Every business needs to market their product. But not every business remembers that marketing communications (often shortened to marcomms) is about using different styles to meet the needs of different customers, whilst retaining brand recognition.
But many businesses fail at this first, simple hurdle. Because one approach will not suit all your customers, marketing communications needs to be tailored to different demographic groups. You might feel this will take up too much time and money, but without properly targeting customers, you’ll waste a huge chunk of your budget on communicating with the wrong people.
So how does a small business with a tight budget reach out to all the different customers, whether they are selling business to business or business to consumer?
Who are your customers?
Whether you are a high-end boutique selling designer clothes in Abu Dhabi’s Marina Mall, or an IT company in Dubai’s Al Quoz, you wouldn’t use your budget sending direct mailings to every resident and business in the UAE.
Most business owners have a fairly broad idea of who their customers are, but without finding out in detail, a chunk of your marketing efforts are likely to be targeted at the wrong audience.
To find out more about the type of customer you currently attract, and want to attract, methods range from these below. All these methods allow you to ask for people’s contact details, giving you the ability to geo-target your marcomms strategy:
- Offer free samples of your product(s), or a free trial period of your services
- Start a refer a friend scheme, where current customers are encouraged to refer a friend in exchange for a discount voucher
- Attend trade shows where you show new customers what you do and ask for their details to send out further information
- Competitions attract new customers who may not otherwise try your services
Once you have a clearer idea of who your customers are, and how to best to connect with them, it’s time to communicate your marketing message in a way that’s most likely to engage them.
The majority of people will respond better if they read about your product or services through a third party, for example in the press or an online review. This develops credibility in people’s minds, because if a respected news source likes your product, potential customers are more likely to try it out.
For example, to establish this trust the owner of the high-end boutique will want to build relationships with the local media: newspapers, lifestyle magazines, and fashion bloggers. Depending on where the IT company wishes to export it’s knowledge to, it would develop both local and international media links.
Yet, however important media reviews are, they are only part of the marketing mix. Once you’ve established who your customers are, you have to integrate your marketing communications into your overall marketing plan and make a firm budget, broken down into different segments such as the following:
- Advertising spend
- Promotional product spend
- Cost of prizes
- Mailshot costs
- Email shot costs
- Website build/maintenance
- In-store promotional material costs
- Exhibition stand costs
- Building media contacts
This plan will be based on how effectively your customer base will respond to the different strands and will help you spend your budget wisely.