Marketing with no money

With budget cuts and everyone trying to keep a buck in their hand I’ve been looking at various ways to promote businesses with little to no money involved.

Now the easiest thing is always going with the social media angle, a reTweet here for a mention or a cross post amongst Facebook pages, but I needed something that was going to draw in foot traffic to our downtown core. While social media can do this, our pages, and our partner pages, don’t have enough draw right now to really make a large movement happen yet. So what was I to do? I decided to try applying my same cross promoting social media plans to business scenarios and came up with the following two promotions.

The first promotion I had, which is still yet to be determined if it’s worked out or not, is a cross promotion I set up between Cryptic Studios, makers of the Star Trek Online game, and our Tech Museum, which has been featuring a Star Trek Exhibit. I started approaching the marketing department at Cryptic back in December, and our office heads here at Team San Jose. Through a long series of events it took until just a few weeks ago before I could get all of the decision makers together on a conference call. In the end Cryptic agreed to mention the Star Trek Exhibit to their player base in exchange for us letting them distribute STO game time flyers at the exhibit.

Hopefully we’ll see if we can’t drum up some business for the Tech, and maybe the MMO as well.

The second promotion isn’t so much a marketing promotion, but rather an opportunity for the city. We were recently approached by a company called Hear Planet, who has developed a phone application that allows users to listen to descriptions of places via their phone. Don’t know what something is, open the app and listen to the narrator tell you what the museum, club or store are all about. We’ve set it a partnership with them so that our entire database of businesses is being uploaded to them. While this doesn’t bring in a monetary value for us, it allows us to be one of the main providers of information for the city of San Jose, as well as make sure all of our venues and partners are getting listed.

I’m currently working on trying to get a city-wide event planned with Foursquare, but it’s yet to be seen if this will happen and I have a few other ideas I’d like to implement before the end of June. I’m hoping at some point during the next few months I’ll be able to follow up with this with some good news.

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