Yes you read that right, could it be possible to gain market insight and create a marketing strategy all with zero budget?
If you’re anything like me, cash was a precious commodity and in short supply when I first started my business.
Website development, a decent laptop, business cards, logo design and a home studio set-up for vlogging and delivering online consumed almost all of my available cash.
That left very little budget for actually marketing the business - ironically the very activity required to generate cash for the business in the 1st place (not forgetting some decent sales skills too!).
I come across business owners being challenged like this all the time and, if you’re also in this category, you’re not alone.
So it was interesting to be speaking to Benn Warren about this challenge recently, so I know it’s an ongoing problem - especially as businesses try to navigate their way out of this pandemic.
Have You Considered?
I have a suggestion for you and my suggestion is this:
Have you considered contacting your local College of FE or University Marketing Society To ask for help?
Colleges of FE almost certainly have a department or a person responsible for securing opportunities for their students to engage with local businesses to gain “real world” experience.
University Marketing Societies are bodies of under graduate and/or post graduate students studying at the University and are likely autonomous. You should be able to contact them directly too.
Over the last couple of years, I’ve been fortunate enough to work with students at the York Management School and, right now, I’m working with Aston Marketing Society led by the brilliant Niharika Jaitapkar
Thanks to previous AMS President Pakhi Sharma for connecting us!
I’ll let you know more about exactly what work they are doing for me in a few weeks ‘ time.
Suffice to say that I would encourage any SME business to reach out to its local or regional universities or colleges to enquire about student marketing resource.
Most likely, the reason for this is not really knowing where to start.
Higher/Further Education institutions tend not to be the most accessible of organisations, although many are working hard to overcome this.
Also, the more renowned or prestigious institutions, such as Aston Business School or York Management School might even feel intimidating to approach - especially if the business owner hasn’t themselves been to university.
And if you’re worried that your project might be too small or insignificant for students, then don’t. The “real world” experience could be invaluable for their people.
If there’s a need, there’s always a way to achieve.
June/July is around the time of year that many Unis and Colleges are looking to talk to businesses about their next student projects.
3 Reasons Students and SMEs Could Work Together:
You have a need for marketing strategy or market insight
You either don’t have budget or you’d like an alternative Point of View
Universities and Colleges have a need for real-world work experience
That’s a potential match made on campus!
Draft a clear outline of your project’s objective and business drivers
Contact a Uni/College near to you and ask to speak to their Business Development or Corporate Relations team
Explain your business need to them and they’ll direct you from there
Here’s a list of UK organisations you could reach out to and enquire about a student project.
Aston Marketing Society (West Midlands)
York Management School (York/North Yorkshire)
Lancaster University Management School (North West)
Birmingham City Business School (Birmingham)
I’m sure they’d love to hear from you!