Remember the marketing essentials…

The basics of marketing

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As head of a specialized marketing firm that helps technology companies develop and grow, I am regularly exposed to many of the latest developments in IT, mobile, Web and other areas.

For this reason we are often tempted to try the latest technologies to see how they can help us in our business (we usually try most things once) – we’ve tested many of the latest social networks, collaborative tools, CRM platforms, innovative mobile and tablet apps, and interactive digital media.

Our hands-on approach also allows us to see how such tools can potentially benefit the companies we help.

Assuming you have a broad set of skills and resources to back you up, many of these tools can be used to build attractive, dedicated customer-driven marketing programs. However, smaller-sized firms (like ours) operate on a finite budget and don’t have the luxury of investing significant resources into every new technology that comes along. It’s for that reason that we usually look for simple, yet highly effective ways to engage with our clients, to offer them value and to help them grow.

With this in mind there are several points that any company should consider when looking to create effective strategies to enhance its marketing, but without breaking the bank:

What do customers still appreciate and value?

As new tools and techniques emerge, others are being put to rest. In many cases though, the ‘classics’ can still be effective.

For example, with growth of corporate video and blogs, many companies have reduced their investment in written reports and white papers in favour of more condensed forms of media. However, when done right, the former can be more specific, deliver deeper and more compelling views and insights to clients, and easier to consume ‘offline’.

What have competitors stopped doing? What can I do that’s different?

To stand above the rest in a competitive marketplace requires doing things differently.

In a world that is increasingly Web-centric many companies use e-mailing and other online platforms to stay in touch with their clients. For that reason, taking the time to meet and connect with clients personally – whether it is face-to-face or by phone – can go a long way in strengthening relations and gaining new levels of understanding into their needs.

What actions provide a better return on investment?

Sometimes the best marketing ideas are the simple ones.

To announce the launch of a new product launch in today’s age it can be tempting to invest in an array of slick, digital marketing tools deployed across multiple online channels.

At the same time, sometimes it can make more sense to invite a select group of customers and industry folks to a small-scale event and let everyone mingle. This type of personal setting may not only provides a unique opportunity to strengthen client relations, but it can also generates immediate, candid feedback on everything from product design, usability, and perceived overall value. It can also help identify other unmet client expectations and needs, offering invaluable information to any company looking to better serve its customers.

What unexploited opportunities exist?

As new technologies emerge, many companies rush to find ways to monetize them, leaving behind untapped opportunities.

For example, with the rise of tablet computing devices over the last 1-2 yrs, many PC manufacturers, who’s netbook sales have suffered as a result, have been quick to rush into this growing market. At the same time, there are still many emerging markets worldwide with low levels of PC ownership, where a low-weight, low-cost, mini-sized laptop can help bring the next billion people online.

In many cases, using the latest technology and marketing approach will provide your firm with a leg up on the competition.

However, in some cases – depending on your business context and objectives – you can achieve better results by just using existing capabilities and resources to connect with clients in a more unique and valuable ways compared to competitors.

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