Posts Tagged ‘marketing’

How Social Media is Perceived at Budget Time

A financial commitment to overcome challenges and achieve social marketing success:
Depending on the size and type of your organization, this may simply require a thumbs‐up from your boss or demand a full scale lobbying campaign to win over skeptics and gain the support of an executive committee. But winning financial support for social marketing is no different than winning support for any other business initiative – you have to prove its value to the organization.

How Social Media is Perceived at Budget Time - Chart

Considering that social marketing is at a very early stage in its life cycle, a 7% confidence rating indicating it is producing measurable ROI and should be funded liberally is outstanding.

Conservative budget increases by half of all organizations and budget time, based on the promise that social media will eventually produce ROI, demonstrate another vote of confidence in the tactic for the longer term.

The 17% of organizations who still believe social media marketing is basically free, and should stay that way, are destined to get what they pay for.

Source: Marketing Sherpa


Your Company Brand – Zero to Hero: 4 Marketing Tactics

Your Company Brand, the Hero that Saves the DayWhat statement does your company make? Do you have any idea? Is it shouting out its vision or is it sitting on the fence? Your customers will know which is why it’s important to take care with what you’re saying and how you’re saying it. Whether that communication is an invoice landing on your customer’s desk or an online article or the spotless state of your vehicle, it gets processed as part of your company image and therefore your company brand. Your company reputation lies in your communications and your reputation gets you noticed – hopefully in a positive way. We’ve heard the SMME startup failure stats before. The key is to get on the ladder fast and hang in there. Do it right by giving your company brand a clear voice from the start.

1. Your Company Brand – what you’re saying

If your company were a person, what would they look and sound like? Here’s how it works:

Apple iPod = high energy, young, in acceptably mismatching socks
Established legal advisor = low-key, serious in a navy suit

Your website, business card, newsletter, vehicle, sales staff, every email communication must have one and the same voice. A client may be exposed to all of the above. One point of contact should lead to recall of another without creating any confusion around your company brand.

As a small business entrepreneur, you’ll be stretched for resources so accept you can’t be everything to everyone. Specialize in what you know. Pick a message and stick to it. Shout it out in any and all marketing media appropriate for your business.

2. Your Entrepreneur Gameplan – who you’re talking to

If you know who you’re talking to, you’ll know how to get through to them. Work out the profile of your target market:
• Age and gender (young, old, middle-aged)
• Location (in SA or abroad, inland or at the coast, local or national)
• Education and income levels (university educated or street-smart)
• Marital status / family lifecycle (single, newlyweds, have children, grandchildren)
• Ethnic and religious background (generally not always applicable but may be relevant to your approach)
• Lifestyle (conservative, trendy, homebody, party animal)
• Social class (lower, middle or upper – this gives an indication of spending power)
• Leaders or followers (do they look for the latest gadget or wait to hear about it)
• Activities and interests (hobbies, interested in politics or environmental issues)
• Put all the info together and speak to them in a voice they’ll relate to. For example, you might talk to 25-30 year olds who have young families, little time for themselves, have a diploma and spend their R5000 disposable income on annual beach holidays.

It’s not imperative to know all these details but the more you do know the better prepared you’ll be.

3. Mic check – are they listening?

Are your marketing tactics growing your bottom line? If not, you might be talking via a channel they don’t listen to. Find out where they go for information when they need it and be THERE. If you’re targeting working moms, you may want to reach them on a local radio station that enhances office work time in their programming. If your target market is 70-year old retirees, make sure the font on your leaflet is big enough to read and avoid colloquialisms. Geddit? If you email newsletters or have a small business page on Facebook, you’ll know whether they’re listening. Online marketing provides great measuring tools.

4. Marketing Tactics 101 – keep saying it

It’s near impossible to get it right from the start so you’re not alone if you’re battling to find your way. The key is to know what your small business is about and keep your message consistent. If that’s clear, people will notice your efforts. Even if you change tactics, they’ll still recognize you.

If you’ve been at it for a while, are you still sending out a consistent message? We’re bombarded with advertising so people need reminding. They may not need you now but when they do, you have to be there. Expect to have to repeat yourself. You may need to use different methods to keep it fresh but maintain your tone and authority to build and maintain trust in your company brand.

Happy branding!

Marketing Strategies’ Success is in Planning and Measuring

Implementing marketing strategies is like learning to walk
If we never learned to fail, we’d be on knee pads instead of in shoes. Similarly, using marketing strategies is like learning to walk. It’s something that has to be learned. Sometimes you can kiss the sky for the quick impact your latest marketing mix has on your bottom line. Other times, nothing apparent happens and you wonder in despair if you’re wasting your time. You’re not alone.

A common mistake in small business marketing
Measuring traditional marketing strategies isn’t always easy. Let’s use an example. Say you’re a small furniture dealer and you want to boost your sales so you place an ad in the local paper to get customers in the door. That’s great. Nothing wrong there but short of questioning each visitor, how would you know what brought them to your store? Maybe a couple bring in the ad and a few more have come from the coffee shop and decided to browse and others are specifically looking for antique furniture. How successful was your newspaper ad? Was it worth the cost? The cycle is incomplete.

Pre-planning the marketing mix to measure success
What if you did a little basic market research and found out where furniture collectors like to browse? Being collectors, this group would naturally be sought for general furniture advice by peers. What if you went to their browsing grounds, approached them and got a special interest group going once a month and invited these “experts” for discussions, tea & cake? Not only would you gain insight into what they’d like to see in your store (further valuable market research) but if you offered two pieces of cake to any who refer shoppers to you, they’d get you some good leads.

Assuming the cake’s really very good, you have a captive audience and one that’s likely to develop some loyalty to your shop (successful marketing strategies are coupled with relationship-building). We know how word-of-mouth spreads and soon you have quality leads walking into your shop – shoppers who are seriously looking to purchase – and you know how they got there because cake-loving expert, Bob, made sure the shopper tells you he referred them. Your bottom line improves. Bob grows a little thicker around the middle. Browsers see how busy and successful your shop is and they tell friends… See how it works? Then measure your referral sales to the cost of the cake & monthly meetings to evaluate the effort.

Top rules for Marketing strategies:
1. Know who your market is (e.g. serious furniture shoppers)
2. Use a creative approach that’ll attract attention (collectors group & word-of-mouth)
3. Tie the links together (Bob’s happy, customers are happy to find you, you’re happy)
4. Measure the campaign’s success (cost vs revenue)
5. Keep at it – or tweak where necessary – and then keep at it some more

It’s a process
Don’t forget that good marketing strategies’ results mostly aren’t instant. They need to be carefully thought out, executed, adjusted if need be and then measured. If you have measuring tools in place, you’ll have learned a valuable lesson and be able to fine-tune your next effort.

I mentioned “traditional” marketing strategies earlier. Of course if you’re using online methods to advertise and promote your business, the tools are infinitely easier to implement but some small businesses don’t (yet) lend themselves to online efforts.

Regardless of the activities you invest in, without measuring, you won’t know how far you still have to go and moving onwards and upwards requires perseverance with direction.

Think on it: Sometimes the only way to know whether something works is to just try it.

Happy Measuring!