Where Do I Begin? How to Create a Marketing Mix That Works for Your Brand
April 8, 2020 | Education
While there are numerous tactics entrepreneurs can tap into to market their products, not all will be right for your brand. To determine the right marketing mix, begin by thinking about the “Four Cs”, consumer, cost, convenience, and communication.
Begin with an understanding of your consumer: Who is she? What need does your product fill in her life? Go beyond demographics like age and gender and consider psychographics, such as attitude, lifestyle, and aspirations of your target consumer. This will help to determine how and where you reach them and what message you send.
What’s the value of your product to the consumer? Consider both the monetary value and the time and energy one has to expend to acquire it. Is this a luxury product or a commodity… or somewhere in between?
Where will your product be sold? Is it a direct-to-consumer item or widely available on-shelf? Where will you drive consumers to purchase and make it easy for them to acquire it?
How will you communicate with consumers? How can you create that two-way dialogue that’s so important for brands and consumers to feel connected?
What’s Essential? What’s a Plus-Up?
Now that you’ve answered those questions, you should have a good idea who your target consumer is, the value they place on your product, how and where they’ll acquire it, and how you will speak both to-and-with them. This will help to determine what marketing channels you’ll need to develop to achieve your goals. Here, we’ve outlined the essential marketing strategies for emerging brands and the plus up tactics to consider as your brand gets to the next stages of growth.
If you’re selling direct-to-consumer (and who’s not these days?) you need to have a platform. Do your research and find the best online store for your brand – Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, Squarespace, and others all offer secure platforms for growing businesses.
When designing your website, make sure that you think through the consumer experience. Your site should be optimized for mobile and easy to navigate, have clear copy and adequate product information (check for grammar, spelling, and punctuation), and high-quality photography.
Pro Tip! Reviews are important – they build trust, provide shoppers with more information, increase conversions, and also offer insight into issues with current products and future product development.
SEO Optimization – If consumers can’t find your website, they can’t buy your product. So, it’s essential that your site is optimized for search. Even if you’re working with a web developer to build your site, it’s worth the money to invest in a SEO specialist during the build to ensure its fully optimized for search. While it may initially cost a bit more, you’ll gain much more in terms of traffic and result in higher sales in the long-term.
Content and Email Marketing – Developing strong website content helps to drive more traffic to your site. Consider what type of content would be most relevant to your target consumer and sharable in the larger context of your digital marketing efforts, such as email marketing. Sharing the content in email campaigns (without spamming your subscribers) builds the relationship over time.
Social Media – It goes without saying that a solid social presence is critical. But trying to have a regular presence on every platform can be overwhelming, especially when you have so many other things to do. Identify the platforms critical to your brand and start to develop a regular post cadence on those sites. Develop content topic pillars, invest in high-quality photos, and use tools to schedule your posts (such as Hoot Suite, Later, or Sprout Social) so you won’t be scrambling to put together content at the last minute. It’s also essential to engage your audience. Ask questions and interact with them, thank followers for their comments and show them that there’s a real person behind the brand. This goes a long way in creating that two-way dialogue that’s so important for growing brands. Invest in some targeted paid social advertising – this will help to grow your presence and be discovered by new brand fans. Leverage shoppable social tactics like shoppable posts and stories that allow consumers to purchase directly on social. Finally, look at your analytics to understand what’s working…and what’s not, best times for posting, and how you’re acquiring new followers. Need more social tips? Check out this article.
Experiential – Brand experiences allow consumers to see, touch, taste, smell and otherwise immerse themselves in your brand. This allows them to make a genuine emotional connection and understand the value your brand offers. It doesn’t have to be a fancy mobile tour, the brand experience can be as simple as a sampling opportunity at a local market or participating in a pop-up and is a proven way to engage consumers in a face-to-face dialogue with your brand.
Influencer – While working with a Kardashian could propel your brand into an overnight success, those opportunities are both rare and costly. However, that doesn’t mean that working with influencers is out of the question. There are lots of ways to build awareness for your brand through other people’s audiences. For example, identify influencers who may already be talking about your brand and send them a direct message thanking them. Since they are already brand-fans, it will be easier to build a long-term brand ambassador relationship and the authenticity is already built-in. Also, micro and nano influencers with smaller, niche audiences will often review products for free. While there’s still a cost (product + shipping) associated, these influencers are often grateful for the opportunity and have been proven to drive more engagement and sales around brands. Finally, partner with like-minded brands for giveaways to introduce your brand to their audience. Be sure to ensure that any influencers you are working with are following disclosure guidelines, tagging properly, and using your preferred hashtags.
The Plus Ups
Public Relations – While you’ll certainly want to engage in some PR by reaching out to media and colleagues on your own, you might want to wait to hire a PR agency until you have a bit of momentum. Why not hire someone right out of the gate? Here are a few reasons. First, it’s expensive to hire a good PR person with the right connections to reach your target audience. While you might think you know who your consumer is, you might find that the people buying your products are entirely different than who you had imagined. Second, do you have time to manage your agency? PR is not “set it and forget it”, founders should be actively involved to ensure you’re getting the ROI you expect. Finally, beyond “we want people to know about our product” you’ll want to get really granular with what you’re trying to achieve. Make sure you have very clear and realistic goals in mind before you proceed.
Shopper – Shopper tactics such as end caps, coupons, and shelf-talkers are later-stage marketing investments with big price tags.
3rd Party E-Commerce – Amazon and other third-party e-commerce partners can be tricky. While many brands have had success on those platforms, there are several things to consider before jumping in. Do your homework and understand both the advantages and risks for brands like yours before committing to them.
Now that you’ve determined what you need to do, you have to figure out how to pay for it. A general rule of thumb for small businesses is somewhere between 3-7% of your profits should be earmarked for marketing purposes. Of course, that all depends on how much you can do yourself and how much you are outsourcing, your growth stage, and a myriad of other factors. Whatever your level of investment, the important thing is that you understand your options and how to get started.
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