Do You Need Marketing Expertise for Your Small Business?

Do you have what it takes to effectively market your small business? If you do, that’s great, but if your efforts have so far not been up to scratch, or you would just like some professional help to boost your brand awareness, you might be interested in outsourced marketing services to help in moving your business forward.

Marketing your business is complex in the modern world. Today’s consumers are generally very savvy and well informed, and as a small business owner you need to be on the ball to keep up with them and with changes in the marketplace.

Modern marketing can also take a lot of time – something that many small business owners and directors probably don’t have in abundance. Running a business, developing products and services and supervising employees can be enough of a task, without thinking about how to go about boosting your exposure and market share. This might mean that the task of marketing seems overwhelming or at least very challenging.

You need to think about advertising and promotion, your branding, graphics, website, communications and various other matters. Without the expertise in these areas you might not know quite where to begin.

i.interact’s services include development of marketing plans and strategies, branding and / or rebranding, graphic design and public relations. i.interact also knows that your enterprise is totally unique, and needs a tailored approach to marketing and conveying to your target market what it is you have to offer. We are also aware that your funds might be limited, and can negotiate a program with you to fit within your budget.

i.interact can provide a contact person as well as a team of experts to help you with all the facets of marketing that you need. You will also have the option of using our services constantly, or on an ad-hoc basis – such as when launching a new product line for instance. Outsourced marketing services can help to provide your business with that professional and competitive edge, which in turn can assist you in retaining your clients and attracting new ones along the way.

Business Branding Tips

Listen in to any conversation about an individual’s shopping experiences, and you’re likely to hear comments like, “I always buy brand X”, or “I really don’t like brand Y” and so forth. Once consumers are aware of and like a particular brand, they often tend to remain loyal to it. This also means the reverse can occur, and that one bad experience can lead a customer to abandon a brand for good.

So, what exactly is branding?

In companies of all sizes, branding is the creation of the style and unique personality that a business displays to the world. Branding can help customers to recognise and remember what the business stands for. This means your brand needs to be authentic, in that you are able to deliver on the key messages and promises your brand communicates.

What does business branding involve?

• Branding involves things such as developing a business name, tagline, logo and / or pictorial design or image that represents the business and distinguishes it from all others. Your branding should tell the story of the business, and promote the promise that you are intent on delivering with your business.

• A business’s branding should be simple, professionally designed, and quickly recognisable.

• The branding should be used consistently throughout the business. This includes on the stationery, signage, promotions, website, uniforms, vehicles, and so forth. What types of brands are there? The type of branding you choose depends on the response you want to elicit. Different types of branding include: • Branding that appeals to the feeling or emotion that is derived from using the product. For instance, a brand might promote a product or service as one that brings freedom, or a sense of power.

• Branding that promotes the functional and practical aspects of the product, rather than the emotional response it creates.

• Shop brands – these tend to be used by large supermarket or department store chains.

• Separate brands for different products. Some businesses create new brands for each product they develop and market.

Developing a brand for your small business

• First, make sure you know your target market well, and know what that market wants and needs. Know your business goals including your vision and mission, because these will form part of your branding message.

• Consult a professional branding consultant to assist you in developing a recognisable and unique company logo, slogan, tagline and so on. The last thing you need is branding that looks unprofessional.

• Build brand awareness through marketing materials, advertising campaigns, and business promotions. The important thing is to be consistent in your use of your brand and in delivering on its messages and promises. Do this, and there will be a greater chance that your customers will remain loyal to your product or service!

Marketing Planning Tips for 2013

MarketingThe silly season is well and truly upon us and the New Year is just around the corner. Therefore, now is a great time to think ahead and plan out your marketing ready for 2013. The end of the year is a perfect time to reflect on your business achievements and what you would like to improve on next year. Giving thought to your business goals for 2013 will provide the perfect platform for you to nut out a Marketing Action Plan. So, where should you start?

There is a saying, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Developing a marketing plan is not as complicated as it sounds. It is nothing more than setting goals and making a to-do list of actions that will help you achieve those goals.

Your Marketing Action Plan will be key to your success. It will allow you to execute, track and measure your marketing activities to help you reach your goals whether they relate to boosting your brand awareness, increasing your customer base or positioning your business or brand as a leader in your industry. It should detail what strategies you will use, when you will implement them and who is responsible for each part. Being clear on your goals and outcomes including working to a timeframe is also crucial. Be realistic so that you do not set unreasonable expectations for yourself. At the same time, be careful not to set goals so far out in the future that there is no sense of urgency for you to take action.

What does a Marketing Action Plan look like? Well, it can take many forms but at the end of the day it should be an easy to reference document that relates to the person managing it. A one page action plan, similar to a mind map suits some people, whereas others may need more detail like a month to a page. Remember that the person responsible for managing your Marketing Action Plan should have it in full view of their desk at all times, somewhere they won’t miss it as a regular reminder.

For those of you who manage your own marketing internally, I always recommend that you also plug all of your marketing deadlines and reminders into your Outlook calendar. Use this or something similar as your time management tool. It will keep you accountable and on task if you choose to manage your marketing internally.

I also highly recommend that you review your Marketing Action Plan on a quarterly basis as circumstances can change. The original plan you write now will likely need to be updated throughout the year to account for changes in your industry, customer base and your budget. Quarterly marketing reviews also allow you to see what is working and what isn’t so you don’t waste valuable money on marketing activities that are not providing a return on investment.

All the best with your planning for 2013 and remember “”If you keep on doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep on getting what you’ve always got.” If you want different results in 2013, try something new in your marketing approach, attempt to write a Marketing Action Plan or seek assistance from an experienced marketing professional.