I consider marketing the foremost responsibility of the Entrepreneur. Any business without good marketing will not survive. Truth is marketing is more important than any other business activity. Companies with clever marketing and less superior products have been known to survive more that companies with great products but poor marketing. The reality is that marketing drives sales which creates revenue and profitability and ultimately can impact on developing better products and innovation.
Marketing is however constantly evolving and at Webstrat we like to stay in the forefront on innovative trends that help enhance growth for companies. I will like to discuss 4 of such key transforming changes in the market place.
Content and Commerce are becoming Integrated Marketing Strategy: In previous times, businesses focussed on selling and selling and selling. You arrived at a shop and the sales people simply wanted to sell to you. It did not matter if you did not need the products or they did not suit your purpose;’ the foremost objective was to sell. When websites came on the scene, the became online showrooms. Products were displayed in attractive colours sometimes even different from how they look in real life. My wife is a “career bargain hunter” who patronises deals and offer sites names of which I will not like to mention. Often she has seen some really cool gadget or product ordered them only to find they were not as great as it looked online. The selling culture has often meant that some companies are so compelled by the need to sell that they would do anything to make a sale even if in the long term their integrity is questioned. This selling culture clearly is one extreme.
The other extreme arrived years later when smart dotcom companies arrived on the scene offering everything and anything AT NO COST. Most of these businesses were built on faulty or non-existent business models without a clear monetisation strategy. They delivered on content but not on commerce. Today’s marketing is hinged on an appropriate balance between content and commerce; giving value to create products and services that your customers become used to. Trust is built in the process and it leads to long term profitability and higher customer lifetime value.
In terms of a good strategy, it is often best to start with creating valuable content that makes your website the “go to” site for your industry and gradually use the leverage of your readership to create commerce. Increasingly this is the strategy most companies are using. A great case study example of this is Thrillist which started as a blog of curated content.
Thrillist went from a revenue of $9M in 2009 to $100M in 2014 simply from evolving and creating that balance of Content and Commerce. That was a huge significant step for them as a company. The question is how you can create this balance of Content and Commerce within your business. Have you started at all?
Creating Engagement through Media is key: The word “engagement” in itself shows that there is an action and a reaction. The action is based on the marketing and the reaction is how customers react to your marketing. The number 1 challenge in today’s marketing world is the ability to get your customers to pay attention. We live in a busy world and every day, new products, services, solutions and ideas are being realised. It’s no longer an “information overload”, we are literally drowning in information and advertising messages. Depending on where you get your information from, it is believed that each individual is exposed to 3,000 to 5,000 commercial messages on a daily basis. So as a business owner and as someone responsible for your corporate organisation’s marketing, you will need to find innovative ways to stand out from the crowd of 5000 messages your target audience get to see each day.
The key to doing this is creating engagement through your message and effectively using media in creative ways. In your business consider the following:
Creating Customer Value Funnels; Key to Strategic Sales Growth: I have hardly come across anyone that proposed to a lady on their first date. Often many businesses make the mistake of asking for the sale on the first visit. Your sales approach should be aimed at creating free or low value sales that will hook your customer into getting some valuable product or content from you. This experience will cause them to trust you and move up your funnel until they begin to spend a lot with you. We call this a Funnel approach to creating Customers.
One way to start building and creating a funnel is by using the concept of Splintering which essentially is the art of breaking a big product into little bits and offering a small bit of that product as an offer. Some examples of splintering include:
I hope you get this concept. Using splintering in your business can remarkably change the way your customers view you.
The Commoditisation of Traffic: There was a time getting traffic to your website or product was a complete challenge and possibly nightmare. You simply had to have a lot of money or employ a lot of smart people; either way you could be spending a lot on a marketing budget. It’s becoming a major marketing shift to note that traffic is becoming a commodity that can be purchased at any time.
At the time of this article, I am running an online advertisement campaign on Facebook that I spend £5 daily on. This advert has generated an average of 5 new prospects to my offer every single day which is approximately £1 per prospect. Now in the past it would probably cost me a lot more than £1 to attract a prospect to my offer; this in itself is having a huge positive impact on marketing, however only people who know the trick to such advertising can benefit.
So in itself, traffic is not the issue but what you drive the traffic to. Conversion is the main issue. You need to understand the triggers that get people to buy and that ultimately results in sales.