Do you know the difference between marketing and advertising? There is a difference, says marketing expert Jim Novo, and not knowing one from the other is a mistake for retailers, he adds.
"Advertising is just putting ads in the paper or wherever," he says. "Marketing is the strategy behind the whole business. It is how you are different from the other guy, how you are going to compete."
Some people say running a successful business is all about location, but, Novo warns, have you really thought about your location? What if 50,000 cars drive past your business every day? "Well, are they the right kind of cars? Will they stop? Is it a highway or a main street?" he asks.
What about the personality of your store? "When someone walks into your store, what is it that you want them to feel, and what is it that you want them to know about your store that differentiates it from the store that is doing the same thing 10 miles away? Why is your Laundromat better? Why is your grocery store better? Is it the service? Is it the product itself? Is it the atmosphere?"
If you know what makes your store different, then when you get ready to advertise, Novo says, it´s so much easier.
"You see a lot of small business people who sit down to write an ad, and the only thing they can think of is price, so they advertise a 10-percent-off sale," Novo says, unimpressed with the concept. What you really ought to consider before writing an ad is what it is about your store, about your location, about your employees, about the packaging that is different. When you know the answers to those questions, he says, it is so easy to write advertising because you know what to say. "You say the thing that makes your store different from other stores."
Successful stores, Novo says, are stores that the owners have put a lot of thought into.
So, if your store isn´t performing where you would like it to be, maybe you should, um, think about it.