Small Business Marketing

If you are looking at or already have started a small company that’s based on a hobby or something you enjoy doing and you want to grow it listen up.

Your new business is based on a hobby, something that is enjoyable, so there are many players in the industry. What does this mean?  You have competition.  You’re just an amateur but there are many professionals in the market and they charge too much.  You found your niche as an affordable musician, renovator, photographer or artist, whichever you are, people need these services and you can provide them at an affordable price.  But it’s not as easy as it seems at first.  How do you tell people about your service?  You don’t have a lot of money but you will put your heart into it so you know it was be great work but how do you get that message across to your potential client?

Pro Bono. Why not?  Lawyers do it, maybe for different reasons but they are still getting experience and building their own portfolio.  Take on a project for free, ensure you get lots of exposure and the time you invest will pay out ten fold.  If you don’t have a large (or any) advertising budget you may as well show someone how good you really are.  If you are that good they will tell someone about their experience, if not, get feedback on how to improve and don’t settle until you are remarkable.  It is at that point when your business is remarkable, that you will no longer need to advertise.

The Bad Service Strategy

No company in their right mind would ever admit to it but the fact of the matter is offering less(bad) service can be quite a cost saving and yes this is a strategy, surprisingly a very good one.

It’s frustrating at times to find help in a store that prides itself on no service.  Have you ever tried to call Super Store with a question or problem?  You can’t there is no number.  Ever asked a Wal-Mart employee a detailed question about a non-stick frying pan?  You may luck out but the odds are the person can’t help you.

The reality is these large corporations understand that service costs money and after performing a cost-benefit analysis on service they determined it was not worth it.  Customers would rather have lower prices rather than paying from someone to help them while shopping.  Is that what we really want?  Would we all pay a little extra for better service?  There’s the catch.

Would you still shop at Wal-Mart if the prices were increased by five to ten percent but it included good service?  Maybe, but I would be willing to bet that the majority of us do not need great service, it is a small minority of people that actually do need it on a regular basis.

Why is this a great strategy?  If you can attain the lowest selling price, history tells us you will sell a lot of products so you don’t need a value added strategy, the lowest price is the value.  So who’s complaining?  There will always be companies that have the lowest prices and with it will come poor service; it’s to be expected.  At the same time you will always find a niche clientele that is willing to pay more for value added service.

You are free to go to the more expensive stores, you now know why you pay more, expect great service.  As well you can still frequent the stores with the lowest price, but please save us all some time and don’t complain about service.

Baseball Hecklers and Good Marketers

Baseball hecklers go to games for a reason, they have a goal and for the most part they are good at what they do.  The goal? To get in the pitcher’s head so he’s off his game.  They go about in many different ways but in the end, if the pitcher is at all affected, the heckler considers his work a success.

But what if the heckler is distracted from his goal?  What if the crowd likes him?  All of a sudden he is the entertainment, his focus is taken off the pitcher and put towards impressing the crowd.  He is no longer seeking his long-term goal but instead looking for that short-term gain.

Marketers go into projects with a goal in mind, at least they should be.  When that goal is achieved the project is considered a success.  But what if along the way the marketer creates some funny radio spot, a great Facebook ad or some flashy branding material that really impresses the client?  Is the goal now making the client happy in the short term, or is the long-term goal still in the sights?

Too many hecklers and marketers start with a long-term goal in mind and soon after change to the short-term gain of impressing the client.  Trying to be the funniest, flashiest, loudest, marketer out there may impress the crowd for a couple innings but at the end of the game it’s the guy who stuck to the long-term strategy that is the successful one.  The next project you take on, ask yourself, “Am I trying to get in the pitchers head? Or just impressing the crowd”.