The Marketing Cycle

For many, many centuries marketing has been in practice. It is highly effective and yet there are still many companies who do not follow its guidelines. Contrary to widespread belief, marketing has a lot more to it than colourful prints and payoff lines. Marketing is important, crucial actually, as it focuses on product, prices, and sales. For your business to succeed you should understand how marketing works. There are a few things you should most definitely want to know:

  • How to generate the most leads
  • How to increase revenue
  • How to expand to new markets
  • In the next few weeks we will highlight all that is needed to know and learn about starting your own marketing campaign and maybe even be the catalyst for deeper research.

What is the industrial buying cycle?

The industrial buying cycle is the starting point, be prepared for a lengthy and complicated journey. This is a six-step process can be challenging and your potential customers can fall in at any stage during the progression. Make it your priority to meet them where they are and gently guide them to their decisions. It is also important to know what the six steps are and where your client might be, these steps include:

  • Realising they need or want a product or service
  • They then go about gathering more information on ways to satisfy this need or want
  • Potential suppliers are evaluated and who can best provide a solution
  • A shortlist of suppliers is made
  • The buyer purchases from the supplier they have chosen and match most criteria.
  • The buyer then reassesses their decision after their purchase.

There are obviously more steps in the buying process, but these are the main ones. If you think smart you can reach a buyer at any step in the cycle and prove yourself. These days there are many ways a buyer does their research and makes their decisions. The following could make or break you:

  • Word of mouth
  • The layout of your website and how easily it can be found (concentrate on SEO’s)
  • Your presence in the market
  • How strong is your brand? (jingles are annoying, but they stick in your head)
  • Your past sales or services, the quality of your workmanship, after sales service, longevity of your products
  • Your environmental and socioeconomic status
  • And social media, perhaps the youngest, but the most dangerous or the best advertising

Just a few things to think about

Sit down and consider the above article, let it sink in. It makes sense if you use yourself as an example. What process do you follow when your lawn mower breaks? Do you open the yellow pages and go to the place at the top of the page? I should hope not. Do not underestimate your potential buyers, they make sure they are well informed before making decisions.

Psychology and Marketing

A big part of marketing is understanding your consumers and their behaviour. Once you have dissected the market and determined precisely who you are targeting, you can begin to understand them.

Considering two friends, the more time they spend with each other, the better they understand each other. Often you know what your husband is going to say before he says it. Or you recognise a look your mom gives you, and only you. So too, should a marketing team get to know their customers, this is where psychology comes in. You need to think as they would, put yourselves in their shoes. Every decision you make from here on could make or break your product.

The next steps

Once you know as much as there is to know about your target market, you can start making decisions. Ask your team questions such as:

  • Where will our product be placed on the shelves?
  • What shops will carry our product?
  • What packaging; colour, material, cost-effectiveness, eco-friendly?
  • Does our target market listen to the radio, or watch tv, or are they into social media?
  • Is our product fulfilling a need or a want in the hearts of our consumers?
  • Does the sale price fit in neatly into their income bracket?

You can see why it is essential to do your market research properly. Even the colour you choose for the packaging could make such a significant difference. For a simple example of how different people view different colours take a look at the traditional white wedding dress. In India, white is worn to a funeral and red is the chosen colour for a wedding dress. Without proper research, you can easily insult those who you are trying to target.

Phase your Pitch to be Appealing

Simply rearranging your words to be more appealing is a smart method of convincing consumers to buy your products. With sales, remember, people, think in percentages, rather than numbers. If you are planning to have a deal on an expensive item with only a 10% discount, consider putting that discount on a less costly item.

This means the company will be losing out on the same amount but generating more sales. Consider an item of $250 with a 10% discount; this is equivalent to a $25 loss for the company. However, if you take a $50 item, give it the same monetary value discount, it is more appealing as a 50% discount to the consumer.

Appeal to the senses

  • Sight – make everything visually appealing, use the same images in print, video, and packaging.
  • Sound – creating your jingle always proves successful at keeping your brand in the minds of your consumers.

There are many ways to use psychology effectively in marketing. It may be well worth adding someone with a psychology background to your team. It can be hard to think like others, and the people with the correct training will be able to do this easily.

Connect the Team with Slack

There are so many ways to keep in touch with the team these days. You can chat on Gmail, Skype, Whatsapp and much more. However, all of these platforms seem to focus more on communicating than sharing information. Sure, you can send a file on Skype and all the rest, but what if you could connect your Google Drive or Dropbox? Slack is undoubtedly an upgrade when it comes to organizing and getting the team up to speed on the latest movements. It includes a stack of excellent features that makes it quick and easy to share valuable information, changes and whatever else you need the team to know without having to message each of them to CC and BCC everyone in an email.

Unlike the great organizing platforms such as Asana and Trello, Slack is more of a communication platform that adds more benefits than the standard ones. It comes with a range of overlaying features. These are there to make things much more comfortable and get sharing and up to date a lot faster. It’s available as an in-browser service or as a downloadable program, which is both 100% free. However, are there some additional benefits you might like for a small monthly fee.

What Makes it Great

Slack is an online messaging system that’s available on just about all platforms. This includes Windows and Mac. Members even have the option of downloading an app on smartphones and tablets, including both iOS and Android. From the moment you sign up, the possibilities are yours to choose from. Set up multiple groups and adjust levels for members. This makes it possible to share information with the team, but only to those on an individual level.

It even includes a community tread, which is an addition to the private chat section. The community tread is excellent for everyone to share things or give the entire team an update. Furthermore, it also includes direct messaging between members. This allows for private chats, which the system saves for easy referrals later on. You can search for specific details in conversations, edit your messages after sending and even instantly share files from your PC by dragging and dropping.

The biggest and best part of Slack is the fact that you can apply various integrations to your team. This is where the service becomes a shining star and a great benefit to the side. It makes it possible to link online storage and organizing platforms, including Dropbox, Asana, Trello, and so many more. The list continuously grows as more and more third-party programs become available. Not only does Slack appear as the ideal professional tool to keep the team up to date, but it also offers added features to make it your own. The service lets you add new emojis, change profile pictures and much more.

What is B2B Marketing?

To fully understand what b2b marketing is, we need to understand marketing in general. So, let’s start there. A considerably basic definition of marketing is a process including advertising and market research, to promote an entity’s products or the services they render. Sounds pretty simple, right? Well, there is a lot that goes into marketing. If the research is done incorrectly, you could spend every last dime and fail drastically.

It is of utmost importance to find a gap in the market. If you are going to be supplying a product or service that is readily available, you need to have at least one identifiable characteristic. Something that makes what you are offering different to what is out there. If your focus is on a more cost-effective product, you need to make sure you can keep up with that promise, the last thing you want to do is get into a price war.

Market Analysis

This is the most crucial step in the entire process. Get to know your product or service, from there you need to figure out who your target market is. Your whole advertising plan will spin-off from this. The questions that you should be able to answer once you have completed your market analysis are:

Who are my competitors?

  • What makes my product stand out?
  • Who will buy my product or use my services? (this question will be further broken down when it comes to your advertising plan)
  • How does the Public see you? (Market Research)

To know where you stand in your consumer’s eyes, you will have to present them with surveys to complete. It is hard to convince someone to spend their precious time answering seemingly unnecessary and sometimes invasive questions. So, be creative and turn it into a lucky draw or any competition to make them want to answer openly and honestly.

Advertising Plan

If you have set up a well thought out survey and completed a thorough analysis of the market, your advertising plan should be a breeze. You should be able to answer questions like:

Who is my target audience?

  • What are their demographics? (age, gender, marital status, income bracket, location etc.)
  • How will my advert reach them and leave my product or service resonating in their minds?

Ok, so, what is B2B Marketing?

All of the topics mentioned above fall under marketing, along with many more elements. It will take a well-organised team to set up a marketing and advertising plan. Business to business marketing is the same as any other marketing, except your target market is another business. Whether you are offering them a product or service that they can use within their organisation, resell your products, or even use them in their offerings, these organisations are your target. The way you market and advertise to a business or organisation is quite different from the way you sell to an individual. Keep that in mind, when setting up your b2b marketing plan.

How to market your business through LinkedIn

Last week we inspected Yelp and looked at how it could help boost your company’s standing amongst other companies. The week before we dissected Trello, this week we will put LinkedIn under the magnifying glass. Using these, and similar, applications in intelligent and creative ways could get your company’s name out there, on the lips of your consumers, other businesses.

The advantage of researching marketing applications could mean doing almost precisely what big marketing firms would have done for you, but at half the price. I would, however, suggest you consult an agency or someone who has studied in this field as there is quite a bit of psychology in marketing. But that is a whole other article.

LinkedIn

Many companies consider LinkedIn one of the smartest ways to market yourself and your business. It is incredibly useful and should play a lead role in your marketing plan. To start, work through your network, increase the links and jot down a list of potential contacts for your community. LinkedIn is an excellent promotional tool, and you should build and use a LinkedIn profile for the benefit of your company.

Business pages on LinkedIn

Like with Facebook, there is a way to create a page for your business. As we mentioned with Yelp, it is of utmost importance to include as many, truthful, details as possible on your LinkedIn profile. Your target market will never know if you have what they are looking for if you do not list all your products and services.

For example, a promotional goods company, do they print on mugs and etch on glass? Does one have to order in bulk, or is there an individual option too? When it comes to engraving, can the customer pay a bulk price if every name engraved is different? These are the things consumers ask, and if they can’t find the information online, they will quickly move along. It will be extremely beneficial to you if your employees also have LinkedIn profiles, so encourage that.

Compulsory details include

  • A description of your business
  • The company’s logo
  • The number of people your company employs
  • What industry you are in
  • Where you are located
  • Your web page URL
  • Remember your SEO’s

SEO’s or search engine optimization is the process of increasing the traffic to your page by using trigger words that make your site stand out in search engines. Think of keywords you would use if you were looking for your company through Google, as many as you can. Then incorporate them into your site description or information as smoothly as possible. The more popular word you use, the more chance you have of your company popping up as an answer to a search request. Hey, add a trending hashtag or two, it all helps with the popularity of your site.