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.

Follow Seth Godin

Seth Godin is described as America’s Greatest Marketer and his blog is one of the most popular in the world. I recommend you follow him and consider how his ideas can be applied in your own business. His writing is straight forward and inspiring – just how we like it.

Here is one of his recent posts: Fearlessness is not the same as the absence of fear

Click through to read more of Seth’s writing and to subscribe to his blog.

Let me know what you think.

Does Your Marketing Plan Support Your Business Goals For The New Financial Year?

Leah Taylor is an accomplished marketing professional who helps people frame stories – about themselves, their careers and their companies – to set a marketing direction that makes sense and has a great chance of success.

Professional Services Marketing Experience

Leah has almost 20 years of experience advising and educating professionals to define and market their expertise. She has worked across industries including professional services, finance, not-for-profits and government.

Leah Taylor - Director Straight Shooter Marketing
Leah Taylor – Director
Straight Shooter Marketing

Leah has held senior marketing positions in these leading international and Australian organisations:

  •       Ernst & Young
  •       Baker & McKenzie
  •       Victorian Department of Justice
  •       Godfrey Pembroke Financial Planning
  •       McLean Delmo Accountants & Business Advisers

Services

Straight Shooter Marketing will help you assess your marketing and communication activity and set you on track to reach your goals.

  • Marketing Coaching is available for individuals or organisations that need a cost-effective plan and some ongoing guidance, but are happy to take responsibility for the implementation of marketing activities.
  • Marketing Consulting is offered to businesses that need campaigns and programs developed and project managed from beginning to end.

All of the services are delivered with specific and practical advice for maximising the return on your investment. In other words, the aim is to have you using all that you have learned so that your investment pays for itself many times over.

Contact

Leah can be contacted on 0403 576 925 or leah.taylor@straightshooter.com.au.

Communication is Key for Kyneton Community & Learning Centre

The Kyneton Communication & Learning Centre, Mollison Street, Kyneton

The Kyneton Communication & Learning Centre, Mollison Street, Kyneton

I was a very proud Marketing Coach on Sunday when one of my clients, Kyneton Community & Learning Centre (KC&LC), celebrated their 25th anniversary with fun, food and music at a Community Open Day.

Kyneton is a thriving country town between Melbourne and Bendigo in regional Victoria. Kyneton Community & Learning Centre provides a range of services covering education, care and community services for participants of all ages from Kyneton and the wider district.

KC&LC has an amazing group of dedicated staff and volunteers who are doing an incredible job building the range of services on offer and delivering these services at the highest level of quality.

Everyone in the Kyneton community is welcome at the centre. Yet, research revealed that while 90% of residents in the Kyneton district were aware that KC&LC existed, only 10% of them had used the services provided.

I worked with the Committee of Management and staff earlier this year to put together a sustainable and manageable grassroots strategic communication plan to help them achieve their business goals in the short and long term. The challenge is to engage the community through effective communication to encourage greater and ongoing participation in the centre.

Creative kids won prizes for their art.

Creative kids won prizes for their art.

The upcoming 25 year anniversary was a perfect way to kick off the KC&LC communication campaign. Committee members and staff implemented each element of the communication plan which involved running a community art competition, organising lots of local promotion and publicity, gathering sponsorships from local businesses, all culminating in a Community Open Day where residents were welcomed, fed and entertained as they visited the centre – many for the first time.

This is the first phase in the ongoing implementation of the strategic communication plan for KC&LC. As a not-for-profit (NFP) organisation, we agreed on a model where I am a Marketing Coach – I drafted the plan in consultation with key stakeholders – but the implementation is the responsibility of nominated members of the KC&LC team. I am always available to answer questions and support them as the projects progress. And I was very happy to attend their party, eat a piece of birthday cake and celebrate all the work that has already been done. Well done team!

I look forward to more trips to KC&LC as future phases of the Strategic Communication Plan are put into place.

Do you know someone who would benefit from Marketing Coaching? This is a great way to get your marketing approach on track, without the need for expensive ongoing consulting fees or retainers. Contact Straight Shooter today for more information.

Article: The Brand Called You

In this post I am sharing an important article written by Tom Peters about brand. Whenever I am working with clients or running a seminar about branding, I give participants a copy of this article as food for thought.

Now I warn you, this is a long article and there is a lot to take in and think about. You will need some time – so stop, make yourself a cuppa, sit, read and highlight or make notes as you go through. If you get stuck, keep going or come back to it later. You might find something that resonates towards the end?

‘The Brand Called You’ by Tom Peters

What did you think? Are you suprised to learn that this article was written over 15 years ago?

Marketing Basics – Contact Databases

Dear insert first nameYour contact database is critical to your marketing approach. Who you know – and who you need to know – can make or break your business communication. So it is worthwhile dedicating some time to get organised about your contacts lists so that sharing your story is as efficient and effective as possible.

Step 1 – Who Do You Know?

Think about all the people you know – professionally and personally. Do you have all the information you need to contact them reliably and regularly?

Take a blank piece of paper and start writing down all the contact lists you already have:

  • Contacts in your phone
  • Email lists
  • Facebook friends
  • LinkedIn contacts
  • Blog followers
  • Event attendees
  • Customer lists
  • Others?

You may already have hundreds of contacts and I’m sure you can already think of ways of increasing this number.

Step 2 – Database Options

Now you need to find a way to bring all your contacts together and manage them.

There are endless databases options available to suit the size and requirements of your business. From fully integrated Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems, cloud based solutions or just a simple Excel spreadsheet, you should choose a database that allows you to easily add and extract useful contact information.

Spend time to get the information ‘fields’ (i.e. title, first name, surname, email addresses, etc) and categories (i.e. clients, contacts, specific lists for newsletters, billing details, etc) right up front so you have all you need when you come to using the data for communication. Will you mostly be using email communication? Do you need postal addresses? Is there any purpose for capturing personal information such as birth dates or ages?

It is important to make sure you are across rules relating to privacy in your country or state – particularly for email and online communication – so you are not caught out sending unsolicited information. In Australia you need to provide a way for people to ‘opt-out’ or ‘unsubscribe’ from your mailing list if they no longer want to receive information from you.

Step 3 – Extending and Updating Information

A database is only as good as the information it contains – and it can quickly become outdated. Schedule some time each month to update your database and put processes in place to add new contacts as soon as possible.

Work out some simple strategies to ensure your database builds each month. Make sure you never lose an opportunity to get new data in so you can extend the reach of your communication, giving you access to even more potential clients and customers.

How are you managing contact information in your business?

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.