Coleraine businesses urged to ‘Think Big....Think Marketing’

THE second phase of the Think Big...Think Marketing Programme has just been launched by Coleraine Borough Council.

The programme, which is funded by Coleraine Borough Council and co-financed through the European Union’s Regional Competitiveness (ERDF) Programme, provides businesses in the Council area with an unrivalled opportunity to avail of hands-on support to improve their marketing skills, ultimately assisting them to grow their business.

Twenty firms participated on the programme last year, which resulted in a major upsurge in firms engaging in marketing activities such as re-branding, development of new websites and promotional materials, launching new products and effectively targeting new customers. These activities have led to increased sales and the creation of a number of new jobs in the area.

Aquaholics, the Portstewart-based Dive Centre and Sea Safari specialists, participated on last year’s programme. Explaining how it benefited his firm, owner Richard Lafferty said “Think BIG... encouraged us to look at our customer base differently and pitch our activities at these distinct customer groups. Being a five star PADI Dive Centre we already have a strong reputation throughout the UK and Ireland for our Diving Centre.

“However, we realised that our specialist sea safaris, where customers are taken for exciting sea trips along the North Coast, or to Donegal to see basking sharks, even over to Scotland for a day trip, was not fulfilling its potential as a casual leisure/tourism activity that has broad appeal to every visitor to the North Coast area from the very young to the not so young.

“Our marketing mentors enabled us to look at these customers separately and focus on getting the message out to them, which is already paying dividends. In doing this, we have become much more confident about the potential the Sea Safaris now offer and are looking forward to a bumper season in 2012.”

Speaking about the programme, Coleraine Borough Council’s Economic Development Officer Martin Clark explained that the initiative formed part of the Council’s ongoing commitment to support local businesses.

“The Think Big Think Marketing programme has been developed as a result of research carried out with local businesses which showed that they wished to avail of practical supports to help them grow their business. The unprecedented demand that we had for the programme last year certainly proved this and it is re-assuring to see our local companies making the most of the opportunity to realise their market potential,” he said.

The programme is being delivered by i2 Total Marketing, which has extensive experience in working with businesses to grow their business through well branded, targeted marketing, promotional and sales development campaigns.

Martin Clark continued: “Whilst participation on The Think, Big Think Marketing programme is free of charge to participating companies, the initiative represents an investment of over £2,000 per participant business by the Council and the ERDF Competitiveness Programme.”

Places on the programme are limited to ten firms so anyone wishing to sign up should telephone Janice at 7188 6131 or email