Searching for new customers and having a difficult time finding them? Perhaps you’re looking in the wrong place. Increasing sales requires creative marketing and creative marketing requires thinking outside the box. Business owners tend to reach for the tried and true when sales start going south, but they should look for creative and innovative ways to boost sales. Change is the name of the game during an economic downturn. “Why,” you ask? From your customers to your suppliers, your employees to your competitors, everyone is changing to meet the economic pressure of the downturn.
Creative marketing is easier said than done. Creative marketing requires intestinal fortitude, you have to be willing to take calculated risks and, more importantly, you have to be willing to embrace change and innovation. Think of the economic downturn as a time for correction, a time to create and innovate. Loyce Atim is helping people by using her innovative marketing ideas to grow their businesses.
Ok, so you’re looking for new customers, now what? Remember you have to think outside the box, be an innovator and not a procrastinator. Some of the suggestions I am making may require you to move outside of your comfort zone. But remember, staying in your comfort zone is not the goal; increasing your sales is.
Expand Your Range of Products and Services
You are probably saying to yourself, I don’t want to tie up more dollars to diversify my product line.” Well, you have to do neither. You have a customer base currently buying from you that buys complementary products and services elsewhere. You can partner with another company to offer their complementary products or services to your customers and receive a percentage of the sale. If you’re a manufacturer and retailer of kitchen and bathroom cabinets, for example, you can develop an alliance with a ceramic tile and countertop retailer to sell each other’s product as a complete package to the customer.
You may also have the product and the other company the distribution system. I knew a small manufacturer that sewed private label merchandise for a much larger company. In their downtime the small manufacturer begin manufacturing one size fits all sweat suites. Rather than bring on a full sales force to go out and sell the sweat suites to retail buyers, they established a mutually beneficial agreement with hair salons to sell the sweat suites. The manufactured had the product and the small hair salons the target customer to distribute the merchandise. The manufacturer placed the goods in the salons at no cost to them and when the item sold, the manufacturer took the lion’s share of the retail price.
Enlarge Your Customer Base
How can you broaden your customer base without taking on additional costs? Join forces with another company to market your products or services to a new target and/or geographic market. Whether it’s a formal or informal agreement, team up with another company to offer your products or services to their “warm” customer base. You should also think about developing alternative markets for your products in their current or altered state.
Another example, you have a loyal customer base and you find a non-competitive company that has a similar target market that also has strong customer base. You offer to exchange databases. You’ve automatically increased your target market and it didn’t cost you a one penny.
Develop Marketing Alliances
Creating a marketing alliance with another company that targets a similar customer base as you is one of the cheapest and easiest forms of marketing that you can use. I know of a marketing alliance that was developed among a group of restaurants to combat the big budgets of the franchise restaurants. They got a bigger bang for their bucks by combining their resources.
Creative Marketing Means Changing to Meet Your Customers’ Needs
Your customers have changed. Their buying power has been cut and their purchasing behavior is now different. There is a real possibility your target market could be disappearing and the needs of your established customers fundamentally changed forever. Your biggest challenge is to not lose your customers but grow them. Using creative marketing will help you to do just that. Seek out marketing partners to help you implement your creative marketing plan. Loyce Atim is a creative marketing strategist who partners with Small business owners and executives to grow their businesses.