“How did you come up with your company’s name?”
This is a question I’ve been asked frequently over the years. Well, it’s actually a pretty interesting – and meaningful – story.
My work history includes many years employed by several Fortune 500 companies, leaving when the coast-to-coast traveling became too much, and then settling into the local business community. I initially worked for two family-owned businesses, where a lack of shared DNA relegated me to second class and left me on an uneven playing field. Marketing and selling products and services in the corporate environment for nearly two decades taught me how to be resourceful and successful in my chosen field, so I jumped right in.>
Two years later, I was pressured to sign a Non-Compete Agreement and invited to become an independent contractor. My main concern was that I couldn’t protect all the business I’d developed in the past two years. The pressure to sign became greater when the Dot Com Bubble burst in the early 2000s and my husband lost his job with the tech giant EDS. My employer attempted to leverage my signing the agreement with the loss of my husband’s job. We couldn’t agree to terms, and so I left the document unsigned and walked away. It felt like the last straw.
IT’S NOT THE LAST STRAW!
I called my husband and said, “Guess what? It’s not the last straw. It’s the first straw.” And, thus, 1st Straw Marketing & Promotions was born. I sent out personal emails announcing my new business to the clients with whom I had open projects and pending quotes. To my surprise, several of my key clients offered to prepay their orders so I could establish open terms with the vendor community. I am forever grateful that my efforts and years of service earned their respect and support. Their belief in me provided me with much-needed funding to launch my company. Thirteen years later, here we are!
MARKETING WITH INTENT – INVESTING IN INNOVATION
In my experience with companies both large and small (and as a small business owner myself), I’ve noticed some major differences between how the corporate world operates as opposed to local business. The demands, professional expectations and accountability loomed much larger (generally speaking) in the corporate world, and the vendor-client relationship was more formal and based upon proof of performance. Fortune 500 companies continuously offer new and innovative products and services. Marketing activities, including promotion, price, product and place (The 4 Ps of Marketing), were closely linked to revenue and profit performance. Key performance indicators were tracked and measured for continual improvement. In the small(er) business environment, the prevailing attitude is one of building relationships within a more relaxed atmosphere.
There tends to be a lack, however, regarding long-term planning when it comes to marketing outside the corporate world. Small businesses often fail to view marketing as an investment that provides return in the form of revenue, deeming it merely a line item expense in their budget and prioritizing many other expenses ahead of marketing in terms of importance. This mindset generates comments such as, “Oh, we have a trade show in two weeks. We’d better get some marketing materials ASAP!” or, “Yikes! We were just asked to sponsor a non-profit event. We need giveaways!” Marketing should include a planned sequence of events throughout the year. It should place your company’s brand to its best advantage and showcase the products and services that will get recognized, be remembered and support he company’s goals. It should be the first straw, not the last.
The corporate mindset for effective marketing is tried and true. Having the experience to manage and market for growth and innovation has served our company well. In addition to traditional direct marketing, we also offer online marketing, including web design/content curation and SEO marketing services. We continue to expand our products and services with a 360o approach for small company marketing and are provide cutting-edge, comprehensive marketing programs that showcase each client’s branding and image. My seminars and marketing consulting services bring Fortune 500 marketing strategies to small business owners. Better marketing is not only affordable, but it is a good investment and creates better results.