So you found your footing but couldn’t find your path?
Maybe it’s time to take a look at your marketing.
Finding the right market for the business is a tough enough job on its own but knowing how to hold that market can be very tricky if one does not follow the right marketing strategy.
So how does one know what the right mix of marketing is for them?
Let’s find out!
But before we decide on that, we ought to know more about marketing itself.
What is marketing?
Unlike what most people believe, marketing is not just restricted to advertising your products to the public. Marketing is much more of a bigger term than that and while advertising is a part of marketing, one may argue that is not the most important one. Due to this misunderstanding and the lack of information, companies make the mistake of putting most of their efforts in one area i.e. advertising. Thus the need for proper knowledge over the topic arises.
Marketing is the process that connects a company with its consumers through the process of advertising, selling and delivering the products to consumers or other businesses. It creates a bridge between the consumers and the company and strives to promote the products offered by the company.
Without marketing, a company would find themselves clueless about their target audience and how to approach them. Marketing allows the company to reach out, inform, and attract the consumers towards the product through various ways like promotion, etc.
It helps an organization to understand the needs of their target audience and gives them a chance to create the right product for the consumers. And since people are spontaneous, a market can become unpredictable and complex leaving the organizations to claw their way back to grow and expand. The companies who cannot adopt and adapt often fade out to the oblivion and are forgotten by people; while the companies who were prepared for the upcoming change are able to ride the wave of success.
Hence a correct marketing strategy can make or break a company’s growth and revenue.
Marketing as a process involves undertaking the steps that will attract a customer and build a relationship of trust and loyalty with them. Finding the right way of communicating the interests of the company with that of the consumers is of utmost importance. The job of marketing is to generate an interest among the people and then convert those leads into profits.
In layman terms marketing is nothing but the process of finding the right match between the company’s products or services and its consumers. Finding the right demographic to pitch the product, creating the right strategy to pique their interest and then following up with the promised product rest at the core of marketing. But it does not end simply at the sale of the product. Marketing goes well and beyond the sale. Following up with emails and other forms to stay connected with the consumer and analyze their valuable feedback and experience is just as important, if not more.
To understand marketing properly, one must be introduced to the 4 Ps of the marketing world.
The first and foremost thing to focus as a business is the product that you wish to create. Imagination is important but adhering to the needs of the targeted audience is paramount. A business ought to know about the requirements of their consumers and create their products accordingly. In today’s world where competition is not only threatening but also a source of inspiration for the companies, one must know their consumers and competition well enough to create a product that can not only satisfy the needs of the consumers but give the company a competitive edge over the other products of the same category.
There are several ways to know the preferences of your consumers such as through questionnaires, feedback on samples, etc. the main motive is to understand the complex nature of the consumer’s needs.
Often companies do not understand that the price shall not only cover the cost and provide profit but should also be justified in respect to the company’s position in the market. New companies who do not enjoy much power in the market can find it hard to acquire a loyal customer base. Therefore the company is required to lure the customers with some sort of incentive and what is better than a reduced price. Money is the biggest incentive there is and people often flock towards the less price and that is where companies get their opportunity to capture the market. If the product is good and worth it, consumers see it for its qualities and are willing to pay more later on.
There are several companies which started on the bottom and are now on the top of the game, had to resort to low prices and free samples in order to get in the market and once they had occupied their share, they went full throttle and maximized every opportunity that was presented to them.
Place refers to the place of sale/ distribution of the product by the company for its consumers. These places can be outdoor stores with the best products lined up to attract the customers. Keeping in regard the shifting market and public interaction, internet is no more just a source of entertainment and communication but has evolved into a big market over the years. Companies have recognized this opportunity and started to enlist their products on various shopping sites and some have even created their own network to maximize their profits.
A young business shall decide carefully the percentage of products to be sold through online networks and through physical outlets. What product should be made available for the public on one click and what product should be kept for the outlets exclusively? These are some of the questions that a business must have answers to before diving in the world of international business and marketing clears the path for the same.
This is where the company launches the product to the general public. They present their hard work to consumers in various forms and ways. Promotion is not only done for a new product although; sometimes, an old product can achieve new heights if it is promoted correctly. Companies often promote their old products but with some changes or added perks.
Promotion includes advertising, selling, public relations, sponsorship, etc.
Promotion strategies and activities differ as per the product stage. A young and new product for example, will require extensive promotion at various places. While a product that has seen its fair share in the market will require innovative promotion. Sponsorship is useful in order to boost the sales of some particular product and even to elevate the image of the company in the eyes of the public.
Hence, promotion is important on every stage of the product and plays a different role throughout.
Now since we are familiar with the essential elements of marketing, let’s dig a little deeper as to why companies, specifically startups often fail to recognize marketing as the important tool that it is.
Start ups are the companies who have recently been founded. They are fairly new to the world of business and focus on product maximization. Since these businesses are new and often led by young individuals, the surge of motivation and energy runs pretty high here. But the same cannot be said for the funds that are available to them.
Funds are hard to come by and ensuring the full utilization of the funds that the startups do get, is the greatest task for them. They look to minimize their cost and eliminate unnecessary or unpromising activities from the company’s processes and often that includes marketing.
Marketing, even the word itself gives quite a flamboyant vibe. It seems that the process will be expensive, just by reading the word. This is the conception that people have, that marketing is an expensive process and any company looking to cut down on their expenses would find it excusable to strike off marketing from the company’s books.
This contributes to the stagnant growth of the business and the money that was ‘saved’ by omitting marketing fails to bear any fruit. In the attempt to cut down expenses, companies cut down on their future greatness as well. Marketing creates new opportunities; it gives a platform to the business and that too at a justified cost, unlike the popular belief.
Effective marketing can do wonders for a business in this dog eats dog world, if the company just wishes it to. It is the job of the planners of the company to come with the right mix of marketing strategies which will suit the nature of its products and at a price that is acceptable and sustainable.
Following are some effective strategies suitable for startups aiming to make an impact on the society:
Social media marketing
An individual spend 2/3rd of their free time on the social media sites such as Instagram, twitter, Facebook, etc. These platforms take up a major part of their life and a business must have a social presence in order to survive the digital age. Now, we know that it is not an easy task to keep with the current trends and find new exciting ways to stay relevant in the eyes of your audience but there are people out there who specialize in creating the brand of a business over these networking sites.
If the company does not require external help, then one way to expand and find new customer base is to sponsor the social media influencers. These are people who are popular on the internet and have thousands of followers. They promote the desired product on their channel, page or videos. This often leads to an increase in the sales as the followers of the influencer come to know about the product and specifications.
Apart from promoting the product in various manners, a company needs to have an interactive social presence with its consumers. The outlook of the company should be intriguing and interesting in order to create interest among the people.
Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization refers to creating content for the company keeping in mind a few keywords that will most probably divert more traffic to the company’s site. SEO is a technical but simple enough process where a Google algorithm finds the key words and the articles by the competitor who has used the same key words. In short, it analyses the search pattern of the people and generate the words which are most often used in the search engine with respect to the level of competition that surrounds those keywords.
Constituting these words in the content that is created for the company can help a business to earn gigantic profits over the years. Keywords transfers more traffic (readers) to the company’s articles, giving it more exposure and it also entertains the possibility of re-clicks on the article.
The content written for the business shall be of high quality and something that can reflect the company’s views without compromising its position in the market. The use of keywords ought to be smart and in tone with the rest of the article. The words should stand out because of their impact and not because of their awkward and unnecessary placement in the text.
Some individuals at a startup prefer to the writing themselves but it is better to let proper writers handle the task as they are more equipped to deliver the quality content that is required and at regular intervals.
Social media isn’t the only way to reach and connect with people. Email remains a worthy contributor to the social interactions on a more professional level. Email marketing refers to the act of promoting some product or service offered by a company via email. This email consists of catchy lines, attractive product features as well as product images and an added push for the consumer, in order to generate leads.
Email is one of the most cost effective manners of marketing. It does not require much effort; it can be sent to multiple people at once and does not even cost much in terms of time. Also, the corporate world revolves around emails and formal forms of communication, providing the company with a huge market to enter into.
There is a popular saying that no press is bad press but it is often not the case when it comes to companies and products. A good press can create a major difference for the company whereas some bad press holds the power to destroy the very conception of the company. New channels features and press releases help a company to regulate its social image.
People read/ watch news regularly and a feature on the news channels for the right reasons can make the life a bit easier for everyone. News channels deals in exchange of information and trust. Hence, the possibility of finding new consumers is not that of a far-fetched idea.
Whereas press releases from the company can keep the flow of information that is being given to the public, in check. The company invites over representatives of the major new channels and makes some announcement or releases some statement in public. The reporters ask company representatives some questions regarding the announcement, product or some current information circulating in the market.
It is a great way to advertise without paying a hefty fee for the advertisement on a news channel.
Word of mouth (referrals)
Word of mouth or referrals refers to the type of advertising which is done through the current consumers. The consumers inform people that they know about the company or/and its product, followed by a description of their experience. This is the most reliable source of advertisement and also is one of the oldest forms of promoting.
The cost of this form of marketing is close to negligence and the consumer does it voluntarily. This is arguably the fastest way of finding new consumers. It increases the market share while keeping a firm hold on their original market share.
A quick feedback on the product shared by the consumer is appreciated and improvements are made in the product if it makes the product better than before.
These methods of marketing are not the only ways and won’t ever be just enough or just right for every kind of business. The key to find the correct marketing strategy is to assess the company and its market without any prejudice or inhibitions. Proper analysis will give the company a direction to steer into and choose the right marketing strategies.
Yes, it is a cumbersome job and takes up quite a bit of time as well. But the benefits of a correct and effective marketing strategy can unfold many surprises over the course of business. Especially for startups, marketing ought not to be the tool to ignore because of its cost and complexity but rather a marvelous source of inspiration and dedication.