To effectively reach your target market, it is essential to keep up with their evolving needs. One way to do this is by updating your marketing plan using your marketing mix to cater to changing circumstances. Some brands are able to standardize their marketing efforts and don’t have to adapt much. Either way, there are some factors to keep in mind to keep your brand relevant.
In this article, we’ll look at some ways your brand can update your marketing plan and adapt your marketing mix. We’ll then examine whether those methods are viable for your brand. UMI has been essential in shaping some of the largest multi-location and franchise brands in the US for over 24 years. We’ve seen what works and what doesn’t. Here’s our take…
When discussing a marketing mix, we must first align on what a marketing plan is. A marketing plan is a comprehensive strategy that outlines how you will communicate with your target audience and influence them to buy your products or services. It should include crucial information about your brand and how you want to be perceived by your customers.
In your marketing plan, be sure to address how your company is currently positioned and provide a roadmap for where you would like to be in the future. Using the seven P’s of marketing (product, price, promotion, place, packaging, positioning, and people) can be helpful while developing your plan.
While it is important to adhere to your marketing plan to maintain your brand identity, it needs to consist of a flexible set of tools or marketing elements, i.e., your marketing mix that can be modified per your customers’ changing needs.
Don’t rely on the “business as usual” approach, which can be perceived as insensitive by your operators, nor overcorrect by bombarding them with too much change. Instead, consider whether adapting your marketing mix is right for your brand by trying some of these methods.
As the demands of consumers continue to evolve, the significance of your product or service may likewise shift. It is crucial to enable operators to emphasize how your brand remains essential to your local consumers and how it can improve their lives. This might involve redirecting attention from one product to another or showcasing the distinctive ways that your present offerings can meet the needs of your target audience.
Paige Arnof-Fenn, the founder and CEO of Mavens & Moguls, notes that “Amidst the pandemic and potential economic downturn, leaders and brands [were able to] seize the opportunity to forge deeper connections with anxious consumers and concentrate on the genuine relevance of their products or services.”
Linda Pophal, the owner of Strategic Communications and a marketing consultant, recommends addressing consumers’ needs and assisting them in dealing with the realities of everyday life rather than blatantly promoting your products or services. Finding ways to show your operators and customers that you are willing to invest resources in addressing their needs can go a long way in boosting company morale.
In addition to helping improve overall optics, offering helpful resources and considerate promotions can boost brand recognition and customer loyalty. Explore ways to support your customers in buying decisions, such as promoting online services, providing curbside pickup, or offering unique experiences.
To effectively connect with customers, businesses must tailor their email marketing campaigns to address their customers’ specific challenges. Rather than sending out the same generic content, adjust the tone, content, and frequency of your emails to meet the expectations of your audience. Data from local analytic tools can help identify opportunities. Maintaining your brand identity while ensuring that your emails provide value to your subscribers is vital for brand consistency.
According to Schuck, “For example, if a daycare is closed, parents still need assistance caring for their children. Rather than repeatedly sending an email announcing updated business hours, provide value by offering suggestions on fun ways to practice the alphabet while preparing dinner. This type of value-added communication will attract, rather than push away, your customers.”
Maintaining transparent and honest communication with your operators and consumers is essential. Each state and industry has its own set of rules and regulations, so keep your operators’ customers informed about how your business is being impacted. Ensure you have developed digital communication mechanisms that enable every operator to be on the same page. Signage is also an essential element for storefronts to communicate any ongoing updates.
Pro Tip: Be sure to update your website and Google business listings, including your operating hours, which can be especially helpful for consumers.
Pophal advises, “Even if you have to temporarily close your business, don’t stop communicating with your audience. They need to know that you’re still present and want to be informed about when, how, and if you’ll reopen. Your customers may also be concerned about your well-being, especially if you run a small business, so make sure to send out frequent messages and updates.”
Engaging your customers and operators is an opportunity to demonstrate authentic leadership by reevaluating your goals, adjusting timelines, and inviting your operators to engage in the discussion. Seek feedback from operators and your target market to help steer your business’ direction, as they may have valuable insights into their needs and how you can provide assistance.
“As a result of demonstrating that you are attentive to your [shareholder’s] feedback, you can generate enthusiastic fans,” suggests Schuck. “When you show your [operators] and customers that you are actively listening to them, it builds confidence and enhances loyalty.”
Demonstrating compassion for your operators and customers alike is crucial. Offer empathetic content that shows you genuinely care about your operators, customers, and employees if they struggle with financial, emotional, and mental stress.
“Words are an integral part of the healing process, and we can observe which leaders and brands are doing the best job each day with messages that resonate not only with the mind but also with the heart and soul,” advises Arnof-Fenn. “There has never been a more crucial time to provide accurate, empathetic communication that is transparent, truthful, and timely.”
It may seem obvious, but since the pandemic, many local owners must pay more attention to community outreach. One way to build goodwill and increase brand awareness is to help your community in various ways, such as donating, volunteering, or collaborating with other businesses. Consider adjusting your business strategy to serve the needs of the community better. Encouraging your operators to get employees to participate in community efforts can also promote corporate social responsibility and foster a positive corporate culture.
Refrain from assuming that what worked for your marketing strategy three months ago will work now. As the market changes, it’s crucial to thoroughly analyze your sales funnel and evaluate your data.
Pro-tip: To understand what’s working and what’s not, conduct a competitive analysis to see what other businesses in your industry are doing.
Schuck states, “It’s easy to become emotionally overwhelmed, and complacency can set in. However, adversity presents an opportunity. Taking the extra step to assess your funnels could be the difference between gaining an additional 25% market share or losing it.”
When you’re updating your marketing plan, there are a few things you’ll want to avoid. First, take into account what’s going on in the world right now before sending the same old campaigns. And don’t overwhelm your audience with too much marketing or political things because people are pretty burnt out on that.
Instead, focus on creating marketing messages that are informative or entertaining and that add value for your customers. Don’t be too pushy about sales, or keep promoting yourself nonstop. Make sure every message you send has a clear purpose and provides something worthwhile. And remember to adjust your marketing strategy as things change.
When considering expanding into a new market, you must decide whether to use a standardized approach or adapt your marketing to fit that market. Standardization means using the same strategy everywhere, which can be good if you’re trying to save money. But sometimes, it’s better to adapt your approach to fit your target market. Globalization and economies of scale can make standardization more appealing, but it’s not always the best choice.
When you offer a standard product, you can get many competitive benefits that are easy to transfer. You can lower your costs thanks to economies of scale, which lets you keep your prices competitive. You can react quickly to changes and create a global image with better control over your marketing strategies. But if you use an adaptation strategy, you’ll adapt your marketing mix to fit the local market’s specific needs and values. This approach works best when customer differences, competition, laws, and service levels exist.
Deciding whether to standardize or adapt means you need to consider all the levers of the marketing mix, not just the product. For goods, you can design specific products for target markets. For services, you need to consider factors like people processing, possession processing, and information-based services. People processing services like restaurants and hospitals need customer involvement and be standardized more easily. Possession processing services, like car repairs and transport, need minimal customer involvement and can be more adaptable. Information-based services, such as news providers and phone companies, can be standardized thanks to their virtual nature.
When deciding whether to change prices and how to adapt them to a new market, there are many factors to consider. Internal factors that can influence price decisions include production costs, vendor management, region, and location count. External factors, like local government regulations, taxes, import controls, and tariffs, should also be considered. Finally, macroeconomic conditions such as inflation and exchange rate fluctuations should be analyzed to understand their potential impact on the pricing strategy.
Before introducing a new product or service into a new market, companies need to conduct market research on the specific geographic characteristics of the region. Factors such as the level of infrastructure development in the area can impact the movement of labor and capital, both within and from the economy. This information can help companies decide whether to enter the market immediately or wait for a more opportune moment.
When promoting a product or service in a new market, unique challenges exist. Culture, values, and differences in ideas between markets must be considered. The ability to adjust marketing materials to fit a given region can enhance the value of your promotions. Having a strong marketing partner that can help distinguish which promotional opportunities fit best for which franchise locations is the best way to consider if a promotion should be national or local.
In conclusion, whether a company’s approach to updating its marketing mix leans towards standardization or adaptation, it’s important to consider all the factors listed above carefully. This can help analyze the risk and accurately plan an effective marketing strategy for a successful expansion.
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UMI is a company that specializes in the strategic planning and execution of marketing programs at the national and local levels. Our main objective is to optimize marketing spend by working closely with their brand teams and franchisees to unify the strategy. At UMI, we aim to be more than just another agency! Offering turn-key solutions, exceptional client experience, and proprietary customizable technology we transform our client’s go-to-market strategies; we aim to be a true extension of your brand. UMI’s comprehensive services cover various areas such as print production, local strategy/planning, marketing execution, event management, and more, all with the ultimate goal of significantly improving our client’s bottom line through cost and time efficiencies. Click here to set up your demo today!