Michael Nelson
January 5, 2014

Marketing Advice From Shakespeare

In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Polonius tells his son “This above all: to thine own self be true.”  Sage business advice from the bard himself.

It’s tempting for a small business to pursue and accept all work that meets the revenue profile.  What’s wrong with that, after all, isn’t one of the primary purposes of a business to generate revenue?

Frequently, marketing campaigns by small businesses are crafted towards what the company believes the market “wants to hear.”

When asked what a company does, it’s easy to answer in a way that is designed to please the prospect.

In these three examples, there isn’t anything overtly wrong or underhanded.  But…its not really being true to whom the company is or stands for.  Your company…

But, it’s easier to just do the work and keep my nose to the grindstone…

Goals. Value Propositions.  Customer Segments.  Business Models.  Marketing Plans.  An objective view of where you are on the journey.  It’s a seemingly complicated chain of topics.  They are also absolutely essential in order to “thine own self be true.”

When you have these elements defined and in place, it means you’ve invested the time and the hard thinking to work out where you want to go, who you serve, and how you’re going to get there.

Now, if you accept work outside your sweet spot, you do it with purpose and understand how it fits into the grand scheme of things.

When you craft your marketing messages, you know the value you provide and specifically who benefits from that value.  You target the right people with the right message to get the right work at the right cost.

When you know who you and your company are, your messaging becomes congruent across all mediums.  Your employees can accurately and compellingly tell your business story.  When you connect with a prospect, you’ll both know it right away.

Many entrepreneurs start a business with a few exceptional skills.  These skills have translated into a business.  The owner understands what the business does best and whom it can help the most.

But knowing this and articulating it are not the same.  If you don’t put forth the effort to build a business framework in a structured manner, you run the risk of trying to be all things to all people.

Take the time.  Do the brainstorming.  Build the simple, but powerful, business framework to surround your skills.  Do this early to save much grief and lost effort down the road.  If you’re already down the business path a bit, take the time to create your framework using your lessons learned.

Do this and you’ll build the business you want and enjoy it.  Because you will “to thine own self be true.”

Thanks Mr. Shakespeare (world’s first business coach…)


Michael Nelson

The Cogent Coach


The following two tabs change content below.

Michael Nelson

Michael Nelson is a small business coach and circumstance marketing innovator who lives in DC with his lovely wife and three insane boys. Michael Nelson ”The Cogent Coach” Follow me on:  Twitter / Facebook /  LinkedIn / Google+
Filed Under: Tagged With: Small Business Marketing