By Sajith Ansar
The current business landscape calls for a rethink of your marketing strategy. as CFOs tighten budgets and question marketing spends, CMOs still have to meet targets and ensure the organisation is continuing to grow. Sajith Ansar, founder and CEO at Idea Spice, a Dubai-based brand and design firm, advises on how to find new ways to create demand and interest in your product or service.
Marketeers are faced with the quandary of continuing efforts in increasing the visibility of their brand and occupying the fore front of their consumers’ minds while working with reduced marketing budgets. By reducing their marketing efforts, companies face the ongoing threat of losing market share or helplessly watching a new entrant capture the minds of their consumers immediately.
Given this scenario, marketing today thrives on a blend of innovation and imagination.
Here are 10 innovative methods that can help entrepreneurs market their business and connect with prospects without increasing marketing spend.
Word of mouth
“Do what you do so well, that people can’t resist telling others about you,” said Walt Disney.
Word of mouth is one of the most powerful mediums of marketing because it comes from happy customers.
The goal of the organisation should revolve around delivering a quality customer experience looking to surpass the client’s expectation by a mile.
A delighted customer will shout your name from rooftops. Mapping the customer experience step by step of the buying process and studying ways to leave them speechless at every interaction; ensures this.
Increase conversion rate
“If content is king, then conversion is queen,” said Jon Munsell, CEO of Bizzuka.
Time needs to be invested to relook at the complete process of client acquisition. What steps can be put in place to double the current conversion? If you are at 25 percent, can your big hairy audacious goal be 50 percent? Mapping the client’s decision process in detail and juxtaposing what you can do to influence the decision can help. Think out of the box, think funny, think values, think persuasion and go ahead and implement it immediately!
“Activate your fans, don’t just collect them like baseball cards,” said Jay Baer, an American marketing consultant.
Social media today has democratised marketing and client engagements. It means that the person with the best ideas and client engagement techniques wins and not the one with the biggest advertising spend.
Based on your demographic and target market, there is a right medium or a combination of social media platforms that can build bridges with consumers. Don’t forget social media is a double edged sword where customers will shout from the rooftops if they are unhappy and a company needs to have a clear and authentic method to combat and resolve issues immediately.
Existing and past clients
“Customer service should not be a department; it should be the entire company,” said Tony Hsieh, an American internet entrepreneur and venture capitalist.
Acquiring a new client is seven times more expensive than retaining an existing client. It’s even more important today to ensure that your existing clients stay forever. Calculate the lifetime value of a client to the company and then focus all efforts to retaining them. Every department should know the importance of an existing client and alarm bells should sound if you lose even one.
Get out of the office!
“The magic to a great meeting is all of the work that’s done beforehand,” said Bill Rusell, a marketing consultant.
The best way to increase conversion is to meet more clients. Increasing the number of clients you meet is directly proportional to the number of new client acquisitions. Plan meetings closer to each other so you can do more in a day. Create systems to reach out and meet prospects. All your marketing efforts should be engineered to connecting with your target clientele.
“If I was down to my last dollar, I would spend it on public relation,” said Bill Gates.
PR tells your story, this allows other people to speak about you. Having a clear strategy on what strengths and stories you want your consumer to hear is the first step. Listing which mediums you want to be heard in and what stories can enhance your expertise is the next step.
Engaging with a specialist company ensures a clear strategy and a consistent effort which is long term. Many companies make the mistake of expecting immediate results. PR is brand building over a long term and will not result in an immediate sale.
“If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door,” said Milton Berle, an American comedian and actor.
When the going gets tough, looking at markets which still have demand and a growing consumer base is a great idea. New markets which don’t have long flying hours, that don’t have much competition, have low set up costs and have potential demand for your product or service are good parameters for selection.
“The best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing,” said Tom Fishburne, a marketing cartoonist.
Connecting with potential customers and partners on an ongoing basis is critical to grow your influence as an entrepreneur. Join business networks, industry associations and conferences to grow your bandwidth of contacts.
Showcase industry expertise
“You must become an expert on a product, service or anything you write about to really be effective,” said Joseph Sugarman, author of Success Forces.
Speak at conferences, write articles, blog, lecture and position yourself and your organisation as an expert in your field. Become an influencer and a voice for your industry and this will convert to business eventually.
Reposition the brand
“It’s time to reset, rethink, reposition…,”sang Hunter Hayes, an American singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist.
A challenging business scenario is a good time to relook and rethink about your company. What your weaknesses and strengths are? Do you really have a USP or an edge over your competitors? This is the time to get better at what you do, improve and look within.
Sajith Ansar, Founder and CEO at Idea Spice.