Tag: SME

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:

  1. Watch the weather. If forecasts predict good weather for the coming weekend, use Facebook and Goggle ads targeted to specific demographics in Kingston.
  2. Run those ads on Wednesday and Thursday only: a time when people are making weekend plans.

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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