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It’s February…How’s Your Marketing Plan?

I know at the start of the year, we’re all eager to make new plans and promise to stick to them. You probably sat down and drew out a fantastic marketing plan, didn’t you?

Where exactly is that plan right now? Probably filed away or hiding under a pile of paperwork. Am I right?

So get it out. Make a commitment to look at it at least once a quarter. Plans change. Technologies change. You’ll be adding tools to your marketing arsenal year ’round, so make sure to go back and update your plan with these addendums.

But first read this post I did this time last year about staying on track with your marketing plan. It’ll do ya good.

DIY Marketing

We all know what the weather looks like outside: cloudy with a 100% chance of recession for the next year or so. People are cutting back. I get that. People are cutting back on marketing too. I actually have issue with this. Let me explain.

For most businesses, cutting back on marketing means We just don’t do any marketing. This frustrates me! You can cut back on marketing spending quite easily without actually cutting back on your marketing efforts.

Let’s say you spend $5,000 a year on advertising in a publication. $10,000 on television commercials. We’ll use this as a simplified example. So you no longer have $15,000 to spend on this stuff for the results you’re getting. Great. Slash it. But replace it with something more affordable and still effective. Maybe that’s monthly press releases sent out via PRWeb and to editors. Maybe it’s creating an effective social media strategy. Maybe it’s an email campaign. Whichever you choose, you will spend a fraction of the money you were spending on advertising, and I guarantee the results will be better, in spite of the economy.

If you’re a solopreneur, or the one doing just about everything in your business, I can see that you wouldn’t want to take on more work. But if you want to have any work to do at all when we come out of this recession, YOU HAVE TO DO MARKETING. Sorry, didn’t mean to shout. I just hate it when businesses think marketing isn’t one of the top 3 things they need to do to survive. It’s like running your nails down a chalkboard for marketers. Uggggh.

Ok, so how do you do that?

  • Dedicate 1 hour a day to research how to do your own marketing.
  • Read ebooks, listen to podcasts, read blogs on how to DIY marketing.
  • Ask colleagues what tools they’re using to market their businesses.
  • Find a Small Business Development Center, SCORE or other entrepreneur resource in your town to help you.
  • Hire an intern for $7 an hour from your local college’s marketing department. She might know more about social media marketing than you do!
  • Buy ebooks on DIY Press Releases, Email Marketing or Social Media from The Marketing Eggspert Library! (sorry, had to get that one in; but seriously: for less than $20 you can’t get a better deal!)

Readers, any other ideas on how to get started doing your own marketing? Let’s hear them!

Secrets to Subliminal Marketing

I read an interesting article in Parade Magazine a few weeks ago about subliminal advertising. No, I’m not talking about Mr. Subliminal from Saturday Night Live. I’m talking about those subtle ways advertisers are pushing you to buy things without you realizing. Here are some examples from the article:

  • Bigger is better, isn’t it? In comparing a lightweight remote to a heavier one, consumers tend to choose the heavier one because it feels more substantial. Oftentimes, all the difference is a useless wad of aluminum, and the price tag.
  • But it’s tradition. Do you squeeze a lime into your Corona? Why? Because it’s how it’s been done in Mexico for hundreds of years? Wrong. The ritual was started in the ’80s by a bartender who bet he could start a trend.
  • Shop to the beat. When you’re shopping, pay attention to the music. Chances are there’s something calm and slow playing. That’s because stores know you will slow down and spend more if the music’s slow. (That doesn’t explain Old Navy’s loud, fast music, but I don’t think I’m the demographic they’re aiming at anyway).
  • Where’s it from? People put a lot of stock into where a product is from. You want your high-end car to come from Switzerland or Germany, not Romania or Milwaukee. You want your big screen tv to come from Japan, not Little Rock. But is it made better because it’s from those places? You can bet not.
  • Put stock in the shape. Products come in shapes that appeal to us. In the article, the example was given of a diet mayonnaise product that came in two shapes: an hourglass shape and a rounder version. Guess which one the dieting women bought? The one with the shape they wanted to look like, not the round one.

Here’s another example of how stores get you. Have you ever seen a product at the end of the aisle, like a can of corn, that is, say 4 for $1. Maybe this isn’t that great a deal, but then you notice the sign saying “Limit 8.” Suddenly you feel like you need to stock up on corn. It’s all subliminal marketing.

The next time you’re in the store, pay attention to what you’re doing and see if you can catch subliminal marketing at work!