As a start up or upcoming entrepreneur, you will probably not have the marketing budget to splash out on marketing and advertising. Brands such as Coca cola, IBM, McDonald, Nokia, Toyota, H&M, Nestle spend millions of dollars on advertising each year. However, we can learn valuable lessons from some of these companies about how they attract and retain customers.
1) Make your staff your brand ambassadors
Sell your brand and your strategy to your employees. International brands have strict codes of conduct that determine how staff behave. Many brands also reward certain behaviours, for example McDonald holds the Voice of McDonald competition, similar to an American idols competition that not only institutionalises the McDonald culture but also rewards employees. Internal marketing training ensures that your staff are not letting you down through inappropriate behaviour and customer service methods. your staff are your first port of call for your customers and where they get their first impression about your business. How staff come across will have a great impact on purchasing decisions. Furthermore the whole organisation, no matter how small needs to be customer centric. This means creating policies, procedures, and operating systems that support and welcome customers.
2) Create an unforgettable in store experience
Big brands have the budgets to create themed flagship stores, where customers experience the brand through all senses. Coca cola for example has any international themed store where customers not only experience the history of the brand but also get to see how the company makes its products and get a taste of thier products. Apple inc customers are wowed by Apple flagship stores in many major international cities while international brands such as Gucci have whole blocks of shops dedicated to their products.
As a small and upcoming business, what experiences can you provide for your customers to make them want to come back again and again? Innovative entrepreneurs are able to provide experiences that engage the senses at low cost such as free tasting sessions, DIY classes, baking and cookery lessons, in store and on line competitors, coupons etc.
3) Provide unbeatable quality.
Big brands have the luxury of being able to leverage their financial muscle to get the best quality available. In the UK, retail giants such as Tesco have British farmers queueing to provide products while Walmart in the USA controls and determines the success of thousands of suppliers.
As a small entrepreneur, your customers expect you to match these companies’ quality , but you have a much smaller budget. The beauty of being small is that you can be flexible and be more creative. Smaller companies can redesign products, tailor make their offerings and design packaging that will attract niche customers and provide customers with tailored products.
Being small is no excuse for compromising on quality of service and products. With a bit of creativity entrepreneurs can quietly make inroads into big brand markets.