It was great news speaking to a client of ours recently to find out that their sales have increased twice over since last year. As part of their marketing strategy we persuaded them to be bold and do something that none of their competitors were doing, which has really made them stand out.

So, can a fresh approach to marketing really work for you and your business?

We meet lots of prospects and new clients who when we suggest new activity say "I'd never thought of that" or "Tried Direct Mail but it didn't work". Well, most of the time these new clients may have tried by dipping their toe in the water with a new idea, but they've given up too early, maybe not had the courage to stick with it or was ill advised by an 'expert', which has left what they've done half-baked and a waste of time (and money).

Do something daft – dress up as a fish

I remember when the whole Garra rufa fish foot spa craze hit the UK and there were fish foot spa places popping up all over Newcastle City Centre.

I think if I had wanted to visit one of the spas, I would have certainly gone for the one which sent a poor member of staff dressed as a giant fish handing out flyers on a busy Northumberland Street in Newcastle City Centre.

I know dressing up as a fish was a bit silly, but it was memorable to me as a consumer. I remember feeling sorry for the poor fish and like many others on a busy Northumberland Street, we visited their foot spa. Maybe it was down to sympathy for the poor girl dressed up, but it worked.

A blank canvas approach

Sometimes it's about getting a blank canvas, flip chart, big piece of paper and just getting together with your team and your marketing agency or consultant and not over analysing what you've been doing wrong, but just sitting down with the aim of coming up with some new ideas.

As small business owners, you can be so busy working in your business, you don't have much time to work 'on your business', so my advice would be to try booking some creative thinking time, away from the office and distractions and open your mind to new ideas.

You might throw some in the bin, but you might just come up with an idea that could really make you stand out and executed in the right way, could have a huge impact and win you some more business.

Article by Vicki Stone of Vicki Stone Marketing.

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