Avoid Amateur Advertising: Consult with the Experts: Marketing options for startups.

Author:Barbour, Tracy
Position:Pacific Northwest

If you're on a health kick or simply enjoy drinking a refreshing glass of tea, Jesse Janes is hoping you'll reach for his product: kombucha. Janes creates kombucha--a fermented tea thought to have originated in China--at his brewery in Anchorage. Janes' brand of kombucha is crafted with a high-antioxidant blend of black teas, fresh fruit, herbs, and vegetables. The lightly-effervescent, probiotic drink boasts beneficial compounds and a balance of sweet and tart.

Janes' business, called Zip Kombucha, is actually in the process of regenerating itself. The company, which originally began distributing tea in May of 2016, is emerging from a brief production hiatus. Now Zip Kombucha is refocusing its efforts on developing products based on local flavors and local interests. And soon the business will open a new Anchorage location near Arctic Boulevard and 36th Avenue and begin selling its kombucha in a can. "I'm purchasing a canning line because people are very active in Alaska, and cans are good for an active lifestyle," Janes says.

However, the successful reboot of Zip Kombucha depends on effective marketing. And Janes is busy using different tactics to get people to notice his product, which goes by creative names like Blueberry Mary, Ginger Rogers, Mandy Mint, and Plain Jane. His marketing plan employs everything from social media to cross marketing to free media publicity. "I rely heavily on social media because it's inexpensive and cross marketing because it's free and it benefits both parties," he says.

Marketing for new or regenerating companies requires different techniques than for established businesses or even companies operating in a different market like the Pacific Northwest. Professional marketers can help new businesses successfully get out of the starting gate and navigate the marketing landscape during their initial years.

For instance, Brilliant Media Strategies has worked with a number of startup and regenerating companies and has broad expertise to meet their marketing needs. When assisting clients, the agency first takes a look at the company's objectives and what it is trying to accomplish, according to President and CEO Debbie Reinwand. "Sometimes we have to help them with those," she says. "We find a lot of the time that their business goals are being intertwined closely with their marketing objective."

Brilliant Media Strategies shows clients how they can put together a cost-effective marketing program to get the exposure they need for a successful start. A chief goal of any company is to generate revenue and that means different strategies for different business types. "For tourism, it's butts in seats; for breweries, it's more beer bottles off the shelves," Reinwand says.

Reinwand--named 2018 Marketer of the Year by the Alaska Chapter of the Marketing Association (AMA)--has been working in marketing for more than twenty years. She understands that the money clients are trying to spend on marketing is very near and dear to them and that they are often torn over where to put their money. So her agency tailors a marketing program specifically for their needs and budget. "We analyze not just what will get them the best bang for their buck but what they are going to be comfortable with spending," she says.

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