Marketing Small Businesses Down Under On A Budget
Aussie small businesses are spreading the word about the products and services they have to offer, and they're doing so on strict marketing budgets.
Whether it's mobile or social media marketing, business owners Down Under are getting the job done while staying under budget. Here are just a few ways small businesses in Australia are marketing with their budgets in mind.
Aussie Marketing Costs On The Rise
Marketing isn't cheap, especially for small businesses that put a lot of time and effort into spreading the word about their goods and services. With marketing costs on the rise, small business owners need to find cost-effective ways to promote their brand.
According to Responsys Asia Pacific, marketing budgets for companies in the region have increased by 54 percent in 2013 alone.
With an expected increase of 23 percent for the coming months, Australian companies are doing all they can to keep their marketing costs down.
Networking Is Budget-Friendly
Aussie businesses know that spreading the word by actually, well, spreading the word is one of the most budget-friendly marketing practices around.
That's right: networking goes a long way when it comes to brand recognition and building a solid presence within the industry.
Whether it's attending industry events, joining online forums or simply being active on social media sites, networking is an inexpensive way for small businesses to market themselves.
As for the costs involved, time is the main budgetary concern with networking.
Realistic Budgeting Goals
Small business owners in Australia know that their budgets aren't just a number, but rather a goal that is always evolving.
As the following article notes, being realistic about marketing costs is just 1 of 5 ways to be an even better budget manager, especially for small businesses that don't have an official budgeting supervisor.
A realistic budget is one that takes all of a business's finances into consideration, not just marketing costs. In addition, as sales fluctuate from one month to the next, the budgeting goal should fluctuate accordingly. By keeping an attainable budget, small businesses Down Under can adjust their marketing efforts to fit their ever-changing finances.
Keep Brand In Mind
Missing the marketing mark results in lost time and finances; this is why brand familiarization is so important. Australian businesses know exactly what they are selling and, more importantly, who they are selling it too. Without brand recognition, small business owners basically have to reinvent themselves for each new marketing campaign.
By establishing a brand and a voice early on, small business owners don't need to pour as much effort into each new campaign, which is a more cost-effective marketing approach.
Free Always Helps
Although there may be upfront costs involved, offering free goods and services is always a great way to attract business. Whether it's offering customers free trials or sample products, Aussie businesses know that the word "free" is one of the best marketing pitches out there.
With that said, small business owners who use the free approach also know to follow up their freebies with a substantial call to action.
When it comes to marketing on a strict budget, small business owners in Australia do it best.
About the Author: Adam Groff is a freelance writer and creator of content. He writes on a variety of topics including small business and finance.
Q&A: Professor Loredana Padurean, Asia School of Business
As someone who is creating Asia Pacific’s business leaders of the future, what do you believe are the essential skills leaders require?
In many ways, we need leaders who are Renaissance women/men or polymaths, as opposed to specialists of an industry or a field. A polymath is a person with profound knowledge, proficiency and expertise in multiple fields and today’s leaders have to be able to combine various ideas, look at problems in novel and useful ways, and develop a broad and yet still deep set of skills, talents, and knowledge.
You’ve coined ‘smart’ and ‘sharp’ as skills of the future. What are these?
They are replacements for ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ skills, a concept coined by a US Army doctor in 1972 who observed that his pupils had different skills: dealing with machinery required ‘hard’ skills, while dealing with people and paper were ‘soft’ skills. This concept has served us well since, but I find it too binary, not to mention the semantic implications of the words themselves.
Soft implies gentle, delicate, mild, quiet, tender, weak. However, there is nothing soft in navigating competing perspectives and cultures, handling and delivering critical feedback or dealing with office politics. Instead, I prefer to call these skills ‘smart’. Hard implies rigid, difficult, heavy, static. But how can we think of engineering or software development as static or rigid? I believe ‘sharp’ is more apt as such skills need constant updating or sharpening.
I think it’s time to reflect on these classifications, because we can drastically change someone’s perspective by how we choose to talk about and frame something.
How important are smart skills in leadership today?
Smart skills are more important than ever because we live in a world of extreme diversity: generational, ethical, value-based, gender, etc. Gone are the days when giving an order was an effective act of leadership. I personally work with people from five different continents and across five different generations, therefore as leaders, we need to know how to adapt, motivate, inspire and connect. We need to increase our investment in learning about them in action, especially as smart skills are more difficult to develop.
I believe that a successful leader today has to be both smart and sharp. Take cognitive readiness, one of my top 10 smart skills. In order to be cognitive ready, one has to master system dynamics, one of my top 10 sharp skills. Also, did you know that one of the primary reasons why digital transformation fails is not the absence of digital literacy, a sharp skill, but the need for more validation and adaptability, both smart skills. So, instead of thinking of these skills as binary, I prefer to think of them as the yin and yang; co-existing and complementing each other.
So, you can teach leaders smart skills then?
Yes, you can, via a combination of the classroom experience, plus an action component supported by deeply embedded reflection. At ASB we call this Action Learning, and we teach it both in the MBA and in the executive programs. For example, in teaching a leader emotional maturity as a smart skill, first they need to learn what it is, and then act on it, before reflecting on what we did and how we did it. And then to repeat it, but this time with more expertise and awareness. It’s not easy, but that’s why my favourite mantra is ‘the job is easy, the people are not’.
Discover Professor Padurean's successful skills for a digital transformation here