Is Marketing Getting Lost In The Shuffle? Here’s How To Find It Again

A professor once said that marketing is fixing the problem with connecting the customer to the business. There is always a need, a want, a desire, and/or a problem. If you can figure out reasons for the customer to need your business, then you can easily market it to them. This seems like common sense, but getting back to the basics of marketing might be getting lost in the shuffle. Think about how many advertisements you see in a day. Whether you are watching TV, listening to the radio or a podcast, looking at something on the internet and so on…advertising is everywhere. So how can your marketing be found in the flood of advertising? 

What’s In It For The Customer?

The market is saturated with similar products and services. It can be very competitive depending on what your business is. The best thing to always remember when marketing is how does it help the customer? Constantly talking about the product or service can just get boring. But saying how it helps the customer right off the bat can encourage the potential customer to keep reading to learn more about it. Here is a great example from ContentFirst Marketing.

Is Marketing Getting Lost In The Shuffle? Here’s How To Find It Again

A great test to see if advertisements made their mark is with Super Bowl ads. Customers will remember the commercials, but will they actually remember what product was being pushed? Some brands have iconic imagery (Budweiser horses and frogs, Geico gecko, etc.) and others may have really great visuals, but the actual product just gets lost. Was the money worth the effort? 

Think about those old school infomercials. The ovens that cook turkeys in less time than others, the knives that can cut anything, or the ladder that extends higher than competitors but stores in smaller spaces. These always stood out because they were fixing a common problem customers could have. Potential customers saw value in the products. Stick to this way of thinking, and it will be a great way to build upon a campaign.

Stand Out Where Your Customers Are

Talk to any marketing professional and you will hear a different opinion of where your business should advertise or what platforms you should be present on. This also can depend on where you live and in what part of the world as some areas utilize mediums other areas just don’t. Think city fold versus country folk and how to market to people in each. It is different! It seems like everyday a new social platform is born. It is nearly impossible to be present on all of them with a marketing strategy. And of course there are thousands of ways to reach potential customers, but figuring out where your target audience obtains their information would be a great place to start.

According to Seth Matlins, Forbes Staff, 3 out of every 4 brands could disappear in an instant with no one noticing or caring. That is a lot! That means those brands are not meeting a need, want, desire or solving a problem for their customers or there are too many competitors in the market. Within the same article, Seth mentions that almost 8 of every 10 searches on Amazon are by category, not brand. Customers aren’t searching for Suzy’s Honey but instead are searching for honey. When that search happens, thousands upon thousands of results of honey show up and Suzy’s Honey gets pushed to page 6, which hardly anyone ever gets to.

Instead of running around trying to be everywhere all at once, focus on maybe a couple of different places and do your best on those to market your product instead of just doing minimal efforts on many.

Start With The Basics

Many business owners and marketers are confusing tactics with strategies and strategies with objectives. In marketing, while copying something a competitor has done is flattering, it likely may not wind up working for you. Just because we think that we can jump straight in and copy the tactics others are using we likely won’t get the same results. Why? Even if something worked for them does not mean it will work for you.

Start with the basics again, even if you’ve already had successful campaigns. Go back to the problems your potential customers have and understand why they are having those problems and how your business can help them. Decide which group you are going to really focus on. Doing this can help narrow down your marketing strategy and help determine which niche your products fits in for this particular campaign. And finally, take a look at how this group buys something. What is their buying pattern? From step 1 of having a problem to step 2 of where they go to research how to solve their problem and step 3 of actually buying can help when deciding what kind of marketing you should do. Do your potential customers like to read, listen or watch a video? Do they like reviews? Do they like to go to a store to make a purchase or buy it online (if it is a product)? Do they like to call and speak to someone on the phone about a service or would they rather set up a meeting and speak face to face? So many questions but these can help get back to the basics.

The Bottom Line

Fundamental marketing may seem super boring and it may seem like you are leaving a lot of potential customers on the table if you aren’t marketing everywhere. However, the power of finding the right target market and the ways they buy, can work. Even the greatest and most expensive tactics fail. It isn’t about the amount of money or the size of the target market. It is, and always will be, about finding the right product or service for your clients.

A Look Into the Future – Possible Social Trends for 2023

It is hard to believe that 2022 is almost over. Not that we are rushing it away, but this last business quarter is a great time to reflect on what has been working on social media for your business and what ideas you may want to consider tackling in 2023. Or maybe you are thinking of starting social media and want to know where would be some places to focus efforts. Take a look into our crystal ball with us to try to predict some social trends for the future. It may be worth paying attention to these so your next year is amazing!

Word of Mouth Influencer Marketing

You head to the grocery store and see a new product on the shelf. You look at the package, read whatever it says, but put it back on the shelf because you just aren’t sure if you are going to like it or not and don’t want to spend the money if it is going straight to the trash.

You go to a birthday party and see that same product in their pantry. So, you start asking around, “Hey, are those chips good?” and the feedback is positive. They all like the chips! So, the next time you head to the grocery store, you purchase a bag, simply because when you asked, people liked them so you thought you would too!

Influencing an audience with trustworthy people isn’t anything new, but it is in our faces more than ever. Obviously, we can’t predict who is going to talk to who about a certain product, but we can push the product and information about it to our audiences with positive influencers. Celebrities, athletes, performers, etc., are all over social media pushing whatever product to their target audience because they are a trustworthy influencer. It needs to look and feel authentic though. People can tell when a product is being endorsed just for money and not because they actually use and like it. This gets tricky.

As a business, pay attention to influencers in your industry. Take the time to get to know them, their brand, their audience and see if it would be a good fit for your product too. Turning an influencer into a brand ambassador for your business can have a huge impact with long-term results.

A Look Into the Future - Possible Social Trends for 2023 Short Videos Will Be Huge

Tik-Tok length videos are huge. They are now all over Instagram and Facebook too! Unfortunately, a lot of us have the attention span of a snail. No one has the time to watch 5-minute-long videos, which isn’t even that long! But we can scroll through 15 second videos for 5 minutes. How does that work!? It is because each video is different, offers something new, and connects with the audience on several different levels. 

Traditional photo and caption posts are slowly dying. More attention is being given to video, which isn’t new, but audiences continue to crave information this way. 

So, for next year, plan to record whatever is going on. Own a restaurant? Record your chef making something. Edit it into several different 15 second videos and post it. Own a retail store? Record your merchandise and edit it into fun and engaging short videos. Don’t know how to edit or don’t have the time? We can help!

Live Videos Will Transform Social Media

If it isn’t a 15 second short video, then it is going to be lives dominating our social feeds. Lives allow for viewers to have the ultimate experience with whoever at a business, or maybe even an influencer like we mentioned earlier, with potential for conversation right then and there. 

Surprisingly, long live videos are fine as compared to uploaded longer video content. Seems like apples to apples but it is the live feature that makes the video unique. And if users are jumping on to watch a live, then whatever network it is being shared on will see the uptick in viewers, thus realizing it is good content, pushing it out even more.

Grab your target audience’s attention with a live video when you are at an event, when your store is running a special and you want to show the special off. Go live when you want to make a special announcement or just go live and say ask me whatever you want! People love to go behind the scenes and see how something is made or work in progress. Lives can allow for that to become a reality plus it is still saved for the future on your profile.

The Bottom Line

Nothing is ever set in stone. If something works for you on social media, you can keep on doing it. But don’t be afraid to give something new a try. Your target audience will need to be trained to look for these new things, so don’t get frustrated if a live video doesn’t have a lot of viewers right away or engagement is low on short videos. It is new to them just like it is new to you! Keep up with whatever you decide to do and don’t give up on it too fast. Leverage the resources and knowledge you have on your team, but reach out to us should you need new ideas.

 

Advertising 101 – Where and How Much to Spend on Advertising

In today’s world, there are so many different places a business can advertise. It isn’t just the newspaper and television commercials anymore. It is social media, streaming services, at the movie theater before the show begins, electronic billboards, apps and so much more. So how can a business even start to determine where they should advertise and how much money they should be spending? Let’s discuss traditional advertising and marketing spend to get the most out of your budget.

Have a Marketing Plan that Includes Advertising

Word of mouth advertising is great, but it only gets a business so far. Creating a marketing plan that incorporates advertising through different mediums can be far more effective. Within your marketing plan, a target audience should be determined. Their age, likes, trends, etc. can help to navigate where they gather most of their information. And once you take a deeper look at those items, you can then determine which medium will work best for your business. 

A marketing plan without an advertising budget is like fishing without a worm. You might get lucky and catch something, but it isn’t going to happen as fast as you’d like, and it might not be your target customer. With an advertising budget, that is your worm that you are putting on the hook to lure in the right customers. 

How Much Should A Business Spend on Advertising?

There isn’t a magic number when it comes to advertising budget. Your marketing team or advertising agency can help determine what the best budget is specifically for your business and where they feel you will get the most bang for your buck. The business owner, manager, whoever is making the call on spending, needs to be comfortable and feel confident in the budget and return on investment.

That is not to say there isn’t a general rule of thumb. Within the business world, the general consensus is to aim at spending between 2-5% of your sales revenue on marketing. Small Business Trends reports a lower number at 1.08% of revenue for advertising, but of course it will vary from industry to industry. Some industries spend more, like retailers at about 4% while restaurants spend 1.93%. Business to Consumer (B2C) companies typically spent slightly more on average, with product companies spending 9.6% and B2C services companies spending 11.8%. Those percentages might scare someone but let’s put it into perspective. If your revenue were $1 million per year, your marketing and advertising budget should be $50,000 annually based on the 5% of sales revenue rule. From that $50k, you can drop different amounts into different marketing and advertising buckets. 

Advertising 101 - Where and How Much to Spend on Advertising Track Your Return On Investment

When you are just starting out, it might seem like a hard decision to do a lot of advertising, but once you get rolling, it is a good idea to be reinvesting revenue back into the business through more advertising. You need to keep that momentum going, keep on pulling in more customers. But it is always best to track your return on investment in every medium.

Measuring your spending and the effectiveness of the advertising should happen quarterly. It does take some time to garner effective data, so if you are just starting out, give the advertising some time to get out there. Become a detective and find out which advertising works best for your target audience and which medium brings in the most business.

What are My Advertising Opportunities?

Working with an advertising agency like Triple-Nine Digital can help your business research which targeting tactics will work best for you. While we are always open to exploring new and different ways of advertising, here are the tactics that we pride ourselves on:

Targeted Display

Targeted Digital Advertising is just that, targeted. We don’t just blast your ad to whoever and wherever we can. The targets we look for are age ranges, gender, location, and interests. We also make sure that the style of the display ad matches your business and appeals to your audience. With pay per click ads, we match the text to the ad, sale, promotion, whatever we are running to generate more clicks.

Search Engine Marketing (Google Search Ads)

The average web user won’t go past the first five listings on a search engine results page. In fact, more than 67% of all clicks go to the top five listings.

Increase online traffic and visibility of your business with Google Search and be on top of search results at the moment customers are searching for your products and services.

Social Media Advertising

Social Media Advertising is making sure that your posts get seen by more people than those who just follow your business’s page. With Social Media Advertising, you can get your message seen in only certain areas or by only a certain gender and much more targeting options. By having an advertising budget on social media your message will go further than organic reach.

Video Pre Roll, OTT and CTV

Target your customers with your existing video on platforms like YouTube, Facebook, and OTT/CTV platforms and channels such as Roku, Sling, AppleTV, CNN, Fox, CBS and more.

Google Discover and Direct Email Marketing

Powerful, cost effective programs to promote products, services and events by delivering ads to Gmail accounts and targeted email lists.

Waze GPS App

Waze Advertising is owned by Google. There are three types of ad options within the Waze platform. They are Branded Pins, Promoted Search, and Zero-Speed takeovers that are part of an advanced Waze ad program. Each of these programs offers different capabilities, but all are driven by either your current location or your destination. Your ad appears in targeted search results or when a driver is near your location.

The Bottom Line

Every business is different. Every budget is different. What works for one business may not work for another and that is fine! True Fit Marketing will work with you to learn about your goals, products or services, and your target audience. From there we will do research of our own to create a strategy that fits for you and your business. Every business is unique and we know that there is no one size fits all strategy. We will research your competitors, demographics, and services to find what will work best. Once we create a plan and put it into action, we will adjust as necessary, reminding you and our team of the goals and evaluating performances so we are all on the right track to success. 

Social Media – Then and Now

It is hard to imagine that social media is roughly 25 years old. It has become such an everyday aspect of our lives that it is hard to believe that there was a time before social media, meaning there was a time before the Internet. The Internet came to a lot of our lives in the early 1990s, but it took some time before it hit the fingertips of users in homes. This is the same with social media. From 1997 to now, social media has changed drastically. From simple reasons like everyone having smartphones with social media networks on them, to businesses utilizing the networks to make money, social media has changed the way we communicate, live our lives and do work. Let’s take a look at how social media started and look at how it has changed over time.

A Time Before Mark Zuckerberg

If you ask the average person what the first social media network was, we can bet most would say Facebook. Some would say MySpace, and a couple would say Friendster. Take it a step back even further and you’ll find a website called Six Degrees. This was the first social media network that, you guessed it, aimed to connect people from six degrees of separation. A cool concept, but it didn’t last very long. After a short four years, the website was shut down (although still accessible when we checked it out!). 

This concept proved to be something users enjoyed and wanted more of. A couple months after Six Degrees “shut down”, Friendster and LinkedIn appeared on the scene. And not long after those came MySpace – the network that really upped the social media game.

MySpace had everything a social network user desired – a way to share photos, videos, flies and connect with friends. Who remembers Tom? Everyone was friends with Tom! Do you remember your top 6 friends? That was always hard to pick. MySpace was great because it also gave many young people their first go at coding. What a program! Timing was perfect for MySpace since their target audience was either just entering high school or college, thus creating a niche for finding new friends, dating and networking. But we all know what came next.

Here comes Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook in 2004 and it really blew every other social network out of the water. It started as something only for Harvard students, but quickly expanded to other colleges and universities. And then, something that was only for young adults with a college email address, opened its virtual doors to anyone 13+. And now we all know how the story of Facebook went. But why did it succeed when others didn’t?

Advertising and Monetization

Besides being desired by everyone who didn’t have a .edu email address, Facebook’s success can be linked to its ability to profit from users. They really did think out a solid business model when it came to advertising and monetization of Facebook. By giving businesses a way to directly market to their target audience, Facebook started to really rake in the money. Other networks then started to copy. Pretty typical in this world. Copy and try to be better.

Big players in the social media game like Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube followed with similar advertising and monetization success stories. It seemed like everyone would be a winner from the business to the social network to the user. But is the market too saturated now?

Social Media - Then and Now

Being Different in Social Media

From a business perspective, it is important to look closely at your target audience, their likes, dislikes, desires, wants, needs, etc., and find out which social media networks they use on the reg. Even though new social media networks still tend to pop up, they don’t ever really seem to catch on like Facebook did because they are just duplicating the efforts and not doing anything extraordinarily new. 

This is how a business should also approach social media when using it. Social media is all about breaking the mold and doing something outside the box. Social media can be a place where something new is tested on a market, where users connect and grow with a brand and where business comes full circle with stories from A to Z of how it has helped someone. 

Social Media is Here to Stay

Love it or hate it, social media will be here to stay for the long haul. From just the United States to now the whole world, people can connect with each other and see, hear and literally do things together on the Internet, though miles apart. Of course social media will change and veer off onto different paths as all businesses do, but for the most part, the concepts will remain unchanged.

As a digital marketing agency, we highly recommend checking out all of the social media channels available to you and decide which one or two you’d like to focus on the most. We can also talk about advertising budgets and which options might work best for you and your target audience. Connect with us on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn, plus find us on Google My Business, and let’s talk social! 

Decreasing Marketing Revenues is Dangerous During Current Inflation Trends

The increase of the cost of living is no secret. From the gas prices, to milk and bread, and even simple Dollar Stores now being $1.25 stores, the inflation rate is increasing everywhere. But even as prices soar, that doesn’t mean wages increase, which in turn means consumers are paying closer attention to where their money is spent and at what cost. 

When Covid started, we told our clients to keep going full steam ahead. Don’t cut back as you will come out ahead when things turn back around. Now that we are slowly but surely coming out of the other end of the Covid tunnel, our clients are still on top of their marketing and advertising. Now we are being asked about the current times. It is hard for a business to make decisions on where budgets need to be cut. But we are here to tell you that marketing should not be one of those cutbacks.

Decreasing Marketing Revenues is Dangerous During Current Inflation Trends Trust In The Brand

Your customers purchase your products/services/goods, whatever it is because they have a trust in the brand. It isn’t because people can be “brand snobs”. People buy particular brands because there is a level of trust in the goods. We know that it is hard to increase prices on a customer base, but as long as the brand trust is there, your clientele will find a way to pay for it. And to have brand trust means you need a strong brand presence to nurture the trust. That is why marketing should remain an essential part of your business and shouldn’t be decreased. Once a marketing budget gets decreased, it is inevitable that it will ever be increased. By marketing to your customer base the reasons why they should continue to trust you in times like these may help to ease the pain of a price increase. And along the way you will still be able to gain new customers since other brands may just fall into the pits of zero marketing, while others will just glide along by the seat of their pants, hoping their customers will stick with them for the ride. 

Pay Attention to the Data

Paying closer attention to your marketing metrics will help when it comes to where to focus your budget and where to pull back. When data shows increased sales from a particular location, double down your efforts and move around some marketing budget to that sales stream. If something isn’t working, now really isn’t the time to do trial and error. Take the loss and move on to where you’re seeing success. And let’s not forget that success in marketing can be a myriad of different things. Talk with your marketing team to discuss what success is and then trickle down to how you get to that success. Doing this will help weed out anything underperforming and could even save you some money in the long run.

Know What Your Customers Want

It is sad to think that some consumers are buying just the bare minimum to get by in times like these. Now is a good time to reaffirm to your customer base that you value them and that your product or service makes their life better. And it is an opportune moment to really relate to how your customers may be feeling and show them that you care either way. The relationship of a customer is a two-way street. You need them and they need you. Don’t shy away from content that sparks an emotional connection. Pull on the heartstrings.

We know times are different now than they were when high inflation struck in the 1970s and 1980s because of the Internet and digital media, but those times were a goldmine for businesses, especially the ones that kept marketing. So many new businesses launched those years as audiences were ready for something that might be a little cheaper (since it was new) but were also open to trying new things. This is why brand trust is vital so that consumers don’t just switch in an instant to something else. Now in 2022, we have e-commerce at our fingertips, and this could be a great opportunity for new businesses to jump in and steal some thunder from other businesses. That is why we suggest staying on course and keep on going with your marketing efforts. You aren’t starting from scratch like new businesses and you already have a key customer base. Don’t decrease marketing budget now or you will be on a dangerous trend of always trying to build back up to where you once were.