- Sales Calls
- Trade Shows
- Seminars &
- Direct Mail
- Selling Materials
A successful marketing effort blends both types of tactics. Yet all
too often, a company’s marketing effort suffers from an overbalance
of one. Mix both types of tactics and your prospects will know the name
and face of your company.
Some companies have
an unhealthy fixation on their own industry. This can lead to a myopia
or closed-mindedness. One way to add a little spice to your marketing
is to look at other, unrelated industries and learn from them.
For example, if you’re a service-provider, study how cereal is
marketed. Or if you’re a manufacturer, study a travel agency.
Then, ask yourself “What do they do differently than us?”
and “Why?” You’re sure to get at least one ‘A-Ha’
to apply to your business.
#3 Ask your
knows your business best? Those closest to it. A quest for new ideas
and variety should bring you in front of your customers first. Talk
to your customers, suppliers or even prospects. Ask them questions like:
company in my industry does a great job of marketing?
was the most unique marketing effort you’ve ever seen?
If you could add one marketing element to my company, what would it
As you get feedback to these questions, you’ll start seeing who
to keep an eye on, which marketing events stick out in people’s
minds and what you can add to your marketing effort.
through the eyes of a child
My ten-year old daughter and 6-year old son make some of the most insightful
comments. They’re not industry gurus, yet their observations are
every bit as clear-sighted.
If you have a chance, take a kid (your kid, a niece, a grandson) to
a brand new place they’ll enjoy (i.e. a new playground, a kid’s
store). While there, get to the root of why this place is interesting
by asking them questions like:
is this place fun?
you built this place, what else would you add?
this place missing?
Then, ask them the same types of questions about your company. If you’re
a home-based business, show them your sales materials and get feedback
there. Sometimes, a response to a seemingly unrelated topic—that
comes from a ‘straight shooter’ (and I can’t think
of anyone who shoots straighter than a child!)—will give you just
the answer you need.
The sticky, hooked tendrils of a flower’s burr inspired a man
to invent the Velcro fastener. The ‘spinning wing’ of the
elm seed served as a model for more efficient windmills.
Talk a hike in the woods and see if any outside-the-box thinking comes
from what you see. If no new ideas come about, at least you’ll
have had an enjoyable outing!
Jay B. Lipe, is
a renowned expert on small business marketing. He is the author of The
Marketing Toolkit for Growing Businesses
and the CEO of Emerge Marketing (www.emergemarketing.com)
a firm that helps small businesses develop marketing plans and programs.
To buy the
book go to www.emergemarketing.com