For many small businesses, marketing is a daunting proposition.

They’re excited but not sure how to get started and, as important, how to do it successfully.

Before throwing themselves into marketing, here are the six “C’s” that small businesses need to think about:

Clarity: It is important to be clear about your goals and what success looks like. It’s not enough to do marketing because it seems like the right thing to do, otherwise it’s a waste of time. Marketing happens for a reason and needs well-defined objectives. Before deciding on what to do, get a strong handle on why marketing is being embraced and how to move forward.

Commitment: Here’s where many entrepreneurs drop the ball. They get excited but fail to provide enough guidance and support. Instead, other things take priority. As a result, a company’s marketing efforts flounder because there’s no direction or engagement. When marketers attempt to move forward, their ideas are rejected by an entrepreneur or CEO who’s been busy doing other things. A better approach: senior executives take marketing seriously and commit the time, effort and money for it to succeed.

Confidence: Confidence happens in two ways. It’s confidence in marketing having a positive impact on the business. There’s a strong belief marketing makes a difference, whether it’s driving leads and sales, attracting brand awareness, or hiring new employees. As important, an entrepreneur has confidence in his/her people. Marketing thrives when people with different ideas are allowed to make things happen. Marketing suffers when an entrepreneur micro-manages processes or insists that only their ideas matter.

Collaboration: Building on the previous point, marketing succeeds when people with different skills work together, allowing ideas emerge, develop and flourish. Great marketing happens when a variety of perspectives and experiences are thrown into the mix. This lets ideas evolve and madly go off in different directions. It also makes for better marketers because everyone participates in the process.

Cajones: Marketing involves courage, boldness and taking risks. Someone once told me that great marketing not only pushes things to the line, it takes a step over the line. Marketing that plays it safe or follows the pack gets lost in the crowd. What was the last ad that captured your attention? Why did it stand out from the crowd? What made it different? How did it change the way you considered a brand or product? Think about Dove’s Real Beauty campaigns, which have been polarizing. When people hear or see more than 100,000 words a day, marketing without cojones doesn’t work.

Cash: Yup, cash. At some point, money needs to be spent on people, tools, technology, and campaigns. If, for example, you want to drive brand or product awareness, money is invested in advertising, media outreach or creating content. The alternative is not spending money and waiting for consumers to come around, which likely won’t happen.


I make marketing work for fast-growing companies..and companies looking to grow faster. Through strategic and tactical services, I help companies that need brand awareness, customer engagement, storytelling, and strategic roadmaps.

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