Sooner or later there will be a time where you hit a brick wall. Perhaps you are new to the playing field and have recently set up your business and find yourself preparing for the launch of a new product.  This is a very crucial time as an effective marketing strategy could be the difference between success and failure.

According to marketing experts if you want to succeed you need to look at ways to pitch your business, remember your target audience and constantly review the competition. But are you missing a trick when it comes to marketing? Here are five tips to help you on your way to achieving marketing greatness…

  • Work on your branding

Branding could make or break your business. It can take a significant amount of time to perfect memorable slogans and logos so be patient and keep working at it. During the brainstorming process ask yourself the following-

1) What will appeal to customers about the company?

2) What does the brand represent?

3) Why will customers want to buy from the business?

Don’t under estimate the importance of taking the time to ensure that your logo, slogan and other marketing materials are consistent and recognisable to the target audience. Pay attention to colour schemes and think about what certain colours connote and represent.  Once you come up with a few ideas test them out and conduct surveys to ask your target audience for feedback before rushing into a grand launch.

  • Stress the benefits

Sometimes businesses are so focused on promoting a product and maximising sales that they forget to communicate the true value of the product. Everyone knows good marketing is all about identifying what customers want from a product or service, how it’s branded and analysing it against what competitors are offering. I’ve always found it’s worth going a step further and ensuring that you avoid the common pitfall of communicating the features instead of the benefits. A classic example is, ‘A gold gym membership will entitle you to a one hour induction package and full use of the facilities’.  Here the feature is accessibility to gym facilities. But from the customer’s perspective is the benefit made obvious? The golden rule is to flip the advert over and highlight the benefit. For instance –  ‘A gold gym membership will entitle you to an induction package worth £50 and full use of the facilities, which will help improve your fitness and wellbeing, and contribute to leading a healthy lifestyle’.  Everyone likes the idea of having something for free – here it’s the £50 induction package which is included in the deal. By including the information about improved fitness and a healthy lifestyle customers can identify how the service will benefit them.

  • Build a solid customer base

Building up a positive relationship with customers is essential. Don’t do anything that may jeopardise your reputation by telling lies or exaggerating about your products or services. Customers appreciate honesty and like to feel valued so remember to communicate with them. It can help to connect to them on social media and start conversations about their customer experience or encourage them to sign up to receive weekly offers and send them updates about your business. Consider loyalty schemes and promotional offers to help drive sales.

  • Competitive sales strategy

Invest the time in boosting your credibility and focus on having the edge over competitors by boasting about your success. A good way to do this is to put together case studies and testimonials from clients who have used your products. Consider ways of promoting this, whether it’s on your website, via social media or on your blog. You may want to expand your horizons and turn this into a success story for the press.

  • Keep your friends close and your competitors closer

A competitor analysis is a very important tool in terms of becoming commercially aware of who your competitors are. It helps to put things into perspective and may help you to identify scope for progression and identify potential competitors or future partnerships. A simple way to conduct a competitor analysis can be done by:

  1. Defining the nature and scope of your business and industry
  2. Identifying who your competitors are and what they can offer
  3. Outlining who your customers are and what benefits you can offer them
  4. Identifying the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors
  5. Ranking each of your competitors on a scale determined by key success factors

For more information, broaden your marketing knowledge or access resources visit The Chartered Institute of Marketing website.