Shoe String Marketing;
Where to save and where not to
To improve your cash
flow you have two options: spend less or take in more. Why not do both?
Spend less money on marketing while improving your marketing results.
“How?” you ask. Use the do’s and don’t’s
In your attempt to save costs don’t cut in these areas:
Never try to save
money by cutting the value of your product to your customer. If you reduce
value they will expect a corresponding price reduction at the very least.
Never sacrifice quality
to save money. Be clear on what quality means to your customers. The best
definition of quality is ‘meeting expectations’.
Never try to save
money by making your customers wait longer. They will never have more
Going cheap is not
a good way to save money. Cheap looks and feels cheap. Don’t send
marketing messages that feel cheap. Instead pick your marketing channels
and hunt for the best deal – not the cheapest.
Never trim from the
core benefit of your product in your attempt to save money. The main reason
customers buy your product – don’t you dare reduce that. That
is like cutting bone.
You can use these methods to help you save money on your marketing:
The oldest form of
commerce – trade food for animal hides. You can try two approaches
to barter. You can trade directly with your supplier or customer. For
example you might trade some of your product with a publisher for ad space
in their publication. The challenge to this form of barter is that you
both must want and need what the other has. You might barter the whole
amount or have a mixed deal of cash and barter.
Another form of barter
is through one of the many barter companies. They form a relationship
with many companies. Any member of the barter group can buy your product
with their barter dollars. You can then spend those barter dollars with
some other member of the barter group to buy what you need.
If you are part of
a larger group such as a franchise you can get advertising subsidy from
your franchiser to help you promote their name and your business. If you
sell or distribute for a manufacturer you might be able to arrange co-op
support from them.
- Ask customers
This is so simple
that many overlook it. Ask your customers what they noticed that you could
eliminate that has no significant value to them. For example I noticed
my local bank renovating the branch every few years. That added zero value
to me. I wish they would stop it.
- Buy when others
Buy your marketing
services when demand is low. Query your suppliers to learn when their
slow period is. If you offer to buy at that time you might get a lower
price, faster service or even more value.
Share a promotion
with another company that also markets to your customers. You split the
costs of the promotion. You can offer to promote their product at your
business while they do the same for you. You can offer your product as
a prize in their promotion.
- Work with a charity
Donate time, product
or resources to a charity. They might recognize you in their signage,
printed material or with a nice letter. When you work with a charity you
benefit from the goodwill you create among your customers and the community.
You might also get some free media coverage in the process.
Negotiate with your
suppliers and customers. Negotiation is a skill that can be learned and
honed. Read good books and take a course on negotiation to become a superior
negotiator. You will learn the different gambits, styles and strategies
- Be creative
Look for unusual
promotions in other industries and find a way to make it work for you.
Being creative does not mean being original. Borrow ideas from around
- Offer customers
something more important than money
What could be more
important than money to your customers? Ask them. They might value using
your name as a reference, access to information, exposure to new markets,
referrals, new technology, time to relax, etc..
Spend carefully and
be creative to stretch your shoestring marketing budget. Watch your cash
This article is based
on the critically acclaimed book, Secrets of Power Marketing
by business strategist, consultant, radio host and international speaker
George Torok. To obtain your own copy of his book just
visit our secure online store here.