Good marketing makes the company look smart. Great marketing makes the customer feel smart – Joe Chernov, Marketing Leader
Having a lack of budgeting resources is not uncommon: it’s actually the third biggest marketing challenge for businesses according to Hubspot. But as the quote above illustrates, marketing isn’t about promoting your company itself as much as it is about spreading awareness and building a strong, reliable consumer base. You don’t need to have a huge budget to market your brand if you have a unique selling point and believe in its potential. Companies like Apple, Google, and Starbucks all started out in garages and have grown into multi-million dollar giants over the years, because they were providing products and services that were in demand but not on the market.
Thanks to the invention of the internet and other cutting-edge digital technologies, marketing has become much easier, more accessible and dynamic. Anyone with a computer and internet access can market their company. Not all companies are blessed with an angel or venture capital from the start, so here are some ways to market your company with a low/no budget:
There’s no replacement for marketing that lacks creativity. Guerilla marketing is a strategic move that relies on pure creativity through different forms of media. And the best part is that you don’t need a large marketing budget for it- you just need to think out of the box. Small business often employ guerrilla techniques to compete with larger businesses which have more resources and money at their disposal.
Anything that can incentivise people to find out more about your company is creative, whether it’s banners, videos, short stories, tutorials, blogs, or even freebies that people crave. A little step can go a long way in building your brand in the eyes of a consumer. When coming up with a creative marketing strategy, you should be extremely clear about what you are trying to sell and why you feel people should deserve to know about it. The goal isn’t to spoon-feed consumers about your product or service, but rather tickle their curiosity and generate demand. Sony for example hired secret agents to ask people to click pictures of them and then praise their cameras. All you need to put in is effort and time, which money can’t buy.
Finding The Right Connections
If you face extreme budget constraints, then marketing your company through creativity alone is most likely going to backfire. Along with a creative spin, you’ll need to find the right connections that can help you along the way.
Word-of-mouth is a powerful tool that has sadly disappeared from most companies’ marketing strategies manual. If you are marketing with a low budget, then the best place to start is by word-of-mouth. Spread the word around to everyone you know and build your brand from there. Having a hundred true potential leads via face-to-face interaction is better than trying to gain a thousand through social media. It builds trust and credibility for your company, and has a higher chance of helping you forge useful stakeholder relationships in real life.
Other avenues to find the right connections include networking events, roadshows, and local events. Recognition doesn’t magically drop from the sky- you need to put yourself out there as your brand’s ambassador and make people believe in your vision, especially when you’re on a shoe-string budget.
Marketing with a low budget doesn’t mean you can’t bolster your businesses visibility. The internet has become an advanced powerhouse for growing start-ups with the creation of free listings, extensive search engines, and social media. Even though they may seem inconspicuous, all of these applications offer potential for you to market your company without spending a fortune.
Social media in particular has revolutionised the way people find information, overtaking traditional search engine traffic in some cases. Facebook’s influence over consumers’ offline and online purchases rose from 36 to 52 percent in 2015. To kick start your marketing campaign, you should create a Facebook Page which promotes your service in a creative way and entices people to convert into followers.
Beyond Google, you can also register your business in free listings such as Yelp, Yahoo, and YellowPages.com. The more details you add about your company, the more views its likely to get. To take it one step further, you could even partner with another business for the short-term to collate more resources, attract new customers, and discover more distribution channels. In an age where everything is so inter-connected, having a low marketing budget may be disadvantageous, but it’s definitely not a reason to give up on your dreams.
Marketing has evolved over the years to become one of the most important corporate functions of a company. In a globalised market with such stiff competition and variety, how do companies differentiate themselves and mark their competitive edge? Despite what popular belief enforces, there’s no single formula to approach it and having a low budget is no barrier that should stop you. In fact, marketing with a low budget might just push you to adopt fresh, unconventional, and creative strategies that are far superior than those of your competitors.
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