Why Marketing is the key to a sustainable business.

One of the questions we get asked the most often is why marketing should be a priority within a business. The simple answer: it is key to sustaining your business.

Often marketing is an afterthought or something pushed to the “too hard” basket. But what if marketing was not as difficult as you imagine? What if new knowledge and tools could transform your perceptions which were previously based on under-performing marketing activities of the past?

Perhaps you are so busy meeting the needs of current clients you don’t have time to think about the future. We understand the pressure of keeping up with the tide, but every business, big and small, seasonal or consistent, needs to invest in a marketing plan to secure its future.

A marketing plan can help you position your brand, products, and services so that your target market sees your business as different from, or even better than the competition. It will direct your efforts to reach your target audiences, including the messages, channels, and tools that you will use.

When you consider your short and long terms business strategies, there are many that rely on a marketing component. Whether it’s meeting quarterly sales targets, product development or capturing greater market share or getting a foothold in new markets.

One of the key elements of a successful marketing plan is getting to know your target markets and understanding how your product or service meets their needs.

The customer’s experience

Recent research showed that 80% of business decision-makers said improving their company’s customer experience was among their top priorities in 2019. So was increasing customer loyalty (81%).

This can be achieved through a combination of data and creativity. But what is meant by a “data-driven” approach? To put it simply, it means that you develop the internal systems that enable you to move at the same pace as your preferred customer – to be able to provide them with the right content, on the right channels, at the right time.

Many companies are focused on developing a “unified view” of their customers, which allows them to instantly report on all their customer touchpoints and views – including purchases, phone calls, email, chats, social media engagement, buying preferences, coupled with personal details.

We are in a world where the answer to almost any question is at our fingertips and where we can get products delivered to our home in less than a few hours. As a result, customers now expect highly contextualised and personalised experiences.

With experiential commerce on the rise, companies are shifting their focus from a single transaction to creating and managing experiences, and an ongoing relationship with their customers.

That has, after all, always been one of the key tenets of good marketing – to maintain long-lasting and ever-present relationships with your audience.

To think about it another way, in the not-too-distant past, marketing efforts were often based on the concept of the sales funnel, where you aim to get the customer to the point of purchase or decision. But the evolution of the funnel approach has been to place the customer at the centre of the experience, not the sale. This introduces the all-important element, customer service.

By placing emphasis on service and investing in this aspect of your business, you will not only exceed your customer’s expectations but engender loyalty and empower them to promote your business to others.

And this all comes out in the facts; research shows that 75% of people don’t believe adverts, yet 90% trust suggestions from family and friends and 70% trust consumer reviews.

The content component

Creating a strategy for ongoing relationships requires the skills of being able to capture and analyse the right data as well as the creativity to enhance the customer journey and engender loyalty.

Creating the right content is another creative piece in the puzzle.

In other words, data can identify pathways to the right customer at the right time and the content is what you deliver to them.

Content is important to marketers for a number of reasons. Firstly, it can assist in search engine optimisation and in gaining a high ranking in Google searches.

But also, around 47% of buyers view three to five pieces of content prior to engaging with a sales rep, and 70% of people say they’d rather learn about new products through content over traditional advertising.

The type of content you provide to your audiences will depend on what is likely to resonate with them most. Some common types of content include websites, blogs or thought leadership pieces, videos, social media content, magazines/newsletters, and native content.

The most important thing to remember with content marketing is to capture and focus on what is important to your target audience and produce content about that.

For instance, activewear brand Lorna Jane’s online platform – www.movenourishbelieve.com – provides content on wellness and nutrition that is compelling for women in their target markets. There is a link to shop for Lorna Jane products but its not the central offering of the website.

In recent years, video content has increased in effectiveness and popularity. Part of the video boom online has been due to the greater availability of technology that enables video creation at a lower cost. More than 50% of consumers now say they want to see video content more than any other type of content from brands.

Native content has also grown in popularity, which is paid content on third-party websites that is designed to blend in with the host platform. These pieces of content generally attract greater engagement than traditional placements like banner ads.

For example, The Guardian online news service in Australia has created a twin website to carry its native content, known as Guardian Labs – www.theguardian.com/guardian-labs-australia. The presentation of the content makes clear how the content has been commissioned and produced, and who has funded it, but the style is that of The Guardian.

Working with different mediums and content is a primary way to succeed in your marketing efforts, by getting to know better your audiences and understanding how your product or service can meet their needs.

At the end of the day, a concentrated and focused effort on a marketing strategy for your business is going to be the key for not only maintaining the clientele/work you currently have but also growing your business into a flourishing and trusted name in your industry.