October 18, 2012

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Utah Small Businesses Gather for Summit

Sarah Cutler

October 18, 2012

Business professionals from all over Utah came together yesterday for the Utah Small Business Coalition’s first annual Small Business Summit. The summit was an all-day event with keynote speakers and four breakout sessions with panel discussions and instruction from industry experts.

Attendees had the option to attend the presentation most suited to their needs, including social media, lending and funding, sales, growth, customer relationships, branding, email marketing and publicity.

Beth Holbrook, director at Zions Bank Business Resource Center, conducted the “How to Use Social Media for Business” workshop. She gave suggestions such as planning your Facebook posts at a 2 to 1 ratio of non-business to business. “Make sure you are providing value,” she said. “You don’t want people to tune you out. You need to get your information across without killing it.”

The luncheon keynote speaker was Mike Brian, partner and interactive director at Penna Powers Brian Haynes. He entertained with stories about helping small businesses brand and market a new and old products.

“The more you know, the less you guess, and guessing is expensive,” he said. He noted that this is what he lives by, because doing research before marketing and branding will enhance the ultimate outcome and revenue of any company.

According to Brian, people need to ask four questions before beginning a marketing campaign. Is this a product that anyone will buy? Can I price this in a competitive environment that someone will buy it? How can I promote this to that target audience? How can I get it to them?

“When you understand your audience better, you can sell them what they need, as opposed to just winging it and saying, ‘I love it. Why won’t they love it?’” he said.

With branding, Brian presented a diagram of strategic planning and advertising execution that requires the following questions:

  • Where are we and why are we there?
  • Where do we want to be?
  • How do we get there?
  • Are we getting there?
  • Should we change direction?

“Sometimes all you need is the right little twist of vision to get you back on track,” he said. “Don’t ignore the emotional, because everybody is a seven year old deep inside, when they are buying their products.”

Marketing and branding are important for businesses of all sizes and require research and dedication, but will ultimately benefit the company. Growing a small business can be difficult and Brian emphasized doing research, watching your numbers, your indicators on your website traffic and everything else as closely as possible.

Brian ended with these 10 tips for marketing and branding for small businesses:

  1. Once you have your brand positioned right, let your equity grow - don’t be a moving target.
  2. Don’t “wing-it” - Establish an advisory group
  3. Measure, measure, measure - MOVE
  4. Manage your marketing mix monthly
  5. Know your competition and your market
  6. Does anyone, but YOU, want your product?
  7. Network - like a teenager on Facebook
  8. Get professional help when you need it
  9. After you’re done laying on your driveway - get up and get after it.
  10. Stay motivated - whatever it takes
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