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SME marketing lessons from Ita Buttrose

I was fortunate enough to be invited to a Glen Eira Women Business Network event where the key speaker was Ita Buttose, a well known Australian business women, journalist, speaker and dare I say born entrepreneur!

With a restlessness in my body (largely to to Ita stirring up some “big ideas”),  I have decided to share my key take aways from Ita’s talk. Ita shared some really valuable marketing insights that we can all leverage!

1. No one can become a winner without taking risks. I really liked this concept because in marketing you need to think about risks. You need to just try some things so you have some activity happening. The worst that can happen is that you learn something. Two years ago I began approaching councils to see if I could do some presentations to small businesses about marketing, this year I am being paid to presentations. It all started by me making that first phone call.

2. In Ita’s words “I have always believed in thinking big.” Using this philosophy Ita approached the then prime minister Bob Hawke to help launch her new magazine ITA. Guess what, he said yes and she gained so much publicity that she cancelled the launch advertising campaign to use at a later date. Maybe not in the same league, but it was this thinking big that launched by podcast series which has now been adopted by Flying Solo and made available to over 300,000 small businesses. Got to love that! Reach for the stars!

3. Recognise your uniqueness or  the edge of difference. It is this difference that can set you apart from your competitors. There are lots of marketers, good marketers but no one approaches marketing with the customer centric methodology that I take. This makes me different. How are you or your product and service different?

4.“Don’t be afraid to pinch a great idea. Knock it off.” Love this. Being doing this all my life. I don’t believe in recreation just innovation so I am happy to take an idea and improve it but that doesn’t mean I need to start from scratch! “No one has a copy write on good ideas.”

5. You have to be able to make tough decisions. This means being able to be objective and I find the best way to do this is to get some advice. It is so hard to see the forest through the trees when you are emotionally involved in your business. A good coach or mentor, someone you trust and has good business sense can help you make the hard calls so you can navigate your business path successfully. Once you have this insight you need to be able to act. Don’t keep doing something because you have always done it that way.(hint: = insanity). Challenge your thinking.

6. Ask for input about how you improve your business from your customers and staff! I am putting this in red because this is at the heart of customer centric marketing and yet so many small businesses don’t ask for feedback.  Your staff and customers are best placed to help you improve your small business so don’t miss the gift of feedback. The most growth I have seen in a client I have is by introducing a client and staff feedback mechanism. It doesn’t have to be complicated, just ask them.

7. Time to Think! I really only have understood the value of this point in the last three months after a bout of illness. Isn’t it crazy, right after a holiday you always feel energised and have the best ideas! What if you took a mini break every week. Had your lunch in a park or at the beach. New places, new faces new ideas! As Ita says “Do something that the brain doesn’t know,” and you could open up new possibilities.

8.Keep a list of those people who said if you ever need anything just call me and then call them! It is so nice to give a favour and be asked. It makes you feel good.

9. You are only on this earth for such a short time make it count. Ita asked a compelling question at the start and then in conclusion of her talk. “If you only had 6 months to live would you still do what you are doing today?” If the answer is no then you need to make a change.  I ask myself that very question often and am still happy with my decision about how I spend my time.

10. No-one else can make your dreams come true. The great thing about running your own business is no one can say no to you!

Hope you got some value out of Ita’s great insights!

Happy Marketing!

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Danielle MacInnis

Danielle MacInnis

Danielle is the business owner and founder of MacInnis Marketing, BrainJam, BeautyBizMarketing and The Simple Marketing System. A highly sought after strategic marketer, Danielle thinks like a customer. Since young she has shown deep empathy for others and uses this customer insight to help small businesses create practical marketing strategies that work.

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