Professionals offer advice on marketing on a budget

vbridges@newsobserver.comSeptember 23, 2013 

Reporter Virginia Bridges asked marketing professionals who participated in last week’s Shop Talk Small-Business Breakfast to give their best tip for marketing on a budget. This is what they said.

•  “Used car dealerships do awful commercials really well ... and they work because they are focused, targeted and consistent,” said Valerie K. Fields, chief PR pro at V.K. Fields & Co. PR PROS, a full-service public relations and copywriting agency in downtown Raleigh. “Don’t try to do everything. Instead, focus on a few things and do them well, then build your brand and dominate on those select marketing platforms.”

•  “Don’t spend one dime on marketing without first getting the unvarnished truth from your customers and prospects. Conduct a telephone or online survey or hold a series of meetings to find out how the people who can spend money with you truly view your brand and the alternatives,” said David Chapman, CEO of 919 Marketing, a national marketing agency based in Holly Springs. “Making sure your messaging, pricing, positioning are validated by your customers upfront will maximize your marketing results.”

•  “There is nothing more credible than third-party content and endorsements of your brand or business by journalists and consumers,” said Natalie Best, executive vice president and director of client service for French/West/Vaughan, a public relations and brand communications agency headquartered in Raleigh. “An editorial-like endorsement – that is either earned through the media or shared socially – can launch your business to new heights.”

•  “Think about how people look for information on what you sell and how they choose where they buy,” said Jim Tobin, president of Ignite Social Media, a social media marketing agency in Cary. “That will help you choose the marketing tactics, including social media, that are most likely to work for you. Don’t feel like you need to be on every social platform to be successful.”

•  “Small-business owners will do a better job on marketing if they focus on one or two things and do those well,” said Karen Albritton, president of Capstrat, a strategic communications firm in Raleigh. “Resist the urge to do or say too much. It’s good to test new channels from time to time, but once you find what works, focus your resources and reap the results.”

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