Last week I had the opportunity to spend some time at a local primary school for girls and give them some valuable marketing advice. And honestly, it was a bit of a treat to take some time out of my hectic schedule and spend a morning with some seriously inspiring kids!
I was invited to visit the school to empower the girls with some solid marketing advice for their latest project: the end-of-year school bazaar. Like a much cuter and less cut-throat version of The Apprentice, the girls will be setting up their own stalls at the bazaar, selling a selection of products and competing to raise the most profit for a charitable cause.
So what did I cover?
The importance of knowing your market
OK, so school might not quite be the world’s most competitive market, but a good first rule in business is knowing how to choose the right product. There’s no point selling sweets if the other kids want chocolate, right? So I suggested the girls conduct a survey to ask the younger kids in school what kinds of products they’d like to buy, and then select their product to meet that demand.
The girls were worried about pricing their products – what if they charged too low and didn’t make a profit at all? So I also explained a simple method they could use to discover their break-even point. From there, they were able to determine a suitable pricing structure.
How to build a brand identity and marketing strategy
Standing out from the crowd is all about the brand! I explained to the girls how a strong brand would create a greater perceived product value and allow them to mark up their prices. I also taught them how they could create a buzz around their brand by sharing product teasers on social media and designing advertising posters to decorate their stalls on the day.
Marketing advice only goes so far on the day
The groundwork is important. But sales skills are crucial! To demonstrate the best way to close a deal, we talked about sales targets and tactics. I suggested each group select one person to take charge of the stall on the day itself. That person would be responsible for driving sales, drawing potential customers in and pushing the whole team to hit their targets. Every person who walks by is a missed sales opportunity. Pull them in!
And I learnt something, too!
By far my youngest audience yet, the class proved to be very receptive to my suggestions for marketing and pricing their products. I don’t know whether there were some future leading businesswomen in that room (I hope so!), but regardless, I wanted them all to realise that they are more than capable of starting their own business one day.
I discovered that children are incredibly receptive to marketing advice and can grasp the concepts really quickly. Not only was it incredibly rewarding to meet with some mini entrepreneurs in the making, but it was wonderful to see a school providing opportunities like that to 11- and 12-year-olds. I would have loved an opportunity like that when I was at school!