Small business marketing – quick or smart, pick one

small business marketing insight from John F. Kennedy

“Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.”  -John F. Kennedy, 35th US president (1917-1963)

Wow – imagine what this former President might have said about social media and small business marketing today!

I continue to be amazed at the ease at which a very small number of people can rally a huge crowd to support or refute an issue. I’d feel better about it if the groundswell of individuals speaking with conviction and vile toward “the other side” took a moment to understand what they’re supporting.

Who painted that picture?

This is particularly apparent in the horse industry (one of my other hats).

New York City carriage horse abuse was last year’s rallying cry. Of course, most are unaware of the land-grab underpinnings.

Defenders of the poor horses (read real estate moguls with help of their political buddies) painted the small business owners who understood better than anyone how important good care and consideration for their animals was to their livelihood as villains.

This is similar to the media plants over the last decade or so concerning the racing industry.

Most horses are happier with a job that suits them and includes humans. We’ve been breeding them for millenniums to make this so. That’s judgment call for generations eons ago, but a reality we face today that’s being exploited by some to progress their (often self-serving) cause.

Long gone are the days when domesticated horses were content being free in a field to do nothing. Those who can’t tell the difference between a mare, a stallion or a gelding ought to spend some time around horses being treated kindly to see how reality plays out before they blackball an entire industry.

In the case of the Thoroughbreds, there used to be a whole cottage industry culling out suitable transition prospects, helping these horses understand and adjust to new career paths and focusing on finding ideal matches for their new human partners. They’re gone.

Now that off-the-track Thoroughbreds (OTTBs) have been redefined as worthless by those claiming to want to save them, those happy often life-long partnerships between horse and human are rare. Dumping a Thoroughbred that lacks transitional training to cope with cues opposite of what they’ve learned into green hands isn’t kind to either the horse or human. Turing a young, domesticated horse out to pasture for life isn’t either.

Curiously, the result of the passionate groundswell to save the least desirable OTTBs has made those ideal for new careers much harder to place. To my mind, the message conflicts with the mission.

Is what you’re doing going to get you what you want?

small business marketing insight from John F. KennedyAs more women take leadership roles in business, prosperity is being redefined. No longer is money the primary measure of wealth. Making a positive difference in the lives of others is foremost. That’s been the norm with successful entrepreneurs (men too) for decades (sorry Millennials, you didn’t invent this).

Part of that means making the right kind of difference. It’s easy to get caught up in a groundswell of hype – whether that be jumping on social media bandwagon crusades (persecutions) or leaping into the latest promised silver bullet marketing craze. Will those decisions help get you where you want to go? Before you believe all Google reveals, consider if the provider of information has their own agenda.

You’re likely to regret leading with opinion devoid of thought (or research). In this internet age, you can’t take these things back. Someone has it archived, ready to use against you.

We’ve all responded passionately when baited (I’m guilty). Consider spending some time away from the debate – or offer – before you let passion rule.

It’s a challenge finding credible information borne from research in this internet age – even major news media providers have been embarrassed by broadcasting fiction presented as fact. If you watch for a while, you’ll be better able to let prudence lead over an impulse to short-sighted hype.

Small business marketing is about the long-term

Opinions are fine. Frankly, I’m enjoying the opportunity to express them in this blog format after having to silence them as a (paid – silly this seems necessary as a qualifier these days) freelance journalist for so many years.

If you’re trying to present yourself as a credible resource – or a business worthy of a prospect’s trust – know how what you say might play out.

You’ll need to do some research. Primary, secondary, online, print, audio, video – it doesn’t matter. Just make sure you recognize there’s a cost to expression, on so many levels.

Prospects and clients value providers who act smart; being there fast rarely trumps being thoughtful over time. Quick money has never been a solution for long-term success with small business marketing. Opinions without facts don’t lend well to prosperity either.

More than 50 years ago, a great orator spoke for his time, but his words are timelier now.

7 Responses to Small business marketing – quick or smart, pick one
  1. Minette
    October 3, 2014 | 2:24 am

    Hi Nanette, I always love your opinionated rants and appreciate that they are based in fact-finding, research and underpinnings… Social media does turn odd passions, people and causes into the new royalty doesn’t it. While I love the opportunity to connect, I still don’t like small talk – offline or online. Big hugs and glad to see you here. Hope you are settling into your new life!

    • Nanette Levin
      October 3, 2014 | 3:21 am

      Ouch – guilty as charged – but an appreciated nudge to change my tone – or at least work on developing a more positive perspective as I craft most posts – I’ll still enjoy the occasional rant though ;-). I suppose that liberating feeling (after decades of having to hide opinion with editorial content provided for publication by others) of being able to share what I’m really thinking in this blog format continues to be too much fun.

      I agree with you on the small talk, Minette. I’m a big believer in my gut. Even now, I don’t tend to spend a lot of time trying to connect with people who don’t feel right.

      The new life is . . . interesting. Not what I envisioned, but I’ve relished challenges. That’s usually when I’m at my best. So glad to see you continue to enjoy your coastal digs.

  2. Chuck Bartok
    October 9, 2014 | 5:05 am

    I was very pleased reading the article. Bringing YOUR personality and beliefs into an informative post is an asset, based on my experience.
    We all know how the real Law of Attraction works.
    I congratulate YOUR candor and hope it does wane for fear of losing segments of Audience.
    Being forthright, stated beliefs and “ranting” when needed has never affected our Businesses Growth over the past 50 years.
    Looking forward to more

  3. SKJAM!
    October 11, 2014 | 3:33 am

    Good research is important in any field. I recently downgraded my review of a fiction book because the author wrote a Muslim character, yet had never bothered to check to see if the Koran might depict God as merciful. (It does, although there are nuances.) This threw me right out of the story when such a basic thing was wrong.

    • Nanette Levin
      October 13, 2014 | 12:12 am

      You make a great point here, Scott. It’s so important when you’re trying to present yourself as an authority with your writing (including fiction) that you research those areas you where don’t have a strong knowledge. It seems, as a reader, once you find one glaring mistake, you start reading looking for many more, doesn’t it? It detracts from the message in a big way. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Tat
    October 16, 2014 | 8:24 pm

    Love that quote. Yes, we’ve all done it – speaking before thinking. I’m guilty, too, there are still things out there (not telling you where) that I wish I could take back. Our efforts can look a lot more consistent and bring more consistent results when we put some thought (and research) behind them.

    • Nanette Levin
      October 17, 2014 | 12:33 am

      Thanks for stopping in and checking out the blog, Tat. Right – I don’t spend a lot of time broadcasting those moments I regret. I think we sometimes forget when we respond emotionally online, that message may be seen by people we’d rather not serve as witness. Sometimes it’s best to step back, gain a broader understanding and acknowledge confusion. People are usually much more forgiving of an admitted mistake than arrogance.

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