Marketing makes the world go ’round. Regardless of what you’re selling, your company needs to formulate a plan to get the word out; you’re not only telling people that you have something they need or want, but why they need or want your version of it. In this world of small businesses and startups, competition is fierce. The only way to win is to produce a marketing campaign that clearly establishes who you are as a company and what you care about as a brand. Since marketing deals wholly with people, a little psychology can go a long way.
Have you ever seen a commercial that you enjoyed watching? Instead of muting the TV or channel surfing, you’d stop what you were doing and pay extra attention when you heard that tell-tale jingle or recognized that iconic accent. That reaction is a marketer’s dream, but few companies have been able to achieve it; understanding your demographic and what they’re interested in can bridge this gap.
Consider the approach RE/MAX, a popular real estate company, took with their commercial campaigns. Though they have many, we’re going to focus on two aptly-named scenarios: “Getting Married,” in which a man proposes to his girlfriend in his mother’s basement, and “Twins,” which portrays a soon-to-be father preparing a home for the birth of his twins. Both have distinct themes that target different demographics, yet get to the heart of what buying a house means: it isn’t just a place to live in, it’s a place to grow and expand. Because home prices are expected to increase 2% to 6% in the next few years, advertisements need to hit consumers on an emotional level. By combining both heartwarming and practical marketing into a single commercial, RE/MAX was able to do just that.
Before you can craft a stellar marketing campaign, however, it’s crucial that you establish your brand. A brand is more than just your logo or jingle; it is the way a customer experiences your company and distinguishes it from your rivals, whether that means you pride yourself on using sustainable packaging, produce exceptionally high-quality products, or believe that every small business can achieve its dreams. What matters to your business should matter to your customers, and you can’t create commercials and direct mail campaigns without knowing that information.
Ford has consistently done this well; the iconic manufacturer is not only ranked as the most valuable American car brand, but it’s considered to be the fifth-most valuable car brand globally. The company was able to achieve such success thanks to its Ex-CEO Alan Mulally, who understood what his customers liked best about Ford. Not too long after he was brought on in 2006, he had whittled the manufacturer’s 97 distinct models down to 40. Now, as Americans almost exclusively associate Ford with trucks and SUVs, the new CEO Jim Hackett has done something similar: in 2018, the company decided to eliminate production of sedans to focus on what the public actually cared about — trucks and SUVs.
In this world, marketing campaigns can make or break a company. Even signage, which is considerably less sophisticated compared to television commercials, can influence consumers; those who live within a five-mile-radius will see a sign between 50 and 60 times a month, greatly impacting their opinion of the company and their inclination to stop by and make a purchase. Whether you’re a new business stepping into the fray or are well-established and successful, one thing rings true: marketing matters.