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From 'More Marketing' To 'Better Marketing'
It is important for marketers to think about quality of their marketing efforts rather than quantity
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World is changing faster than ever, new technologies are changing business models, number and types of competitors are increasing, customers' expectations are increasing and their attention spans are reducing. In such a tough environment, to increase market shares of their brands, many marketers follow practice of 'more marketing' where in they launch a series of discrete initiatives. They invest in redesigning logos, hiring new advertising agencies, redoing brochures, creating new billboards, giving more discounts and free gifts, hiring celebrities, running TV commercials, reducing price, increasing products availability, organizing multiple events, launching new mobile apps, calling prospects, sending multiple SMS and so on. They don't think deeply about how these initiatives fit together, or how they jointly add value to customers' experiences.
All these efforts of 'more marketing' are only a small part of marketing strategy. They could create awareness among target audience, but they can't create the perceptions about a company, its brands and products. Sometimes, they may achieve short term numbers, but they can't sustain the long term demand of products and services of a company. Moreover, when everybody tries to do 'more marketing', market gets overcrowded with marketing messages and channels to gain customers' attention get chocked.
It is important for marketers to think about quality of their marketing efforts rather than quantity. 'Better marketing' resembles quality over 'more marketing' that resembles quantity. 'Better marketing' takes a whole company approach towards brand experience that eventually creates the right perception. It means having a common language for brand's experience and a shared understanding of the goal across the organization. It focuses on building and sustaining relationships of a brand with the key players in ecosystem such as employees, customers, industry analysts, influencers, prospects, consultants, vendors, partners, retailers, professors and journalists.
Every player in the ecosystem influences other players in the ecosystem. Every person whether industry watcher or customer, who comes in touch with a company's employees, prototypes, solutions etc. walks away with an impression about that company. When companies, its various functions such as procurement, production, marketing, finance, customer support etc. and employees understand challenges of customers and focus on creating solutions to make customers' lives better, they not only come up with meaningful products and services, but also create more tangible evidences for key players in the ecosystem to talk about.
Word of mouth from the key 10 per cent people, who other 90 per cent people in market respect and follow, have a lot of power as compared to any other marketing campaign and adds on to the reputation of brands, products and companies. For instance, word of mouth from industry influencers, recommendation from trusted retailers, referrals from an existing customers, positive news stories from journalists, mention of brands' case study in advice by consultants or professors, partnership with known and respected companies, quality of supplies from vendors etc. play a significant role in building opinions about a company, its brands and products. Positive word of mouth create referrals and more the business comes through referrals, the lesser money is required to be spent on 'more marketing'.
Let's have a look at a few examples of 'better marketing' by brands, which have built strong relationships with the key players in their ecosystems:
Patanjali Ayurveda: Baba Ramdev popularized yoga among Indians through his mass yoga camps. In 2003, Aastha TV began featuring him in its morning yoga slot and helped him in gaining a large following. A large number of people and many celebrities in India and abroad have attended his yoga camps. Along with creating relationships with masses through education around areas such as health, ayurveda, and yoga etc. Patanjali has created fastest growing FMCG products business in India through comprehensive supply chain system and partnerships with various sales and distribution channels such as thousands of retail outlets, online retailers such as Amazon, offline majors such as Future Group and so on.
Nike: Nike has athletes as face of its marketing communication. It has cultivated relationships with athlete influencers and built its visibility and position by showcasing inspiration and innovation around them. Nike's communication not only showcases heroism of athletes but also establishes emotional relationships with customers and other ecosystem players through inspiration.
Intel: Intel established reputation as a quality producer of microprocessors amongst the computer manufacturers and convinced them that their computers would have higher perceived value if they featured Intel in their own marketing leading to brand awareness among the distributors, retailers and end consumers of PCs. "Intel Inside" got wider recognition and created a reputation of quality and reliability.
Tripadvisor: Tripadvisor has established an authentic connection with its audience. It collaborates and shares travel related content with the help of travelers and increases its brand visibility and relationships with other travelers. In parallel, it gives customers' feedback visibility and recognitions/ratings to service providers.
Apple: Apple's Genius bar is in store customer support center. Most of the services offered at Genius bars are free. Employees approach customers with a personalized warm welcome, understand customers' needs, and help customers and prospects with solutions and answers for their problems and queries. Most importantly, they make them feel special. This support and human connection create great customer experience and loyalty. Apple stores earn more money per square foot than any other retailer.
Coca Cola: Coca Cola supported American soldiers during World War II by shipping Coke to military bases abroad. It was giving a helping hand in times of adversity and quickly became far more than just a consumer product. This support created a very positive image of the brand among consumers. American soldiers came home with an overwhelming preference for Coca-Cola and it emerged as a preferred choice for refreshment.
Relationships are core of 'better marketing'. It takes time and patience to build relationships. They can't be built overnight with a lot of money like an advertisement in newspaper. Though relationship building takes time, but it can be achieved through an education process & establishing emotional bond by providing products and services that solve people's current and future problems rather than just pitching ideas, advertising messages, and pushing people to use the products.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.