To judge a person’s ambition, many people will ask the question “Would you rather be a big fish in a small pond, or a small fish in a big pond?”. When it comes to marketing, the answer to this question realistically has to be the first one. By advertising locally you can spend a lot less money than going further and wider. You can also gain the full attention of a smaller number of people, rather than barely registering with thousands. Concrete attention is what you are looking for in a potential customer.
This is not a lack of ambition, it is playing the percentages. If you wish to one day be a big company, throwing all your money away upfront to try and stir the attention of a marketplace that has plenty of other contenders clamoring for it is not a sound strategy. Becoming number one in your locality gives you a chance to diversify into neighboring territories before eventually becoming a feature on a more national stage.
It is important to be conscious of what will work for you. Ambition is a fantastic thing, but you do not want to get confused between ambition and recklessness. Business needs to be done in full awareness of what you need to do to be successful. There’s plenty of time to reach for the stars, so you should look to build a decent ladder before you try. It’s not aiming low, it’s being aware of what is possible and making sure you grab it.
The majority of offline marketing must by necessity be done in the local area to be efficient. In this respect, it is beneficial to make yourself as much of a local face as it is possible to be without everyone getting sick of you. Getting your picture in the paper on a regular basis is good. Getting your face in the paper with a headline above it saying “Local Blowhard Puts Nose In Other People’s Business Again” might not be so positive.
Being a community face is something that need not be hard to achieve. People will be more likely to think of your company when they need it if they see your name and face on a regular basis. Of course it is important that they associate your name, face and identity with positive things, but as long as you are not that pompous blowhard this need not be difficult to achieve.
Getting involved at a local level means doing things like raising awareness of public safety and health issues – if you are always writing to the local newspaper to complain about the scruffiness of local children, then you’re verging on blowhard territory.
Taking the role of a helpful, interested citizen will pay off in the long run. Without even thinking about it much, people will gravitate towards businesses that they can make a positive association with. Getting involved at a local level need not cost you anything at all – but if you are prepared to contribute to a local charity then that’s always good.
If you were to ask a hundred consumers what the most annoying thing about marketing was, then it is a safe bet that at least a quarter of them would use the word “lie” in some form. They hate being lied to, and they are less likely to take notice of marketing every time someone tells them a lie. This has led to a cynical market out there which is very difficult to nail down through conventional marketing. If you tell them that something is too good to be true, then they’ll believe that it is – and therefore must be a lie.
There is a lot of mileage in being honest to the customer. This doesn’t mean saying to them: “If I were you, I’d go elsewhere. I know another shop that sells this item at about half the price.”. What it means is that you concentrate on the facts and avoid making your product out to be the answer to all their problems when all they really want to hear is that it will make their life easier, more enjoyable or more convenient. It may even be that the product is better than you make it out to be, and when that is the case they are even more impressed.
Gaining a reputation for straight talking is worthwhile. People who are fed up of being lied to will really value the word of someone who is prepared to be less hyperbolic and more constructive in their marketing. Don’t undersell yourself, but be prepared to tone down the rhetoric. In the long run, people will spend more when they trust the salesman.