There’s no question about it: your customers are the heart and soul of your business. You and your team take immense pride in offering the best possible customer experience. But it doesn’t matter how superb your products and services are if you’re unable to connect with your target audience.
And yet, in an increasingly crowded and competitive environment, making those critical connections with your ideal customer base can be formidably challenging. The good news, however, is that marketers today have more tools at their disposal than ever before for reaching out to and building relationships with costumes.
This article examines the four major types of business marketing and describes how you can leverage these to effectively attract customers in 2023 and beyond.
First Things First: Knowing Your Audience
Before you can begin to effectively connect with your target customers and cultivate long-standing and lucrative relationships with them, you must first understand who your customers are, what they want, what they need, and what they expect. This means that customer and market data analytics will be fundamental to your marketing success.
Social media monitoring can be an especially powerful tool for understanding your target market and how to reach them. Monitoring software helps you track social media conversations relevant to your business and your industry. It can provide immense insight into how your customers perceive your company and your rivals. It can enable you to identify deficiencies in the customer experience and to define opportunities for service and product improvements.
Once you better understand your customers’ perspectives, you can cultivate the best practices you need to ensure an optimal customer experience while at the same time building your marketing strategies around these innovations.
Undercover Marketing: Winning Customers Through Stealth
One of the most important marketing strategies for 2023 is undercover or stealth marketing. Fundamentally, undercover marketing refers to techniques for promoting your brand, products, or services without your target customers ever really realizing they’re being marketed to.
In this great age of social media, undercover marketing is easier and perhaps more prolific than ever before. Global market trends, such as the heavy reliance on user-generated content, are an increasingly effective strategy for engaging with prospective customers and raising brand awareness without being overtly promotional.
For example, soliciting images and videos on social media of your target customers’ experiences at a company-sponsored event, such as a concert or sporting event, is an ideal way to advertise your brand and build positive associations with it. This can be a far more effective strategy than blatant self-promotion, which your target audience may resist, reject, or simply ignore.
Scarcity Marketing – Get It While It’s Hot!
Scarcity marketing is perhaps one of the oldest, most common, and most effective of the major marketing strategies. As the name suggests, scarcity marketing is predicated on the ability to inspire both urgency and desire in your target customer. The goal is to make customers feel as if they will lose out on a rare and valuable opportunity if they don’t act fast.
In scarcity marketing, you’re appealing to the audience’s heart as much as to their head — if not more so. You want to use a variety of innovative marketing techniques, such as storytelling and personalization, to speak to your target customers’ emotions. The scarcity approach means that you’re not just inspiring your target audience to act fast, but that you’re also playing on a perception of rarity and ephemerality to add to the value of the product.
Relationship Marketing: Building Profitable Connections
In the era of social media, consumer expectations in regard to their business relationships have shifted dramatically. No longer does the standard transactional model apply. Customers want more than simply a great product at a reasonable price.
Rather, today’s consumers are looking to build relationships with the businesses they support. This means that, whether you’re promoting a retail enterprise or a healthcare clinic, one of the most important things you can do is cultivate a brand that speaks to caring and connectedness.
For example, healthcare consumers increasingly identify personal “warmth” as an essential attribute of a “good” doctor. Healthcare providers who seem to lack the sensitivity and compassion their patients crave are unlikely to be able to retain their business for very long. On the other hand, if you market a healthcare team, a service provider, or a retailer as one who knows, cares about, and seeks to connect with their clients, then the odds are you’re going to gain the interest and, very likely, the business of your target audience.
When it comes to relationship marketing, once again, approaches such as the use of personalization, storytelling, and user-generated content is paramount. For example, through storytelling, particularly when presented on video, you can create narratives that help audiences invest in the backstory of the company, engage in the brand mission, and relate to founders and employees on a human level.
User-generated content, similarly, helps to build connection and community around your brand, as audiences come to know not only your employees but also fellow customers and clients.
And, of course, personalization through targeted promotions and direct contact (including personally responding to customers’ reviews, comments, questions, and complaints on social media) is a powerful way to telegraph to audiences that you know and care about them as individuals, not just as a source of sales revenues.
Cause Marketing: Putting Your Money Where Customers’ Heart Is
The concept of the conscious consumer is nothing new, but it has perhaps never been more important than it is today. Millennials and Generation Z consumers, in particular, are increasingly seeking to support only the businesses whose values they feel align with their own.
This means that young adults’ spending habits often differ significantly from those of their parents’ generation. For example, millennials tend to be quite thrifty and conservative in regard to how they spend their money. They are looking to optimize value and convenience while at the same time contributing to social causes they believe in.
For this reason, underscoring your company’s various corporate social responsibility (CSR) and diversity, equity, and inclusivity (DEI) initiatives should be a cornerstone of your marketing efforts for 2023. This should include, at the very least, an effort to embrace diversity marketing, reaching out to a wide array of target audiences and integrating images and narratives representing all communities and all walks of life.
In addition, your cause marketing efforts should underscore your company’s efforts to advance social justice concerns. This might include sponsoring events to aid in the fight against climate change or promoting your company’s sustainability practices. You might also promote your company’s hiring and employment practices, including benefits packages that support education and employment for historically marginalized groups, such as veterans, persons with disabilities, seniors, BIPOC, and LGBTQ+ employees.
The market is constantly evolving and that means that your marketing strategies must evolve with it. By deploying the four major marketing techniques and adapting them to the changing needs of your customer base, you can ensure that you are effectively engaging and building relationships with target clients from around the world. And that means that, through the use of undercover, scarcity, relationship, and cause marketing, you’ll be able to drive brand awareness and continuous growth throughout 2023 and beyond!