August 21, 2011
If you follow the stock market you know it is not faring too well. While it has been up, it’s also gone right back down, losing all of the gains so far this year! Not a pretty picture. The reality is that most of us small business owners have little or no control over what happens on Wall Street. What matters most to us is what happens on Main Street.
On Main Street, we small business owners have to wear many hats. The problem is that most of us spend way too much time wearing operations and administration hats while neglecting to wear our marketing hat which is what we need to make our businesses grow and flourish.
Marketing is one area where small business owners on Main Street do have some control, if they understand which marketing strategies will give them the biggest bang for their marketing buck. Thanks to the internet, smart phones and a host of innovative technologies, small business owners have access to a wide variety of cost-effective marketing strategies.
However, one of the most cost-effective marketing strategies that small business owners frequently overlook is not new at all. Ancient merchants utilized “live event marketing”. Vendors would travel from near and far to meet buyers face to face and sell their products and services on the main streets of villages and towns. These early markets were “alive” with colorful images, a cacophony of sound, mouth watering flavors, intoxicating scents and handmade tools and utensils. It was also quite common for various types of entertainers, musicians and actors to perform.
These ancient merchants had no need for sophisticated marketing strategies to reach different demographics. They simply engaged their prospects in ways that are more difficult to do using today’s multi-media. Here for example:
- All five senses
- Product and/or service demonstrations or samples
- Face-to-face interactions
The closest modern versions of “live event marketing” include trade shows, expos, conferences, fairs and networking mixers such as those hosted by LinkedMinnesota, Sharp Upswing, New Business Minnesota and MainStreetChamber. If you’ve attended any these events, you would have seen many businesses showcasing their products and services.
Although “live event marketing” may not be effective for all businesses, for those who know how to leverage it, attracting prospective customers can be as easy as shooting fish in a barrel. Check out the video below to see how some businesses utilized “live event marketing” at one of our past events.
If your target market includes small business owners and you want to showcase your products and services to several hundred prospective clients/customers, I would urge you to reserve your booth at our upcoming “MainStreetChamber™ Business Expo” (for free admittance – for exhibit rates email firstname.lastname@example.org) at the prestigious Metropolitan Event Center on September 7 as soon as possible. We are expecting between 500-1,000 small business owners to attend. Our keynote address will be delivered by John Tschohl, a speaker and author recognized by USA Today, Time and Entrepreneur magazines as the ”Customer Service Guru”. In addition, we will have breakout sessions with small business experts Mark LeBlanc, CJ Coolidge and Jill Konrath. Our exhibit space is limited to just 84 booths/tables and they are going fast.
Close to 100 exhibitors will have an opportunity to meet up to 1,000 or more prospective clients/customers face to face, hear a dynamic presentation from an internationally recognized speaker and author and enjoy complimentary Hors D’oeuvres.
To help you leverage “live event marketing” to grow your business, I would encourage you to attend our upcoming Event Marketing Lunch & Learn on Tuesday, August 23 at the Kelly Inn in Plymouth. For the small cost of a lunch, you will learn simple, yet powerful event marketing tools and techniques from three experts. For complete details and registration, click here.
For additional details on how you can leverage Event Marketing at MainStreetChamber events, just click on Upcoming Events and then contact one of our chapter Presidents (all Minnesota chapters are listed in the side bar on the right). We are thrilled to help you in any way we can.
In summary, even though there’s not much we can do about what happens on Wall Street, there is a lot we can do about what happens on Main Street. And that is what MainStreetChamber™ wants to help small businesses discover