Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Thinking As If There is no Box; 10 Marketing Tips for Tough Times

Think as if there is no box!

Written by Robyn T. Braley

Business survival depends on producing results when economies tank. To keep existing clients while trying to find new business, the challenge is not to think outside the box. It is to think as if there is no box!


Every market segment is different. They just are. And, that is the fun in working with unique clients.

So, to suggest there are one-size-fits all solutions runs counter to the way we think at Unimark Creative. We like to walk beside our clients, learn more about their needs, and find ways to solve their marketing problems.

I always feel uncomfortable when asked to come up with lists of “must-have” marketing tools. The secret to business success is to identify your client’s needs and provide a solution that will meet them. Simple, right?

Hold on. When hit by an unpredictable economy, business owners are forced to consider programs they may not have considered previously. Some get back to the basics that helped them get started. Others do things they've never done before as they shore up existing business while also searching for new opportunities.


Act before time runs out!

Clock is Ticking


Unfortunately, when the storms gather, some businesses simply run out of time and can’t adjust to seismic change. In January 2015 the bottom dropped out of the price of oil and the Canadian economy plummeted.

One of our manufacturing clients, which was focused on a single though lucrative market segment didn’t make it. They couldn’t retool and refocus fast enough to develop new markets.

But, hold the gloom and doom. I also have good news. While most clients are holding steady, others are experiencing higher revenues than last ever before. The change in the economy brought new opportunities.

Some will look at my list below as marketing nuts and bolts. But, sometimes, business owners are so busy fending off angry alligators that they feel to see the obvious. The old forest and the trees thing.

Marketing Mix


I advocate using a mix of online, social and traditional media to create synergy. A tough economy is not the time to take chances unless you have reserve capital to fall back on. Whatever marketing strategies you have been using, now is the time to do them better. Lets check out some basics.

A Bit of Branding Theory


When I am interviewed by the media about branding, I’m sure audiences grow tired of hearing me refer to the 5 point marketing formula for marketing success. It drives all brand relationships.

  • Customers must get to know you, your product or service. 
  • When they know you, they will hopefully like you
  • Knowing and liking leads to trust
  • When there is a level of trust, engagement leads to building a relationship. 
  • A relationship will lead to closing the loop or making the sale.
"Building customer loyalty depends on transparency, authenticity, relevance and providing value. Translate that to mean being genuine, offering quality products or services, providing value and meeting customer needs."

Website


Regardless of the sector you are in, a custom website built to engage prospective customers is mandatory. Your entire marketing program will revolve around it.

  • Dynamic
  • Responsive
  • Content management 

Why Does My Company Website Suck?



    Brochures


    This one will surprise many. An attractive brochure provides a ‘leave-behind’ tool for personal meetings or a ‘take away’ for customers from your location. It can also be emailed as a PDF and uploaded to your website for easy access. Don’t cheap out on design. With high quality digital printing, you only need to print as many as you need.

    Video


    Video is an efficient way to tell your story. If you need a “show and tell” tour of your factory or to look clients in the eye to tell them why they should trust you and buy your product or service, video is an effective tool.

    Whether you shoot a video with your phone or engage a production company will be determined by the expectations of your customer base. Either may be the right choice.


    10 Reason Why Video Production Makes Sense.


    Sales Program


    Thoroughbred sales professionals are like athletes; they must constantly exercise their skills in order to excel. Develop a regular training program, an easy-to-use customer management system (CMS) and other supports. An organized program for prospecting, qualifying, selling and servicing customers will pay dividends.

    Born to Sell; What Makes a Great Sales Professional


    Mainstream Media


    For some of our retail customers, we use radio, TV and print advertising. However, to be effective, media buyers must understand how each medium has changed during the past 5 years. Maximize the impact and extend the reach by including a strategic mix of social media.

    Social Media


    If done right, social media takes discipline and careful thought. But don’t let that be an excuse for not launching your program.

    First, choose a platform that will best meet your needs. It may be facebook, twitter, YouTube, Pintrest, eNews or one of a gazillion others. Chose one, master it, and develop an editorial strategy. Automated management programs like Buffer or Hootsuite are key.

    Public Relations


    If you have an interesting story about overcoming adversity, how your company can solve a common problem, or how a new product will dramatically change lives, generating editorial media coverage can help build your brand.
      Robyn T. Braley on NEWSTALK 770
    • Send clients links to TV, radio or print stories about your company. 
    Speak at local service clubs, networking clubs, trade association meetings or do Lunch and Learns for potential customers.

    • Record your talk and upload excerpts as a podcast to your website, FaceBook or LinkedIn page. 
    • Take a selfie of you speaking at the event and tweet it, facebook it, pin it or email it with a link to your podcast.
    • Divide the recording into a series of short stand-alone podcasts and email links to your clients so they can download them. 

    Sponsorship


    Event sponsorship can be a great way to get your business before people who matter to your business. Align yourself with a cause or an event you have a passion for.

    • Leverage your support by letting clients know about your involvement.
    • Provide tools for the organizers to promote your support. Offer product or promotional product give-aways if appropriate. 
    • Subtly market your company at the event with banner stands or table displays. Low key does it. 
    • Ask to be introduced at a keynote session. 

    Network, Network, Network


    I have to admit it! I have made business contacts while at funerals. It wasn’t intentional, it just happened.

    Going to places where people you want to meet hang out is an easy way to start a relationship. Attending seminars, trade shows or industry association events exposes you to prospects in a relaxed setting.
    • Place your business card in one pocket and those you receive in another. Never mix the two.
    • Don’t be a pig. In fact, it may be best not to eat sparingly if the food is messy. 
    • Rehearse conversation starters.
    • Know the rules and don’t be annoying. Ever! First impressions really do count. 
    • Always send an email acknowledging people you met.


    Bootstrapping with Broken Laces - Guerilla Strategies


    Some of the most effective marketing tools are also the simplest. Google additional lists.
    • Fund raisers tell me there is a direct correlation between repeat donations and the time taken to send a thank you note or phone call following the first gift. Develop a thankyou card. Mail it. Noone else does it. 
    • Print branded discount cards and distribute them by hand to surrounding businesses. 
    • Create an event and invite clients and neighboring businesses. 
    • Create opportunities to allow potential customers to experience your service or product
    • Surprise decision maker clients by hand delivering a rose, pizza, boxes of donuts or free tickets. 
    • Donate products, services or coupons to silent auctions. 
    • Search for innovative ways to create impact signage like buying an old van and wrapping it with your branding. Park it in front of your store.

    Robyn T. Braley is a writer, speaker and producer. He is the President of UniMark Creative which does website design, video production, media services (editorial and advertising), and graphic design. Contact him through LinkedIn or at unimarkcreative.com

    Email: info@unimarkcreative.com
    Website: www.unimarkcreative.com
    Twitter: @robyntbraley
    LinkedIn

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