The fourth 'P' in your marketing mixis a biggie: Promotion. A whole subject at Uni is devoted to integrated market communication but essentially this is where you think about how to communicate your message to your consumers.
There are many factors to consider in your promotional plan:
- What are you trying to say (your communication objective)
- How to say it (execution)
- How many products are you aiming to sell (your sales objective)
- Your budget
There are many ways to determine your promotional spend. The four main methods are:
- What can you afford?
- % of sales (but you will need to forecast sales)
- What are your competitors spending?
- Price your objectives and tasks and spend accordingly
In a broad sense, I am assuming most readers will be small businesses aiming to achieve brand awareness – that is – there is little knowledge of your brand in consumers’ minds.
It’s important to understand different media are good for achieving different outcomes and a lot will depend on you communication objectives.
For example: you may want to drive traffic to your website or stockists in a cost effective way. With this in mind, I strongly believe PR is going to be the best avenue for most of you to follow. Your press release needs to be interesting (obviously!). Again, what is unique about your product? Do you use an interesting manufacturing process? Is there a local connection? Is your own story interesting? How did you come to be a small, crafty business? Perhaps YOU could be profiled? Personalise your mail out….I hate it when I’m spammed - don’t you? Samegoes for publications/bloggers. Think about the story angle from the publication/blogger’s point of view and be targeted in your approach.
Another useful avenue for promotion would fall under the banner of ‘personal selling’…that is markets/trade shows where you, the producer, sell your product yourself. The bonus here is that you control the message and experience. This type of promotion can help build profile but is largely dependent on the type of exhibition/market –not all of them are the same.
Things to consider at a market/trade show: will you be ‘lost’ in the crowd? Are there similar products? Is the product mix and positioning right for your target market? What are the stallholder costs?
You will need to think about all of your ‘touchpoints’: how does your market stand look? Are you employing sales people? If so, make sure they’re briefed appropriately and fit your brand. Markets can be a good way to open up new territories eg: interstate as prospective retailers and consumers can get to know you and you can get to know the local market. However, this can be an expensive undertaking when you consider freight and accommodation.
Now that’s your ‘mix’ or 4Ps out of the way… then what?
Well you need to keep an eye on it….you’ve put in so much effort, don’t waste it!
Once your campaign/promotional plan goes ‘live’, you need to measure your communications impact and sales impact. Sales should be easy for you to monitor. Communications impact may be a little more difficult. If you were a multinational you’d have a big budget to do follow up market research and hardcore surveying but in a small business’ instance, you may have to measure increased visits to your website, increases in phone calls about your product and ultimately, increased orders and sales from retailers. However, it is important to measure the impact so you can see whether your strategy has worked and whether you need to tweak elements. It might be stating the obvious but your evaluation needs to consider the objectives you set in the first place! It can be as simple as asking customers: where did you hear about us?
These posts are designed as ‘handy hints and tips’ for marketing – they are not comprehensive but are to give you an introduction to and basic understanding of the process. Best of luck putting these actions into place – it may seem daunting but remember marketing is all about an exchange and communicating value. I strongly believe women have a head start when it comes to communicating – but being comfortable in promoting yourself and the product you’ve created can take a leap of faith.
Now – go forth and BIG YOURSELF UP!
In the coming weeks/months we'll have more fabulous guest bloggers expanding on the topics of PR, markets and trade shows. Stay tuned!
Categories: Advice and Tips
, Marketing and Social Media Basics