Marketing Tips to Live By: Join an Association of Your Peers, Ask Questions, Compare War Stories
One of the best marketing tips we can suggest is that you join an association of your peers, attend board meetings and general membership meetings and ask questions about how others handle the fine are of bringing potential customers together with their product or service. You could pick up great ideas here. Allow yourself to be peer counseled anytime you can be. Never think that people in your business have nothing to say to you. Never think that you have nothing to learn from them, believe us, you do, we all do!
Set up a public relations brain trust. For example, if you will open a store, organize the other merchants on your block or in your town and have at least quarterly meetings. Together you can come up with great ideas for events and other things to bring people into your town and to your stores. You can share a substantial public relations budget so that each individual owner needs to pay just a little. This type of arrangement is not just limited to merchants. If you own a martial arts studio, a paint studio, a cheese specialty shop or a potpourri of other businesses, you can figure out a way to combine with similar or compatible businesses to put demonstrations for the public.
You can also put on your own seminars and this is a great marketing tip for almost any business. You could tap into schools, corporations or other groups. If you have a local bakery, for example, you could put on a demonstration of how to create a gingerbread house at the holiday season. You will get lots of people in your store and hopefully lots of repeat customers. Virtually any kind of consultant could put on a similar demonstration.
Attend a marketing seminar at least once a year and more if you can find them.
Visit with distributors in your business, if you have a products business, get marketing tips from other veterans in the business. We have found that product distributors are not only smart and knowledgeable but also willing for the most part to share their knowledge with you. A meeting with them could prove very valuable. In fact, try to set up an arrangement for the best distributor in your business for breakfast meetings. The distributor might be more than willing to do this because he gets to meet with his customers and show them what is new.
Get your employees involved, all of them. One entrepreneur who we recently interviewed told us that he has an open-door policy in his company in which everyone in the company is urged to speak with anyone in the company about new ideas, new ways of doing things. The result in his company is that a worker, formerly in his mail room, now runs an $800 million part of his business. A person who used to type leases in the 1980s now negotiates all new deals for the company, based originally on some critical ideas he had. You do not know from who where the best ideas will come so keep an open mind.
Reading at least one good marketing books a year is one of the best marketing tips we can think of. Also attend seminars and read articles on the subject on blogs and in your trade journals.