Small Business Integrated Marketing: More Focus Is Needed, Especially in the B-To-B Space

Small businesses who operate in the business-to-business space do a lot of things right, but marketing is not one of them. This article will explain why this is the case and explore associated pitfalls and opportunities, as well as give you a definition of b-to-b (business-to-business) marketing and suggest some effective solutions to the problem.Typically, companies with 20 to 100 employees or so who are in manufacturing, distribution, professional services and the like do not have a marketing manager, and rightly so; these firms are simply too small to justify that position. So the president or general manager is responsible for marketing. This doesn’t work very well because that person has more important things to do such as keeping the place running and keeping the doors open. So, there’s little or no time for marketing planning or to implement a plan consistently.First let’s define “marketing” as it applies to the b-to-b space. Simply put, marketing is not advertising. Advertising is part of marketing, but a small part.The correct definition of b-to-b marketing is that it’s the integration and orchestration of all of the tactics that go into bringing a product or service to market: marketing research and competitive analysis; face-to-face selling; online support including an optimized website with an SEO (search engine optimization) strategy; downloadable white papers and how-to’s; email marketing; trade shows; sales lead generation; a customer retention strategy; sales tools such as brochures and literature and testimonials; online and offline press and publicity. You get the idea: it’s not just advertising.Most small business owners and general managers know they should be doing something to generate business other than shove their salespeople out the door. But they don’t get around to those other things, meaning marketing. Suddenly a year has gone by and their sales and market share have suffered. So they scramble to do something like build a new website or try some online advertising. But they have no plan. As the saying goes, “He who fails to plan, plans to fail.”On the other hand, with a well-crafted marketing and advertising plan the business can actually have a strategy to develop a consistent market presence, generate sales leads, create a better brand and retain existing customers. But can the business afford to do this, and how does it get done?The first part of the answer is, they can’t afford to not put a marketing plan in place because their market is full of competitors who can and will beat them in the marketing arena. It’s a market-share battleground out there and the best marketer wins.Another argument for investing in an integrated marketing plan is this: companies pay for legal, IT and accounting services, right? Marketing expertise is no different.In terms of cost, it comes down to needs. If there hasn’t been a formal marketing plan in place for some time and if the company doesn’t know where it stands in terms of its status (market share, perception etc.), some research will be needed and a marketing plan should be developed.The plan will comprise three main components: the company’s business objectives; its sales and marketing strategies; and the tactics and media spend necessary to achieve the objectives. Depending on where the company goes to get this done, the cost will probably be between $3,000 and $7,500 for a plan. Then the plan must be implemented.Where does a company go to get this done? For smaller businesses, it’s best to avoid larger ad agencies; those with 50 employees and above. They’ll want to work with big marketing budgets, say, $500,000 at minimum. It’s also better to work with an agency that specializes in the b-to-b space; they understand the integration referred to above. While it’s handy if the agency is local, it doesn’t have to be. It’s more important that the agency is a good fit for the company.Another alternative is to contract a good b-to-b marketing consultant to do your research and draft your marketing plan. But have the second step lined up, too: an agency who can implement the plan, ideally a smaller agency specializing in b-to-b marketing. Check their work and get referrals from their clients.Whatever route you choose, make sure the firm you choose is very knowledgeable in the online space. Today, almost all marketing in the b-to-b space occurs online: information gathering and downloads of white papers and how-to’s; organic search results, online ads, web engagement, SEO, email marketing, press, articles, etc.Actually, this is good news since online marketing and the analytics associated with it are far less costly than the traditional methods b-to-b marketers have been used to such as trade magazines, lavish literature, direct mail and trade shows (not that those traditional tactics should be abandoned.)So what is the cost for a full-blown integrated marketing plan, media spending and implementation-management by an agency or a consultant?The best budgeting method is the “task method”, meaning determining what tasks need to be done considering your market circumstances, then assigning costs to those tasks and their associated media. It varies by company. That’s something a good marketing agency can do for you. If you have a very limited budget a good agency can develop your plan and focus on its most critical tasks, working with a first-year budget as small as $50,000.But a full-blown integrated marketing-media plan is highly recommended if you want to be a market leader. As a rule of thumb, the higher your gross sales, the less you’ll pay as a percentage of your sales. Roughly, if you’re a smaller company, say, sales of $5 million or so, count on spending about three percent of your gross sales, or about $150,000. At $10 million in sales, perhaps two percent, or $200,000. At $20 million, probably between one and two percent, so about $300,000.One thing is certain: a well-planned and well-implemented b-to-b marketing and advertising plan with a strong online component pays off. It helps you compete better for market dominance. However, marketing planning and implementation takes focus, consistency and the help of professionals.

First Things for Small Business Event Marketing

In the beginning, we have an idea. The idea is an event where people can come together and trade, grow their network, and live outside of normal routines for just a few hours. The event is birthed and excitement builds quickly. Visions of a crowd smiling are everywhere.The beginning is a critical time. We are motivated and moved to make something happen. Without question, this is the time to put together a few major pieces that will make the event process move smoothly. If done quickly, it can make the event better or more realistic for the hosts. These items are 1) defining the objective of the event, 2) who is going to make it happen, the decision maker/lead of the event, 3) what is it going to take to be a great event?The objective of the event is often a large contributor to a few key ingredients. Objective defines what the event is supposed to do. It sets the foundation for the type of event it is to be, and lastly is the main guide towards the theme. Without an objective, the event may not get off the ground, rolling aimlessly towards a date without any real enthusiastic motivation behind it. Objective defines purpose. Purpose creates drive. The theme of the event puts a face to it, an image that will be memorable to prospects.Who is going to make the event happen? In a small business, it is either a hired event planner/marketer, an internal manager, or the owner. Each one has positives and negatives to lead the event to success. A person who can lead, is organized, creative, people oriented, resilient, and patient is the best person to lead the show. These qualities might not be all in one person, but can be had in a small team. Possibly everyone mentioned before is involved.


The leader of the event will often use a committee or team to get all the work done. A small event can be done with one to three people. A large event could take a platoon of people who like to throw parties.The person who makes it all happen is a very important part of the event. Without someone to herd cats, be Keeper of the Event Plan, and be Event Therapist, the event might be lackluster. The event may fizzle or explode before the day of the show.An event planner/manager/marketer is a keystone for a great event. I have seen many small events do well with someone with basic skills. Being able to put details together by using a guide found online is very helpful. It keeps things on track. Time frames and tasks are often laid out together, making things much easier.The larger the event, the larger the skill set of the decision maker of the event. Experienced event planners and marketers can provide valuable consulting, if not be the main coordinator of the event.Defining what it is going to take to be a great event is an important answer to get. Three common factors of any event are time, money, and energy. Being able to balance the three and be able to achieve the objective is what makes a great event. (Obviously ‘great’ can be defined in many ways. If the objective is met, no money problems at hand, and no one was hurt, it was a good event.)There is only so much of any of time, money, and energy. The objective of the event, and the anticipated results of the event, will decide how much of each will occur. In relation to time, asking how long will it take to get everything done and promotions at their maximum appeal is what time is all about. Is this a big event that happens every year? Is this a test run for other events down the road? And other questions help plan when things occur, which is also a function of energy.The energy required to have a great event is defined by the objective, quantity of staffing for execution, and anticipated size of the event. How much one person can put into any event is limited. Larger events take more people. Simply put, the amount of energy that can be expended is directly related to the budget, or how much money is reasonable to make the event a success.Small businesses do not have bottomless accounts to throw large parties. An event being funded by small businesses has to see a payoff and be done within a reasonable budget. Spending too much money on staff, not enough on marketing, and more are weighted decisions that guide finding balance in the area of money.


Looking at the objective, the amount of payoff can be calculated. Whether the event is a concert in the park or customer appreciation day at the store, cash flow can be discussed. If the event has a history, budgeting is easier. For a first time event, budgeting is difficult because cash flow can be estimated within ten percent at best. More often the margin error is larger. Expenses are the most determinable line items.Revenues from the event can be the day of the show only, like a concert. A one time event that generates money from merchandise, concessions, ticket sales and more. One day, and it is time for recovering.Revenues can be a long term objective related to brand awareness, like customer appreciation days every first Friday of the month. An ongoing event that is proven to attract a percentage of customers over a regular day is a good thing. If I know I can go to Smith Farm Supply and get a burger, I’ll likely stop by, eat, and get the things I need.When you hatch your idea, take the time to make immediate notes on how the event will occur. These notes will guide you. They will help you understand what you were thinking at the time. Too often have I lost those thoughts because they were not written down.Taking the time to pay attention to the initial parts of an event being planned will alleviate problems later.

Planning Strength and Speed Training For American Football

American Football, like many other sports, has a history of coaches with a poor understanding of the sport’s demands inflicting upon players the necessity to run laps of the pitch, and engage in other forms of training at odds with the sport’s unique demands. With a constant stop start style to the play, with the average play lasting no longer than ten seconds, followed by a much longer rest period, its demands are closer to traditional sprinting and weight training methods, than sports such as Rugby or Boxing, where there is a much greater endurance element required. At the same time, the sport has a big element of lateral mobility and technical considerations to consider, absent from pure speed or strength sports.This article will look at ways to incorporate speed and strength training methods to assist a player looking to improve his speed/strength during the football off-season. Each element will be considered individually. Given the wide range of requirements for the different positions in football, this article will focus on training planning for a typical week for Linebackers, Backs and Strong Safeties, although the advice is applicable to most positions except Kickers and Offensive/Defensive Linemen. Even then, many of the elements would remain broadly similar for these positions.Strength TrainingMost American Football players today will already place a large emphasis on strength training as this has been emphasized for a comparatively longer time in the sport due to the ever increasing demand for larger and stronger athletes. This does not mean that players should automatically follow the training advice handed out in bodybuilding magazines, or follow a generic college training program. Unfortunately, most college programs suffer from being overly simplistic due to the need to try to train 40 or 50 athletes at once in a facility. This type of training leads to the most simple, easy to administer programs being handed out to athletes, rather than the most effective. Similarly, athletes who believe bodybuilding programs can enhance sports performance may potentially gain some muscle size but at the expense often of relative strength and speed going down, as well as a decrease in joint mobility if emphasising single joint exercises. Additionally, bodybuilding programs’ emphasis on training to failure and exhaustive work on individual muscle groups will lead to less energy being available for the high intensity, explosive work which football demands.Split Training vs Whole Body TrainingMost players will often follow a typical bodybuilding protocol where individual muscle groups are trained once per week with very high volume. Unfortunately, while this may work under certain circumstances for bodybuilders, football players cannot afford to adopt this method. Most significantly, this method of training makes it very difficult to integrate training with the demands of improving other elements vital to success in football. For example, many bodybuilders will train back, quadriceps, hamstrings on separate days. This will mean for most of the time players will have insufficient energy to perform their other drills, sprint work etc due to excess muscular fatigue. Furthermore, split training will mean the central nervous system is always under stress from constantly performing high intensity activity leading to impaired recovery and ability to perform other drills outside the gym with the required intensity.


This leaves two options. The first is to adopt a lower/upper body split and the second is to adopt a full body training program. Both options have their advocates. Splitting the body into lower/upper will mean legs get trained twice a week meaning five days are left for rest. By only training legs on those two days, a greater volume of work can be performed on training days compared to a typical whole body approach consisting of hitting the weights on a Monday, Wednesday, Friday basis, where because of the increased frequency and need to train upper body as well, leg training volume would need to be reduced.Depending on the athlete’s needs an upper/lower split is usually more useful for increasing strength and muscle size as many will struggle to maintain the intensity needed for a long, whole body training workout. A sample lower/upper body split would be as follows:Sample Strength Training SplitMondaySquats 4 x 4-6
Romanian Deadlifts 4 x 4-6
Step Ups 2 x 8
Pullthroughs 2 x 8
Ab Rollouts 2 x 8TuesdayIncline Bench Press 4 x 4
Hang Cleans 3 x 3
Shoulder Press 2 x 6
Pullups 2 x 6
Tricep Extensions 2 x 8
Barbell Curls 2 x 8ThursdayPower Cleans 5 x 3
Snatch Grip Deadlifts 3 x 5
One Legged Squats 2 x 6
Glute Ham Raise 2 x 8
Hanging Leg Raises 2 x 10FridayClose Grip Bench Press 3 x 5
Pullups 3 x 5
Incline Dumbell Press 2 x 8
Seated Row Machine 2 x 8
Tricep Extensions 2 x 12
Dumbell Curls 2 x 12Speed TrainingSpeed training for football players needs to consider the fact that football sprints are usually of much shorter duration than sprinting in track and field events. At the same time the body mechanics of football players will be different to those you see in top class sprinters.Having said that, a speed training program for football players will have a large degree of overlap with that of Olympic athletes but with a limited requirement for the type of speed endurance work performed by sprinters during the summer track season. Instead a football program should primarily emphasise acceleration techniques with a smaller component of top speed work so that for the rare occasions that a full sprint is required, the player is able to maintain his top speed for longer.Although there are many differing views on how to train speed, the approach used by Charlie Francis[i] is one which works well for integrating the other aspects of football training.Speed Training Template for Off-SeasonMondayWarmup – 5 min general warmup
Mobility Exercises – 10 min
Running Drills – 10 min
Start Work – 6 x 10m (Practise a 3 point or 2 point stance and perform a maximal 10m sprint)
Acceleration Work – 6 x 20m (2 or 3 point stance and accelerate through to 20m)
Acceleration Work – 2 x 30m (Run from standing start to 30m)Rest times between sprints should be 2-3 mins for 10m work, 3-5 min for 20m work, and 4-6 min for 30m work to ensure full recovery is attained.The astute reader will notice the sprints are combined on a day where the weights pushed will be heavy. Depending on the athletes needs, they could sprint in the AM and do the weights in the evening or vice versa. Both approaches will work. The main factor behind placing sprints on the same day as weight training the legs is to allow for greater CNS and muscular recovery. Trying to sprint on separate days (e.g. on Tue) would mean the legs still being fatigued from the day before and then having less rest before the next weight session for legs. By contrast, combining weight training with leg work on the same day is something sprint coaches usually recommend.TuesdayWarmup – 5 min general warmup
Mobility Exercises – 10 min
Running Drills – 10 min
Tempo Work 8-10 x 100m @60-70% speedTempo training is running the distance at a sub-maximal speed and walking the next 100m. It is very important both for active recovery (recovering from the previous day’s exertions), learning to run in a relaxed manner (many athletes strain too much when sprinting maximally), and for overall conditioning and fat loss (the intervals being approximately similar when running/walking, as the work/rest time in football and in fat loss protocols such as Tabata).WednesdayWith another high intensity day scheduled for Thursday, Wednesday is a time to rest and recuperate. Some mobility and drill work is okay for those who need it though.ThursdayWarm-up – 5 min general warm-up
Mobility Exercises – 10 min
Running Drills – 10 min
Start Work – 6 x 10m (Practice a 3 point or 2 point stance and perform a maximal 10m sprint)
Acceleration – 3 x 20m
Acceleration – 3 x 30m
Top Speed – 3 x 50mThursday’s sprint training session is partnered with a relatively low load, explosive lifting weight training day. The sprint distances complement the weights by being of a greater distance and speed. This is the day when the football player will work his maximum speed but we keep acceleration work in, albeit at a reduced volume, as acceleration is a very important factor for football as well as helping to warmup the body for the top speed work. Rest times can be up to 10min long for the top speed sprints. The work conducted has to be of a high quality with full muscular and CNS recovery between sprints the aim of the athlete.FridayTempo Work – 8-10 x 100m
This day is a repeat of TuesdaySaturdayWarm-up – 5 min general warm-up
Mobility Exercises – 10 min
Running Drills – 10 min
Start Work – 4 x 10m (Practice a 3 point or 2 point stance and perform a maximal 10m sprint)
Acceleration – 3 x 20m
Acceleration – 2 x 30m
Top Speed – 2 x 50m
Top Speed – 2 x 60mSaturday is the day when we should be at our freshest. There is no weight training prior to training and we are furthest removed from the draining effects of the heavy weight training conducted on Monday and Tuesday. There is a greater emphasis on top speed work this time with an increase in the distance up to 60m. This should be the time the athlete is setting his best times.


SundayRestGoing Past a WeekAt this point it should be pointed out that the approach given is for a sample training week in the off-season. Strength and speed training should still be periodized as normal. A favored approach of many programs is to gradually increase training volume and intensity before incorporating a week of reduced volume and intensity to allow for supercompensation and CNS recovery to take place. A 3/1 split of hard training followed by an easier “unloading” week will help promote continued improvements rather than trying to constantly add weight/sets/sprints to the program which will only lead to stagnation.At the same time, other exercises and techniques will usually be incorporated to provide the athlete’s body with new challenges but the overall goal should remain the same which is to increase strength and speed over the long haul. Although it will be easy for a beginner to make rapid improvements in both strength and speed following a structure such as that outlined, at some point it is likely that either the weights or the speed work will have to be reduced in volume (although not intensity) and maintained so that the other quality being work can be emphasized.Most 100m sprinters will usually go from a program where strength increases are emphasized in winter to one where weight training is restricted to maintenance only so that full attention can be devoted to maximal speed work during the summer months.Of course, for American Football players, they may have a differing view on which element needs emphasizing but the fact remains that given that neither strength or speed improvements in-season are realistic, the player should look at his off-season training program and consider which variable he needs to work on the most. Then, he can perform a greater or lesser amount of speed or strength work as deemed appropriate by him and his coaching staff. For a strong athlete with limited speed this would mean reducing the volume of his weight work on his training days and training speed first in the training day, when the CNS and muscular system is freshest. On the other hand, a weak, fast athlete may wish to perform a limited amount of speed work and increase his weight training volume so that he can bring up his strength levels quicker.Other FactorsMany other factors beyond how the athlete structures his training are important including mobility drills, nutritional support, supplementation, recovery and regeneration techniques, and technical work. Although these are beyond the scope of this article, each element should be implemented carefully. Please check the other articles at this site for further reading.[i] The Charlie Francis Training System (1992)

When You Tell People How To Make Money Online They Question It

For the longest time the Internet would scare people away when it came to earning money. They felt they could not handle the process. More and more people are trying to earn money online than ever before. Much of this can be attributed to the economy that has been struggling throughout the world. Even if you tell people how to make money online many times that still will not help. You think telling people how the process works is all you would need to do. The truth is many times it never works out for some people. Here is why for some making money online can be a real tough proposition.Getting a check from the Internet is something millions have never enjoyed, but just as many have. The lure of being able to sit in front of your computer and earn money is what keeps people coming back. One thing that many people fail to realize and that is earning money online is a real job and not some game. It is hard work and many times tougher than an offline job you may have.


It is easy to lose focus when you come online for the very first time. People who have never tried to earn money online are star struck by all the opportunities that are available. With the world being your marketplace you have many different options. The key is not to lose your focus which many people do and that stops them from earning money.After a few weeks or months online people tend to go their own way. Advice that is given is not use and they prefer to show people they need no one. This is a big mistake because the learning curve online can be very lengthy. By not taking advice it will just take longer to earn living online.For people who think they need no money to earn online better get that out of their head. No matter what you do online many times you may need to put in some of your own money. Yes there are success stories that started with nothing, but those are rare.


You can be successful online, but it is not going to happen overnight. You must pay your dues and work hard for everything you get. We all would like instant success, but for most it does not happen that way. It is a process that will take time so bear that in mind.Anyone can tell people how to make money online, but the success will depend on many different factors. The key to online success is never give up and take all the advice that is given. You may not use it all, but it never hurts to listen to successful people.