Marketing on a Shoestring Budget
Through my years of conducting marketing seminars for entrepreneurs, a question raised by many participants concerns how to do marketing on a tight budget. The following are tried and tested marketing tools that have achieved significant results. In this case the term “shoestring” is the measure between the peso spent and the considerable value return.
CREATE YOUR OWN CUSTOMER DATABASE by keeping track of regular customers through their business cards (if you do home delivery, note the address). Knowing what they buy, when they visit your store and the amount they spend will allow you to prepare a simple announcement ad of what is appropriate to sell to them on certain periods. Send the ad by e-mail, fax or mail.
DO MOBILE PHONE TELEMARKETING among your regular customers. With the MMS type of mobile phones these days, send a photo of the printed ad, or the items being offered to make them visit at the time you want (particularly on dead days).
LEAFLETTING is a must if the store is inside a commercial center. The leaflet can be a promo offer like a discount coupon, or a basic announcement ad. Let a member of the store hand them out, particularly on peak traffic periods. Create a leaflet from the computer, and a mass-print using Risograph, or through a reasonably priced printing press for colored materials.
CUSTOMER LOYALY PROGRAM is a simple but effective idea to make regular customers come back to the store. Customer gets something free when he makes the necessary minimum purchase.
SPONSOR A TV POGRAM by being the occasional caterer, wardrobe supplier, set decorator or make-up artist to the program hosts or lead artists. Logo credits in the closing billboards help a lot in creating association with the program.
CREATE A WEBSITE and link it with as many search engines as possible. Search engine posting is normally free. Just make sure to update the website and place advertisements to draw in customers.
ATTEND FOOD TRADE FAIRS and present your company’s credentials as a supplier of vegetables, fish or meat or other food preparation ingredients.
CREATE A WEBSITE because sites devoted to this kind of business is limited in many search engines. Link it with as many food-related websites as possible.
ADVERTISE IN FREE ADS NEWSPAPERS by getting the usual free ad space portion, or pay just a small amount and post an ad at least 3 times. Repeat if there is god reader response.
SEND LETTES TO TRADE ASSOCIATIONS AND ORGANIZATIONS and introduce your company and the materials you can supply. Get their attention by offering discounts or giveaways.
CO-SPONSOR A SALES EVENT by supplying prizes in the raffle draw, or offering your slow moving product on discount and bundling it with a fast moving variant. In exchange, the store can include you in their advertisements.
UNDERWRITE STORE SERVICE ITEMS like customer claim stubs, cashier lighted pole, aisle identification boards or signs and bagboy uniforms. This is on-premise merchandising at its best and cost effective over the long term for customer contact point visibility.
USE DELIVERY TRUCKS AS BILLBOARDS by having the product photo either hand-painted or photo silk-screened to a sticker panel that can be installed on the side boards of the delivery truck.
CO-SPONSOR COMMUNITY FAIRS OR FESTIVALS and use these special events to undertake a product sampling program, or be a selling venue for bulk sales.
DO PRODUCT BUNDLING, a simple promotion campaign that gives your brand a high value-for-money perception in the mind of target consumers. Th bundled item can be a small premium item for kids (remember the pester power of this market), a useful household tool or the same product but of a smaller pack size at no extra cost.
ATTEND EXPORT TRADE FAIRS if the local market for your product category is highly competitive and your profit is often compromised to make a sale. It may be more rewarding and profitable to export your product overseas.
You may have a limited budget, but the number of creative yet inexpensive ways you can market your product is limitless.
Source: Business Line Vol. 2 No. 1 2004