Here are 3 questions mid-size brands should ask themselves to find out.
Growing a middle-market brand is no small feat. You’re often competing in markets that are dominated by big players and saturated with energetic startups.
Many of our clients come to us looking to solve this challenge through marketing, trusting we’ll turn their promotional budget into maximum ROI. An iron-clad marketing strategy is key to keeping any organization afloat, but how do you ensure lasting impact over time?
By always understanding your audience.
If you don’t know what matters most to your key demographic, and how they learn and consume information, you will lose your relevance. Why should they keep you on their radar if you cannot empathize with (and solve) their problems?
My goal is to help our clients ask the right audience-first questions to keep their marketing strategy on track. So, let’s run through the three questions you should ask yourself when putting your own strategy under the microscope.
Are you driving value for your audience?
The entire purpose of a product is to solve the customer’s problems. If your customer-facing content doesn’t focus on how your product can ease their burdens, you will lose their attention, fast.
And that would be a simple charge if you served just one audience, but that’s often not the case. Organizations need to spend the time to understand each audience (their hopes, obstacles, and behaviors), understand their potential impact to your organization (lifetime value), and prioritize marketing spend accordingly.
Thankfully, if you’re already in business, you likely have ready access to your customer base. If you ask them to help improve your services, they’ll often be more than happy to oblige.
An in-person or online customer survey is perhaps the simplest branding “health check” you can conduct. Ask customers whether you’re meeting their needs and, if not, what you can do to fix it. (And it never hurts to offer participants a small incentive as a thank-you.)
Is your message relevant to your audience?
There are two types of relevance to consider: cultural relevance and industry relevance. As the speed of business and culture continues to quicken, it’s important to show customers that you’re in touch with what currently matters in a way that separates you from the competition.
Culturally relevant brands share their messages in a way that customers resonate with and understand. This extends beyond simply using keywords, phrases, and concepts your audience is familiar with; you should mirror their values as well.
A brand’s cultural involvement drives a whopping 25% of the average consumer’s purchase decision. If your brand gives back to the community, supports social issues, and otherwise conducts itself in a way that matters to customers, they will notice.
Brands should also maintain industry relevance by taking note of major changes, challenges, and opportunities in the marketplace. A brand that adapts its messaging to respond to its audience’s excitement or concerns about these changes will come off as trustworthy and well-adjusted. COVID-19 is a great example of this – brands that pivoted to meet their audience during this unique time earned brownie points in dividends.
Marketers can pursue both cultural and industry relevance by simply keeping a steady eye on conversations in the news and on social media. It also helps to study the discourse between your competitors and their audiences to determine what works and what misses the mark. Brands that want to stay in the know should consider regular assessments of competitors’ websites and social channels to gain a quick view of market conversations and untapped opportunities.
Are you using your audience’s chosen platforms?
Every brand has a customer base that interacts with the world in a unique way. We know millennial moms are oftentimes driven to the stimulating visuals of Instagram while their boomer parents tend toward more traditional social channels like Facebook. When you focus the bulk of your budget and energy on your audience’s chosen mediums, you can maximize your marketing impact.
Also ask whether your activity on those platforms is driving the actions you want in your business. Are your customers being led to your website? Does that, in turn, lead them to make a purchase or ask for a quote? Conduct quarterly and annual analyses to see whether your strategy is yielding the desired business outcomes, not just marketing outcomes.
An effective marketing strategy requires dedicated attention to many different aspects of your audience and brand. Asking yourself these three questions – on a daily basis, not just once or twice a year – is critical to identifying diverse strategies and creating holistic solutions that may be grounded in marketing but are revenue-generating – which is the ultimate goal for all middle-market brands.