Debbie Szwast | November 06, 2013 | Stevens & Tate
In the past few years, the retail marketplace has changed significantly. New technologies are impacting consumers’ attitudes and purchasing decisions. To stay successful, businesses need to evaluate and update their marketing strategies, programs and processes on a consistent basis. As the new year approaches is an opportune time to do so.
Stevens & Tate released a white paper discussing 13 key marketing initiatives to improve success. Below are a few items you can start focusing on today to make an impact in the upcoming year.
1. Media Plans and Strategies
The media landscape is constantly changing—new technologies and trends are emerging rapidly and existing platforms continue to evolve. This is providing new opportunities to market to your target audience. To reach today’s consumers, create a strategy that not only reaches them where they are looking, but also addresses what stage they are in the buying cycle.
Remember that media planning is not one size fits all. Develop your media strategy around your core audience, focusing on mediums where they are most engaged. However, don’t overlook the value of creating integrated campaigns with related messages across multiple platforms. This allows you to significantly increase your reach and frequency to build awareness, interest and interaction among those who matter most.
2. Website Functionality and Content
Your website is the backbone of your company—it should reinforce your brand and illustrate the image you want to portray. Content and functionality are the two main areas that influence how people view your website.
First and foremost, the overall design of your website must appeal to your target audience. Things to consider when developing a professional website design include incorporating well-defined links and tools that are useful for the viewer, as well as evaluating how long pages take to load, how long they are, and the overall feel of the site. Pages that look cluttered, have excessive copy or are poorly organized are turn-offs. If your readers cannot find the information they are looking for quickly, they will leave your website…and often find one that is more user friendly.
Also—stay current and relevant. How easy is it for someone to find information on your website? Is vital content buried or does it visually stand out? And don’t overlook the importance of social media on today’s sites. Make sure links to your social pages are easy to find so consumers can share information. Display your contact information prominently so viewers can reach you in a variety of ways—email, phone, text, live chat, to name a few. Keeping visitors engaged helps to keep them coming back.
3. Direct Marketing
In today’s fast-moving society, many marketers have moved toward online vehicles to stay connected with their audience. Email outreach is the ideal vehicle for creating a series of messages that build on each other or are triggered by
specific actions. For example, you can send newsletters to reinforce your brand’s competitive advantages and pass on valuable content, then follow up with promotional emails to encourage people to take action. Emails can educate, entertain, entice, and nurture.
However, don’t rule out direct marketing, which can be a smart addition to your marketing mix to reinforce your brand, keep you top of mind, and encourage action. A professionally designed piece can build interest and awareness, educate key details of your brand, and support other outreach efforts. To really capture someone’s attention, consider creating a memorable stand-alone piece. It’s true, direct mail still has value—according to recent research, direct mail has the highest rate of gaining new customers when compared to other marketing endeavors.
Everything changes…the economy, consumer attitudes and purchasing behavior, media channels and technologies, and products and services. Each of these changes provides you with a reason to evaluate and update your business’s marketing strategy. Remember—with great change, comes great opportunity.