Providing A Fast Track To Marketing Success
Most SMEs can’t afford to employ an international marketing expert fulltime – which is why Chantelle Laurent’s skills as an external contractor are in hot demand.
Since 2007, Lit Marketing (originally known as Formula One Results Ltd), has been working with local businesses to create an in-depth marketing plan to fuel their growth.
“Their main challenge with marketing is that they just don’t have the expertise in-house,” Chantelle explains. “They know it’s something they need to do but just don’t know how or who can do the job. So I set them up with a game plan and either get everything up and running for them or coach their team to do so – or a combination of both.”
Chantelle says she helps clients see the wood for the trees. She brings clarity to their goals and strategies, provides a clear and simple pathway to success and gets the owners and management team working together on the business rather than in it.
“The best results are not just increased sales but sales growth from the market we are specifically targeting – that is the real success story for me. However, the ripple effect of a new marketing strategy also often includes more enthusiasm amongst the staff, an increased pride in their business and brand, and a general sense of confidence that they know where they are going and how they are going to get there.”
Having travelled the world and worked in some high-flying marketing roles in Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga, Chantelle chose to make the Bay her home and launch her own business. “I got to the point where I needed some new challenges but found the opportunities in Tauranga at the time somewhat lacking – yet I wasn’t prepared to move back to Hamilton or Auckland.
“In 2004 I completed the Ice House Go Global programme which had me working alongside owners and managers of a range of different SMEs in Tauranga. They often turned to me for marketing advice and were my biggest supporters and cheerleaders for going out on my own.”
The Bay also allows her to indulge her other passion – windsurfing. “Tauranga had the perfect combination of lots of windsurfing opportunities only a short drive from home, a fast growing business community, and a relaxed culture that also fitted my style of doing business.
“Aside from that there are the usual benefits of being only answerable to myself when it comes to how I manage my time and my day. During the school holidays the kids and I move to our family beach house where I can continue to work remotely while having time with my family as well.”
Chantelle holds a Bachelor of International Management degree, majoring in French and international marketing and says she’s always taken every opportunity to upskill herself, knowing she would one day run her own company.
“I have been so fortunate to work with some incredible mentors over the years whom have helped to guide and shape me into the professional business person I am today – and that is on-going.
“My father is my most important long-term coach who is still an incredibly successful owner and manager of a large company in the Waikato. He always says that you are better to invest in technology, machinery or systems to respond to a gap in your business before jumping into employing more staff.
“This is especially the case for start-ups and very small businesses – keep your overheads to an absolute minimum and instead invest in assets or technology that will help you achieve more for less while being a depreciating expense and potentially helping to increase your profitability.”
Like any small business owner, Chantelle says cash flow is always the biggest challenge and the most important thing to watch. “As a consultant there can be ebbs and flows, although these days I have a great portfolio of long-term clients which provide a more stable income than when I started.”
Chantelle’s future goals are to keep learning, stay inspired, push herself to try new ideas and refine her services to respond to evolving opportunities and needs. Fortunately she feels as passionate about marketing now as when she first started out 25 years ago.
“I found when I was a marketing manager actually only 60%-70% of my time was spent on marketing while the balance could be considered admin, sales support or other special projects. Now I can choose the clients I want to work with, choose the projects I love and spend almost 100% of my time doing marketing! It’s awesome!”