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When John and Ros Moriarty took their hair brain idea to Qantas to paint a plane red with an aboriginal motif, they knew they were pushing the envelope. How they pitched it and pulled it off could easily be put under the category of guts marketing — one of the many, cheap methods of marketing of small, but bound-to-be-bigger businesses.

Siimon Reynolds, of Love Communications, who was responsible for the bowling ball Grim Reaper commercial in the ‘80s for HIV Aids awareness, knows a thing or two about marketing a business and has a simple rule.

You must do an audit

“Everything you do is marketing,” he says. “From the way you show your business card, to the way you answer the phone, it is all marketing.”

Marketing experts advise home-based and other micro-businesses to be very realistic about their operations. A standard recommendation is to conduct a total marketing audit of your operation. This could involve leaving the home or business and then come back, maybe in a cab, just like a client would.

The author of Kickstart Marketing, Linda Hailey, says this can be an eye opening experience.

“You might see, for the first time, the broken gate which is hard to open and then there’s the dying plant that doesn’t leave a great message to potential customers,” she says. “The too-friendly, Rottweiler puppy could be off putting and then there’s the general feel of the house which is also a business.”

You’ve got to look good

The experts say your business looking professional sends out the right marketing messages. Once you have the physical presentation of your business in the right marketing mode, it is time to create a plan for how you are going to hook your customers.

You must have determination

The Moriarty’s plan was based on vision and sheer determination. The plan was hatched in the bed, early in the morning.

“We should paint a Qantas plane,” Ros told a sleepy John. He told her to “go back to sleep”.

The Moriaty’s recall waylaying the then Qantas boss James Strong at a function. The pair did their pitch and he showed interest. John, not a pushy man by nature, was not certain of the plan, but Ros was certain they were in with a chance.

“Ros told me that I was an aboriginal and that he would have to listen to me out of respect,” says John. Eventually, the gutsy plan paid off and put their art and design business, Balarinji, into the fast lane for growth.

Tim Pickles, of the Sydney-based Tim’s Garden Centres, used an old fashioned marketing method to hook in customers. Buying a dilapidated nursery on a major intersection where cars had to stop at lights, he used a big signboard to market his business.

You must be innovative

At a time when Sydneysiders were putting soft drink bottles on their lawn with water in them to stop dogs leaving excrement on their lawns, Pickles looked for a plant with a noxious odour that dogs would not like. He christened it the ‘Piss Orf Plant’.

“That’s what you always say when you see a stray dog on your lawn,” says Pickles. He says that the local paper got onto the story and Channel Nine’s A Current Affair saw the article and covered it and from that more newspaper coverage ramped up his market exposure.

Telstra Small Business of the Year winner in 2003, Peter Nichols of Footwear Industries, makers of Steel Blue safety boots, used an old trick to market his product.

“We offered a 30-day money back guarantee,” says Nichols. “That was a world’s first.” That little marketing trick helped offset the fact that Steel Blue boots were 50% dearer than its rivals.

You must focus on clients

Rob Lynch, the founder of Stellar Interactive with his wife, Helen Irvine, won a contract with Qantas to provide on-air audio entertainment and has retained the contract for over 30 years.

Rob’s plan was simple to understand his client, build a long-term relationship and then leverage off having a big, highly respected client. He now has 22 airlines on his books.

“It’s all about relationships — it always has been,” he says.

You’ve got to have guts

One of the cheapest forms of marketing from outside businesses can be public relations. Experts say using a professional is the best way to go but there are many books on do-it-yourself PR, which all comes down to a category of marketing when there’s limited budget called ‘having a go’.

Work on your business, not in it. To learn how, book a complimentary business assessment today with a Switzer Business Coach.

Important information:This content has been prepared without taking account of the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular individual. It does not constitute formal advice. For this reason, any individual should, before acting, consider the appropriateness of the information, having regard to the individual’s objectives, financial situation and needs and, if necessary, seek appropriate professional advice.


Published on: Friday, August 07, 2009

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