After a full month of senior project, during which I composed and recorded a music project, I am finally back in here to resume my independent study on entrepreneurship. Before I left for my project, we had just started discussing about marketing. Therefore today we will dive right back into our study of marketing strategies, as I will be talking about different marketing methods that can bring success to a company. It has been a fruitful week, so let’s get right into it.
In my blog post a month ago, I explained the concept of marketing and why it is important. But after we fully realize the significance of marketing, how should we advertise for ourselves? Different entrepreneurs might give you different answers, and there is not a general formula that explains everything you have to do to give your own company a marketing edge; however, after researching on several different websites, I found the best explanation on entrepreneur.com, in which there are five crucial things you have to consider when you market your business.
The first and the most basic step is to talk to your clients. After we spend so much time identifying our target customers, now is the time for us to take action, and make ourselves available to them. We don’t need to contact every single individual within our target market. Instead, choose a demographic that is specific enough to carry out our interviews. After getting their permissions, our interviewers can actively contact and ask them several question regarding if they will be interested in our service. An important step after we finish up our interviews is to “compile the information to discover trends and themes” so that we can maximize the efficiency of our interviews. And then we will be able to learn from their feedbacks and know how to make our products more attractive. Of course, we should never forget to send them a thank-you letter and explain to them how our products can meet their needs. These customers will feel privileged that we improve our products specifically for them, and thus we successfully present ourselves to the first group of customers.
The second thing we can do to increase the efficiency of our marketing process is to creatively package our marketing campaigns. To present our product in an innovative way can help us attract more customers. For example, if we are a company that provides baked goods, how about “putting a small box together with a fork, knife, spoon and a custom printed napkin that invites our prospect to “have lunch with us?” Innovative packages can always cheer our customers up, and our marketing campaign will have a bigger impact. Of course, don’t ever be afraid of “adapting what other people in other industries are doing to your business” because the customers’ attention comes from many specific details, and marketing strategies proven to be successful in other industries may also turn out to be beneficial in the industry you are working on. Not only Patagonia, a clothing company, but also Tesla, a car company, is advertising itself through a marketing campaign that features environmental protection, right?
The third crucial part of marketing is to get our word out with publicity. Things can get a little tricky here – how can we successfully do PR (referring to public relations) without asking for help from those famous and competitive PR companies? In fact, of course we can, and it is all about leverage. “Our success depends on leveraging each press release, each article and each published mention.” Try to maximize our exposure through smart broadcasting strategies. Of course, “put all the information on your Web site: Create a news page and add a What’s New area on your home page. Add it to your marketing kit and send the piece to clients, colleagues and professional organizations” so that they will be able to see what you have been working on, and more importantly, to feel your candidness.
Next thing we have to do is to learn how to leverage existing relationships. Even though the concept sounds abstractive, it is actually simple math. Suppose you know 200 people and each of them know 200 people, that’s 40000 potential contacts! Therefore, what we have to do is to develop relationships with those “you already know-clients, colleagues, people you meet through professional networking organizations, friends and even family” because these people can be the “cheerleaders” for you. Meanwhile, instead of directly selling our products, we tend to educate those around us. Always remember that our goal is to develop relationships instead of increasing sales. Marketing is an art: even though our final purpose is to sell, we have to take a few detours to make a more compelling case for our customers. However, these detours are worth taking because people will gradually recognize our efforts.
Last but not least, another thing we always have to remember is to intelligently utilize e-marketing. Why is everyone using e-marketing now? Because it is “flexible, cost-effective, easy to measure and high impact.” Put ourselves across social medias such as Facebook and Instagram. I, personally as a customer, love to discover upcoming fashion brands through Instagram because I can get a visual sense of the new brand through Instagram pictures. Also, we should never forget about the usefulness of email communication. Always send newsletters and new products announcements to those who are willing to subscribe. But remember, you don’t ever want to be seen as a SCAMMER! Therefore only send emails to those who give permission. That could be super helpful for our reputation. For example, I personally love to receive newsletters from H&M because they always help me discover new fashion; however, when a company I am not interested in such as Puma keeps sending me notifications even after I unsubscribe, I will lose the habit of reading their emails before directly trashing them.
After learning about all of the five important marketing techniques, I believe we have all had a better understanding of how to market our own companies. In fact, there are way more than five marketing techniques we can use to bring our business to success. For example, attaching our business to a socially responsible case is another marketing campaign we can use. All we need to do is to find the most suitable one and dedicate ourselves into the process. Don’t expect to attract a lot of customers in a short period of time. Instead, keeping an ongoing stream is more important and helpful.
That wraps up this week’s blog post. Next week I will talk a little bit about how I should market my own sneaker resell business and do some case studies on how successful companies market themselves. So stay tuned!