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Entrepreneurs Panel

Michael Oliver
Debbie Pierce
Brian Hay
Julie Meyer
Jeremy Roberts
Laura Tenison
Jennie Johnson
Tony Caldeira
Richard O'Sullivan
David Pollock
Steve Purdham
Charlie Mullins

Local Marketing?

Jeremy Roberts

Joined forces with Tim Bacon in 1996 to set up Life Restaurants, which launched the Via Vita restaurant chain. They opened the Living Room on Deansgate in 1999 -the first of a 13-unit chain that their company, Living Ventures, sold in July 2007 for £28 million – and did a deal with The Restaurant Group in 2005 which saw the pair take control of the Est Est Est estate, since rebranded as Blackhouse Grill and Gusto.

Question: 

I operate a small chain of delicatessens. Up to now I have put most of my marketing budget into advertising in local papers, but I’m wondering if this is the best use of tight funds. What do you think?

Answer: 

Advertising is expensive so naturally it does need to have some return. If you can determine whether the advertising actually generated hard sales, then the answer is “yes” and a periodic reminder to your customers in the local papers will continue to be of benefit.

However, if you aren’t sure, then the answer is a definite “no". Advertising without measurement is not recommended. Indeed, all marketing activity should have some element of measurement to it. For a small business in the current climate you need to know that every penny you spend is productive.

Nevertheless, it is particularly important that you don’t cut your marketing budget altogether because if channelled in the correct way it will always pay dividends.

Successful marketing is not just about advertising. There are many ways to engage with potential customers that may be more cost-effective, for example creating a database of regular customers and e-mailing creative promotional offers, events etc and perhaps even throwing a little bit of PR activity into the mix on the back of this.

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