In many ways, we are blessed in the modern world, with more ways to interact with our favourite products and services than ever before. Whether it’s online, on social media, or in more traditional print media, there are countless ways that marketing teams can sell you the benefits of their products and services. But from the other side – that of the marketing teams themselves – it can often seem an almost overwhelming choice. Where on earth do you begin to identify the best way to market your product, in a world of endless options? Well, here are my thoughts on an effective way to approach this challenge.
Begin by knowing your audience
In my experience, there is only one place to start your marketing journey. That, for me, has to be gaining an understanding of exactly what it is that makes your audience tick. Who are they? What do they actually need to make their lives better? This stage of identifying the best strategy for your marketing campaign is all about getting to know your potential customers better, and understand their motivations.
Why do we bother to do this? Well, because it helps us, as marketers, to identify what it is that we will need to say to them, and where best to say it. So, my advice is to hold workshops, conduct interviews and surveys, and do whatever it takes to get the full picture of your future customer base. Then start to develop some assumptions about them, test these ideas out on real people, learn from what works and what doesn’t and refine your approach accordingly.
Define your value proposition
What you’re trying to do at this stage is to identify the unique features of your business and then find a way of explaining how these benefit for your customer. This ‘value proposition’ is what sets you apart from the rest and will help you to define where and how you can best influence your customers through your marketing. Once you have a clear idea of the unique value proposition of your product, and what benefits it will bring to your customers, you’ll then need to work out what actual marketing you’re going to do, where you’re going to do it and when.
Know where, when and how to reach them
How? Well, thanks to all that initial background research that you did in the early stages, you will now also have a strong sense of who your potential customers are. You’ll have a good idea of how they like to consume content, where and how often. You’ll know if they prefer to read about products or services like yours in lengthy Sunday supplement magazine articles, or if they always buy their products on the recommendation of certain bloggers. You’ll know if they’re likely to follow you on Instagram or Twitter, or if instead your target market don’t really engage with marketing content via social media. All of this information will go into helping you to create your marketing strategy and will allow you to formulate a plan that will help you to reach your potential customers where and when they are at their most receptive.
Reflect and refine
For me, the key at this stage really is all about reflection and refinement. Once you start getting your marketing out there, out into the real world, how is it doing? How are your potential customers interacting with it, and are these interactions actually turning into solid business?
Online tools like Google Analytics make it simple to identify exactly how people are traveling through your website, or whether they’re clicking on those banner ads you’ve paid for, but of course it’s also a question of getting out there and continuing that process of getting to know your customers.
Now that you have some real data to work with, look at how they’re responding to your marketing in all its different channels and build those lessons into your ongoing marketing strategy. Build on the things that have worked and quickly learn from your mistakes in order to develop a strategy that ultimately reaches the right people, in the right place at the right time.