The Australian Small Business Blog

Thursday, October 29, 2009

How to Get the Best Marketing Advice for Free


Is there an elephant in your industry? There is usually at least one. They spend $100,000’s on branding, customer surveys, demographic analysis and focus groups. They spend even more on campaign analysis, testing and measuring to work out what works and what doesn’t. If you are a small guy, how can you compete with that?

Well you can. Just become a flea on the elephants back. That is what “Crazy John” Ilhan did. In retail, probably the most costly decision is your location. Go for a low cost location, and you get no traffic. If you go for a high cost location, and it is the wrong sort of traffic, you go out of business. Rather than spending a lot of money on geo-demographic surveys to identify customer shifts, he waited for Telstra or Optus to open a store in a new expanding area, and then open a store opposite and offered every passer-by lower prices.

By being a flea on the elephant’s back, he let the elephant take him to the fertile feeding locations they had spent large sums identifying.

So how might this work for your business? Perhaps you have a motor mechanics business with half a dozen staff. You don't see yourself in competition with BMW, and BMW certainly doesn’t see you as a competitor. You worry about the guy who is about the same size half a kilometre away. So you spend your time checking out what he is doing. This will probably result in a me too strategy, and ultimately the death spiral of a price war.

Alternatively, you could look in another direct. You could pay the same high price marketing company that BMW uses for advice, or you could get that advice for nothing. Drop in to the local BMW service centre and look around. See how clean their service area is. Check out their comfortable waiting rooms. Look at how their staff is presented. BMW spends millions on developing their image.

Now how difficult would it be to give your garage a lick of paint. Supply clean uniforms for your staff. Clean up your waiting room and put in today's paper and a coffee machine? How much do you think that would cost you? Probably $1-2000.

You are still not trying to compete with BMW, just to learn from them. When you start to apply these ideas to your business, the guy down the road won't even be in the game. You will probably even be able to lift your prices! Savvy marketing does not mean high cost marketing.

It is always the little things that make a difference, and you can get all this high price marketing advice for nothing by just opening your eyes and turning your head in the right direction.

May Your Business Be - As You Plan It.

Over to You. What do You Think? Post Your Comments Below.

Dr Greg Chapman is the Director of Empower Business Solutions and The Australian Business Coaching Club and is Australia's Leading Advisor on Emerging Businesses and provides Coaching and Consulting advice to Australian Small Business Owners in Marketing & Business Strategies Planning & Systems. He is also the author of The Five Pillars of Guaranteed Business Success.


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The Australian Small Business Blog

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Defining Your Customers


An important part of any small business' marketing is understanding the nature of their customers. Are your customers Cats or Dogs?




May Your Business Be - As You Plan It.

Over to You. What do You Think? Post Your Comments Below.

Dr Greg Chapman is the Director of Empower Business Solutions and The Australian Business Coaching Club and is Australia's Leading Advisor on Emerging Businesses and provides Coaching and Consulting advice to Australian Small Business Owners in Marketing & Business Strategies Planning & Systems. He is also the author of The Five Pillars of Guaranteed Business Success.


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The Australian Small Business Blog

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Never Forget Marketing 101


So Chicago lost the Olympics. What happened? Clearly there was a lot of backroom manoeuvring - offers made, deals done. Then the US President and his wife attended the final IOC pitch to seal the deal. What did they then do? They talked about what getting the deal would mean to them. This was particularly the case for Michelle Obama.

They both forgot rule 101 in Marketing.

It is not about you, it is about your buyer. It is about everyone’s favourite radio station WIIFM.
That is: What’s In It for Me?

Now probably the deal had been done with Rio well before the Obamas arrived in Copenhagen, so the final pitches were just for show and the aggrandisement of the IOC. If that is the case, the Chicago bidding team did not understand the bidding process. If the deal was already lost (and clearly comprehensively lost to be eliminated in the first round) they played their trump card for nothing, and in the end, humiliated the Obamas. Do you think Chicago will get any support for future bids or favours?

The Chicago bidding team were clearly not listening to the signals. They would have been there. You have to remember in any bidding process, the buyer will want the losers to stay in till the end, so they can extract the best deal from the winner, so they would be saying encouraging things even if they knew you had lost. Before they played their biggest ace, the bidding team should have known that they had the deal whether the Obamas were present or not, and their presence was just a payment of respect to the IOC for awarding them the bid.

It appeared, however, the Chicago bidding team must have really believed that great speeches by the Obamas would get Chicago over the line. If the speech was the thing that was going to change people’s mind and win the bid, it was the wrong speech. While the Obamas have a lot of goodwill in the international arena, the IOC still listens to WIIFM. Even the international general goodwill the Obamas have is based on WIIFM.

It is useful for small business owners to remember the lessons that too often the big guys forget. The same rules apply, no matter who you are.

May Your Business Be - As You Plan It.

Over to You. What do You Think? Post Your Comments Below.

Dr Greg Chapman is the Director of Empower Business Solutions and The Australian Business Coaching Club and is Australia's Leading Advisor on Emerging Businesses and provides Coaching and Consulting advice to Australian Small Business Owners in Marketing & Business Strategies Planning & Systems. He is also the author of The Five Pillars of Guaranteed Business Success.


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The Australian Small Business Blog

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Advertising - Can We Live Without It?


Imagine you walked into a supermarket, and you recognised almost none of the brands. There was aisle after aisle of goods to purchase, and you had to stop to read every single packet to see whether you would like this cereal or those biscuits.

This could only occur if you had not been exposed to any advertising before you walked into the supermarket. In our current world, of course, that is impossible, as we grow up with advertising around all around us, but yet this has happened to me.

I have encountered this situation a number of times when I have shopped in a supermarket in another country. I had no exposure to the local advertising and was confronted by a large variety of brands which were literally foreign to me. I was overwhelmed by choice. A simple buying decision, which might have only taken me a few minutes at my local supermarket while I located my favourite brands of particular categories, was greatly extended while I tried to determine which of these new brands would satisfy my needs.

Without the advertising, I did not know what the benefits of each brand were. I couldn’t find out the ingredients without lengthy label examinations. In a number of cases I just opted for the cheapest because I didn’t want to waste more time.

This is an interesting experiment you can try if you are travelling internationally, and you are looking after yourself, rather than just living in a hotel where everything is provided. I believe you cannot understand a country if you have not done your weekly shopping in one of its supermarkets.

Without advertising, there would be no range. Most products would become commodities with no points of difference. There would be only the most basic features. There would be no niche products for special needs. We would be unaware of all the benefits. Prices would probably be higher as there would be no competition.

So when your product is discovered on a store shelf, or on your website, can your buyers readily determine the benefits your product provides and for whom and your points of difference? Is your offer clear, and do you have a call to action? Ideally when they have found your product, they will have already been exposed to your advertising, so the final decision is quick and painless unlike the confusing frustrating ones I had to make without the benefit of advertising.

Enjoy this wonderful paean to Advertising – but a strong language warning at around second 6, after which all is ok and very funny.




May Your Business Be - As You Plan It.

Over to You. What do You Think? Post Your Comments Below.

Dr Greg Chapman is the Director of Empower Business Solutions and The Australian Business Coaching Club and is Australia's Leading Advisor on Emerging Businesses and provides Coaching and Consulting advice to Australian Small Business Owners in Marketing & Business Strategies Planning & Systems. He is also the author of The Five Pillars of Guaranteed Business Success.


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Dr. Greg Chapman is also the author of
The 5 Pillars of Guaranteed Business Success

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