by William Lower and Peter Hickey
If you pay attention to online marketing forums and groups, you will know there is a plethora of articles, eBooks, software solutions and even entire companies focused on one thing: helping companies get more leads and subsequently more sales for their business.
The obvious question is, “Where are those leads coming from?” Are they coming from companies that don’t have a current supplier for the products or services you offer? Or are those leads and sales going to come at the expense of your existing customer base?
To be politically correct, I should say that all marketing clients are good clients. After all, they contribute to our revenue. So let’s just leave that some good clients are better than other good clients.
My partner and I serve a Canadian injection moulding manufacturer. Sounds exciting, huh? They are in the packaging business and their marketing need is to generate/accelerate sales leads. No surprise.
However, our first assignment was to help in creating a sales presentation they were making to a large packaged goods company in the States. The client was smart to bring communications people in to help with the presentation from structure and content to look and feel. In this process it was suggested that a video would add to the impact of the presentation.
Of a factory? A creative person’s nightmare, right? Shots of the factory and talking heads.
However, when we were being introduced to the company by the CEO (our client), the more he talked, the more I wanted to do the factory tour. He’s a natural. He is a sales person.
On the factory floor, I knew in less than two minutes what I wanted to do. (That’s one of the reasons I don’t like billing by the hour.) “Two minutes plus thirty years” a colleague responded when I told him the story.
The basic idea was to anthropomorphize the factory robotics and use type to deliver capabilities. You can see the video here. And the cost? I am embarrassed to tell you how much this didn’t cost him.
He loved it. And so our relationship began. But it wasn’t just that he loved it. You don’t think there were revisions and re-cuts? Of course there were. (I was surprised/impressed at how he took to the nuance of editing.) And what once cost thousands and thousands to do, I do in Final Cut Pro. Often on a laptop.
It was not just that this client liked our work. That’s pretty thin. He would often say, “You guys are the experts, I leave it to you” and the surprising thing about remarks like that is that it puts a lot more pressure on you to do the extraordinary. The result? You work harder. You work smarter. You bend over backwards to make sure that never once does this client ever doubt the trust they place in you. And you are always looking for ways to add value. Because the client is also willing to listen to new ideas. He will test ideas. He does not rubber stamp everything we do but when there is something that needs to be re-thought or revised, we are not treated as if we have done something wrong or failed but rather it’s like we have a collaborator. (more…)
IBM (USA) Frito Lay (USA) Pepsico (Canada). I have had the privilege of working on major campaigns achieving major results for major brands. All with the help of major budgets.
Give me $50 million and you will be astounded at what I can do for you.
Then we have Houseboat Holidays, a small, family-owned business in Gananoque, Ontario, boasting a fleet of 23 boats: a company we help more for love than money.
We have been frequent users of their product since 1994.
Houseboat Holidays has a seasonal business needing to make a year’s revenue in a scant six months, with shoulder seasons hard to sell. Like many SME’s, their marketing budget has been small, scattered and without a coordinated plan.
Their limited marketing dollars has been fifty dollars here, five hundred dollars there, a few thousand here and there and there you are: you have loaded your shotgun, hoped for the best and pulled the trigger. Often the ‘advertising’ was for regional guides: the kind you pick up where you arrive to an area. But anyone arriving will already have accommodation planned so a houseboat is irrelevant, as is the advertising in those guides. We took them out of all but free guides. Their marketing dollars are too precious to waste even a dollar.
SME’s are susceptible to shotgun marketing. Rarely do they see any tangible evidence in their ROI. Nor do they have the time to manage it. Most SME owners and managers are busy running their businesses.
It’s the SMEs, more than the blue chip giants, who need innovative, insightful and creative selling plans. Marketing dollars need to be measured and with today’s technology, they can be.
Today, Houseboat Holidays’ promotional life has changed as have the buying habits of their prospective clients. The middle class is shrinking and the choices for vacation destinations is growing, creating incredibly fierce competition.
Renting boats through the months of July and August is not a challenge (although they are experiencing more last-minute bookings than they had in the past.) We re-engineered their website making it an SEO-friendly, information-laden resource and established a social media platform. These have resulted in bookings.
The challenge is renting boats in the shoulder seasons: May, June, September and October.
With a little research we learned that Houseboat Holidays had almost no awareness in Kingston, Ontario, just a twenty minute drive from Gananoque. There was the shoulder season opportunity. Here is the plan:
It is targeted, timely and takes advantage of low-hanging fruit.
From brochures to an online presence, we have dramatically improved their creative product and have provided a money-saving, highly-focused selling plan.
We also went outside conventional thinking and put them on AirBnB, Facebook page, Instagram and Trip Advisor. Used properly, they work. Houseboat Holidays saw rentals from Europeans looking for a unique Canadian experience.
SME’s need blue chip thinking applied to comparatively shoe-string budgets. In fact, SMEs need to work dollar for dollar, much harder than corporate enterprises.
LowerWorks is the ‘go-to’ team for SMEs. Whether it is making a sales presentation stronger, a corporate video (we excel in broadcast) or help identifying new market opportunities, LowerWorks can help.
We understand SMEs and service their communication and marketing needs exceptionally well. We have the people, the experience and the skill sets to bring innovation and results to SMEs’ marketing budgets.
We are an SME engineered to succeed. We welcome the opportunity to help you do the same.
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