Marketing is one of the primary avenues that define the future of any product & bring in revenue for the business. To put a definition to it, you can simply say that marketing begins when your process of creating the product ends. You might have a to-be-billion-dollars worth product lying in your basement, but if you can’t market it or can’t even let people know about it, it is a waste of time, money & space.
Marketing is all about people. It is to let your customers know about the utility of your product & get them to believe in it. Why should they buy your product & not one from thousands of others which are just as good & even cheaper? Efficiently answering that question to sell the product is what actually drives us, marketers, mad. The real Mad Men or Women!
The marketing strategy for every business is different from the other. Think of it like a thumbprint; every company has a unique way of marketing. What has boosted sales of one F&B retail business might, in fact, cause a loss of customers for another. But contradicting my previous analogy here, no marketing strategy is etched in stone. That is the beauty of it. As a marketer, you can always experiment with a new way of positioning your brand. There are, however, few essential avenues of marketing & fail-proof strategies that any new or established business follows.
The number one strategy that any marketer would tell you to focus on before launching the product is on knowing your customers well! Your product has been developed to solve a problem. But no marketing book or guide can help with customer management & their reaction towards your product. And so, you should market your product to the people who have the value for it & who can buy it. The amazing part about marketing is that customers would let you know what they loved & hated about your product. That is where you get to connect with your customers & improvise yourself.
The second step after knowing your customers should be on positioning your brand accordingly. For this, brand uniformity is of utmost importance. It can be in the form of logos, brand’s colour scheme, tagline or vision, packaging, pricing, and even something as niche as the brand’s font style. It should all be predefined & standardised across every possible avenue. The idea is to create a recurring image of the brand which eventually leads to a subconscious association with it. Like if I mention yellow arches, or a blue bird’s nest, etc. you can clearly picture the company that I am talking about.
Consistent marketing would be your strategy number three. Marketing is a 360° process. You have to be consistently present in whichever avenue that you choose. Be it social media, PR, advertising, website, or offline avenues like posters, hoarding & banners, etc. always be consistent! Keep dipping into your customer pool to remind them about your brand presence. Post regularly on your social media channels and be active in replying & commenting. Interact with the customers as much as you can. It might seem a slow process but it is effective.
Like I said before, marketing has certain leverage of improvising. It is essential to upgrade your product & its marketing strategy with time. That is the fourth strategy devoted to sustaining the market & penetrating new ones. Many multi-national F&B companies have revamped their menu & their marketing strategies or channels to fit the culture of the country they wish to expand in. Take feedback from your customers & upgrade when needed. But at the same time, don’t go overboard & create something way too different from your brand itself. It’s kind of a Catch-22 situation, to be honest.
The last & most important marketing strategy would be to create customer loyalty. This is also a process that never ends for any F&B business. After all, it is a competitive market. For this, the focus should be to maintain relatability. Onboard brand ambassadors or influencers who are known to your audience & can help push your brand to new customers on new platforms. Participate in events or public avenues where you can increase brand visibility. If it works for you, collaborate with other brands. A little quid pro quo never hurt anyone!
Despite the size of your business, marketing needs consistent attention & implementation. As a marketer is important to know what the market trend is & how you can revamp your strategy for better results. Get on social media trends, let your customer know about your brand, and focus on gaining their trust. Experiment & always keep it interesting. But never overdo it. A marketing rule we like to follow in our company is to never create a problem where there is none.
The author is marketing and PR manager at Petpooja.