Know the Art of Celebrity
So, what is business marketing? It is often the most misunderstood part of running a business for freelancers, consultants, contractors and micro business / small business owners that have passion and skills in a particular field other than running a business. For the amateur (and temporary business proprietor), business marketing is often mistaken as business advertising. However, advertising is but a small part of marketing.
Marketing in totality is one of the more important parts of running a business. It is the leading edge of success: without it, there is little prospect of generating the initial and the repeat business. Business marketing is an integral part of the business, which is multifaceted and varied, but always aligned with the business's principles and goals.
There is much literature available on how to formally structure and implement a marketing plan, some of it even in other blogs here on HirePulse, so this article will look only primarily at the "celebrity" aspect of business marketing. Marketing is, in effect, the process of promoting of your business to attract customers before your competitors do. If your customers do not know about you, or what you do, or want in some way to be associated with your business, then they will not come to you. This will not be achieved by just "placing a few ads".
Do the following names mean anything to you: Greg Norman, Nicole Kidman, Barry & Robin Gibb, Elle McPherson, Kylie Minogue, Hugh Jackman, Luc Longley, Pat Rafter, Keith Urban? Obviously all well-known Australian celebrities (sport, music, movies, etc), but you may be very surprised, if you care to do a little research, to find that they have made most of their multi millions from their "business side". OK, so it may be difficult to achieve these lofty heights, but the same basic principles can be applied to your business marketing.
Get Out There – Be Involved
Here are just some of the things you can do to achieve your own (comfortable) level of celebrity status.
- Brand Everything: Every hard copy or electronic communication, or other document, or piece of paper, or product, or "thing" that leaves your business premises must be branded with your business name, your logo, your colours, your contact details and maybe even details of your signature product. Brand all your vehicles (yes, including your family wagon). Brand all your clothing – make sure your workers wear the business uniform and safety equipment - with your branding.
- Become an Expert / Point of Reference: Write articles for professional magazines, community newspapers, get on radio and TV trade / talk shows, install a "help line", give presentations at conventions, host seminars, give lessons, write specialist books, create and maintain a periodic newsletter, etc.
- Press Releases: If, and only if, you have newsworthy information, then make press releases (don't forget the branding). This can include "news" a new product, your sponsorship of a charity event, your "solution" (read service / product) that will revolutionise a process or solve a long standing technical / social problem. Press releases can be made to newspapers, but don't forget specialist news websites as well.
- Associate / Partner with Other Businesses: This is an opportunity to reach a wider audience. Set up an agreement that in your advertising literature you will include details of a business that your customers could also use, and the other business must reciprocate. So if you are an accountant, set up an arrangement with a financial planner (and vice versa). If you are an electrician, set up an agreement with a lighting shop (and vice versa), etc.
- Leisure is Business: Become associated with leisure events, including sporting, music, arts, etc. As these can be rather expensive options, the previously mentioned marketing plan will obviously need to include due diligence on the return on investment. But there are usually all manner of budgets for promoting yourself with leisure activities – everything from being the event's major sponsor to buying a small corner ad in the official program (to becoming the "official" coffee provider – with branding of course).
- Network Everything: Social media in the "virtual" world is a must nowadays, from the more well-known outlets such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, to the specialist blog sites where you can find a "ready-made" market of people that share common interests. Of course there is also the "real" world aspect of networking, where you can shake hands and share real spoken words with similar minded people. These can range from social / sporting clubs, to business associations. Of course, subtle business promotion is your intent in both of these worlds, as the more you become well known in here, the more people will come to know about your business.
- Give Back to the Community: If your reason for doing this is genuine, it will have significant personal rewards at its core, and will be seen as such by recipients, other participants and observers. There is no way to fake this. However, it will build goodwill and is but small step to "celebrity" status, whatever that may mean to you, and another way for your community (including your customers) know a bit more about you (and your business).