Marketing tips for SMEs from Brand Now.
For many SMEs, marketing and public relations take a backseat to administration and sales. But a big financial investment is not needed to launch your campaign. ‘Below the line’ tactics can be just as effective as traditional marketing approaches.
Take Richard Branson for example, he regularly leverages personal publicity to get his companies noticed.
If you’re looking for new and low-cost ways to make your company shine, below are some ideas on how to maximize your brand on a minimal budget.
A cost effective way to reach your target audience is via media relations. The way to connect with the media is via press conferences, media briefings, interviews, press/photo releases and content contributions to the media.
If it’s the first time you’re interfacing with the media, your first step should be to establish a relationship. One of the best ways to do this is to become a credible expert, a person the media can turn to for answers.
To identify the media outlets you should look at your target customer profile and identify the media sources they regularly use. This could range from online e-magazines to printed publications.
Next, narrow your scope to the media outlets that have the greatest reach. Then, make friends with the editorial team. Study the type of news being published and ask how you can help contribute to their publication. When there are articles that pertain to your area of expertise, you can send in a short statement offering more information or sharing a point of view. By doing so, the editor and reporter will regard you as a specialist and they will likely keep in touch with you should they want more expert advice on the subject.
EVENTS AND EXHIBITIONS
Organizing a function and participating in an exhibition is another great way to connect and engage with your target audience. You may choose to host an event to launch your company, celebrate an anniversary, stage a product demonstration, or simply hold a customer thank you party. As part of the planning, you and your team will want to set a goal that you want to achieve by doing the event.
Setting a key performance indicator (KPI) is a way of ensuring the investment generates a return to the company. For example, the customer thank you party could be part of the plan to increase customer satisfaction. A product demonstration event should generate a set number of leads for the sales team to follow-up. The focus of most events is creating an experience you’d like to give your target audience from the moment they encounter your team and try your product or services.
Guy Kawasaki, a well-known venture capitalist and former high profile Apple marketer, touched on the subject in his book Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions. Kawasa talks about the three pillars that enchant customers, which are: (1) likability; (2) trustworthiness; and (3) a great product and service. Take these into consideration when planning an event.
Forming a marketing partnership is another effective way to reach your audience. The first step is identifying a co-promotion partner. The ideal partner would be a non-competing company that targets the same market and has a product or service which is a complement to your own. They could refer business to you and vice versa. You could bundle special deals for your target audience on seasonal offers.
Another type of partnership is a marketing alliance that creates a halo effect. Brand names are often judged by the company they keep. Some famous co-brandings are Intel/Microsoft, Ferrari/Acer, and BMW/James Bond movies.
You and your partner(s) may also set-up KPI to measure the effectiveness of your collaboration. These KPIs could range from measuring market share, number of referrals generated, customer conversion, and/or message recall.
With smaller budgets, SMEs have to be more creative with their marketing and PR budget. Below the line tactics could be just as effective as above the line. A shining example of this is the Gangnam Style music video that’s gone viral. In December 2012, it has garnered more than one billion viewers on youtube.com. That’s plenty of “oppa” for Psy the singer!
Pacharee Pantoomano-Pfirsch is a Marketing Consultant at Brand Now, a boutique marketing and PR agency helping clients to communicate their brand. She can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org