Articles in The 'Marketing' Tag


February 3 2011

Marketing Success; Going Back To The Basics

by Tiffany Weimar

Attention marketers! Are you remembering the fundamentals of marketing? Whether you are in the business of selling physical products or services, going back to the basics helps us to build successful campaigns.  If you studied business in college, you may remember the term “Marketing Mix” or “The Four P’s” (Product, Price, Place & Promotion).  Applying the marketing mix to each campaign in our online efforts (though may seem comical to some) will help in crossing off “to-do’s” on our marketing checklists.

1) Product Decisions

There are many considerations that should be taken into account when it comes to your offerings.  Quality, styling, functionality, brand name, warranty, customer service, and packaging are just a few.  These decisions may seem obvious; however, you may not realize the considerable time required to formulate a successful campaign.  Product decisions need to be strategic from inception (in the creation of the product/service) to the fulfillment and services provided afterwards.  For instance, the quality and packaging of your product should strengthen your brand.  The warranty that you offer post sale should stand behind your brand as well.  Every product decision that is made should relate back to building a credible brand name that helps to grow and foster a loyal customer base.  How do you accomplish this online?

  • Disclose/promote warranties online
  • Be consistent with your brand in your product packaging and all online marketing efforts of it. Email designs, banner ads, paid search opportunities, and website design should all speak to how you would like your brand to appear.
  • Build credibility. Sell your services through building relationships (customer service, no pun intended, is still critical).

2)  Price Decisions
 
Everyone wants a deal.  Having a pricing strategy that identifies volume, wholesale and seasonal pricing is critical.  Will bundling help cut distribution costs?  What deals can your company afford and during what quarters or seasons should they be offered?  If you are an online retailer, seasonal sales are especially important.  Do you offer monthly/seasonal promotions that you are able to fulfill?  Speaking of fulfillment, are you looking into online deal sites like GottaHalfIt.com or Groupon.com? These companies can do wonders for your business, if you have the right pricing strategy that is!  If not well thought out, these online coupon deals can cost you tons of money (if you are unable to fulfill the orders due to high demand).  If you’d like additional insight on “Groupon-like” opportunities, check out our featured Newsletter Article.

3) Place Decisions

Place, better known as distribution, is the channel through which you will distribute your products/services.  How are you covering your market? How are you managing your inventory?  For e-Commerce, you must find the intricate balance between product inventory and sales.  Do you have enough supply to fulfill certain promotions (seasonal or Groupon-like campaigns)?  Do you drive your business decisions according to marketing initiatives or do you market according to business trends?  For example, do you increase inventory levels because you’d like to try a special offer like Groupon (marketing decision) or do you market/advertise or “push” certain products because your inventory levels are high?  This “push” or “pull” strategy leads us to the final “P” in the Marketing Mix.

4) Promotion Decisions
 
Promotion represents the communication strategy you create to formulate a positive customer response (lead generation, sales, etc..).  Your marketing budget, public relations, promotional strategy (push vs. pull), and sales promotions all fall under this category.  A mix of marketing communications in the online world is important. Remember that we are in a period of information overload.  Differentiating yourself through online marketing initiatives is important. Creating email promotions and advertising banners that are visually appealing and compelling will help increase your response (click-through rates, website traffic, and/or lead generation).  Here are some other online promotion suggestions:

  • Offer channel specific promotions for social media, mobile websites, and/or for a specific audience.  For instance, if you are speaking at an event, provide a special offer to that audience on your website.  This is a great way to generate more promising leads.
  • Be strategic about how often you send emails to your database.  A monthly newsletter and an additional database promotion can help individuals stay engaged without being inundated by “inbox overload”. Tracking responses to each initiative will help give insight into whether you should replicate a promotional effort in the future.

Measuring your marketing campaigns is helpful in driving future business/marketing decisions.  By incorporating analytics on each of your online marketing efforts, you will be able to see if a campaign fulfilled its purpose.  Calculating your cost per lead will give you a good idea of the success of each marketing initiative.  Lastly, remember that there is never a “one-size-fits-all” solution to marketing.  Because the online space is constantly evolving, marketers should be cognizant of new, old, and upcoming trends and adjust strategies accordingly.

 

January 11 2011

1.11.11: Celebrate This One Fine Day

by Tiffany Weimar

Marketers, it’s your time to shine! Days like today offer once in a lifetime marketing opportunities, literally.  Restaurants, hotels, casinos, beauty salons, and others are offering amazing discounts in celebration of January 11th, 2011.  Whether it’s Papa John’s offering 2 pizzas for $11.11, Atlantic City resorts offering 11 hotel rooms for $11.11, or salons giving manicures for $11.11, companies nationwide are using today as a chance to gain new customers while rewarding their current customer base. 

In the online space, expect to capitalize on discounts seen through emails and social media channels.  If you’re on Twitter or Facebook at 11:11 am or 1:11 pm, I’d look for some special offers as well.  Using social media to promote these offers are an awesome way to enhance brand awareness and interact with your constituents in real-time.  

Throughout the year, marketers are given unique opportunities to be creative.  Unfortunately, many marketers are so caught up in their day-to-day “To-Do’s” that they fail to think through taking advantage of upcoming inimitable events.

In the spirit of 1.11.11, I have formulated five online marketing ideas to capitalize on in the future.

  1. Dates! 1/11, 2/22, etc…  These are all great opportunities to offer exclusive daily promotions.  Be creative by playing off of the date exclusivity (Today, you will see 11% off, $1.11 for “x” product, etc…).
  2. Holiday Promotions.  This year, we saw some e-tailers take advantage of “The 12 Days of Christmas”, offering a different promotion each of the days leading up to Christmas.  Penetrating social media outlets on this offer made the marketing opportunity even better, as it encouraged consumers to continue following the companies each day.
  3. Weekly Offers.  In the online interactive marketing industry, some companies offer promotions on specific days.  For instance, “Mobile Mondays” was created by an agency to host a Monday Twitter Chat with the goal of giving expert advice on mobile advertising.   
  4. Black Friday.  This is every shopper’s dream (or nightmare!).  In 2010, “Cyber Monday” (the Monday after Black Friday) was a huge success.  Take advantage of this opportunity by creating special promotions for these two heavily anticipated sales’ days.
  5. Create unique promotions for each media outlet.  Having a mobile website offer or Facebook only discount promotes each marketing channel, ultimately applauding customer loyalty and encouraging recruitment of new followers/customers.   

 

August 12 2010

Do You Think Like A Customer?

by Jason Gorham

In our everyday life we are bombarded with multiple advertising and marketing messages that a lot of us just tune out.  So how does one take advantage of internet marketing techniques to reach your audience?  I think the answer is simple, put yourself in your customer’s shoes.  A lot of internet marketing professionals spend countless hours locked behind closed doors, thinking, planning and then executing on ideas that people really have no interest in.  The reason why is that they don’t consult, question, ask or engage their potential customers to find out what’s important to them.

As a consumer I need products and services everyday….gas, dry cleaning, power, job related information and the list goes on.  However some of these are necessities so we are going to exclude them.  The ones that aren’t need to have significant value to move through all of the online clutter.  That means that the marketer has to show me value in a very short amount of time in order to engage me.  For me, personally, I look for good content that is going to enhance my professional career, products that will simplify my life and services that aren’t hard to find.  So if your focus is on internet marketing, are you just focusing on your product or service and its benefits, whereas your focus should be on your customers pain points or benefits that they will receive from your product or services. 

Every company has great products and services, just ask them and they will tell you, but is this really the case?  If marketers would put consumer’s needs and wants first, instead of what the product or service can do, then companies would be able to increase sales, brand following and loyalty.  The goal is to make the connection with the customer for life, establish a relationship and solve their problems and needs.  However if your marketing includes how great you are, what new features you have implemented or what you have done for other customers, your missing your mark.     

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