Traditionally marketing was more about being able to generate quick profits. Now the view has changed and organizations have realized the importance of marketing as a long term goal and retaining customers. They understand that it is necessary to think beyond revenues and to get their customers involved with their business, to interact with them and keep them engaged so that they keep coming back to them and the organizations build their business and reputation. “Marketing is about creating the future” – this line was used to summarize the proceedings of one of the conferences of Chartered Institute of Marketing, and it accurately sums up the whole point of marketing.
One such example of a company that had to rethink its workings around marketing is IBM. In the 1980s IBM was more focused about increasing the company profits. However, not much later their survival was at stake because they had not thought about their long term revenues. They ended up focusing upon coming up with marketing plans and strategies that would promote their products and market their company in the long term. The result was a 50% revenue growth in Smarter Planet projects year-on-year between 2010 and 2011.
This example is a perfect illustration of the importance of long term marketing and every organization should allocate a set budget for the purpose and make sure that it is being complied with. Some of the ways that organizations can market themselves include the following.
Advertising, Promotion, Packaging and Branding
Advertising is of two types: informational which provides potential customers information regarding the business’s products and services; and persuasive which aims at trying to engage potential customers by using various ways to persuade them to use their product/service, for instance by showing a celebrity endorsing their product. Think of travel packages, they usually go with a host of lines describing the locations that would appeal to tourists and adventurers. This is how the promotion of the business and its products/services is done; that is, by communicating with customers.
Packaging is about attracting customers by using eye-catching and engaging packaging for the business’s products. Branding is equally important as well because it leads to the creation of a unique name and image for a product in a consumer’s mind. In view, Branding can come through the concept of a product. There are multiple cases when businesses prefer stories to create the persona of their brand, but there are also examples when businesses choose to create a unique physical combination for their product. Material selection, color coordination can go a long way in determining what a brand is setting itself out to be. This is done through advertising and promotion. Through branding a company is able to build up its personality. The best way to build up a brand is by first researching about the market and find out what the customers’ preferences and tastes are and what they relate to. For example, Coca Cola launched its Share a Coke campaign that proved to be extremely successful, the reason being that the company got on first name basis with the consumers.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is one of the online marketing techniques used widely. A time consuming, yet important strategy, SEO is necessary to prepare and optimize a website for search engines. A huge majority of customers tend to search the internet for reviews about a product or service before actually purchasing it, or simply to find information they need. They use keywords for this purpose and the organizations need to know their audience and optimize a site according to the possible keywords that the potential customers may use. SEO leads to long term revenue generation and it is an ongoing process but it is worth it.
Fresh Content and Communication
Continuous fresh content leads to long-term quality traffic. Such content can include newsletters, tips or blog posts. An organization should post fresh content and do it regularly to encourage and attract visitors to their website while archived content would prove to be a valuable information source. Providing relevant tutorials could also prove to be engaging and attract visitors.
Newsjacking comes under content as well. The content being posted by a company needs to be relevant and timely. The content creators need to stay up to date with the happenings in the world and appropriately and relevantly come up with witty and interesting content in accordance with that.However, care must be taken not to make a joke of sensitive issues or basically post content that could possibly offend the public.Organizations regularly indulge in newsjacking and get a great response, the reason being that they connect the news with their brands and the customers can relate to it. For example, check out this very relevant newsjacking by Tide:
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing is extremely important if an organization wishes to create and expand its presence in the social network. Organizations can directly connect with their customers through social media and this helps in building up their brand and identity in the long term, besides being able to retain customers. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn and Google+ are only some of the social media platforms that organizations can use to engage with their customers. These platforms can be used to ask and answer questions, basically interact with the public. However, just being present on social media is not enough and neither does it help the organization; the important thing is to actually use and engage in it.
Tribal marketing is a strategy through which an organization creates groups round their product or service. Through such products the consumers, while getting good value for money, are also able to connect to others like them. This kind of marketing helps with strengthening links with the consumers besides exploring their emotional side. An example is that of Apple who has built a very hardcore fan base of its products. Accurately indulging in this kind of marketing can make an organization build its base and name over a period of time.