Right under our noses a big chunk of what we used to call marketing has slipped away, but not into obscurity.
There is no doubt that the field of marketing has grown and evolved dramatically in the past few decades from a tactic to an art and from an art to a science becoming evermore powerful and effective. Similar to many other principles, the aggregate result of its evolution has been a positive, but at what cost?
To the non-initiated (especially the younger ones amongst us) the word marketing has become synonymous with digital marketing and with good reason. We can now confidently state that we have reached the end of the digitalization adoption cycle and you’d be hard-pressed to find a business that has no online presence, but you might be able to easily find a business that can’t exhibit a comprehensive marketing strategy, the thinking behind their distribution, discount tactics and much more.
There is no doubt that investing in your digital marketing is a safe bet and done properly you are bound to witness growth, especially when you build a presence where there was none. Having said that, the impact and power of digital marketing might also be its own trip-wire, since the attention and investment going into it has evolved in the perception of the business world (especially the small business) from important to most important and from most important to the only important…
If you think that social media has taken a toll on our social skills as a species, you should see what digital marketing has done to our marketing skills! We are witnessing a phenomenon of businesses falling behind and even failing due to the neglect of very basic marketing principles.
To make a long story short, the digital marketing bullhorn has become so big and loud that its all some businesses are preoccupied with. But what happens when your competition has an equally big or bigger bullhorn? What happens when the game starts being played on a different plane, such as a transition from B2C to B2B or vice versa in your market? or your market is heavily price based? Or communication and promotion in your field has become saturated or even an element of customer dissatisfaction? In all these cases and many, many more, the loudness of your online presence becomes less relevant and its time for your company to take the fight outside.
All of the above are a trend that we at the Cypronetwork team have noticed and at times had to deal with on behalf of our clients. Digital marketing has become so strong that marketing fundamentals have been neglected and that not only causes the digital marketing bullhorn to become less effective, but also results to companies feeling seemingly lost, not knowing why and having issues keeping up with the market when push gets to shove.
We advise our clients to always make sure their marketing activities are backed up by a robust and comprehensive marketing strategy. One that constitutes the infrastructure and hence direction of all of their communication and advertising endeavors. After all, in every case, a promotional/communication/advertising effort that is backed up by solid a Marketing Strategy will always do better and adapt better.
The way we do that is by remembering some of the most important elements that have always gone into comprehensive marketing planning but have been lost along the way. Some of the most important gaps that we have identified in this trend are:
Distribution: This has very little to do with logistics and more to do with all the places that your potential customers can find you and specifically Where you intercept the path of your customer with either a Point of Sale of your product/service or your advertisement. Have you exhausted all your potential points of sale? Have you mapped your potential client’s journey so you know where to intercept? Have we saturated our geographic reach? Even when talking strictly online, we need to be aware of the best places (websites, communities, social media etc.) to advertise for our specific target segment. After all Place is one the proverbial 6 Ps of Marketing.
Promotion: How do we chose the right promotion technique? (Discount, one-plus-one, etc.) How do we choose the correct promotion depth? For how long? Is the promotion for everyone or a specific segment? And many other questions that feel like they should be asked, but are not. Furthermore, the concept of subsidized sales is rarely investigated. Subsidized sales is when a product/service is under promotion, but the buyers are existing returning customers who would buy our product/service anyway but are now buying it on a discount, subsidized by the business. Promotional strategies are being lost to time and that is a shame since there are many market/offer combos that can still be highly effective.
Market Development: So much effort is being put into increasing the size of our slice of the pie by stealing some from our competitors’ slice of the pie that no one ever things about increasing the size of the pie. The majority of the time that this happens, the company only experiences a small amount of switching (gaining competitively from our competitors) and this is usually at a huge cost/gain ratio, or return on investment if you like. Market Development is such an underestimated activity and one that should be extra effective in late adopting markets such as the one of Cyprus.
Market Proposition: This is a big one. Not in terms of it being more important than other principles that are being neglected, but in terms if the width of its impact and implication. Less and less businesses are putting time in comprehensively assessing their market and diligently identifying gaps and opportunities to introduce new products and/or services. Instead, what we see is first the product/service being picked and then overly relying on the new bullhorn (digital marketing) to do the job of getting it out there. This results not only to a lot of products and product launch failures, but even in those who manage to survive, an unnecessarily expensive marketing maintenance to keep the product/service competitive.
Don’t get us wrong, we think that Digital Marketing is the Ferrari of Marketing tools and if we only had the option to only pick one tool, we’d probably go Ferrari every time. However, even if a Ferrari is the fastest car, if there are no paved roads, you don’t know how to drive and accidents happen every second city block, it will only be a matter of time before you start wondering why this Ferrari purchase is not what you imagined. Turns out, infrastructure, preparation and educated decision making are important too…
At Cypronetwork we pride ourselves in being the oldest standing and most experienced marketing consultants in Cyprus. This means we have developed vast numbers marketing strategies for our clients spanning further than 3 decades into the past awe adapt to the market trends and needs of today’s customers. In turn this means that we have tried and tested each and every possible course of developing a marketing plan, have exhaustively analyzed pretty much every industry and faced every type of client. We have firsthand experience of marketing endeavors gone wrong, have an organic, deep and genuine understand of what is needed for a marketing plan/strategy to be successful, robust and long-lasting.