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Advertising, Branding & Marketing*

May Help New Small Business Owner with Lack of Marketing Knowledge

This brief guide’s original subtitle suggests that it will help a small business owner make their branding, marketing, and advertising more effective. However, in my reading of it, I didn’t get the sense that this book was about effectiveness; the author must have agreed because the subtitle was changed to say that the book is a “quick and easy guide achieving great marketing outcomes in a small business.” I think both subtitles overstate what the book can offer. It is more like a rough sketch describing aspects of marketing including, but not limited to, branding and advertising. Some topics she touches on include targeting your market, positioning your business, customer service, networking, promotions, and online marketing. The author’s goal is to help you understand the basics of these so that you can grow your business through a good marketing plan.

Just to be clear, this guide is aimed at small business owners of actual brick-and-mortar establishments. While some information may be relevant to online businesses, it is mostly about local, walk-through-the-door businesses.

As I stated, this book is very short, just around 120 pages. So if you are looking for an in-depth discussion of the book’s topics, you won’t find that here. Within each topic, though, the author does provide definitions of key concepts as well as what the topic means to your business. Nearly every chapter could be a book itself. Some chapters are very short, positioning your business being only 5 pages and increasing your market share only 3!

Some ideas in this book seemed to harken back to business ideas that were more suited to business in the last millennium before the internet became such a prominent feature in our lives. I wonder at the efficacy print, TV, and radio advertising in the modern age where many get their news online and stream or read content that used to only be available through traditional media sources. I actually ran a brick-and-mortar small business in the early 2000s, and even back then, marketing and advertising were rapidly changing. While there is some mention of online marketing and social media in this book, it is a very small portion of the contents. I’m wondering at the relevance of some of what she talks about regarding advertising and promotion.

I think this book might be of value to a brick-and-mortar small business owner, or someone who is considering becoming one, so long as they understand its limitations in scope. The book gives a glimpse of critical factors that are important to the success of your business and does provide some idea of what needs to be done for each. Don’t expect to learn enough about, say, promotion or networking to fully execute a strategy. You will need to look elsewhere for more actionable ways to implement them.