October is ‘Small Business Month’ in Vancouver, which means that events are taking place all over the city with the purpose of strengthening small businesses through summits, webinars, workshops and more. Sandy Gerber, the CEO of NEXT Marketing Company in Vancouver was busy throughout September giving talks all over the city and was reminded of the need small businesses have for marketing strategy. Gerber decided to directly support small business in BC and specifically donate $25,000 worth of Vancouver marketing services (for positioning and strategy) to 10 qualified businesses. Below are some answers from Gerber when we interviewed her on her generous endeavor…
Q. What motivated you to donate $25,000 worth of Vancouver marketing services to small businesses this month?
A. I remember the feeling of being a small business starting my business out of my bedroom. You have limited resources and it’s really hard. It seems obvious now but the hardest thing at the beginning was to have a believer in my business. By having our NEXT marketing consultants as their mentor, and biggest believer and supporter in their business, we super charge their business with a newly ignited vision. By crafting it and articulating it properly we get things out of them that they didn’t even know existed. It’s like we have set a rocket off, they suddenly know where they are going and what to say. Small Business Month is the best way for me to make these services accessible to them financially, and to give back.
Q. Impact is a word that truly stands out in everything that you say and do. Where does your need to make a difference/impact comes from?
A. It shows up everywhere in my life. As a child, my father didn’t really like his work and yet he was such a creative person. My mother raised us and eventually went back to school in order to become an entrepreneur. I’ve experienced the two extremes – lack of impact and complete impact. I was always a very creative person dating back to elementary school with costumes and school presentations, doing things no one else did, always feeling the need to push creative limits. Impact is so ingrained in who I am. I have to know that what I am doing delivers value. Helping others has always been my nature.
Q. Why do you do what you do? What excites you about marketing strategy?
A. Ever since I was a kid people always came to me to ask me what to say in order to get the results they wanted – with friends, teachers, parents etc. Marketing strategy is no different; it’s such a creative process for me. It’s a big challenge to find a way to be unique these days since everything has already been done. You can say that marketing strategy is my Grouse Grind. I get antsy when I don’t get to create or challenge myself.
Q. What can NEXT Marketing Company do for small businesses that other marketing agencies cannot?
A. We craft their message. We specialize in messaging and positioning for businesses. We help position them in the market place and tell them what to say that cannot be duplicated by anyone else. On top of that we also create their unique language that is tailored to their business. Some of them go on to trademarking the terms because they truly set them apart from the competition. Their unique language and messaging becomes an asset just like BRAND CHATTER™ is for us.
Q. Do you accept any company for this special program?
A. No, the selection is based on criteria – they have to understand the value I deliver, they have to promise to implement and utilize the new positioning, they have to be a creative challenge for me, and I have to like and respect them. There has to be a good personal fit for me to enjoy this fun process and they also need to be excited about it. I really treat my clients like family and root for their success.
Q. Is there anything else that you’d like to add?
A. Only that I invite small businesses in Vancouver to take advantage of this great opportunity and to apply. We are receiving many applications, the ones who we have selected so far really explained why they wanted and needed support the most. The NEXT team and I are very excited to meet all of these amazing business owners and help them take the NEXT step towards their business success.