The expenditure budgets corporate organisations allocate to Marketing are often figures which, because of their size, are beyond understanding for many of us; a bit like the roll-overs on the Euromillions draw.
The Marketing personnel responsible for these budgets must be experts and valued. A real challenge for them would be the concept of promoting their company, goods or services with little or no budget and judging who was the most effective.
A recent news article reported that there had been a general decline in this country in the use of credit cards in favour of pay day loan type arrangements. Many credit card companies undertake extensive advertising and sponsorship campaigns.
However, I don’t think that anyone could have missed the advertising currently in place for these loan organisations. There are puppets of old folk with amazing reflexes, initially worried but soon happy people solving that unexpected expense, football shirt sponsorships and pitch side advertising. It seems these days, that if we are not betting then we are seeking quick cash. These are very expensive but effective advertising and marketing campaigns which create massive awareness and acceptability.
As a not for profit company it would be totally inappropriate for Foundation East to enter into this type of campaign. We are therefore very reliable on referrals, our networking efforts, social media, testimonials and gaining interest which leads to publicity in the media. This year started with The Sunday Times Business Section publishing an article about our work and featuring our client Sailspar. The last edition of Anglia Business profiled our Chief Executive, Katy Ford in their regular section ‘The Boss’.
February also seemed to start positively with Channel 4 News requesting case studies for a report on businesses which had experienced difficulties in obtaining funding from RBS. We submitted several examples and the journalist was enthusiastic; the case studies were perfect. Unfortunately I received a message later informing me that they could not get a camera crew to our part of the world.
Nevertheless a new contact has been made and these situations often bear fruit in the future. However, it does now appear that the BBC’s Inside Out programme will be filming a report on Foundation East in mid-February, which will be broadcast at the end of the month. I use the word ‘appear’ because the Channel 4 experience indicates that caution is advisable. Fingers crossed.
This publicity really benefits our clients; it is fantastic free advertising for them. Of course our profile is greatly enhanced and it is vitally important that existing and start up businesses are aware that there are sensible and supportive options for business finance in the East of England.
A number of local MPs have expressed their support and offered assistance. The Federation of Small Businesses has been full of praise and has been successful in having articles about us published in several local papers. We will carry on attending and presenting at networking events and colleges, updating on linkedin and tweeting. We have just joined iPatter, a business social media organisation and our next newsletter is currently being worked on.
Are we effective? Robert Ashton said about Foundation East recently that ‘we were everywhere’. Thank you sir. What really is important is that enquiries and loan applications have increased. However, we can do more and have the funds available. So a big thank you to everyone who is supporting our work and God Bless the media. Long may it continue. It has to because please remember that the financing of our loans allows a small team of ten to provide more loans and create and save jobs. It does not fund pitch side advertising or puppets.
Richard Glinn, Marketing and Membership Manager