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Merry Marketing
Overlands
North Curry
Taunton TA3 6JL
Tel 01823 490782

Positioning is a vital part of setting your strategy

Chish & Fips shop

Suits the area in which this is precisely, but don't try it in Mayfair.

Gobble and Go

Or this in Edinburgh

French no-smoking sign

Not in Boulogne but Bath.

Tea stall

Be different: here's a simple idea but one I'm sure that works.

Plumber

And another. I love these throwbacks to the old Guild signs. Far more memorable and eyecatching to the passing motorist than just a fascia sign.

Marketing strategy

Some years ago I saved a joiner £10,000. His bank manager was all set to lend him that amount to pay for a whole page ad in one of the Sunday supplements for a chest. That was his strategy: one ad – from an unknown maker, mail order.

I would hope you would agree that a sound marketing strategy is basic to everything you do:

Above all the secret to survival and success for a small firm is to become a truly niche player. Find something you can make, sell or service where the price is not the be-all and end-all of a sale. You will never compete with the supermarkets and other national players.

Find a niche product or service where people's first demand is the skill or expertise that you can offer.

One of my old clients near here are willow basket makers. As well as being one of the world's largest makers of balloon baskets, they also make coffins. (Comedian Dave Allen was a customer). As a niche player marketing is far simpler and cost effective. Publicity and promotion is very straightforward for all the undertakers can be identified and the trade press and associations are few.

One of this county's most heart warming success stories is Cosyfeet, a specialist supplier of footwear. Shoes and slippers that are aimed at the elderly housebound. It is almost entirely mail-order. The current owner took over the business in 1991 with a turnover of around £100,000. Today it is many millions and employs over 100 people. Customer service is paramount. I can remember being in the factory shop in Street one day when an old man came in and complained his slippers had worn through. The proprietor David Price replaced them without question. When he'd gone he asked one of his staff how long he'd had the slippers. "Over two years."

One of the problems is getting the shoes to the customer before they die . . . so continuous advertising is required to replace an aged segment.

Builder's sign

Not a sign to encourage confidence?