Have you ever just stared at an aisle in a mass retailer overwhelmed by the proliferation of products? We all have our “go to” brands but especially when purchasing your first product in a new category, it can be daunting.
What packaging stands out? Do you have a coupon? Is there at-shelf literature to read? On and on. No offense to the buyer but trust me, getting a product to shelf and vying for your purchase, that is an equally daunting task. In today’s market of choice, choice, choice, product marketers have a difficult task to not just get on the retailers’ shelf, they want to get on your mental brand shelf. That’s called brand positioning. We can only hold so many brands in our heads for various categories – cars, beverages, hotels, etc.
I digress – back to that aisle in Target. So what tactics, beyond packaging, are going to get someone to pull a new product off the shelf and try it? Or keep my current customer happy and not pull down the “NEW” product one shelf below?
Based on research and my own experience in this field, here are the best marketing tactics to implement. That is, methods that seem to have the most impact – there are a dozen more out there but their effectiveness is perceived as low in creating action by a customer.
- At-shelf display and coupons
- In-store event with sampling
- Online coupon on retailer website (code by retailer for tracking)
- Include a QR code on your packaging or literature that leads to your website’s coupon and mailing list signup. Then, send monthly personalized emails out to customers.
If you work with a retailer to create events, be sure you invest in online promoting of the events including the retailer’s website and newsletters. Also remember the power of earned media – keep public relations in the mix too.
What if everyone you told about your business came to fall in love with it? You would be unstoppable, yes? Vacations in exotic locales. Lucrative speaking engagements lined up for months. And a waiting list for your goods.
So how do you get people to fall in love with your brand? You need to make them believe. Believe in the quality of your product. Believe in your company’s stability and reliability. Believe in you and your organization’s leadership.
It’s not a small task. It’s big work. And I believe it’s what great marketing communications does.
The first step in creating believers is figuring out who they are in your world. I’ve identified ten:
1. Employees Ever encountered poor customer service or a rude waitress before? Did you end up going back? Maybe relunctantly so you understand the power employees have in people perceiving your brand. Identify your employees that have the most engagement with customers keep them positive. empower all of your employees with knowledge about your product and offerings so they can feel engaged and fully support your selling efforts.
2. Partners & Investors Business partners can be involved at various points with customers. Ensuring the interaction with your business partners is consistent with your brand requires constant management and monitoring.
3. Strategic Partners & Vendors Company A says “thank you” by providing a coupon to Company B. The service at Company B is disappointing and the quality of product was poor. Do you think this affects Company A? You bet it does.
4. Existing Clients Word of mouth, word of mouth, word of mouth. always provide the best service and quality product you can. Apologize if it’s not.
5. Media There’s a reason the term “media darling” exists. Does it always seem like the same businesses in your area are quoted in the papers as experts? It’s because they’ve introduced their businesses and made themselves readily available to local reporters. Even if you can’t afford print advertising, you can afford to reach out and introduce your business to local reporters covering your industry.
6. Community Organizations People love companies who volunteer and get involved in the community. From sponsoring a local youth team to a day of picking up litter, get your logo out there and do some good at the same time.
7. Professional Organizations & Industry Experts From conferences and lectures to media appearances and interviews, networking is a great way to get yourself known and on the minds of influencers in your industry.
8. Potential Employees Ask Apple, Starbucks, Gucci and may others how it feels to have people dying to work for them.
9. Potential Customers Even if they cannot buy from you today, does not mean a business may not purchase next month or recommend you to someone else. Keep communication going with these prospects.
10. Potential Investors Maybe you don’t need them now but if rapid expansion is ever needed, this group won’t need a long upsell to invest in your company. They also can help influence prospective customers.
As the end of year draws to a close, there are a few blog post topics that are always popular and well-received by prospective audiences.
Be a little transparent and personal in your posts, it adds to the authentic voice and clients feeling they are truly learning about the people behind “the company name.”
- What holiday traditions are important to you?
- Share your best holiday recipe.
- What you have accomplished in 2017?
- What lessons you have learned in 2017?
- Share some highs and lows of 2017.
- Have a holiday party – no matter how small or big, it’s a great photo-sharing or video opportunity.
- Will your company or you be doing something with a cause or charity – explain.
- What are your business goals for 2018?
Love to hear how this worked for you!
Every now and then I need to remind myself of one very helpful thing:
You do not have to be on every social media site.
And neither do you. Yes, I receive all the research and new things pop into my in-box or twitter feed about this platform and its reach, etc.
But the truth is that an effective social media presence is a matter of quality and consistency over spread.
Just like physical products – we as consumers would prefer you make one awesome product then ten so-so, half-attended to items.
So relax in your holiday marketing outreach and 2018 planning. Pick 2-3 social media platforms to consistently share and develop rapport with current and prospective customers.
We don’t have to be everywhere. But let’s make where we are great.
Need a little help with your social media management? Email firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a FREE initial consultation.