Figure out what your spark birds of marketing and communications are

Bird watchers all have a spark bird.

This is a bird that, once seen, hooks a person into a pursuit of bird watching.

I really like the concept of a spark bird - something that, once seen, becomes fascinating.

The notion of a spark bird of marketing and communications is one I have been thinking a lot about lately. As the variety of tactics and tools for marketing and communications continues to grow, the small business marketer is forced to make some decisions about which ones to pursue.

A multinational company with huge budgets will try all the tactics and employ them mightily. But a small business has limited resources including time, money and even human focus.

Each small business marketer will have to make some creative promotional decisions. One way to think about these choices is by thinking of them as being one's spark birds of marketing.

Often clients tell me what they do and don't like to do from a marketing standpoint. Some folks like to create social media content and publish it, some like to create outbound emails, others prefer to make promotional items or marketing collateral while others may prefer to speak on podcasts or go for media coverage on TV or radio.

Most likely the small business marketer can't do it all, but often people like to oversee some of these types of activities. Often, I am hired to oversee what they can't or don't want to do while they maintain connection and control over the tactics that thrill them even a little bit.

This leads me to ask each person, what is your spark bird of marketing?

With so many options to choose from, there will undoubtedly be certain activities you enjoy and want to do as a means of keeping a closer tie to your business marketing. This is a very good thing as staying close to some of the day-to-day aspects of your marketing efforts will help you remain educated about what works for your practice and what resources make sense for your business.

I recall being just a kid and loving watching infomercials on television.

What I think was totally fascinating about them was the way people would tell stories and work on persuading the viewer to buy the product.

Ron Popeil was the master of selling on TV, and whenever I would encounter him selling a product I'd stop and watch. He was a showman, a storyteller and an unrelentingly enthusiastic promoter of whatever he was presenting. To this day I think about how he repeated features and values, how he seemed so relatable and reasonable, and how he encouraged people to try products. This must have been my spark bird of marketing as these behaviors are the cornerstones of good marketing.

The world has moved on to social media, video, email cadences, digital advertising and more, but one thing is always present in these efforts: a compelling story or selling proposition. It's pretty terrific that we have so many ways to market to our customers and prospects. What's daunting is just how to decide what approaches to take. Small business marketers wrestle with this question every day.

So, today, as you read this column, take a moment and think about what your spark bird of marketing is. What one or two tasks do you love to do? Are you doing them?

Stay close to them, don't outsource them too far from view. It'll be even better if you undertake them. This simple act will keep you closely connected to your broader efforts.

You can thank the bird-watching community for this notion and share your spark bird of marketing with the people with whom you work closely. I'm certain they will appreciate it.

• Rebecca Hoffman is the founder and principal of Good Egg Concepts, a strategic communication and brand marketing consulting practice serving clients around Chicagoland and nationally.

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