Marketing is an essential part of business. Companies that get their marketing strategies right are able to attract new customers, boost brand awareness and build a strong and engaging corporate identity. Get it wrong, however, and businesses can struggle to get the responses they need to thrive.
In fact, incorrect marketing strategies won’t just fail to grab customers’ imaginations, they could actually put buyers off a brand for good. Staying up to date with the latest innovations and trends in marketing is therefore essential for businesses that want to connect with their target audience and have a real impact on their industry.
One of the strongest trends currently impacting the world of marketing is community. Thanks to changing customer behaviour and brand practices, community building and social networking are now both incredibly important in the world of marketing. Customers want to feel part of the brands they buy from and they want to be able to trust the companies that they engage with on a regular basis.
Adapting a marketing strategy to make it more community focused can therefore help businesses to reach a wider and more engaged audience. A great way to build a loyal customer base, a community-centred marketing strategy could make all the difference to your growing brand.
Traditionally, the customer journey was fairly straightforward. Buyers would see an advert for a business, visit a physical shop or be recommended a company by someone they knew. After the initial contact, there would probably have been a period of research before the buyer decided whether or not to make a purchase.
These days, however, the customer journey looks a little different. For a start, the first contact that a buyer has with a brand can come from a huge variety of sources. Social media now plays a large part in marketing and ecommerce. Brands that use social media well can not only advertise their products and services to their customers via their posts, they can also use the information that they gather from their social media platforms to inform their marketing strategy and make it ever more targeted.
A lot of the time, a buyer might begin following a brand on social media weeks, months or even years before making a purchase. By the time they do decide to part with their cash, they will have viewed posts from a brand tens, hundreds or possibly even thousands of times. This gives companies the chance to really build their brand and establish themselves in the lives of their customers.
These non-linear customer journeys can make marketing a challenge. A lot of brands are no longer sure about where to target their marketing efforts and which channels bring the most rewards. However, non-linear journeys also offer businesses a wealth of opportunities. Brands can now cast a wide net when it comes to attracting customers and use a variety of marketing techniques to attract buyers to their business.
These days, customers have access to the internet pretty much everywhere they go. As a result, brands need to ensure that their marketing efforts are memorable, distinctive and targeted. Having unlimited access to the internet, and everything it offers, also means that customers now expect more from the companies they buy from.
A big part of community marketing is building trust. Within a community, buyers need to know that the products or services they purchase are good quality. If customers trust a brand, they’ll be much more likely make repeat purchases in the future, repost content from the brand and recommend the business to family and friends.
Building a strong brand identity is a big part of building trust. Ideally, customers don’t just want to feel like they’re buying from a business, but that they’re part of a business, or at least a community that revolves around the business. Often, a brand with a strong community base can outperform its rivals thanks to its reputation alone. This is because buyers often rely more heavily on their perception of brands, and on their emotional decision making, than on other more practical factors. Businesses that make the most of this more instinctive approach can attract a loyal customer following and create a community that will make purchases and engage with the brand again and again.
Marketing is key when it comes to building trust and creating a strong link between businesses and buyers. Companies that want to make full use of the power of a more community-based approach often need to adapt their marketing strategies so that they resonate more with their customer base.
Community-powered marketing needs to focus more on relationships than on one-off purchases and on solutions over products.
Refocusing a marketing approach in this way shows customers that they’re at the heart of a brand and also helps them to see how the brand, and the products or services it offers, can enhance and improve their lives.
Creating a more community-focused marketing approach can take time and investment. Brands want to build trust and create an emotional link with their client base need to take the time to understand what their buyers are looking for and what they expect from a business.
Again, social media can be an invaluable tool when it comes to creating a community-based marketing strategy. As well as giving businesses direct access to their buyers on a more personal and intimate level, social media offers a wide variety of ways to gather information about existing and potential buyers. This information can then be fed into the marketing strategy and used to enrich and enhance the company’s new community-focused approach.
Building a community-based marketing strategy takes time and energy. However, with the rewards of a successful community approach being significant, refocusing on the customers that make your business great could be well worth it.
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