The most important thing is to get your positioning as “right” as possible. You want to be perceived by your target market as better than the competition on some attributes that leverage your firm’s distinctive competence, so as to have some durable competitive advantage. Every marketing activity then has to strengthen this perception.
Tactically, don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t measure the impact of your advertising and promotion. Especially for small businesses, it’s relatively easy and inexpensive to keep track of the data you need to make these evaluations. They won’t be as precise as other accounting entities, but they will be precise enough to make very productive decisions on which campaigns to do more of and which to stop.
Last hint — don’t be afraid to be different and innovative. Those are the concepts that are typically most successful. (Advertising on the backs of the Chinese fortune cookies, which serial entrepreneur Josh Kopelman introduced, is just one example.)
Leonard M. Lodish Marketing Professor Vice Dean, Wharton West University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia