Tightwad Marketing

The marketing half (or, don’t be such a tightwad!)

© John Kuraoka, a project of www.kuraoka.com

Site navigation:
Back to the Tightwad Marketing main page
Back to Advertising and marketing advice

Only half of Tightwad Marketing is “tightwad.” The other half is “marketing.” Big businesses spend big bucks to distinguish themselves from their competition. Small businesses, on the other hand, seldom spend a dime to distinguish themselves, so it’s easy (and cheap) for a savvy small business owner to stand out from his or her competition.

My neighbor recently hired a new gardening service. We were chatting in the driveway one day and I asked her how she chose the one she chose. She said that many of the companies she interviewed seemed perfectly acceptable. But, what made one company stand out, was that it had a brochure.

That company got her business because it was the only one that left a brochure.

Spend just a few dollars more on just one extra marketing tool, and suddenly your small business can stand out in a sea of similar businesses. Maybe that extra marketing tool is a company brochure. Maybe it’s flyers, a website, or a small ad campaign.

Or, maybe it’s an extra sign. I hired my gardener after jotting down his business name and phone number off his truck. The sign on his truck said “landscaping and maintenance,” which attracted my attention because I had a landscaping job in mind.

My gardener stood out from his competition two ways. First, he had his business name and phone number nice and big on his truck. Second, he put some thought into describing his business. Someone who does landscaping and maintenance obviously takes care of the yard. But do gardeners also do landscaping? I suppose they could, come to think of it. But this man got the first call, and handled it professionally enough that I never bothered to call anyone else. His company installed my front lawn and took care of my yard every week for about seven years, until I sold the house and moved outside his service area.

One wonders what would happen if my neighbor’s new gardeners, the ones with the brochure, also had their business name and phone number on their truck? A lot of my neighbors use gardening services, but none of the trucks are marked. If just one had a business name and phone number, for the cost of paint and stencils I bet they’d pick up more business.

If that company also started a referral program, then wow - things could really take off. Of course, there are only so many customers a small business - especially a service business - can handle.

Are you getting all the customers you can handle? If not, compare how you promote your business with how your competition promotes theirs. Look for the one marketing tool you can add to stand out to potential customers. If none of your competition have signs on their trucks, then put a sign on yours. If none have brochures, then create one for your business. If none have websites, then build and post yours.

Don’t do anything irrelevant; for example, it’s doubtful that anyone would hire a lawyer or a marketing consultant based on a sign on his or her car. And, don’t go overboard - after all, if there’s a marketing area in which your competition is doing nothing, then just doing something will be enough to stand out. Spend the least possible (after all, half of Tightwad Marketing is still “tightwad”). Your brochure could be just a cheap, laser-printed, folded sheet of paper. Your business website could be just an online version of your brochure with a résumé added, hosted by a free or cheap web host.

Spending the least money and getting the most results. That’s the whole truth about Tightwad Marketing.
Back to top

Back to Advertising and marketing advice for more tips!