Tips for Retail Success

From the Entrepreneur’s Perspective: How do I find a branding/PR/media firm to market my product line?

Marketing is a learned science, just like any other discipline. And it’s comprised of many components (social media, direct mail, public relations, advertising, telemarketing, and the list goes on). Each sub category requires a learned set of skills. Just like you would not hire an intellectual patent attorney to defend a bankruptcy, you would not hire a publicist to drive your social media campaign. And just like you would not presume that you are a skilled attorney (unless you are one), you are also likely not a marketing guru (unless you went to school and studied marketing and/or have a career in this area).

Marketing is an essential part of your business. It does NOT come last. If no one knows about your product, it won’t sell. You’ve probably heard this said: you can have the best thing since sliced bread, but if no one knows about it, it won’t sell.

There is no right marketing formula for everyone. Budget, competition, market size, channel, product lifecycle, and other variables drive how much you will spend and where you will spend it.

While most big advertising agencies have various specialists to round out your marketing team, they are also likely to charge you an arm and a leg. As entrepreneurs, we don’t have big fat budgets. We maximize every dollar and it better count.

It’s, therefore, important that you do the following:

  1. Put together a marketing plan. You have a business plan. It should include a marketing section. If it does not, create one. Like your business plan, your marketing plan can grow and evolve with your business – and budget. Define what area(s) you will invest in (and why). The “why” drives where you spend your $. And, once you know which area(s) you are prepared to invest in, then you can seek out the agency/consultant that fits this specific area (see below). It’s important to have the marketing plan well defined so that you are focusing your dollars and not chasing after “shiny objects” (those opportunities that come along but that are not currently in alignment with your business plan/strategy).
  2. Set your marketing budget. This will largely dictate how you will move forward. i.e. if you have a small budget, you are not going to invest in highway billboards. In other words, your budget will drive what marketing areas you can even afford. You might be doing everything yourself (DIY). In which case, you will be investing in free virtual classes and reading online sources and books. Starting small is fine. Grow organically. Regardless of your budget, flesh out that marketing budget and make it as highly targeted as you can. And, then hire the agency/consultant that can handle those specific functions that you or your own team are not adept in (see below).

Now, where do you find these marketing gurus if you don’t have the expertise or bandwidth to handle various marketing components yourself? Wait for Vanessa to post as she has resources for you. Note: Psi Bands handles our own marketing and PR.

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