ve help set the price through negotiation.
Now when I say negotiate, I don’t mean try to get something for nothing. I mean be honest about your budget. If you can only afford $500 p/month then say that upfront so the marketing agency will know what services to offer. If you don’t know what you can afford….although you should…but if you don’t, ask for a proposal from the marketing agency. The proposal will outline what services they want to offer and the cost of those services. This will give you a chance to look over what they offer to see if it is in line with what you want and need for your business. If the cost of the proposal seems higher than you’re willing to pay, let agency know. Ask if they are willing to negotiate their price. If they want your business they will work with you to find a price that will suit your budget and keep them from losing their shirt. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want and never miss an opportunity to negotiate!
Salary.com – Marketing Assistant - http://swz.salary.com/SalaryWizard/Marketing-Assistant-I-Salary-Details-77002-Houston-TX.asp
Salary.com – Marketing Communications Manager - http://swz.salary.com/SalaryWizard/Marketing-Communication-Manager-Salary-Details-77002-Houston-TX.aspx
How Much Does a PR Agency Cost?
She is mad and she is not going to take it anymore! The Mad Lady Marketing Blog is just her way to drive home the importance of marketing in business. With over 15 years of experience in marketing, graphic design and communications, this marketing expert is mad (crazy) about marketing and mad (angry) at small businesses that don't understand or utilize marketing to promote their business.
Mad Lady Marketing is MAD!!
Contact the Mad Lady if you have questions, comments or want her to speak at your next event! Click here!