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As a small business person for most of my life, trying to make miniscule budgets become larger, profitable realities, goes with the territory. As a general rule, we adopted a very simple psychology – that any marketing dollars spent had to produce a ten-fold return, or return on investment of 1:10.
So for instance if you took a quarter page on a peak circulation day in the sister publication of BARBADOS BUSINESS AUTHORITY, the advertisement space would cost around $900 per insertion.
Very few smaller businesses could reasonably expect that a single advertisement would generate an additional $9 000 in turnover, so the only plausible alternative could be to partner with eight other entities each contributing $100. Could an individual participate in a collective advertisement expect to drive another $900 in new business? An example might be a stand-alone restaurant advertisement at $900, which would probably need to drive another 60 customers a week to justify, but a shared cost of $100 would require just six or seven more patrons per establishment.
More historically traditional mediums like newspapers have been driven into looking for far more creative ways of retaining advertising revenue to compete with Internet and other competition but - at the risk of the editor sacking me - they have to do a lot more to retain viability.
One of the simplest ways this could be achieved would be to run a dedicated weekly restaurant and/or staycation/attractions page. Break the cost down to a level where individual partners could afford to participate and justify the expense. Perhaps even build in a discount voucher which is exclusive to the publication.
The recent revamping of the SUNDAY SUN and its various supplements may provide a new opportunity with one or more sales staff dedicated to following through with this concept.
There is also the possibility of sponsorship by other businesses that ultimately stand an equal opportunity of adding turnover or brand awareness. A local branded credit card issuer would be a natural partner who would benefit by users selecting a preferred method of payment.
The remodelled Easy Sunday insert just might be one of the best mediums for such a regular feature, as it appears to be targeted towards a particular lifestyle and perhaps would be easier to manage in terms of size and content. As we rapidly approach the more challenging long tourism softer summer months, the launch timing also seems to be perfect. Personally, I am absolutely convinced that it is going to be primarily our small businesses that will be largely responsible for aiding economic recovery.
Just imagine if by encouraging cooperative marketing initiatives that each small business is able to employ just one more person. What a difference that could make to reducing unemployment levels and increasing disposable income into the system.
So I have thrown down the gauntlet to this publisher and those enterprises who think they can work together to make a positive difference.