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Two ways to turn your business into a lean, mean marketing machine

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When David went to fight Goliath in the battle between the Israelites and the Philistines in the valley of Elah, he spotted a niche. All Israelite soldiers were waiting to confront the Philistine army in a group battle, but Goliath challenged them to abandon the battle formation and choose only man to fight him. No-one among the Israelites dared to take the risk.

David was able to spot the niche that nobody wanted to fight, which was Goliath. So instead of focusing on the army of the enemies, he focused only on Goliath. With a string and a pebble, he was able to strike the giant on the forehead and killed him instantly. Goliath was his niche to victory.

Last week I espoused the advantages of the lean start-up in entrepreneurship, especially the fact that it has a lower failure rate than normal due to its lower risk. The lean approach is also successful in marketing, as it focuses your money and energy on those methods with the highest returns.

Niche targeting, as seen in the story of David and Goliath, is one way you can focus and get maximum results from your marketing. The majority of businesses are after large mass markets. These are often costly to penetrate as you will need a large marketing and advertising budget and you will be competing with numerous other firms. A niche is a relatively small group of customer with special wants or needs and who are prepared to pay premium prices to get their needs met. I know of an entrepreneur who succeeded impressively in the clothing retail business by catering to bigger women and men, whose sizes are not normally stocked by mass retailers. Can you spot a niche who needs are being unmet?

Test new marketing ideas in small batchesBlueOneGIF File

With the lean approach, you do not invest a lot of money in marketing strategies that have no guarantee of success. This is actually a gamble, it might or it might not work. Instead of developing big plans and investing most of your marketing budget in one or two initiatives, break your budget into smaller pieces and test a variety of ideas. For example, do not commit to a six month advertising campaign in the Herald or Newsday. Instead, dedicate a small budget to run two-week campaigns, trying different approaches. You should also explore other media, such as Facebook and Twitter which now offer low priced advertising services. The results of your experiments will guide you to methods that work for your business. In reality 90% of marketing tactics produce no customers, so keep on trying and you will find some which actually work. (You will find lots of marketing ideas in my book Low cost High Impact Marketing Strategies, which is available in both print and eBook edition, visit my website for more information, go to the BUSINESSLINK RESOURCES PAGE or just email me for more information).

At this month’s BusinessLink Networking breakfast meting, entrepreneur, business consultant and founder of the Business Setup Group, Max Soutter will share with us more marketing tips that you can apply get more customers with a small budget in a depressed economic environment like ours. Max has helped hundreds of entrepreneurs set up and grow sustainable businesses as well as implement profitable marketing strategies.

Don’t miss it on Wednesday 26th February, 2014 at Parkview Restaurant, from 0830 to 0945. The price to attend is $10 for BusinessLink Silver Club members and $20 for non-members. If you join the Silver Club now for $30 per year, you will attend this event for free and also enjoy 50% discount at all other events for 12 months.

Contact us at No 308, 3rd Floor, Merchant House, Robson Manyika / 2nd Street, Harare to get more information, or call Christine on 0772 854 301 to make your booking.

Phillip ChichoniPhillip Chichoni is the founder of Admiral Business Systems, a firm which provides business development consultancy and training. He is the author of books that include Business Planning Simplified and High Impact Low Cost Marketing Strategies for SMEs and publisher of BusinessLink Magazine. You can contact him for all your business plans, company and PBC registration, marketing advice, tax consultancy and accounting, his email is chichonip@smebusinesslink.com or visit http://smebusinesslink.com.

If you liked this article, please forward it to your friends and contacts that may benefit from it. To join the mailing list, just send an email with SUBSCRIBE on the subject line to chichonip@gmail.com.

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