6 Ways to Improve Your Marketing Tactics This Year

Find a new type of customer – Chances are you have a pretty good feel for what your customers want, but you might still be missing out on potentially lucrative niches for your products if you haven’t considered how others might use them.  For example, the iPad’s target customer base might be professional thirtysomethings, but that didn’t stop Apple from marketing it to schools as a learning tool.

Live in your customers’ worlds – Have your staff attend the same events as your customers, mingle with them and get to know them.  Don’t have them try to make an immediate sale; instead, encourage them to learn more about what drives your customers.  Doing so will undoubtedly lend insight into how you can better serve them, spur product ideas and establish a loyal customer base.  Be sure they’re  handing out business cards to everyone they meet – after they get to know them.

Research … then take risks – A lot of small business owners I know blindly try new marketing mediums or buy media that THEY use without ever researching how well they perform for their products or services.  Research marketing tools, then make decisions based on their established performance.  You might also discover marketing tools your industry doesn’t use, so you can tap into them without competition.  Don’t be afraid to take risks… just make sure they’re educated risks first.

Outsource – You can’t do it all, but when you outsource to qualified providers you can accomplish more and make more money in less time.  There are many outsourcing guides available; the best advice I can offer is to make sure you select your providers wisely.  Do not waste money in retainers, fees, billable hours, etc. if you don’t have to.  When you have a great provider, you can achieve great things with little risk.

Have fun – Have fun with your new marketing ideas.  Don’t be afraid to brainstorm or to try something no one else has ever done before.  After all, the biggest prizes go to the innovators.

Consistency is king – All of our clients know, from me repeatedly stating this, that The No. 1 thing you need to do with your brand or product is be consistent. This means that your messaging, positioning and look should line up across platforms. It’s not about posting the same thing on each social media platform — it’s more about having everything have a consistent look.

 

2017: An Exciting Time for Research Suppliers and Clients Alike

1)   Marketing spending will continue to move mobile.

As ad spending continues to target Millennial and Centennial consumers, the focus will be on mobile and video – where these generations are plugged in constantly. These types of advertisements require us to rethink current models of ad testing and incorporate newer technology that can track and monitor how the younger generations respond to advertising on mobile devices.

Location-based marketing will likely see a huge increase this year. Consumers, especially younger consumers, have developed the ability to effectively ignore marketing that does not directly apply to them. Successful brands and retailers will incentivize engagement with brands through personalized marketing that catch the consumer in their immediate reality (time and place). Consumers appreciate the personalized touch of location-based coupons and sale announcements. Continuing to understand how consumers use mobile while in stores or while out walking around will be a big focus of experience-based research this year, which leads to our next trend.

2)   Brands will increase efforts to measure the experiencing-self of consumers.

As brands increase efforts to measure the experiencing- self of consumers along with the remembering-self of consumers that has traditionally been measured, integrating the two becomes critical. Research methodologies like monitoring and ethnography need to be paired with data from survey research to better understand the full picture of what is going on with consumers.

3)   The new shopping landscape is “buy anything, anywhere.”

Consumers want immediacy and they want everything custom tailored. Older retail models that don’t buy into anytime anywhere are severely challenged in the new marketplace.

The new three-dimensional structure of buying channels requires a more robust research initiative into the various ways people consume in the “buy anything, anywhere” age. Consumers do price comparisons in stores, and then buy online. Conversely, some consumers decide on purchases online and have groceries delivered or have their goods delivered to their car curbside at Target.

4)   Big data keeps getting bigger.

Storage is cheap; processing is cheap – so cheap in fact that companies are able to house and store massive amounts of data for very little cost. Data collection devices have increased the pace of data creation, IBM estimates 90% of the data in world has been created in the last 2 years. Every transaction, every event imaginable is being logged and recorded. The silos between the data are being destroyed and with the adoption of Hadoop and NoSQL databases, storing, accessing, and combining vast amounts of data while still challenging is a tractable problem.

Big Data represents an enormous challenge for market research, which is historically based on comparably smaller, point of time data sets. While Big Data is certainly a disruptor that the industry is fully aware of, it also represents a tremendous opportunity for researchers to incorporate real insights from huge datasets with a wealth of information. When this information is shared, incorporating this performance data into research initiatives not only provides deeper context, but a more well-rounded story.

5)   As video consumption increases, so does ad spending.

Every statistic about video consumption is on the rise and shows no sign of slowing. YouTube boasts that partner revenue and the number of channels earning six figures on YouTube are up 50% year over year. Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon Prime continue to create compelling content that competes with the traditional networks.

Sure, video is important to consumers, but it’s also key for marketers and advertisers. The Online Publishers Association reports that four of five Internet users recall watching a video ad on a website they visited in the last 30 days. The majority of senior executives state they’d rather watch a video than read written text, according to Forbes Insight. Measuring engagement with video, particularly on mobile devices, is key to understanding its effectiveness on the target audience.

This year looks to be an exciting time for research suppliers and clients alike. As consumers expect a more tailored experience what they watch and how they shop both online and in store, the research providing deep insights into the consumer world will need to be flexible, customizable, and focused on the experiencing-self of customers. Continuing to find new ways to incorporate new technology while creating a cohesive story from a full range of research offerings is now more important than ever.  That’s why we work directly with business owners and their marketing teams to ensure that your business is seen, heard and relevant! 

January Client News

2016 was a great year for Bachman Auto Group!  Steve and Teresa Bachman, along with her son Ryan, and other family members successfully operate Bachman Chevy, Bachman Subaru and Bachman Volkswagen.  (As well as other companies like their Business Elite division.)  bachman-group-logo

If you live in Louisville, you’ve undoubtedly watched Teresa on TV countless times and can probably hear the jingle in your head right now….BACHMAN MAKES THE DIFFERENCE!

There are many factors in the success of their business.  First is the way Steve and Teresa treat their employees.  Many, many of their employees have happily worked at Bachman for more than a decade.  This directly carries over to how the Bachmans, and as importantly, their employees, treat their customers.  Their referral and repeat business is extremely strong and effective.

working-on-tv-adFinally, if you read my e-mails monthly, you know that I always try to incorporate the importance of consistency in advertising.   Bachman Auto Group always ranks #1 in their territories for many reasons, but consistency in their advertising is one very important reason.

Get Employees Involved…

Let employees be your biggest champions and brand advocates.

Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Total cost – $0 

Have fun with selfies at company events. Mock selfies all you want. They’re the most popular form of self-expression on the Internet. Why wouldn’t companies take advantage of that?

Ask employees to write handwritten notes to customers and take photos. Don’t underestimate the power of a handwritten note. We hear that more and more in today’s digital environment. Ask five employees to write one personal note per week to customers. Ask them to send the notes, but also ask them to take photos of their notes, blurring or hiding customer names, and post through your social channels. This way, you share with a wider audience and you also get one-on-one, intimate communication with your customers.

Ask employees to highlight “summer Fridays.” In the summer, many companies offer summer Friday hours. So, why not ask employees to share how they’re using their time away from the office to recharge and refresh? Consider aggregating all this content on your site or regramming through Instagram.

Have Employees on the same page as your advertising messages.

When you are investing money on new incentives, programs, services, etc., make sure your employees are up to date and well informed. For example, if a new product line or pricing features is being advertised and marketed, it is very important to make sure that employees who are actually interacting with customers can answer questions related to the new feature. Whether it’s a new rate on a CD or a new incentive from a car manufacturer, well informed employees can help boost your brand and customer experience.

 

 

Research Roundup: Know What Your Customers Want Before They Do

It is important be able to anticipate future needs of your customers. This will give you a competitive advantage as most of your competitors will only change after reacting to needs customers already have and may be shopping elsewhere to get. Her are a few tips to help you know what your customers want BEFORE they do.

  • Staple yourself to a customer’s order.  Track key customers’ experiences as they traverse your company’s pathways and note where the experience breaks down.  Some hospitals ask interns to experience the check-in process as fake patients. One client asked managers to listen in on its call center. If you can’t exactly put yourself through a customer experience, try role-playing exercises at all points of the customer’s experience with your company.
  • Field diverse customer teams.  One bank added members of the back-office support group to its customer team, supplementing the usual customer-facing roles. IBM sends senior teams from different disciplines into the field to meet customers and develop a deep understanding of how to serve them better.
  • Learn together with customers. GE invited its top customers in China, along with local executives and account managers, to a seminar on leadership and innovation. Doing so not only helped GE executives better understand the mindset of Chinese counterparts; it also helped them to influence that mindset.
  • Lean forward and anticipate.  Focus on what customers will want tomorrow, as Steve Jobs and Richard Branson did so exquisitely.  Try to envision different futures through tools like scenario planning and then explore how underlying market shifts may affect your customers.

Remember that sometimes you need to get out of your own way to really understand your customers. Psychologists know, for example, that you’re likely to listen for problems that fit your own offerings, and to discount others. That can cause you to miss important opportunities, or to get blindsided later.

So, try to listen with a third ear, as an anthropologist would, to what your customers are saying to you.  If you can truly hear them, they’ll tell you all you need to know.