Well+Played+Board+Game+Cafe+-+Grid+Lock+Traffic

That Time Our Giveaway Caused Downtown Gridlock Traffic

SIMPLE MARKETING TACTICS THAT TURNED A GIVEAWAY INTO A BONANZA

When the COVID-19 National Emergency was announced in mid-March, it was an obvious decision for Well Played Board Game Cafe to temporarily close their doors. Regardless, as their marketing agency we were still tasked to quickly come up with a plan of action to answer the daunting question: How do we maintain the momentum of awareness and engagement when our client is essentially out of business? All of our 2020 planning needed to be thrown out the window.

We dialed in on a revised communication and content strategy to best navigate our way through an unprecedented time, the best way we knew how. Ultimately, our goal was to focus on genuinely helping the community make the best of their time while under the #stayhome orders.

After conducting a thorough cleaning of their board game library (which I might add is quite impressive, being the largest board game library in North Carolina with over 650 games), staff identified close to 100 games that weren’t useful – either being duplicates or titles considered “NSFW.” The thought that came up was rather than letting the games collect dust in storage, why not give them to a good home? Especially at a point in history when people have extra time on their hands, and quite frankly, could probably use a little entertainment.

THE STRATEGY

We knew leading with a PR strategy would be the best way to get the word out as quickly as possible, while utilizing social media as a support mechanism. Keeping it simple, we whipped up and distributed a press release and created a Facebook event along with a few posts early Friday afternoon.

Later that evening, ABC News 13 (WLOS) picked up the press release with a featured article and published the story to their social accounts. Jason Sanford of Ashvegas also published the story and AVLToday followed suit the following Monday afternoon.

By Tuesday evening, our Facebook event had received more than 1,000 attendance responses – all without a single dollar spent on advertising.

THE RESULT

Even people who weren’t going to the giveaway became aware of the event and engaged across all social platform while (and after) it was happening.

In addition to the overwhelming turnout, we were also grateful to earn a 60 second spot on WLOS ABC13 Morning News:

Overall, the impact was significant and far reaching, from both marketing and philanthropic standpoints. By the numbers, our performance was remarkable:

  • 300 games & care packages donated
  • Total Potential Reach: 195K
    • WLOS – 89K
    • AVLToday – 78k
    • Ashvegas – 28K
  • 500% spike in website traffic
  • 300 new social media followers in 24 hours

However, in our opinion the greatest gain comes from doing something good for our community – the best marketing happens when business can impact peoples’ lives for the better.

At the end of the day, this is exactly the reason why we do what we do.

successful-pretty-businesswoman-writing-sticker-with-marker-thoughtful-confident-curly-female-manager-sharing-idea-project-making-note-brainstorming-business-training-concept

How To Develop A Content Strategy Plan

How to Develop a Content Strategy Plan for Your Small Business: A Start-to-Finish Guide

Content strategy involves a lot more than writing blogs and articles and posting them somewhere online. It takes more than just a grammar checker and some cursory research to create content that will help make your company more successful.

Instead, you need to develop a complete content strategy that addresses all aspects of what it takes for content to generate traffic and revenue for your business. We’ve created a brief start to finish guide so you can create a killer content strategy that will help your business flourish.

DEFINE YOUR GOALS

If you’re going to reach your goals, you will first need to understand exactly what your goals are. Before you begin any content strategy plan, you should always clearly define what you aim to achieve from your campaign. For example, if you’re a financial services company looking to get more people enquiring about a particular product, defining that goal will help you craft your content in a way that helps you to reach your desired objectives.

If you don’t clearly define your goals then you could easily find yourself aimlessly creating content without a specific purpose in mind. Clearly defining your goals will also make it easier for you to identify when your goals are not being achieved, and what you need to do to get your campaign headed in the right direction. With a goal clearly defined, you will know just what metrics you need to be following to see whether or not your campaign is going well.

DEFINE YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE

Whenever you are creating content, it’s important to keep your target in mind. In order to tailor your content to a particular audience, you first need to determine who the audience is:

  • Which age group does your audience belong to?
  • What are their income groups and their professional backgrounds?
  • What are their pain points, their objections, and what are their wants and needs?

All these questions and more are important in helping you define just who your audience is, and how to create content aimed at them.

Defining your audience will also help you to know which type of language you should use. Should it be fun and outgoing, or maybe more reserved and formal? Using the right words at the right time can make all the difference and help you push the right buttons and resonate with your audience.

DEFINE WHICH PROBLEMS YOU ARE SOLVING

Your content should be created with solving your potential customers’ problems in mind. To do this, you first need to define what their problems are. With your audiences’ problems defined, it is then easier for you to make sure your content gets the attention of people who may be interested in what you are selling.

Not only do you need to define which problems you’re solving but also how you’re solving them. You need to be able to explain to potential customers how you have the solution that makes their life easier. This gives you a focus on value selling that makes it a lot easier for your potential customers to see that your product is a good deal for them.

DO YOUR KEYWORD RESEARCH

You need to make sure your content reaches the right people, and this means keyword research. Find out what search terms your audience is using to find solutions to their problems. Not only will keyword research help ensure your content is seen, but it will also give you more insights into what your audience is looking for, and why.

Fortunately, keyword research is very easy to do, and free tools like Google Keyword Planner will allow you to see what people are looking for. These keywords will also help you create your search engine optimization (SEO) strategy as well as your other marketing strategies.

CHECK OUT THE COMPETITION

Have a look at what your competitors are doing.

  • What types of content are they creating that get a lot of traffic, and what hasn’t been so successful for them?
  • What keywords are they using?
  • Where and how are they advertising?

There is a wide selection of tools available that will give you insights into your competitors’ campaigns that could help you steer your own campaign.

Not only should you look at what they are doing, but also look for what they are not doing. You may be able to identify a gap that is open to be exploited, helping you fill that gap with little or no competition.

CHOOSE YOUR PUBLISHING CHANNELS

Decide where you are going to publish your content, and how people will find it. Two of the most likely options are SEO and pay-per-click (PPC). SEO can be very powerful at driving large volumes of high-quality traffic your way, but it can take months before you begin to see results. Can you wait that long?

Another option is PPC marketing, which can help you get results quickly, but it doesn’t have the longevity that SEO does. Which one works best for you depends on your requirements, and you could consider using both.

CREATE AN EDITORIAL CALENDAR

It’s important to make sure that your content is published at a consistent and steady pace. With this in mind, you should create an editorial calendar. An editorial calendar will help you plan out your content publishing in advance so you know you are publishing at the right rate and in the right places.

Even better – content publishing software is available that helps you schedule the automatic publication of your content at given times and over a variety of channels.

THE BOTTOM LINE

The above guide is just a brief outline of what it takes to create a winning content strategy, but it covers the basics that will help set you in the right direction. Remember that you need your content to be created with a purpose in mind, and it should be aimed toward the right people. Define who your audience is, what their problems are, and how your solution will solve their problems. Also, do your research into the competition and plan out how and when you are going to publish your content.

A well-planned content strategy could make a considerable positive difference to your bottom line, so it’s good to invest time and effort in getting yours just right.

Patton Avenue Pet Company

Patton Avenue Pet Company

Patton Avenue Pet Company

Google Search & Display Ads

Increased Retail Store Visitors by 57%

From 0 to Fully-Booked Self-Wash Tub Appointments

Increased Adoption Gift Bag Requests by 33%

PROJECT BACKGROUND

Multi-Location Retail Pet Store with Online Shop

Patton Avenue Pet Company is a hollistic pet supply store with three locations in Asheville, NC. They offer nutritionally appropriate foods for dogs, cats, and small animals, and price themselves in the extensive research taken to provide healthy options for all pets. Since 2011, Patton Avenue Pet Company sells food, gear, treats, and toys both online and in-store.  

Business Challenge: Patton Avenue Pet Company lacked the time to learn the technical search skills required to fully optimize their inbound website traffic. 

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Industry: Consumer Products

Category: Pet Food & Supplies

Company Size: 30+

Location: Asheville, NC, United States

PROJECT GOALS

Marketing & Business Objectives

pattonavepetco
smartphone

Online Sales

Support online sales from paid and organic sales channels.

web-traffic

Website Traffic

Expand paid channel reach to achieve revenue goals.

shopping-bag

In-Store Sales

Increase in-store sales to regain momentum of retail traffic.

megaphone(1)

Brand Awareness

Increase brand awareness with new and repeat customers.

THE SOLUTION:

After a Discovery & Strategic Planning Phase, Proecho Solutions collaborated with Patton Avenue Pet Company to better understand the current market and target audience. This led to optimized landing pages and more targeted Google Search and Display campaigns.

Google Search and Google Display Ads for Driving Sales

  • Patton Avenue Pet Company needed a strategy for using paid advertising channels to increase traffic to their website, specifically Google Display Ads and Google Search Ads

  • By integrating target keywords and utilizing copy that resonated with their target audience, Proecho Solutions deployed Search and Display ads to attract quality traffic generating nearly $152K in 2021, with a 3:1 Return on Ad Spend (ROAS)

     

  • Patton Avenue Pet Company also wanted to increase the amount of appointments for the Self-Wash dog washing stations at their Hendersonville Road location. When they started out, they had virtually no appointments booked. However, within 3 months of launching the ad campaigns, they were fully booked every single weekend.

  • They also wanted to promote free giveaway bags to people who adopt new pets. Using interest based targeting, eye-catching ads, and custom landing pages, we were able to increase pickups of new adoption gift bags by 33%.

  • When segmenting the target audience, it was also vital to examine demographics and physchographics, which included areas, ages, vocations, and interests of Patton Avenue Pet Company’s target audience, in order to maximize ROI.

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Indigo Inn

The Indigo Inn

The Indigo Inn

Web Design & Google Tag Manager

PROJECT BACKGROUND

Boutique Hotel in Charleston, SC

The Indigo Inn offers genuine, Southern hospitality for guests seeking a peaceful and affordable getaway. Originally built in the 1850's, the boutique hotel features a vibrant central atrium and intimate accommodations, inviting visitors to discover a timeless Charleston experience of a bygone era.

Business Challenge: The hotel website had an old and outdated design managed by an OTA (booking.com)  The Indigo Inn wanted to rebuild their website to have better control over updates and implementing marketing promotions. Additionally, they wanted integrate a 3rd party booking engine to self-manage all bookings directly, rather than relying on an OTA who charged large transaction fees.

reds home and garden (1)

Industry: Hospitality

Category: Lodging

Company Size: 20+

Location: Charleston, SC, United States

PROJECT GOALS

Marketing & Business Objectives

Out-of-date website platform & design

Basic content updates were difficult & time-consuming

A better way to make regular updates (like seasonal offers)

3rd Party Booking Integration to Self-Manage Purchases

THE SOLUTION:

A strategy session assisted in determining which components of the existing sites needed to be deleted, as well as how to improve the user experience for each of them. It was difficult to update any of the sites, so we put processes in place to make it easier. 

Custom WordPress Implementation

  1. The website was rebuilt using the WordPress platform (one of the most widely used CMS platforms)
  2. The site's performance and security have been improved by updating the plugins.
  3. To decrease the load and make the site easier to maintain on the backend, unnecessary plugins were deleted.
  4. Cross-domain conversion tracking was implemented using Google Tag Manager to maintain proper traffic attribution.

 

The Results

Website managers now have less things to worry about and can update their sites more quickly. A smooth user experience for all visitors to the website boosts the likelihood of obtaining new clients and delighted existing ones. Additionally, the website generates greater profit due to self-managed booking engine interaction. 

Indigo-Inn-Mock-Up

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Sow True Seed

Sow True Seed

Sow True Seed

Marketing, Google Ads & SEO

Increased Revenue for 2021 surpassed $800K

Over 130K New Users on Top Landing Pages

71% Increase in New Organic Site Visitors

21% Increase in Returning Site Visitors

PROJECT BACKGROUND

Nationwide eCommerce & Local Retail Strategy

Sow True Seed offers a collection of over 500 types of GMO-free vegetable, herb and flower seeds since 2009. They carry heirloom, organic and small farmer-grown varieties of seeds, as well as gardening tools and supplies. It is their mission to encourage seed saving for a resilient food system. A central focus of their brand is to support food security and seed diversity.

Business Challenge: Sow True Seed lacked the technical SEO, web development, and paid search skills internally to fully optimize their inbound website traffic. 

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Industry: Consumer Products

Category: Home & Garden

Company Size: 10+

Location: Asheville, NC, United States

PROJECT GOALS

Marketing & Business Objectives

250961141_4593738593997795_4877092433821797818_n
smartphone

Online Sales

Increase online sales from paid and organic sales channels.

web-traffic

Website Traffic

Improve organic keyword rankings and expand paid channel reach to achieve revenue goals.

shopping-bag

In-Store Sales

Support growth of in-store sales to regain momentum of retail store traffic.

megaphone(1)

Brand Awareness

Increase brand awareness with new and repeat website visitors.

THE SOLUTION:

After a Discovery & Strategic Planning Phase, Proehco Solutions collaborated with Sow True Seed to better understand the current market and target audience. This led to optimized landing pages, more targeted Google Search and Display campaigns, and a strategic linkbuilding campaign.

TAKING A DATA-INFORMED APPROACH

Identifying Important Data-Points and Creating a Clear Path to Success

  1. It was critical to assess the present state of Sow True Seed's online presence in order to design a comprehensive and effective SEO campaign. This contains their website's technological strengths and limitations, as well as content improvement options.

  2. We discovered areas for improvement, possibilities to generate new traffic to target audiences, and a deeper understanding of Sow True Seed as a whole by auditing its on-page and off-page statistics, keyword potential, target audience, and more.

  3. Proecho Solutions was able to rank Sow True Seed #1 for target keywords among their top rivals within the first 90 days. By constructing a good SEO plan for moving forward, Sow True Seed had a better grasp of not only who to target, but also how to increase their current web presence.
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Google Search and Google Display Ads for Driving Sales

  • To drive more traffic to their website, Sow True Seed needed a strategy for taking advantage of paid advertising channels: Google Search and Google Display ads

  • By integrating target keywords and utilizing copy that resonated with their target audience, Proecho Solutions deployed Search and Display ads to attract quality traffic generating nearly $35K in Q3 2021, with a 4:1 Return on Ad Spend (ROAS)

  • In order to maximize ROI, it was also necessary to consider demographics and physchographics when segmenting the target audience, which included regions, ages, vocations, and interests of Sow True Seed’s target audience. Thanks to this, as well as optimized content and a stunning design, Sow True Seed was well on its way to a successful SEM campaign.

On-Page & Off-Page SEO

Within the first 90 days of implementation of on-site optimizations and an aggressive linkbuilding campaign, Sow True Seed saw immediate improvement from Organic Search traffic:

    • 71% Click growth compared to 2020.
    • 111% Impression growth compared to 2020.
    • Ranked #1 for Target High-Volume Keyword Phase with Featured Snippet (“Types of Carrots”, August 2021)

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IBMs+Marketing+Strategy

The Evolution Of IBM’s Marketing Strategy

The Corporate And Business Implications of IBM’s Marketing Strategy Over The Years

For many years, IBM put the majority of its efforts into the hardware side of the computer industry. Founded in 1911, IBM initially developed electric tabulating machines. Later on, they focused on developing large mainframe computers in the 1950s and eventually PCs, servers, and related equipment by the mid-1990s as the internet began to take off. Although their product mix has evolved their competitive strategy has remained mostly consistent. Rather than being positioned as the lowest-cost provider in the market, IBM has continuously pursued a high-quality differentiation strategy by offering advanced products and excellent technical service at a premium price.

To execute this strategy, the company has committed to a steady pipeline of cutting-edge technology by allocating huge amounts of resources into R&D and product development.

WHAT IS IBM’S MARKETING STRATEGY?

IBM’s marketing strategy involves substantial investments into both traditional and online advertising, as well as promotional budgets to inform potential customers about the always evolving product lines and to reinforce brand awareness. Equally as important, is their history of spending millions on recruiting, developing, and compensating one of the largest and technically competent salesforces. 

A SHIFT IN STRATEGY: TECHNOLOGY CHANGES AND COMPETITOR ACTIONS

Beginning in the mid-1990s, IBM’s traditional lines of business started to face trouble, with the company’s worldwide PC market share declining to 8% by 1999. Similarly, while IBM’s sales of UNIX-based computer servers grew rapidly in the mid-to-late nineties, they were only able to capture a small share of the market. Even its esteemed mainframe business (which had been a high-profit/low-growth market throughout the ’80s and early ’90s) suffered losses due to falling prices and declining demand. 

Many of these performance problems can be linked to a number of factors that softened the impact of the company’s proven corporate, competitive, and marketing strategies. For instance, vast changes in technology – such as the rapid increase in PCs & Desktops, the emergence of the internet, and the adoption of computer networks – greatly contributed to the reduced demand for large mainframe computers and centralized data processing systems. 

IBM’s differentiation strategy became less effective as some of its product’s life cycles began to mature and customer’s purchasing criteria began to change. As the PC industry matured the performance differences between competing brands became less pronounced, leading customers to be more price-conscious, less technically sophisticated, and more interested in buying easy-to-use devices. As a result, IBM’s premium price position was put at a disadvantage in attracting such customers.

Additionally, IBM’s focus on B2B customers contributed to the organization’s problem of competing in newly emerging markets for server equipment and software. Because of the firm’s hesitation to pursue small start-ups during the dot-com boom, IBM left an open playing field for Sun, Cisco, and other competitors in the market.  

IMPLEMENTATION OF A NEW CORPORATE STRATEGY

In the wake of lackluster performance and a changing environment, IBM’s executive team began to adjust the corporate mission by de-emphasizing the development and manufacture of high-tech hardware while focusing on providing customers with business consulting, advanced software, and outsourcing services. In 2005, IBM sold its personal computer and x86 based server divisions to China based Lenovo Group Ltd.

To gain leverage on the firm’s existing capabilities and its long-term relationships with traditional customers, new services were concentrated on helping large enterprise organizations hook old corporate databases (often on mainframes) into new online phone systems (such as DSL) and eventually cloud-based platforms. 

This new extensive strategy involved the development of “enterprise solutions on demand,” which were packages of networked and modularized technology, software, and consulting services that were aimed at helping companies in numerous sectors rethink, redesign, and manage large portions of their operations. This included everything from accounting and customer services to human resources and procurement. For example, the Bank of Russia was able to reduce its transaction processing costs by 95% using an IBM based system and software.

CREATING NEW BUSINESS AND MARKETING STRATEGIES FOR THE INFORMATION AGE

The new emphasis on business services and software as the primary path toward future growth also forced some changes in IBM’s marketing strategy. Although the firm continues to differentiate itself from competitors by producing superior quality products at premium prices, IBM’s new service business relied on several different factors such as the knowledge, experience, and expertise of its consultants. This required IBM to reorganize and allocate internal resources toward developing a superior salesforce that could provide executive-level business consulting in addition to traditional technology consulting. 

Over the past decade, IBM has pivoted primarily toward the development and acquisition of software services (such as The Weather Company and Red Hat, for instance), artificial intelligence, and cloud-computing technology. In 2009, more than 70% of the 4,900 U.S. patents granted to IBM were for software and services and in 2011, IBM gained new attention worldwide for its AI program “Watson”, which was exhibited on Jeopardy!

In late 2020, IBM announced that it is splitting itself into two separate public companies, with the IBM brand pursuing high-margin cloud computing and artificial intelligence, built on the foundation of the 2019 Red Hat acquisition, while the new company (dubbed “NewCo”) will continue to focus on the organization’s existing global technology services.

Customers Buy Benefits not Products

Customers Buy Benefits, Not Products

CUSTOMERS BUY BENEFITS, NOT PRODUCTS

It’s true that products and services will satisfy a customer’s need when they’re acquired, used, or consumed, but we argue that customers buy benefits, not products. Indeed, when a customer purchases a product or service to meet their needs, they’re really buying the benefits that are provided rather than the actual product.

When a customer has a headache, they are in-market to purchase pain relief, not Tylenol. This fact is critical when it comes to understanding your customer’s wants and needs.

Benefits are different between customers, depending on the specific needs each customer is looking to satisfy and the situation where the product or service will be used. Being that different customers want different types of benefits, they make different purchasing choices by associating importance to different product features when choosing brands within a certain category.

Think about someone you know who wanted to buy a car and they made their decision based on a subconscious need for social acceptance or self-esteem. In this case, the benefit is the feeling they receive from the product. They might feel this way when buying a Mercedes because it comes with a prestigious brand image. They might associate importance with engineering sophistication, European styling, or state-of-the-art features. Or maybe you know a friend who has to haul around 4 kids and needs a vehicle that is practical for a parental lifestyle. They’d likely go with a Minivan or full-size SUV because of the need for passenger capacity, safety ratings, and reliability.

Services also create benefits by reducing costs, offering simplification or convenience, and creating the ability to accomplish tasks faster and more effectively. This can be seen in business-to-business (B2B) service providers like a marketing agency or a payroll-processing company, as well as with consumer services such as mobile apps for banking, shopping, or even refilling your prescriptions.

The line between products and services blur together with technology companies pushing the boundaries of their marketing mix. Although they do sell products, Amazon.com thrives because they’re an industry-leading service provider that offers customers convenience through 2-day shipping, video and audio streaming, and more via Amazon Prime. This is a perfect example of why customers buy benefits, not products.

BENEFITS AND PRICE DETERMINE VALUE

A customer’s estimation of the benefits and the capacity to satisfy specific wants or needs ultimately determines the value that is attached to a given product or service. When a customer compares different products/services and brands, they will select what they think will provide the most need-satisfying benefits. Therefore, value is the conscious and subconscious determination of the capabilities, features, and price of a product or service, and this means different things to different people.

It’s important to note, though, that a customer’s value estimation of a product or service is not always accurate. This could be as simple as getting a bad haircut. Or for instance, a warehouse manager in Texas decides to install an air-conditioning system on the premise that it’ll provide more comfort for employees during the summer, leading to happier employees (emotional benefit) and increased productivity (financial benefit). After the installation is complete, the manager may learn that the cost of operation is higher than expected, has a slow response time to changes in outdoor temperatures, and the blower isn’t strong enough to cool distant locations in the building.

This is why the perceived value and satisfaction the customer gains also depends on whether the product or service actually lives up to the expectations and delivers on the promised benefits. This is why the activities that occur after the purchase (i.e. delivery, installation, operating instruction, repair, follow-up, etc.) are critical for ensuring that customers stay satisfied. This also makes it essential for businesses to manage customer complaints effectively. On average, businesses don’t hear from 96% of customers who are dissatisfied with their product or service. Of those who do complain, 50% will do business again if their complaints were handled compared to 95% if the issue is resolved quickly. (1)

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

THE VALUE OF LONG-TERM CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIPS

In the past, organizations considered the individual transaction with a customer as the actualization of their marketing strategy. Over time, however, markets have become increasingly competitive, forcing businesses to shift their strategy toward building long-term relationships between the customer and business. Over the last 15 years, we’ve seen this become increasingly prevalent with the use of social media marketing as an effective tactic in any marketer’s toolbox.

Focusing on long-term customer relationships can be quantified using a customer’s lifetime value (LTV), which is the expected value of revenue that a customer will produce over time. For an auto manufacturer, the LTV of a first-time car buyer that stays satisfied and loyal to a specific brand, purchasing multiple vehicles over their lifetime could reach well over $1M.

It’s important to remember that although activities focusing on improving LTV may increase marketing expenses, the initiatives overtime pay off with improved market share and profitability. This is for one simple reason – the cost of obtaining a new customer is far bigger than the cost to keep an existing one. (2) Persuading a customer to leave a competitor can be costly, because it often requires a financial incentive (lower price or special promotional offer) or an extensive and compelling communications strategy (using advertising or sales force effort). In comparison, the increased loyalty that comes from focusing on long-term customer relationships has a lower upfront cost impact and generally yields higher profits.


(1) Patricia Sellers, “How to Handle Customers’ Gripes,” Fortune, October 24, 1988 p. 88

(2) Patricia Sellers, “Keeping the Customer You Already Have,” Fortune, Special Issue, Autumn-Winter, 1993 p. 57

How+To+Do+A+Market+Opportunity+Analysis

How To Do A Small Business Market Opportunity Analysis

How To Do A Market Opportunity Analysis For A Small Business

A critical aspect of the success or failure of any marketing strategy is whether or not the elements of the marketing program are consistent with the reality of the market environment. This generates the need for a market opportunity analysis to be completed as a means to monitor and evaluate the favorable circumstances and challenges presented by factors outside of the organization’s control. Therefore, this responsibility falls on the individual or team responsible for managing an organization’s marketing initiatives. In this article, we identify the four primary actions that are required to conduct a market opportunity analysis. 

GAIN AN UNDERSTANDING OF THE MARKET OPPORTUNITIES

Having an awareness of the nature and attractiveness of any opportunity requires a look at the market as a whole. For instance, asking questions like:

  • What environmental trends are driving or constraining market demand, as well as the fundamental characteristics of the industry as a whole?
  • What are the characteristics that are unique, only the organization in question? 
  • Does the company have the necessary resources (talent, knowledge, time, etc.) to get the job done?

COMPLETE A CUSTOMER ANALYSIS

At the end of the day, the main goal of marketing is to facilitate and support a final transaction with customers. This requires, amongst many other things, the evaluation of the motivations and behavior of current and potential customers. This means conducting market research to analyze the consumer behavior of current and potential customers to understand their wants and needs.

This leads to the importance of knowing how customers’ wants and needs impact the benefits gained from the product or service, and what is the criteria used to select a brand. Having an understanding of where the customer shops is critical, in addition to how they respond to specific prices, promotions, or service policies. This is the point in which an understanding of the mental path customers take when making a purchasing decision, including the psychological, social, and emotional factors that influence the process. 

CONDUCT MARKET RESEARCH AND FORECASTING

It falls into marketing’s wheelhouse to collect objective information about potential customers, the satisfaction of existing customers, feedback from wholesale or retail partners, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of competitors.

When conducting market research, our team likes to utilize Porter’s 5 Forces Framework to analyze the different elements that impact markets. These include:

  • The Threat Of New Competitors
  • The Bargaining Power Of Buyers
  • The Threat Of Substitute Products, Services, or Technology
  • The Bargaining Power of Suppliers
  • The Competitive Environment Among Existing Competitors

It’s important to remember that for marketers to make informed and educated decisions, research data must also be converted into estimates of sales volume or expected profit. Otherwise, it’s almost impossible to determine the expectations and return on investment that a specific marketing program can generate within particular segments and timeframes. This creates the need for marketing agencies to prove their techniques and methods for collecting and analyzing market data, as well as forecasting potential sales volumes. 

EVALUATE MARKET SEGMENTATION, TARGETING, AND POSITIONING

Not all customers are created equal – meaning each prospective customer with a similar need requires the same products or services to satisfy such needs. Oftentimes, purchasing decisions are influenced by personal preferences, personal characteristics, social circumstances, etc. Although, it’s important to remember that customers who purchase the same product may be driven by different needs or benefits, and rely on different sources of information about a product, and may even purchase a product from a different distribution channel. 

Thus, a critical step of developing a marketing program is to divide customers into market segments – which are distinct groups of people with similar needs, interests, circumstances, or characteristics that influence them to respond to marketing messaging in a similar way to a product or service. After the market segments have been defined, a company must decide how to position the brand, product, or service to the selected target segment. In some cases, this means designing a product or service, and its marketing program to emphasize the attributes and benefits that appeal to customers within the segment, while also distinguishing the company’s brand from competitors. 

Make+Your+Brand+Stand+Out+with+These+3+Key+Tips

Make Your Brand Stand Out With These 3 Key Tips

Have you noticed how some brands seem to emerge out of nowhere and succeed overnight? What is their secret? What exactly have they done to get noticed and thrive? 

Standing out in an oversaturated market can, by all means, be a struggle. But here is the secret – there is no such thing as overnight success. Successful brands have put a lot of time, energy, resources, and hard work into their growth. 

And in order to be successful, that’s what you need to do as well. 

Here are three practical tips to help you leverage your brand and stand out from the crowd.

TIP #1: BE ORIGINAL

“Be creative,” “Be Different,” “Think outside the box” – you’ve heard these phrases many times before, but what exactly do they mean for your branding efforts?

When everything you can think of has already been tried and tested, being original can be a challenge. Coming up with new ideas and new solutions for positioning, marketing, development, and other business areas is not an easy task, but don’t let that discourage you.

Here are some of the steps you can try to help make your brand stand out:

  • Acknowledge your brand’s unique points: Every brand has its own authentic self with its personality, voice and identity. Know exactly what makes your business different and showcase those unique points throughout your branding statements, visual identity and marketing collaterals.  
  • Have confidence in your brand: Instead of constantly comparing your business to your competitors’, focus instead on finding insights about your industry and target audience that will lead you to “a-ha!” moments and help you come up with never-before-seen solutions. 
  • Try something new: It could be creating a marketing plan in an innovative way, trying a new video editing technique, looking at a problem from a new perspective or finding a new angle to address a common issue. It’s important to keep your mind open, constantly be on the lookout for inspiration and test new ideas frequently. 

When you know what makes your brand different and you feel confident about it, it will be easier for you to represent your business in a truly authentic way to engage and delight your audience.

TIP #2: BE TRANSPARENT

One of the best tactics to make your brand stand out is to be transparent. It means not only showing off when you’re successful but also being open about failures and unfortunate outcomes. 

Every business makes its fair share of mistakes, bad decisions, and wrong opportunity interpretations, but not everyone feels comfortable talking about them, especially not in public.

If you can overcome that feeling and start having difficult conversations with your teammates, executives, clients, stakeholders, and the industry at large, it can help you and your company become recognized as one of the authorities and game-changers in your niche.

This is especially true for B2B companies. Transparency should become one of the main principles of your B2B marketing strategy and you should stay honest with your customers every step of their journey – from conveying clear messages through your website to resolving customer support issues in a transparent fashion.      

Transparency is also key to developing trust and fostering loyalty from your employees, clients, customers, and stakeholders alike.

TIP #3: BE RESPONSIBLE   

To elevate your brand in the era of conscious consumerism, when customers are looking to connect and engage with socially, environmentally, and culturally responsible brands, you should know what you stand for and clearly define your brand’s core values.

Your brand’s core values can include both your personal and professional values, especially if you are an entrepreneur or you own a small business. Your core values may also refer to social, ethical, and moral principles that you uphold and cherish. 

If you are not sure what your values are, you can start by asking yourself questions like: 

Why did I start this brand? Why is it important to me? Why do I care so much about bringing my brand to my audience? Why should my audience care about my brand?

You can take it a step further and write a brand manifesto to help your potential customers see whether their values align with yours.

Of course, it’s not enough just to have values written on paper. You need to get really invested in actively operating under the principles incorporated into your company’s culture. 

THE BOTTOM LINE

Following trends and trying to outperform competitors by doing the same things they do and simply hoping that your products will be recognized by millions is not enough to make your brand stand out in an overcrowded market. 

Instead, try to truly understand your industry and your audience and start doing things differently. Don’t shy away from experimenting with new approaches, being transparent, and starting meaningful conversations. 

To increase your chances of success, even more, know exactly what you stand for and act upon your core values with social, ethical, and moral responsibility in mind. 

To put it simply – trust in your brand, let its uniqueness shine through, and let the world know what you stand for.

4+Online+Advertising+Methods+That+Get+Results

4 Online Advertising Methods That Get Results

Updated: 6/3/2020

If you’re looking to expand your business and reach new customers, you can’t afford to ignore the power of online advertising. Whether you’re a local business with established customers or a pure-play online startup, online ads offer a quick, easy, and cost-effective way to publicize your services. How can you get started?

SEARCH ENGINE PAY PER CLICK (PPC)

Search engine marketing (SEM) is the most-used method for online advertising, with Google providing by far the best opportunities for exposure. In fact, studies show that 85% of consumers search for businesses online when making a purchasing decision. If your site is languishing in the organic listings, paid advertising offers a quick way of achieving visibility and drawing traffic.

Although various types of search engine advertising are available, the most usual is pay per click (PPC), where you place a bid on the keywords for which you want to appear. The more you’re willing to pay for each visitor, the higher your position, although you won’t be charged unless a searcher clicks your ad. The methodology and approach that marketers take when developing, implementing and optimizing online advertising campaigns depend on each industry, market, and product. 

It is important to sit down and determine an advertising strategy prior to implementing an online search engine marketing campaign. Having a proper plan in place is critical for successfully targeting the correct audience and communicating the value of your product to drive conversion. 

SOCIAL MEDIA ADS

Social media has been the fastest growth area of online traffic over the last few years. Trends continue to show steady growth for various social media marketing platforms. In fact, despite the recent revelations regarding the mishandling of millions of users’ data by Facebook, the social network has seen a 13% increase in user activity over 2017.

That means that social media will continue to present a massive opportunity for reaching connecting brands with their audience.  Putting the right advertising message in front of them can have excellent results.

Placing ads in social media can be as easy or complicated as you want. The major social media sites provide a vast range of tools for setting up campaigns on their platforms, and you can either pay for blanket exposure or use powerful targeting options to reach your perfect customer. 

In 2020, messenger ads via social media and SMS are becoming more prevalent. This can be an effective way to use retargeting ads to customers who have shown purchase intent but have not yet made a purchase. With high open and response rates, this digital marketing strategy is also worth taking into consideration.

LEAD-MAGNETS + POP-UPS + LANDING PAGES + EMAIL

Email marketing still remains one of the most under-rated and under-utilized form of online advertising. Yet, it is probably the most powerful form of online advertising that exists. However, email marketing requires a careful balance that hinges on important factors. Often times, users will subscribe to receive email because of a compelling enough offer, however, there needs to be a reason for a user to remain subscribed. Businesses should focus on providing highly-valuable content that users want to connect with in order to retain subscriber numbers. Keep a close eye on how your email audience reacts to the content you send and how often it is sent. 

Pop-ups, lead-magnets, and landing pages can be utilized in combination with email marketing. They are mechanisms used to collect user email addresses in exchange for a compelling offer of value. Often times this could be a free resource (ebook, webinar, etc.) or a discount or coupon.

Having an understanding of how digital marketing funnels operate is crucial to properly setting up online advertising tactics that are based on email marketing. The positive impact that a correct email marketing implementation has on an organization is the most effective method for growing loyal, long-term customers. 

ONLINE BANNERS

Lastly, banner advertising has been the mainstay of online marketing for as long as browsers have been able to show graphics. You can either pay for banners by the impression, or by the number of clicks they attract. Simple banner ads on popular sites are a great way of achieving brand exposure, although their meager click-through rates mean that they’re not so useful for driving traffic and sales. 

With that said, it is important to keep in mind that online banner ads should not be expected to drive website traffic. Banner ads are intended for brand awareness and gaining market exposure. 

Online advertising has been around for decades, and that’s because it works. However, incorrectly executing online advertising can hurt companies instead of helping. Thus, it is important to understand exactly how each type of online advertising functions at each level of the purchasing process. By using these four methods correctly, however, organizations getting started can see an immediate and positive impact.

Becoming an expert in the field takes years of study and practice. Developing an understanding of how to properly set up and execute a online marketing strategy can be overwhelming. If you need help with taking your online advertising to the next level, contact us today