Modes of Marketing – A Beginner’s Guide for Ambitious Businesses

Modes of Marketing – A Beginner’s Guide for Ambitious Businesses

If you’ve got ambitions for establishing your enterprise in the marketplace, it won’t come as any surprise that marketing will be vital to your success. There are now more tools than ever before for promoting businesses – but this can make the whole process as confusing as it is exciting. So where to begin?

Here. Before you start getting too conceptually creative, it’s probably wise to take stock of your main options. What forms and formats are open to you and your business? Read on to get the lay of the marketing land, and see where it takes you…

Corporate videos

The lowdown

A clear and concise corporate video showcases your business succinctly and impressively. It saves people having to navigate pages of text on your website, and can be a good means of communicating friendliness, humour and warmth. Perhaps your product is hard to describe in words, or is based on unusual and intriguing manufacturing techniques. Ask yourself which aspects of your product need moving images to do them justice.

Video content can also be put to a lot of uses. You can repurpose footage by putting it in email newsletters, displaying it at trade events, uploading it to promotional USB sticks, or including it in PowerPoint and Prezi presentations. Think about these different platforms and outputs before you commission the video, the get the best value.

Budget

You’re unlikely to get quality content for less than £1,500. And if you want CGI and special effects, that’s another story…!

In truth, corporate videos can very much come down to personal taste. But here are a few popular favourites that certainly seem to be doing something right:

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Guerrilla marketing

The lowdown

This is type of marketing lets you promote products distinctively and economically – and so is particularly popular with SMEs. But although it’s cheap, guerrilla marketing does rely on a real sense of creativity and imagination.

Put simply, guerrilla marketing usually takes the form of activities carried out exclusively in public places, such as shopping centres, parks or popular destinations – sites that aren’t directly related to your product or service. This can make a lively and vivid impression, but might also involve a degree of risk; a backfiring guerrilla campaign can be very negative. But it’s a hell of a lot more fun than a newsletter!

Budget

As little as possible. Less than £500 is a good target.

Here are some vivid and popular examples of guerrilla marketing, but remember not to follow them too closely – the point is to be original!

 

SEO marketing

The lowdown

SEO (search engine optimisation) might not get your creative juices flowing, but it will almost certainly be vital to the success of your enterprise. In its most basic terms, SEO is about ensuring that search engines, such as Google and Bing, ‘like’ your website, and rank it favourably. Luckily, as search-engine robots are becoming smarter and can read website more like humans, SEO is in many ways getting more straightforward – ensure your site is clear and useful to users, and you’re half way there.

A sensibly organised website is a great foundation for effective SEO. And think about how customers will arrive at your site – what will they have been searching for, and what phrases can you use to convince them that they’ve arrived at the right place? Explore the sites that ranking highly in your field, and print out their key pages. What are they saying, and how are they saying it?

Budget

As you can probably tell, there’s a good amount of SEO ‘groundwork’ that can be done when you’re developing the content for your site. But a dedicated agency (from about £60 p/h) will bring a new level of precision and insight, and help you understand what needs sharpening up if you’re going to keep Google happy!

 

Community marketing

The lowdown

If corporate videos and guerrilla marketing are ways for a business to shout about what makes it so great, community marketing strikes a very different tone. Rather than focus on what you do, community marketing involves taking a step back, and taking stock of the social groups relevant to your product. What are they talking about / complaining about / celebrating? How can your business get involved in their conversations, without being too commercially crude?

Remember, this approach might not achieve the ‘quantifiable outcomes’ that you get with SEO, for example. But try to think of it as a valuable exercise regardless of the business it generates there and then; taking the time to put yourself in the customer’s frame of mind will only be good for you in the long term.

Budget

A specialist marketing agency could develop this work (normally at an hourly rate), but it’s very manageable as a DIY marketing strategy.

Examples

In the top flight of the business world, companies such as PlayStation, Starbucks and Random House have developed large community-orientated initiatives. You probably won’t be able to replicate their projects, but see what key lessons you can learn from their approach – how have other companies managed to participate in a community, and not just sell to it…?

There aren’t many marketing tips that apply to all companies, all of the time. But perhaps the golden rule to remember is this: there’s no single activity that is ‘marketing’. Instead, there’s a range of different activities. Understanding how each one will work for your business – or why it won’t work – is the crucial first step.

And only then can start letting your imagination run wild…

Lucy is a writer who specialises in helping SME’s as she believes (as do many others) that they are the heart of our economy. She also writes for a UK content marketing agency called Aspect Film and Video.