Retail owners – regardless of business size – can often feel as though their hands are always in their pockets.
Inventory, equipment, technology, wage costs, insurance, taxes, building and rent costs for bricks-and-mortar stores and web hosting fees for online retailers – it all adds up.
It’s easy to see how investing in brand can slide down a list of business priorities when more immediate and tangible needs clamour for attention.
However, a company’s brand cannot be ignored – a brand is the promise it makes to its customer.
Once that promise has been made, a company must invest the time, energy and – yes, money – to continually reinforce and meet its promise.
These four simple tips reveal not only how to get more bang for your buck but demonstrate how brand investment extends far beyond merely a financial outlay.
1. Know your audience
Choosing which channels to focus your time and money on can be overwhelming. Should you drop money on a radio or television commercial or spend time at networking and community events?
The tip is to know your audience and target the channels they are most likely to consume.
The “spray-and-pray” approach – plastering countless ads across all channels and crossing your fingers that it reaches the right people – is never the key to success.
Invest time and energy in research: ask questions and seek to know more than your competition about your customer. Develop a deep understanding of your local audience and how and when they like to consume content and marketing. Understand their buying cycles and purchasing habits so you can position content at the right moments.
2. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
Just like you shouldn’t spray-and-pray, you shouldn’t do something once, decide it doesn’t work and then never go back there again. Don’t be disheartened if you didn’t get an immediate sales bump from one radio ad or sponsored social media post. Marketing requires repetition to be powerful.
Advertising daily, weekly or monthly in the right channels builds awareness of your brand, your product and your value proposition so that when someone is in market, you are on their list.
3. Stay on brand
It can be so tempting to shoot for a quick win by pushing out a marketing piece without full branding and correct visual identity, or to think that “just this once won’t matter”.
Brand is the most recognisable element for your customers. When they are in a buying cycle, you want them to have perfect recall of your brand and proposition, rather than feel confused about who you are or what you offer.
Be disciplined when producing everything from your radio ads to press ads; flyers to social media tiles; point-of-sale collateral to event props.
4. Commit the money
Reaching an audience repeatedly requires a commitment to spend money on marketing.
This commitment is about consistency, presence in the market at the right time and converting audience awareness to audience action.
Develop a marketing plan based on sales forecast, understand which channels you will activate and commit the money.