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Marketing secrets of the Smart50: The savvy tricks they use to reap rewards

Patrick Stafford /

For many businesses, marketing is a necessary evil.

Entrepreneurs enjoy dreaming about ideas and implementing them, but for many, marketing is a burden they need to overcome. It’s easy to throw up some advertisements, but actually generating business through creative methods is difficult. Many don’t get it right.

Which is why it’s always so important to keep studying which marketing techniques work, and why? Whether it’s simply using AdWords to get a good return on investment, or coming up with some quirky giveaways – marketing is a necessary part of business.

We debuted the 2013 Smart50 list last week, and this year’s class is filled with plenty of fascinating and innovative marketing ideas.

There are plenty of examples to follow, whether simple or complicated. So if you’re stuck for inspiration, these businesses won’t let you down:

Vinomofo

Wine sales site Vinomofo has a range of marketing avenues available given it operates entirely online, but founders Andre Eikmeier, Justin Dry and Leigh Morgan don’t stop there – they’ve continued to come up with quirky ways to market the business.

Competitions are always a good way to get the word out. The company ran a competition to see how many bottles of wine they could fit in a minivan – and gave away the contents as a prize.

The trio actually filmed themselves filling the minivan full of wine – all 1016 bottles worth.

Plus Fitness

Sponsorship can be tricky as a small business, with all sorts of issues to consider about the team or group you’re providing with money. But for Plus Fitness, it’s worked out just fine.

The company sponsored a V8 racing car, which has not only managed to provide Plus Fitness with outreach on the track, but also through social media and local area marketing.

“Another aspect of this marketing effort is for our franchisees to have the opportunity to have the car on site at their gyms for open days or at local outreach marketing initiative,” says founder John Fuller.

“This presents as a great visual and has assisted in attracting large numbers of enquiries at these events. As well as marketing material we also produced a range of branded collateral which is worn by the race team, from driver’s suits and race helmets to caps, etc.”

It may cost a pretty penny, but sponsorship can often pay off in a big way.

MCIE

So much of marketing is being seen as an expert. Education group MCIE says its best effort so far has been attending community expos, with managing director Gary Coonar saying the business was able to sit down and talk with prospective customers.

“Instead of ‘selling’ ourselves, we focus on providing advice and guidance, which to date has been extremely successful for us.”

Marketing isn’t just about selling a product, it’s about convincing customers you know what you’re talking about, and that you’ll provide them with the best possible service.

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Patrick Stafford

Patrick Stafford is a freelance journalist and a former deputy editor of SmartCompany.

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