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Do You Really Need Marketing?

Let me introduce you to Charlie, age 6½.

A few weeks ago when it was still warm, Charlie came out with me to deliver some leaflets that I was doing as a favour for a friend.  “Could I do my own leaflets?” asked Charlie.  “Possibly, but what for?” says her somewhat bemused mother (aka me).  “Umm, could I sell some cakes to make some pocket money?”

And so, dear reader, I agreed.  And Charlie was very excited by the prospect.

But then – our wondorous British Weather Forecasters announced that it was going to rain all day Saturday, the day of the impending Great Cake Sale.  I listened intently to every forecast for 3 days, and studied the Met Office App on my phone with an intensity normally reserved for traffic reports on long journeys.

The forecast didn’t change, and so Charlie’s beautifully designed and coloured in leaflets didn’t get delivered around our village.

Not to be deterred by some silly old weather forecasters, Charlie persuaded me (I think it’s called “pester power” officially!!) that I should be making some cakes with her on the Friday evening in readiness.  And so, we set to it and a tray of flapjacks was made, plus two dozen fairy cakes.  All the while, I was trying to prepare her for the worst – namely that it was due to rain and that no-one would come out if it was raining, let alone pass our door (our village isn’t on the way to or from anywhere, so we don’t get passing traffic either).

Saturday arrived.  We all went to B&Q in the morning (such a rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle I lead!).  We got home…and the sun came out!!  What DO the weather forecasters know then?

And so, by mid afternoon, I had set up Charlie out at the front of the driveway with a picnic table, her cakes (now pink-with-sparkles fairy cakes), a second batch of flapjacks (the hired cook had forgotten to get them out of the pan so they’d set rock solid. Ahem. Not even Nige could get them out with a chisel.), some kitchen roll to act as serviettes, and a pot to put her money in.  Again, I said, you might not get anyone darling, so don’t be disappointed if you don’t.  I went inside, leaving Nige supervising whilst he was doing Man Stuff in the garage.

Oh, how wrong was I.  Nothing for a while, bar the sound of Charlie walking up and down the road shouting “CAKES FOR SALE!  COME AND BUY MY CAKES!”.  And then I looked out of the window to see two ladies standing by Charlie.  That was evidently her third customer.  An hour and a half later, and she had sold all but six of her cakes and flapjacks, and – despite selling cakes at 20p each – she had made £5.40!!!  Yes, I ate my words. (And, obviously, a fairy cake or two.  Couldn’t let them go to waste).

That night I put one very excited, and decidedly richer, Charlie to bed.  £5.40 towards the dolls house that she wants.

£5.40 made on very little outlay, no marketing, and on the will of a 6 year old on a mission.

I’ve spent 25 years doing this business and marketing lark.  People pay me to tell them what marketing activities are going to work to make their company money.  Never in all that time have I ever said  “just get out there and do it”.  I have learned a few lessons from Charlie’s first foray into the world of business:

1.  Sometimes, marketing is not needed.
2.  A decision to do something IS needed.
2.  All you have to do is take action.
4.  Getting others in to help you out of the goodness of their heart will help you succeed in your endeavours (aka slave labour in my case!!)
5.  If you have done no marketing prior to your event/launch, then set up anyway and shout about your venture, with all your heart, from the rooftops.
6.  A strong will and desire to succeed will take you forward.
7.  A reason for doing something helps with that strong will and desire.
8.  It helps if you’re a cute six year old with big brown eyes and gappy teeth (busy tooth fairy round here).

OK, so maybe the last one is beyond your reach, but the others are certainly achievable.  So – decide what you’re going to do, give yourself a reason for doing it, then go out there and take some action.  And you may just surprise yourself!

Do let me know how you get on – both Charlie and I would love to hear from you.

To your success,
Kim and Charlie
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