One single marketing idea for small businesses

Is your small business having some downtime? Maybe incoming work is a little bit slow?  If so then you’re probably on the prowl for some new marketing ideas for your small business. 

Typically, small businesses will start flyering or even do a bit of social media marketing.  These can have great results but it might take a while to get a return on investment so you’re specifically looking for marketing ideas thats quicker and more original. Something new, something different and something doable!

The marketing tactic I’m about to share with you is nothing new or ground-breaking but it’s a sure-fire hit to bringing in new business and not a lot of people talk about. Watch a bit of telly and you’ll see it in action, or listen to it on the radio and you’ll hear it in the adverts.

It’s a creative bit of marketing that uses demographics.

Typically big businesses use demographic marketing to shape their brands but smaller businesses can use it intuitively to increase sales.

The ideology for smaller businesses is to simply pick a different audience to target. Loads of big businesses do it all the time and it works, and smaller marketing savvy businesses do it even better. Check out these examples of how bigger businesses strategically target different audiences and how smaller businesses can do the same.

Sainburys New Generation of Marketing

A few years back there was a power struggle between the big supermarkets in the UK and whilst they were fighting over who was the cheapest, Sainsbury’s took an alternative route focused on quality, family and a new generation of customers.

From the early days when they took Jamie Oliver on as their brand spokesman to today where their television adverts are featuring urban music, young families and smartphone technology, all Sainsburys have been doing is entertaining a new audience.

Their goal was to make a connection with their audience that surpassed pricing so instead of promoting cheap products their adverts focused on being relatable and tapping into the psyche of a new age of teenagers, mums, dads, families, couples and grandparents via a modern display of lifestyle, technology and culture. 

As a business, Sainsbury’s weren’t selling or doing anything differently.  They were selling the same products at the same prices but to a new audience in a new way.    

Apple’s future proof marketing

Apple redefined how we live when they introduced the Ipod, Iphone and the Ipad and although they’re pieces of tech aimed at an adult market, it’s a younger generation like my nephews and nieces who have now grown up with it. They’re so familiar with Apple products that they don’t think that there’s any substitutes, but what they don’t know is that Apple was a maker of computers who went out on a limb to produce the Ipod, a mobile music player, in a sector which they had no experience of. 

Apples First Ipod
Apples First Ipod

Sure, the Ipod was still a piece of tech but at that time, audio hardware was not the same business as computer hardware. In fact, it was far from it. Sony, Panasonic & JVC were dominant forces owning the marketplace by specialising in and producing portable audio equipment.  Apple was a computer software and hardware producer but when they made the Ipod, they didn’t change the companies ethos or product line.  They took what they did best (innovate) and made a different type of computer targeting a different audience.

Inadvertently it was their stepping stones to global success.  They built a loyal future customer base in a totally different sector of technology by creating a product for everyone, but one that was historically sought after by a younger generation in particular.

Edward Bernays Torches of Freedom marketing campaign

In the 1920’s, an excellent marketer by the name of Edward Bernays had the brainwave of selling cigarettes to women rather than just men. 

The demographics showed that most women at that time were housewives with time on their hands to smoke cigarettes and socialise but a woman smoking was frowned upon. 

Edward bernays torches of freedom
Edward Bernays torches of freedom

Capitalising on the women’s liberation movement in the U.S. and creating a liberation marketing campaign of his own, he targetted cigarette sales at women and increased sales of tobacco to women from 5% to 33%, just by widening the demographic.

Our own small business marketing ideas

We’re a brand studio in Essex and over the years I found new segments and trends with my customer base.  This helped me to target new audiences based on demographics and geographics. Here’s what I found and implemented:

  • All of my clients were based in and around London, and nationally throughout the UK but none were local in Essex. To resolve I started marketing to local businesses and won new clients.
  • My customer base was always B2B service providers but in the last 3 years around 75% of new business have been B2C businesses in retail.
    My new website design and marketing material are now less corporate looking to appeal to that audience.
  • I’ve won a number of clients in the medical and science field.
    This is something I never planned for but now I market to them directly.
  • Recent clients found me when they needed website support after their old supplier let them down. Website support is one of the biggest services I provide now and it pushed me to promote these services to a new wave of clientelle.

Overall I looked at trends in my business, studied the data and began marketing to specific different audiences to increase my sales.

Marketing ideas for a small business

In every one of the scenarios above, the business didn’t change, they just changed who they were marketing to, and in some cases found something else to sell.

Smaller businesses don’t have the red tape to cut through to set up something fairly quickly and start targeting a different audience.  With the use of the internet, you can experiment quite easily with the likes of landing pages and social media without interrupting your regular customers or diluting your main brand.

For small business, I think there’s four factors that can help you to increase sales with new marketing ideas and picking new audiences.

  • Look for gaps in the market
  • Look at trends in your business
  • Look at attracting a younger generation to secure the future of your business
  • Look at attracting the complete opposite of your current target audience with a product or service that appeals to them

A great way to put collect and analyse such data is through a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats) analysis. To create one try using this fantastic swot template as a guide. It’ll help you focus on your position and make a daunting task much easier.

To implement a marketing campaign based on a new client base, try and expand your business services, use sub-brands, research and implement creative design solutions or simply gather a list of contacts and make some calls.

1 Comment

Leave your comment

Subscribe for top tips on Branding, Marketing & Design