This weekend I ran on a popular city trail in Dallas. It was cooler than usual for September, but still warm. Thousands of people had the same idea I did and were out walking, running, biking and roller-blading on the trail.
During my run I noticed a group wearing the same t-shirts handing out bottles of water. The water bottles had the name of a political candidate running for a county office. While it may seem like an insignificant occurrence, the marketing impact is important for small business owners.
Political candidates face one of the most crowded, cluttered markets for their marketing message. Especially those running for a county or city position. We’ve all seen the street signs that clutter every stretch of open grass at busy intersections, been approached while watching parades with free pens or emory boards, watched the hokey commercials, driven past the billboards and received the icky postcards in the mail. All of these methods have one goal – to get you to recognize their name and vote for them at the polls.
Local political candidates face many of the same obstacles small business owners do:
1) Small budgets
2) Crowded markets filled with too many marketing messages
3) Their message is applicable and interesting only to the local market
4) A large portion of their target audience is disinterested (let’s face it, many people vote along party lines or worse, don’t vote at all)
5) They have complex messages because their mission is to fulfill a need you have (better schools for your children, lower taxes, etc). Their message isn’t 50% off this weekend.
My point is by reaching out to me on the trail when I was running, the political candidate fulfilled a need. I was thirsty. They were friendly. They didn’t push their agenda on me. They simply got my attention and helped me to recognize this candidate is running for office.
Did it work? Yes! He got me one step closer to casting my vote for him in the election. Was this more effective than putting signs in yards across the city? Yes! I had a personal interaction at a time when I had a need. And even better for the candidate, the marketing investment was inexpensive.
What are your small business strategies to break through the clutter to reach new clients?
What need are you fulfilling for your clients?
How are you communicating that you can fulfill their need?
How are you fostering personal interactions with potential new clients?
By the way, my apologies for not sharing a photo, but I was running!