Sunday, March 15, 2009

Marketing Ideas for South African Business

Effective marketing ideas for new business is such a crucial part of achieving success with your start-up and I'm continuously surprised at how little energy and focus is spend on this issue. Irrelevant of how innovative your service or product is, if your potential clients do not know that it exists, your business will struggle to get of the ground. Having spoken to just to many entrepreneurs who see this as the last thing they think about I find the tragic statistic on business failure rates not surprising at all.

Lets think of the reality of this. Do a search for your product or service on Google or your favorite search engine or have a browse through your local yellow pages if you're still of the rare bread that dint like the Internet much and you will soon find out that more often than not, your product offering is not unique. And if it so happens that your service or product is unique, then even more so the reason why you should be pro-active in marketing, promoting and selling your service or product.

For entrepreneurs starting a new service, the author C J Hayden is one of my favorite writers when it comes to ideas for marketing your service. In her article below she looks at a few innovative ideas for you to explore:


Boost Your Marketing with the Buddy System –C J Hayden

Remember back in grade school when the teacher asked you to
hold hands with a friend on field trips? The idea behind the
buddy system is that it's much harder to get lost if there
are two of you traveling together. When you get into
trouble, your buddy can help you out, or find someone else
who can.

Maybe you could use a buddy in your marketing. The constant
challenges you encounter while promoting yourself and your
services make sales and marketing a difficult road to travel
all alone, and it's easy to get lost. Working with a
marketing buddy can give you:

o Perspective - A different point of view on your progress
or challenges. Just hearing your problem restated by another
person can give you new insight that will help you find a

o New Ideas - A partner for brainstorming and an extra pair
of eyes and ears to spot opportunities. You can double the
amount of knowledge and experience at your fingertips.

o Accountability - Someone other than yourself to whom you
are accountable -- who will ask you once a week what you
have done so far, and what's next.

o Support - Space to complain or celebrate out loud, with
someone who cares about your progress. If you're facing a
roadblock, grousing about it for a few minutes may be all
you need to get back into action. And having someone to
share your success with can make it much sweeter.

While you could use your spouse, best friend, or business
partner to provide this extra help, the individuals closest
to you may not be the best choice. The people in your
personal life will not always be thrilled with how much time
you spend on marketing, and your business associates may
tend to sidetrack you with day-to-day management issues. You
may find it more helpful to find a buddy with more
detachment, who understands the importance you place on

You and your buddy can assist each other in reaching your
goals by setting up a regular check- in, where each of you
reports on progress, announces successes, and states
challenges. The buddy's job is to listen, celebrate,
commiserate, and be a brainstorming partner. Here's how to
make the buddy system work for you in marketing:

1. Set a fixed time to talk. Whether you meet by phone or in
person, set a start and end time for your conversation. Half
an hour is enough; an hour is plenty.

2. Check in about goals and action steps. Make a brief
report about where you are with your current goals and what
steps you have taken since your last meeting. Keep your
check-in brief and to the point, e.g. "I got one new client
this week, and set up three appointments to give
presentations. I interviewed a designer about doing my new
brochure, and reserved a domain name for my web site."
Acknowledge your buddy's progress and celebrate his or her

3. Help each other solve problems. Ask your buddy to first
just listen while you tell him or her what's going on and
clear your emotional reaction to it. Your buddy can say
things like, "Gee, that's tough," or "How awful!" but should
not offer any advice until you are through. Talk about not
only what is happening, but how it makes you feel. If it
sounds like complaining, that probably means you're doing it

You might say something like this: "I've been trying for two
weeks to draft my brochure, and there's just been one
emergency after another, and now my mother wants me to help
sell her car, and I'm so frustrated! All the words I write
down just come out wrong, and I don't think it'll ever come
together, and I needed it yesterday, and I'm so worried
that..." You get the idea.

Set a time limit of 5 minutes for reporting and clearing. At
the end of that time, ask your buddy to summarize for you:
"I hear how frustrated and worried you are. You seem to have
two problems that need to be solved -- finding the time to
work on the brochure, and getting the words to come out
right. Are you ready to look at some solutions?"

4. Brainstorm possible solutions. Your buddy's job is not
necessarily to hand you the right answer -- his or her more
important role is to help you expand your thinking to come
up with some new ideas. Take your problems one at time, and
together with your buddy, make a list of possible solutions.
Don't edit the list as you are brainstorming; include
anything and everything that comes up. You are not allowed
to say, "That won't work," or "I already tried that."

Here are the potential results of a brainstorm on getting
the right words for a brochure:
o hire a copywriter
o plagiarize my competitors' literature
o use the thesaurus
o ask my cousin the writer to help
o do a brochure with only pictures
o don't use a brochure at all
o look at the Yellow Pages
o take a class in marketing communications
o use what I have and stop worrying
o have some colleagues review it

5. Decide on your next steps. If none of the brainstormed
ideas seem right, look at each one to see if there's
something useful in it. Maybe you can't afford a copywriter,
but you know one you could ask for free advice. Perhaps a
class would take too long, but you could check out a
textbook from the library. Find just one thing you can do
that will get you moving toward a solution.

Regardless of any problems you try to solve during your
session, always end by naming what steps you will take
toward achieving your goals before your next meeting. Write
these steps down -- both yours and your buddy's -- so you
can check in about them next time.

6. Keep the relationship reciprocal. Make sure each of you
gets an equal amount of time at your meetings. If you end up
spending the whole session on one person's problem, devote
the next session to the other buddy. Keep your buddy in mind
as you make new discoveries and meet new people, and share
any opportunities you uncover. The buddy system works best
when you do for your buddy what you would like your buddy to
do for you.


Thanks for reading my Blog and ... happy marketing,


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