Marketing is a much talked about concept that has many different branches and can often feel overwhelming to fully get your head around. Indeed there can be such an abundance of information when it comes to marketing your business, particularly online, that it can be hard to know where to start.
Therefore, in this article, we’re going to simplify the marketing in 3 simple steps.
These steps are:
However, before looking at these three active steps, we need to look at something more fundamental to marketing, which is your company’s positioning. Now, many people will consider their “position” to be branding, and that’s right, as branding is part of positioning, but positioning is more generally about how your target audience perceive you.
The way you position yourself determines how people will perceive you. Indeed, positioning could be described as “perception management”.
Let’s take this into the example of automobiles.
The way you perceive a BMW vs. a Skoda is different due to the fact the company has positioned their offering very differently – even though they both produce the same product, in broad terms.
The thing that differentiates BMW to Skoda is not so much the technologies and engineering feats, it’s more the positioning, as actually the engineering feats that BMW boast form part of their value proposition – which is all about positioning.
In this sense, whilst BMW and Skoda are both car manufacturers they are worlds apart in terms of their positioning, as they each appeal to a very different audience, that have very different values and desires in terms of what they are looking for from the end product.
BMW position themselves to produce fun, luxurious cars, that are all about quality and precision, targeting affluent people that want to make a statement of success with the car they own. Conversely, Skoda position themselves as affording cheap, reliable cars, that are practical and affordable for the average person.
The values of the audience are entirely different – and the brand and the audience values must match in order for there to be congruence.
Do you expect to get a better level of customer service if you’re paying £50k for a car rather than £5k, not necessarily, as good customer service is viewed as a prerequisite for all brand; but you might expect more little touches at a BMW garage, for instance, printed paper cups that are of a high quality with the BMW logo – emphasising the elite club you are now part of as a BMW owner… whereas, in a Skoda garage, it might be more congruent to just have a water cooler with generic plastic cups.
Essentially, the Skoda customer would still expect a decent customer experience – yet what they perceive to be “decent” in terms of their values is different. For instance, a BMW salesperson might be encouraged to emphasis the prestige of owning a BMW and to treat someone as “special”, whereas, in the Skoda dealership there might be an emphasis on value and treating someone in a warm and friendly way so that they feel comfortable and unpressured.
The point is, the way something is positioned dictates almost everything about your business; even down to what products and services you offer.
If Apple were to suddenly start selling laptops that were cheap and basic, it would not be congruent with their brand positioning. The reason they can charge over $1,000 for a phone is because their positioning is that of a premium leader in the market.
The key point, is that in your business, you are positioning yourself to a particular audience whether you realise it or not. Your price alone is a huge determining factor of positioning – if you are the “cheapest” then you are positioning yourself as the basic budget option rather than being “the best”.
In this sense, positioning must be congruent.
You must position yourself to meet the needs of a particular audience, and be congruent with your brand values, in terms of the products or services you offer, the prices you offer them at, and the ways in which you communicate with your audience.
Now, let’s take a look at the three steps to successful marketing:
It’s becoming increasingly difficult to capture people’s attention today, particularly online, which is why it pays to learn more about offline marketing efforts such as posters, leaflets, and buttons to build awareness of your business. In this sense, the first step is about creating awareness and capturing the attention of prospective customers. Once you have captured the attention of prospective customers the next step is to engage and connect with them.
It can be difficult to connect with potential customers or engage them in a meaningful conversation through a flyer or advert, which is why most companies connect with customers by providing value in one of two ways; they either offer value in the sense of providing information that can help them solve a specific problem they face (for instance content marketing through a blog or YouTube channel) or they provide value in the form of coupons, discounts, or free sessions.
Just like how you want to engage your employees you must make sure you engage your prospective customers by providing value to their lives.
For instance, let’s say you run a laptop repair company, you could post videos online about how to undertake simple repairs or what to do if your computer won’t turn on, for instance, offering DIY tips that position you as the expert, and invite them to use your service (now that trust and rapport has been established) – this way, offering them valuable advice first, and promoting your service second.
As described above, an important part of the process once you’ve captured their attention and connected with them by providing some form of value, you need to convert their interest in the “problem” or “solution” as an interest in you solving their problem with the product or service you offer.
In this sense, you must ask for the business and make it tempting for them to use your service. This is where limited time offers come in, as they encourage people to take immediate action whilst they are in the right mental state to buy.