The start of a new year is a time for reflection for many of us. In the words of john Lennon “another year over, a new one just begun”. This got us thinking at Xcite Digital. In the fast moving world of a digital marketing agency, are we sometimes in danger of throwing the baby out with the bathwater? Do we sometimes get so involved with the mechanics of digital marketing that we overlook the fundamentals of what marketing is all about?
So in this article we go back to basics and look at Effective Marketing.
Marketing – What and Why
Marketing has been around in different ways for many years. The term “marketing” first appeared in a dictionaries in the 16th century but earlier evidence of of advertising, branding, packaging and labelling has also been found. For example Umbricius Scaurus – a manufacturer of fish sauce in the 1st century in Pompeii – used Mosaic patterns in the atrium of his house to convey his personal brand and quality claims. His fish sauce subsequently gained the reputation of very high quality across the Mediterranean as far as modern France.
So let us never underestimate the power of effective marketing. It can make or break a brand.
Also, for readers studying marketing and with aspirations to make it your career of choice, allow yourself a few golden moments to dream. Imagine yourself lying down, the sun shining down on you. As you slowly open your eyes and look around, you realise that you are on a luxury yacht sailing round the Caribbean! If you make a success of marketing, this dream could become a reality!
The three effective marketing tools you need to know
So let’s look at three really Effective Marketing tools that Xcite Digital think offer the best chance of you achieving your goals. The tools for which the benefits outweigh the costs and with a bit of hard work could lead you to be hugely successful in all your business ventures.
- Understand what you are offering and know your competition
You need to have a complete understanding of what you are offering and also the confidence in what differentiates you from your competition. You also need to know that competition inside out: how many competitors are out there? Who are your main competition? How much do your competitors charge for your service? If a competitor markets their service better than you then you LOSE : it is as black and white as this.
- Know your target audience
When launching a new product or service you need to do your market research to ensure that it is a product or service that people actually want. So far so good. But then you need to find and target the people that are already looking for your product or service. If you do not know who these people are and can target your marketing effort on them it will lead to you marketing to a wider audience which is usually costly and ineffective.
- Define a goal
What do you want your marketing to achieve? Whether it is to gain greater exposure in the marketplace, getting your customers to understand your brand or product better, or simply driving in new sales … if you want to succeed then you must always define a goal!!
Three of the best marketing channels to use
When you are confident with the above three steps, it is then time to decide on the best marketing channels to deliver your goals in the most effective way. In the fast moving world of digital marketing there are new channels and opportunities developing all the time. For marketing truly to be effective, you need to ensure that the marketing channels you use are specific and appropriate to both the product and the target audience.
As a general rule try starting with the following three channels:
The most important marketing tool initially would be networking! Simply stated, this is about meeting people and building up relationships so that you can eventually convince them to use your product or service. There is still a lot of truth in the saying that people buy people, not their product. Whatever your product or service, always take the time to get out there and meet people. It’s mostly free, and incredibly powerful.
- Social media
Social media is a catch-all term for many different sites that can provide marketers with a range of different social actions. They include Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Reddit. Many of these sites are a great way of not only speaking to your target audience, but adding a great personal level of interaction that did not previously exist with mainstream marketing. You can use social media to discuss your product or service with consumers and they will respond honestly – which brings us back to knowing your target audience.
Not only is social media is a great tool for engaging with your audience, but also for keeping in constant contact with them so that they don’t have time to speak to your competitors!
Excitingly, over the last year, marketers have also gained the ability to track online conversions for campaigns on all the major social networks; and Snapchat joined Facebook in enabling brands also to track offline conversions. Being able to measure whether a social ad led to a purchase is an invaluable tool for marketers and enables you to know where to invest more marketing time and money.
- Search Marketing
The third and most effective form of marketing comes from search marketing. This is the process of gaining brand visibility – and increased web traffic – from search engines. The two main ways of doing this are SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and Paid Search. Let’s take a quick look at both of these now
SEO: Using SEO effectively enables you to increase traffic to your website. All major search engines – such as Google, Bing and Yahoo – have primary search results, where web pages are shown and ranked based on what the search engine considers most relevant to users. As you learn to use SEO effectively, you will find ways of ensuring that your product or service appears high in these search results when someone searches for a product or service just like yours. For example if someone types in “window frames” into Google and this is what you sell, then you want to be at the top of the search results because if you are it’s very likely you will be in front of a prospective customer.
Paid Search: This is where you pay money to have your advert appear on search engines. Your advert will appear within the sponsored listings of a search engine or a partner site. You will pay for the advert either each time your advert is clicked – this is PPC (Pay Per Click) – or whenever your advert is displayed – this is CPM (Cost Per Impression).
We hope that this has been a useful introduction to Effective Marketing and encourage you to remember and implement the advice and tools we have mentioned today.
Effective marketing is essential: if you get your marketing wrong then this will be the quickest way to throw away your money. So remember, understand your product or service, know your target audience, and define your goals.
We will run further articles on all of the above topics over the coming weeks and months so do check back in here regularly. We also welcome comments, feedback and requests for topics that you would like us to cover so do get in touch. Who knows, we may even end up mooring up our yachts together in the Caribbean!