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Simple marketing for SMEs

Below is a few examples of simple marketing plans for SMEs that I have implemented.
Feel free to scroll down through the examples / information...
Product to store marketing
designClient: Newtree Chocolates
Project: Launch product to market

About: A leading chocolate manufacturer from Belgium wanted a launch into the UK market, so the product had to be marketed from the ground up and be sold to buyers to get it in-store too. The above images show a selection of concept boards supplied to Newtree showing the various elements that were going to be actioned.

Firstly, we had to get the product in-store, we assembled a package for the buyers that would attract their attention. The package was based around the unusual ingredients found in the chocolate, namely the Lavender, so we wrapped up the premium chocolate bar range in some gardening hessian, placed it into a subtly branded watering can alongside Newtree branded Lavender seeds and a reply postcard with a survey and the sales directors personal number. For lesser multiples, we simply sent out the slabs of chocolate, seeds and reply card wrapped in the same hession ribbon. The response rate was really high and led to the product being exclusively stoked in Waitrose, Harvey Nichols and Harrods.

The next phase was to attract consumer attention on a low pr budget, the first was to mail out an advent calendar style taster pack to a database of chocolate loving public. Secondly, to create some cheap PR, we mailed blocks of the premium chocolate to all the movers and shakers in the magazine publishing world, specifically with a readership of women in the 30-50 bracket, who purchase expensive chocolate as an indulgent treat when shopping. Alongside this PR in the magazines, we placed small quarter page adverts with money off 'incentive to purchase' coupons. With the target market being female and of a certain age, we felt that they would be readers of a certain type of novel, we got Newtree to sponsor a category in awards program of The Society of Authors, namely – the new author award for debut fiction from a female 35+, which gains exposure on the bookshelves of major book retailers.

Now we have got the product in-store and the consumer at the shelves, we needed a second draw to seal the purchase, the first of which was to link up with a major premium coffee brand to cross promote purchase, after this, an on pack promotion to win the chance to send a 'new' tree in a bag to a friend via tree2mydoor.com and lastly, shelf wobblers to advertise the chance to win an 'indulgent' weekend with Mr & Mrs Smith. Around the major London stores, tube stations were manned (at lunch times) with a branded dump bin where people could swap a bar of their 'inferior' chocolate bar for one of Newtree's and a money off voucher for their next purchases.

All in all the project was a success, the Newtree chocolate range is now in store and being shifted off the shelf by the water-butt load. As you can see, the aspects of marketing are huge and varied depending on your product or service, for those that are just after some generic advice, I have compiled a list of small business marketing ideas and tips.

For a more bespoke approach, why not contact me to see what I can do to promote your product or service.
Beauty Marketing
designClient: Fuss Beauty
Project: Marketing a beauty salon to increase turnover

About: Fuss Beauty was initially a small 2 day a week beauty salon based in a large North Bristol corporation offering services to the staff there. The owner of Fuss Beauty wanted to increase the number of her clients and to move to salon to her hometown in Chepstow.

To help with this I designed, built and optimised a website which gained pretty good listings on Google for the various treatments she offers in her area. The design was based on a new brand that I created, which included name generation. The ‘u’ in Fuss was turned into a smiley happy face to indicate the feeling that clients get when they have a beauty treatment at Fuss. To improve listings in Google, I designed a Facebook fan page to link to the website and strengthen it with likes, so far 153 and counting...

In support of the website, several other marketing elements were used to include: a referral discount card, an initial treatment discount card for the large number of armed forces personnel in the area. To follow on, 2 levels of brochures were produced, a mass marketing 8pp roll folded version with a low unit cost which was to be given out freely at various key locations in the area. And a luxury matte laminated 16pp version to be used for cross selling with existing and newly gained consumers.

The objective of Fuss Beauty has been fully achieved beyond all expectations and is trading very successfully in the area and now looking to expand further.
IT Marketing
designClient: Projectwon
Project: Increase client numbers / turnover

About: Projectwon already had a number of contracts with housing associations as their IT training provider, the director wanted to expand upon the client base by leveraging their experience in that sector.

The solution was to visit an exhibition from the National Housing Federation and exhibit using a pop-up exhibition for the 3 x 2 shell that I designed. A key part of the stand was a logo wall showing the existing client base of housing clients and, of course their value for money pricing structure. An 8pp brochure with a folder section in the back was used to convey their services to stand visitors. The folder section allowed for inter-changeable inserts with a pre-printed background to detail individual courses. The exhibition activity was backed up with flyers, an advert is the inside front cover of the NHF Members Directory and a website face-lift using simple design amends using the CSS only rather than completely redesigning the whole site from scratch.

New client wins from the exhibition gave a higher return on the investment from orders taken on that day, let alone repeat business and follow up new business leads.
Insurance Marketing
designClient: Guardsman
Project: B2B awareness, support and increase turnover

About: With multiple objectives and aims, this series of marketing events strung together with comparative ease. To start with, Guardsman wanted to attract the attention of independent furniture retailers on top of their lucrative multiple retailer contracts – this was done by targeted advertising about ‘stretching profits’ and appeared in relative trade journals, the call to action leading the retailers to call, email or visit a microsite landing page for further information on selling these plans for extra profit.

Once the extra retailers when captured, we deivised a training manual/sales manual to inform the retailers of the benefits to the consumer and how the insurance plans work, enabling effective sell-in to what was an undersold bolt-on product.

Guardsman furniture protection plans are now in 2.5 million UK homes and climbing...
Furniture Marketing
designClient: Guardsman
Project: Furniture protection insurance B2C marketing

About: The consumer face of Guardsman is relatively unique as they are completely in-store within other retailers branded environments. In order to make effective sales, the retailer needs to be fully on-board with the insurance products and involved in the cross-sale. All furniture products have swing tags put on them to remind consumers that they could insure the appearance of their new furniture when making a purchase.

This is followed up by point-of-sale leaflets advertising Guardsman insurance policies at all sales counters within stores and are backed by informed sales staff (please see the B2B Success Manual in another entry in my marketing section). The point-of-sale leaflets are colour coded by product line to differentiate them. Retailers also have the opportunity to brand the Guardsman product as their own as shown in a Laura Ashley example too.

Guardsman furniture protection plans are now in 2.5 million UK homes and climbing...
Gadget Marketing
designClient: Exogear by Case Addict
Project: Expand iPhone battery case sales

About: This was an easy one as far as any marketing strategy goes, Case Addict were already the sole distributor of the leading battery case brand in the UK, MiLi.

Case Addict wanted to increase sales on the back of the recent press interest in the complaints of battery life by iPhone users by the UK public. So, during the launch of the latest iPhone Design Intellect produced some advertising for both the existing MiLi cases and their new Exogear case. The consumer adverts were placed in most of the related tech magazines at the time and included Stuff and T3 magazines. The MiLi adverts sent viewers towards the main Case Addict website so that other iPad and iPhone products could be cross sold over the strength of the battery pack media storm at that point in time.

The newer Exogear case also needed to be sold into other distribution channels such as the gadget websites iWoot, Firebox and such like. For this a simple new product mailer and sample product were sent out to existing buyer contacts, announcing the sole UK distribution rights and to draw them in to profit on the success of the iPhone piggy backing on the hyped up media coverage about the battery at that time.
Smart Marketing
designClient: Smartstone
Project: Increase turnover and clients

About: To increase the number of clients by marketing Smartstone was a relatively easy affair by designing and coding an SEO optimised website to increase enquiries.

Secondly, as the van(s) are often on the road and parked in well healed neighborhoods doing work, then this needed to be wrapped stylishly to draw attention to it and the website. The van always held a stock of flyers to give out to interested parties.

Smartstone also undertook to gain exposure with local kitchen designers and outlets by both sending out the flyer with an introductory letter, a follow up call and ultimately become a specialist granite contractor and also being able to display leaflets in-store.
B2C Marketing
designClient: Safeclean
Project: Increase turnover

About: After adding the Guardsman brand into the Safeclean logo to aid in brand trust from the 2.5 million existing Guardsman customers, it was decided to refresh all of Safeclean’s marketing collateral. To start with it was decided to visually demonstrate all of the cleaning services that they offer. A 2 pronged visual was created for use to show what they cleaned and how OR what they do and what on, so that they could be used whenever appropriate.

This transpired on to the main form of advertising, the van – which as Safeclean have loads of franchisees who are always on the road in residential neighbourhoods, then it is a pretty effective tool. Each van would be equipped with a series of leaflets demonstrating their services as a number of households tend to knock on the drivers door when undertaking jobs in an area. The second round is a series of advertising in local and national press using a series of templated classified adverts. Upon capture of clients, a database is held of all clients and jobs undertaken, these customers can be targeted with promotional postcards at key seasonal events related to cleaning (Spring or Xmas as an example) or when a certain time period of non activity is flagged up on the computer system.

Of course, Safeclean now has a database of over 2.5 million Guardsman customers who can also be targeted for their interest in keeping a clean home. Turnover is now rising.
Trade Marketing
designClient: Safeclean
Project: Increase franchisee take up

About: After the success of the B2C campaign, Safeclean needed more franchisees to support the increased workload in areas not currently covered by a franchised unit.

In order to gain such employees, Safeclean need ed me to design an exhibition stand to go in the National Franchise Exhibition at the NEC. The tone of the pitch was to ‘Clean up on profits without getting your hands dirty’ as this was thought best to describe the activities of a franchisee – i.e. they will not have to get down and dirty like traditional cleaning – this is only for stains, carpet cleaning etc.

The exhibition stand was supported by a brochure design that pointed out all of the feature and benefits of becoming a franchisee, including centrally generated work from day one. The Safeclean network of franchisees is running at a comfortable coverage now.
BBC Marketing
designClient: BathbyCycle
Project: Startup business marketing

About: As an initial start-up, I was approached to design the BBC branding which was to offer cycle rental in Bath. This rolled-out into an optimised website, allowing visitors to find bike hire prior to their visit.

As a supplement to the online activity, I designed a 6pp DL leaflet which was to be used in the ‘local information/things to do’ areas of every B&B, hotel and backpackers in the city in order to drum up business for its rentals. The leaflet was designed in such a way that it not only pushed the business but had a very informative map with all of the places of interest in the city in the hope that it would be retained and used by all whom picked up the leaflet (and indeed also be used as a decent hand-out map by the hoteliers when describing what to do in the area, and thus getting maximum exposure).

BathbyCycle has now been trading profitably for over 2yrs against some tough competition.
Equine Marketing
designClient: Keratex Hoofcare
Project: Increase distribution and turnover

About: The overall marketing plan for Keratex is one to engage equine distribution channels, from retailers and farriers to vets.

A key part of this campaign is getting out at trade shows, exhibitions and events, these range from engaging with the trade at BETA, the consumer at events like Badminton Horse Trials and sponsoring a guest column in The Farrier Magazine with the leading farrier Ian Hughes (who endorses the award winning Keratex product range). As you can see, I have designed an exhibition stand for these, as well and accompanying brochures and posters.

The targeted advertising is placed in relevant consumer and trade press at key points throughout the equine season and calendar.
New Product Marketing
designClient: Keratex Hoofcare
Project: Launch new product to market

About: Keratex was already in communication with its distribution network, so when a new product was developed, the route to get existing retailers to adopt the new product into their sales portfolios was simple, Keratex sent out a press release. The only problem being was that the product was a totally new category in equine health, a feed supplement that filters out certain toxins from the digestive system of horses. The is needed to be communicated effectively and simply and was achieved through a diagrammatic representation of the product structure and what it does.

Retailers took up the new product with vigor and it gained a considerable amount of PR coverage in the equine media. Upon acceptance into the retail side, targeted consumer advertising was put in-place alongside the circling press articles about the unique product. Sales are growing steadily.
Event Marketing
designClient: WNY Productions
Project: Increase client base

About: WNY are an event production management company looking to expand their client roster. Already having a great name in the industry as they had won the NOEA Event Organiser of the Year Award, so the marketing wasn’t really a case of defining a campaign but more a case of getting the brand image right.

Prospective clients were already searching and looking for WNY, so it was a case of designing a suitably clean modern website which displays their event projects at their best. The website was optimised to be found and came with well designed, downloadable case studies for clients to access. To complete the company image, every presentation and tender document was designed to look slick, capable and efficient.

The only minor amount of advertising was placed in the Sports Business International Directory to capitalise on the back of recent and successful Olympic projects.
Bike Marketing
designClient: Take Charge Bikes
Project: Increase electric bike sales

About: Marketing for small local business can sometimes be a simple affair, but with an electric bike shop in Bath this gets a little tricky. In a location that doesn’t have a massive passing trade, customers needs to be driven in-store, it has to become a shop that people aim to visit rather than one that you pop in when passing.

So how do you get people in-store with such a niche product in a town with only 80,000 inhabitants? You have to drive the consumer’s need to want an electric bike, then direct them to your store by spending more on advertising than you would normally have to and by sponsoring local cycling events. Thankfully this is Bath, an affluent city where the residents have a little more disposable income than some other cities and are interested in such products.

So, adverts were placed in local coffee table magazines such as Bath Life and Bath Magazine, full banner adverts on the back sports page of the local paper, and finally sponsoring the major local events such as Bath Sky Ride and Widcombe Rising. TCB is trading profitably after years and has good connections with Bath University and BANES Council.

If you like what you have read, then why not get in contact and see how I can help you with your small businesses marketing with a simple and effective marketing plan.