When I need to get the feeling of a market, I usually try to get into the shoes of the people that own businesses, their providers and the customers by simply talking with them about their expectations, their dreams, their fears and their worries. A common characteristic of start-ups, small SME’s and retailers is to concentrate on what they sell, allocating the minimum possible budget on secondary tasks taking advantage of all available resources they might have. In the heart of a typical family business in Ireland it is normal to see one taking over purchasing, production and packaging another family member doing sales and the teenagers in the family to do the promotion of the business over the internet.

Unfortunately, Marketing is not child’s play. Actually Marketing is as old as civilization itself. Try to remember films you might have seen presenting lively market stalls and traders negotiating with providers and customers in ancient China, Rome, Egypt or Greece. These traders would not call their activities marketing but this is not that far away from ordering books or bidding on auctions online. Marketing is a science that has been in constant development over the centuries. In the most recent developments we can find that all actions are accurately measurable and directly comparable with previous activities or competitor’s activities. This means that all outcomes can be mathematically measured and statistically analyzed in a scientific way. But this is end part can is only the tip of the iceberg revealing less than half of the full story that includes the Marketing Strategy that also needs to be scientifically sound based on consumer behavior characteristics with identifiable groups and patterns.

When only observing the end product, it is easy for an inexperienced business manager to underestimate the science of Marketing and be deceived believing that some marketing activities - and especially the ones that can be spotted online – can be done by anyone, even their own teenage son or daughter! This is one of the most common reasons why privately owned local businesses fail unable to be competitive with large multinationals or franchise based companies that have a proper Marketing Plan made by professionals with specific measurable aims improving and raising standards each year.

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Do you still think that a teenager can do that?