Online Marketing Strategy — Basic Building Blocks
Most of the B2B marketers cite lack of effective strategy as the key obstacle to achieving their online marketing goals. This issue precedes other obvious constraints like budget, knowledge, metrics, measurements, and ROI. Even companies actively pursuing their digital marketing efforts will have trouble talking about their strategy — as in most of the cases, it’s not present.
You will also find many companies talk about their effective Facebook strategy or their content marketing efforts. Yet, all such are “tactics” that might work in a certain context, but not in a holistic and integrated manner. So, you need to work with fundamentals that are technology and tactics agnostic.
In this article, I will talk about factors that can help you in crafting an effective online marketing strategy. It’s a three-part series. In the first one, you will learn about the basic building blocks of value proposition and customer segmentation and selection.
Can you identify with the value that your company stands for? Is that customer-focused? Does that rive your passion for the business? How does that help your customer?
If you can answer all above, then you have a good idea of your company value proposition. In case, you are struggling, let's dive in.
Company Value Proposition
A well crafted, thought-out company value statement is the first step towards crafting your online marketing strategy.
The purpose of it is to align you, your team, and your business towards goals that resonate with all the stakeholders. It's a narrative that gives you and your team the reason to work and align all your external communication. This narrative should help you to come up with actions and policies that are aligned with your value statement.
To come up with the company value proposition, ponder over questions like; what’s company and your passion for the business? What values does your company stand for? What value do your customers drive from using your products or services? Is it generic or specific? Can it be measured?
Again, generic talk isn’t enough, you need to be able to clearly define it beyond generic words. So, work with bigger objectives, value, and principles to come up with your company value propositions.
Once you have identified your company value proposition, now its time to started identifying the value of a particular product or service to your customers.
Product/service Value Proposition
We all know that the customers buy emotionally, but justify rationally.
So you need to come up with a pitch for customers, a value statement that combines emotional needs with tangible benefits. The litmus test of this clear value statement or tagline will be its alignment towards your customers base. Do your customers identify themselves with the statement?
A good way to outline a product or service value is to go through its benefits. Benefits can be monetary, functional, tangible, and emotional. It should be compelling enough and greater than the perceived costs.
Also, your product value should be addressing the basic human needs and wants.
I personally like the following product value statements.
Microsoft Office: You can clearly identify the customer base. The value proposition is of “achieving more”. Then it pushes for everyday use of their product. All this is enhanced with a bigger horizon in the background and a smile on their customer's face.
Adidas New Shoes Range: Targeted towards young, hip, and agile customer base. It’s targeting the emotional need of “Challenging the need” and “Rebellious spirit”. Functional usage of the product is also depicted.
Bose HeadPhones: Superior functional attributes like “world-class performance” and “comfort” are the highlights. They are positioning themselves towards the music-loving customer base with a value proposition of bringing them close to music.
Now, let’s look the second building block of an effective online marketing strategy, the customers.
The best customer is the one that wants your product.
Yet, it’s a difficult endeavor to target the right one. The tactics and channels, at times, don’t hold much meaning, if the proper definition of your customers isn’t in place.
Most of the traditional marketing focused on demographics to list down the segments and their ideal customers. So, they would highlight a set of users with information of age, income, region, social status and so on. The problem with this method is its inability to narrow down and be more precise.
So, with the above approach, you would segment users in groups, like, women from 18–36. But have you ever met a woman that is 18 and 36 years old? Most would agree that the life choices and ambitions change drastically over time.
So, a better way of defining your user base needs to be in place. This is where User Personas come in.
With User Personas, in addition to capturing the user demographics, you start looking at additional information like person roles, responsibilities, motivations, pain points, digital behavior, identifying factors and so.
This narrowed, yet, in-depth focus gives you the ability to find and target better.
Also, user personas bring in clarity about the choice of platforms. If your customer is an industrial buyer and is spending time on LinkedIn, you would want to be there.
So, work with user personas to begin the process of customer identification and segmentation. Test the value proposition of your product against each user persona and see if it works. This will also enable a culture of empathy and seeing the world through your customer's eyes.
Now coming towards topics of measuring customer value and loyalty.
As per experts, referred customers are 25% more profitable.
That’s why all businesses love loyal and repeat users.
In addition to increasing the lifetime value, such customers bring in referrals. And if Word of Mouth is positive, your business can grow exponentially. That’s why, many growth hacking techniques are focused at finding the influencers, that can enable your business to grow at an exponential pace.
Let’s look at some of the metrics that can help you to quantify and measure customer’s loyalty and value.
CLV — Customer Lifetime Value
Customer lifetime value can help you to determine the best customer for your business.
To calculate the profitability, you need to look at factors like recency, frequency, and the total purchase value. So metrics like avg. revenuer per sales, the total number of transactions, repeat purchase rate, retention ration and so on, will give you a good idea of CLV.
CLV, combined with user personas, can help you to identify the profitable segments and to focus your marketing efforts towards them.
Customer Loyalty: NPS
To determine loyalty, you need to work with the Net Promoter Score. This score helps you determine the net number of promoters of your business.
It uses a mechanism where % detractors are subtracted from % promoters. If the number is less than 6, then you are in trouble. With 7–8, you are doing something right. With scores like 9–10, you must be thriving!
In the next part, I will talk about the process of researching and finding your ideal customers and how to define your marketing goals.