Silk purses and small budgets – a step by step approach to building your image

Naturally you want it all:

  • A corporate identity you can be proud of and which speaks volumes about you business, your aspirations and your capability.
  • A fantastic corporate brochure or sales catalogue
  • A fleet of branded vehicles
  • Full page adverts in prominent positions in all your target customers’ favourite magazines and newspapers, even TV and radio ad campaigns
  • A rich and detailed website which is at the top of the rankings on every major search engine
  • An exhibition stand which will be the envy of all your competitors

Is this a dream or reality? Fast forward to the real world, and now we come to the budgets and the wish list above turns into cheap logo, a flimsy brochure with amateur photography, a small cramped press ad, a basic temporary website and some simple posters dotted around your exhibition stand. Hardly the way to enhance your reputation!

Spread too thinly your marketing budget can do you more harm than good. Much better to look at your intended audience and target your marketing activity at a few things done well.

Your corporate identity is crucial, it is the foundation for all your marketing activity. Get this wrong or go for a temporary option while you get started and you will waste time and money at a vital time in the building of your business. While you work on this with your chosen designers, it is time to think big, think back to your wish list of all the fantastic marketing that for the time being is out of reach. How will the new identity that you are creating work with the bigger picture. Does it give you room to grow, will it still be relevant in five years time.

The next stage will be different for each type business. For business to business (B2B) activity you should consider spending your remaining budget on a website. Possibly have your brochure designed, but hold back on the printing and have it available for download on the site as an Acrobat PDF. If you are a moblie business such as tradesman, look at your vehicle graphics. Each of your vehicles is a mobile advert which is parked outside your clients premises or on the move working for you all the time.

The rest of your marketing activity is then in your hands, via networking, using the phone and just getting out there and seeing as many new prospects as possible. Only spend your budget on tools that will help you to achieve your initial aim which is getting a new business meeting. Stage three is how you handle the follow up to the meetings, but to start with you need to get those meetings.

Do each thing well and always put your best foot forward. One cobbled together piece of marketing can undo all the good work on image creation that has gone before and you know how long one step forward and five steps back takes.