Using effective marketing and branding to maximise business growth
The marketing sector is never static: new trends, emerging technologies and innovative tactics continue to shape it as a fast-paced, ever-changing environment. In order for businesses of all sizes to succeed in this highly competitive – and increasingly crowded – space, they require high-quality marketing strategies and tactics.
With so many marketing tools and techniques now at their disposal, it can be unclear which approach businesses should adopt to drive business growth and attract new customers. There are a wealth of marketing tactics to choose from to help generate leads, sales, traffic, referrals, sign-ups and brand awareness. Deciding on the most beneficial tactics – and then factoring them into a wider marketing strategy – is key to achieving the desired outcomes. Otherwise, there’s a real danger of wasting marketing budget and resources that could’ve been better employed elsewhere.
Strategies to drive business growth in 2022
There’s plenty of advice and tried-and-tested methods to help ensure that a business's marketing activities achieve their aims. For example, where possible, marketers should rely on data-driven evidence to inform decision making – if necessary, investing in market research; marketing messages should be personalised, and threaded through every aspect of the sales funnel, and content should be engaging and regularly updated.
The tactics chosen by a business will depend on the overarching strategy, short-term and long-term goals, key performance indicators and budget. A handful of popular strategies include:
- Blogging – An effective aspect of content marketing, businesses should not overlook sharing informative, engaging blogs that can help drive ROI, connect with customers and demonstrate personality, generate backlinks to company websites and increase overall traffic.
- Social media marketing – Many social media accounts function as both marketing tools and sales platforms. High-quality social media marketing enables businesses to communicate directly with customers and grow a social network following, while promoting new products or services and sharing information. With so many social media platforms to choose from – including Snapchat, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Reddit, TikTok and Facebook – businesses can make informed marketing decisions based on both the type of content they possess and where their target market can be found. Social platforms also work well for targeted ads and influencer collaborations.
- Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) – Ensuring content is SEO-friendly – across all digital spaces, from website landing pages to YouTube channels – helps to surface it in search results and increase organic traffic. There are various ways to optimise your content, including on-page SEO, off-page SEO and technical SEO.
- Email marketing – Email marketing is an essential outreach strategy and a great way to boost personalisation, automation, customer loyalty and lead conversion. Ensure emails stand out from others in terms of content and layout, feature responsive design, and have clear calls to action. There are plenty of email tools available to monitor content performance, and many offer ways to measure key metrics such as open rate and number of subscribers/unsubscribers.
- Marketing automation – Incorporating artificial intelligence tools in marketing efforts saves time, streamlines activities and provides valuable insights, such as information related to customer demographics and behaviour patterns. There are a wide variety to consider, depending on business needs, including: SEO software; A/B testing and analytics tools; and CRM options, such as those offered by global leader Salesforce.
- Webinars – Many businesses now use webinars as a digital marketing tool to share knowledge and ideas and generate potential leads. As well as delivering exciting, valuable content, they are a useful vehicle through which to build professional networks and increase brand awareness. Recorded webinars can also be shared with audiences later, making them more accessible and capable of greater reach.
- Google My Business – Consumers browse Google My Business listings – which use both Google Maps and Google Search – to source key information about businesses, including location, company website, opening hours, customer ratings and photos and videos. It’s free for businesses to use and provides insightful metrics, such as how consumers find businesses online.
Other options include video marketing, podcasts, event marketing, livestreams and pop-ups, using sales productivity tools, and incentives – such as discounts, offers and coupons.
The importance of brand
Brands with strong recognition stand out in overcrowded marketplaces. They are the first association for customers when they think of certain product or service categories.
Brand Finance’s Global 500 2022 – an annual report of the world’s most valuable and strongest brands – shares details of the current leading companies and sectors:
- Technology is, once again, the most valuable industry. Apple retains the world’s most valuable brand title – at $355 billion – followed by Amazon and Google, with Microsoft, Samsung Group and Huawei all top players.
- Media and entertainment is home to the world’s fastest-growing brand - TikTok, leading the global revolution in media consumption. Disney, Netflix, YouTube and Spotify are other notable performers in the media sector.
- Retail cements its position as the second most valuable sector. Amazon leads the way, with retailers Walmart, Edeka and Home Depot also performing strongly.
- Pharmaceuticals has seen faster growth over the last two years than any other sector – unsurprising, given the urgent requirement for Covid-19 vaccines and testing. Johnson & Johnson is the most valuable, and AstraZeneca and Pfizer also perform strongly.
Clearly, these brands are global, household names – ones that have reached the pinnacle of brand recognition. However, for millions of other companies, there is still a huge market share to compete for; it’s worth examining how to boost brand recognition for business growth and building an offline and online presence. This includes tone of voice, visual imagery and what makes a business unique in the eyes of consumers. In turn, this work reinforces brand awareness; forging stronger bonds with potential customers goes beyond them knowing who a brand is and what they do, to the knowledge that a particular product or service is the best choice for their needs.
Looking ahead, predicted branding trends include: holding brands to higher standards, such as: social issues; sustainability; further growth of e-commerce; greater focus on communities, partnerships and collaborations; and innovation.
Develop yourself as a multi-skilled, highly adaptable marketing professional
From start-ups to global enterprises, all businesses require driven individuals with the marketing skills and expertise to help them succeed in fast-paced, global environments. The University of the Commonwealth Caribbean’s onlineMBA in Marketing programme has been created with this very need in mind – equipping you with the tools and knowledge to meet this challenge.
You’ll combine your creativity and business acumen to design and implement integrated marketing campaigns, and study a range of modules that develop your project management, business communication, entrepreneurship and wider marketing skills. Possible career paths could include digital marketer, SEO manager, communications manager and market research analyst.