Top Marketing Tips for Tennessee Startups


Chattanooga is home to many inspiring entrepreneurs who continuously show that nothing is impossible. Still, starting a business is no easy task. Oftentimes, the responsibilities of being a business owner can be overwhelming. Luckily, your marketing does not have to be an added stress.

Trend met with two professors at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga’s Gary W. Rollins College of Business, Ryan Russell and Kennedy Horton, who help shape the marketers of tomorrow. They shared a few successful marketing strategies for entrepreneurs.

Trend: How can startups market themselves with a limited budget?

Horton: I think the first thing to do is understand who your target market is. Which customers are you trying to serve? You’ll serve a lot more than just your target market, but you need to focus it to get your messaging right. Identify how you make yourself attractive to your audience. What about your product that attracts them? Then, find out where those people are congregating and get into that space.

Trend: How can small businesses build an effective marketing strategy?

Russell: There are five steps that every small business should take in order to have a successful marketing plan. The acronym LCEIM is a great example of where to start.

Listen – listen to your competitors and your industry.

Content – plan what content you’re going to produce and where you’re going to produce it.

Engagement – how are you going to engage the consumer?

Integration – integrate the customer into the process as much as you can to show the authenticity of your business.

Measurement – if we can’t measure something, we can’t manage it. If we can’t manage it, we can’t scale it or repeat it.

Anything that’s worth doing is worth measuring. Highlight the awesome things your business is doing. Show how Chattanooga wouldn’t be the same without you. Make people know that you are a benefit for the community

Trend: In your experience, do some approaches prove to be more effective than others?

Horton: If you’re a business that shows up on Google or Yelp, make sure you have some sort of way to encourage people to write reviews. Having something available daily makes a big difference.

It’s a simple and inexpensive strategy, but it’s hugely impactful. Proactively explore some level of digital marketing by answering, what works for me? Where are people coming from? Try to incorporate some sort of digital marketing, even if it is just a little

Trend: What advice would you give to young entrepreneurs?

Russell: Starting a business is hard. I don’t say that to discourage anyone. I say that to give some empathy. There are some hard days that you are going to go through, and that is okay. That is part of the process. That is what makes the great days so rewarding. Create a network of support. When you experience successes, enjoy them. Don’t stop investing in yourself.

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