By Damien Bray
Chief Sweet Officer, Sweet
Singapore Press Holdings
3 June 2019
A while back, I was asked to write a short piece about what effective marketing is and how to measure it.
Quite a broad and open-ended question with many interesting areas to discuss; such is the complex world of marketing.
So I decided to start at the beginning, by revisiting the basic premise of why you market a good and service in the first place. And this entails making a profit margin on top of the cost of producing or supplying said good or service.
Effective marketing is therefore, put simply, influencing consumer behaviour in favour of the brand proposition in order to make a margin, thus ensuring your brand’s commercial viability.
The modern marketing dilemma
In times gone by, we would likely simply focus on price, perhaps a special offer, or improving distribution points, quality, or features that meet the consumer need. All of which are valid concerns for any marketer.
But herein lies the dilemma for the modern day marketer. Recent studies show that only 3% of consumers trust brands and their marketing messages.
That’s lower than snake oil charmers or even investment bankers, no offence to these worthy professions.
Wow, that is depressing. So perhaps the days are over for the smoke and mirrors of formulaic messaging and positioning.
So in that context, what is effective marketing to the modern day consumer?
How then do we build the value proposition for the brand in order to make a margin on top of the cost of goods? We can’t do this on price or distribution convenience or product features alone.
Making a real connection with your customer
I think there is a strong argument for this proposition – If consumers don’t know what your brand stands for then you don’t have a brand.
If you are a brand owner or manager – ask yourself this simple question – If your brand was to shut down or go out of business tomorrow – would your customers really care? Or would they simply switch to another brand in the category?
So perhaps building brand loyalty and customer relationships should be the key focus for effective marketing.
This can be achieved through many forms of consumer connections and conversation narratives.
Create content about your brand with your customers in mind, allowing them to connect with your brand on a personal level. Let your brand and your story resonate with them, weaving it in with what matters in their lives.
But this content has to be authentic and real. And stand for something. Have values that align with that of your customers – be they social, ethical, cultural, or personality style.
Then make sure you reach your customer by placing this content where they are; choosing the right media and touchpoints at the right time.
And it takes time. To be consistent and reliable. To be trusted for what you stand for, and inspire the kind of brand loyalty money can’t buy.
Take a closer look at your favourite brands and ask yourself why are you loyal to them. Why you advocate and recommend. Why the decision to buy is more than just about price or convenience of distribution or key features.
Which brands make you proud to be a customer and wear the brand on your sleeve?
For me, this is the most important measurement of effective marketing – that my customers would miss me if I was gone.