Microsoft Small Business Council Identifies Mastering New Media Marketing As A Major Challenge For Small Businesses

Redmond, WA, October 3, 1996 — There are over 2.4 million small businesses online today and that number is expected to double by 1998, according to Access Media International, Inc. For this reason, the Microsoft Small Business Council believes that “conquering new media marketing” is small business’s most formidable task.

While speaking to small business entrepreneurs in seven U.S. cities via a Kinko’s/Sprint videoconference, Council members cited Access Media International’s new Small Business/Home Office update, as an indication of where America will be doing its business in the coming years. “This is not a futurist trend,” the Council members added, “this is now.” “But don’t abandon current markets,” the members agreed. “New media is another channel, not a substitute. Newsletters and other traditional media can complement and increase an interactive marketing reach.”

Speaking to more than 70 entrepreneurs, Council members offered suggestions on how to leverage the Internet, create a Web Site, and complement new media marketing with traditional marketing tactics such as newsletters and flyers.

Council members included: Jill Ellsworth, author of Marketing on the Internet; Dennis Eskow, technical advisor to Home Office Computing; Jay Conrad Levinson, author of the successful Guerrilla Marketing book series; entrepreneurs Brad Edwards, founder of My Fortune, Inc., and Deborah Sawyer, founder of Environmental Design International, Inc.; Chuck Green, desktop publishing wizard and author of The Desktop Publisher’s Idea Book; Walter Miao, a market analyst and senior vice president with Access Media, and Paul Tulenko, Scripps Howard small business columnist and president of Paul Tulenko, Inc., a consultant to small businesses.

New and Traditional Media: How to Use It The Council members defined new media as relatively unbounded and including any form of interactive communications — the Internet, e-mail, and CD-ROM disks. Traditional was defined as media you can “touch” — flyers, business cards and newsletters. Here is how they recommended entrepreneurs get the most of both: Targeting your Web page is essential. Since browsers tend to spend only 15 seconds when seeing a Web page for the first time, it’s wise to think of your home page as the cover of your book. Make your “cover” quick and easy to read, and indicate that you are leading on to more serious materials. In general when targeting youth, consider flashy, bright colors, but when going after the business person, use details, testimonials, facts and useful information. When creating a Web page, consider using a software package like the new Microsoft(r) Publisher 97 that features “wizards” that help you actually navigate the process, screen by screen, so that you can start with a blank template and end with a professionally effective Web Site.

Leverage the Internet in three ways: 1) Advertising with online services enables small businesses to place classified ads, billboards and “virtual” storefronts in electronic shopping malls. 2) Publishing an online newsletter or web-zine can increase a business’s credibility and enhance its corporate image. 3)Hosting conferences in forums and newsgroups.Connect to people on Bulletin Board Services specific to their business interests and develop a good reputation that will lead to sales. E-mail is easy, instantaneous and inexpensive. Use it as an upselling and loyalty building tool, to keep customers informed of new and exciting developments, and to send press releases to the media.

CDs can supplement TV, radio and other traditional advertising campaigns. Since they can hold so much information, and you can use different formats on the same disk. Consider CDs to also supplement a paper-based direct mail campaign, and to offer customers a “try before you buy” experience.

Create brochures and flyers that say read me. When using traditional media, remember that 75% of what you write should be valuable information to the reader. Only about 25% should sell your company. Regarding design elements, it’s wise to consider the following: 1) let photographs grab the person’s attention and then help tell the story; 2) organize your page with boxes and borders, so you can include several different levels of information on a single page, and 3) limit the design to two typefaces, so you can minimize visual confusion. Coordinate New and Traditional media. New media marketing should enhance and work with your regular channels and help prospects find and access you online. All your print materials — business card, letterhead, brochures, newsletters, and traditional media ads — should have your Web site and e-mail addresses on them. In addition, designing your marketing materials so they present a uniform and consistent image of your company, is a task that can be done with a software program like Microsoft Publisher 97 that enables the creation of a Web site as well as traditional marketing materials.

Polish the image. One of the major factors pushing small business marketing today is the need to look professional without the luxury of a professional staff. Fortunately, this can be obtained with the investment in color ink-jet printers, desktop publishing packages and easy-to- use web design tools. Or if budgets are tight, explore the services of companies like Kinko’s that offer small businesses special advice and the benefits of equipment. “Ironically, small business entrepreneurs have an unfair advantage in today’s business world,” the Council concluded. “By using new and traditional media, they can look at big as the large corporations while spending less overhead and person-power to get the marketing job done.” For more information about the Microsoft Small Business Council, and a free brochure entitled, “Smart Marketing for Small Business,” e-mail the Council at msbc@edelman.com, or write Microsoft Small Business Council, 1500 Broadway, 25th Floor, New York, NY l0036.

The Microsoft Small Business Council develops and compiles information about establishing and growing successful small and home-based businesses through an ongoing educational program that includes Council meetings, seminars, brochures and entrepreneurial recognition programs. Additional information about the Council is also available via http://www.microsoft.com/smallbiz/

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for businesses and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day. Note to Editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft please check out the Microsoft Web page at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/ on Microsoft’s corporate information pages. To receive Microsoft press releases by fax, please call 1-800-859-5915 within the U.S., or 201-333-0314 internationally.

Founded in 1970 with one store, Kinko’s Inc. has evolved into one of the largest chains of document production and business services stores in the world. The company currently operates more than 850 locations in the United States, Canada, the Netherlands, Japan and South Korea. Headquartered in Ventura, California, Kinko’s is a privately held cooperative organization with 23,000 co-workers worldwide. For additional information, call 1-800-2-KINKO’S, or visit its Web site at (http://www.kinkos.com/) .

Sprint is a global communications company — at the forefront in integrating long distance, local and wireless communications services, and the world’s largest carrier of Internet traffic. Spring built and operates the United States’ only nationwide all-digital, fiber-optic network and is the leader in advanced data communications services. Sprint has $12.8 billion in annual revenues and serves more than 15 million business and residential customers. (c) 1996 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. Microsoft is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation. For More Information, Press Only: Janice Rotchstein, Edelman Public Relations, (212) 704-8164 Lynn Cariou, Edelman Public Relations, (201) 445-3659 MSBC Identifies Mastering New Media Marketing…

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