Marketing On A Shoestring
Neil Bromage has run his own small business and is a freelance business writer working on a range of newspapers including The Times, Sunday Times, Telegraph and Financial Mail on Sunday. This book is based on a wide range of columns and Q&As written and answered by Neil for Business Link over a number of years. He is based near Preston, Lancs.
Whatever the size of your business the chances are that you want to see it grow. That is, after all, why most people go into business in the first place, and even the tiniest amount spend on marketing can carry you a long way. So, having decided that you want to give your business a boost with a co-ordinated marketing strategy, where do you start? The number of publications is huge, so how do you choose between them and how do you turn those often generalised theories into effective business practice?
Fortunately, the first principle of marketing is just the same for a business on a small budget as it is for a well-heeled multinational: know your market. To market effectively, you need first to know who your customers are. Neglecting this most basic requirement is the most common reason for a failing market strategy.
Basic marketing is not complicated and your chief, and cheapest, marketing resource is a clear head and a systematic approach. Once you have identified exactly who, and where your customers are you can plan the most effective ways of reaching them and hopefully cut out your competitors in the process.
The routes you can choose from are many and varied mailshots, advertising, telemarketing, energetic PR campaigns aimed at trade and local press, handouts and leaflet drops, exhibitions, launching a simple website or even putting cards in shop windows in particular areas.
Marketing considerations affect the full range of business practice, from market research to pricing, promotion to distribution, selling to customer care and more.