Does your business have strong marketing foundations?

Does your business have strong marketing foundations?

ALL large projects are built upon their foundations.

For example, a Japanese skyscraper has earthquake proof foundations to ensure it can cope with the frequent earthquakes in Japanese cities such as Tokyo.

Your marketing should be as considered as this, because unless you have the RIGHT foundations in place, your marketing strategy WILL NOT be able to cope and change with environmental disturbances that come regularly in business.

Some of the changes I’m talking about may be:

  • Consumer desires
  • Competitive forces
  • Resource availability
  • Political decisions

All of the above could cause HUGE issues for a marketing strategy that has not been effectively developed with the proper foundations in place. Additionally, unless your company has a well thought-through marketing strategy it is likely that your marketing communication will be VERY general and unfocused, leading to untargeted, expensive and ineffective marketing communications.

It is key for business owners and marketing managers to understand what the foundations are within your own business and then to ensure you undertake the research and hard work needed for the businesses foundations to be put into action.

Marketing FOUNDATIONS

The marketing FOUNDATIONS are:

F – Focus

Find your businesses focus, this is a great way to start your quest for better and MORE effective marketing. The most successful businesses have identified a gap in the market and they are VERY focused upon what that niche wants, needs, desires, complaints, fears etc are.

So what is your businesses niche and how can you exploit it more effectively?

O – Out  Compete

Linked to the business focus, it is essential for all businesses to consider EXACTLY how they are out-competing their competitors

What are you doing better than you competitors?

How do you offer value to your customers?

This NEEDS to be communicated through your marketing, and some market research on your current customers can be very useful during this stage. You may not recognize the elements of your service that add huge amounts of value, in the eyes of your customers, such as effective customer service, efficient response rates and friendly customer engagement.

U – Up- to-date

One issue many firms have is that they will produce and implement a marketing strategy, that may be effective – But the marketing world is constantly changing. Therefore your marketing must be continually updated to ensure it is still as relevant and as effective as possible.

Take a look at your marketing every 90 days to see if you are on track with your business goals!

N – Nurture Process

This relates to the idea that it is much easier to retain customers, than to attract new ones…

They should already know how good you are!

It is crucially important for all businesses to nurture the customers that they already have. Don’t be so concentrated on gaining new customers that you forget the customers that you already have…that is a sure fire way of losing clients.

Nurture them, look after them, make them feel wanted

You may be able to cross-sell to them or even up-sell, which  could be the equivalent of a new customer. This also relates to the sales process, and how you can nurture potential customers to ensure they are pulled through the sales funnel and become clients.

D – Decision Making Process

Consumer psychology is a key consideration for all businesses, as if we as marketers can get inside the consumer minds and walk in their shoes and understand the process by which they actually make a decision, then impacting that decision is much easier.

The decision making process has 5 stages, and each is an opportunity for your firm to influence the consumers in a positive way.

So how are you influencing your consumer’s decision making process?

A – Audience

Linked to the section above, the better you understand your consumers and your perfect customer, the more effective and focused your marketing can be. Therefore, by properly thinking about your target audience, what they do, what they’re like, the clothes they wear, the jobs they have, you can develop a deeper understanding of their behaviour and activities and thus engage with them more meaningfully and on a more frequent basis.

We have written a Digital Course on how to find and understand your AUDIENCE. You can find more information on our Digital Courses page.

T – Timing

While it might seem obvious that timing is essential for marketing. It is essential in a range of different ways.

Firstly, responding to current customers and potential customers as quickly as possible is key as it gives them a quality cue, that you are a firm who is efficient and effective in their activities.

Don’t keep your customers waiting.

Timing for email marketing is also key, as sending out and email marketing email at 5PM on a Friday would not be the most effective use of time and money, because everyone will be in the pub.

Furthermore, it is well-known that the timing of social media posts can also have a hugely significant impact upon their analytics. Therefore, while timing might seem simple, it is essential that firms consider it and produce an effective editorial calendar that takes timings into account.

I – Integration

Now THIS is where Koogar are specialist and it is truly essential, as users need and expect congruence and consistence between ALL of your marketing elements. If your offline and online elements and messages are not integrated your customers WILL notice.You will be sending out a range of

You will be sending out a range of mixed messages meaning your marketing will not be focused, which can have detrimental effects upon your success. We all want our brands to be recognised.

O – Outline

You need to outline exactly what you want your marketing communication to do for your business and outline a number of achievable objectives with set time frames – Ensure that the focus outlined above is integrated into this outline.

N – Numbers

Within marketing, one of the most common complaints from businesses who don’t have their FOUNDATIONS in place is that they don’t know which part of their marketing is working.

This is a numbers problem.

If you implement a proper strategy centered on the integration of measurable marketing communication tools, budgets and analytics then they would know exactly what money is being spent effectively.

Consider how the numbers look, and only continually invest in strategies that are actually economically effective for you and your business.

S – Strategy

Finally, once you have considered all of the above elements you will now be ready to create a well-focused, engaging and effective marketing strategy that is robust and responsive to the inevitable environmental changes.

Overall, this highlights the importance of having the marketing FOUNDATIONS in place BEFORE an effective marketing strategy can be developed.

So do you have your marketing FOUNDATIONS in place?

If not, and you want some help implementing them then contact us today for a FREE 30 Minute Consultation!

11 ways to kick-start your Marketing ANYTIME time of year!

11 ways to kick-start your Marketing ANYTIME time of year!

Kick-start your marketingMarketing is the first thing to be put to one side and left there until it needs our attention. The only reason why most give marketing their attention is because they want more customers which in turn creates profit and they want it now!

People think they will do more of it when the have more time or has someone to help them and one of the most popular questions I’m asked time and time again is “What marketing do you think I should do to get more clients?“. This question does not have the same answer for everyone which is the tricky thing about marketing.

If marketing were easy we would all be doing it all of the time…

So I have created a list of 11 ways to kick you off to a great start AND they are in the order I recommend you do them! I call them “ways” because you could pick one OR all of them to help you move forward with your marketing HOWEVER I would recommend you do them all AND in the order they are given below instigate a better result!

Take a knee

Review your current situation (there is a lot more to this and I shall be writing a blog post specifically about this topic);

  • What’s working, what’s not working (this is also what you should STOP doing), what should you be doing more of?
  • How many clients do you have in total, per project / on retainer, when does it finish, who need to renew, what products/services do they have, what else could they have (Ask Amanda about her Client Matrix)?
  • Who do you want to get rid of?
  • Who can you get more work from?
  • Who can/has recommended you and become a referrer?

Contact your clients

…and engage with them. Sometimes we leave our clients alone for a little too long, subconsciously thinking “they know where I am if they need me” but then you get a bit of a shock when you find out they have already left without telling you!

68% of customers leave because they don’t think you care about them!

Call two people today and find out how their holiday, family or business is and start caring, ask if they would like to meet for coffee and to see if they need anything from you for the next 3 months.

Follow up

People need to see your message between 7 – 15 times BEFORE they are ready to buy and I bet you have stopped getting in touch because they either haven’t come back to you, you are a little nervous about pestering them or you don’t want to be too salesy.

Get in touch with the people you met in the last quarter and go through that stack of business cards or the connections you have recently made and find out if they want to meet up for that coffee.

Worst case scenario is that they say “No thanks”. Rinse repeat until someone says “Yes please!”

Get Clarity

We all get a little bogged down with stuff we don’t need from papers on our desk, magazines on the coffee table and emails in our inbox. Clutter, whether it is physical or mental blocks us from getting us to where we want to be.

So get rid of stuff you don’t need, that fills your inbox with rubbish, files on your computer and start a fresh. It’s like getting into that newly changed bed!

Review your Numbers

How often do you look at your numbers? And do you know what you want or need in order to run your business profitably and effectively? How many clients do you want by the end of the week/month?

For example; How much turnover do you want i.e. 10k per month divided by products/service = Amount of clients you need per month. To earn 10k per month with your products being £500 each you will need 20 clients.

What are your Business Goals?

Do you have KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) that tell you that you are on track? If not, create some per quarter. For example; by the end of the Q1 you want to have a new product or service complete and out like a digital course, podcast, webinar, etc…

Measure your marketing starting NOW

Email me for a copy of the Koogar Marketing Stats Spreadsheet (KMSS for short!). This will enable to you see what’s happening with your marketing. You have space in this spreadsheet to add the amount of leads you are getting per week, meetings you are having and telephone calls plus track your social media and website.

Obviously depending on what social media you are doing depend on what you track.I have put some of the basics in here but have left room for you to add your own statistics. Some cells you won’t be able to change as I would like you to see the basics taking shape but you can only do that by filling this in once a week!

Start planning your marketing if you haven’t already done so

Choose a few way points that relate to your business goals and focus on a few things and get stuff done, don’t go off half-cocked!

If you can start planning the next 2 months blogs or your email marketing campaigns by giving each a title and writing the content ready for the dates you set you are heading in the right direction.

Plan your week on Sundays

Take Sunday AM or PM (whichever suits you) for 90minutes and work out what is going to be complete by the end of the week, including personal things, like reading or going to the gym.As business owners, we don’t ever stop and some of us enjoy working a little during the weekends as the phone isn’t ringing and you’re not distracted by other things.

Planning on a Sunday either during or after my afternoon walk sets me up for the week and by the time I sit down for dinner on Sunday evening my week is planned and I know what I’m doing so I can enjoy the rest of the evening without my head running all over the place or sitting at my desk on Monday wondering what to do.

Use your time wisely!

If you run your own business you can do whatever you want whenever you want but we also need to ensure we are hustling and using our business as a resource! SO concentrate on HPA’s.

HPA stands for High Payoff Activities; they are the jobs that are going to get your results! And there maybe only 3-4 on your list. We tend to make lists that go on forever and put things on that we have already done just so we can tick them off! Am I right?

Every single person on this planet has the same amount of time we just use it differently. So use it on things that matter and the things that can wait can either be done by someone else or completed when you have finished your HPA’s!

Finally… Take Action

Make your next step HOWEVER I can appreciate sometimes it can all get a bit too much and we are unsure of where to start.

So go back to number 6 and review your business goals. What is the next logical step for you to take in order to achieve that particular goal? And do that!

These 11 ways help me no end to kick-start our own marketing and our clients’ marketing. You can do this at any stage during the year.

I’d love to hear how you get on with this list. If you have any ways you kick-start your marketing that I haven’t mentioned, please feel free to comment below!

Co-Creation and why is it important?

Co-Creation and why is it important?

Together we Create!Marketing is the process whereby companies identify, anticipate and satisfy consumer wants and needs in a profitable way. Identifying consumers can be the first real issue, but once the company has identified their target audience and developed a following, it is important to understand them effectively, as if they can understand the way in which their consumer behave then meeting their wants and needs is much easier!

One business process which a number of well-known brands have begun engage in to make this understanding stage much easier is co-creation. This is where s collaborate with their consumers, to produce a product or service which is more thoughtfully aligned with their consumer’s needs. This is not only effective because it aids understanding, it also increases engagement with the brand, which is key for the development of long lasting consumer relationships.

Examples

There have been a few very successful examples of co-creation, which have effectively utilized the two main benefits discussed above, while also communicating an attentive approach in terms of consumer opinions. When implemented effectively co-creation can become a key part of any businesses marketing mix. 

Boeing

Boeing, for example implemented innovation through a co-creation scheme for their Boeing 787. This scheme invited consumers to help them design their newest air craft, in the hope of producing the most customer-centered air craft ever produced. In total over 20,000 people contributed to the creation of this product, leading to increased buzz around the product when it was launched and a product which genuinely considered consumers wants and needs in its design.

Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola also implemented a co-creation campaign back in 2012, when their advertising team were struggling to generate a truly original idea for their newest TV advertisement. So they launched a large-scale competition that called on Coca-Cola fans to produce their most create and original self-shot advert, claiming that the winner would be shown across their communication channels.

The winner of the competition showed a small child collecting glass Coca-Cola bottles and then transporting them to the beach where they were used to produce an amazing natural organ of sorts.

This was an example which highlighted the benefits that can be gained from co-creation, as this hugely original advertising concept would have never been thought of by a coca cola employee. Furthermore, it had a green/sustainable element to it, which Coca-Cola and a number of other large-scale companies are constantly trying to communicate.

SMEs

While this might feel like a strategy which is most suitable for large-scale company’s, there are a range of different smaller scale ways in which SME can also implement co-creation initiatives. One key tool which SME’s can utilize to support the introduction of co-creation into their service is social media. As, social media can be used to communicate with consumers and let them know that there are co-creation opportunities, what they are, how they can be found etc. But what types of co-creation can small-scale businesses introduce?

Competitions

Firstly, competitions, whereby consumers get to provide their opinion and influence the decisions that the company makes. Examples of this might be posting an Instagram picture of four different dishes and asking the consumers to decide which dish they want to see on the specials board that evening. Their votes could be cast through the number of hashtags in the comments for each dish, or a poll could be attached in the caption. Small scale implementations such as this take very little effort, but consumers appreciate and engage with activity of this kind, leading to much stronger relationships developing between consumers and brands.

Product and experience co-creation

Another way in which small-scale companies can co-create is by offering a highly customised service, whereby the consumers decide what they want. This is seen as the company and the consumer co-creating the product together, as the consumer can decide which factors they want and therefore do not have to compromise in any way. Small scale businesses can offer this sort of service in a number of ways, as for example, as small coffee shop might consider their consumers’ needs and consequently offer a wide range of different teas, coffees, cakes etc, from which the consumer can co-create their perfect experience.

Tied into this experience based co-creation can also be the music, and some businesses are even implementing systems whereby the customers can decide which music they wish to listen to, therefore not only making to goods customisable, but also a number of experiential elements.

Overall, co-creation is about seeing your customers as a source of innovation, excitement and inspiration, instead of an unreachable annoyance. As, once companies introduce co-creation into their marketing mix they will quickly recognize the huge benefits both in terms of engagement and consumer understand that they will gain. Leading to more effective marketing, and consequently increased revenue and profits.

Is content still king? Or is it context?

Is content still king? Or is it context?

content-vs-context-jpegThe key for all blogging is writing blogs that the target market that your businesses is aiming to attract are interested in and therefore will engage with. While this seems very simple it is often a very complex process, especially for businesses who do not fully understand their customers base and target market.

The meaning of Content: something that is to be expressed through some medium, as speech, writing, or any of various arts.

One of the biggest debates within this area of blogging is based on the importance of blogging content vs context.

Content is the physical words and ideas which make up a blog, while context is the setting and motive behind the actual blog.

The best bloggers combine both elements to produce attractive, relevant and engaging blogs, but which is the most important and how do they interact?

Context over Content

Many people argue that content is king, and therefore it is important for businesses to constantly add new engaging content to their website. While this is true, to an extent, as adding content to your website is extremely important. Context should actually shape all content that is added to your website, and therefore context is far more important than content, as it enables companys to produce engaging and targeted content.

Contextual understanding

I feel that if businesses fully understand the context not only of their business, but their customers and their entire industry, then their content will be far more effective. As understanding your business and industry’s context will enable you to produce content that is focused on the current issues within the industry and therefore is likely to engage with others members of that industry.

Furthermore, if you understand the context of your customers, then you will understand their concerns, stresses, interests and beliefs much better, making producing content that they are interested in and are likely to engage with much easier.

Therefore, context can be seen as an essential way of businesses connecting with their customers in a more intimate and personal way. Especially if the contextual understanding of the industry and customers interests, needs and demands can be effectively intertwined into the businesses range of communication mediums.

Dynamics

One key issue with context is that it is constantly changing, it a highly dynamic phenomenon and therefore to reap the rewards of highly contextual content, businesses must invest in ways of consistently assessing the context and reacting to it with new content which is contextually relevant.

Overall, context is so much more important than content for blogging because it enables businesses to deliver targeted, customer specific and medium relevant messages to their audience, with content which is highly engaging due to it being shaped by the current context.

The companies and brands with the highest contextual awareness are likely to produce the best and most engaging content, which will truly talk to their target market in the way it was intended.

consultationIf you wish to discuss an action plan for your content marketing strategy, book in for a 30 minute FREE consultation today!

Importance of positioning and consumer behaviour

Importance of positioning and consumer behaviour

brand-positioning-jpegConsumer’s minds….

One key factor that all businesses should outline and manage is their brand positioning.

Brand positioning is…

the way in which consumer’s view brands in their minds, and therefore it is important for firms to identify the position they wish to adopt within consumer minds. A strategy should then be developed to ensure the brand takes up a specific position within the market which can then be effectively communicated to consumers.

For example, Mercedes and BMW have successfully positioned themselves as the brands of choice for consumer looking for a luxury car that is not quite a Porsche, Ferrari or Lamborghini, but is of higher quality than a VW, Ford and Vauxhall.

This has been done through consistent marketing communications throughout their history, and due to the scale of their business has become ingrained not only in their target audience’s minds, but in all consumers’ minds. People know who they are, what they are selling and if they can afford it or not.

They are positioned extremely well.

Re-Positioning

One issue some brands experience is when they want to change their deeply ingrained positioning, as it can be very difficult to change consumer perceptions of a brand, especially if it has a specific well-known positioning strategy.

One brand within the same industry that has been trying to do this recently is Ford. Across the UK they have successfully positioned themselves as a mid-level family car manufacturer that is reasonable priced. But in the US they are known as much more exciting due to their Ford GT and American muscle cars, therefore earlier this year they launched a reasonably successful re-positioning campaign to reinvigorate the brand.

They called on consumer to “unlearn” what they knew about the brand and be open-minded to their re-positioning.

This example highlights how it can be difficult to re-position a well-known brand, but if there is a level of history to fall back on, which Ford had due to their heritage of automotive excellence which runs all the way back to Henry Ford, it can be effectively done.

Brand drift

One issue which firms must safeguard against however is brand drift. This is where the positioning of a brand begins to drift away from its intended location. This can lead to brand confusion, whereby consumers become confused by the brands offering and therefore unsure on the position in which it is trying to occupy.

This can have detrimental effects upon revenue and profits, emphasising the importance of always communicating a brands positioning in a clear and simple way the target audience.

Decision Making Process

This also ties into the consumer decision making process, as one of the five main stages of the decision making processes is the evaluation of alternatives. This is where consumers decide between the different options that can solve their problem, but unless brands are positioned effectively they will not even be considered by consumers.

This is because brands are ordered into sets, and unless the brand is within the consumers evoked set, which is the set of brands which the consumer sees as realistic possibilities then they are not even looked into.

These brands are seen as either inept or inert, meaning they are not considered for the final purchase. Thus is it key for firms to ensure they are within their target audiences evoked set, and therefore they are considered within the decision making process.

Equally, it is centrally important that when firms secure a position within consumers evoked sets they are able to maintain that positioning.

Brand protection

Therefore, it is also important that firms protect their positioning, and their brand image, as if their brand image becomes tarnished then their positioning can become compromised. This can have devastating effects upon consumers purchase intentions and therefore must be considered by all brands.

Recent examples of firms implementing such protective measures include Nike dropping long-term partner Maria Sharapova after she failed a drugs test and Ryan Lochte being dropped by Speedo and Ralph Lauren after his shocking run-in with the police during the Rio Olympic Games.

These brands all saw the potential negative impact that supporting these shamed sports stars could have on their reputation and therefore severed all sponsorship ties. Highlighting their commitment to protecting their brand image, as well as their position within the market and more importantly within consumer minds.

Therefore it is essential for all firms to develop, implement and protect their positioning strategy to ensure they are considered within their target audience’s decision making process. This is a complex process, but is hugely rewarding if effectively and thoughtfully implemented.

If you want any help with your brands current positioning or with a re-positioning project feel free to book in for a consultation 30 minute FREE consultation today!

 

How does Fifa get us every year?

How does Fifa get us every year?

FIFA is BACKfifa

So, it’s that time of year again and no, I don’t mean autumn. The latest installment of the FIFA computer game series launched last week, FIFA 17. Each and every year they release a new version of the game whereby football fans across the country control their favourite players, and defeat their friends and family members. But, a new version has been released every year since 1993…so how do FIFA create such a buzz around the launch every year?

How do EA do it?

The marketing team at electronic arts, or EA as they are usually known, are an example of a company who truly understand their target audience. This is highlighted by their marketing communications strategy, as they recognise that their target audience is young males aged between 12 and 30.

With this in mind, the large majority of their marketing budget is spent on digital marketing communications, such as social media and digital advertising.

One very smart example of this that the week before FIFA 17 launched there were a number of advertisements across my social media accounts, specifically Facebook and Snapchat. These advertisement were also responsive and enabled the user to click it and if they wished to actually purchase/pre-order the game. Alongside the digital advertisements there was also a television advert which depicted the most novel part of FIFA 17, the ‘journey’ element. These different forms of advertising worked effectively to increase awareness of the launch, but also to create a level of buzz around the newest features.

Influencers

Secondly, one of the most important ways in which they increased the excitement around the launch of FIFA 17, was through the use of influencers. Obviously, for young football lovers there is no better influencer than actual professional footballers and therefore they use their contacts with footballers to help promote the game and the launch in a number of ways. Firstly, about a month before the game is launched the player ratings were released, outlining the level of ability each player will have on the game.

This was used as a key stepping stone to increase buzz around the game through printing some of the player’s cards (see below), getting them to hold them & to be photographed with them.

 

fifacard

These images were then shared across both the FIFA social media and the player’s social media. This is a simple way of influencing consumers through attaching the brand to specific well known influencers. Similarly, closer to the launch many influencers including football players  and music artists ranging from Tinie Tempah to Alex Iwobi, post images and videos across their social media channels showing them actually playing the game. This again increases the buzz, gets people really excited about the launch, and shows them some of the changes to the game, resulting in people purchasing the game.

Co-Creation

Another key way in which they facilitated the anticipation this year, which they have never done before, is through co-creation. This is where the brand interact with their consumers to create a product in which the customers have been involved in the decision making.

This was done this year in relation to the FIFA 17 cover, as they undertook a social media poll whereby fans could vote for the player they wanted to be on the cover.

Ultimately, the German midfielder Marco Reus won, but the importance of this process was they engaged with their consumers long before the game was launched, getting people to begin thinking about the new game and generating that engagement and attachment to the game way before it has launched.

Events

Finally, they actually organised a UK launch for FIFA 17, whereby a number of lucky guest could attend an event at the Olympic Stadium/ London Stadium. A number of famous influencers were invited including Nathanial Clyne, Marcus Rashford and Olly Murs.

At the event fans were invited to play the new game, take photos with the premier league trophy and even create their own FIFA FUT card printed with their picture and statistics, as if they were an actual footballer.

This again increased the anticipation for the game and added credibility to the excitement through the inclusion of a number of famous influencers.

Overall, FIFA truly understand the audience that they are trying to attract and therefore the best ways in which they can engage and influence them. This enables them to create a slightly altered product every single year and still convince almost every young football fan across the UK to part with £40. They market their product extremely well and reap the rewards.