Whichever industry you operate in, you must always be aware of threats to your business. One of the most significant threats to your business does not come from your competitors, a pandemic or a global financial crisis. The threat we will discuss today is the threat that comes if you underestimate the significance of intelligently marketing your brand.
Every organisation should have awareness of the importance of marketing. Few show awareness of how to make that marketing count. If you discover how to make your marketing material stand head and shoulders above the efforts of your competitors, most of your work is done (assuming your product or service can back it up).
What to do
You have a marketing strategy, you’ve identified and researched your demographic, you’ve identified your USP’s and you’ve cross referenced them in relation to the needs of the potential clients? You haven’t even got started yet. Think about how many competitors are already doing what you do, or selling what you sell. Perhaps they’re doing it just as well as you. So why should anyone choose you?
The key to standing out comes in many guises; look at your competition and identify what it is they’re not doing, use imaginative copy with simple headlines that convinces the reader to continue reading, and stay heavily involved in keeping up to date with trends and marketing campaigns that have made an impact previously.
As part of any marketing strategy, social media comes high on the list. It’s important, but to be effective it must be utilised in the correct way for your niche. Your aim is to encourage people to interact with you, to do this you have to create posts that have appeal, sometimes use a call to action, but always create interest and add value to those that take the time to read.
Easier said than done of course, but as an example: during the 2013 Super Bowl, Oreo employed 15 marketing brains to sit in a locked room and watch the game until they came up with a piece of marketing relevant to whatever happened. There was a blackout at the stadium, and within ten minutes Oreo had a post on Twitter and Facebook featuring an Oreo in a spotlight saying ‘You can still dunk in the dark’. It was shared a lot. That is good marketing through social media, but they took it very seriously. They got the results they were looking for, and have continued to make social posts that people like to share.
Your message must be clear. If you have too much text within your advertising, it’s likely nobody will read it. It matters not whether you are promoting the latest piece of the Hubble telescope, or a dish cloth, either way the first thing you need to have is a headline that encourages people to read further. Never undervalue the headline, it’s the most important aspect of marketing.
The classic example here is Domino’s Pizza. In the 70’s, the franchise was struggling, on the brink of bankruptcy in fact. Their pizzas weren’t great, and the market was flooded with competition. They became the largest franchise in America within 20 years with one simple piece of marketing. Based on their client requirements and the competition, they quite simply advertised “30 minutes or less, or it’s free’. They now sell millions of pizzas every day in over 60 countries, and they don’t even deliver in 30 minutes anymore. The promotional offer exploded them onto the scene and they never relented, despite the product not being the best. That’s the power of thinking different, looking for the gap in the market and identifying the client requirements.
The brand and the story
A modern day customer doesn’t just want a product, they want a connection with the company they bought it from. So many businesses have a nondescript and uninspiring ‘About Us’ section, it’s actually one of the most important aspects of your ‘free’ marketing tools. Your story can be made to sound quite exciting with a bit of creative embellishment and a touch of exaggeration here and there. Make the best of what you’ve got.
Some of the largest brands in the world are as big as they are because they invested so heavily in marketing. Your marketing budget each year should reflect your ambition. If you place enough importance upon it, your marketing campaigns could end up taking your business to the next level in terms of success.
When it comes to getting ahead you really need to find your niche, find what it is you can do that no rivals can, focus on this, come up with a strong tagline or headline, and get your brand out there across every available media outlet you can.
To stay ahead, you need to listen to the feedback you get, use analytics to find which types of posts encourage the best responses. If you find that images or videos get the most responses, stick with those type of posts. “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it…” as they say, but the key to staying ahead is really to ensure that you are constantly evaluating the effectiveness of what you’re currently doing.