If you don't know who Bill Gates is then you've been living in the caves with bears. Furthermore, if you own a small business then you have been missing out on an excellent case study of how to be a marketing ninja.
Forbes magazine has repeatedly listed Bill Gates as America's richest man. Hands down, this guy's got more money than God.
But more importantly, he has a Ph. D.in ‘crushing the competition’ to a pulp that sends grown men and women running for a milk bottle from mommy. He doesn't play ‘fair', um, err, whatever that means, and he makes absolutely no apologies for stepping on your G. I. Joe toy soldier.
And while he's at it, he'll be sure to fill your sandbox with water and kick some in your face on his way to the see-saw.
YES! Now, that's what I'm talking about.
What's that? Oh, you don't know what I'm talking about?
Okay, pull up a chair. Pop some popcorn because you're in for a treat on how to be the marketing ninja in a dying, crying, ‘blood squirting out from the neck’ economy.
The year, 2008, and we are now in a recession. So, what is the first thing that people do besides start panicking and labeling and hiding all their food from roommates?
Well, if we take small business owners as an example, I can tell you that one of the first things they do is make the immediate decision to slash their marketing & advertising budget down to the size of the grain of a mustard seed.
Have you ever seen the size of a mustard seed? I mean, even the biblical Jesus is amazed at the tiny size of that thing that he went home, drank a bottle of liquor (stolen from his stay at the Marriott, of course!) and out popped a parable. And men with small wa-wa's think they have issues. pff!
Rats, where was I?. . . . . ahh, yes - marketing. It's so hard to stay focused in this August heat.
When the economy starts to slow down, do you think sound marketing principles change like the tides in the ocean and no longer apply? No. And whoever tells you that is wrong and most likely still selling his books from the trunk of his car. Run, lamb, run.
These marketing principles apply even more so and must be used rather aggressively. And Bill Gates would be nodding his head in agreement.
Lesson numero uno: Marketing is the only expenditure that directly produces profit. To please my lawyers, I must add that it directly produces profit IF you are spending money on mediums that allows you to measure it otherwise you are wasting a lot of your advertising dollars.
This should have been stopped long before the arrival of the recession that we are in. I will go into more details about this in future articles.
Lesson numero dos: Most of your competitors will be cutting their marketing budget and if you should ever find yourself in the unfortunate position in a river of panic-stricken, drowning, small business owners on a white-water rafting trip gone bad, whatever floating piece of plank they're all headed for. . . . don't follow them. Go for the tree.
And the point here is simply: If the masses are all doing it, they must be wrong. They chose death. Now, you, grasshopper. . . . choose life.
Lesson numero tress: The door will be left wide open for the king of the jungle to market like a hungry lion because the pack of small business ostriches have stuck their head in the sand and committed marketing suicide when they killed their advertising budget dead.
Be forewarned: the spirit of Bill Gates will enter the bodies of your competition and take complete control of whatever pituitary gland connecting to the brain that turns on the Lee Iacocca marketing switch.
Oh, if you don't know who he is, you've not only been living in caves with bears, you really ARE a mammal and I hope you're wearing a sign that reads: “Do not feed before six. "
To play hard and to win big during a recession, small business owners must first look to their current customer base. This is not the time to get lazy and ignore this bunch.
What you want to do is start romancing them again. Frankly, the honeymoon should have never ended, but that's a whole other topic.
You must start up communications with your customer base even more so now than ever. Why? Because it's going to cost you a heap of money to replace them and don't think it's going to be as easy as Sunday morning, as the song goes.
And when I say to up your communication with them, I don't mean to send a wimpy little postcard that reads: “hi, just thinking of you. "
No. No. No, my loyal subjects. Your talks must be of quality. You're in business to make money, not make love. Unless you're a lucky pervert with exclusive rights to legally print money forever and ever till kingdom come. If not. . . .
You need to be creating customer retention systems that rewards their loyalty, incentivizes their patronage, and keeping them glued to you because what's going to happen is that your competitors will be attempting to seduce them with cheaper prices all day long.
You want to have your customers walking around in hypnotic trance-like circles that leads them back to your place of business every single time. Thou shall not grant any wiggle room to competitors whatsoever. You mustn't sleep or eat as you set this baby up. And once the machine starts rolling it will be automatic and you won't need to work so hard since a system will be put in place.
Stay tuned for my next article in which I will continue to spill underground secrets on how you can not only survive a slow economy but bring in more profits than you'll know what to do with even if you married a one-legged gold digger who doesn't know a ‘Beatles’ song to advise you. Until next time!
Yves Marie Danie Baptiste is an expert in small business marketing, helping entrepreneurs with limited budgets implement creative methods to increase profits without breaking the bank. Click here to learn more small business marketing strategies