Ex-Apprentice star Kimberley Davis launches marketing masterclass

She's come a long way from the Apprentice. Today, Kimberley Davis, founder of Sarsaparilla Marketing, addressed a theatre-ful of small business owners, one-man bands and marketing newbies, all desperate to find out the marketing secrets that could help them grow their businesses.

Dwarfed by the huge auditorium, Davis admits to a case of stage fright. "I've done many events in my lifetime," she says. "But I've never run my own. This is a very special day for me."

The New Yorker is known for her plain-speaking, no nonsense approach to business. Today's seminar was no different. "You're thinking, 'Why should I listen to you? People from The Apprentice are all a bunch of muppets.' Well here are my credentials."

Davis has had a varied and interesting career. She was a university lecturer at the age of just 22, and has since worked in radio, music and TV as both wordsmith and marketer. "When I was 14, my journalism teacher gave me a piece of advice that has stuck with me to this day," says Davis. "You can reach anyone, anywhere, with seven phone calls and by knowing the right thing to say."

Davis does more than just pay lip service to this maxim. She pulls up a photo of herself as a teenager cuddling up to Andre Agassi. "Seven phone calls," she repeats.

The aim of the event, and Sarsparilla Marketing as a company, is 'marketing purification,' says Davis. "It's time to detox your marketing from the flash, fluff and fakers. Most firms waste 50% of their marketing. Don't you want to be more effective with your marketing so that it's an investment not an expense?"

Then come the horror stories. Plenty of small business owners in the room have been stung by bad advertising decisions and underwhelming marketing campaigns. "I spent £300 on a full page ad that didn't bring in a single call," says one audience member. "I paid for 12 months of radio ads and the response was far below what I was looking for. I must have 'mug' tattooed to my forehead," says another.

It's clear that many small businesses need help to cut through the puff and find out which marketing strategies actually work.

Click here to read Kimberley Davis' marketing rules.


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