Effective Marketing Strategies
Effective marketing: the one thing that can set your business apart from all the rest. But how do you effectively market a company that is constantly growing and changing?
This is the story of Danny Katz and Ivan Marin, two friends who started the company Complete Ticket Solutions, and their quest to find the perfect marketing campaign to grow their business. Tips they were provided could help you reach new customers in your cheap hosting business!
Effective Marketing Strategies : The Beginning
The pair worked together at the old Dolphin Stadium, working their way from ticket salesmen, to being responsible for hiring and training new part-timers for events. It was when promoters for these events started reaching out to hire them specifically to manage ticket operations off-site that the light bulb went off. In June 2000, Complete Ticket Solutions was born.
They started small, with three employees based in Katz's home. The plan: take care of the box office responsibilities for a variety of events like concerts, festivals, and sporting events. Three weeks after launching, they got a big contract: provide staff and set up the box office for a fan event at the Super Bowl in Tampa, the NFL Experience. Marin agreed to do it, although he wasn't exactly sure how to make it happen.
Effective Marketing Strategies : Growing Steadily
They were successful in making it happen, and went on to work with the Homestead Speedway and the University of Miami. At this point, they expanded their offerings: custom printing of tickets and wristbands, online ticket sales, and setting up call centers to sell event tickets.
“We don't say, ‘you have to do all of this or nothing,” said Marin in an interview with The Miami Herald. “We offer A to Z services, but you can pick and choose.”
Now based in Fort Lauderdale, Complete Ticket Solutions has 11 full-time staff and deals with the many facets of ticket operations for an average of 65 to 80 events each year. They sell tickets online for 60 more events, and they've worked for some pretty big events (the Olympics in Greece and five Super Bowls) as well as local events in FL (the Coconut Grove Art Festival and Sun Fest in West Palm Beach.)
Effective Marketing Strategies : The Problem
Because they grew so quickly, they weren't able to plan accordingly. “One of our problems is expressing to existing clients what other services we offer. We don't know how to properly market ourselves to our own clients,” said Katz. Up until now, the two have relied upon word-of-mouth to attract new clients. In fact, their first full-time sales person was only hired three years ago.
The two turned to The Miami Herald as part of their Small Business Makeover series, hoping they could offer some guidance. The newspaper connected them with Broward-based SCORE, a nonprofit that mentors owners of small businesses.
SCORE offers what's called a turnaround team, a group of experts to work with them. In this case they brought in Miguel Hernandez, the president of Genesis Financial Associates and excellent with strategic planning, funding, and growth; Phil Sanfilippo, a consultant with 30 years of experience under his belt, dealing with many aspects of running a business like developing training programs and marketing; and Nancy Leve, owner of Virtual Fundamentals bringing her 30 years of marketing and advertising experience, specializing in SEO, Web, and digital marketing.
What did they notice about Complete Ticket Solutions? It doesn't have a good feel for its target market. Without some form of organization of its clients and contacts, it becomes difficult for the company to contact the right clients about new products and services. Said Sanfilippo, “People who own a business wear a lot of hats. They get caught up in the day to day and don't have time to step back and look at the big picture and do strategic planning.”
- Figure out your target market. SCORE suggested they figure out exactly how big they wanted to grow. “Where do you want to play — just Florida? Internationally?” said Sanfilippo. As such, they plan on thinking a bit more strategically when offered an event to run. Katz pointed out that the out-of-town events are often worth their time and effort, but some of the events like the NFL Experience don't make them much in terms of revenue. “We've found we can't just say yes to everyone,” said Marin.
- Take a look at your marketing budget. SCORE said they should attend more trade shows, as well as adding marketing and public relations. Katz agrees with this, and says the company will most definitely attend more trade show events such as golf tournaments and air shows. “We have sales guys for a reason,” said Marin. “We have to be out there.”
- Survey says…When in doubt of what customers want, ask them! The SCORE team recommended giving customers a survey, either pre- or post-event or both, to assess customer needs. This will help them pinpoint cross-selling opportunities, giving them a chance to promote other services they offer.
- Create a database. If a database was created containing all of their current and prospective clients, employees would be able to access the information instantly and better sell services that fit the needs of that specific client. If clients are categorized properly, you'll know the type of information they will find valuable in terms of services offered. Katz plans on relying on their software system, AudienceView, and its content management system to track important client data.
- Email marketing blasts. SCORE recommended they reach out to customers via email at least once per month. Another handy tip from Leve: “If you have a large database, then break it into three.” She recommends sending out three different versions of the email in order to see which version receives the most reads. Whether you choose to send it out at three different times, three different designs, or even three different subject lines, take note of the results so that you can coordinate the most effective email marketing blast possible.
- Re-evaluate your image. SCORE pointed out that they needed to start from scratch in terms of their marketing materials. They offer various services beyond ticketing, but their marketing materials don't convey this whatsoever. “Think ‘How do we communicate with the outside world about what we do?'” said Sanfilippo. “Your brochure just talks about ticketing. If you want to do more than that, you have to communicate that better.”
Are these tips useful for your cheap hosting company? Do you think your customers truly know all that you offer them?