Customer Experience

Customer Focus: Marketing Your Small Business Doesn’t Have to Be Annoying


Nobody likes repetitive TV & radio ads, annoying sales calls or unsolicited spam emails. So why do companies keep doing it? It must cost them a fortune and surely can’t be good for their image. Especially since marketing with a customer focus works so much better!

(I think it must either be generating enough response to make it worth it or they simply do it because “that’s what we’ve always done”. One way or another, they don’t seem to mind annoying the hell out of a lot of potential customers.)

Unfortunately, this seems to shape what people think marketing is – which is a personal pet peeve of mine and puts a lot of small business owners and freelancers off in the process. But by focusing on your customer, it doesn’t have to be that way.

Marketing doesn’t have to be annoying

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After working in marketing for over 20 years, I’m convinced that it doesn’t need to be annoying and pushy to get results. Customer focus is a far better way to promote & grow your business.

It’s easy to do as well. If you want both you & your customers to actually enjoy marketing, simply concentrate on your customers’ needs. And as a small business, you’re in a great position to do that.

Let me explain: The one thing people appreciate most when buying from small businesses is their friendly service. The personal touch combined with the feel-good factor of supporting a local business often beats price and convenience of larger suppliers.

Surveys also say that people generally feel more valued by small businesses. In their eyes, they know their customers and their needs and are more committed, even going out of their way to help them. Your marketing can do the same!

Read more about how to define your target market and learn more about your customers.

Market with customer focus

Don’t get me wrong, marketing will always be about selling; every business needs money to survive. But that doesn’t mean your marketing decisions need to be solely driven by profit.

People value businesses that understand and listen to them – and they can smell a hard sell from a mile away.

Making your marketing customer-centric shows you care and that your main goal is to help people – not to make money no matter what. It’s about anticipating their questions, making their life easier or helping them achieve their goals.

Author Napoleon Hill once said: “Give before you get.” And it hits the nail on the head when it comes to focusing your marketing on the customer. Be friendly, be a person, give your customers honest advice first, and make a sale second.

And this is not a novel concept – content marketing has been thriving on this idea for years. Blogs, podcasts, social media and email newsletters are perfect for small businesses to answer burning questions, reach out and engage with people and simply be helpful.

Reap the rewards

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Marketing your small business with your customers in mind is a nicer, gentler way to promote your products and services. It creates genuine value and is a way to grow your business with integrity and a more authentic voice.

Put an end to annoying marketing and choose to grow your small business organically with customer-centred campaigns. They help you nurture your customer base and your company rather than push for high growth with massive direct marketing campaigns.

Catering to your customer’s needs is a holistic approach to marketing, as for it to work it needs to include other areas of your business as well. Customer service, product development & product management need to work hand in hand with your marketing team to make it work.

And the rewards are absolutely worth it: Practicing a kind of marketing that is less about money and more about the customers is a win-win-win. It creates tailored solutions for your customers and sustainable growth for your small business. And it makes you feel way more comfortable with marketing your small business!

This is part 1 of a series of posts about customer-centric marketing. Part 2 is about how to implement marketing with a customer focus & in part 3 I share my favourite customer-centric marketing ideas. Check it out!


To read more about this topic, have a look at these:
7 Steps to Improve Your Customer Experience
How to Identify a Target Market for Your Small Business
Ideal Clients: How to Define & Attract them to Your Small Business
How to Get Repeat Business From Existing Customers

Denise Strohsahl brand and marketing consultant for small businesses

Hello, I’m Denise from sandstonecastles, a brand & marketing consultancy based in Edinburgh, Scotland.

I help small business owners like yourself to find the right marketing that’s in line with your brand and values.