To Invest or Not In Marketing
Social media is here with us. And it’s here to stay. In any case, it’s getting bigger and better as it nurtures new friendships across borders, races and religion, champions freedom of expression, supports social causes, and many more.
We all have that one friend or unhealthy friend we know of who complains about how unhealthy and overweight they are, yet still fret at the thought of enrolling for a work-out program. They opt,instead, for something like a daily 10-minute walk…
In the business world, we have such similar unhealthy companies. For many, expanding their business in revenue and reach, positively impacting their customers’ lives through their product offerings are some of their key business goals. Such to many enterprises is their hallmark of success.
However, with the goals determined and the vision mapped out, how to achieve them becomes another ball game. Definitely there are numerous strategies which cumulatively contribute to overall success. At Phenom, in the course of our prospecting and pitching to numerous clients, we’ve gathered interesting insights into how businesses build towards their goals and their perceptions about marketing.
For most businesses, revenue growth, low operation costs and satisfaction are some of their greatest pain points. But just how many businesses strongly believe that marketing is a cornerstone to achieving key business goals that centre on brand growth, revenue and customer satisfaction? How many more are turning their belief into action? For most firms, sales can be directly attributed to a given revenue amount realised; marketing “cannot”. Opening more branches can be more attributed to increased revenue; marketing “cannot”. Laying off of employees can be plotted against the upward revenue trajectory on a graph; marketing “cannot”. The perceptions held by most management teams are rather diverse (and mostly sad).
Here’s a case study of a business with such a laid back attitude towards digital marketing. A certain hotel chain in Nairobi with 2 four-star hotels and 5 budget ones, has no digital marketing whatsoever and it’s easy to tell that before even asking the management any questions. Their digital assets from their websites, search engine rankings, social media accounts are seriously outdated. During peak tourism seasons, their overall occupancy rates is at about 70% while it plummets to a low of just 20% during low season. Why would a chain of 7 hotels care less about its online presence in times like these and still wonder why they can’t hit impressive occupancy levels?
Marketing is the link that connects a business to its customers. The key word to reflect upon is ‘connect’. Digital marketing is less about selling to your customers but more about building relationships with them. So marketing and advertising are not the same thing. The latter is a component of the former. Marketing enables a company to understand their customers first so as to serve them better by addressing their real needs.
Through marketing, a business is able to first know more about their customers and their demographic makeup (market research). A business is able to determine how to reach out to them ( digital vs traditional media). Messaging is crafted to speak to the customers’ needs first (informative, educative and fun); and with clarity and authenticity, show how the products and services will meet their needs. With marketing, you can collect and analyse customer feedback which is not just sentimental, but also customer data which is obviously more informing and actionable.
For digital marketing, the level of accuracy and precision with which you can achieve in crafting, targeting and measuring your marketing efforts and investments is very high. For instance, you can roll out a marketing campaign (PPC ads), via email and social media and be able to tell how the sales increase contributed by each of those mediums. The digital marketing landscape is quickly transforming with greater emphasis being on relevance (to the consumer) and data (to the company).
Marketing is not a luxury only to be afforded by large businesses. Neither is it necessarily all about TV and newspaper ads. It can be very affordable or extremely costly; that depends of factors. What’s for sure though is that it’s a necessity for a one day old business just as it is for a blue chip.