Director of redPepper Marketing, Michelle Tennens will present a seminar at the ‘Growing Your Own Business Exhibition & Conference at Olympia London on April 4 and 5 entitled, “Big marketing ideas for small businesses”.
Tickets cost £13 on the door but UTalkMarketing readers can visit for free. Click here to find out more.
Big business, big budgets, on the surface it seems that they are light years away from the average SME in terms of marketing. Their marketing campaigns are executed with precision, taking advantage of the best design agencies and ad creatives that money can buy.
How can SMEs emulate the success and style of the big corporates to get value and results from their small budget marketing? There are some very simple steps that everyone from the one-man band plumber to the 50-strong IT company can take to emulate the success of corporate marketing strategies.
Top Tip 1: Planning
Planning departments are responsible for pulling all the elements of market research, design, copywriting, media buying and sales channels together to create and execute great marketing campaigns. But just because you only have five people in your entire company, does not mean you can’t plan. Fail to plan and you plan to fail.
Planning is simply sitting down and considering the key questions:
· Who do I want to sell to?
· Where are they, and what are they likely to read, see or hear?
· How much can I afford to spend?
· How often do I need to get the attention of my buyers?
Corporate planning departments may have more sophisticated terms for these questions which are unnecessary. The essential part is making a plan before you buy even one inch of advertising space or lick a single stamp for your direct mail!
Top Tip 2: Get the right words and images
Whatever you are selling you need the right words and images to describe it. If you look at the big media campaigns it is clear to see that they understand the things that inspire their potential buyers.
For example cars ads often focus on emotional desires rather than the actual product. Citron’s recent ad turned its car in to a hip-hop Transformer, that was emotional selling – memorable and with street cred. The key to getting the right words and images is to think about your audience and the words and emotions that they might use to describe your product, not the words that you would use.
This is of particular important when it comes to marketing on the internet, people search for products under terms that mean something to them. List your product on ebay as an “06 polycarbonate convex safety mirror” and you won’t get many hits as only tech heads put in search terms like that. But put the keywords “driveway mirror” and people will find you, now you are in with a chance of selling to them.
Top Tip 3: Don’t reply on just one media
Top insurance broker, Sheila’s Wheels, has stormed on to the UK market. Bright pink, Ozzy glamour girls drive home their unashamedly bias message that ladies get a better deal on car insurance than men with Shiela’s Wheels. While we all remember the TV ads, it does not stand alone, it is backed up by direct mail and internet listings that really deliver results.
When planning your campaigns, take a leaf out of their book, go for more than one media. Perhaps your mix will be Parish magazines, direct mail and sign writing on your company van. Make sure them work together by planning the timings carefully.
Find out when the Parish magazine ad will hit the door mat and have your van in the area at the same time, time your direct mail letters to arrive the following week. Then belt and braces, get your sales person on the phone in the same area a week later. Give yourself a chance to follow up in each area before moving on to the next
Top tip 4: Budget carefully
Big campaigns demand big budgets. But beware of falling in to the trap of trying to use the same media as the corporates but with half the budget. For example, cinema advertising is very effective and corporates use this effectively with large screen format productions tailored to the media.
But we have also seen small companies trying to do the same with low budget productions that are so embarrassing that even the audience wants to close their eyes. Select your media carefully and avoid being sold an aspirational dream by a slick ad sales guy who is really only interested in his commission and not the success of your business.
Don’t be afraid to ask for a discount or free ad space – it’s not just the corporates that can get good deals. And if you don’t have the budget for stamps in a direct mail campaign, then ask your local school if they would be willing to let you hand out leaflets to the Mum’s after school, or put your leaflets in with their weekly school newsletter – remember, ask with a smile and you could get a lot for free!
Top tip 5: Get proof it worked
Corporate marketing is always followed through with in-depth analysis of the results. MORI polls and mystery shopping results have filled miles and miles of filing cabinets in the quest to find out if their advertising spend was worth it. Why? Because you don’t want to throw good money after bad.
Plan your marketing campaigns so that after a reasonable period you can take stock, check your sales results and find out where you got your most valuable leads from. Make sure that every customer is routinely asked where they found out about your products and write it down, every time.
Use tools like Google Analytics to build up a picture of the traffic coming to your website and then look at the trends in line with your sales results. Start creating a long term picture of success and failure. Don’t hide the mistakes under the carpet, but learn from it and tweak your plan.
The big lesson?
The most valuable lesson that we can learn from big media campaigns is summed up in one word: PLANNING. Fail to plan and you plan to fail.
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