My grandpa, whos a Quaker, used to disapprove of the fact that I ventured into marketing, but hes coming round to my way of thinking, even at the grand age of 92. He is suspicious of marketing (in his mind - a term synonymous with extracting money from a gullible party, for the benefit of corporate greed) and doesnt believe in profit, even though profit itself is not a bad thing.I bring this issue up because in case you hadnt noticed, its going to be Christmas soon and as usual any company which can exploit Christmas as a commercial theme is doing so. But before we exchange our Christmas wreath for cynicism on our front door, sometimes marketing can be beneficial and the creativity in marketing campaigns can be enjoyed by the consumer.Take for instance (but not for instant) Starbucks Coffee Company, no longer is it just a coffee company! If youre still refusing to do your Christmas shopping online, marketing executives at Starbucks have come up with a few ideas so that you can break the shopping up with interludes of Gingerbread Latte, Eggnog Latte or Toffee Nut Latte ( http://starbucks.co.uk/en-GB/_Favorite+Beverages/Christmas+Beverages.htm ). You could even come back after the shopping and have a Chocolate Mint Bliss or Mint Chocolate Chip Frappuccino. If Marketing brings Gingerbread Lattes, then its got to be a good thing.Its not just the high street shops which are getting festive. Online stores are getting into the Christmas spirit too, even finance companies; the traditional residences of Scrooge type characters. Moneynet, a personal finance information research specialist, has brought out a Christmas finance guide ( http://www.moneynet.co.uk/christmas-savings-guide/index.shtml ), with a range of money-saving tips to help the innocent consumer navigate their way past loan sharks who feed on the financial difficulties of certain families, particularly at Christmas.But lets not dwell on the doom and gloom, lets think about the children, whats marketing doing for them? Well the Early Learning Centre has developed a special Christmas section ( http://www.elc.co.uk/category-720 ) on its website to inspire parents, grandparents and relatives with ideas of suitable gifts for the children. If your daughter is more into Stevie Wonder than Golden Wonder, then she might be impressed with the Pink Keyboard And Stool; though remember, musical toys last for years not just for Christmas, its your sanity at stake.But Christmas isnt just for the kids, its for the big kids too. Justtoys is a site which sells toys for parents, buying toys for their children. If my parents are reading this, or even my colleagues, I quite fancy the Radio Control Dalek http://www.justtoys.com/toy.asp/Toy/33/buy/radio-control-dalek.htm which offers seven phrases triggered by buttons on the remote control, 360 degree on the spot rotational movement and the Dome and Eyestalk move from side to side as it moves. Beats slippers and writing paper any day.Marketing and commercial competition has also made a fantastic choice available on the internet and it gives us ideas, when weve run out of inspiration ourselves. So whilst we need to remain sceptical about advertising, there are some advantages to profit investment and Starbucks Chocolate Mint Bliss is one of them.
I thought I would clear up some misconceptions about marketing in this two-part series: What Marketing Can Do For You and What Marketing Can't Do For You. We'll start with the positive.Over the years, I've had dealings with some business owners who have a rather skewed perception of marketing. They think you throw a few ads out there, get a couple of press releases printed and voila! Youre a big success.Oh, if it only were that easy. (Although if it were, I probably wouldnt have a job.)But there's no getting around that to have a successful business, you need a solid marketing plan. So what CAN marketing do for you? Increase your business no question about it. You need to be marketing if you want to grow your business.However (and this is a really big however) marketing is NOT going to result in overnight success. Marketing is about slow growth, building on last week's success and forgetting about last month's failures. (Or what you THINK are failures. It's not uncommon that a campaign you think is a dismal disappointment may be what caused the next campaign to take off.)Marketing is about frequency -- about your target market seeing your offer over and over again until they're finally ready to buy. Without that very important frequency, your business will start to stagnate and eventually die.Now that doesn't mean you won't have a major success with a campaign. Even a massive, amazing, unbelievable success. You'll run one ad or be featured in an article and wham! You end up with more orders than you know what to do with. While that's a great shot in the arm, it probably won't last unless you keep building upon it. Eventually the orders will dry up and you'll be back to where you were before.Marketing is also about being consistent. This goes back to building on successes. Your customers need to see your message over and over again. This builds trust and credibility. Plus, your current customers will also respond to that frequency. Not only will they not "forget" about you and go to your competitor, but it will help build their trust in you as well.Lastly, marketing is about working hard. There's no getting around it. To be successful means putting in the time and energy to continually market yourself. (You can also pay someone to help you with it, but basically it comes down to someone somewhere has to put in the time to continually market you.) If you remember nothing else, remember this: If you don't implement your marketing strategies, nothing is going to happen. That last sentence seems obvious, but again, I'm amazed at how many people I run into who aren't willing to do the work. They talk about it, but when it actually comes down to doing something, they somehow never seem to get around to it.One way to overcome that is to plan on doing one task or a little marketing every day. Then it doesn't seem quite so overwhelming. Me, I make a commitment to do X number of marketing tasks a week, regardless of how much time that takes.Marketing is a commitment. There's no getting around it. If you have a business, then you have no choice but to make a commitment to marketing on a consistent basis until the day comes when you decide you don't want a business anymore. Creativity Exercise -- Make a CommitmentSince I'm interested in having all of you succeed, I want YOU to make a commitment right now to market your business on a regular basis.Write this statement on a piece of paper, filling in your name in the proper place.I, YOUR NAME, am making a commitment to market my business on a regular basis from now until I decide I dont want to be in business any more.Sign and date it.I suggest posting it in a place where you can see it while you're working. Or, if you really want to add some accountability to your commitment, tell someone about it. You can even tell me about it -- just send me an e-mail at Michele@theartistsoul.com There's nothing like announcing your intention to keeping you honest.
If you have your own small business, it's important to decide exactly who you will be marketing your products or services to. After all, you probably don't have the time or the money to market to everyone. And even if you did, it is not recommended.You'll want to select what is called a "target audience." This is an identifiable group of people you believe will be the best prospects for your business.But for many small business owners, narrowing their focus to one primary group of people can be a challenging task. They want to help everyone and very often their product or service CAN help a variety of people.It also goes against human nature to narrow your focus in order to grow a business. Common sense seems to tell us if we want to grow our business big, we need to appeal to more people.In reality the opposite is true. When we narrow our focus to a particular group of people we become an expert in solving their particular problems. We get to know them very well and we can develop additional products and services to fill their needs.So how do you decide who to market to?Following are 5 tips:1) Think about the type of people who can MOST benefit from what you have to offer.2) Think about who you would most enjoy helping, or working with.3. Think about the type of people who will be easiest to reach, AND who will be most receptive to what you are selling. These will be people who KNOW they have THE problem you can solve and are LOOKING for a solution.4) Know that just because you select a particular group of people to focus your marketing on, does NOT mean you can't help others who may come to you. It only means you're going to focus your proactive marketing efforts on the target group you select.5) Lastly, don't over-think it. Listen to your gut, pick a group you feel you can really help and proceed with the development of your marketing plan. Marketing is a fluid process. The important thing is to start. You can always refine your audience and your plan later as you learn more.(C) 2005 Debbie LaChusa
Copyright 2006 Donna GunterSeveral years ago, in response to client requests for no-cost or low-cost marketing techniques, I coined the term "tightwad marketing". My definition of "tightwad marketing" is the art of doing more with less, or using your creativity instead of your checkbook to get the word out about your business.Even though the saying, If you build it they will come worked for Kevin Costners character in the movie, Field of Dreams, life doesn't often imitate art. Usually the first thing that pops into someones mind when they think about marketing is, I've got to place an ad. Place a few ads and soon your marketing budget has totally dried up. Statistics say that someone must see your ad six times in the same publication before thinking of using your business. If its a weekly or monthly publication, that could be six weeks to six months down the road, and you can't afford to wait that long!In order for the public to find your field of dreams, here are ten inexpensive ways to get started:1. Define your USP--your Unique Selling Proposition--and use it in everything that you do. Make sure your customer knows what it is that you do that is unique to you and your business. Don't make them struggle to answer the question of why they should do business with you instead of your competitor.2. Create joint ventures with other businesses that complement yours. For example, if youre a real estate agent, team up with a cleaning service, an interior decorator, and a personal chef to offer a nice packaged deal to a new home buyer.3. Stress the benefits of what you do, not the product or service. Theres a great story thats passed around about the worlds most successful insurance salesman, who, when asked what he did for a living, responded, I buy life assurance. Most people responded, What do you mean? to which he replied, I buy life assurance for my clients at the best possible price. Would you like me to buy some for you? Make your potential customer think, I've got to get that!4. Become newsworthy! Send out media releases to announce a new service or product or sponsorship of a charity event. Create an event or a special day. Link what you do to an existing trend or news event. Talk about your personal story in the business, i.e. if you went broke and bounded back, started to create one product and ended up with another, etc. Issue an award or give something away. Conduct a survey and report the results. Write a letter to the editor.5. Talk to your customers. Call 5 previous customers and find out what they liked and didn't like about their dealings with you, and how you might better serve them in the future. Have them write testimonials that you can use. Ask and reward them for referrals.6. Love what you do and become a model of what youre selling. If you don't absolutely love what you do and feel passionate about it, your customers are going to see right through you and not be convinced to buy what you are offering. For example, if youre a car mechanic and your shop sits on a parking lot full of clunkers that don't run, why would anyone hire you to repair their car? Or, if youre a landscaper and your lawn is full of weeds and crabgrass, who wants to hire you to beautify their yard? If you don't truly feel passionate about your business and become a living model of that business to everyone you meet, then find another business!7. Network, network, network! Join organizations, such as Chambers of Commerce, professional groups, civic groups, etc. and any type of organization to which your target market might belong. Attend community events like business open-houses or neighborhood picnics. Sales master Joe Girard lives by his Law of 250, which states that everyone knows about 250 people well enough to invite to their wedding or to be in attendance at their funeral. Lesson: Perhaps the person youre speaking with isnt interested in what you offer, but theres a good chance s/he knows someone who is250 of them!8. Use attention-getting devices -- make yourself visible. Always have business cards on hand to distribute. Have a t-shirt personalized with your business name and wear it when you run errands. Wear an outfit or uniform that shows the world who you are. UPS has taken their identity as seen in their brown trucks and uniforms and embraced it with the tag line in their current commercials, "What can brown do for you?"9. Talk and teach. Approach local organizations about being a guest speaker at their next meeting. Give a workshop that is open to public and is low-cost/no-cost for participants and discuss a particular aspect of your business, or demonstrate what you do. Offer them valuable information, but leave them hungry for more. For example, a financial planner might offer a free seminar called, Planning for Retirement as a Thirty-something or a bank loan officer might offer a workshop in conjunction with a real estate agency called, Everything a First-Time Homebuyer Needs to Know But is Too Scared to Ask. Or, work with your local college or recreation department and get paid to teach what you know.10. Implement 5 a day. Make a list of all the creative ways you can market your business, and implement 5 of them per day.Remember, in Tightwad Marketing, youre limited only by your imagination!
The choice on the marketing tool to use depends on the type of business. There are actually so many kinds of marketing tools to choose from however it is important that you know which one is applicable to your business. One of the most chosen marketing tool is the catalog. But for starters let us first define what catalogs are. Catalogs are multi-page documents that permit customers to view and purchase products and services. Catalogs are excellent counterparts for business media like web sites, brochures or even flyers. The available catalog sizes are the following: 5 x 8 , 8 x 11, 8 x 11 and 11 x 17.Moreover catalogs may also be customized for added flare. There are certain advantages that may be derived from having customized catalogs and these are as follows: custom-made catalogs are excellent representative of any company or business. They also provide customers with a constant access to all the products and services that a company is offering. And of course catalogs showcase the products and services in detail. Catalogs are so effective that according to one study it increases sales by 10 to 20% especially when it is combined with a website. But just how are we to create these catalogs? There are certain considerations in creating a catalog and these are design, paper, binding and of course the printing company.Catalog DesignIn deciding on what design to use for the catalog, one very important factor must be considered and that is the design must be able to effectively capture the interest of its recipients. Then there is also the consideration in terms of pages to be included in the catalog. The number of catalog pages will be in accordance to the information as well as the images that are going to be displayed on them. Remember that is it not a good idea to over crowd a certain page with so many texts and images that have no relevance whatsoever to the company or to the products and services being offered.But if ever you like your catalogs to have that professional feel and look to it you may consider alignment and parallelism as additional factors to dwell on. You see most people prefer to have their catalogs with symmetry meaning they want to see varied shapes, lines and patterns. Symmetry in some way attracts them so be sure to include that in your catalogs. Another is parallelism which is achieved by using uniform fonts, color as well as types of graphics or images in the catalog.The Paper to UseChoosing the right type of paper to use is important since it can make and unmake your design. There are certain characteristics your chosen paper should posses like surface strength, tear strength, bursting ability and the tensile strength. The surface strength pertains to the ability of the paper to resists ripping whenever ink is applied. The tear strength refers to ability of paper resist tearing. The bursting ability on the other hand refers to the capacity of paper to withstand ripping most especially for packaging bags and envelopes. And last but no the least, the tensile strength which is the ability of paper to stretch without breaking. Binding of CatalogSince catalogs are multi-pages documents you will have to bind these pages together. There are at least six types of standard stitching use for catalog binding the perfect binding, saddle-stitched binding, side-stitched binding, case binding, plastic comb binding and the three-ring binding. But before you choose you should first know the differences between these types of stitching. The perfect binding involves gluing of the outside edge of the pages in order to create that flat edge. The saddle-stitch binding make use of staples on the fold of the pages. The side-stitch binding also make use of stapling but this time staple the pages together on the side rather than on the fold. The case binding requires for the pages to be sewn together and then attached to a hard cover. The plastic comb binding make use of plastic teeth that are fit into a stack of pages. And then the three-ring binding requires for punching of holes into the pages before fitting them into a binder.The Printing CompanyThere are many printing companies to choose from and they are available either online or offline. However, there are certain edges that online providers have over their offline counterparts and that is in terms of their lowered prices plus their fast turnaround time. It is also more convenient transacting business as well as sending your catalog orders online.