This guest column is by Ambika Sharma,Founder & MD, Pulp Strategy Communications
Marketing for a startup has turned more precarious than ever in the present day scenarios. We have already discovered how certain startups have burned VC’s money on acquiring customers and hence, are today either out of business, or are hanging by their nails. With the investments drying up since the beginning of 2016, startups are required now to not only innovate but also come up with alternative means to marketing, once that are more generative and less capital-intensive.
After providing brands with a gamut of meaningful and engaging brand marketing solutions, we cannot help but over-emphasize on the importance of data and content for crafting the marketing strategy of a startup. While the data reveals what the customers are looking for, what is relevant for them, content helps you in providing them with what they want. Like two parallels, data and content carry reckoning potential to transform brand’s positioning, its image and perception.
Data is the intelligence on which the plans depend on. Here’s how it can be utilized in various steps of marketing strategy.
Leveraging Data for Defining Customers
By skilfully deploying data, you can answer three very important questions, essential for defining the customers. While profiling the audiences via different demographics is basic, startups should focus on classifying customers as per their interests. While devising the marketing strategy for the startup, it is important to know what the targeted audience likes. Different analytics specific to each platform shall provide the same information easily.
Secondly, it is also important to discover where the customers are found. If we look at digital marketing today, the social media isn’t limited to Facebook only. In fact, several specific websites, including Tumblr & Instagram have carved a niche for themselves, giving brands a deeper penetration in the digital circuits.
After discovering the interests of target audience and the platforms they frequent, next step is to discover the common grounds. Explore what they may have in common with your brand. For instance, as a startup, you may be manufacturing watches. However, the target audience seems to be interested in sports, food, and travel. Out of these, perhaps travel and sports can be explored for finding common grounds. Hence, figure out how the problem your startup is solving squares with the customer’s interests and the behaviour patterns?
Once you have discovered the same, come up with effective content, meant for your definitive audience. For instance, if your target audience happens to be of Gen-Y consumers, spending more time on Instagram, you might want to come up with visuals, picture-quotes, and other aesthetically appealing content, arresting the attention of users. Since there are only so many resources available for a startup, ideally you should only focus on a few platforms.
Competition Analysis & Strategy
It is pivotal for a startup to gauge the competitors and crack their marketing strategy. Oftentimes, with precise competition tracking, we explore several mediums that weren’t explored until now. With the right data, a startup can understand where their competition has been and the competitors are engaging with the users.
Furthermore, one can also analyze what exactly the competitors have done so far, what has worked in their favour and hasn’t. With this understanding, we examine the gap analysis, in addition to strengthening our background and gaining a better position to optimize the resources.
Analyzing Brand Engagement & Customer Relations
Customer loyalty and engagement seems to be at the core of any marketing initiative. With proper investigation of the data, brands can come to an understanding as to what customers really like and dislike about the brand. By deploying several software systems like CRM and ORM, we can figure out what the customers are really saying about the brand and how have they interacted with the brand thus far.
Following the analysis, specialized content can be created or curated, meant to address the pain points of the customers. If different customers have enquired about a particular aspect of the business, the same can be utilized to update the list of frequently asked questions, or create a blog post explaining the same.
Redefining the Entire Communication Strategy
Lastly, an evaluation is crucial for the success of the brand. Startups must ask themselves “how my content is doing?” The data from the analytics may reveal some crucial information. For instance, if you have produced content meant for sports fans and travel enthusiasts separately, you may discover that the sports section has garnered you more clicks and traffic than the travel section. However, another layer of data analysis may reveal that while the traffic on travel content pieces was relatively less, it contributed more towards the sales.
With the help of proper data, we can easily define a communication strategy that works for the brand in particular. Every brand is unique in its own respect, further making it essential for brands to have their own unique communication strategies. Analyzing the values, what is important for your brand, pitched against what is valuable for the customers, would contribute towards the evolution of the brand.
A/B testing is another means for gaining the required inputs from the customers, to redefine the communication strategy, differentiate what is working from what isn’t. We have utilized A/B testing typically for the emailers and the social media posts. The tests reveal the kind of communication that goes out and is successful with the targeted users. By maintaining and improving the same, brands get a better chance at driving more success from their marketing initiatives.
Also, by analyzing the responses on the kind of content pieces that has gone out, including the blog and social media posts, you are able to identify the ones that were able to connect with the users and win their trust. You would also have your own repertoire of advertisement that worked more adoption and the ones that contributed towards better engagement.
While as an entrepreneur, we all begin by following our intuition or going by our gut, we can make the entire process more systematic and intelligent, by analyzing the data. In fact, data would invariably let you know whether you were right in going with your gut or not. Use it as a feedback mechanism to check and train your intuition. By leveraging the potential of a data, and articulating content based on the same, we have a chance to optimize the resources available and achieve success with our communication strategies and marketing initiatives.
Image Credit: MarketingTech