Tag Archives: marketing strategies

No low-hanging fruit in 2008: Survival marketing tips

low hanging fruit

If you’re a business owner or salesperson, the days of easy sales are over.

From WiseGeek.com: A fruit-bearing tree often contains some branches low enough for animals and humans to reach without much effort. The fruit contained on these lower branches may be not be as ripe or attractive as the fruit on higher limbs, but it is usually more abundant and easier to harvest. From this we get the popular expression “low hanging fruit”, which generally means selecting the easiest targets with the least amount of effort.

Low-hanging fruit. Ready to buy. Easy money. Not in 2008. News media continues to pummel us with messages that we are in tough economic times. Duh! And as a business person, you sense that money is tight. Consumers and businesses are watching their budgets. What are you going to do to survive?

Three survival marketing tips to carry you forward

1) Stop dwelling in 2004. A lot has happened since then, and it’s long gone. You need to commit to a new mentality. Don’t do the same advertising and marketing you did in 2004, because everything has changed. Accept that. You’ll need to market differently in 2008.

Newspaper circulation is down. Reevaluate your print advertising. Television is fragmented. Reevaluate your broadcast advertising. Yellow pages readership is declining. Reconsider your spending here. People are spending more time in front of their computers. Reconsider your internet marketing presence. People are time-crunched. Consumers are given more choices. What was good enough marketing to get you where you are…is not good enough to carry you forward.

2) Find a specialty. In marketing, it’s called a niche. In advertising, it’s called your Unique Selling Position. It’s the thing(s) that makes you different. Why are you special? If you are a real estate agent, your niche is not first-time home buyers. Go deeper than that. Where do they live now? Where do they want to move to? Married or single? Kids? FICO score? Be specific.

If you’re a company that thinks expanding product or service lines is the easy ticket to increased sales, you need to rethink that proposition. Be better at fewer things. We are entering an era of specialization. We can thank the internet and keywords for that.

3) Increase your networking skills. Commit time in 2008 to broaden your business network. Ask business people to meet and discuss how you can help to increase each other’s business. Join a BNI chapter if you haven’t already. My membership to Star of the North BNI was responsible for over 40% of my new business development in 2007. BNI is the world’s largest referral and networking organization. Find a chapter near you.

With networking, whether it’s the local builders association, a BNI chapter, or the local chamber of commerce, you get out of your membership what you give. Don’t expect to sign up and reap rewards. It doesn’t work that way. A spot on the roster is worthless…until you get out, meet people, and exchange business.

-30-

Chris Mitchell is the President and Founder of 25-8 Marketing, Inc, a full service advertising agency that plans and implements marketing programs for small to medium-sized businesses. He is a consultant, speaker and author and has worked with hundreds of companies. He has over 20 years of real-world advertising experience, and understands the marketing challenges of the small business owner.

website: http://www.258marketing.com
email: chris@258marketing.com

Advertisements

Your Prescription for Marketing Success: Part IV – The 5 Essential Elements of a Small Business Marketing Plan

“Playoffs? Who said anything about playoffs?”

I sometimes get the Jim Mora look when I ask about a client’s marketing plan. About 50% of the clients I have an initial consultation with don’t have one. Usually that’s why we’re talkin’ in the first place.

Without a plan, it’s easy to spend too much money, lose focus, and become a reactionary marketer. I’m going to go into the five essential elements of a small business marketing plan. Let’s start.

1) Determine your key marketing challenges. Who is the competition? What’s keeping you up at night? Retaining customers, or getting new ones? What are the consumer trends? Narrow your list to about 4 key marketing challenges. This gives you some annual goals to set your sights on…and the rest starts to fall into place.

2) Define your marketing/sales goals. This is important. Everything starts with sales. Without a benchmark of what you did last year, and what you’re shooting for this year, you’re going on a trip without a map.

Break your sales goals into quarters, and then months. Look at trends. Look at opportunities. Your marketing strategies and tactics will begin to take shape.

Maybe you’re a lawn/garden store owner, and you know 2nd quarter is going to be your top revenue period of the year. Doesn’t it make sense to put your efforts (and marketing dollars) where the most potential for revenue is?

3) Identify core products and service lines. Which products make you the most money? Which make you the least? Are there some lines you should drop? By segmenting your business into your main cores, you’ll get a better handle on which to promote this year.

4) Set your marketing budget. How much should you spend on marketing? It depends. National average for marketing budgets are about 4% of gross sales. Some industries are higher, some are lower. A grocery store spends less than 1% of gross on marketing…and a casino will spend 20% of gross on marketing.

Whatever type of business you’re in, by setting your marketing budget for the year, it will save you money. You can negotiate better advertising rates. And you’ll avoid reactionary tactics.

Put about 10% of your budget in a reserve fund for special opportunities that do come up. Plan the other 90% of the advertising budget.

Always make sure part of your budget goes toward retaining your current customers. This should be through a planned direct mail or email marketing campaign.

5) Plan your marketing calendar. Month-by-month, plug in your events. You can see an overview of how sales goals, marketing budget, and marketing tactics will all come together.

-30-

Chris Mitchell is the President and Founder of 25-8 Marketing, Inc, a full service advertising agency that plans and implements marketing programs for small to medium-sized businesses. He is a consultant, speaker and author and has worked with hundreds of companies. He has over 20 years of real-world advertising experience, and understands the marketing challenges of the small business owner.

website: http://www.258marketing.com
email: chris@258marketing.com