Getting more for your marketing money

Money smile

Most start ups don’t have a lot of money to spend on marketing activity so it’s important to make what you do have go far.

It soon becomes second nature to ask for a discount or money off when buying or booking stuff. 

We were lucky enough to hear Jerry Kennelly, ex-Stockbyte CEO, speak at Intertrade Ireland’s Seedcorn Awards final in 2009. 

Jerry should know a thing or two about start ups and commerce (he sold his image library, Stockbyte, to Getty for €135m in 2006) and he shared one of his top tips for start ups – always offer suppliers half the asking price first and then go from there. 

Asking for 50% off sounds great in theory but can sometimes be tough in practice, especially nowadays, when you might be dealing with another start up who’s keeping an eye on the pennies as much as you are. 

So here are some ways to reduce the cost of marketing activities that have worked for us at Learning Pool.

4 ways to avoid paying the asking price

  1. Offer a sought after or high profile speaker/writer in return for a money off.  Use your contacts and networks and call in some favours if need be.  
  2. Offer freebies – for Learning Pool this has been free access to an e-learning module for all delegates/readers.
  3. Offer an exclusive deal for delegates/readers – create a free ebook or something similar that they’d value and is easy (and cheap) for you to do.
  4. Promote their event or publication for them – offer a blog post, promote on your social media network, email to  your customers, include in your newsletter, etc.  All in return for money off.

7 things to remember when negotiating

  1. Events or publications have deadlines and organisers don’t want empty spaces in the magazine or the exhibition hall.  You can often get real bargains if you go in at the last minute (but be prepared to lose out if you’re too late).
  2. Ask for something less valuable – settle for less.  If you wanted an exhibition stand will an insert in the delegate pack do?
  3. Explore reciprocal deals – ask for money off the delegate fee that you can pass on to your customers.
  4. Think long term – build a relationship with the supplier so you can go back to them again – you may not get what you want this time but you may next.  Remember that what goes around comes around.
  5. Know your own worth – understand what others value about you (this might not be what you value about yourself) and put a monetary value on it.  Don’t sell yourself short.
  6. Meet in the middle – know what you will concede on and what you won’t.
  7. Hold your nerve – silence can be the best negotiation tactic – but be prepared to walk away.  There will always be another way to reach your prospects and customers.

What tips can you share for effective negotiation with marketing suppliers?

Read Silicon Republic’s 2007 interview with Jerry Kennelly.

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