In many ways, the broad approach toward engaging customers has remained unchanged for decades. While the means and format of marketing might have changed, the core principles remain the same, which makes the entire practice something that you can be very flexible with.
That doesn’t mean that everything is remaining completely static, though. Audiences are changing, and the relationships that they have with businesses are changing, and while that might sometimes be something that is detrimental for those in the marketing position, it can also present an opportunity.
Part of being a successful business means being adaptable, not just to survive these changes but to turn them to your own advantage.
The Positive Business?
With customers holding many brands to a higher level of scrutiny than they once did, you might feel a certain temptation to depict your own business as being the ‘positive’ example among others. Instead of being a part of the problem, you might suggest that you’re working towards a solution – meaning that supporting you would mean supporting this more progressive way of thinking. There are pitfalls with this idea (more on that later), but in theory, it could help you to stand out and offer your audiences something they can’t find elsewhere. It might be that you take this idea towards a social issue such as environmentalism, but it could also be that you focus it more on how you prioritize mental health (perhaps practiced through how you structure your employment).
The Best Around
This is something that has always been true, but the difference comes in the sheer choice that customers have when it comes to brands – and the competition that this provides you with. Are you the best in your field? Does what you provide stand atop the various offerings of your competitors? If you can’t say so with certainty, it might be that you offer a better value, becoming the option that provides a preferable middle-ground between quality and affordability.
However, this doesn’t have to be so black-and-white. There is also ample room for subjective preference between brands – something that you see all the time in various industries.
Where To Engage
Perhaps the most obvious difference between eras of business is exactly where you need to go to engage your customers. This hasn’t necessarily changed outright – it’s more accurate to say there are simply more destinations where you can engage your customers. Physical marketing is absolutely still relevant, especially with certain types of businesses looking to engage certain audiences. In fact, with the expectation of digital marketing being so prevalent, you might be able to strike out a niche for yourself by looking to engage your audiences through physical marketing like leaflets. However, once again, it’s important to take this into consideration with any ethics or values that you put at the forefront of your brand identity, as a form of physical marketing that has the potential to create a lot of waste could clash with that intention.
Once you look at your digital marketing spaces, though, you might realize just how much competition you have – meaning that you need to refine them both in terms of what your audiences are looking for and how your team can improve them. Kong API management can allow your team to create the most efficient and secure platforms possible, and a thorough understanding of visual web design can help you craft a space that is aesthetically pleasing while remaining consistent with your brand.
One solution that you might arrive at when trying to make your brand seem as positive as possible could be to use ethics and values to present yourself in a more impressive light. The trend of greenwashing and the public identification of it showcases some risks that could come with this approach, however.
For example, if customers identify your brand as being one that sets itself apart by being environmentally conscious (seeing as business contributions to global emissions are cited as being extremely problematic), your furthering of that perception should ultimately be true. This might be something you achieve through milestones – such as planting a certain number of trees for every financial target you hit – or it could be that you look to only use sustainable packaging. There might be times when it’s not possible to take the more sustainable route. You might look to try to cut down on your air miles by using local suppliers, but if nobody nearby has what you need, you might have to compromise. Being transparent and honest about your targets and what you’re capable of might help your efforts to be the ‘positive’ business to actually feel like something you and your audiences are engaging on together, tightening that bond of engagement with your customers and putting you both on an even pedestal.
More Of The Same
Not everyone will need their own values to align with every brand that they buy from. Others will be more content to simply opt for you based on aforementioned qualities like price, quality, or proximity. At a certain point, though, your brand and the relationship that this brand has with audiences becomes much less about what’s unique about you and more about convenience. While this might work out for you in the present tense, it’s important to remember that this also means audience preference could easily change when a more convenient option emerges.
Developing a niche is arguably more important than ever with all of this competition, but that also makes it more difficult. How can you find a spot that hasn’t already been covered by some other brand? It might just mean that you look again. If a competing brand has already carved out a similar niche to you, you might look at an angle that isn’t quite covered – such as the cost or perhaps the style of your marketing. Emphasizing customer service, for instance, might not seem like a massive difference at first, but it can create a more personable identity that might resonate with a portion of your audience.