Competing With Color Levels The Playing Field

According to the United States Small Business Administration, small businesses represent 99.7 percent of all employers. There are an estimated 22 million small and midsize businesses (SMBs) in the U.S. today. Such companies are constantly challenged with the need to create a huge impact in a noisy marketplace with a limited budget.

Today, affordable imaging and printing technology makes it possible to build an in-house marketing program. In fact, Revival Lighting, a vintage lighting fixtures company in Spokane, Wash., cut the cost of producing marketing materials 90 percent when they brought marketing in-house. In addition, because marketing materials can age quickly and frequently need updating, companies with the flexibility to respond on the fly will impress customers while reducing costs.

Color has become an effective, even necessary tool in marketing materials. According to a study by Loyola College in Maryland, using color increases brand recognition by up to 80 percent.

Bold and multicolored designs can impact people’s moods. Environmental green is considered hip and has taken on new, positive associations, while the combination of blue and floral reds has been found to evoke vintage designs and heritage, according to a 2005 study by The Color Association of the U.S.

In addition to printing materials in-house, SMBs should take advantage of inexpensive and often free marketing services that are available on the Web. For example, HP hosts an in-house-marketing portal for entrepreneurs and SMBs. It contains case studies, how-to seminars and other free tools and information, including over 200 free marketing templates ranging from brochures to an image library.

Blogs-online journals or newsletters intended for general public consumption-are another great tool for learning more about how to use color and create marketing materials in-house. To save time and money, SMB marketing guru John Jantsch, who maintains the popular blog Duct Tape Marketing, recommends that businesses create a marketing kit describing you, your company, services provided and what sets your business apart from the rest.

To improve marketing effectiveness on a shoestring budget, bring it in-house, remember to use color, take advantage of free services and seek out expert advice.