When I started Taskforce Paintball some 27 years ago, marketing a company was a world away from that of today.
I spent some time deciding on how I wanted to brand myself, it was derived from who I am, who I wanted to be and what I felt people would perceive me to be.
I had to decide if my paintball site would be seen as high cost, high quality option or the low cost high value option and decided I couldn't be both. Too many businesses make the mistake of trying to be all things to all people.
Branding will help encourage someone to buy a product or service, and my understanding is that the marketing activities support the brand you build. Branding should show what you are, why you exist and encourage your customers if they agree to use your product or service, and more importantly recommend you to their friends.
I wanted to be seen as value for money, but at the same time offer high quality and this has been achieved over the years by making sure the service offered is over and above what people would expect.
My customers have an expectation when they arrive, as long as I exceed this, I believe they will go away with a positive impression of the day they have had.
If I make a promise to my customers of what I am going to deliver, then I must deliver it every time, this is my belief of how good branding is established.
Marketing I believe is an integral part of the brand you produce, it has helped me to communicate the promise that I make to my customers and to let them understand what they can expect from me and my business. My marketing has therefore been based on the position of my "brand" it demonstrates the values and tone that I have set and that I have communicated to my staff. The marketing I have done over the years has helped me get my message over to my customers about who I am and how I am going to deliver the service and package they expect.
In the early days this was achieved mainly by word of mouth, when I started my business there was no internet, no web sites, no text messaging, no facebook, twitter, instagram, or vine! Marketing the company really was a totally different ball game.
Early days saw most of our budget spent on Yellow Pages adverts, this was the old style "Google" if you wanted to find something this was about the only way of finding it, hard to believe I know, but huge budgets each year were assigned to this our primary source of advertising.
I had my first web site back in 1995, and was one of the first paintball sites to do so, it took hours to load, and I think if I was lucky I had maybe one email a month at that time. As a result of the influx of on line marketing, companies had to make huge changes in their marketing strategy, In 2014 - 81% of shoppers research on line before making a purchase, now my marketing budget is primarily spent on on-line marketing.
Blog post by Annette Chinn, founder of Taskforce Paintball. Annette has very kindly offered Cardiff Met students a free paintballing session. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for your voucher.