Extended Marketing Mix: What It Is and Why It’s Useful

Cooking is my favorite pastime. It’s so much fun to find new recipes and learn about new ingredients. Plus, (usually) the results are delicious. Finding new recipes and ingredients is nothing short of delightful.

One meal I love to make is grilled cheese — but not just any ole’ grilled cheese. Instead, I use plant-based ingredients and add two condiments: butter, and mayonnaise (trust me).

If I were making grilled cheese for me, I’d have to add some things. First, all of my ingredients have to be plant-based due to my dietary restrictions. Second, I’d add two more condiments: butter and mayonnaise (trust me).

On its own, cheese and bread is a great duo. But with a few additions, a nice duo becomes an excellent mix — one that I’m always excited to eat.

Like a perfect sandwich, every marketing structure calls for good strategies, or “ingredients,” that make it great. Those “ingredients” are generally referred to as a marketing mix, and can be summed up in four categories: Product, pricing, placement, and promotion.

→ Free Resource: 4 Marketing Mix Templates [Access Now]

While the marketing mix describes the basics for product marketing, it doesn’t have room for services marketing. That’s where the extended marketing mix comes into play. And, just like my vegan grilled cheeses, a few additional changes can elevate your service marketing structure to the next level.

Here, let’s dive into what extended marketing mix means, and how it can help

Extended Marketing Mix vs. Marketing Mix

The marketing mix pillars work together to help you make business decisions that’ll define marketing strategy and activities. Identifying these pillars points out what you need, where your company excels, and where it can improve.

The four pillars of the original marketing mix are as follows:

  • Product — This is what your company sells.
  • Place — This identifies how you will sell the product to customers in their preferred way to shop. For instance, will you sell your product on a website, or in a brick-and-mortar shop?
  • Price — This determines how much money you need to sell your product for to hit revenue goals while remaining within price ranges determined by the industry at-large.
  • Promotion — This is where you flesh out the methods you use to engage customers. Promotion, selling, PR, sales, and ads are how businesses commonly communicate with their target market.

Notice how the marketing mix naturally works together. Products need a price, place to be sold, and promotions to reach an intended audience. Promotions need a product, price, and place to make that messaging effective. Ultimately, any way you look at the mix, you’ll find how the other three fit.

On the other hand, the extended marketing mix is just that — an extension of the original pillars. Instead of just four components, there’s an additional three. These three allow for a more complete, updated mix.

The extended marketing mix came along when marketers noticed the original was outdated and needed a few extra pillars. With the additions, the marketing mix now allows for services marketing.

  • People — Describes the people behind the company. No matter the role, the people working with the product are as essential as customers. They advocate for the company and communicate the business’ value to their customers.

Example: The baristas at my local coffee shop create an exceptional customer experience. Of course, the lattes are good, but my favorite barista greets me by name and knows my order, and that ultimately keeps me coming back. A company is only as good as the people behind the scenes.

  • Processes — Identifies how you will meet customer expectations. Outline what you will do to deliver a fantastic consumer experience every time. Consider creating standard operating procedures (SOPs) to solidify processes.

Example: Let’s revisit the coffee shop scenario. Baristas have a recipe to follow when making various drinks that make sure the customer gets their order the way they expect.

  • Physical Evidence — Notes the physical elements needed to complete the mix. Even if a company provides services, there are physical aspects that companies use to delight customers and set themselves apart from competitors, like promotional materials.

Example: The coffee shop in my neighborhood thrives and defines itself with being a local business among the mass of coffee chains in my area. Everything is local — the beans, the mugs, and the decor comes from the Boston area — and that’s how it’s different from a massive chain.

The extended mix, like the original, works with the rest of the mix.

First, let’s talk about how the three Ps can intertwine. People at your company have to follow the processes set in place, using physical evidence. We can also say the processes set in place define the role of people and physical evidence.

If we look at the both mixes, we see the same. Companies need the right people to execute promotion of the product or service. To put the connection between the mixes in a different way, the extended mix is a customer-facing toolkit for enhancing the marketing mix.

The extended marketing mix helps companies define their marketing strategy in a well-rounded system. Identifying each portion of the mix gets you one step closer to a functional, complete marketing plan.

Consider using the extended marketing mix to help you make business decisions that sets your company apart from competitors. For instance, fleshing out the tools needed for promotion involves coming up with an individualized marketing campaign audiences love.

Marketing mixes are considered a foundational part of any organization. If you are just starting to define a business plan, use this strategy to help with budgeting for marketing. The different elements of the mix helps figure out costs.

Every pillar, especially price and promotion, help you determine where to allocate your budget. For example, you have to determine a fair price for your product, and finalize how much you’re willing to put towards other factors, such as promotion and physical evidence.

Now that you know a little more about the extended marketing mix, are you going to use it to figure out your next campaign’s expenses? Remember, this strategy isn’t just for start-ups. If you’re struggling to define a successful strategy, identifying these pillars can be a helpful organizational tool.

Marketing mixes and their extension. Cheese and bread. Chai leaves and hot water. Duos are best when they work together — how are you going to make your marketing mixes work together for your company?

marketing mix

Originally published Jul 8, 2020 4:00:00 AM, updated July 08 2020

Topics:

Marketing Budget

The Plain English Guide to Return on Ad Spend (ROAS)

As a writer, I’ve never been very good at math. I know … shocking.

Most marketers can relate, because as a bunch, we tend to be better at English and history than math and science.

However, as a marketer, we need to be able to analyze data and calculate the effectiveness of an article or campaign, even though math might not be our strong suit.

One of the calculations we need to run and metrics we need to track is return on ad spend (ROAS).

Below, let’s review ROAS. In this post, we’ll discuss what ROAS is, how it’s different from ROI, and how to calculate it.

Click here to download 8 free marketing budget templates.

Ultimately, ROAS is meant to measure the effectiveness of a specific ad campaign, not your overall ROI — more on that below.

Besides ROAS, you’ll most likely measure other metrics such as click-through rate and ROI. By measuring multiple metrics, you’ll get a more accurate view of your results.

Of course, measuring performance and tracking analytics is an important part of any marketing campaign.

By tracking performance, you can improve and iterate on your marketing techniques. Plus, data is one of the only ways to truly prove that your department brings in revenue, which is incredibly important.

However, it’s important to note that not everything can be measured with quantitative data. For instance, calculating brand awareness and sentiment is much more difficult. And while you can calculate downloads or email sign-ups, those might not always lead to revenue.

When you’re analyzing any data, it’s important to consider context and review qualitative data as well as quantitative data.

That being said, today we’re going to dive into ROAS specifically. Before we do that, let’s review how ROAS is different from ROI.

Ultimately, this means that the only cost considered in a ROAS calculation is the cost of advertising. On the other hand, the cost of an entire project or campaign will be considered in an ROI calculation.

The goal of your ads campaign, of course, will be to generate a positive return on your ad spend. However, how can you determine what that ad spend should be?

In the YouTube video below, HubSpot details how to determine ad spend by understanding the bidding system used by ad networks.

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You’d use ROAS to help you determine how you spend your advertising budget and as a signal to determine if your campaigns are successful. This would let you know that you might need to evaluate your approach to running ads.

So, at this point, you might be wondering, “How can I calculate ROAS?” Let’s review that now.

While the equation is simple, you might face difficulty gathering the data needed to run this calculation. For instance, calculating the cost of an ad isn’t always easy. You’ll need to consider the cost of the ad bid, the labor cost for the time it took to create the creative assets, vendor costs, and affiliate commissions.

But it’s important to get an accurate estimate of the actual money spent on an ad to get an accurate ROAS measurement. If your data isn’t accurate, your findings won’t be either.

Additionally, if you don’t run an ecommerce business, it can also be difficult to measure the revenue generated by an ad. For example, someone might convert from your ad because they downloaded an ebook, however they haven’t spent any money yet. In fact, they might not spend money for months.

To combat this, you can use a CRM software like HubSpot in conjunction with HubSpot Ads, to track revenue made from leads.

With a CRM and ads software, you can keep track of your data and tie it all together — marketing leads, ad results, etc.

Now, you might be wondering, “What’s a good ROAS?” and “How can I improve my ROAS?”

Well, a good ROAS is typically around 3:1. If you’re barely breaking even, it might be time to dig further into the accuracy of your metrics and evaluate your ads and bidding strategy.

However, it’s important to note that the objective of some ad campaigns might not be to make immediate revenue, but to increase brand awareness. If that’s your objective, then a lower ROAS makes sense.

To improve your ROAS, you can lower your ad spend and review your ads campaigns. You might want to optimize your landing pages or rethink your negative keywords.

Overall, ROAS is an important metric to track, but it shouldn’t be tracked in a vacuum. It’s important to look at other data and metrics to get the full picture of your return on investment.

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Originally published Jul 3, 2020 4:30:00 AM, updated July 03 2020

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Marketing Budget

How to Develop a Successful Marketing Mix Strategy [+ Templates]

One of the first things you’re taught in your Introduction to Marketing class is that marketing can be best explained using the marketing mix — also known as the four P’s.

They are — and say ’em with me, because if you took that class, you know these four words by heart:

  • Product
  • Price
  • Place
  • Promotion

One of the first things you’re taught in your first marketing internship or job, however, is that marketing entails so much more than can be simplified in a four-section marketing mix matrix.

Still, there’s an undeniable benefit of marketing teams organizing their work into the marketing mix framework.

When you stray too far away from the four P’s, it can be easy to lose focus on your purpose as a marketer.

Marketing truly is about teams and individuals working together to promote a product in the right place at the right price point. Efforts beyond this scope are essential, but they do all stem off of this foundation of the marketing mix.

Here, we’re going to dive into what a marketing mix is and how to develop a successful marketing mix strategy for your own company.

→ Free Resource: 4 Marketing Mix Templates [Access Now]

What is a Marketing Mix?

The marketing mix refers to the actions a company takes to market its product(s) and/or service(s). Typically, it acts as a framework for breaking down the four key components of marketing — product, price, place, and promotion.

The marketing mix helps companies organize their marketing initiatives by task and department for more process-driven and impactful marketing campaigns.

This framework has roots back to the 1940’s and has been evolving ever since. While some elements have been added or tweaked over the years — most notably for the modern digital age — the core elements of the marketing mix (i.e. the four P’s) have remained consistent for decades.

Featured Resource: Marketing Mix Templates

Need a way to visualize your marketing mix to share it with your employees or investors? Use these four marketing mix templates to organize your initiatives and activities by the right section. Click here to download them now.

Marketing Mix Elements

The core elements of a marketing mix are product, price, place, and promotion — known as the four P’s of the marketing mix. When perfected and synchronized, these elements provide a well-rounded approach to marketing strategy.

1. Product

Product refers to what your business is selling — product(s), service(s), or both. The bulk of the work in this element is typically done by product marketers or managers. Nailing the product element of the marketing mix means doing extensive research and development, understanding the need for the product, developing a product launch plan and timeline, and educating customers and employees — especially salespeople — on the product’s purpose.

2. Price

Price refers to the price point at which you’ll sell your product(s)/service(s) to consumers. Arriving on this dollar amount requires consideration of multiple pricing strategies, analysis of similarly priced products in your market, and insights from consumers through surveys and focus groups. Price speaks to positioning in the market, the speed at which you want to penetrate your market, and your company’s revenue goals and profit margin.

3. Place

In the marketing mix, place refers to where your product or service will be sold. For tangible products, this will include physical locations such as your own store, or a retailer where your product will be resold. It can also include the other methods where your products can be purchased, like online or over the phone.

4. Promotion

Promotional activities are those that make your target market aware and excited about what you’re selling. While this does include paid initiatives like commercials and advertising, promotion also entails organic initiatives like word-of-mouth marketing, content marketing, and public relations.

Other Elements

While the marketing mix can often be simplified down to the 4 P’s, the expansion of the scope of marketing in recent years has resulted in more P’s added to the list.

For example, Smart Insights includes the following elements in its marketing mix definition:

  • Process, or the large internal initiatives taken to support a product launch, such as including salespeople in goal setting.
  • People, which can refer to your buyer, market, and target audience, or your internal team responsible for launch.
  • Partners, or who you’ll be working with outside of your company, such as distributors or co-marketing partners.

Some of the other P’s can include:

  • Payment, or how transactions will be held and processed.
  • Physical evidence, or anything tangible pertaining to your product or service, like any materials needed to complete your service or deliver your product.
  • Packaging, or anything pertaining to the physicality of your product, like how it looks or how it’s packaged.

These other marketing mix elements should be utilized as you see fit for your projects. However, every good marketing mix should rely on a thorough exploration of those first 4 P’s of product, price, place, and promotion.

How to Develop a Marketing Mix Strategy

Because the marketing mix incorporates elements from across your department — and even your company — it’s imperative to establish a marketing mix strategy for each product you launch, or for your company as a whole. For a fully-fleshed out marketing mix, follow these steps.

1. Engage in market research and product development.

The success of your marketing work is first and foremost contingent on your product. Make sure it’s well-developed and your team can speak to its benefits and the story behind it.

Best practices in this step include:

  • Engaging in market research to understand your buyers’ needs.
  • Speaking to your current customers to see what needs to be added or changed about your current product or service line by uncovering their pain points and insights.
  • Monitoring industry trends to identify a potential demand in your market.
  • Examining the competition.
  • Collaborating with your product team during product development to ensure it meets your buyer personas’ needs.
  • Have your product tested by current customers to see how they’re using the product and if it’s actually solving for their problems.

Taking these actions ensures you’re making every effort to understand and solve for your customer, providing a solid foundation for your product to launch successfully.

Featured Tool: Market Research Kit. To make your R&D more impactful, use these free market research templates so you can better understand your customers and competitors.

2. Determine your pricing model.

A lot goes into choosing a price point — so much so that we wrote an entire guide to pricing strategies.

Luckily, you’ll be able to refer to much of the work done in the previous section. Thanks to your understanding of your market through research, you’ll have answered most of the necessary questions in this section. You’ll also need to take your costs into account so you can maximize unit sales and profit.

During this stage, make sure you do the following.

  • Speak to customers (or refer to previously completed market research) to determine the ideal selling price.
  • Work with the product team to ensure the product can be developed in a cost-effective manner that would ensure profitability at your target price point.
  • Meet with finance to determine aggressive yet realistic sales forecasts to contribute to the company’s bottom line.
  • Collaborate with sales to determine to what extent discounting should be allowed or utilized.
  • Determine how you’ll adjust price and revenue forecasts when selling through resellers.
  • Lastly, don’t forget to factor in the perceived value by the customer. Even if your product or service doesn’t cost a significant amount to make, you’ll be able to mark up your product more if you face little competition and provide an irreplaceable benefit to your customers.

Featured Tool: Pricing Strategy Calculator. If you need help selecting your pricing model, use this template to compare different pricing strategies and see which will yield your company the most profit and revenue based on your forecasts.

3. Choose your distribution channels.

The place part of the marketing mix answers where your product will be sold. Keep in mind, this can be any combination of your store, a distributor’s store, or online. You’ll want to address the following points before moving onto the promotion stage:

  • Determine if your product will fare best in your physical location, a store of another retailer, on your website, on another company’s website, or some combination of these locations.
  • Think about geographic location — make sure your supply meets regional demand, and plan for whether or not what you’re selling will be available in a certain city, a state, the country, or worldwide.
  • Come to an agreement with retailers and resellers on margins, markups, and MSRPs.
  • Figure out how many salespeople will be needed to ensure you meet your goals.
  • Set goals for retail/third-party sellers, since you may be sharing shelf space or search results with a competitor or two.

4. Select your promotion tactics.

Finally, it’s time to promote your product. While this is probably the element most associated with marketing, it’s crucial that this element be completed last, because you need the foundation of product, price, and place before determining promotion tactics.

Think about it — shouldn’t you know what you’re promoting, why you’re promoting it, and where it’s available before actually promoting it? It’s tempting to jump right to this step, but your promotion will be much better off if it’s done after everything else in the marketing mix.

Once you do have that understanding, consider the following promotional channels and choose the one(s) that make the most sense for your product, its buyers, and its price point:

  • Content marketing efforts, such as blogging, content creation, and building a website.
  • Public relations and working with affiliates and/or influencers.
  • Social media marketing — both organic and paid — on channels such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram.
  • Search engine ads on sites like Google and Bing.
  • Ads to air on video streaming sites like YouTube, or on TV.
  • Event marketing, including attending industry events or hosting your own event.
  • Customer marketing and utilizing referrals.
  • And more. There are countless promotional ideas you can use to spread the word on your product, service, or business.

Featured Tool: Marketing Plan Template. If your promotional tactics are multi-faceted enough, consider documenting your plans in this customizable template.

Marketing Mix Examples

Every company’s marketing mix is different, placing emphasis on certain factors over others.

Some businesses use their marketing mix for a single product, while others adopt a company-wide marketing mix. However, all examples of good marketing mixes never fail to neglect the word mix. All elements of the marketing mix are important, so don’t be quick to overlook any of them, and find ways for different elements of the mix to overlap and share goals.

With so many activities happening to support a single initiative, it’s helpful to organize everything in a single template for easy reference. Here are a few examples of marketing mix templates your marketing department can use, in addition to when they might make sense to reference.

1. Simple Marketing Mix Template

Download this Template

This template is a great starter for organizing a marketing mix. It’s ideal for one product and for the marketing mix’s maker to get an understanding of all the elements involved in the marketing of a product.

2. Company Marketing Mix Template

Screen Shot 2020-06-23 at 1.38.28 PM

Download this Template

For a marketing mix that applies company-wide, this template is a perfect fit. You can outline the initiatives that apply to most or all of the products and/or services in your suite.

3. Structured Marketing Mix Template

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For when you need to get right to the point with a more organized, actionable visualization, use this structured, bulleted template for quick reference and clarification.

4. Production Marketing Mix Template

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Finally, a production marketing mix template is best utilized for internal reference. This template answers questions on the go-to-market efforts for products and services that you’re selling.

Mix It All Together

Whether you’re a student just learning to understand everything that marketing entails or a CMO hoping to clearly convey the work that your team is doing to your fellow employees, the marketing mix framework is an essential tool to help you get the job done.

Don’t forget — if you need to organize your marketing initiatives into a central location, try using HubSpot’s Marketing Mix Templates to document your activities in one place.

marketing mix

Originally published Jul 2, 2020 7:00:00 AM, updated July 02 2020

Topics:

Marketing Budget

7 Steps to (Effectively) Branding Your Business on a Budget

In marketing, it seems like the word “brand” is used a lot — the leading brand, off-brand, personal brand … you get the picture.

But there’s often confusion around its meaning in business. What does it entail? Should you hire an expert?

Most of all — branding is expensive, right?

Not exactly. As it turns out, there are some creative ways to brand your business effectively without a ton of cash. And while it can require an investment of time, the ROI won’t go unnoticed — in some cases, it can actually help you save money, while also growing your business.

Building your brand is a crucial part of developing your business. It’s the foundation of giving your organization a voice, identity, value, and awareness among consumers. And, thanks to the plentiful number of resources, tools, and platforms available today, a brand build might not be as burdensome (or costly) as some think.

So read on, and see how you can use the following seven steps as a guide for your brand build.

Download Now: Free Brand Building Guide

How to Brand Your Business on a Budget

You don’t have to break the bank to grow and maintain a brand. In fact, you can complete most of these tips without spending money. The most important things to remember when brand building are to keep your customers in mind and deliver messages that support your company’s mission.

Below, let’s discuss a budget-friendly way to grow better on a budget.

1. Create a persona to understand your audience.

You’ve probably heard that knowing your audience is the key to creating marketing messages that appeal to them. A great way to get to know them? Create a buyer persona — a semi-fictionalized representation of the values and characteristics of your ideal customer.

Personas outline the challenges of that customer and where your business fits in to solving their problems. Below is an example of a buyer persona, Marketing Macy. Notice how my persona lists demographics, like age and education, as well as tools needed for the day-to-day, like a CRM.

Marketing Macy buyer personaThe needs, goals, and behavior of your potential customers dictate how you convey your product or service. So for Macy, I want to focus on a B2B strategy that caters to her goals of lead generation and brand building.

Understanding those goals helps you determine what kind of media your personas are consuming, what motivates them, and where they “live” online. This information allows you to develop a compelling, effective brand that reaches the right people.

Make your own buyer persona with HubSpot’s free MakeMyPersona tool, which guides you through a series of questions about your ideal customer. The tool is fun, interactive, and meant to get you thinking critically about who you want to reach with your brand and how you want to reach them.

2. Develop an identity and voice for your brand.

Once you’ve identified your buyer personas, your brand can start to take shape. Create a brand identity — what makes your brand, your brand — and its voice, which is the tone you use in any copy or public communication.

Developing brand voice and identity is similar to constructing your personas. But instead of answering questions about your target audience, you’re answering questions that are more introspective to your brand: What are your company’s values, what do they represent, and how do you want people to talk about you?

When you answer these questions, focus on creating content that supports them. Craft compelling emails, blogs, social posts, and multimedia that reflect your company’s mission, values, and how you want to appear to customers.

For example, if one of your values is to be accessible to customers, communicate contact information on social media pages and answer service questions that appear in comment sections.

Developing your voice comes through in the copy of that content. Are you going to use conversational language that relates to customers? Or will it be more beneficial to reach your audience from a technical standpoint?

For example, one of my favorite brands to follow is Glossier, a beauty company with a great understanding of brand voice.

When I tag the company in a photo on Instagram, I usually get a reply with one of their famous logos: An emoji version of a smile and wave (🙂👋). This logo appears on the bottom of marketing emails and packaging, keeping the brand consistent across multiple formats.

Even if you’re not starting from scratch, establishing a strong(er) brand voice can be valuable. Just take operating system software service Android, for instance: Their 2019 rebrand was a logo re-up, making the design cleaner and modern:

The Android rebrand of 2019

Image Source

The logo came from a need to speak to a shift in audience. Initially, Android’s target audience was the developer, but instead, the company has become more consumer-facing. The change was bred from this analysis.

3. Map out a consistent social media presence.

So, we know who your personas are. And now, we have an idea of what and how to create messaging that connects with them. But where are they?

Since you have a clear picture of what your audience is interested in, next, figure out where they’re spending the most time on social media. We’ve talked about how effective it is to reach people where they’re already present, and that includes their online behavior.

Don’t worry, you don’t have to play Inspector Gadget to figure out where your audience spends time online. Check out competitors — see where they’re most active (and how their language may or may not connect to audiences).

Additionally, look at how your audience interacts with social media. For instance, the highest percentage of U.S. men and women who use Facebook are between the ages of 24 and 35. So, if your persona fits that bill, focus your strategy on Facebook.

If you find the majority of your audience prioritizes one social network, you’ll have an idea of where to allocate your resources. But don’t ignore other sites. When you build a presence on multiple social media platforms, you’ll have an opportunity to diversify how you reach audiences. Diversifying the methods and channels you use for obtaining new leads helps you to connect with as many potential customers as possible.

Maintaining a presence is just as important as building one — for example, have you ever gone to a brand’s Facebook page, only to find that nothing has been posted in the past three months? Chances are, it didn’t have a positive impact on your perception.

That can be avoided by planning and scheduling social media posts, like you would with any marketing calendar. This free Social Media Content Calendar can help.

4. Start a company blog.

We’ve covered the importance of blogging before, and it can’t be emphasized enough. It’s a core part of the inbound marketing flywheel, especially the “attract” stage, which turns website browsers from strangers to visitors.

Inbound Marketing flywheel attract stage.

Image Source

In fact, blogging is a fundamental step of inbound marketing. It helps you reach qualified customers, like your personas, by creating the content that matches what they’re searching for. That’s why it’s so important to make blog posts relevant to audiences (and optimize them for search engines — here’s how).

Customers are definitely looking for the information you’re able to provide. Plus, that content can serve as material to populate your social media networks. To find what your audience is searching for, conduct keyword research, which will tell you what the most important topics for your audience are via search engines.

While blogging is fiscally inexpensive, it does take time.

The inbound marketing version of that question would ask, “Would you rather blog for one hour each day and promote content created by and for your company, or several hours a day sourcing content for your ideal customer from your competitors?”

An editorial calendar is also helpful in maintaining consistent timing and fresh content on your blog. That’s why we put together a free blog editorial calendar template, complete with instructions and content management tips.

5. Make customer service a priority.

When we hear the name “Zappos,” most of us immediately think, “Unparalleled customer service.” The online apparel retailer built this level of service into its core approach to doing business.

Why is that so important? For Zappos, making excellent customer service the cornerstone of its brand actually saved money on marketing and advertising. That’s because it created word-of-mouth among existing and potential customers.

This is called earned media: The recognition that your brand has earned, not paid for, from people talking about something you did that was remarkable.

For example, when I’m shopping on a new website, the first thing I do is read reviews. If I see reviews that mention speedy shipping, friendly customer service, and high quality products, I’m more inclined to purchase.

This revisits the importance of your identity and voice. As you go through these brand-building steps, think about the values that you want your audience to experience, like excellent service. Those values are what shape the brand’s culture, and that influence the voice you project to an audience.

6. Take advantage of co-branding.

I’ll never forget what my colleague, Lisa Toner, says about negotiating co-branding agreements.

“Larger companies may have a large reach,” she explains, “But what do they not have?”

When you’re just starting to build a brand, you might not have the reach that Toner’s talking about. You can take the steps to build it, but that takes time. Until then, one way to get your name in front of a broader audience is to partner with a brand that does have that reach.

But don’t just pick any brand for a partnership. Make sure it’s one that’s aligned with yours so it makes sense in the minds of your audience. Here’s what we recommend in seeking a co-brand:

  1. Will your partner’s audience be interested in your brand? Is this audience difficult for you to reach without this partnership?
  2. Will your audience trust your co-brand. That’s crucial to getting them to listen to you, so make sure your partner reaches the audience in a way that instills confidence.
  3. Do you have something to offer your co-brand? Just like Toner asks, “What do they not have?” The experience should be a win-win-win: For you, your co-brand, and the consumer. As an example, if you have an international audience that your partnering brand doesn’t, consider pointing to that when discussing the partnership.

Building a brand might seem like a huge undertaking, especially when resources are limited. But there are plenty of economical ways to not only get started, but to continue the momentum.

And please, have fun with the process. Of course, there has to be a degree of strategy and logic involved — that’s why there’s tools to help you determine the different pieces of your brand. But it’s a creative exercise, so keep that in mind if you get bogged down in technicalities.

7. Host a masterclass or webinar.

What are some of the talents the minds at your company display on a daily basis? Are they masters of email marketing? Do they excel at coding? Do you earn a “World’s Best Brand Strategist” superlative every year?

A fantastic way to grow your brand — and earn leads — is to leverage these talents into a masterclass or webinar, and promote them online.

By optimizing your class with hashtags and witty captions, you’ll find audiences that are interested in the talents for which you’re offering lessons. These masterclasses can be a 45- to 60-minute session that provides an overview of your special expertise, how to do it right, and how use your own strategies to illustrate.

For example, if I were to offer a webinar, it would highlight the art of using emojis for business, an experiment I’m passionate about. I would start by describing why engaging copy is important for attracting customers. Then, I’d explain the pros and cons of emoji usage. Finally, I’d share the right and wrong times to include emojis in marketing messages.

After that, I would present an experiment and report on my findings. Whether the experiment supports or negates my thesis always leaves room for fruitful discussion — leading to the last portion, questions. Voila: An outline for a masterclass that uses my talents to back up the credibility of a business that focuses on, let’s say, marketing or social media.

Running experiments doesn’t have to cost a dime, and hosting a webinar takes only about an hour of your day. The result, however, is spreading the word about the talents of a company, providing data that supports credibility, and promotes company values like delighting customers and giving helpful, educational content to your audience.

Branding on a budget? Absolutely possible. What counts, when you’re brainstorming ways to brand effectively, is how to use the resources you have to the best of your ability. Keeping your audience in mind is the first step — after that, it’s about thinking of creative ways to engage those target customers.

Have fun with building your brand. After all, this is a creative process and while every experiment may not work, you can always learn to improve. Good luck, and happy branding.

How to Build a Brand

Originally published Jun 9, 2020 4:00:00 PM, updated June 10 2020

Topics:

Marketing Budget Branding