Unified Marketing Strategy
Running a profitable business relies on two major components: innovation and marketing. Innovation creates and renews the business by providing a solution to perceived needs. Marketing consists of all the means of creating, retaining, and satisfying a customer base. In many ways, marketing is the business because it envelops and informs the direction of the business at every step. If you have a business, it can be safely assumed you have something cooking in the innovation category, but many small to medium businesses are lost when it comes to marketing. Luckily, in the internet age, it’s possible to develop a unified marketing strategy that fits even a shoestring budget.
Marketing a business in the 21st century relies heavily on web-based advertisement and content. The key to online marketing on a budget is leveraging the power of the internet to raise awareness of your brand and products for little to no cost.
As your business grows, marketing becomes much more complicated and involves a lot of fancy words and tools. But to get started branding and marketing your business is simple. It all begins with organizing your ideas about what and who your business is into a unified marketing strategy.
Getting Started with Marketing
The first step of a unified marketing strategy is likely already done in some form if your business is operational: clearly state your business purpose. If you’re an optometrist, your business purpose is to provide vision tests and likely sell glasses, contacts, and other such goods. If you are a pawn shop or consignment store, your business purpose is to facilitate the exchange of used goods to your profit. Your business purpose is a boiled-down definition of your business. The reason for anchoring your unified marketing strategy around it is to avoid losing focus.
The next step is to analyze your place in the market and decide how to best position your brand to achieve optimum penetration. In layman’s terms, you’re deciding how your business is different, who should buy your product, and why. To continue the optometrist example, you may decide that your niche is providing a sophisticated customer experience with an elegant location and upscale products. Positioned this way, your marketing efforts would revolve around building a reputation that justifies higher prices by providing the perception of class. This market position focuses less on volume and more on quality. But the opposite could also be done by positioning your shop as the best value. Your marketing strategy would be centered on establishing public perception that you provide a straightforward experience for your customers at a price they can afford. Positioning is crucial to marketing success, especially when on a budget, because all of your efforts must project a unified public image.
Budget and Action Items in your Unified Marketing Strategy
Once you have your business purpose and market position clearly defined, your unified marketing strategy flows naturally into the nitty-gritty. You have to establish your marketing budget which forms your concrete strategies for which products or services to sell, how to price them, the most efficient means of distribution, and, most importantly, how to promote them. For marketing on a budget, it is helpful to work on budget and strategy at the same time because they check and balance each other. You may want certain tools to facilitate your ideas for creative strategy but find that it wipes out your cash flow. Strategy determines how much marketing will cost, and budget makes sure it costs less.
What the actionable strategies for marketing your business look like depends heavily on how your business operates and who you’re trying to sell to. If you’re a law practice specializing in personal injury cases, print ads, billboards, and a legal blog may be the perfect trifecta. But this approach may not work as well for a software development studio.
There are four major areas that warrant the time and attention of every business:
- A well-developed website so that people can find you online
- Social media accounts on all the major platforms (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, possibly Instragram, etc.)
- An email marketing database
- And a Unified Communications (UC) platform.
A Good Website
With today’s savvy consumers, researching businesses on the internet extends much further than you may realize. Good website design is crucial to capturing the trust of potential customers. To have a customer unable to find your business online or being alienated by bad design is a huge missed opportunity. In fact, having a website that your customers can interact with and learn more about you is essential to growing a business.
Closely related to your website, accounts on the major social media platforms are vital. Not only does it provide another space for your customers to interact with your business online, it’s also a platform whereby you can communicate to your market for free. And most platforms have options whereby you can project your business to thousands outside your network through promoted messages and business advertisement programs available for quite modest prices compared to traditional advertising methods.
And the third area, email marketing, flows naturally from the previous two. Capturing your customers’ email addresses into a database allows you to quickly communicate messages and promotions to potentially your entire customer base.
Marketing with Unified Communications
For businesses with five or more employees, one tool that can help coordinate and organize everything is a reliable Unified Communications (UC) system. It holds pride of place in any unified marketing strategy because it organizes and optimizes communication. It does this by bringing all the various forms of communication, both real-time and not, into a single platform. Instant messaging, voice, video, voicemail, and fax are combined in a platform with smart features like intuitive presence information and remote access. Having these all integrated and complementing each other makes your business more efficient while reducing costs, increasing revenue, and elevating customer service.
Additionally, because a UC system is software-based, it can be extremely flexible and easy to integrate with existing tools. For example, your UC system can input directly into your CRM system to automatically log communications in the appropriate customer relationship file.
And because of its ability to integrate, you can use it in ways you never imagined a phone system working. You can track the performance of advertisement campaigns and lead generation efforts seamlessly without any of the messy old-school methods. No longer do you have to coach sales staff to ask prospects how they heard about your business in order to gauge marketing efforts.
Interactive Voice Response (IVR) is an effective way to build a brand image of a much larger business in your customers’ minds. IVR is a wonderful automation tool that greets customers as soon as they call and gives them all sorts of options. Instead of the cold, robotic auto attendants of the old days, they are greeted by what sounds like a real person and can proceed by saying what they want, rather than punching numbers. Use of this system fosters the image of a larger, more responsive business, which in turn builds reputation, customer trust, and brand loyalty.
Marketing is only one of the ways Unified Communications can improve your business. Download the free eBook, How Unified Communications Improves Businesses, to learn 128 ways UC can benefit your organization.