A marketing services company grandly titled the Institute of Practical Marketing is offering a free online marketing advice session on its website. It is targetting bicycle traders because, like other small to medium sized businesses they are notoriously poor marketers. Mind you, according to the self-styled Institute, so are big businesses

Tart up your marketing for free

The Institute of Practical Marketing has sent BikeBiz a press release offering free marketing advice to IBDs. Clearly, the institute has also sent the same press release to most other trades, suitably modified for chemists, or whatever.

Nevertheless, the free marketing advice is quite useful. It turns out to be an online questionnaire with a set number of answers. Fill it in and you get back an auto-response marketing report telling you how good or bad you are at marketing your business.

The questions are useful to keep on tap for future reference because they can help you analyse your own marketing on a regular basis. In effect, the questions form a crib sheet for testing your marketing efforts.

Naturally, get past the first free service and youll be enticed to join the subscription marketing service. There are two levels: On-Line for £347 plus VAT or Premier for £747 plus VAT.

Usually to get a half-decent consultant out of bed could cost you thousands, writes the Institutes Tom Lambert (a leading international guru on marketing).

If you don’t know what marketing can do for you, it can seem a lot of money.

And many businesses simply do not have the time to deal with a consultant visiting them for days on end. Or worse still, attend a series of seminars on Marketing.

The Institute’s On Line Services resolve those problems.

Our cost for having a service on tap all the year round is less than it would cost you for a couple of cups of coffee a day.

And because it’s on-line you can access our service in your time. Including in more relaxed moments such as evenings or in the weekends.

Subscribers get a regualr newsletter, Practical Marketing.

Packed full of useful ideas, this is edited by the Institute’s Director and ideas expert Nathan Goldberg. Just one of those ideas could by itself turn around your business and possibly be worth a fortune to you. You can be guaranteed all the ideas have been tested and have been known to work very successfully. And just think. Some of them, if not a lot of them will be unknown to your competitors.

Premier subscribers also get your very own adviser at your fingertips.

Just imagine you need help in marketing. Quickly. You have an idea for a mail out or an advertisement. You need to get an expert opinion. Where would you go? Who would you ask?

What would it cost? Well not to worry the Institute’s experts are at hand.

As part of the On-Line service you have all-year-round access to an on-line help desk. Simply E-mail us and we will do our best to give you a prompt answer.

It’s a bit like having an adviser at your shoulder all the year round but in your time and at your convenience. A powerful aid that is probably the most valuable bit of the on-line package.

Theres plenty of good, homespun advice in the newsletters:

Are you sitting comfortably? Then consider the following and write down your thoughts.

What were the key factors that impacted on the business, for good or ill, during the last twelve months? In particular make a note of actions by competitors or customers that took you by surprise, or worse, gave you a nasty shock. Should have expected them? Do they suggest something that could happen again in the future? What do you intend to do next time that will stop you from being hurt?

Look at your marketing efforts and consider the attitudes of the other members of your senior team. Are you really a team when it comes to marketing? How knowledgeable, enthusiastic and energetic are you when it comes to consistently promoting the company? Does everyone expect to play a role in the marketing of whatever you sell and do they know how? Because if the whole organization is not consistently marketing, no-one is.

How is your customer loyalty? More importantly, are you keeping the right customers? And are you jettisoning those who cost more to serve than they bring you by way of profit? Tell it to them straight. "You are no use to my business, so please take your custom elsewhere or expect to be charged my new "pain in the trousers" prices which will, at least, compensate for the trouble you cause us." Be tough about finding ways to dump customers who cost too much to serve. They drain your profits and take up the salespeoples time which ought to be directed toward finding worthwhile business.


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