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Marketing Tactics

See the Big Picture

Three all-important questions that impact positively on your sales.

Kim Gordon

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Whenever I tell new coaching clients that I want to start off by having a look at their “big picture”, they always seem relieved. Perhaps that’s because, like many small business owners, they tend to get caught up in the details. In the case of marketing, that may mean anything from interviewing copywriters for an upcoming online campaign to negotiating the best price from local printers for a new brochure.

No matter whether your small business has been around for years or you’re trying to set your start-up in motion, it’s vital to periodically step away from the daily details and look at the larger canvas. Generally, it’s not the single tactics that will make or break you; it’s the broad-based thinking that will have a profound impact on your ability to increase sales.

Adopting this larger point-of-view will help you to position your business more effectively, to pinpoint and motivate your best prospects, and to develop your own unique value proposition. And it’s as easy as answering these three questions:

1. What are you really marketing? You may be tempted to answer this question by naming the product or service you offer – shoes, software, commercial landscaping, image consulting, tax preparation or whatever it is you provide. But when it comes to motivating customers or clients, what you really should be marketing are the benefits they’ll enjoy by using your product or service. For example, while your actual product may be software, to be successful, you must market what that software helps users do.

Customers who read your ads and brochures or take your cold calls have only one question in mind: “What’s in it forme?”. No marketing message can succeed unless it leads with the benefits that your customers can expect. The key to effectively positioning your business or its products and services is to define a unique set of benefits and then build a communications message around them.

2. Who wants to buy what you market? Have you ever noticed how major manufacturers offer products uniquely tailored to niche markets? Canon, for instance, may offer a line of inkjet printers for small to medium-sized businesses as well as tiny portable printers that can work on the front seat of a salesperson’s car – two very different products created specifically to appeal to select target audiences.

Is there something uniquely distinct about your products and services (or even the way you offer them) that makes them particularly appealing to a specific group or market niche? Create a profile of your best prospects and tailor your offering accordingly. If you can’t increase your share of your current market, perhaps you can modify your product to go after a new one. Consider how, with a simple change of packaging, for example, mainstream food products, are sold to ethnic markets. How can your company apply this type of strategy to attract a more targeted customer?

3. Why will the customers you target want to buy from you? Let’s face it, consumers have endless options when it comes to buying almost any kind of product or service. In fact, if you think you have no competition, it’s likely that while you’re educating the market on the benefits of your product, there are others just a few steps behind you. You may own the category for now, but we all know that it’s often easier, and less expensive, to be second to bring something truly innovative to market.

Be sure to eliminate any elements that reduce your competitive edge. Recently, for example, I was shopping online for lamp finials and came across a beautiful pair made out of carved jade. I went straight to the shopping cart but stopped the transaction when I saw that the seller tacked on an additional, high-priced “handling fee” plus shipping.

This e-commerce site had a unique and desirable product, yet it lost the sale because of its non-competitive pricing structure. So all the business got from me was an e-mail with some terse marketing advice.

Once you’ve answered the first two questions, you’re ready to take the final step and formulate a compelling value proposition that trumps the offers made by your competitors. What do your customers really want? How can you provide it? Sometimes the answer can be as simple as offering something that seals the deal, such as free shipping.

For marketing success, it’s a smart idea to make a habit of looking at the big picture. There couldn’t be a better prescription for your business and its long-term growth.

Kim T. Gordon is one of the country's leading experts on the small-business market. Over the past 30 years as an author, marketing expert, media spokesperson, speaker and coach, her work has helped millions of small-business owners increase their success.

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Marketing Tactics

How Is Influencer Marketing Going To Change In The Future?

How is influencer marketing going to be in the upcoming time? Read on.

Maulik Patel

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Influencer marketing is definitely not a new story. It’s been more than a decade now that it is immensely dominating the world of digital marketing. While being extremely cost-effective, influencer marketing strategies have very soon ended up with a great exposure. The businesses are building an immense level of reputation and earning various links with the help of this innovative marketing concept. In fact, the influencer marketing agencies are coming up with new approaches of implementation with each passing day.

Moreover, like any other type of marketing, the trends of influencer marketing are ever changing. Like how the story was five years back is not the same now and it is going to further evolve in the future.

The anticipated influencer marketing challenges

With the continuous growth of social media, influencer marketing is definitely going to face a myriad of obstacles. A few of the most expected ones are as follows:

Expenses

The demand for influencer marketing is continuously on the rise and eventually, the cost is going up. If you want to enter into the market of influencer marketing and establish yourself as an influencer then you need to give a lot of efforts while building a personal brand and earning the reputation for yourself.

You want to become one among such influencers who’ve already amassed a great following means that you’ll need to make it worth it- sometimes paid promotion could be the right tactic. In the future, this scenario is going to be even more prominent as people will have to spend huge bucks to be a worthy influencer.

Customers faith

In recent times, consumers have gradually started distrusting the huge brands when they realised that the corporations are working for only profit without having the user’s interests in the mind. So, for them, influencers are now no more than some mere conduits for big commercial names. So, it is going to be really tough for the influencers to get the trust of consumers back.

High level of competition

Social media is no doubt such a place now which is teeming with massive competition and threats. Many influencers who are already thriving and the people who have an urge to become influencers turn it into a complicated scenario for you to enter in this space as an influencer in your own right.

Related: 6 Reasons Why Influencer Marketing Really Works

How can influencer marketing unfold in the future?

Of course, there are multiple ways in which the entire story of influencer marketing can change in the coming years. Let’s check out some of the most expected developments:

Exchanges will be ahead of favours

The chapter of influencer marketing is probably going to be a pretty much an impartial marketplace in the coming time. The brands are more likely to enter into a mutual collaboration with the influencer marketing agencies in terms of interchanging shares, posts, audience visibility while being more organic rather than asking for the favour of mentioning the brand’s name to the influencers

Networking will be preferred over individuals

Gone are the days when influencer marketing used to be the story of respective individuals. Now, markets are assumed to start focussing on the entire networks or industries. The future influencer marketers can get rid of the problem of being based on individual interactions by getting the insights of blog comments, forums etc.

Change in the concept of disclosure

Why has not native advertising sustained over the long term?

It’s because the publishers always negate to disclose which posts are the paid promotions. In such a scenario, influencer marketing strategies can move a bit ahead of this transparent problem in the future. All that they are expected to do is formally announce the sort of partnership or arrangement that is existing behind each and every content. The experts believe that this process might end up being quite a tedious one. Howbeit, the consumer trust will not be hampered at all.

Limited and sensible partnerships

Influencers might lean more towards self-preservation in the coming days. Rather than establishing a relationship with hundreds of marketers or products, influencers are expected to focus more on developing authentic professional relationships which really make some sense. For examples, the influencers are intended to concentrate more on such relationships which can be profitable for themselves as individuals and also seem to be appealing to their followers. Say, a move towards quality over quantity!

Winding Up

No doubt, the evolution of influencer marketing is not only dependent on the aforementioned factors. There’s much more that can happen. The time can only reveal that. Influencer marketing is certainly going to change on its own in either of the two ways, a more sophisticated one or become a mere peripheral strategy which won’t be completely accessible.

Let’s just wait and watch how it comes up to us in the future!

Aren’t you taking an advantage of the current extraordinary status of influencer marketing in the meantime?

Related: 4 Young Marketing Influencers You Can Learn From

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Marketing Tactics

Top Marketing Trends For 2019

When you reflect on marketing trends that have taken centre stage in 2018, what stands out?

Emma Donovan

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Maybe it’s the proliferation of Instagram stories or  influencer marketing? Or the fact that video content has become even shorter and simpler with the rise of GIFs.

The real question is how have you incorporated these trends in to your marketing strategy, and what should you focus on in 2019? Here are six up and coming trends that you don’t want to miss:

1. Say hello to the social CEO

Customers want ‘real’ brand stories and to know what drives them. Leaders who are successful on social media show their companies’ human side and give their brands’ credibility and personality. This builds loyalty and, in some cases, an emotional connection that goes beyond the product or service.

Customers who feel this connection may even go on to become brand ambassadors.

Tip: Share stories that demonstrate your leadership style as well as company culture.

2. Initiate conversations

While 2018 brought the chatbots, the trend for 2019 is really using these bots to gather information about consumers by engaging with them on a personal level and steering them towards a sale. Bots are being trained to be authentic and sound more like people than the robots they are.

For example Facebook Messenger becomes more and more useful for brands as the platform allows customisation of automated messages and the ability to initiate a conversation at the right time.

Tip: You can also integrate this with Facebook shopping and increase conversion rates by enabling the bot to sell products to a consumer through the Facebook platform.

Related: Pay Per Click Advertising. When, How And For What?

3. Keep it local

Influencer marketing can be short lived or a little superficial. So try to identify and partner with local influencers that are happy to work on long-term campaigns. Also use multiple touch points including podcasts, YouTube and Snapchat as well as Instagram and Facebook.

Tip: Before you reach out to an influencer, follow them and learn a bit about the way they represent brands and engage with their fans to see if they’ll be a good fit. 

4. Try Instagram ads

As Facebook ads continue to dominate our feeds, advertisers are looking for a new place to stand out and get noticed. Instagram ads are on the rise, according to the Merkle report that showed that while Facebook ad spend grew 40% year-on-year in the second quarter of 2018, Instagram ad spend jumped 177% in the same time period.

Tip: Do some A/B split testing with different styles of images and calls-to-action.

5. Personalise email communication

Make sure to use automation and personalisation to really make your customers feel that you are listening.

Using hyper-segmentation, you can target very specific parts of your market. This will ensure that they receive personalised emails based on what they have expressed interest in or actions they have taken with regards to your brand.

Tip: Use automated campaigns after a first purchase; to request a review on social platforms; or just thank customers for shopping and remind them to share their purchase online.

Related: Free Sample Marketing Plan Template

6. Post in real time

In an effort to bring offline marketing into the online world, Instagram TV or IGTV allows brands to create a place for consumers to watch live events or brand content in their own time.

In addition, IGTV replaces the need for YouTube in some cases as brands are able to upload 10 or more minutes of footage directly to Instagram for consumers to watch as ‘episodes’.

This will become more prevalent in the years to come as businesses include this in their strategy. IGTV videos are less formal and will typically cost less than a traditional TV advert to create.

Whatever trends come our way, the key is to remain agile and adapt to how customers engage with your brand. And more than ever before, it’s important for all marketing touch points to align and communicate the same message.

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Marketing Tactics

4 Young Marketing Influencers You Can Learn From

Whether you’re a CMO or just trying to build your own brand, these influencers can help you reach your goal.

Jonathan Long

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Today, social media is a very crowded and competitive ecosystem – it can be extremely difficult for brands to break through and spread their message to a large number of potential new customers.

Marketing via social media has become a necessity. According to a post by DMA, 45 percent of surveyed marketers are looking to increase brand awareness through social media. The same post stated that spending via social media is expected to increase 18.5 percent in the next five years.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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