A Brand Marketing Plan
I’ve attended many marketing events and seminars through the years, and many of them sing the same song: be innovative, think outside the box, and connect with consumers at the root level. But there is a deeper consideration to a brand marketing plan.
Knowing and doing are entirely different things. How do we apply these concepts? To start with, you have to know your marketplace and its’ consumers. For example, in the Indian marketplace, consider;
- India is a mobile-first country, currently second in the world and expected to take the first position during 2015. As such, marketeers began developing new strategies to penetrate this evolving market years before; those just starting are already playing catch up.
- Mobile will change the way we approach brand awareness; and,
- Digital media has completely transformed how consumers perceive, interact and connect with brands.
Adopting a brand marketing plan is all about understanding buyer behavior and perceptions. So, the process begins with breaking tactics down into four groups: Awareness, Consideration, Influence, and Loyalty.
You need more than marketing tricks however, you need to look at the traditional motivations of the buyers — because digital or not, you are selling to humans. As such, ask yourself what is the common interests your buyers and potential buyers share? and, what will move them emotionally to connect with your brand?
This approach can be applied to both high-concept ideas as well as commodity products and services. it can be applied to high end executives and regular consumers as you try to connect to their communities.
Building a brand of quality is more than selling products, it’s about building a network of evangelists.
No company on the planet has done this better than Apple; their customers don’t even consider price when buying an Apple product; Apple doesn’t sell a product, they sell a philosophy that they have successfully sold to the general consumer market.
At the same time, newsworthiness events can trigger tremendous brand awareness and customer attachment. For example, in Australia, Coke, without warning, released their soda brand without the brand name on the label, and along side the Icon replaced the name with with common names in Australia — like Kate and Mel. This struck a cord and the country responded with enthusiasm proving one of the most successful brand campaigns of the last decade. Suddenly people were seeing their names on billboards and moving ads, and sales of Coke spiked upward.
By 2015 the stats show that 1 in 15 bank accounts will be connected to eComm accounts. This means that eCommerce sites need to start thinking about customizing for mobile presentation; personalizing on a customer by customer basis, i.e. presenting them with items that they would specifically be interested in through increased data-mining.
With the increased information that the Internet can provide, consumers are inundated every day with content. How does a brand get their messages out to the world without being just more noise?
Understanding that a consumer goes through a thought-cycle before they buy is a basis to better understanding their motivations. So you have to make them Aware of the product, Engage them, Provide easy to comprehend info (like PowerPoint or info-graphic presentations), allow them Time to compare you to others, and finally make a purchase.
Does customer loyalty exist in today’s highly price-competitive environment? According to Vinil Ramdev in his article Customer Loyalty in Today’s Crowded Market Place, the answer is yes.
Understanding that marketing and brand development is a long process provides the insight for brands to recognize that a successful marketing program takes time, preparation, and patience.
As marketeers our job is to figure out how to touch a consumer at each of the stages listed above.
A Brand Marketing Plan
There are three primary steps.
- In the content layer, we provide insightful information via PDFs, video, PowerPoint and Infographics. These are easy for consumers to absorb and can be promoted through SlideShare, Tumblr, Pinterest and others.
- In the Interaction layer, we provide information through blogs, social media, newsletters, surveys, and content.
- In the Marketing layer, we’re engaged in building client visibility through SEO, PPC, email campaigns, newsletters and videos, many of which are tied into specific landing pages built for each specific campaign.
With the advent of digital marketing, competition is now stiff and loud. And money is a precious commodity, so don’t just throw it against the wall to see what sticks. Sit down with a pen and pad and think it through. Break it down into stages and ask yourself:
- what does my customer want?
- what indirect yet relevant content will attract them?
- how and when should you make the sales pitch? and;
- what customer service is required to make them loyal once you’ve got them?
The answers may surprise you. Customers come in all shapes and sizes, each with their own motivation, thought process and impulse.
A commodity item will more usually be price-driven, while a specialty product will be quality-driven, and in some cases the product is less important than the customer support provided: people like headache-free experiences.
Know your customer and their behavior and you’re on your way to cracking through the wall of noise.
It all begins with research, and then a strong unwavering marketing plan. If you can’t develop a marketing plan, then hire someone who can — you only bring back as good as you put out into the world.