My name is Cynthia Trevino and I spent decades in the marketing trenches of companies big and small, with large budgets, small budgets and—my all time favorite—no budget. Executives in all sizes of companies liked to reply when I asked for a budget to launch a new product or service and reel in a new set of paying customers, “…Cynthia, anyone can do marketing with a budget. What we’re looking for is someone who can…” well, you get my drift. You may have heard this reply yourself. Anyone can do (insert responsibility) sales, customer service, operations, etc., with a budget.
As a product marketer for the mother of all behemoth companies that had to work really hard to become a market-focused company, the old AT&T, I discovered what does and doesn’t work in the world of finding, winning and keeping customers. At AT&T I had the opportunity to try lots of things and learn about what works and what doesn’t. And it really is not always about the size of budget. Lots of people around me at AT&T had really big budgets (those responsible for American Airlines, General Motors, etc.) and often even they could not win and keep the customers’ attention.
Then I went for work for a couple of start-up companies. And I learned lots more in the heady days of the so-called telecom boom and bust of the late 1990s. Actually, some problems apply to companies of all sizes—how to engage and win customers who have lots of choices. How to create an image and tell a story that makes your company stand out in the buyers’ mind at the crucial time of decision making kept me awake many nights. I adapted many lessons from my big company life:
- Sell first to your sales force, if they don’t buy your message, they will never pass it on to customers
- Talk about your products and services in words that your customers relate to
- It’s always about benefits—what’s in it for your customers. Speed of transmission and number of gigabytes only sells a few really smart people in the world—and Cisco probably already has them sewn up already.
Now that I have my own company, I’ve been able to extend these same tools and lessons into helping small business owners and marketers. Finding, winning and keeping customers a.k.a., marketing public relations for small companies or companies with smaller budgets is my passion.
I love to talk to small business owners about their marketing (business growth) challenges, hopes and dreams. I help small business owners find new customers, learn what their current customers think/need/want, and stay ahead of their competition.
Of course, first we have to define what successful ‘marketing public relations’ really is. But well, the Small Company, Big Image blog will be a long-term conversation.