Marketing strategy is key for any company, team, or individual looking to sell their product, image, or service to the world, but with the dawn of a new decade, it’s time to reassess what marketing means.
MARKETING IN THE DIGITAL AGE
The Digital Revolution has been underway since the 1950s – far longer than most people would think – but society has been slow to catch up. Though technological advances offer us so many new opportunities to expand and improve marketing outreach, many companies are still in a marketing lag. These companies choose to stick by tried-and-tested methods such as industrial marketing, selling from business to business, leaving the customer out of the picture until the final product reaches them. Now, with so many new platforms and increased accessibility, it’s time to talk straight to the customer.
FIND YOUR BALANCE: INDUSTRIAL VS CONSUMER MARKETING
These two forms of marketing are essential to any healthy business, though they work in completely different ways. Here are the basics:
INDUSTRIAL MARKETING IS BUSINESS TO BUSINESS.
It builds a long-term relationship between seller and buyer, keeping the two connected. This could be a partnership between a bulk food provider and a grocery store, a clothing brand and a department store, or a tech company and a retailer. The customer is not directly involved: instead, the businesses work together behind the scenes to deliver the product.
CONSUMER MARKETING IS BUSINESS TO CUSTOMER.
It’s a faster, more direct way for businesses to reach individual customers, though the relationship between buyer and seller is less stable. This could be a YouTube ad the customer sees for a new meal deal, an Instagram post telling them a new line of clothing has dropped, or a billboard advertising the up-and-coming business location for a food chain. All of these grab the customer’s attention but are not guaranteed to keep them coming back over time.
INDUSTRIAL MARKETING TAKES MORE PEOPLE.
When negotiating contracts between businesses, the route to a long-term partnership is filled with different people, all of them managing different business decisions. One team will put forward a proposal while the other assesses the benefits before accepting or denying it. Once the partnership is formed, the two work together to move the product.
CONSUMER MARKETING CUTS OUT THE MIDDLEMAN.
You’ll still need a team to work on advertising production and monitor consumer engagement, but the end result is a direct message from business to customer, encouraging them to go out and buy the product.
INDUSTRIAL MARKETING IS FORMAL.
Creating a two-business, reliable partnership is a process involving professionals on both sides. Binding contracts keep the buyer-seller relationship strong, and meetings to discuss marketing aims allow both sides to stay on track with their trading goals.
CONSUMER MARKETING IS ACCESSIBLE.
A direct message to the customer, through social media, web, TV or radio advertising must be fresh, engaging and most importantly, accessible. To reach your broader consumer market, language and visuals must be simple, offering the product in a straightforward way that targets the customer’s needs and spikes their interest.
USE THE WIDER WEB TO GO BEYOND ADVERTISING
Advertising is a staple of marketing worldwide, but the internet has changed the way many people see it. With so many companies unleashing their advertising on the web, customers can feel overwhelmed or harassed by constant pop-ups and sidebar ads flashing sales and deals in their faces.
More and more, people are looking for something authentic, something that identifies their needs and offers them a solution, rather than advertising excess products at random. The internet can help you find your target audience – people who already want what you have to offer. These people want to buy, so there’s no need to give them the hard sell.
IMPROVE YOUR VALUE TO INCREASE YOUR VALUE
Your customers deserve your effort. Giving them a valuable product is key to earning their trust and respect as well as their future loyalty to your business. Put in the time to research, design and mould the product or service you’re offering to suit their requirements. With so many companies looking to cut corners and save on expenses, holding your business to a gold standard will immediately make you stand out from the crowd.
There are times where hard work and risks truly do pay off, so think smart when it comes to your marketing. Make it clear that your business values its customers above all else, that you are not satisfied until they are and that you will strive to deliver the quality they not only demand but deserve. This crucial work will halve your stress when it comes to later marketing, as you will have proved again and again that your customer can rely on your products’ strict standards of value, leading them to value your business above the rest.
LEARN YOUR LEADS
In the marketing world, a ‘lead’ is an individual or business with an active interest in what you have to offer. With the use of modern tech, your leads can reach you more easily, exchanging contact details such as phone numbers, emails and social media handles. Following up on these leads will drive you forward in establishing a strong, identifiable consumer audience. With your marketing set to target that audience, the amount of interest your leads express will only grow. But with the power of the internet to reach endlessly diverse groups of people, you can stimulate even more leads. This process starts the same way as any good relationship: with strong communication and an engaging conversation.
OPEN THE CONVERSATION
Use your website and social media platforms to engage your target market by:
==> ASKING FOR THEIR FEEDBACK.
What do they like best about your product?
What changes would they suggest?
Would they recommend it to a friend?
==> GETTING TO KNOW THEIR ISSUES.
What are they most in need of?
How can you take on their views and ideas to deliver a product that’s tailored to them?
==> ENGAGING IN INTERACTIVE SALES.
No customer wants to hear a sales pitch shouted at them over and over. Make your sales more interactive, using your online platforms to involve the buyer and turn your pitch into a conversation. Keep this step direct but professional, preferably via phone, business email, customer service chat software on your website or face to face interaction.
==> ANSWER THEIR QUESTIONS.
Depending on your business size, either you or a larger specialized team can use social media platforms to receive your customers’ questions and give a direct reply. If you receive recurring questions, setting up ‘FAQ’ or ‘About Us’ pages on your main website will cut out any wasted time while keeping your customer’s input close, responding to their needs, and maintaining your marketing vision.
NOW YOU’RE ON THE LEVEL
With these vital marketing practices in place, your business is set to move your product further, faster, and smarter. A real understanding of short-term and long-term marketing strategy will not only get you to the place you want your business to be, it will keep you at the top of your game. With the basics down, adapting your marketing here and there to move with your target market’s needs will ensure you meet your goals along with your customers’ needs. So jump right into it!
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