By Andrew Pinto, Head of Marketing (Mudah.my)
Let’s Start Off with Definitions
Marketing usually refers to activities companies make to promote the buying and/or selling of a product or service. Means of accomplishing this include branding, advertising, public relations, selling, and delivering products to consumers or other businesses.
This can be simplified down to what is known as the “4 P’s” – Product (the goods or services), the Price (what the consumer pays), the Place (the location or distribution channels), and Promotion (the communication).
The main goal of marketing is to create preference for the company’s product or services, which would then ideally lead to sales.
One of the main tools of marketing is Branding. Branding, by definition, is to create a “logo” (name, symbol and design) that is easily identifiable as belonging to the company. Branding works of three levels, 1.) identifies the owner of a product or service, 2.) distinguishes it from competitors’ products and services and 3.) helps build a position in the minds of consumers or users.
Ponder on any brand you’re familiar with. What comes to mind? Is there a mental conjuring of attributes (including emotional ones) to that said company or brand? Branding is not only a foundation but it’s where trust and loyalty can be instilled and when done right, can give your business a sustainable competitive advantage.
Develop a marketing strategy that drives business goals
Marketing is a combination of various subsets and as much as we’d like to find that one secret recipe to marketing success, it really boils down to identifying what your business goals and objectives are.
As marketing has many channels and methods, setting clear business goals will aid in guiding and planning the marketing strategy and allows the optimal marketing mix from above the line (TV, radio, print, billboards, etc.), below the line (point of sales materials, trade events, direct mail campaigns, sponsorships, etc) and through the line (digital and 360 degree marketing).
And since it’s clear that marketing initiatives aren’t just about attracting one-time customers, this is where Customer Relationship Management (CRM) comes into play. A CRM programme is something that will help with user retention through the likes of loyalty programs and tools such as EDMs, push notifications and other automated means of customer interaction and engagement.
Also, and this should come as no surprise, embrace social media! As of January 2019, about 78 percent of the Malaysian population were active social media users. Malaysia was ranked top five globally and highest in Southeast Asia for mobile social media penetration, according to Hootsuite and We Are Social in their 2019 Digital Report.
Use this as an advantage and be where your users are. With the rampant use and consumption of content on the various existing social media platforms, you now have more new channels of reaching out to people in the most effective and result-driven manner.
Be cautious and have a social media strategy though. Not all your users are on the same social media platform and you’d be surprised as to how diverse your audience demographics might be across the different platforms.
Build user trust
Creating impactful marketing campaigns is important, but what’s more important is the reach and frequency of which it is seen by your consumers. The longer your brand is visible in the market, the greater the number of people who know who you are and start to recognize your brand.
Once you have their attention, ensure that your brand values and proposition is clearly understood and your product or service delivers on what is promised.
By doing this you will meet the expectations of your users and in turn, build your brand’s reputation.
Build a suitable business
Retaining a relationship with users is essential to any business’ success. While businesses can offer tactical sales promotions or discounts, that can potentially bring in short term sales.
But a more effective and sustainable way is to bring in, attract and retain quality customers that will continue to use your product or service. Having these customers or users will help build brand advocates as they leave genuine and positive reviews and promote your business amongst their friends.
Sales promotions or discounts can create a short-term gain for your business, but repeat business is what will ensure your long-term sustainability.
When doing sales promotions or discounts, ensure that you do not compromise the quality of the product or service offered. Businesses often make the mistake of offering a sub-par promotional product or service when having a promotion. This will increase the immediate sales, sure, but will erode the brand value and diminish consumer trust.
Since reviews are one of the main resources of converting potential new customers, this could lead to undesired outcomes. Keep in mind the Pareto Principle (80/20 rule) which suggests that 80 percent of your company sales come from 20 percent of your customers. Growing the existing user base will be key to building a sustainable business.
It is vital that all marketing initiatives take into account meeting your customers’ expectations. This, in turn, will build and grow their trust for your brand and over time, the trust will potentially generate sales and support for your business.