Marketing on Light Line
Everyone knows that marketing creates opportunity, but the perception is that
the costs are prohibitive. Luckily, there are some things you can do to successfully
market your company and enhance your current efforts without substantially increasing
Timing is everything
In Spring of 2001, the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation will
make a major media push in cable TV and in print to revive interest in recreational
boating and fishing. RBFF Program Manager Kristen Chambers says the campaign,
a reaction to the decline in these activities, will try to reclaim those who have
drifted away from boating and fishing. Ads have been created to be emotionally
compelling, stressing family togetherness. In June, look for more media exposure
for the debut of Water Works Wonders Week (known in the past as National Fishing
Week). RBFF is offering cooperative advertising and marketing materials to those
in the boating and fishing industries. Ms. Chambers says RBFF is looking for high
level PR on this event.
with the RBFF campaign leading the way, if there was ever
a time to put forth a marketing push, this is it! For more information, contact
RBFF: www.Rbff.org, or (703) 519-0013.
Getting help from your uncle
New York Times Best-selling author Matthew Lesko says Uncle Sam provides
marketing assistance. Contact your State Economic Development Office for access
to free or low cost consultants, legal services, and even press releases. Lesko
says you should also be able to get the name and address of all of those who have
fishing licenses for free or low cost.
Want to market your product or service overseas? Lesko claims the Government
will not only tell you how to do it, they will pay for your trips over seas to
do it and will even loan money to customers to buy your products!
To get your products on the shelves of the military base PX's around the world,
go to your State Department of Economic Development for direction to Federal Procurement
Assistance Offices. Or try the Defense Logistic Agency Office of Small and Disadvantaged
Utilization, 703-767-1661 or www.dla.mil.
The Consumer Information Center offers free small business publications, call
toll-free 1(888) 8 PUEBLO or visit www.pueblo.gsa.gov.
Lesko says the government has millions of dollars set aside to assist businesses,
but to take advantage of it, you must call and cut through the red tape. To find
out more, visit www.Lesko.com or call 1-800-UNCLE
Tom Mackin, VP of Marketing with Normark, says reporters are always looking
for news-worthy items. Create story ideas and partner with them to provide good
information and photography. Instead of paying to advertise, market yourself as
an expert, after all, you are! Write articles and send to TV, radio, and print
outlets, and post on your website. This approach to marketing will give you more
credibility and more comprehensive exposure than paying for advertising.
Don't tune out radio and TV
It costs too much to advertise on TV and radio, or does it? TV, local
cable, and radio often run promotions. Get to know the people in the promotions
department and trade commercial mentions for your products or services. Once you
get the hang of "barter business", in your own back yard, then you can
begin to network your success across the country. Trade is very common in TV and
radio. Choose your stations wisely, in other words, start with the country music
station, rather than the classical music station. Check out www.RadioInfo.com
for details on radio stations across the country.
This is probably the best way to get your product in the hands of those
who use it. Establish a program for tournament anglers and guides. Get them to
place signage on their vehicles, wear your logos, and mention your products in
their business. You can also use them to provide seminars or fishing trips to
trade with TV, radio, or other groups in exchange for air time.
Ask and you shall receive
Most print publications will design your ad for you. Ask your media sales
rep to show you samples of print ads to assist you in your design. Tell your reps
to notify you whenever free color, which under normal circumstances can be cost
prohibitive, is available.
Every radio and TV station will provide you with no-charge copywriting. Radio
stations produce commercials for free. To air your commercial on another station,
take a copy of the script for them to produce.
Try to include the cost of producing your TV commercial as part of the trade
or promotional advertising. If producing a full 30-second commercial takes up
too much of your trade balance, have a 15-second ad produced instead. They're
less expensive to make and run, so you should be able to have the commercial made
and still run it with some frequency. Most trade deals like this are negotiated
during the first and third quarters of the year when demand on radio and TV inventory,
as well as on production time, is down.
Taking the show on the road
For face to face marketing, Joan Carol of the Joan Carol Design and Exhibit
Group says if you choose a trade show properly, you can get a big return for your
investment. Renting verses buying a display booth can be cost effective. She adds
though, that you should make sure your appearance demonstrates you look like you
are already where you say you are. The key to success is to follow up on your
Working for free
Colleges and Universities have intern programs for students to receive
class credit for hands-on experience instead of a salary from you. You might be
pleasantly surprised how effective these students can be. Choose interns based
on your needs matching their major to find students who can build your business
Web site, put together media plans and place the schedules, write copy, and do
market research for you. They can also write and present sales proposals, write
press releases, study your competitors, look for opportunities to promote your
business in the market, find ways to expand your customer base, and, in general,
reduce your daily level of work.
Let's make a deal
Combine your efforts with another company's ad campaign or marketing.
Search the web to find complimentary (but not competitive) sites. Contact them
and see if they are willing to exchange banner ads.
Generate more e-traffic. Submit your site to search engines. Instead of paying
a company for this service, submit your URL yourself for free to individual search
engines. Fill out a basic form that you can access by clicking on the "Add
URL," "Add Site" or "Suggest a Site" links usually found
near the bottom of each search engines home page. Check out these home pages
to add your site: MetaCrawler, Excite, WebZone, WebCrawler, Hotbot, Google, GO.com,
Northern Light, Dogpile, AltaVista, Mamma.com and Lycos.
Everyone is in sales
Timothy F. Bednarz, Ph.D. is the Principal Partner of the American Management
Development Group, an organizational development consulting company says every
customer contact is a moment of truth for the company. One bad moment of truth
and the customer walks. Successful businesses leave nothing to chance. It's easier
to keep a customer than to get a new one. Care should be taken in hiring to recognize
the marketing savvy employee. While it helps if the individual has some experience,
attitude is the key determining factor. An employee should be proactive and willing
to take the extra steps to assure that the customer is happy.
Bednarz says it's the little things that make you stand out. Take for example
the boyhood story of Wayne Kent. His boss at the local bait-and-tackle shop was
having trouble procuring a supply of Creme worms. His boss found that a dozen
roses to the right person resulted in an order of the hard-to-come-by worms. Wayne,
now the owner of Creme Lures, still finds that lesson useful today in forging
and maintaining successful relationships with his distributors and retailers.
The key to marketing is to keep it simple and learn form your mistakes. Use
all of your available resources and don't be afraid to "borrow" ideas
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