Isha Edwards is a brand marketing strategist and demand generation pro who, via EPiC Measures, LLC, makes a C.A.S.E. (credibility, awareness, sales and engagement) for individuals and organizations that major on being distinctly different. Digital marketing and communications expertise, coupled with business management acumen, enables Isha to measure twice and cut once; to align marketing strategy with business objectives and to build brand value for increased sales.
Among other services, I provide product development marketing consulting for startups, which includes branding and UX design. I third previous replies adding, target audience will impact use and, subsequently, platform.
Most B2C apps (social, lifestyle, educational, etc.) are sold primarily, or exclusively, in the respective App stores (iOS and Android). Whereas, B2B apps (namely SaaS) fare better as a web app because they are used via the desktop in conjunction with other tools or software.
I hope that provides "clarity."
Keep it simple!
There are over 500 marketing tools and tactics you can employ, but NONE of them matter if your target audience does not engage or use any of them. This includes inbounding marketing, content marketing (please don't start a blog just because everyone has one or because others have gained followers), advertorials, digital marketing and social media.
Unless you have the budget and resources: time and labor to implement some of the tactics suggested, go with what Rick said.You will get a higher ROI attending a local event for $25 to network with your ideal customer, and learn how they prefer to engage, than paying hundreds or thousands to implement online campaigns.
If you have the capacity to facilitate prospects regionally, nationally or even internationally, then consider developing a brand-driven marketing strategy, which will ensure that you select 3 to 4 marketing tactics that reflect your brand and actively engages your target audience. After testing results, you can tweak, delete/add and repeat.
I hope that provides "clarity!"
There are more than 500 free and inexpensive marketing, communications, sales, e-comerce and CRM tools and a plethora of ways to reach the same goal; to increase awareness and, subsequently, sales. Pursue tools here: https://zapier.com/zapbook.
There are 21 tips in this "Guide to Maximizing Lead Generation" bit.ly/1i9XsNw.
As with ALL things marketing, be sure to narrow your target audience such that you know where and how customers prefer to engage. The latter ensures that you, for example, place ads and feature articles or that you are a guest contributor for waterfront and similar lifestyle living publications (These are just a few bootstrapping methods.).
Need more "clarity?" Schedule a call today!
As both a brand marketing consultant and a speaker, I suggest that you position yourself where customers can find you. It will be a business expense. However, attending, or even sponsoring, events hosted by notable speaking entities like Toastmasters and NSA will not only put you in front of prospective clients, but provide insight into their needs and how you might improve as well as position your product effectively. You’ll likely be the only vendor of your type in the room, which means zero competition, but you will stand out. Depending on your capacity and budget, you might even solicit speaker bureaus and become a third party vendor.
For the sake of “clarity,” best practices for marketing ANY type of service is to 1. Narrow your target audience (Are you going after academics who want to digitize their content for mass consumption, industry gurus/coaches on LinkedIn, or self-proclaimed life coaches who live on Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn, have podcasts, blogs, or have done TedTalks, etc.?) 2. Research your target audience’s sales and customer engagement needs then 3. Pitch your service based on value and benefits. WHO you’re targeting will impact HOW you target them and WHAT you say.
Call me to learn more about the 4Ps of Marketing and how to use the 5Ws to position your product effectively.
Brain nailed it!
Simply put, ask your EXISTING CUSTOMERS how they found you; specifically ask if they searched a particular word/phrase and via what tool. Use www.typeform.com to create a FREE survey for new/existing customers and be willing to offer a discount for time spent helping you with research. Also, use your EXISTING customer base to determine your target audience via a "buyer persona." Creating a "buyer persona" will help you determine what marketing tactic to employ, which could be none, some or all of the marketing tactics already suggested. Creating a "buyer persona" will also help define your ideal or primary customer and the budget you need to reach them.
FYI: On my end, a Google search of "corporate housing" produces a list of search engine optimized sites by city. My top hit is www.corporatehousing.com, which gives visitors a coast-to-coast list of short term, corporate lease options. Find two other sites like it then determine your competitive advantage, your unique selling proposition and your value proposition.
The nature of your business means that you have a ready-made audience; a demographic that's not even on your radar, e.g., major hotel brands, corporate HR departments and real estate agents.
My two cents! Call for “clarity!”
Although I am wholly against keeping up with the “Business Joneses,” in terms of business development, branding, product, placement, pricing, etc., the approach you mentioned is useful if you’re commenting in a neutral space among your "peer competitors." It is also useful if, in some way, your competitor provides complementary services. The latter may lead to a referral arrangement or even a partnership. The only other place your communications strategy is useful is as an offline case study.
Platforms like Clarity, LinkedIn and Twitter are examples of where you can and should “give credit where credit is due” while demonstrating how you are different (define your Unique Selling Proposition). Otherwise, I wouldn't advise using your BRANDED BLOG to compliment a competitor (highlighting their strengths or competitive advantage) in hopes of winning or retaining customers. That will backfire. Essentially you're admitting that you're not as qualified, which you admitted to when you posed the question. It will be especially damaging if what your competitor does better meets or exceeds industry standards.
In short, unless you are without an ulterior motive, which Nick addresses in his response, don’t spend time promoting your competitors for free. People remember and keep up with shortcomings much more than they keep up with strengths. Use your time, which equals money, to accentuate YOUR positive!
I've been blogging before it was called blogging and before inbound marketing was a formal tactic. My published work dates back to 2004. In 2012, I switched from formal journalism to microblogging with significant success realized via Twitter and LinkedIn. As someone who has managed public and media relations for entities in entertainment, business and even education, I employ a comprehensive approach to marketing and communications planning.
Replace "launching a startup" with any other variable and the answer will be the same.
What does it profit you to successfully launch a startup and not be able to enjoy the "spoils of war" or, worse, to have to spend your spoils on medical bills? Similar to the check engine and other lights that come on in a vehicle, health problems are the warning signs that a part of the body is malfunctioning. To ignore those signs and keep driving (regardless of where you are in the startup process) is to put yourself, passengers and other drivers at risk. Follow the owner's manual and go in for service as prescribed, i.e., get the appropriate rest and relaxation, eat well, exercise, etc.
If life expectancy averages remain the same, your body has to last well past your startup into your 70s and 80s. When you burn out early, you short-circuit the agility needed for your later years. It doesn't help that metabolism decreases as you get older so if you don't make time for exercise, good eating and rest now, your body will ignore you later ...
I agree with Brad! Like Snapchat, Myspace (music community and teens word-of-mouth), Facebook (college campus word-of-mouth), Twitter (bloggers, mainstream media, celebs and high school students), Instagram and What’s App (celebrities, high school and college students) are "darling indie stories," which make startups think that being different and simple is all you need to succeed.
Another solid point Brad made: It IS "EXTREMELY challenging to duplicate the success of something where being in the right place at the right time with the right product was a large factor." It's also extremely difficult to ensure that an app will go viral among teens and college-age adults even if you introduce it to them directly/first. In fact, when it comes to apps, functionality, usefulness and purpose are key factors to success as is creating an app that parents won't understand or use. The latter feature doubles as a secret weapon for teens and young adults.
For the record, I learned about Snapchat two years ago from my college intern who described Snapchat as a simple, even "stupid" way to have frivolous fun with her peers and her boyfriend. The collective was usually insanely bored, but apart from each other. Snapchat was a way to kill time, entertain and communicate and privately so. Keep in mind that Snapchat is the app that made headline news in October 2015 for being the tool used to expose Malia Obama's beer pong game experience at Brown University, and you'll understand why Los Angeles high school students "snapped" it up in 2011! Unfortunately for Miss Malia, the privacy factor failed when the chat made its way to Twitter and mainstream media picked up the posts AND the pics!
Remember when the Superdome power outage delayed Super Bowl XLVII? The power going out during the most watched sporting event in America was unintentional, but right place, right time and right message enabled Oreo Cookie to capitalize and win! This article explains how and why simple, clever, memorable things go viral and compares results with paid advertising: www.wired.com/2013/02/oreo-twitter-super-bowl.
Like you, I am also a “newbie!” I joined because I love the concept of providing CLARITY to the masses as a subject matter expert. However, a few things limit full engagement with the INTERNAL audience, which I hope the Clarity team will improve in 2016.
FYI, Clarity provides a short list of things you can do to improve your profile, one of which mentions how to increase the likelihood of getting Clarity members to contact you (see #8): https://clarity.fm/help/articles/30/how-do-i-promote-my-profile). However, if everyone (including top experts) employs the same tactic, you are forced to differentiate by your response (be first or provide the best response). In the event that the first or best response does not lead to a phone call, do comps. Look at peer and competitor profiles and compare price, area (s) and depth of expertise, frequency and most recent calls, service copy, etc. Also, determine prospective customer needs and user patterns by the frequency and type of questions posed.
Keep in mind that there are two types of clarity customers: 1. Subject matter novices that Clarity members drive to the site via email databases, website/mobile links and social media mentions and 2. Existing members: peers who give complementary advice and b. competitors who are more/less versed in a subject than you. Here’s a challenge: You are speaking primarily with your PEERS and COMPETITORS, but your copy may only address subject matter novices. One way to know if your copy is suitable is to A/B test service type/expertise and also search terms. If you garner unique page views, your search terms are feasible. If you are not getting calls, there are a list of reasons, most of which you may not discover until you field a call. You can resolve by offering to field calls for free/discounted in exchange for reviews. Use typeform.com to survey those who call about why they called.
Although I am new to the Clarity, I have observed several patterns, particularly with pricing, that stifles competition in some subjects. I have also observed patterns in purchasing habits and where demand is highest. I like the concept enough to continue to test and, ultimately, impress.
Unless they are micro/small or seasonal entities, the challenge is that your client's employees are the ones on vacation, which only delays work until February. Focus on capitalizing on the backlog created as a result of being on abbreviated work for two months. Otherwise, the good news is that revenue-focused businesses don't completely shut down during extended holidays. There is a lot to do at year-end including FYE reporting and business and marketing planning, for example.
If your target audience is academia and corporate entities, research alternative target markets that can benefit from your service. Take note from seasonal entities like vacation resorts and double up during high season in terms of generating revenue. If you meet your revenue goals 10 months out of the year instead of 12, then continue to make good use of the down time for team building, sprucing up the office, culling your customer list, or even doing some business/marketing planning or prep.
If you're bent on generating cash 12 months out of the year, change your pitch AND offer a special product (see Fabian's response) that helps clients focus on how to prepare for and succeed in the New Year. You will want to pitch specialty products in Oct/Nov so clients have a reason to buy (even pre-pay) for Dec/Jan.
Let's brainstorm about product development, pitching and promotional/sales strategies!