In the information age it is nearly fatal to approach a business venture or company idea without having a marketing strategy. It is and will be the key to your success to a degree, and your ability or lack there of to implement successful marketing strategies will often make or break your venture.
Marketing is defined as those actions that you take to bring potential customers to an awareness of your company’s existence, and of the products or services that your company offers to potential customers, and why they should buy them from you. In one sentence, “We are company A and we make product X for target audience Y.”
There are a lot of different aspects to successful marketing, and there are several different ways something can be marketed, with a different strategy for each. The focus and driving foundation of your personal marketing strategy should be one of making absolutely sure that your products and your services actually do meet customer needs and wants. You can’t just do this once either.
Your marketing also has to create and develop long-term and profitable relationships with those customers too, so they come back for more products and services in the future. To accomplish this goal of marketing, you will need to create, test, and then implement a very flexible strategy that can thusly respond to changes in customer perceptions and demand as the years go by and as tastes change. Your marketing strategy would also be considered very well put together if you can use it to investigate and scout out whole new markets that you can successfully target.
Benefits of Marketing Strategies
Marketing Strategies Definition: a combination of business goals, online company information, competitor analysis and other digital data that provides recommendations for best ROI on marketing efforts.
The benefit of a successful marketing strategy is that it seeks to target key consumer segments and groups. Being able to identify and locate these groups and their needs through market research, and then by addressing them more successfully than your competitors are doing, that should be the focus of your strategy and that will be where marketing can be most effective.
Successful marketing allows you to keep an eye on your strategy and your business and how you are getting customers. Successful marketing is a constantly moving, shifting, and changing machine, and different customers will hear about you and want to buy from you because of different marketing techniques as the years go by. A benefit of a good strategy is one that can shift and adjust with the times.
Go To Marketing Strategies & What to Watch Out For
When putting together a marketing plan, go over your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats and take a close look at each one and how it could affect your marketing strategy, for better or for worse.
Some examples are:
Personal and flexible customer service
Special features or benefits that your product offers
Specialist knowledge or skills
Limited financial resources
Lack of an established reputation
Inefficient accounting systems
Increased demand from a particular market sector
Using the Internet to reach new markets
New technologies that allow you to improve product quality
The emergence of a new competitor
More sophisticated, attractive or cheaper versions of your product or service
New legislation increasing your costs
A downturn in the economy, reducing overall demand
Statistics on Marketing
Marketing is being called the number one most important business and entrepreneurial tool of the 21st century, and rightly so too. It is the driving force behind so much of what makes a business successful, or of what causes a business to fail. These are the most important tools and tricks here, as the success or lack there of your marketing campaign will often make or break yours business. For some statistics on the importance of marketing:
- 61% of global Internet users research products online.
- 44% of online shoppers begin by using a search engine.
- The average click-through rate for paid search in 2010 (worldwide) was 2%.
- Businesses with websites of 401-1000 pages get 6x more leads than those with 51-100 pages. 86% of consumers stated that using a search engine allowed them to learn something new or important that helped him/her increase his/her knowledge.
- The average content length for a web page that ranks in the top 10 results for any keyword on Google has at least 2,000 words. The higher up you go on the search listings page, the more content each web page has.
- If a post is greater than 1,500 words, on average it receives 68.1% more tweets and 22.6% more Facebook likes than a post that is under 1,500 words.
- 60% of all organic clicks go to the organic top 3 search results.
- YouTube has become the 2nd Largest Search Engine, bigger than Bing, Yahoo, Ask & AOL combined.
- 50% of all mobile searches are conducted in hopes of finding local results, and 61% of those searches result in a purchase.
- SEO leads have a 14.6% close rate, while outbound leads (such as direct mail or print advertising) have a 1.7% close rate.
Key Points of a Marketing Strategy for the Business to Business Market
When you are putting together a marketing strategy, your own personal strategy will be totally key and totally outfitted for you and your business alone, but that does not mean that there are not a few general points and tips to keep in mind when putting together such a strategy. Keep the following key aspects in mind when putting together your strategy:
Before looking at new markets, don’t forget to think about how you can first really get the most that you can out of your existing customer base. Most people find that it is usually more economical and quicker to do that than it is to find new customers.
Consider whether you can actually sell more to your existing customers and provide them with more serves or products. Look at ways of improving the retention of key customers that you already have.
Always, always, always focus on your key, specific market; what others are doing in the same market, what customers are wanting, what’s making competitors successful, and what’s causing them to fail.
Analyze the different needs of different groups of customers and adjust your marketing accordingly.
Focus on a market niche where you can be the best and provide the best and dominate the market.
Always adjust your marketing strategy in such a way that aims to put most of your efforts into the twenty percent of customers who provide eighty percent of your overall profits.
To see if your strategy is sound, don’t forget to approach a third party for feedback about your strategy. A third party might be able to spot any gaps or weaknesses that you can’t see, as they are looking at it from a different perspective.
Put your marketing strategy into effect and start using it in such a way that you utilize a marketing plan that sets out the aims, actions, dates, costs, resources and effective selling programs.
Always keep tabs on it and understand that successful strategies can become outdated. Measure the effectiveness of what you do monthly, if not weekly. Be prepared to change things that aren’t working and readjust your strategy.
The Best Marketing Strategies in the World
At its very core, marketing is about effectively promoting a product or service to an audience. When marketing’s done right, people are dazzled and excited, not coerced or brainwashed, into purchasing the product or service. When it’s done poorly, the results can be embarrassingly laughable or, even worse, forgettable.
Let’s look at some of the world’s top companies dominating the marketing realm. Some of the companies listed below have been doing it well for decades, showing the longevity of a successful marketing approach.
Coca-Cola’s a Classic
Coca-Cola’s origin story is already a good place for marketers to start. Any creator mixing alcohol and cocaine together and trying to sell it to the public is gutsy! The sugared, carbonated concoction it became still turned into a success. Over the decades, the trademark logo and bottle design have provided a sense of consistency. Additionally, this drink has become intertwined with the classic image of Santa Claus. The image of a rotund man with a red suit and rosy cheeks holding a Coca-Cola made Santa a real person who gets thirsty after a long day of gift hauling. Ultimately, the marketing for Coca-Cola is larger than the product; it’s about the merry experience and the nostalgia you feel when you have a Coke.
The biggest changes to the Coca-Cola brand came with the “Share a Coke” campaign, starting in 2011 in Australia and subsequently spreading internationally. Essentially, the Coca-Cola label is replaced with “Share a Coke with” and a person’s name. Coca-Cola printed 250 of a country’s most common names. It was the consumers’ job to find the names of the people for whom they were buying the Coke. Eventually, the company added more names as well as nicknames and song lyrics. You can even personalize a name on a bottle you purchase online. Most recently, Coca-Cola has made the “Share a Coke with” part a sticker, which you can put on your t-shirt or photo album as a memory and also use to win prizes. The campaign encourages an experience of people spending time with each other and enjoying a Coke.
An Apple a Day Brings Customers to Stay
Simplicity of brands is key. Marketers need to be creative without confusing their target audience. Using an identifiable image of an apple was all Apple needed to say, much more concise and precise than when Prince tried to change his name to a symbol, resulting in the long-winded “The artist formerly known as Prince.” Even former CEO Steve Jobs’ signature attire was jeans with a black turtleneck.
Apple knows how to showcase its sleek, compact products with colorful accents and silhouette-inspired TV commercials that blast catchy pop tunes. While the hardware has struck a chord with millions of users, the hardware is the shell of what Apple really wants to promote—its apps, interfaces, and services. In fact, Apple’s senior VP of marketing showed off the very first iPhone, saying this piece of glass is what will launch Apple’s new software. At this point in time, Apple’s users are devoted fans, purchasing multiple pieces of hardware that sync all of the apps, chats, photos, and videos that matter to them.
An A for Amazon
Amazon is an e-commerce giant. The company targets a wide range of people, given the wide range of products it sells, yet is still able to find ways to target specific types of customers. One of its marketing components is to scale easily from small to large. When looking at Amazon’s history, you can see just that: an online shop for books and music becomes a place for clothes and household items, which then becomes a place for video streaming, which becomes a food mogul. Its concept of Prime was genius, eliminating two of the hassles of online shopping, shipping fees and wait time, and combining that with the ever-popular streaming method of TV watching. Essentially, Amazon takes simple things people want and need, tying them up in a box of convenience and making them accessible to the masses.
Nike Just Does It
Nike has the consistent, easily recognizable swoosh and slogan “Just Do It.” Nike has been able to make the average person capable of athletic feats with a simple pair of sneakers. Focusing on image and a way of life are at the heart of the company’s marketing. Staying on top of market research has allowed Nike to see the change in its decades-long run. For example, the team spirit of sports that inspired Nike’s original line started to move toward an individualistic style, which led to its late line of shoes in the late 1990s that customers could personalize and monogram. Right before the 2017 Grammy Award broadcast in the middle of Black History Month, Nike launched an ad campaign with an important social message on many consumers’ minds. Celebrities brought to light the value of equality on and off the field. Nike even went so far as to partner with organizations whose mission is to bring about equality in communities.
Netflix and What?
Netflix brought Blockbuster and much more directly to your home, so you never again had to “be kind and rewind.” The slogan “Watch Instantly” stated exactly what its customers did. Netflix’s original shows and customers’ binge-watching behavior became so popular that the slogan “Netflix and chill” become young people’s secret way of saying “hooking up.” Eventually, Netflix used the slogan for its own marketing purposes, showing its playful connection to its customers.
In 2011, Netflix took a hit with its perception and customer base when its prices significantly rose for DVD users. What was more jarring, perhaps, was its rebranding from one entity, Netflix, into two. The new entity, Qwikster, was just for DVD rentals. Many changes came without prior warning. The idea of simplicity was lost here, causing confusion and angry feelings. The same situation happened with “New Coke” in the mid-1980s when Coca-Cola tried to compete with Pepsi. Marketing mishaps happen, but the strength of both companies showed in their swift follow-up moves (e.g., quickly eliminating the disliked products).
Takeaways: Marketing Strategies for Small Business
These five marketing giants share the following elements in common, which can inspire other companies on the horizon:
- Change must come within a consistent framework. Establish your company’s identity and know when and what change your users can handle based on trends, new technology, etc.
- Simple can still be creative.
- Promote more than just your product.
- Showing how you connect with your customers is important.
Marketing is one of the most important parts of any business plan. It stands in as being a key and crucial, driving factor in any business venture. It can make a business very successful, or it can tank it. Be sure to understand marketing well as you begin your journey to success in your business adventure or check out one of our other great marketing services.