Mix It Up: Marketing Methods That Work
You absolutely KNOW the world needs what you’re selling and consumers will jump at it once they realise two things:
- Its awesomeness
- Its differentiating characteristic(s)
What you’re after for your business, product or service is called in marketing jargon the unique selling proposition or USP. It answers the “why” consumers always ask when presented with, “you need this.” The USP exhibits the niche filled, and that is the essential element to marketing that works.
Effective USPs are often communicated to the public through ads and slogans.
Volkswagen used the slogan “Think Small” to announce the Beetle. The phrase promoted the USP that the Beetle was cute, easy on gas and the perfect car for parking in tight spots in the city.
Burger King (Hungry Jack’s) once had a slogan, “Have it your way,” and an associated jingle that went, “Hold the pickles, hold the lettuce, special orders don’t upset us. All we ask is that you let us serve it your way.” The USP was that Burger King assembled every hamburger after it was ordered, so customising sandwiches was its forte and wouldn’t lead to a longer wait.
Recently, Uber changed its tagline from “Everyone’s private driver” to “Get there.” The original was a fantastic USP; the new motto is simply a slogan.
Answering the Question with a Winning Marketing Mix
Marketing guru Katherine Arline, a contributor to Business News Daily, points the way to successful communication of the USP. She writes, “It isn’t good enough for business owners to know what sets them and their products or services apart from competitors, however. A business must also convey those reasons to consumers, so they understand why spending their money with the new service or business, instead of with an established product or brand, is a good decision.”
There are many ways to convey your USP, and a blend of methods known as a marketing mix gets the message in front of the most people.
Paid ads: Did you know that GoPro, maker of high-definition personal cameras, became a billion-dollar brand without paid advertising? There are a few other giants that did this, but they are the exceptions that prove the rule.
Most brands need a paid boost to gain attention. Where you place the advertising depends on who you want to reach and where they are – online, driving past billboards, reading newspapers and trade journals, scanning magazines, listening to the radio and/or watching TV. Mega-brands like Nike, Apple, Coca-Cola, Toyota and Samsung all put tremendous resources into paid advertising. It’s likely you’ll have to spend money here too.
Social media and a blog: Creative use of social media platforms connects you with potential customers and gives them value such as helpful information, coupons and discounts. When your readers follow, like or share, they become unpaid yet enthusiastic promoters of your company! Social media is also a key component of direct sales using the lists generated through your contacts and giveaways.
Promotional give-aways and corporate gifts: It doesn’t take a PhD in marketing to know that everyone likes to get something for free. When that object enriches the recipient’s life in a small or large way, the mental imprint is lasting, and the provider will be rewarded. No matter what your budget is, you’ll find promotional items and corporate gifts to fit it. Here are a few examples that span the price spectrum:
- Businesses hand out pens emblazoned with their logo and information, a tried and true promotional gift idea
- Visitors to Disney World in Florida are being given free insect repellant to counteract concerns about the Zika virus
- Beach-front shops selling clothing, jewelry and non-food items give away bottles of cold water or small bottles of sunscreen with their information on them to shoppers heading out into the sun and heat
- Shops loan branded umbrellas to customers caught in the rain without one, an appreciated gesture which also nearly guarantees the customer will come in again soon to return the umbrella
- Digital marketing agency Firebrand Group sends clients an assortment of candy from around the world, creating new taste experiences for the recipients
- A Chicago ad firm sends bottles of California wine to clients accompanied by a smart tag containing a personal “thank you for your business” video the recipient can watch on a smartphone
Attentive customer service: Taking good care of customers who have questions, problems or want to return what they’ve bought is excellent marketing for your next sale.
Price: Pricing goods and services is a science that considers what it costs to make or deliver the good or service, what competitors are charging, how much you’ll spend promoting it, whether you want to compete for the low-cost market or the upscale niche and other factors.
Marketing Mix Trial, Error and Success
Put together a marketing mix you believe makes sense for your brand and who you want to reach. Adjust the mix based on what is working and what isn’t. Becoming a customer of a proven marketing agency or promotions company makes sense because you’ll have the wisdom and experience of professionals to rely on. There are few marketing geniuses, and those that have achieved such lofty heights got there through trial and error. That’s how you’ll become successful too.