Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Building a Champagne Brand on a Beer Budget

I remember boat shopping at a few marinas along the Connecticut shore about ten years ago and being told by more than a few dealers that my tastes far exceeded my budget. In fact, I'll never forget one woman telling me that I had champagne tastes and a beer budget.

Well, I finally did get a great boat at a fantastic price, but that's another story.

The boat shopping memory came to mind today as I was stepping up efforts to promote BoatNameGear without breaking the bank. Just today I announced two new ways for customers and potential customers to interact with the brand using social media sites FaceBook and Twitter.

It's not that I think these two tools are the end-all-be-all of marketing solutions. I simply want my brands to be where the customers want them to be. In less than few weeks since creating a FaceBook fan page for BoatNameGear, the page already has over 150 fans. And the best part is they all seem to interact with the brand and with each other. Moreover, the conversations and a contest on the page have already generated new product ideas that I've put into place and a few that are now in the pipeline. The twitter account started just today and I'm hoping for similar results.

And the other nice thing about of all this social media stuff is it's all free - if you have the time for it - leaving room in the budget for some "traditional" web advertising and local trade shows.

Sure there are other sites on the radar, Google Buzz, YouTube, Flickr, FourSquare.  But you can't be everywhere on a beer budget so I recommend you go slow and stick with what you know - expand to other properties when you can. Don't get sucked in to any of these communities and overdo it, as they can easily drain a resource that is just as valuable as money to a start-up business - your time.

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