Learning about marketing in these turbulent times

Yee Group Ltd

From recent events, we have all now been reminded that the power of mice and men can have very little meaning.

The unexpected begins to be more like the expected. This can deliver surprising results, which can alter the shape of things. Right now; and well into the future.

Immediate questions might be - Are you prepared? How do you handle the unexpected? And what can we learn that will be of benefit?

My blog takes a look at some of the facts. Sorry, but some of these facts you may find disturbing. They may even challenge your current thinking, particularly with regard to your marketing strategy.

According to the latest research, more than 50% of the population of the UK are users of Facebook. The time that they spend on that particular platform is increasing regularly. It's now over 45 minutes each day.

If your business requires that you operate in a mass-market, you cannot afford to ignore this Social Media platform. However, there are upsides and downsides. You can use Facebook in many ways to market your business. You'll receive plaudits and criticism. How you handle that will become an important part of the way you use the platform in your campaigns.

You may have some initial resistance to investing in Social Media and be surprised at the budgets required, but time will show that you invested wisely.

With all the changes affecting our economy, and our future prospects, competition, winning new sales and building market share are going (unfortunately) to become even more competitive. That’s a fact of life, I am afraid.

Your marketing needs to build an investigative quality that looks for gaps in competitors' strategies. You will need consistent, good quality research that you carry out in the best way to suit your business. You will be focussed on looking to capitalise on your competitors' mistakes.

This is one source of locating a gap which you can fill. Then, you will be in an enhanced position to attract new customers into these gaps that you are about to fill.

However, of course, you are already prepared to fill them. For example, you can be certain that Amazon Prime had ample stocks of all the Prime Sale items sold in mid-July this year. If they had not, that could have been a gap that their competitors would fill next time a major day of sales is held.

When you have found these gaps, you are armed with a 'position' that you can prepare to fill. Then you can use all your media routes to promote them.

Your branding and messaging will remain critical to your marketing activity. They should, no must, remain centre-stage. It sounds pretty obvious, doesn't it? But, I have known of businesses that regularly go off-piste. The results can then be disastrous.

Keeping constant regular and consistent messages are crucial. Don't be tempted to move away from your brand messages nor from what you have determined are the key points to promote. If for example, it is saying that you are "the specialist in your (particular) niche market"; then continue to state that fact.

I am a keen believer that too many buzz words in your customer messages can have a negative effect. Keeping your communications straightforward and to the point is the key. If there are important descriptors in your business and/or your sector, then these should be used to help inform your customers. Effective marketing requires that you understand who you are addressing with your messages. Keep this at the front of your mind at all times to avoid mixing your communications between your different customer’ groups.

Keeping focussed will show your market that you know what you are talking about. That sounds obvious, doesn’t it? But, I know of many examples where this hasn’t been applied.

PR and publicity can work extremely well for you in the current business climate. My advice is to use a ‘personality’ from your business. Use them as a reliable spokesman and promoter on behalf of the company. The ideal person will know all the in’s and the outs of the business; and be able to effectively work with the media. Using your trade magazines, local press and other media can be highly beneficial.

Many businesses continue to use networking as an effective method to develop their sales from introductions and presentations. I have personal experience of discovering new customers from the most unlikely of initial meetings.  My advice is to look for allies in places which you might have otherwise overlooked. You will both be in a good position, assuming it all hangs together, to each endorse the others’ products and services.

Simon Chapman is President of the Burton and District Chamber of Commerce and Managing Director of Yee Group Ltd