I’ve been talking to my daughter Josie about marketing and how products are sold to customers. She is very astute and keeps on referring back to my business. Her main question is: ‘Who, exactly, are your customers, Mum?’ and I’m afraid I had to hesitate! All the marketing advice out there says work out who your customers are and then build your business around them. I suppose I have to find potential customers to match each of my products (at least I’ve pruned those down in recent years) – not exactly the right way to go about it.
I can say I am looking for organisations who want to have information, publicity and promotional material in paper form using graphic design, eg membership organisations who would like to have a well designed newsletter or magazine to promote themselves to their existing and prospective audience, or small businesses who would like to have some paper marketing material to promote their services or products in a colourful and eye-catching form to their target market – but how do you say that in only a few words?
Josie and I have been Christmas shopping and one place she took me was the Build a Bear shop in the Oracle in Reading. A fascinating place as regards marketing goes – and I got Josie to try and analyse them for me. She was aware of the range of different bear skins to choose from, the fun idea of stuffing them yourself, going to a computer to name your bear and get a certificate for its ‘birthday’, and then choosing your outfit for your bear. She recognised the fact that the rich range of outfits would encourage bear-owners to come back ‘for more’, the upselling of other products in the form of accessories for your bear or finding a ‘companion’ for it, and the layout of the shop encouraged young prospects to enjoy their time there with bright colours, ample space and fun activities during their stay. When she asked me where were the same ideas in my business I realised I had a lot of thinking to do!
Obviously I can’t be the same as a bear shop, but I can make the process of visiting my website a more enjoyable experience. Why not offer an insight into graphic design, the different styles of paper marketing material, the potential of each commodity in relation to small businesses or organisations? I need to encourage my visitors to my website to ‘do’ something rather than just ‘surf’ and disappear, through offering freebie information packs and a well-written newsletter explaining and reminding its readers about my services. Undergoing research to find out more to impart to my readership, and to enhance my own experience and design work, will, of course, benefit everyone. What a positive way to look forward to the New Year!