Cost-ef­fec­tive mar­ket­ing can put a bat­tling busi­ness back on its feet

The Sunday Independent - - FEATURES -

rapidly in the sec­ond half of 2015 to peak early last year.

Let­tuce, toma­toes, pump­kins and pota­toes, in par­tic­u­lar, will pro­vide some cash re­lief to your healthy life­style. Bread and ce­real prices have also eased over the course of this year, af­ter ris­ing quite steeply last year. With crop pro­duc­tion re­cov­er­ing from one of the worst droughts in re­cent his­tory, bread and ce­real prices dropped 4 per­cent in Au­gust com­pared with Jan­uary. Rusks and bread flour are no­table items that have fallen in price.

To­gether with bread prod­ucts, mar­garine (and other oils and fats) is also cheaper, mak­ing your lunchtime sand­wich that more cost-ef­fec­tive.

The best: fruit, tele­coms

Bananas, plums and pineap­ples con­trib­uted to fruit prices fall­ing 8.4 per­cent in Au­gust com­pared with Jan­uary. The last time the fruit price in­dex was around this level was in June last year.

The price in­dex for tele­coms equip­ment con­tin­ued on its long-term down­load trend, fall­ing by 8.6% in Au­gust com­pared with Jan­uary. The av­er­age price for a cell­phone, for ex­am­ple, fell R82 from R2 622 in Jan­uary to R2 540 in Au­gust 2017.

Since Jan­uary 2014, over­all prices for telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions equip­ment have fallen 36 per­cent.

With South African bud­gets hav­ing to cope with ris­ing prices in gen­eral, it’s good to know that there are nev­er­the­less some items for which we are get­ting more for less.

Find more in ar­ti­cles on these is­sues by go­ing to http://www.statssa. gov.za/?page_id=624. A COM­MON mis­con­cep­tion held by strug­gling busi­ness own­ers is that they do not have op­tions to mar­ket them. This can­not be fur­ther from the truth. The mis­con­cep­tion is of­ten the root cause for the busi­ness not achiev­ing its full po­ten­tial as sim­ple and cost-ef­fec­tive mar­ket­ing ini­tia­tives are not only es­sen­tial but also pos­si­ble.

The 2016 Na­tional Small Busi­ness Sur­vey re­vealed that many of the 17 950 lo­cal small busi­nesses in­ter­viewed listed “not mar­ket­ing them­selves ef­fec­tively” as their big­gest mis­take to date, while 43 per­cent said sales and mar­ket­ing were ar­eas where they re­quired as­sis­tance most.

Busi­nesses should look at es­tab­lish­ing a clear brand iden­tity that com­mu­ni­cates the prom­ise in­her­ent to what they of­fer, prod­ucts or ser­vices, and de­velop trust and cred­i­bil­ity by con­sis­tently de­liv­er­ing on prom­ises. The Global New Prod­uct In­no­va­tion Sur­vey by Nielsen found that 59 per­cent of re­spon­dents pre­fer to buy new prod­ucts from brands they are fa­mil­iar with.

Here are four eas­ily im­ple­mentable sug­ges­tions for de­vel­op­ing the brand of a small busi­ness:

Iden­tity: Before un­der­tak­ing any form of mar­ket­ing, it’s im­por­tant to clearly de­fine your busi­ness’s iden­tity and how this will sup­port and pro­mote the busi­ness of­fer­ing when en­gag­ing with cus­tomers. The ul­ti­mate goal is to com­mu­ni­cate what cus­tomers can ex­pect and char­ac­ter­is­tics such as re­li­a­bil­ity, qual­ity, in­no­va­tive, value for money and friendly ser­vice.

Ad­ver­tis­ing: We all know that 50 per­cent of the ad­ver­tis­ing or mar­ket­ing spend is wasted, if only we can fig­ure out which. Ad­ver­tis­ing is ef­fec­tive if the ap­pro­pri­ate mes­sage is placed in the cor­rect me­dia. It is about en­sur­ing the most bang for your buck and en­sur­ing the mes­sage gets con­veyed ef­fec­tively and con­sis­tently.

Of­ten the best op­tion for a small busi­ness is to take your mes­sage di­rectly to the peo­ple most likely to pur­chase from you, be they con­sumers or trade cus­tomers. Sug­gested ways in­clude: Di­rect mail­ers or leaflet in tar­geted ar­eas.

In­serts into com­mu­nity and lo­cal news­pa­pers in op­er­a­tional ar­eas. Eye-catch­ing posters: In­ter­est­ing and in­for­ma­tive sales kits to use when meet­ing with cus­tomers.

E-mail com­mu­ni­ca­tion such as reg­u­lar news­let­ters and di­rect e-mail­ers.

Trade shows and lo­cal events: Trade shows pro­vide an ex­cel­lent op­por­tu­nity to reach a large num­ber of po­ten­tial cus­tomers in a short space of time. They can be very costly so it is ad­vis­able to se­lect one or two that may be best suited for your busi­ness of­fer­ing. Make sure the lo­ca­tion of your stand is ap­pro­pri­ate and re­mem­ber to pro­vide re­lief staff to re­main friendly and en­er­gised should the trade show have long hours.

Con­sis­tency: De­vel­op­ing a brand iden­tity re­quires that all com­mu­ni­ca­tion has a con­sis­tent mes­sage as well as look and feel. This prin­ci­ple ap­plies to sig­nage, pack­ag­ing, ad­ver­tis­ing ma­te­rial, and all cus­tomer and sales com­mu­ni­ca­tion. The most im­por­tant con­sid­er­a­tion, how­ever, re­mains the com­mit­ment to en­sure that cus­tomers en­joy a con­sis­tent and re­li­able ex­pe­ri­ence of the brand prom­ise when re­ceiv­ing the prod­uct or ser­vice.

Build­ing a busi­ness’s brand does not hap­pen overnight but an ac­tion plan and com­mit­ment to spe­cific ob­jec­tives add to de­vel­op­ing the longterm re­la­tion­ships with cus­tomers that all busi­nesses de­pend on. A well-de­fined mar­ket­ing plan should lead to an in­crease in sales and happy cus­tomers who are likely to be­come the best mar­keters by pro­mot­ing your prod­ucts and ser­vices with word-of­mouth re­fer­rals – the most pow­er­ful form of mar­ket­ing.

Ben Bier­man

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