For the first 13 years of our company’s existence, all of our growth came from word of mouth referrals. And I still cling to the conviction that there is no stronger source of marketing. But in today’s competitive business landscape, it’s not enough on its own, and I know that creating an integrated marketing effort is mandatory in order for our growth to continue at the level we expect.
Herein lies the challenge from both a creative and tactical standpoint: Depending on the estimate you believe, the average person sees anywhere from 5,000 to 20,000 ad messages per day. These numbers are staggering! It also sheds a light on the importance of having a message that cuts through the clutter.
For me, I’m not inclined to go the “extreme” route to stand out – meaning, creating messages that are very different in a quirky, attention grabbing way. It doesn’t fit with the essence of our company’s brand, or my personal brand for that matter. Which leads to the multi-million-dollar question: How does a company develop a conservative, winning marketing strategy in an era dominated by immense clutter?
I do believe that the successful strategy that I apply in my day-to-day business life has to be applicable in some fashion. In everything I do, I try to create win-win situations for everyone involved, starting with the most important party – the client. There’s no reason why this mindset can’t apply to fundamental marketing strategy. For example:
(1) Content that provides value: Whether it’s a whitepaper or a simple article offering company expertise, you can provide definitive, tangible value to a customer. This is exponentially more powerful than a standard ad message.
(2) More effective storytelling: Rather than create a 750-1,000 word sell sheet to explain an offering, a well-produced:30-:60 video makes life easier for a target audience to understand how you can help them grow – and it saves them time and effort in the process. At the end of the day, a business exists to make life easier for its customers, and help them grow: Here you’ve accomplished this with a single, affordable branding tactic.
(3) Education: Whether it’s an in-person class or a webinar, educating a potential client base with a free class not only provides a valuable service, but also offers an opportunity to showcase what it would be like to work with you.
(4) Sponsorship that provides a service: If you can find the right niche for your brand, affordable sponsorship opportunities can go a long way, and have a halo effect tied to them. For example, a local youth sports team might need a sponsor to pay for uniforms. By funding it – you’re providing a valued service, and your company logo is prominently featured on the uniforms. If you have a lot of prospects within the parent group of the local kids, this is a great branding opportunity and a potential lead generator. Serving the community here has a halo effect tied to it, and even if no business materializes, you can feel great about an investment for the “greater good,” and others will appreciate your company for the gesture.
There are infinite ways to go here, as long as you adhere to this fundamental approach: When considering any tactical marketing initiative, ask yourself if you’re creating a win-win situation for everyone involved. If there’s even a hint of question surrounding it, the likelihood of your message getting lost in a quagmire of ad messaging is high. If you see the win-win potential, your chance for success goes up exponentially.
Munawar Abadullah is the CEO of the ImpTrax Corporation, a NYC-based IT/Software company that provides full-service IT and network security solutions. You can reach out to him directly at Munawar.Abadullah@ImpTrax.com or learn more about ImpTrax at www.ImpTrax.com.