Sales are the lifeblood of any business, serving as the engine that drives growth, sustains operations and ultimately determines success. Whether you’re a startup striving to make your mark or a well-established corporation looking to maintain your competitive edge, the importance of brand reach and sales cannot be overstated. In today’s business world, generating sales involves a complex interplay of strategies, technologies and customer-centric approaches. From identifying your target audience to crafting compelling offers and leveraging the latest sales channels, the considerations are multifaceted and always evolving.
Let’s explore the top five marketing categories that can help you not only generate sales but also build lasting customer relationships and secure the future of your enterprise.
Digital Marketing: In today’s digital age, digital marketing remains one of the most versatile and effective ways to reach a wide audience. It encompasses various website and online channels, from social media and content marketing to email campaigns and Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Digital marketing allows for precise targeting, real-time analytics and cost-effective strategies.
Pro Tip: A mixture of storytelling, inspiration and problem-solving is a champion strategy for digital marketing.
Industry Insight: SieMatic Möbelwerke USA
Sheri Mercante, director of market development of SieMatic Möbelwerke USA, explains the firm’s new initiative for 2024: “Our company’s strategic focus is dedicated to optimizing the efficient distribution of material samples to our clients and trade partners. In addition to this logistical emphasis, we are redefining our marketing approach by embracing the power of personal storytelling. Departing from the conventional studio photoshoots showcasing idyllic yet sometimes unattainable kitchen settings, we are adopting a ‘Case Study’ approach that delves into the intricacies of our design decisions, layouts, finishes and the finer details. By spotlighting problem-solving methods we employ for homeowners, we provide valuable insights and the opportunity to share our achievements.”
Influencer Marketing: This strategy leverages the popularity and credibility of influencers in your niche to endorse your product. It’s a powerful way to tap into a pre-existing, engaged audience and build trust through third-party validation.
Pro Tip: Look for influencers that appeal to your customer base on platforms you are not actively engaging with on a regular basis to expand your brand reach.
Paid Advertising: Paid advertising offers immediate visibility. Whether it’s magazine or newspaper, billboards, pay-per-click ads, display ads or video ads, you can reach potential customers at different stages of the buying journey. This approach requires a substantial budget but offers precise control over where and how your ads are displayed.
Pro Tip: Many national magazines offer regional targeted advertising to subscription customers. The cost of a one-page ad is much less than a nationwide advertisement. However, your advertisement will not be published in traditional newsstand copies.
Content and Public Relations: Crafting high-quality content and engaging in public relations efforts can help establish your brand as an industry authority. Press releases, guest blogging and thought leadership pieces can garner media attention and expand your reach.
Pro Tip: Publishing blog posts that regularly touch on industry-specific topics reinforces your brand as an authority on the subject.
Word of Mouth and Referral Marketing: This category relies on the power of recommendations and satisfied customers to grow your user base. Encourage referrals through incentives, but also focus on creating a product or service so exceptional that customers naturally become advocates.
Pro Tip: Offering the best customer service and customer experience is paramount to garnering referrals. Understanding what is important to your customers is key to creating a positive experience.
Industry Insight: Steiner-Houck & Associates, LLC, Sandra Steiner-Houck, CKD, Allied ASID is president of Steiner-Houck & Associates, LLC and boasts over three decades of dedication to her craft. With appointment-only showrooms nestled in Mount Joy and Annapolis, her story is significant. In recent years, her business has experienced meteoric three-fold growth, prompting the addition of a second showroom in the Annapolis area. Sandra explains her showrooms are designed “to capture people’s attention and create an experience they have never seen before.” Her approach to design is to rely on a referral basis and foster relationships with architects. Her portfolio includes a private label cabinet line and her own bespoke furniture line. Her accolade as a Kitchen and Bath Design News Innovator in 2023 is a testament to her visionary contributions to the field. Sandra’s success story underscores the value of her 30 years of experience, with referrals and word-of-mouth marketing serving as the cornerstone of her business.
Reflections: Each of these approaches has its strengths and can be tailored to fit your specific marketing goals, target audience and budget. Additionally, combining these methods can often yield even more effective results, as they can complement each other to create a comprehensive marketing strategy. Ultimately, the choice of marketing approach should align with your product, industry and overall business objectives. The balance of the equation is how much to spend and where you should spend it.
Marketing Budget Optimization
Nothing in marketing is free, and most of it is getting more expensive. As a general guideline, many businesses allocate around 5% to 12% of their annual revenue to marketing. Industries with intense competition or high customer acquisition costs might allocate more, while others may allocate less. The percentage of revenue allocated to marketing should be flexible and responsive to the unique needs and circumstances of your business.
The art of nailing your marketing budget relies on data from customers and prospects. The vehicles that attract your ideal clients need to be recognized and nurtured. The simple question, “How did you find us?” is often overlooked as a cost-saving tool for marketing. Spend your resources on platforms that generate revenue, not just traffic and unqualified leads. Data from website visitors and customer demographics play a large role in identifying opportunities for growth. ▪
Denise Grothouse has an extensive background in international business, branding and marketing. She specializes in digital and social platforms and integrating them with traditional marketing and branding strategies in the kitchen and bath industry. She is the founder of Perfect Six Marketing, director of Public Relations for HeroPlex and serves on the Leadership Council for the National Small Business Association.