Why Small Business Owners Need to be Performance Marketers

Over at ArCompany I am blessed to work with the ever wise and honest Danny Brown.  He describes himself as a ‘performance marketer’ whenever a client asks about his approach.

If you’re a small business owner you may not have heard that term before, but you need to.  Basically, it means that Danny sets goals for marketing strategy in accordance with a client’s goals,  and then he tests and measures ariel markealong the way. What works is enhanced; what doesn’t is refined or jettisoned.  And then more testing and measuring.  It never stops; your marketing plan is an ever evolving piece of your business, and it needs to produce.

Today I fielded a call that one of my small business owner clients pushed my way – among other things I serve as a gatekeeper so that they are not caught up by a slick salesperson who catches them in an optimistic moment, causing them to spend on an untested tactic with no data to back up the decision.  Sound familiar?

Today I got a call from a lovely gentlemen selling advertising on his own unique television system.  The man politely told me that he had a large, flat screened tv that he took out 3 – 4 days per week to golf course club houses, mobile home communities, restaurants etc. and played his reel of advertising continually for 5 or so hours at a time.

I get a lot of phone calls from people selling advertising, but this one was certainly different.  Although I had no real interest in what I view as a sadly outdated method of marketing, I thought I’d ask some questions in case I was missing something.  Here they are:

  1. Do you have a list of locations and dates that you will be showing your program?
  2. How many times in an hour will my client’s advertisement play?
  3. How much does it cost to produce the ad?
  4. Do you have demographic information on the people you are marketing to? Age? Gender? Income level?
  5. Can you give me a list of advertisers who currently work with your for a reference?

The man immediately cut my off, saying “Hold on. You are out of my league. Just forget it.”    And that was the end of the call.

I felt a smidgen badly for the man – he was an older gentlemen trying to make a living in a way that he thought was creative.

But the reality is that I feel far worse for my clients who make marketing purchases based on emotion or guesses.  Your dollars are too precious to gamble with, and when you purchase ANY marketing without understand the questions I asked above, you are throwing your money away.  If you want to give money to charitable causes, by all means do it.  If you want to give donations to charitable causes that align with your target market, that’s great too.    But never, ever buy marketing without understanding some basic facts about who will see the message, how often, and what the chances are that the tactic will cause them to purchase.

Think this is unusual? I see small businesses make these sort of mistakes every single week.  Just think harder, and if you need help, find a marketer who knows their stuff and isn’t afraid of performing to meet your goals.