Marketing is at the forefront of every successful business, however, some individuals regard marketing as just advertising or promotional activity, but these are just aspects of effective marketing. Marketing should be about everything a firm wants to achieve and the image and identity it sets itself. Every engagement with a customer is an opportunity for a company to market itself.
Therefore, marketing is crucial and no matter what aims or goals a firm has, it can achieve them by clever use of marketing tactics.
Marketing is vital for many reasons, and it can have a positive impact on these areas:
- Effective marketing leads to increased sales
- It can build, develop and maintain a reputation
- Marketing can lead to referrals
- It helps to make repeat customers and advocates out of customers
In order for a company to benefit from marketing and to ensure every employee and department is working together to promote the business, it needs to develop a marketing strategy. A marketing strategy sets the guidelines for how a company will operate, how it will promote itself, how it will engage its market and what it offers.
A good marketing strategy outlines the brand and ethos that a company wants to share with the world and it will introduce timelines and parameters. These are essential for measuring the merits of a plan. This is another essential reason why a comprehensive tactic should be developed. When a blueprint is in place, with quantifiable aspects, it becomes easier for companies to judge what worked and what didn’t. This allows more effective and tailored strategies to be undertaken over time. Marketing strategies should also be a learning process where firms are continually reviewing what they have achieved and how they can achieve more in the future.
When it comes to developing a strong strategy, the following steps are key:
- Knowing who your target customer is
- Recognizing the category your business operates in
- Providing a unique benefit or selling point
- Understanding who your rivals are
- How you can differentiate yourself from your rivals
It is clear that firms should look at their peers and examine their branding and planning; however, in an attempt to stand out as a market leader, there is a lot to be said for looking at other industries and learning how firms in other sectors act, and engage with their audience.
A sportswear company may be very different from a food manufacturer but it could have the same audience, so there will likely be crossover points. Similarly, a company offering healthy and nutritional products may share an audience with a leader in fashion sportswear company. In this regard, the audience for copper compression sportswear may be the same audience who are looking for healthy snacks and calorie controlled dining options. Being aware of different sectors that also appeal to your audience is crucial for all firms as it provides opportunities to learn and interact with other brands.
These companies could benefit from studying the activities of the others and determining if there is a plan associated with a different sector that can be incorporated into their own marketing strategy.
Sector related marketing tips include:
- Local domestic home services firms need to focus on SEO strategies
- Fitness companies should engage and motivate their audience
- Food and drink companies can benefit from social media activity
- Hairdressers and salons should utilize loyalty programs and offer bonuses for customer referrals
- Professional firms should offer video content and examples of their expertise
- Retailers should be focused on mobile driven strategies and discounts
An example would be a fashion company looking to launch a new line. A market leader can benefit from a celebrity endorsement campaign but a smaller firm should look to engage their local audience and drive traffic to their store. Having an open day or event draws people to the store and product and it can encourage social media engagement, acting as an endorsement of the company’s product line. This will place fashion wear in front of the intended audience and it will come from a recommendation as opposed to a direct advertising campaign, which means people will likely view the product and brand in a more favorable way.
While the starting point for any new or emerging company should be its peers and rivals, it is often of benefit to look outside of their sector. Taking marketing tips from different industries is a fantastic way to differentiate yourself from your rivals but it can also open new doors and provide engagement and interacting opportunities. Companies should be looking for every advantage they can obtain and “thinking outside of the box” is often a smart idea.