This guest column is by Ambarish Gupta, Founder & CEO, Knowlarity Communications
We don’t need to tell you how important an effective marketing strategy is to the success of any business. Having the right product might be the first step, but what’s the point if you aren’t selling to the right people? In the pre-Internet era, marketing occupied a stable platform, with success depending mainly on the effectiveness of the message. After all, the mediums you could choose between were few, and yet you could reach out to most people. So as long as your message was spot-on, you were safe. Money was all that was needed – which kind of explains why the 20th century saw business dominated for decades by giant corporations
But things have changed since then: Even through some things remain the same (radio still occupies a hyper-local niche, print magazines might be declining but remain valuable for brand-building, while TV is great for making your brand stick in the consumer’s mind…), other factors have cropped up. Newer channels and a stratification of media demand a pinpoint, accurate strategy, minimal barriers to switching loyalties makes effective marketing even more vital, consumer attitudes have changed from thinking ‘product’ to thinking ‘platform’ or ‘brand relationship’, and agility of response often beats a sustained campaign in a world where trends are over even before they seem to start!
Given all this, it’s imperative that your marketing campaign be fine-tuned for maximum accuracy. ‘Build it, and they will come’ is long gone, replaced by ‘Build it and tell them about it, and they will come’, which has itself been supplanted by a market which demands what can only be described as a ‘see what they want, build it, take their feedback, correct your course, and then be their friend’ strategy. Here are some factors you might want to keep in mind while designing your own startup’s marketing campaign:
Startups and small businesses are not likely to be flush with funds. On the other hand, for most new enterprises, the priority is (and rightly so) quality people and quality product. With less money left for traditional forms of marketing, you need to fine-tune your message and the mediums you speak through. If your message is not even reaching the right audience, isn’t it a case of an opportunity squandered? Save your money, don’t go in for a ‘one size fits all’ campaign as that no longer works. Talk to each customer differently. Even if your product is aimed at distinct demographic groups, you need to tailor the message for each separately.
The Right Medium
To get personalization right, you need to adopt the right medium. Social media might be a preserve of the youth, TV and voice might have a broader spectrum, while web campaigns might be better for others. This is something your marketing teams should analyze before green-lighting any campaign. Are you trying to approach the youth but make no allowances for a social media campaign? Targeting high-net-worth individuals and yet ignoring the importance of niche print products? Play it right. See where your audience is to be found and be there.
The Right Message
Once the right medium is found, you also need to get the right message out. What do the youth want to hear? Everything, from the language used in your messaging to the design themes – matters. Today’s consumer is far more certain about his or her identity, and as people have always preferred to stick with a brand that is either aspirational or validates their self-belief in their identity, you need to do the same. Generic messages end up getting ignored, or worse, make your brand seem ‘distant’ and ‘impersonal’.
Analytics and RoI
As a brand trying to go in for a pinpoint strategy, you have a new weapon that makes this possible – analytics and improved research methodologies. Apart from this, new, technically focused mediums make it easy to quantify the return on your investment. Running online and social media campaigns? Use analytics to see what works. But even old-school campaigns can benefit by building in voice polls and SMS feedback systems into the analytics process.
Smaller businesses might lack the deep pockets for a ‘brilliant’ and ‘covering all the bases’ campaign, but as we mentioned, analytics helps you check whether you’re on the right path. Combine that with the agility of a startup – faster decisions, and in general, a readiness to take bold steps that a large corporation would shy away from – puts you at an advantage. Try out different channels, use established consumer behavior studies, put your own data under the lens of analytics, and you’ll be far better placed to ensure you’re in the right place, being seen by the right person.
Your established rivals might have the money to launch a comprehensive marketing campaign, but you can go one better by using your agility along with today’s technical tools to build a far more efficient – and effective – campaign that is actually heard by the target audience.
Disclaimer: This is a guest post. The statements, opinions and data contained in these publications are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of iamwire and the editor(s).
Image Credit: Myemma