Big Ideas, Modest Budgets

- July 14, 2011 2 MIN READ

Start ups and small businesses across the world are learning how to compete with the nationals and internationals by becoming increasingly creative with their marketing budget.

‘Putting a weekly advertisement in your local paper no longer yields the desired results’ comments Liz Atkinson, director of Zest Promotions.

‘The cost of using traditional media is high and the return on investment is questionable for SMEs, particularly in the current economic climate.’

Despite the GFC Atkinson warns against reigning in the entire marketing budget. ‘History has shown time and time again that those businesses that continue to, market and promote their brand, despite an economic downturn, reap the rewards as the economy recovers.

’ One just has to look at the likes of Pizza Hut, Nike and Taco Bell. These are all brands that invested in marketing throughout the 1987 stock market crash.’

Small to medium size businesses may not have bottomless budgets but they do have the flexibility to make snap decisions without the bureaucratic constraints that restrict many large organisations.. This freedom, and the ability to react quickly to changing market conditions, gives SMEs a competitive edge over their larger counterparts. However, many fail to take advantage of this edge and, as a result, are not hitting their full marketing potential.

Atkinson’s company, Zest Promotions, challenges this mindset and offers true entrepreneurs the ability to compete, stand out and be noticed. ‘A limited budget does not mean a company or brand cannot make a mark, it just means that you need to be a little more creative with the approach’ states Atkinson.

In both the UK and America, guerrilla marketing is becoming the preferred strategy for a number of smaller companies and start-ups. These companies are thinking outside of the box and are coming up with creative and innovative campaigns to support their traditional marketing mix without breaking the budget. The National Australia Bank is the first of the large organisations in Australia to embrace this ground level interaction and Atkinson predicts many more will follow suit.

‘This is just the beginning for this type of marketing in Australia. Guerrilla marketing is here to stay and it is a great way of interacting with your target audience in a cost effective and innovative way’ she said.

‘Consumers are bombarded with marketing messages day in and day out. Our job is to be creative and make sure our client’s brands are noticed by the right people. We don’t suggest that the entire marketing budget is invested in guerrilla campaigns, but a fully supported campaign can reap rewards and coverage that traditionally would be worth a significant amount over and above the actual invested sum’.

Guerrilla marketing is paving the way for new start ups and SMEs to get creative and really reach out to their public. The strategy is levelling the playing field and allowing new and local brands to compete in a widespread arena..


Zest Promotions are offering the readers of Shoe String Magazine the opportunity to receive a free marketing consultation worth over $500! To be eligible your company must have an allocated marketing budget for 2011.