From small to large companies, traditional marketing budgets have been significantly eroded. Many companies are simply not advertising. Others have moved away from print advertising as they move deeper into online media. How has your marketing strategy changed over the past year?
We changed our strategy in March 2009 because our clients started freezing budgets and cancelling jobs. Our cash flow was interrupted and we had to cancel our print and online advertising. It was a great opportunity to find a new way to reach our clients and deepen relationships with them. So what did we do to get the message out? We went ‘Old School’; we picked up the phone and shook hands.
Like everyone, we are trying to limit spending so traditional photography advertising like paid web promotion, portfolio hosting and postcards have been stopped. Instead of a shot gun approach we are using finely targeted promotion and calling people up to have an in person interview. We are finding out where our customers and prospects go outside of the office and we are meeting them there. We are taking it to the people.
The change in our marketing taught us that my closing ratio is much higher with in-person promotion than it is with web portfolios, direct mail or any other marketing method. With all of the money we save by cutting out direct mail and paid web portfolios we can take a lot of prospects in our local market out to lunch and make a personal connection. We are meeting people and finding out how we can help them.
Some of the best places to meet business people are the many networking events put on by The Calgary Marketing Meet Up, Stuart Crawford’s Calgary Entrepreneurs Meet Up and the monthly events held by CAPIC . These events are live, one-on-one advertising opportunities if you arrive prepared to meet people, engage directly with them and listen. Make the most of these events by finding out how you can help people and eventually they will reciprocate and help you. Over time you can build a powerful network of allies that will advertise you to their own networks.
Our result has been the biggest growth ever of our client base. We have done more commercial photography jobs than in any other year. We have significantly increased the size of our network. And we had a lot fun doing it. On the flip side, we have also helped other businesses make connections and accomplish their goals.
All images and text Copyright 2009 Brett Gilmour
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If you would like to reproduce any part of this article written permission is required, contact Brett Gilmour Photography and we’ll be happy to provide it along with hi-res imagery for any print or magazine requirements. Brett Gilmour is a corporate and advertising photographer based in Calgary, Alberta.