“Why stick with doing the same thing if it's different results you're after?” Marketing designed for Barcelona’s commerce
Israel Martín is a retailer in Les Corts who took part last July in one of the “Open to the Future” courses aimed at marketing initiatives for small businesses. These are activities – courses and training workshops – organised by the Department of Commerce at Barcelona City Council and run by the municipal agency Barcelona Activa. The registration period for the new courses is currently open and can be consulted on the programme's website.
He originally found out about the courses through the ‘Les Corts Comerç 08028’ retailers’ association, which he is a member of, and decided to sign up for them. He is a mechanic by profession and his business is a motorcycle repair and sale workshop in the Maternitat i Sant Ramón neighbourhood in the Les Corts district, called “Motos Les Corts”.
“I was keen to learn everything I could for my business and it stirred my interest”, Israel remarks. “It’s true you’re looking for a different result from the one you were getting from your business and it was thanks to the course that I realised my shortcomings.” A three-hour long session held on that occasion at the Tomasa Cuevas Civic Centre, from 2 pm to 5 pm, being a convenient time for participants to attend, gave examples of businesses that had succeeded in making changes by adopting marketing strategies.
“It seems so obvious, but dealing with customers by name creates confidence and this has been shown to work in a business (in results)”, Israel points out. It's not a meeting for tackling individual cases but for showing participants how “to approach their business from another angle”, he sums up. The meetings mainly explain how to deal with solving problems caused by internal factors, linked directly to the pace of the business. For example, services that are offered to clients but which instead of making a profit prove to be a financial burden because, quite simply, they are not used. And we need to find out why that is and take decisions.
When he began to analyse how his motorbike workshop was operating, he spotted problems in its management. He explains how the time he spends on customer care prevents him from keeping to the motorbike repair times established. There was not enough profitability from his business. He now has another person in his workshop who helps him with attending to customers and carrying out other tasks for part of the day, so he can devote himself almost completely to repairing and overhauling motorbikes.
In the light of the analysis, the retailer is now studying how to introduce an online facility for customers: booking an appointment at the workshop in advance by using an app on the network, an idea that is intended to help him with organising his daily tasks. In fact, when it comes to using the Internet, Israel, as soon as he opened his business in Les Corts, had already opted, for example, to make use of social networks, through Facebook, Instagram i Twitter. He is also the social networks manager for the Les Corts Comerç 08028’ association and is starting to think about how to get the most out of the working day.
He did not have time to sign up for the course on making the most, as a business, of the social network Facebook and is now determined to take part in in soon.
The “Open to the Future” programme
The “Open to the future” programme is an initiative from the City Council’s Department of Commerce, launched through Barcelona Activa and in collaboration with districts and retailers’ associations. It is made up of free 3-hour training courses and workshops focusing on the current needs of businesses. To make it easier for people to attend them, the workshops are being run in the city’s 10 districts and at convenient times for retailers.
This year’s new feature is a free offer of a maximum of 4 hours of customised advice from an expert, for all businesses taking part in at least 3 of the programme’s training courses. Customised advice is given in the following areas:
- Business strategy.
- Social Responsibility.
- Business management IT tools.
- Digital marketing.
- Websites, blogs and mobile devices.
- Google tools in commerce.
- Social networks applied to commerce.
- Customer experience and loyalty.
- Marketing at sales points.
- Commercial interior designing.