Small businesses: Think big on marketing

Courtesy of Caterham F1

Courtesy of Caterham F1

We sponsored two Caterham Formula One cars in last weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, which meant the Pixalytics name was circulating around the Las Marina track on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Sponsoring an F1 car isn’t something a micro-businesses, like us, normally does; but as we described in last week’s blog this came through a crowdfunding opportunity.

We spent the weekend watching the television coverage to see if we could spot our name on the car; but the speed made it almost impossible. We knew where our name was, as you can see in the pictures, and a number of times we saw the white line of the text, but couldn’t make out individual the letters. We almost saw it in pit lane interviews, but the presenter’s leg was in the way! Whilst in the race the closest we came was a shot from Fernando Alonso’s car as he and Will Stevens, in the Caterham, raced down the straight; but everything was still a blur. So despite all this, was the sponsorship worth it? Absolutely!

Courtesy of Caterham F1

Courtesy of Caterham F1

Using social media before, during and after the race we were able to get the message out about our sponsorship, this meant:

  • Much higher high profile on Twitter and LinkedIn, with a more impressions, views, retweets, favourites and clicks.
  • Increase web traffic for the days leading up to the race.
  • Comments and direct responses to last week’s blog were higher than normal.
  • Connections with new people and companies through the Caterham crowdfunding community.

This piece of promotion made a hugely positive impact on our profile, plus it was great fun too!

For a micro-business marketing can be a dreaded word. It’s the one thing that everyone knows they should do, but it’s often the thing that gets put off until tomorrow; contracts need to be delivered, invoices payments have to be chased and HMRC has to be paid. These are all far more pressing than marketing, right?

Wrong. Marketing is vital to developing a sustainable business. You need to make sure people know about your company, its products and services. Too often micro-businesses stick with the tried and tested; adverts, flyers, exhibiting and websites. All of these are important, but don’t forget to think big too!

Courtesy of Caterham F1

Courtesy of Caterham F1

Sure the large firms have more money, more time and more people, so you can be creative. Look for the unusual and the expected, and when you see an opportunity seize it. We found out about Caterham watching the television at home, and within an hour had taken the chance. Consider this quote from Richard Branson, a master of self-promotion.

“Don’t think what’s the cheapest way to do it or the fastest way to do it. Think what’s the most amazing way to do it!”

The next time you think about your marketing, don’t just do what you’ve always done. Think unusual, think unexpected, think different, think amazing, think big! You never know what opportunities you could seize!

Pixalytics Going 200 Miles An Hour

Landsat 8 Image of Abu Dhabi from the 10th November 2014. Image courtesy of the U.S. Geological Survey.

Landsat 8 Image of Abu Dhabi from the 10th November 2014.
Image courtesy of the U.S. Geological Survey.

One of the keys to growing a small business is to say yes a lot. It might be yes to a new contract, or yes to being part of a bidding consortium or yes to an unusual marketing opportunity. We’ve recently said yes to such a marketing opportunity, and this weekend our company name will adorn two Formula 1 cars as they compete in the final F1 Grand Prix of the season in Abu Dhabi. Pixalytics has sponsored an F1 racing team!

We’re part of the community that’s helped the Caterham F1 team to race in Abu Dhabi. Caterham F1 is based in Oxfordshire in the UK, and sadly went into administration in October 2014 resulting in them missing the races in Brazil and the USA. In November they started a crowd-funding initiative, using the Exeter based Crowdcube platform, to raise over £2M to enable them to race in Abu Dhabi.

A number of rewards were offered to those who supported the #RefuelCaterhamF1 project, and one of them caught our eye; we felt the opportunity to have our name on the car was an opportunity not to miss. As regular blog readers will know we are fans of Formula One and at the final Grand Prix of the season this weekend, our company name will appear on the tradebar on both sides of the two participating Caterham CT05 F1 cars. Hopefully during Thursday and Friday practice, Saturday qualifying and Sunday’s race, Pixalytics will be hitting speeds of almost 200mph and with a bit of luck, may be visible to an audience of billions.

An Earth observation company sponsoring an F1 team may not at first appear to be a natural fit, but Caterham is a British company working in the STEM sector, like us. We need highly skilled organisations like Caterham to thrive in this country, vibrant STEM companies are vital to encouraging the next generation to see the opportunities in these areas. There is a long way to go before Caterham even survives, especially with the recently announced redundancies, but we wanted to give them our support.

Early this year we wrote a blog about how we hadn’t been able to see the night-time Grand Prix in Singapore without using high resolution satellites. As soon as we knew we were going racing, the question raised its head again – could we see the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix circuit from space? It takes place on the Yas Marina circuit, the circuit is five and half kilometres long, but it is a L-shaped loop with a footprint of about three kilometres.

After searching the Landsat 8 images archive, we found the image at the shown top of the blog from the 10th November 2014 where you can clearly see the circuit. What do you mean you can’t see it? It’s in the bottom left quadrant, about a third of the way in from the left and a third of the way up from the bottom. It is there!

Zoomed in Landsat 8 Image of Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Circuit from the 10th November 2014. Image courtesy of the U.S. Geological Survey.

Zoomed in Landsat 8 Image of Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Circuit from the 10th November 2014.
Image courtesy of the U.S. Geological Survey.

If  you are still to see it, it’s worth knowing the Yas Marina circuit has a second interesting feature. The circuit loops around the Ferrari World theme park and this building has a bright Ferrari red roof, making it easier to spot. You can see it  clearer in the zoomed in image on t right. but it is also in the image at the top.

Running your own business, or any business, is hard work. A lot of time is spent winning customers, completing contracts and worrying about cashflow and profit. Sometimes you have put the business aside, and take a moment to enjoy what you do. We’re doing that this weekend. Will we get new business out of our sponsorship? Unlikely. Will anyone see Pixalytics on the car? Probably not – unless the TV cameras zoom in! But for us, it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to sponsor an F1 car. So watch the coverage over the weekend, and let us know if you see Pixalytics flying past.