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Innovative and Cost-Effective Ways to Market a New Business
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There are many distinct, inventive, and inexpensive ways that many new business owners use to promote their companies. Compared to the conventional methods of direct mail advertising, telemarketing, and the use of broadcast media, business owners are now relying upon novel approaches to market their goods. Guerilla and subliminal marketing are used by many companies as a fast and effective means to gain publicity and to sell their products and services. In addition, the use of podcasts, blogs, and social networking sites have also become popular alternatives to traditional means. Whatever the method, business owners are able to successfully establish recognition, credibility, profitability, and a wide consumer base.

Guerilla marketing
This term is used to describe unique, imaginative, and cost-efficient ways to advertise a product or service. Often times, small business owners will resort to this form of marketing because it is cheaper and sometimes more successful than traditional marketing strategies. The purpose is to “creatively” attract customers to buy a given product or service. An example of guerilla marketing can be found in most restaurants. Many restaurant pagers will advertise their drink and/or meal special on the devise. People become more aware of the restaurant’s special deals as they are waiting to be seated and because of the ad, they will often buy the foods that are advertised.

Another example of guerilla marketing is hot air balloon ads. During county fairs, marathons, and other outdoor social gatherings fast food chains, telephone companies, gas and electric companies, and automobile dealerships will advertise their logo on hot air balloons that appear in the sky overhead. The purpose is to simply raise awareness to their business. Many companies have found this type of advertisement effective since everyone is able to view their logo.

Subliminal advertising
Subliminal advertising is a form of marketing where a message is deliberately embedded within an image or sound. Many people may not be consciously aware they are being exposed to such implications, but will often change their actions and attitudes after viewing or listening to the advertisement. A successful subliminal advertisement is one that inconspicuously entices consumers to buy and use various products and services. For example, in the 1980’s, Camel Cigarettes were known to use hidden sexual images within their campaign ads. What may look like a regular cigarette advertisement actually contained embedded phallic images. The ads implication was that it was “sexy” to smoke; therefore, many people were prompted to smoke the Camel brand because they were unconsciously affected by the advertisement.

Other examples of subliminal advertisements are in-store air-borne aromas and other product visual manipulations that have been scientifically proven to create consumer impulse spending. Some retail clothing stores may even embed hidden phrases within their overhead music in order to keep the customer within their store for longer periods of time. The longer that a customer stays within a store, the more likely they will find something they like. Most often, these customers end up purchasing the item(s). For example, during the holidays many candle stores will light their entire store and storefront with many holiday-related scents, such as cinnamon, vanilla, gingerbread, etc. Many people who are buying gifts for relatives and friends are easily attracted to the scents and are lured inside. Often times, they may be convinced to purchase candles and other scented items from the store because they are highly influenced by the delightful aroma of Christmas time.

Subliminal advertisements are not limited to just visual and auditory manipulations. Car sales representatives and even pharmaceutical companies may use a dissociation technique, which is a form of mental manipulation. They have carefully set questions to convince the consumer to buy something, even if they do not need or cannot afford it.

Podcasting
One innovative way to market a new business is through the use of podcasts. Podcasting is a technological term in which digital media (audio and video) can be transmitted from online to one’s own personal computer or portable media device. Podcasts serve as a fast and convenient way in which many new businesses can use the online community to reach their targeted audiences. The advantage of utilizing podcasts is that prospective customers who are interested in a business proposal can simply click and download the desired podcast. This digital information can be shared instantly with anyone at anytime. In addition, podcasts can be distributed through many different channels on the internet, greatly increasing consumer awareness and sales. It is no wonder that podcast marketing serves as an effective way to generate online traffic and to increase the amount of transactions and consumer base.

For example, many automobile companies use podcasts as a branding, marketing, and sales tool. Their podcasts may provide information regarding the launch of a new automobile model or other different topics such as tips on roadside traveling and vacation destinations. In addition, many popular resorts also use podcasts regularly to entice consumers. The podcasts can include any upcoming special events that may take place at the resort, behind-the-scene interviews and tours, as well as news about new exhibits and expeditions. For the most part, podcasts need to be highly appealing for the target audience in order for them to view the business and consider buying its products and services.

Blogs/forums
Another novel approach to marketing is the use of forums and blogs. Just as podcasting attracts online audiences, blogs and forums also serve as an excellent and simple way to bring attention to a new business. A recent study conducted reveals that there is an increasing number of blogs than in previous years. Since blogging is the online equivalent to a verbal discussion, an entrepreneur needs to make sure that their blog is interesting to read, informative, and friendly to their online audience. The advantage of blogging in entrepreneur marketing is that it allows the business owner to conduct a dialogue with the potential customer. On most blog and forum sites, customers can post their questions or comments, and the new business owner will reply to all inquiries.

For example, a premier pharmaceutical company can write a blog about a new medication that will lower cholesterol. They can mention the possible side effects of the drug and even post the results of a recent clinical trial that demonstrated their medication was far superior than the leading competitors. Many people who suffer from hypercholesterolemia can post inquiries regarding the medication and learn more information based on the feedback of other readers. If promising, they may ask their physicians to write a prescription for the new medication if they have been unsuccessful with their previous regimen. This consumer can easily tell their friends, especially if they have had positive results. The pharmaceutical company, in turn, can easily distribute this medication to physician offices and medical facilities when requested.

Profiles on social networking sites
Initially created for dating, peer-related activities, family reunions, and communal announcements, social networking sites can also serve as a professional platform in which entrepreneurs can advertise their small businesses. It is an excellent way for business owners to find people, references, and companies they may not otherwise have access to. And because most membership is free of charge, many businesses take advantage of this opportunity to build their online connections while advertising their products and services. Many small businesses agree that social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook are beneficial in gaining recognition as well as customer support. For example, a business owner can create an online profile of their local diner on Facebook. In addition, they can post a menu and even showcase frequent celebrity patrons. Many people who are familiar with this popular establishment can simply dine there on a regular basis and even recruit new members by word of mouth. Recognition of the diner can spread among the network and is a good way to gain business.

Political candidates have also used social networking sites to gain campaign support. For example, contenders of the upcoming 2008 U.S. Election all have feature profiles for public view on many of the leading online social networks. Their profiles usually feature a brief biography about themselves and up-to-date information concerning their fundraising campaigns and political views. Many people who are not familiar with political figures and their crusades can merely educate themselves by reading the candidate’s profile content and decide who they should vote for based on the profile information. The popularity of social networking sites, to gain support, is just one of many effective online tools used by individuals, businesses, and political figures/campaigns who want publicity.

New enterprises, especially small establishments, have to continuously fight among competitors to get the recognition they deserve. Over the past several years, new business owners have used innovative tactics to improve the overall market visibility and sales of their company with little or no risk to their existing budgets. Guerilla marketing is the latest technique among new business owners in which an advertisement is placed in unique locations such as automobile doors or restaurant glassware. Subliminal advertising can be seen anywhere, from billboards to magazine ads, which convey deliberate, unconscious, messages that easily influence consumer spending. There are also podcasts, which allow individuals to view anything from business proposals to featured items to infomercials at their own convenience. In addition, blogs not only help promote a new business but also encourages online community conversation and feedback. Lastly, social networking sites have been proven to raise the profile of an individual, company, or group. All of these mentioned examples offer the entrepreneur new ways to successfully reach the target audience effectively without the risk of spending money for traditional means of advertising.

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