Small Business Marketing 101


December 22, 2023

Our mission is to help small and medium-sized businesses in Phoenix and Scottsdale grow, and find their potential.

That’s what gets us excited. So, we’ll start with a background on what we do. Travel with us, back in time, to Marketing 101 .

I know you studied marketing when you got your MBA, or you’ve read some current books on the subject. But, you’ve forgotten some of the basics and you’re about to go into a meeting and BS your way through the topic of marketing! Thank God you found this post.

What is marketing? It’s the art of communicating a message about your product or brand to your target audience. (This is not to be confused with advertising, which is just one method used to communicate messages, as part of a larger marketing strategy.)

The Basic Marketing Process

Step One – Define Who You Are

You can’t tell other people what your company stands for (your brand) if you’re not sure yourself. Determining your organization’s core values will help you develop a brand and a voice as a company.

Does your company love to push the technological envelope? Are you concerned about the environment? Is your mission to promote good health, or happy families or adventure in the outdoors? Do you love the good things in life? Are you driven by curiosity? The things that make your organization tick will help create a story in the minds of your audience and help you differentiate your brand.

The first step of any marketing strategy is to create an internal document that defines what’s important to your company. The more voices within the company that can contribute to that document, the better. That way, the results are comprehensive and resonate with your whole team.

This core values document can be important in shaping a brand strategy. Camelback Digital can guide you and your team on a process to help you understand and define your own brand.

Step Two – Define Your Target Market

Who is interested in your message and your product? For many products or services, there will be a primary market, as well as secondary markets. Defining these will help you strategize about how to most effectively get the word out.

Some businesses can afford to employ a professional market research process, to determine their prime markets. For those that can, it can be a useful process, revealing markets that they hadn’t originally envisioned. But, many new or smaller businesses can’t afford a formal research process, and many entrepreneurs have a hunch about their target audiences based on past experiences in the marketplace and a deep understanding of their products and services. As these entrepreneurs begin their sales and marketing processes, they hopefully capture data that validates their original thesis (or not), and they can make valuable adjustments and optimizations as they go.

Market segmentation is another concept that’s important when considering your audience. Can your market be broken up into specific sub-groups? For example, a product that cleans “tough grease” is useful to anybody who has to deal with a greasy mess. That could mean 1.) mechanics, 2.) people cleaning up around the house, or 3.) other people with dirty jobs. If the subgroups are large, made up of distinctly different demographics or people with different needs, and are all likely to be good customers, it might be worth investing in specific messaging, creative development and advertising for multiple sub-groups. This allows you to craft a targeted approach for the specific demographics and unique needs of each sub-group, so you can make the most effective sales pitch to each of them. Part of developing your marketing strategy, will be determining who to target first.

What is marketing? It’s the art of communicating a message about your product or brand to your target audience.

Step Three – Define Your Positioning

There are two ways to think of positioning.

1.)  What’s your niche? Are you the cheap but effective solution (Hyundai)? The sporty but reasonable one (Toyota)? Or the expensive but luxurious option (Bentley)? Positioning is the process of aligning your brand with a specific niche.

2.)  How is your brand perceived in relation to your competitors? Are you professional and reliable or do you come off as “fly by night”? Are you a powerful and well-established global institution, a bright, innovative new start-up, or a warm and loving mom-and-pop shop? The perception your target audience has about your brand’s “position” will set expectations about important brand attributes, like the quality, cost and value of your products and services.

Many things can affect your positioning: Do you run slick, sophisticated TV ads or cheesy late-night infomercials? Does your website give visitors a headache (, or is it modern, clean and easy to use ( Do people complain about your service on blogs, or tweet about how much they love you? All of these things build a perception of your brand in the mind of your audience.
Positioning can be defined by the imagery and messaging in your marketing, helping to explain to your audience where your product or service fits within the marketplace. This makes it easy for them to quickly decide whether they’re interested in your product, based on their preferences and buying power. If they’re not able to determine important facts about your product from your marketing, they may become aware of your product but not interested in learning more about it.

A carefully planned marketing strategy and the creative elements you create (videos, images, messaging, social media posts and other types of content) can help shape these perceptions in the minds of your audience. This will help you build a brand “story” that hopefully resonates with your core audience, helps you differentiate yourself from your competitors and most importantly, encourages your audience to take the next step and engage with your brand. If they pick up that phone and call you, fill out your contact form or make that online purchase, you know it’s working!

Step Four - Getting Your Message Out 

This step in the process is called “promotion.” There are many ways to do this, and I’ll be writing about it a lot more.
Having completed the three previous steps, you are now ready to spread the word. You know who your audience is, so you can determine (using demographic information) the best platforms with which to communicate with them: TV, radio, print, outdoor, the Internet, or something else. If it’s the Internet, do you have your own website and blog, or use Social Media? Which Social Media platform would be most effective for reaching your primary and secondary markets?

Once you’ve determined the channels, you can develop creative content for them. In steps 1-3, you laid out the guidelines for the messaging and tone of your brand. That should be used to create content advertisements (web video, TV, radio, billboards, banner ads), or other more engaging forms of brand building, like blog and social media posts, live events, etc.  

Unfortunately, many businesses jump directly to Step Four, without having completed the first three steps. It leads to very unfocused and often ineffective marketing.

Also, many fail to properly capture data from their promotion and advertising efforts. Where are the best quality leads coming from? Which convert into actual sales? How much does each new customer cost? If you don’t capture these KPI’s, you won’t know how effective your marketing is, and you very well could be throwing dollars down the drain. This is a key part of this fourth step, and Camelback Digital can help ensure you’re not flying blind.

Step Five - Optimization

Based on the learnings of your ongoing campaign and all the data you’re carefully tracking, how can you make the marketing spend more effective? Are certain ads or messaging leading to more sales? Is one marketing channel working much better than all others? Making adjustments to campaigns over time can continue to improve the return on your marketing investment, until you dial in the perfect marketing mix to grow your business or organization.

Hope this is useful! Soon, We’ll be writing about how to put all of these ideas into action, so be sure and check back. Or give us a call so we can talk more specifically about developing a marketing plan for you.

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