We are hearing that question a lot these days from entrepreneurs who seem to be coming out of the woodwork. Many of them started businesses during the downturn and are finally, after a couple of years of hard work, getting some traction. Having put blood, sweat and often tears into growing their businesses, they now have money to invest in marketing. But they often aren’t sure where to start.
The mistake many make is to start by thinking first about what we call marketing “venues”. The questions we hear often go like this, “Should I advertise?”, “What does it take to manage a blog?”, or “Do you know anyone who can design and build a trade show exhibit by next month?”. These aren’t bad questions, per se, but they are often mis-guided and/or mis-sequenced.
Instead of focusing on the venue, business leaders need to start by asking themselves who they need to reach. Once they define their audience, they can then decide upon the best venue to reach it. An intermediate – and absolutely critical step – is articulating the messages the business needs to convey to your audience. Only then can you figure out the most effective and efficient way of getting that message disseminated.
Think of it this way. A young opera star is not going to find his/her target audience at Lollapalooza (celebrating it’s 20th year this coming summer, by the way).