October Business Brainstorming Sunshine Coast

A beautiful Sunshine Coast day at Strawberry Fields, and a big thank you for their support and sponsorship to be able hold our Sunshine Coast Business Brainstorming events there. What wonderful diversity in the businesses represented, here is the list of the super talented mums who came along today, my lucky number of 13!

We also had a few little ones join us who enjoyed playing with the lego and exploring Strawberry Fields, one of Rebecca’s gorgeous twin girls just LOVES strawberries…. This month’s topic was advertising and we had some interesting discussion from various perspectives.  Here are just a few of the many valuable pieces of experience and inspiration that were shared:

  • A simple definition for advertising was that it is communicating your message to your target market using a variety of mediums, such as print, radio, tv, flyers, signs etc.
  • Good advertising is getting the right message to the right people at the right time.  It offers value and includes a call to action and ideally some level of measurement of response (such as a discount code).
  • Creating brand awareness and motivating people to act (e.g. to buy your product) were two of the most popular of many reasons to advertise.
  • The importance of continuity was highlighted, such as ensuring your branding and message are clear and consistent and using a variety of mediums over a period of time.
  • One participant said she was on a “personal mission to get exposure for free” and many agreed, with another known as “Queen of Free”.  Submitting press releases, speaking publicly about your business (and yourself), writing articles and doing contra deals were some suggestions of how to go about this.
  • On the flip side, we also looked at the importance of paid advertising in providing high quality information in print and online and supporting parents in business.  There are many passionate hard working mums behind brands such as Kids on the Coast, Sunny Coast Kids, Brisbane Kids and Peekaboo Magazine and advertising is what makes these great businesses possible and all do their best to offer support and value to advertisers.
  • A growing method of communicating with (potential) buyers is participating in a market such as Mamma’s Market where a stall fee is essentially an opportunity to advertise your products.  This gives a combination of online (on the Mamma’s Market website and Facebook page between markets) and personal exposure on market day itself.
  • Personal selling (i.e. you talking about your product or service) is a highly effective technique as many of us are passionate and knowledgeable about our own business and this comes across.  It can be difficult to find staff or create a print/online ad to reproduce this, though this can be necessary and effective as your business grows as  you can’t be in all places at once!
  • Involving your family can also be a good technique, one business has flyers that her children love to hand out in the supermarket!
  • When paying for advertising, we agreed it is crucial to choose a medium which appeals to our target market, and ensure you receive value for your advertising dollar.  Brisbane Kids was mentioned as one business that offers excellent advertising value online (with increased sales and Facebook page likes in a short period of time for some advertisers present) and Kids on the Coast was one print example, especially as many people keep their magazines for months if not years and refer back to them over time.
  • If you have an ad or an article in a magazine, a great suggestion was asking the publisher for a number of copies you can distribute to friends, family and in the local area such as coffee shops and waiting rooms.  This adds a personal (face to face) level to your ad and increases exposure.
  • If you do ever pay for advertising and are not happy for various reasons, then it was suggested to contact the business and discuss it – politely! – and have some clear idea of what you want to fix the problem.  Though there are no guarantees in advertising, most businesses who charge you to advertise genuinely want to make it successful for you and will work with you to make this happen (within reason).  To avoid problems in the first place you should consider getting clear expectations from the beginning (i.e. what is the distribution or readership of a magazine, website or blog)
  • We discussed the etiquette of advertising your business on other Facebook pages.  Promoting your own business in a ruthless way on the pages of other business without permission was frowned upon.  Instead building relationships and engaging with complimentary pages in a genuine way was suggested, or using pages that have been created specifically on Facebook to allow business promotion such as Suncoast Bizzbuzz and Brisbane Bizzbuzz
  • For more information on advertising with a particular business, contact them and ask for a media kit.  You can sometimes negotiate on price or do contra deals.
  • A few of us were already fans, but if you’ve not yet watched ABC’s The Gruen Transfer, you can see some episodes online, which give a great insight into advertising.
  • Overall, be alert to what appeals to you in advertising and consider what will work for your business and what you can afford.  Experiment with different methods and learn from this and ask others what worked for them.

An information packed morning with many of us staying on to chat and network afterwards…I love watching friendships and joint ventures growing from these events.   A huge thanks to all who participated for sharing your experience and enthusiasm.  I took home a lot of energy and inspiration…and a kilo of delicious strawberries! Professional Parents Business Brainstorming sessions are held monthly in both Brisbane and on the Sunshine Coast.  For more information please contact: Renee Veldman-Tentori www.professionalparents.com.au www.facebook.com/professionalparents professionalparents@zestee.com.au

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