Accessible Marketing

The A – Z of Marketing (A-D)

by Judith Hutchinson

I’ve decided to write the A-Z of marketing.  This is intended to be a guide for small business owners and in-house marketers to either remind you about certain marketing tools and/or to introduce you to new marketing ideas.  I should add a caveat that whilst it is an A-Z guide it’s by no means an exhaustive list of all things marketing related.  Please feel free to add your own at the bottom of this post.

A – Advertising

I’ve already spoken about the AIDA model in a previous post so ironically I’m going to look at advertising first.  I find it ironic that I am talking about Advertising first because I spend much of my time explaining that marketing is not just about advertising.  That said there is no denying that Advertising is very much a part of marketing and I find it’s something that small businesses often get wrong.  Here are what I believe are the top 5 advertising mistakes of small businesses:

  1. No call to action – what do you want people to do after they have seen your ad?  You need to tell them (E.g. Visit our website, come to our event, spend before a certain date etc etc).
  2. You don’t measure your adverts. What’s the point of spending money on advertising if you don’t know whether or not it’s working? There are a few ways you can work out whether your ads are working. If you are advertising online then measuring what’s working and what isn’t is easily done through analytics.  If you are advertising in print it becomes slightly trickier but you can always display a particular phone number or a certain landing page so that you can broadly measure uptake.  Similarly you can ask your customers where they heard about you. Visitor attractions, for example, can do this in their customer feedback.
  3. Ad-hoc advertising.  Don’t place an advert just because you receive a call from your local paper offering you money off the usual rate.  Advertise because the publication is read by your target audience and you have something specific to communicate to them e.g. an open day, a sale, a time related offer.  Ideally you need to be planning a campaign across different publications and media to really drive home the message.


For big brands with oodles of money to spend on advertising it’s all about brand awareness.  Here are some of my favourite campaigns from big brands that have used various different media (print, tv, online etc) to get their marketing messages across….

Compare the Meerkat –  I think this is a great campaign that has continued to have legs across all different channels.

Old Spice – Great use of You Tube and other online media in an attempt to reposition the brand.

Fairly Liquid –  Reminds me of being at University. For a time my student house were all talking with Welsh accents as a result of this ad!


B – Business Plans, Brand, Boston Policy Matrix

Business Plans – I don’t feel I can go past B without mentioning Business Plans.  In my opinion, they are an absolute necessity.  Whilst small businesses can certainly manage without them I don’t think you would grow and achieve as much without one.  If you already have a business plan it makes planning your marketing efforts much easier.

Brand – A brand is not just about your logo.  It can be about your staff and how they present themselves, the tone of voice you use on your written materials and many other items. There is even an argument for including brand equity on your balance sheet. After all if someone were to come along a buy your business they may very well be buying your brand not necessarily the factory/staff/stock etc.    Key questions for small businesses to ask when trying to build their brand are:

–       What do you want customers to feel when they come into contact with your brand?  Start by writing down words that you would like to be associated with.  A theme park may like to be associated with words such as fun, family, friendly, safe and all weather.  An IT company may like to be associated with words such as security, prompt, professional, integrity and quality.    It’s often interesting to ask your customers what they think.

–       Now look at the competition – what makes you different and why should your customers buy from you over them.

–       Now review your marketing materials – does everything look the same? Are you using the same fonts and colours on your website as on your printed materials.  Are you conveying the same messages (based on your key words).  And are you showing what makes you different.

Boston Policy Matrix – Do you know your stars from your cash cows, your dogs from your question marks?  If not I would recommend looking at the following pdf from Education Support which explains in more details.

C – Customer.

Customer – This, in my opinion, is what marketing is all about.  You need to find them and keep them.  Small businesses often don’t think about who it is they are targeting.  It’s often useful to think about who, generally, your target customer is – are they male or female, how old are they, what do they read, where do they go, what websites do they visit etc.  How can your brand interrupt them to get your message across?    If your businesses is targeting women around 20-35 years of age then perhaps a facebook fan page would help engage and be a good tool for you to remind them of why they should buy from you.   I will look at CRM (customer relationship marketing) in more detail in a separate post.

Small businesses also need to think about new target markets.  For example, do you currently sell to the public but could also sell to businesses?  Tourist attractions, for example, concentrate on marketing to the general public but potentially miss out on lucrative visits from the commercial sector and education sector because they are not marketing to them.


D – Direct marketing, distribution channels

There are loads of things that I could talk about with the letter ‘D’ but I have decided to concentrate on 2 – direct marketing and distribution channels…

Direct Marketing – If your business has ever distributed a sales letter; sent an e-newsletter; door dropped a leaflet; inserted a flyer; used social media, texted customers or sent a salesperson to visit face-to-face then you have used direct marketing as a tactic. DM is all about being able to target the customer.  You need to have good data in the first place (no use using a database that is years out of date) and in many cases you need permission. For example, it would be detrimental to your brand to send an e-newsletter to somebody who has said they don’t want to receive information from you.  The great things about DM is that it is very easy to measure.  E.g. How many people opened your e-shot, how many bought at the face to face meeting, how many retweeted your viral offer etc. etc.

Distribution Channels – This is all about how you get your product to market – do you sell through a distributor, direct, online, via a shop etc etc.   A few examples of utilising different channels:

–       A tour operator may sell direct to the public and through travel agents.

–       A pizza restaurant may have their own restaurants and franchise through other venues

When looking at distribution channels you need to think about how you want your brand to be perceived – is the shop that wants to sell it in keeping with your product brand (if your product is a luxury item should you really be selling it in a store associated with discounts).  In addition you need to ensure that you are consistent across channels – if you trade online you must be willing for people to walk in-store with an item purchased online that they may want to exchange.  Think about how else you could distribute and then narrow this down to which options would be most appropriate.

Please add any marketing items that I have missed starting with the letters A-D in the space below. A-Z of markeing Part 2 to follow soon.


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