Startups and small businesses have strive to do marketing with limited resources. Hence effective marketing is essential. So what is effective marketing for a small business? Hint: It is not simply having Google ads.

Identify your purpose

Big questions, but by understanding your purpose and how your business fulfils this purpose; You identify your market, your positioning and your messages. These form your marketing and communications strategy. What is your purpose?

  • Solve a big problem?
  • Contribute to simplifying people’s lives or the betterment of humanity?
  • Advancement in technology?

Claim your position

Positioning helps your customer understand what makes your business different from the competition. So, what makes Tesla different from Prius?

Tesla’s positioning as a luxury sports car was clear and helped distinguish it from the other players in the industry, ensuring that their customer understands its differentiating factor.

Formulate your messages

Develop messages that you want your customer to resonate with. There is a science to developing it. Do not underestimate the power of frequent and good messaging. Not conveying consistent messages is a frequently occurring mistake I have observed. Each message is so far removed from the purpose of the business that the customer ends up confused, or worse, doesn’t take notice.

Dharmesh Shah, Founder and CTO of HubSpot, explains this: “I believe strongly in the need to not only carefully craft the core messages around mission and culture — but to then communicate those messages repeatedly.” Check out his tweet.

Tip – Here’s a good article on writing brilliant marketing messages

Add Value

Think about it, everywhere we go, there is an ad that is trying to sell us something. Our eyes are so inundated with advertising that our conscious and subconscious minds are becoming immune to it. Ads no longer catch our attention. So how does a business stand out from all the clutter?

By adding value. You should deliver beyond what the customer expects and paid for.

Value added marketing simply means going the extra mile. For example, I recently visited a boutique spa for a facial treatment and to my delight, in addition to the treatment I booked, I received a foot massage at no extra cost. A neat little offering that I wasn’t expecting. I think it’s safe to say that they have gained a happy customer and a pretty good chance at positive word of mouth advertising for as little as a foot massage.

Nike & it’s run club app

A fantastic example of a business adding value and giving back to its customers and community is Nike. Nike+ Training Club hosts a variety of events and workout sessions such as free-to-join runs in different cities. In addition, Nike+ App also offers members unique experiences and exclusive offers on their latest gear.

In return, these tools give the company valuable data into how customers are using Nike products. This is crucial to Nike’s product development process as they continuously listen to the customer’s needs. As a result, Nike remains a leader in the industry.

“It used to be just focus groups and then monitoring our sales and that was it. Now it’s a dialogue,” – Former President Direct-to-Consumer at Nike Christiana Shi.

Hospitality, the Ritz Carlton way

The Ritz Carlton also did well when it came to value added Marketing.  Joshie was a little guest’sGiraffe stuffed toy left behind at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Florida. The hotel’s staff found Joshie and called the family to let them know.

The boy’s father had already made up a story to pacify his son. He told him that Joshie is still enjoying his vacation. The father was pretty happy to hear that the hotel had found Joshie. He shared his white lie with the hotel staff and asked them to share a photo of Joshie to back up his story. In addition to being sent home safely, Joshie came with a binder documenting his vacation; Wearing shades by the pool, enjoying a massage, driving a golf cart and overall having a great time at the Ritz. Here’s the full story.

Adding value to the customer goes a long way. Customers form meaningful relationships with brands that care about them. An emotional connection with your customer delivers the highest level of customer experience that every brand strives for.

Effective Marketing is not only about advertising, it is about going the extra mile and understanding who you are, what makes you different, and what value you add to the customer.

Before You Go…

I write about marketing and communications for startups and SMBs. I help businesses grow in the most efficient and meaningful ways. Connect with me on Twitter or LinkedIn or find me on

Thanks for reading The Low Down, insight and inside knowledge from the team at Momentum Works. If you’d like to get in touch with us about any issues discussed in our blog, please drop us an email at [email protected] and let us know how we can help.

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