Are you worried potential customers will forget your business when it comes time to make a purchase? If not, you should worry because if your brand isn’t top-of-mind when consumers face a buying decision, they’ll likely choose another brand they recall. Instead, you must spotlight your brand through multiple encounters over time so your brand comes to mind when they face a buying decision.
So, how do you keep a spotlight on your brand? Let’s explore some of the options.
How consumers make decisions
First, let’s explore how customers make decisions. Generally, the 5-step decision-making process looks like this:
- Need recognition. The consumer experiences a gap between where they are and where they’d like to be, for instance, hunger is a gap between being full and empty.
- Information search. At this stage, consumers seek information about products to solve their problem, ie. fill the gap. So, if I am hungry, I search for products to eat. For some products, like buying a car or a new appliance, I might do extensive research through online reviews or consumer reports. But, for everyday products, I probably go through a list of brands I remember from past experiences or advertising. For solving my hunger problem, I go through a mental list of what I have to eat on-hand or a list of restaurants that solve my problem.
- Consider the alternatives. Again, for expensive products or other high-involvement products, I might make lists of benefits and costs, while for low-involvement products like everyday purchases, I often just choose from the list of products I remember.
- Make the decision
- Evaluate the decision
Why it’s important to spotlight your business
Let’s assume you sell a low-involvement product. Consumers don’t spend time or much brainpower making a decision about which brand to purchase. Instead, they riffle through their mental file of products that solve their problem. Again, using the example of hunger, I go through my memory banks to build a list of fast-food restaurants including McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, etc. We call this a consideration set because we stored the information as acceptable choices. We might also have unacceptable choices reflecting dissatisfaction with prior experience with the brand. That’s a topic for another day.
Keeping a spotlight on your business requires you to not only make it into the consideration set, but consumers recall important decision variables related to your brand when it comes time to buy. And, that has to do with learning.
Learning involves crafting advertising that’s memorable and consistent, so each implementation of your message reinforces prior implementations or implementations across multiple channels. We call this IMC (or integrated marketing communication) and it’s necessary due to different tactics for different platforms or to avoid advertising burnout that comes with overusing a single message.
Using taglines, a spokesperson, a jingle, a memorable image, and other tactics help with learning, but repetition is the key factor in learning to ensure your brand stays in the spotlight. Commonly, a consumer must see your ad 3+ times before they file it away in their memory and that memory fades over time, so you must continually reinforce the message with new ads.
You definitely want to invest in the services of a marketing agency or hire internal employees with marketing expertise. With a marketing professional, you plan and implement your marketing programs to meet marketing goals.
In addition, consider PR (public relations) to spin marketing for your company into the news. That’s crucial because it’s a highly subtle way to promote your company to customers. Rather than marketing to them directly, you instead provide updates through the media. Media coverage has the advantage of being less commercial, and thus more believable, as well as to reach new and different audiences.
For effective PR, you need a public relations team. They liaise with the press and other outlets to encourage reporters to write about your business. For success, you need PR folks with existing relationships with the press since this form of promotion relies on the goodwill of the media.
Ensure you’re using social media effectively. Effective social media involves more than just promoting and publishing content. You must create a personality that is connected to your brand and that your customers love.
Social media requires very different strategies than traditional media since social media is less formal, involving more personal and less promotional content, and two-way communication where you must listen as much or more than you speak. Building great online communities through social platforms requires you to provide value in exchange for your community’s engagement that spreads your message while providing the same non-commercial messaging
Keep your systems running
It might sound obvious but if your business isn’t available, there’s no reason for your customers to remember who you are and what you offer. Thus, keeping all your communication and advertising platforms running with no downtime and having your products available without stockouts or delivery delays.
If downtime lasts longer than three minutes you likely have an issue that interferes with building a relationship with your customers and prospective customers. To ensure you can offer 100% uptime, use a company like F1 Solutions. They can guarantee your systems don’t suffer extended periods of downtime. Instead, everything continues running smoothly across your communication platforms.
One of the easiest ways to ensure that your business isn’t forgotten by customers is to constantly and continuously deliver value to them, which often means providing insightful and entertaining content on a regular basis.
You must always ensure your customers always feel as though they are your number one priority. There are numerous ways you can deliver value to your business customers. For instance, through email marketing, you can provide access to exclusive deals. Taylor Swift is great at this, providing new tracks or exclusive tracks to folks who follow her on social media. Content is key too, as long as it is targeted and provides information that customers need or want.
We hope this helps you understand some of the best ways to ensure your business continues to shine. If you do this, you’ll never have to worry about losing the interest of your client base.
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Hausman and Associates, the publisher of MKT Maven, is a full-service marketing agency operating at the intersection of marketing and digital media. Check out our full range of services.