Earlier, if a company had to launch a Brand, they’d tell their managers to book print and television spots nationwide – and sit back with arms behind their heads. However, in today’s complex world, television and print no longer dominate the advertising sphere.
The advent of Internet, social media networks (Facebook & Twitter) and handheld technology i.e. iPad, Blackberry smartphones etc. have enabled conversation between Global brands and consumers – giving managers sleepless nights and making the marketing strategy a tough nut to crack.
Even luxury brands (Gucci, Tommy, Zegna, Blackberry) have hopped onto the bandwagon, joining small businesses and entrepreneurs with Facebook fan pages, groups and even Twitter profiles. The objective is feedback, conversation and engagement.
This has opened a plethora of opportunities for small businessmen, local tradesmen, startups and entrepreneurs around the world. It’s primarily because you no longer need gargantuan (leave aside any for that matter) marketing budgets to get the word out.
Lets say you run a small chain of bakeries by the name Freshtime Bakers in your region or lets just make that one outlet for now. What options do you have as the owner to market your product? You could either hand out leaflets, brochures or do ads in local newspapers, magazines and radio spots.
If you were to take it a notch further, people could be deployed around town with free samples (shopping plaza, parks etc.) and you could even go door to door with freshly baked cookies and pastries.
What else could you do to promote your business with little resources? I’m sure you’ve still got plenty of ideas but for the sake of conversation lets say you had some knowledge of social media and a computer nestled away at home.
All you’d have to do is setup a Facebook page and a Twitter profile. Add contact information with phone numbers, Google Map listing and connect these profiles to your website (if you have one by adding links).
Now, send out invites to all your existing customers, friends, relatives etc. (even add these web links on your bill, carry bags and in-store merchandise to get the word out). Next, upload pictures of freshly baked cakes including other items your bakery is known for online.
You’ll be surprised at how many inquiries will come your way when Raj (a friend of a friend) shares pictures of the chocolate mud cake he had on his birthday. This is what social media experts around the world try to achieve – when your Brand becomes a word of mouth viral campaign.
By doing so you’re engaging with your existing as well as perspective consumers, enabling them to be a part of your business – creating evangelist of your Brand.