Marketing GPS:
Navigating Your Marketing Options

Change Your Packaging to Meet Your Buyers' Demands
By Liz Harsch
of Tailor-Made Advertising
(Torrance, CA)

February 2010

The Wall Street Journal featured an article about Martin Guitars, a 175-year-old company that makes handmade guitars.  The story is about an observation by the owner who, motivated by the layoffs he was facing, decided to look back to see how their company dealt with the previous depression. He wondered what they might be able to do in order to thrive in today's climate.  His main objective was to adjust his business to make a profit and grow their high-end and unique brand without compromising the quality of their product.

The solution was to look for marketing opportunities that occurred in the 1930s and see if they could repeat the success that they seemed to have at a time when business was just as difficult.  He found that their company faced the same problem with reduced demand, however they dealt with it by offering a new product that met the customer's basic needs, but was priced more reasonably.  Instead of reducing the quality of their product in consumers' minds, they set about designing a stripped down version of their basic line, which maintained the quality but eliminated exterior bells and whistles.  The solution was to introduce a lower cost, but high quality guitar that reaches more of the masses. The lesson learned: Look for what the market needs today, if you can, and give the consumer what they want.

Know How Your Company Measures Up
The truth is that we cannot change the fact that the retail game has changed.  With the expansion of the online community and the fears that the recession has gripped the world, today's consumer is much better educated and they are going to compare you to the competition.  Even when they prefer your brand, they want the best value.  
If you have not reviewed your market lately, you are basing your business on past assumptions which may no longer ring true. 

Today's consumers want a good product at a good value. If you sell the highest quality products and you cannot affect the manufacturer's price, look to the size of your average sale and have a package for a scaled back purchase that the quality buyer can manage.  Advertise the idea that when you care about quality, it is better to have one of your products than a closet full of the competition.  If you find that you are still losing market share, make sure you know who is buying the products you sell and see what strategy is being used to get the buyer to bite elsewhere.

Put Past Customers On Your Marketing Team
The easiest sell is always your past customers.  They already love you, so don't underestimate what this group can do to help you do more business. Enlist them as your outside sales team to spread the word about your products.  If you do installed sales, spend money on yard signs and ask your customers if you can leave the sign out for two weeks or more to advertise that you have helped them.  This word-of-mouth advertising will deliver benefits long after the sign has been removed.

Make sure you have a previous buyer program that touches base with your past customers.  Have someone from your team evaluate what has been purchased in the past and let customers know about other products or services they could use.  If they are not on your mailing and email list - give them a reason to get on it.  Your sales team gets bigger when customers are selling you as well.  Don't forget that social media and online reviews should be a part of your program.  If you don't have time to expedite these projects yourself, give us a call.

Liz Harsch has been helping companies make the most of their Marketing and Advertising plans since 1982.  Her background in small business management helps her understand the financial constraints that small businesses face, as well as the need to initiate and expedite an effective growth plan to achieve your 2010 sales goals.

For more information on making the most of your Marketing and Advertising Plan, contact Tailor-Made Advertising in Torrance at (310) 791-6300 or email us at

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Liz Harsch
Liz Harsch has been a Market Consultant for retail and service companies in Greater LA since 1982.  To learn about her Torrance company visit

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