Businesses and marketers pour a lot of their resources into developing, honing and implementing marketing programs with two goals in mind: to aid the business in achieving its “maximum profit potential”, and bring it to the point where it can sustain itself for the long term. To put it simply, they have their eye on two balls: profitability and growth.
These marketing programs are well-thought out and thoroughly planned strategies, each with their specific objectives, but with the same end in sight.
Generally, the objective or purpose of marketing strategies – or overall marketing programs, for that matter – will depend on several factors, including the type of business and its operations and the purpose of the existence (or the vision) of the organization. Non-profits, for example, won’t be too concerned about talks of profit potential and profitability when developing their marketing plan. A business venture set up purposely to exist or operate for only a limited time, on the other hand, will come up with marketing campaigns that do not pay much attention on growth and longevity.
If there is one thing that businesses and organizations have in common, however, that would be the presence of customers, also called clients, end users or beneficiaries, depending on how the organization refers to them. That means that, no matter how these organizations’ ultimate marketing goals may be, they will agree that they have to include strategies that are meant to attract these customers, clients, end users or beneficiaries.
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In this article, you will be introduced to the different types of marketing strategies that are currently being employed by organizations to attract new customers.
Also called “cause-related marketing”, this strategy is getting more face time, as more and more consumers are integrating social responsibility in their purchasing decisions. Brands that prove themselves to be socially responsible are likely to catch the attention of customers and establish brand awareness and loyalty.
In the 2015 Cone Communications Millenial CSR Study, 91% of the respondents declared that they will not hesitate to switch to a brand that is associated with a cause. That means 9 out of 10 people are willing to turn their backs on a brand that they may have been previously loyal to, in favor of a competing brand that demonstrates a strong sense of social responsibility and supports a cause that resonates with the consumers.
That is the reason why, today, we see many businesses and organizations openly supporting various causes or advocacies. They even devote entire departments, and a substantial chunk of company resources, into their own corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs, and integrate it into their marketing campaign.
The key to using this strategy is to ensure that the cause is something that the company and its target customers actually care about.
Some of the techniques employed include collaborating with a cause-oriented group or organization, choosing a cause that is related to the main thrust of the business or its products and services, making significant donations in money and in kind, and even doing volunteer work. Since cause marketing is largely reliant on press and word-of-mouth, companies often incorporate it in their advertisements and promotional materials. That is one less content – and expense – to worry about.
Example of Cause Marketing:
One of the most talked-about cause marketing campaigns in recent years is the “Campaign for Real Beauty”, a collaboration of Unilever and the Dove Self-Esteem Fund. The social advocacy of this campaign, which was launched in 2004, is to direct attention on how 98% of women around the world have low self-esteem when it comes to their beauty, all because of how media and the beauty industry had created a “beauty” stereotype that is, for most women, unattainable. The marketing message is that beauty comes in different shapes, sizes, color and race, and not just one standard, so women should be confident in the knowledge that they are beautiful.
Through this campaign, Dove, maker of various beauty and personal hygiene products, was able to touch one of its market’s biggest demographics: women and young girls worldwide. Since its launch, Dove’s sales went up by more than 60%.
Marketers today should be grateful, what with the wider variety of tools, devices and platforms that they can utilize for their marketing campaigns. With the rapidly rising number of consumers that are relying greatly on digital devices for their daily activities, it is important for companies to go where their target customers are.
Digital marketing is used to describe the strategy of promoting brands or products through electronic media. It basically advocates the use of various digital devices and technologies to deliver marketing messages to customers. Examples of these digital devices are smartphones, computers, tablets and similar mobile devices, and some of the electronic methods are text messaging, instant messaging, and podcasts.
It also includes advertising content distributed or released using digital technology, such as electronic billboards and posters. Incidentally, the strategy that promotes products and brands through mobile devices may be separately identified as “mobile marketing”.
Marketers display preference over using these electronic methods and channels in their promotions, primarily because it allows them to track and monitor the results of the marketing campaign in real time. Communication is also another important factor in marketing, and going digital will allow the brand to establish more than one contact point to communicate with its target customers.
Example of Digital Marketing:
McDonald’s is, without a doubt, one of the most recognizable brands globally, and much of that can be credited to its digital marketing techniques. Three of them are discussed below:
Extended Restaurant Hours. When the fastfood chain decided to open more than 30% of its outlets until the late hours of night, the information was disseminated through mobile banner ads that are placed in websites that are often visited by customers late at night. Digital ads were also set up in gas stations and rest stops. Simultaneously, they promoted a new Restaurant Finder app, which will guide the customers to the nearest McDonald’s outlet that is still open. This successfully attracted the attention and patronage of customers that work late night shifts.
Ask McDonald’s on YouTube. McDonald’s Canada created a dedicated account on YouTube, purposely for its information campaign on the quality of the food they serve. Customers will ask questions, and the answers will be given via videos uploaded on the channel. This interaction cemented the brand’s relationship of trust with its existing customers and also attracted new ones, particularly those with a positive impression on the company’s initiative to address its customers’ concerns.
Angry Birds. The Angry Birds game has caught the world by storm, and McDonald’s China got in on the action. It collaborated with the game’s creator, Rovio, to develop an Angry Birds game that can only be played inside McDonald’s stores in China. Further, the game also had additional features that can only be unlocked in specific outlets. As a result, McDonald’s non-customers – who happen to be fanatics of the mobile game – trooped to the stores.
Event marketing involves the development and execution of a promotional campaign that revolves around, or is closely linked to a special occasion or event. The themed activities entail face-to-face or in-person engagement and interaction, turning customers into active participants in the campaign.
This marketing strategy is useful in attracting customers, building brand awareness and lasting relationships. In a study conducted by the Event Marketing Institute, 50% of the people that attend and participate in an event marketing activity end up making a purchase during the event.
Curiosity may be the first thing that will draw potential customers to an event. However, what will persuade them to stick around and allow themselves to be convinced to buy are the activities conducted during the event. These could be product demonstrations or trials, free samples or giveaways, generous discounts and other incentives.
Example of Event Marketing:
The best example of this marketing strategy is that of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. Since 1924, the New York department store has privately sponsored and funded this annual event, which marks the start of the holiday (ergo, gift-giving) season. Participated in by giant floats, marching bands, cheerleaders, clowns and other performers, the Parade never fails to draw major crowds to the streets of Manhattan.
Every year, it is estimated that 3 million people attend the event while over 50 million watch it on television. Many brands and companies also join the parade by sponsoring floats, knowing that the exposure will attract customers and drive their sales.
Some of the brands that benefited from taking part and aligning in this annual Thanksgiving Parade are Toys ‘R’ Us, Pillsbury, the Disney Channel, and Timberlands.
ENGAGEMENT / EXPERIENTIAL MARKETING
There are a number of other alternative phrases for “engagement marketing” and, so far, the more popular and commonly used are “event marketing”, “experiential marketing”, “on-ground marketing” and “participation marketing”.
In this marketing strategy, the focus is on making a strong connection between the brand and the customers by “engaging” them directly, through active and participative interaction. Its principles are rooted in the reality that more and more people are learning not to believe anything they just hear about, or see in advertisements and promotional materials.
As proven by a survey conducted by Jack Morton, which aimed to measure the effectiveness of engagement marketing, 11 out of 14 customers showed preference in learning about new products, services or brands through firsthand experience. Compared to what a celebrity endorser is saying about a product, or what is written on a flyer or brochure about the product features, the comments or opinions of someone they personally know will hold more water and are more likely to convince them to give that product a try. This proves that customers want to have a deeper connection with a brand before they can be convinced to buy anything from that company and become loyal customers.
Creativity is very important if businesses and marketers want to have a successfully experiential marketing campaign. This is the brand’s opportunity to stand out, so coming up with unique concepts that will make an indelible mark in the minds of the participants is crucial.
This type of marketing strategy is effective in attracting new customers, because what better way to introduce a new product than by letting the customer connect with it on a personal level? This demonstrates that brand’s confidence in its products, and their commitment to providing a memorable and satisfying customer experience.
Example if Engagement / Experiential Marketing:
A very good example of a successful engagement or experiential marketing strategy was the “Samsung Studios” brand experiences launched by the electronics company from July to September of 2012, as part of the company’s sponsorship of the London 2012 Olympics, held in that same year. Samsung set up these studios in several London locations, where visitors can get up close and personal with two new Samsung offerings at that time: the Galaxy S3 smartphone and the Galaxy Note.
Aside from participating in product demonstrations, visitors can actually touch and hold the gadgets in their hands, allowing them to get a feel for it. Samsung also incorporated its Olympic Games app into the devices, so the visitors can play with it. To test camera performance and photo quality of the Galaxy S3, visitors can also have their photographs taken. The photo will then be turned into a personalized badge that they can bring home with them.
At the end of the Samsung Studios campaign, the interactive experience brought about a positive reaction among the visitors. Out of 10 visitors that experienced Samsung Studios, nine said that they are likely to consider buying a Samsung phone over other brands.
The PR in PR Marketing stands for Public Relations. In the context of marketing, it entails the business developing and cultivating a relationship with the media or the press to create brand awareness in the market. This relationship will then allow the business to make use of the news or the business press, for example, to talk positively about the company, its products and services, and the reasons why consumers should also buy from them.
Many confuse PR marketing with advertising, considering how the main platform is the media. However, it’s important to note that advertising is a paid strategy and PR marketing isn’t. You pay a media outlet or company to advertise your brand or products. In PR marketing, you do not pay a news reporter or journalist to write or come up with a story about your brand or product. It is free publicity that actually holds greater credibility in the public’s view. Compared to an advertising blurb, a prospective customer is likely to be convinced by a well-written piece about how a specific product of the brand can benefit him.
Creating press releases and conducting press conferences also fall under PR marketing. The company will provide the press with the information, which they will write about and release in their respective publications or broadcasts.
Example of PR Marketing:
In the early days before Apple was the giant it is today, the CEO and founder Steve Jobs was sure to hold a major press conference for every product launch. In this press conference, he would talk in great length about the product and its features, complete with visual presentations.
After the press conference, the press will release news about the new Apple product, increasing the hype and anticipation of the consumers. This is still done today, despite the company having millions of loyal customers. Instead of spending money on creating a TV commercial to introduce the product, introduction will take place in various places wherever news is released, from print to broadcast to online news outlets.
SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING
If you are wondering where everyone is, go to social media. Not only did social media change the way people communicate and connect with each other, it has definitely altered entire lifestyles. Now, businesses have taken to social media to expand their reach, knowing that establishing a strong social media presence will be beneficial to their branding and overall business success. So far, the most commonly used social media platforms used by businesses are Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, Reddit, Yelp and FourSquare.
Out of the several internet marketing strategies used by businesses these days, social media marketing or SMM, is seen by many businesses to provide the most effective results. Research showed that over 25% of businesses look to SMM for customer retention and loyalty. Certainly, social media is considered to be the best platform for businesses to create and maintain brand awareness, as well as bring attention to a new product or service that businesses will be introducing or launching.
Compared to email marketing, SMM is seen to be the better method. Telemarketing has been on fire in recent years because of their intrusive nature, with unsolicited and often unwanted phone calls seen as annoying disturbances. Many consumers have this same view when it comes to receiving unsolicited emails. They’d rather their permission be obtained by the brand first before they can start sending emails. Therefore, email marketing is more effective for customer retention, more than attracting the attention of new customers.
What makes SMM the preferred strategy among businesses?
Businesses are able to engage their customers and obtain feedback in real time.
Businesses can take advantage of the various facilities and features in social platforms for its promotional activities.
A social media presence keeps the business current and relevant, especially in the minds of customers.
Businesses are able to build and nurture relationships with their customers over the long term.
Businesses enjoy wider visibility on social media, thanks to the networking structure.
Example of Social Media Marketing:
The Starbucks empire is known for being active on social media – proof of how it utilizes social media in its marketing. Its Facebook page has close to 36.5 million followers. On Twitter, it has 11.8 million followers. It also established itself on Google+, Pinterest, YouTube, and My Starbucks Ideas, taking full advantage of cross-promotions, and ensuring that they are present where their target customers are.
Instead of using social media to openly sell its products, Starbucks focuses on providing content that is informative and entertaining. The objective is clearly to engage customers and cultivate relationships with them. On Facebook, posts on how the products will be used are shared. Coffee-related photos and images are tweeted and uploaded on Instagram. On its website, MyStarbucksIdea.com, customers are welcome to ask questions, offer recommendations, make their complaints, and share their Starbucks experience.
Possibly the most conventional strategy to attract customers, transactional marketing is applied when businesses entice customers and encourage them to buy their products and services by offering discounts, coupons, and other incentives to buy. Holding a sale event, for example, is a classic example of an activity under this strategy. After all, who would say no to scoring discounts? Even consumers unfamiliar with a brand may become curious enough to see what deals they can get.
The downside of this strategy is that it focuses less on sustaining brand awareness in the minds of customers or even building brand loyalty. Customer retention is not a priority because, while the single “point of sale” transactions may attract customers, the objective of the company is to profit from these one-off transactions. The priority is to make as much sales as possible, not developing a relationship with the customer.
Despite that, it cannot be denied that transactional marketing activities are effective in attracting customers, even if it’s just for one sale.
Example of Transactional Marketing:
A real estate agent has to meet a certain quota for the period, so his main concern is closing as many deals as he can. He will make contact with potential customers, make his sales pitch, and even take aggressive steps in convincing the customer to purchase a townhouse that he is selling. He will take the customer on a tour of the house and its surrounding, even the entire neighborhood.
Once the deal is closed and the sale is made, the real estate agent will move on to another customer, and there won’t be a relationship with the previous one.
WOMM, or Word-of-Mouth Marketing, is described as an unpaid form of advertising, where satisfied customers promote the brand or product by telling other people how much they like or enjoy the offering. Highly satisfied customers are sure to recommend the products, services, or brands that they enjoy to other people, and this means more new customers for the business. In a Nielsen survey, 9 out of 10 customers (or 92%) are inclined to believe what their friends, family and acquaintances say about a product, service or brand.
What makes this a very good strategy is the high degree of credibility and authenticity behind the promotion. After all, customers will not recommend or talk highly about a product unless they truly mean it. They will be risking their reputation otherwise. Thus, the resulting trust between the brand and the new customers will also be high, since they will not heed the words or recommendations of someone they do not know.
In WOMM, information is passed on from customers to potential customers through oral communication. That was how it used to be in the past. Due to the marketplace evolving, adaptation called for WOMM to be more flexible and also acknowledge other forms of communication. The messenger, the message and the recipient of the message are still the same; it’s just the mode of delivery that may vary.
Written reviews and testimonials also count as “word of mouth”, and so are reviews delivered in video format. Bloggers may also write about a product they have tried and liked in their blogs. Email, Facebook, Twitter and other social media are also often utilized for WOMM.
For businesses, the real challenge in using this type of marketing is how to generate word-of-mouth. It is up to the business to trigger this reaction and get their existing customers talking. By far, the best way to do that is to provide your customers with an overall customer experience that exceeds their expectations. You want them to talk great things about your brand? Then make sure you give them something to talk about. Be consistent about it, and you will soon turn them into ambassadors for your brand. You may also want to consider being generous, to the point of over-serving your customers, so they will be delighted enough to promote your brand and your products.
Example of WOMM:
If you notice, the Starbucks Coffee Company has stayed away from traditional forms of advertising since it set up shop as a small store in Pike Place Market in Seattle in 1971. You don’t see TV ads and hear jingles on the radio promoting the Starbucks name and its coffee. You don’t see it being advertised on magazine spreads and dailies, either.
That is because this coffee empire has always built its brand marketing strategy around word of mouth. It focused on ensuring a consistent high quality of its beverages and other offerings, as well as its excellent customer service, and the satisfied customers proceeded to rave about what a good experience they had to their own networks. From there, the customer base of Starbucks multiplied, propelling the company to the top of the coffee chain.
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