Marketers often mistakenly act as if their plans exist in a vacuum and that they have the consumer’s undivided interest and attention without interference or competition. Nothing could be farther from the truth, or more dangerous to a company or marketing goal. Consumers are so saturated that they are actively avoiding ads and other brand messaging. In this often chaotic and noisy consumer marketplace success requires a certain amount of creativity, planning and preparation with a realistic and proactive approach to nurturing customers and prospective customers.
Planning for a Crowded Marketplace
- In bidding environments, there is a direct cost impact from the competition. Before you go head to head with competitors for bid based media placements or exposure make sure you have a compelling reason for a consumer to choose you. Otherwise you will end up in a race to zero margins and the brand with the deepest pockets can ultimately remove you from the field. Know the value of a new or return customer to make rational decisions about how much you can afford to spend.
- Look for potential partners — sometimes in unexpected places. Partners in cooperative marketing efforts can not only stretch your budgets and lend credibility but they can also open new windows of visibility to new consumers and add effective data layers to enhance targeting. There is an interesting recent Criteo study linking shopper marketing to brand marketing in an effort to create efficiencies and synergies in reaching consumers looking for brands and the retail partners who sell those brands.
- Spend wisely on distinctive messaging and content. Creative messaging, ads and other content has to stand out within the current environment to gather any attention. If you plan ahead you may be able to repurpose or cross utilize some assets.
- Factor in seasonality and any competitive response to make the most of any offers or promotions — avoiding, if you can in your space, training consumers to wait for the inevitable promotion. Instead, work on enhancing your brand value to weight consumer choice in your favor.
- Make sure any media investment has enough weight to have impact. Don’t have a nickel in each of 10 baskets unless each nickel can work hard enough to be worth the trouble and overhead.
- Don’t treat all customers like they are the same. Use your data points and segmentation data to understand customer preferences and triggers.
Executing a Smart Plan in a Crowded Marketplace
- Rev up and cool down budget and effort levels according to when they will return the most for you in the long run. You don’t have to have a consistent presence in all channels at all times. Make sure your marketing mix is working to your advantage by testing different weights and inclusions.
- Check and optimize regularly. Don’t be too stuck to your original plan if the winds of change or news or competition blow you off course. Nimble is a virtue in today’s environment.
- Make sure you gather critical consumer info while you are trying to stimulate interest and conversion. Those data points should be used to continue and direct the conversation.
- Watch your frequency. There is a sweet spot you are aiming for that will vary with a thousand variables including intent, offer, seasonality, depth of consumer info and relationship. Use the appropriate tools and rules so you can streamline and customize the process.
- Don’t underestimate, under fund or forget about traditional channels. Your customers are receiving ad and brand impressions all through their day.
- Use your analytics as a decision tool, not just a reporting tool, to make sure that you are continually improving results and efficiency.
- Pay more attention to your current customers. The upsell, cross-sell and additional sales from current customers should be a priority goal to build your business and will be a direct outcome of treating those customers like the gold that they are.
- Don’t forget to ask and incentivize customers to talk you up. This can be as simple as reminding or rewarding your customers with a direct ask to “tell their friends” or as sophisticated as an influencer marketing campaign.
It’s really quite simple and at the same time extraordinarily hard to stand out in this teeming media and marketing environment. Be very good at what you do and what you offer and deliver a smart and disciplined marketing plan. No problem.
What tips do you have to stand out in the crowd?