The best business advice, opinion, news and expertise in Greater Manchester and further afield.

Friday, 21 October 2016

Disruptive Marketing: The New Way to Shake up any Market

By Sammy Blindell of How to Build a Brand

If you’ve been involved in marketing for more than two minutes, you’ve learnt one thing: Consumers are not only driving the way we shape our brand, they are driving the shape of markets.
Today’s consumer has more power than any consumer in history, and we are having to find ways to really know what they want in order to meet those needs and be noticed. One marketing innovation that has evolved from this condition is Disruptive Marketing. This practice involves two main principles:

  • Predicting the needs of emerging markets and creating a brand to fill a need
  • Reworking an existing brand to meet an emerging need in the market
  • No matter the motive, disruptive marketing will surely do one thing: It will challenge the status quo of current marketing messages, in order to disrupt the market and gain attention for the brand it’s representing. 

If you’ve been involved in marketing for more than two minutes, you’ve learnt one thing: Consumers are not only driving the way we shape our brand, they are driving the shape of markets.
Today’s consumer has more power than any consumer in history, and we are having to find ways to really know what they want in order to meet those needs and be noticed. One marketing innovation that has evolved from this condition is Disruptive Marketing. 

This practice involves two main principles:

The result? Massive visibility for that brand.

This is the reverse of what most of you have grown accustomed to. In the past, a brand was built and then creative ways were designed for getting its message to the right people. Now, essentially, we are being asked to find the audience, generate the message…and then produce the brand.
Is this the best way to create your Passion Project (that thing that comes straight from your heart)? Probably not. However, if you’re careful about how you handle this approach, you could end up experiencing the best of all worlds.
If Disruptive Marketing sounds like something you’re prepared to shoulder, then you’ll need some guidance. 

Here are a few directive principles, to take you into the fray of this reactive, attention-getting type of marketing:

·         Adopt an evolutionary mindset. As you dig deeply into the needs and emotions of consumers, you will likely discover that what you’ve been saying, doing, creating or providing is off the mark. You may have to go back to the drawing board, to adjust your message or entirely revamp your brand. This will be painful. After all, your brand is your passion, right? However, after you recover from the initial shock, you will come to see that making necessary changes will bring positive results.

·         Get your head out of your brand.  You think your brand is great, and you’ve been fashioning your marketing messages around those attributes. But what if that’s not how consumers view your brand? Well, guess what? What you say doesn’t matter. What they think is the only thing that matters. If you’re going to move forward with making your brand great, and disrupting the market to your advantage, you’re going to have to view every move you make (and everything you create) from your ideal customer’s viewpoint. If they don’t like it, need it, respect it…it will not exist in any market—disrupted or otherwise.

·         Put emotion and psychology ahead of technology and common sense.  Read it again if you need to, because this one may take a minute to digest. Consumers are not making buying decisions based on reason. They’re also not subscribing to emotionless propositions. They want to feel. They want to connect. They want to be necessary. Make this happen, by advancing the market in a way that creates something that will be ready when they arrive, and you will win.
Are you feeling a bit rebellious? Are you ready to take a risk? Well, this is a risk that has massive potential for a lucrative pay-out…if you fully commit to being disruptive, for the sake of your ideal customers.

Intrigued? Then you are the kind of entrepreneur or business owner with the drive to build a fast-growth, revolutionary brand. Click here to learn more about the B.R.A.N.D. Building Bootcamp, a one-day fully immersive branding and marketing experience in which you will learn the three strategies I used to take my business from £0 to £18,000 per month in just 12 weeks. 

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Member Blog: Missed opportunity – A cautionary tale

By David Wright, BSA Marketing
It is a common feature of some SME businesses that they focus almost exclusively on the short term when planning marketing – often confusing marketing and brand communication with lead generation and sales development.
When it comes down to it, if you are only going to focus on either marketing/communication or lead generation/sales then it really should be the latter. A business can survive without dedicated, focused marketing but sales and profitable revenue generation is a must!
Marketing is a catalyst.
A business with an effective marketing process will better understand its customers and markets who will, in turn, have a better understanding of the company, it’s proposition and the value benefit it can deliver.
In short effective marketing makes lead generation and sales easier.
However, if you fall into the trap of thinking you are marketing when actually you are selling can be dangerous and lead to missed opportunity – potentially with terminal results.

A Case Study

Some time ago, a friend of mine set up an e-commerce retail business. The business was initially an expansion of a hobby where he stored goods in his garage and visited craft fairs as a sales outlet.
The business was low turnover but with virtually no overheads. It was profitable. He then took the business online and the growth (albeit modest) continued.
As those of you who run retail businesses will be only too aware, it can be relatively easy to grow turnover but with inventory costs taking up the majority of the revenue, delivering sustainable profit can be more challenging. It is easy to let overhead creep up and eat into margin.
This is what happened in this case. As the business turnover grew online, the garage wasn’t big enough so they moved into a small warehouse unit – with rent and rates! This step-change in overhead needed a quick boost in turnover and Google Adwords was an obvious choice – and it worked!
Pay-per-click had an almost immediate impact generating turnover to meet the increased overhead. Revenues soared through £100,000 and on towards £300,000 – all was looking positive. Adwords became the key to growth.

Misdirected Focus

Rapid growth brought its own issues with more and more stock to manage and customer orders to fulfil. The process of maximising orders through Pay-per-click meant the management got sucked into dealing with the short term.
The problems that were looming over the horizon were just not on the radar.

Reality Sets In

Retail e-commerce is a cash positive business model. Customers pay up front while suppliers are paid on credit terms of 30 days – or more.
While turnover is growing, this puts short term cash in the bank which can hide a critical factor. There is no profit!
As the initial burst of growth started to level off, reality set in. Turnover was still strong but cashflow suffered. The business started to run out of cash. What was going on?
Products were being sold at good margin and staff and premises costs were under control. The issue was Adwords.
Company focus was on driving turnover through Adwords which meant that the majority of orders received by the company incurred additional cost of the Adwords fees. The margin was going to Google!
However, there was a critical factor that was being ignored.

Missed Opportunity

Clearly a business that isn’t making a profit isn’t sustainable but as the turnover rose, a potentially valuable asset was being created.
Driving sales through Adwords meant that most orders were from new customers. By the time the reality was setting in, there was a database of around 18000 live, paying customers – and nothing was being done with it!
Open any marketing primer and you will read that it is easier to get sales from an existing customer who knows you than someone who doesn’t. In our case here, this huge opportunity was being almost completely ignored.
If there had been a consistent process of communication and relationship building (i.e. Marketing) with these existing customers using lower cost media such as e-mail and social media, profitable repeat business could have been developed where the margin stayed with the company.
The problem was that marketing is a medium to long term process and by the time they realised, it was too late.
A potentially strong and effective business closed down.
I believe a lack of longer term marketing planning was a significant factor in this demise.

The Moral of the Story

Any business that only plans and operates in the short term will only ever have short term certainty.
While short term security is clearly critical, it is only by taking time to also plan and act for the medium and longer term that a business can grow stronger and through this growing strength, make success ever more sustainable.
This might be easy to say but the fact is that longer term marketing planning is easy to forget or ignore.
BSA’s focus is working with our clients to make sure that marketing doesn’t get forgotten and that plans are agreed, and, most important, implemented.
We strive to make sure your marketing works for you.
Is your marketing working? If not, give us a call.