Kyneton Community & Learning Centre and Straight Shooter Introduce Marketing Course for Regional Businesses

A new course starting in July will help local business people in regional Victoria become more comfortable with marketing – a topic that has been identified as a key skill gap for businesses in the Macedon Ranges region.

Run through Kyneton Community and Learning Centre (KC&LC) and delivered by marketing consultant, Leah Taylor from Straight Shooter Marketing, the D.I.Y. Marketing course will give participants specific, realistic and achievable tools and techniques to market their businesses.

According to Leah Taylor, most business people recognise that they need to do some form of marketing, yet a full strength marketing program seems out of reach – particularly when resources and budgets are already stretched just getting the work done to deliver to customers.

“I’ve worked in marketing for 20 years in companies of all different shapes and sizes. Consistently, business people have said to me that they would like to do more marketing, but they are not confident that they have the skills or the time required,” she says.

“Simply put, marketing is telling and selling a compelling story about your business to the right people, at the right time and for the right reasons.”

“Great marketing doesn’t necessarily need to be costly, complex and time consuming, but it does take a steady commitment and clarity of purpose.”

The D.I.Y. Marketing course highlights that the same core skills that are necessary to be a successful business person can also be used to efficiently and effectively market a business.

Participants will be encouraged to work to their strengths first in order to build marketing momentum, then use those successes to push beyond their comfort zone to try new methods, including online marketing, that have the potential to produce great results.

According to Mary Hogarth, Centre Manager at KC&LC, the introduction of a marketing course for local businesses is a direct response to specific demand within the region.

The 2013 Macedon Ranges Business Survey identified Marketing (50%) and Social Media (38%) as the two most important topics sought for professional development workshops in the region.

“KC&LC aims to provide education and training programs that are relevant to the changing needs of our community,” Mary Hogarth says.

“The DIY Marketing course is a great example of a new program that will deliver support for local businesses where it is needed most.”

“Investing in this course will provide a great opportunity to review and refine objectives for yourself, your business, your customers and your community.”

D.I.Y. Marketing will run for four weeks starting from Thursday 31 July. It comprises a two hour session each week in the evening from 7pm-9pm at the Kyneton Community and Learning Centre, 34 Mollison Street, Kyneton. The Special Introductory Price for this course is $495. Spaces are limited. Go to www.kynetonclc.org.auor call (03) 5422 3433 to book your place.

For more information contact Leah Taylor, Straight Shooter Marketing on 0403 576 925 or email leah.taylor@straightshooter.com.au or Mary Hogarth, Kyneton Community & Learning Centre on kclc-manager@bigpond.com or call (03) 5422 3433.

Marketing Basics – Finding Your Market

targetOne of the basics of marketing is to define who you are targeting – to be able to articulate the best market or audience for your product or service. Sometimes the market is obvious – but sometimes it takes a bit more work to identify who your best future customers or clients are. Also, sometimes the market is quite narrowly defined, for example an insurance product specifically designed for retirees, whereas in other cases the market definition is very broad, such as pitching a product to Mums.

For narrow markets you need to ensure you are not limiting the scope of your market. For broader markets, unless you have a huge marketing budget and existing avenues to reach the masses, it will be necessary to be quite specific about the definition and demographics of your market.

Let’s break this down using Mums as our example:

Which Mums?

  • Where do they live – international, Australia, which state, what types of suburbs?
  • How many children and at what ages?
  • What are the interests or hobbies of the Mums and/or their children?
  • Do the Mums work in the home and/or outside the home?
  • What income levels might be required to afford your product or service?
  • Will the price point affect the buying habits of some Mums? Is it a major investment, a small but regular investment or a one off cost?
  • What are the current fashions and/or trends in products for Mums?
  • Is your product or service familiar to Mums or will they need some education about its use?
  • Who are the competitors in your market space?
  • Where are your suppliers and are you selling online?
  • When might this offering be needed – or wanted – by Mums? Is it seasonal or relevant all year around?

This is just a sample of some of the questions you need to consider to specifically articulate your market. Large organisations can spend huge chunks of the marketing budget on research to get this step really right. For smaller businesses where this spend is not possible, much of this can be determined using online survey tools (like Survey Monkey), feedback from existing customers, simply asking people you know and plain old common sense.

Once you are reasonably clear who you are targeting, you should work out how to get to your market. What are the channels of promotion and communication to tell your story to your market? Take a big picture view and think laterally. There may be direct and indirect ways into your desired market.

  • Who are the voices your market is listening to in the media?
  • Are there identified influencers who are leading relevant discussions across social media?
  • Are there specific referrers, suppliers or stockists who provide could provide a channel directly to your market?
  • Are there other like-minded brands who you can form an alliance with for promotional purposes?
  • Who are your contacts, supporters and key customers? Can they help spread your message?
  • Are there other advocates or patrons working within the market who may provide positive feedback or speak highly of your product or service?

Finding the best way to reach your market can be tricky – particularly with limited resources. For best results, take the time up front to think widely about who you are targeting and how. The more specific you are in your planning, the more effective you can be in tailoring and delivering solid messages to your market and ultimately generating the sales you need.

If you need help defining and targeting your market, give me a call or email leah.taylor@straightshooter.com.au to discuss.

Have you been stumped by how to reach a particular market? How did you tackle this problem? Leave a comment below to tell me your story.

Put a bit of ‘You’ in the Marketing Mix

Here's me - following my own advice!

Here’s me – following my own advice!

For many of us it is natural to shy away from the spotlight. In life and in business we find ways to ensure that we are not the point of focus. We humbly play down our achievements or hide behind the products or services we offer. We flush and shake our head when complimented and use phrases like “It was a team effort” because feeling proud of ourselves and being open to positive feedback feels foreign or wrong or conceited.

Yet it is important to recognise that your individual efforts are making a difference. Day after day in your work you are contributing to your company, to your colleagues and to your customers.  Your contribution is unique, bolstered by your own experiences and knowledge and enhanced by your instincts and insights. Your strengths and your weaknesses all come into play. No one else contributes exactly like you.

With this in mind you need to consider how your contribution is directly linked to your marketing approach. How do you personify your brand? What difference would it make if a prospect could see your face or hear your messages or get a grasp of your ideas before you even broach the corporate spiel?

Think about this as an example, do you have a picture of yourself on your website? Before you get embarrassed and dismiss the idea, think about the benefits of allowing your clients to see your face online. How much information could they gather about you – the person they will actually be dealing with – just by seeing your face, your smile, what you are wearing, where you are standing or what you are doing in that image? How might this visual connection strengthen the experience when you meet face to face or as they contemplate purchasing your product?

These days, with so much information available to them, customers can afford to be curious about the creator of the goods or the services practitioner they are about to invest in. If a prospect cannot get a complete and compelling story about you, they may decide to keep looking until they find something or someone else that resonates. Don’t miss the opportunity to give them all the clues they need to get comfortable with you and your product as quickly and convincingly as possible.

This is why media such as online videos can be so powerful. We can see and hear someone on screen, getting a real read on what they would be like in person. We can gauge our reactions to their words and style of delivery to decide whether they are genuinely offering what we need and if we feel comfortable with their approach. This starts the process of establishing trust and building an ongoing business connection which – ultimately – is what we all work so hard to achieve.

In many cases, putting yourself forward and showing how you personify your brand can help to capture your customers’ attention and shorten the purchasing cycle so they decide to buy from you every time. Put yourself in the spotlight for a change and let your customers know who they are dealing with as early as possible. There’s no need to be shy. You and your contribution count more than you realise so show yourself off and be proud.

What can to do this week to put yourself in the spotlight?