Mar 20, 2009

Marketing Moments

It's a sad fact that many stores in the scrapbook industry have closed this year. I keep hearing about more and more. Many of them were operating at the edge of their income even in the best of times and had no room in their bottom line for any sort of bump in the road.

There are probably many factors beyond just finances that have contributed to this. Marketing your business in the best of times is so important, but marketing it at times like this is vital. Actually, marketing your business ALL THE TIME is what helps you through thick and thin.

A smaller store near my house just quietly closed up. Aside from a plain quarterly email (which really isn't enough contact), I never heard anything FROM them or ABOUT them - yet, they were just 2 miles from my house. I suspect that being tucked back off the road in a strip mall blocked from view by other stores and next to a barber shop was part of their problem. No one knew they were there and they didn't go out of their way to tell people they were.

Marketing is tricky for most people because it takes more time than money. Time and money are two things that many small business owners lack. So, advertising, which takes more money than time is just as unlikely to happen as marketing is.

Small businesses need marketing ideas that are uncomplicated and easy to find. One good new source for these is the new PMA Marketing Moments website. This idea was actually my brainchild and PMA has taken it on and created a site for the entire photo and memory industry. These little sound bites take less than 90 seconds to listen to and they will hopefully spark some ideas in you to help you market your business. Many times, marketing is merely an off-shoot of something you're already doing in your business. You just need to aim at a different crowd (potential customers) instead of aiming your effort at current customers.

Another good place to gather marketing ideas is ScrapBiz. We talk about marketing a lot because it's the life-blood of our business members. For instance, National Scrapbook Day is coming up May 2. At ScrapBiz, the theme we suggest for our members for that day is "Sweet Memories" - a day of chocolate and scrapping. Along with that comes ideas for games, treats and activities. Most business owners want that - a plan that is ready-made that they can draw on so they don't have to invent the wheel themselves.

Find other businesses that you can network with to create marketing ideas and plans. There aren't very many resources left directly targeted at our industry. Interestingly, many retailers I have spoken to say that the biggest loss for our industry when Scrapbook Retailer magazine ceased publication was the 2 month marketing idea calendar they had in every issue.

Marketing - it's something we all know we must do but that time and money thing gets in the way. Yet, it can be our very downfall in the end.

1 comment:

Sandra @ The Memory Workshop said...

The positive news is, marketing DOESNT cost alot of money. Spend a little WOWING your existing customers and they'll talk about you. Word of mouth is the most effective form of marketing!