With greater numbers of emerging startups, and established businesses constantly innovating and diversifying, global business trends increasingly point to the importance of branding, and a good marketing plan is critical to building your brand. In this article, we explain four key elements of a successful marketing plan.
Brand equity: Brand equity is the set of assets and liabilities linked to a brand. A name and a symbol (or brandmark), for example, can provide significant value. This is because an established brand identity brings with it a specific association – for both existing and potential customers – of what to expect. Some brands, like BMW, are associated with luxury. Others, like Hanes, are thought of as practical and dependable, while fun brands like Hello Kitty offer a whimsical appeal. None of these associations happened by accident; the creation of brand identity is a deliberate, multifaceted undertaking.
Social media: Given their ubiquitous nature in our daily lives, social media platforms remain an underexploited form of marketing and brand development. From Facebook to Twitter and LinkedIn, these online networks represent both a rich database of potential customers, and a daunting undertaking for those without the expertise to manage it. While social media has the power to increase the presence of your product or service in the minds of new and existing customers, the creation and management of a cohesive, effective social media campaign is not something to be done in your spare time. It is a strategic activity that demands regular engagement with social media users. There are many aspects to consider when embracing social media as a marketing tool.
Digital marketing: Digital marketing involves moving beyond having a social media presence to engaging with customers through several digital interfaces, using techniques such as geo-caching and search engine optimisation (SEO). This type of advanced marketing delivers a higher level of sophistication by putting the full range of available digital tools to use in customising the user’s marketing experience; it also offers companies the opportunity to learn how to harness the power of data to gain a leading edge over their competitors.
Trade marketing: There is a science involved – from supplier to point of sale – in getting your product in the best position to encourage retail consumers to buy it. Called trade marketing, it involves selling at a business to business (B2B) level, and usually incorporates product positioning and brand visibility. In trade marketing, the potential value of your product must be clearly communicated to either retailers or wholesalers to ensure that it is included as part of their offering – but this is not the only goal. Entrepreneurs also need to negotiate for maximum visibility of their product, while also taking into consideration competing and complimentary products.
Trade today is increasingly competitive, more so because of its globalised environment. As local companies take up the challenge of operating on a purportedly even playing field, new types of knowledge and skill will be required. It is in your interest to equip yourself with a strategic plan marketing of your products and services, in order to help extend their reach and gain access to new markets.
(Content courtesy the Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce)