We like to share our thoughts on matters relating to the integrated marketing services we offer – including marketing strategy, corporate branding, marketing communications, website design and development, digital marketing (search engine optimisation, digital advertising, social media marketing, content marketing, email marketing and marketing automation), and non-digital marketing (advertising, direct marketing, sales promotion, event marketing, public relations and corporate incentives).
It’s a natural time of the year to create plans and to take a broader look at the factors that are likely to affect our businesses in the coming year. In this piece, we set out some of the likely marketing trends in 2018 that either will or could – and in many cases, should – fundamentally change how marketing is delivered. To this end, we have trawled the internet to see what a wide variety of marketing experts across the globe are predicting to be the most disruptive influences in the coming year.
Bow tie marketing – For many years, the idea of the sales funnel (or sales pipeline) has been accepted as a core principle in formulating successful marketing strategies. But, whilst it is a valuable concept in itself, it fails to cover the full scope and nature of the most valuable interactions between a business and its customers. The approach is primarily focused at considering how new customers are acquired, without any recognition of the fact that business from existing customers is typically substantially more valuable, and invariably significantly less expensive – according to many industry experts by a multiple of seven to ten.
We often get asked, “What is customer segmentation….?” alongside the follow-up question, “… and why do we need it?”.
Well, the key to successful marketing lies in understanding who your customers are and what makes them tick. It sounds obvious, but it is worth stating that the more you know about your customers, the deeper and more durable your relationship is likely to be with them. But, given the millions of people in the UK who could potentially be customers of yours (not to mention the billions in the world beyond), how is this achieved? Therefore, understanding customer segmentation is vital.
Marketing automation is vital for any business. If you’re considering growth and expansion, as most organisations are, you need a marketing plan that helps you to grow your bottom line. So, it is imperative to create marketing strategies to attract potential customers. To attract new customers, it is helpful to reach out to them at multiple points during the sales cycle – to gauge their interest, to nurture their curiosity, to peak their desire, and to encourage them to convert. The AIDA model springs to mind (Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action) when considering this process.
There are very few organisations that would not benefit from being active in social media marketing strategy – and that includes start-ups and SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises), to whom this article is predominantly aimed. There is no one-size fits all solution when it comes to any form of marketing activity. Different companies have unique needs, and what is right for one, might be wrong for another. Getting the strategy right is, therefore, key. We must always remember that a digital marketing strategy forms part of an overall sales and marketing plan that works in conjunction with the strategic and creative brand proposition to deliver the financial objectives outlined in the business plan. This relationship cannot be stressed enough. All elements ought to be clearly aligned to ensure that an authentic strategy is created.
Corporate branding adds long-term book value and profitability to an organisation. This is because it is the first essential step in the process of creating a credible and professional shop window for its products and services. It can also help to ensure that staff are engaged and that they feel empowered to deliver a better and more coherent experience to customers. It ensures that prospects are handled in a consistent way at every single touch point in the sales pipeline process. It improves the likelihood that the staff selection process will lead to the recruitment of people with resonant values and views.
It is probably a truism to state that a significant percentage of companies cut corners when it comes to writing copy for their website and their other sales and marketing materials – e.g. company brochures, product leaflets and corporate presentations – not to mention their direct marketing and advertising campaigns. The reason why is obvious. Everyone can write, right? Then why spend extra money investing in someone else to do your copywriting for you? You can save all that time, money and effort by doing it all internally. The trouble is, however, that although we can all write, we cannot all write well.
We create different types of marketing plans for a wide variety of clients, from start-up businesses and SMEs (small- and medium-sized enterprises) all the way through to blue chip organisations. Our clients operate within both the private and not-for-profit sectors. They work within a wide variety of industry sectors and in both B2B and B2C marketplaces (as well as within more complicated distribution and sales channels).
The Entrepreneur website defines a strategic brand proposition as “The marketing practice of creating a name, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a product from other products.” Which is, of course true, this only tells half the brand story – the visual or creative part. To us, a strategic brand proposition is just as important. It defines the culture and personality of a business, congruent with its vision and values. It is the expression of its virtues and views in the way it delivers work for its customers. It must fit in with the overall marketing strategy and business plan.
Our content marketing agency uses the creation of various forms of customer communications, the overall purpose of which is to increase sales and profits. Typical forms of content include blogs, white papers, webinars, newsletters, infographics, and videos.