As we move towards the end of a tumultuous year, many businesses are looking towards how to recover. Record losses of income have been registered across countless sectors, so as we approach a COVID-normal environment, the importance of marketing as a tool to recover and grow has skyrocketed.
SmartCompany pulled together some of Australia’s marketing masterminds for our webinar ‘What’s in your Marketing Toolkit?’, offering small business owners foundational tips and insights for a stellar marketing strategy.
Hosted by our startups and tech editor Stephanie Palmer-Derrien, the three-person panel represented a wide range of marketing expertise and experience.
Fiona Killackey, who runs My Daily Business Coach, brought over 20 years of marketing experience to the webinar. Koda Capital’s Andrew Rutherford spoke of his experiences working with some of Australia’s wealthiest individuals, and Michelle Aknidenor’s work producing brand podcasts as the founder of The Peers Project provided a great sense of how new media and marketing can be used.
How to reverse engineer your marketing strategy
Looking at how to start your marketing journey as a small business, and knowing your goals and identifying your potential customer base was advice echoed by each of the panelists.
Killackey says taking that first step to identify what you want to achieve as a business is crucial before diving into the nitty-gritty of marketing.
“What I like to do is ask people to try and think of the first three things you want to achieve in the first 12 months, and reverse engineer their marketing from them,” she says.
Once those first steps have been made, Rutherford stresses the importance of knowing who your business is for, and how you want to reach that market.
“Businesses need to be very clear about what customers want to hear,” he added. “You don’t want to be talking to a bunch of vegetarians about the newest beef burger you have for sale.”
Akhidenor says that once a foundation of what the business is looking to achieve has been set, a podcast can be great to take engagement to the next level.
“Realistically, you need that foundation, you need social media and an outreach method for sales,” she says.
“However, it can be the next step after the foundation has been laid… when you are ready to take that engagement to the next level.”
Cutting through the noise on social media
Once your marketing strategy is off the ground, getting the message out there to prospective and existing customers through marketing channels continues to be crucial, especially through social media.
Because there is so much free advertising online through social media, Rutherford identifies the importance of knowing how to cut through the merrass of other campaigns to stand out.
“Marketing is now free and ubiquitous through social media,” he says. “How do you cut through so much? You have to have a starting point where you’re clear of what your product is. That will help define who your target customers are.”
This was reiterated by Akhidenor, who points towards being authentic as a major factor in retaining and enticing customers.
“It really comes down to authenticity and coming across as real and representing your brand values,” she continues.
“There’s so much out there that consumers can feel like things are not real, and that just doesn’t fly anymore. It’s about how you can connect with your audience.”
Moving further into using social media, Killackey speaks on using influencers to help reach a target market. While not a perfect method, she believes it can be a useful tool if used in conjunction with the correct data.
“Brand ambassadors can work really well to reach your target market,” she says. “If you are going to work with influencers, look at micro influencers with 5000 or less followers… There’s definitely a space for it but it’s about being smarter with it.”
The combination of accessible but vital business information and expert insights from across industries made this session a must-watch.