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How Do You Describe Your Business?

Adding Marketing Skills to Your Business Acumen for 2017

If you’re a business owner in this industry, chances are you wear many hats: you’re part designer, part engineer, and part visionary. Your days can be consumed by client calls or you could be in the back office working on billing. Even if business is steady, to amplify it and really make it thrive, “revenue builder” has to be on your list of skills. Sales and marketing are key areas that can always be refined to help drive business and boost your bottom line.

According to Jason Falls from the Conversation Research Institute, “Whether your home technology business is large or small, understanding just what kind of business you own helps you optimize how you approach everything from sales to customer service–in other words, your marketing.”

Falls breaks down small business into three classifications that aren’t mutually exclusive, but will help you identify your current approach. Consider which description best describes your business:

Inbound marketing means that a business provides something of value to its prospective customers in exchange for that customer’s permission to market to them.

Relationship: Most small businesses begin by selling to people they know or capitalizing on recommendations and referrals from people they know. This is a relationship marketing business. You don’t rely on advertising much, but likely dabble in some sponsorships and business networking groups.

Outbound: When relationships run dry, most small businesses turn to advertising to create more awareness that presumably drives people to consider their company. One can support local sports teams, buy into a direct mail program, or even do some advertising on a local radio station or newspaper.

Inbound: Inbound marketing is a newer promotion strategy. Also referred to as a lead-generation business, inbound marketing means that a business provides something of value to its prospective customers in exchange for that customer’s permission to market to them. Perhaps you write blog posts, post YouTube videos, or even prepare home entertainment optimization tips in a downloadable flyer on your website. But to get the content, people have to connect with you or hear your marketing message as an integral part of the content.

“Your marketing can feature elements of each, and the most successful businesses certainly do,” Falls said. “But grasping where you are on the continuum of each is critical to understanding where you spend your marketing resources, and in the end, will help you see where you’re finding ROI.”

In today’s consumer-driven and digital-first environment, inbound marketing businesses typically see better ROI. And you would be surprised how simple it is to evolve from relationship marketing to inbound marketing.

If this is something that has piqued your interest, we invite you to join CEDIA at the 2017 CEDIA Business Xchange held in San Antonio, TX, March 1-3. This comprehensive three-day event will provide you with actionable takeaways that you can implement when you get back to the office. Falls will dig further into how you can move beyond referrals to lead generation, and Rochelle Carrington will lead a session on how to approach sales from a unique standpoint, understanding what makes each client tick. Not only will you have the opportunity to learn from these tailored sessions, but there is plenty of time built in for you to network and bounce ideas off your peers.

Registration is open for the 2017 CEDIA Business Xchange, and early bird savings are available until January 18. Visit to learn more.