You own a business and you are the default CMO. Now what?


You own a business and you are the default CMO.  Now what?

You are the decision maker. You need customers. Where do you start?

These are questions that baffle thousands of small business owners every day.Before the advent of search, online reviews and social media targeting potential customers was easy, if unrefined. Your choices were broadcast TV, newspaper, Yellow Pages, radio and direct mail. Wow, have things changed!

TV is still around, but now there is cable TV, addressable TV and broadband applications like Netflix and YouTube for consumers. Newspaper’s value has been reduced to digital for the most part. Radio is still around but faces competition from services like Pandora and Spotify. 20 years ago, “social media” and reviews were all word-of-mouth (still important, just in a different way).

Your customers are consuming as much if not more “content” than ever before. It’s just being segmented and delivered in new and interesting ways. 

And your job as owner/CMO? Figuring out how to re-aggregate your audience!

Here are ten tips to help you build a plan and get started:

  1. You must have a message or offer that fills a need
  2. Create an annual marketing budget – usually 10% of projected gross revenue; 12% if you want to be aggressive
  3. Pick a “medium” to build awareness. Potential customers need familiarity with you when they do a search or look at reviews. If you have a small budget, try zoned cable which allows you to focus on a set of target rich zip codes in a defined part of the city or market
  4. Make sure that when people search for keywords about your business or your company name, you are in the top seven spots on GOOGLE, Bing, etc.
  5. Ask for reviews and monitor your reviews on sites like Facebook, GOOGLE and YELP. All provide free, basic analytics to help you get started. Check reviews daily. Respond regularly to positive reviews and address negative reviews immediately (privately if sensitive or publicly if it helps your PR)
  6. Have a measurement plan. Cost per lead? Cost per acquisition?
  7. Websites have become “pit stops” on the way to an online chat, filling out a form or a phone call. Make sure your site loads quickly and is clean and easy-to-understand
  8. Have goals. It sounds simple…but most don’t. You have best-in-class industry models to study; start there and build KPI’s
  9. Talk to the media reps in your town. Take a day and meet with several of them. They all have digital resources, audience information and market knowledge. And, it’s free during the request for proposal process
  10. Grab a basic CRM tool to manage your pending business and customer contact data. There are free services available and some are as inexpensive as $10 a month. Once you have a data and contact information, you can re-market to your client base

Building a business is hard. The marketing ecosystem is wide, deep and confusing. But it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Start with the basics and build from there.

It can be done!

Now, go do something!


Kirk Black is the President of Mayblack Media Consulting and provides CMO services on a fractional/retainer basis to small and medium sized businesses.