For some of us entrepreneurs that word scares us into anther dimension. We'll reply with the retort, 'No, No, we just rely on word of mouth' or 'I don't really believe in marketing' or some such reasonable reason that veils our lack of knowledge on what to do, or our cringing fear of pushing ourselves and our products out there.
The truth of the matter though is this, if you have a business you need to market, in one way or another.
Our first image of marketing is the, now old school, 'above the line' marketing. This normally includes the classic billboards, TV commercials, glossy magazine ads and such, but which small or medium business can afford to drop a couple of million on a campaign? So we revert back to the excuses above...
The world is changing, has changed. The old idea of a 'mass market' is disappearing, if it hasn't already completely melted away already. Remember the old bell curve? Starting with the initiators, the moving to the early adopters, then to it the mass in middle and the grinding down to end with the laggards adopting a product only because can they can't find a BETA video machine anywhere.
Theses days it seems this middle has melted into a flat line. The Mass Market is more and more elusive and in it's place more small niches of tribes, as Seth Godin describes them, are appearing with very, very particular tastes.
The idea is this.. what if you could make a product that the rain dancing hippies love? What if you made something that the garden gnome collectors of the world would clamour to buy?
Would you rather hit the niche of 10 000 000 gnome lovers, rather that hit 1 000 000 of the melting mass market with a middle of the road, average product?
Why not make the world's greatest white shirt, ever?
The trick is to call these groups together and tell them about yourself, how you share their values, and what you have to offer. With the rise of social media, and great, simple and affordable tools like Shopify and Weebly to create an online store, it is easier than ever to talk to the white shirt aficionados of the world.
Read more about this in marketing gurus' Seth Godin's book: We are all weird'