2. Conduct a marketing audit. A marketing audit is a review of all marketing activities that have occurred in your practice over the past three years. Be as thorough as possible, making sure to review every announcement, advertisement, phonebook ad, open house, brochure and seminar and evaluate whether it was successful.
Strategic Marketing Defined
Strategic Marketing is the use of marketing disciplines to achieve organizational goals by developing and maintaining a sustainable competitive advantage. It addresses high-level considerations such as what markets to target, which services to offer, and how to price and promote them.
The strategy and its associated tactics are often documented in a marketing plan. Marketing management is the process of implementing that plan — delivering the strategy at the tactical level.
In my experience, most professional services firms focus on marketing management and rarely engage in big-picture strategic marketing. The results are predictable: their so-called “marketing strategy” is a series of poorly planned, opportunistic activities that do little to establish a true competitive advantage.
Strategic Marketing Examples
Their “marketing plan” is little more than a list of activities and their associated costs. There is no overall strategy that ties these activities to their growth objectives. They have tried a variety of marketing ideas drawn from conversations with peers and trendy techniques they have read about. There is no systematic strategy or process that guides their use of marketing resources.
The firm offers the services their clients routinely ask for, and they look to competitors to gauge the effectiveness of their pricing and marketing materials. They believe that superior client service is why clients choose them, but they have never done any systematic research to verify this assumption.
Strategic marketing done right. Now imagine another mid-sized accounting firm. They also want to grow organically. But they have decided to do that by differentiating themselves from other accounting firms to gain a sustainable competitive advantage.
They start by conducting systematic research into their best clients. This knowledge allows them to identify existing strengths they can build upon. Based on this business analysis, they decide to specialize in the hospitality sector — an industry where they have a solid track record of success and a handful of high-profile clients.
As their understanding of the sector grows, they begin to offer specialized bundled service/software packages to complement their full suite of traditional audit, tax, and consulting. Their fastest-growing segment is their new, high-value operational consulting practice for hospitality businesses.
The firm identifies topics of intense interest to their target clients, and they write and speak on these issues regularly at industry events. Their superior knowledge of the industry and specialized services give them a distinct advantage when they speak with prospects.
What happens when Strategic Marketing is overlooked?
Now the problem with SME’s is that they are typically started by people with a passion, an interest or a skill in whatever the company is offering as its product or service. They are not run by strategic marketers. So, it is inevitable that to them marketing is more like a checklist. Logo-check. Website – check. Social Media presence – check. They rush in to getting all this collateral ready because they need it, but it is not “informed” by anything. There is no sound rationale to what they are doing.
As you read through this article and you consider all the different elements that go into creating a marketing strategy, you may start to realise the madness of this approach. But, at the end of the day, business owners “don’t know what they don’t know”.
In addition to gathering information about your practice and your competitors’ practices, you need to learn as much as you can about the people in your community. You can find answers to the following questions by contacting your local Chamber of Commerce, your state vital statistics department or the U.S. Census Bureau (www.census.gov). Census data is available for every state, county, city, ZIP code, neighborhood, etc.:
5. Identify a target audience. With the help of your market research analysis, you should be able to identify your practice’s “target audience,” which is the specific group of patients to which you’d like to direct your marketing efforts. Your target audience might include patients of a certain age, gender, location, payer type or language/ethnicity and patients with certain clinical needs. Keep in mind that your target audience should not only be the patients you want to attract but also the people who can influence and provide exposure to that segment of the population. For example, if you wish to treat patients with arthritis, you might want to get involved in the local and regional Arthritis Foundation and explore senior organizations in the community. If you want to treat young athletes, you might consider giving talks on sports safety and first-aid tips to coaches and athletes at the local high schools, colleges and YMCAs. The key to marketing lies in targeting the audience that your practice can serve better than your competition – and communicating this to that group.
6. Determine a budget. Before you can decide what specific marketing strategies you want to implement to achieve your goals, you need to examine your financial information and come up with a marketing budget. Marketing budgets vary by the type of market a practice is in, the age of a practice and whether the practice has marketed before. There’s no standard for how much a practice should spend. However, in our experience, practices in open markets have spent 3 percent to 5 percent of their annual gross incomes on marketing. If your practice is new, in a highly competitive market or has never been marketed before, or if you intend to roll out an ambitious new program or service, you can expect to spend 10 percent or more of your annual gross income the first year you implement the plan.
Some of the initial marketing activities can be expensive. For example, it can cost more than $5,000 to have a corporate image package (i.e., logo, stationery and collateral pieces) developed by a professional and as much as $10,000 if you add a brochure. On the other hand, some of the best marketing activities cost practically nothing. For example, to build your referral network, you might try meeting with new physicians in your community and sending follow-up/thankyou notes to referring physicians. Big or small, these are all worthwhile investments that will give the community a positive image of your practice.
7. Develop marketing strategies. With your budget in place, you can begin to define specific marketing strategies that will address your goals, reach your target audience and build your patient base. Remember to focus your strategies on the elements of your practice that can be used to create a special value in the minds of patients and referral sources. Each strategy should be related to a specific goal and should be made up of numerous actions. For example, one strategy related to the goal of increasing patient satisfaction might be to make the office more patient friendly. The actions required for that strategy might include the following:
8. Develop an implementation schedule. An implementation schedule is a time-line that shows which marketing actions will be done when and by whom. The schedule should also include the cost of each marketing action and how it fits into the budget estimates for the 24-month period. When creating the schedule, carefully consider how the activities will affect the current practice operations and whether there are sufficient resources (such as staff, time and money) to accomplish the necessary tasks. In some cases, it may be necessary to whittle down the list or postpone some activities. In other cases, it might be best to go ahead with full implementation of your plan. If you want to fully implement the plan but don’t quite have the staffing resources, you might consider bringing in a consultant to coordinate the marketing activities and/or adding a part-time staff member to handle the majority of the marketing tasks. The implementation schedule will also give you a basis on which to monitor the progress of your marketing plan.
9. Create an evaluation process. The value of a marketing plan is its effectiveness, which requires deliberate and timely implementation and monitoring and evaluation of results. It’s important to measure your results against the standards you set in establishing your goals. Review your plan periodically (we recommend quarterly) by comparing your progress with the implementation schedule. There are several ways you can measure the results of your progress: patient survey scores, referral sources, increased income, increased new patients and decreased complaints.
Marketing Strategy: Apple usually is first to the marketplace with new products and the company relies on brand loyalty from existing customers as a strategy when launching new products and services.
What Is Strategic Marketing?
A growing number of organizations are now employing strategic marketing . It’s only natural, as strategic marketing presents them with the opportunity to outperform their competitors. Yet, there isn’t enough clarity as to what strategic marketing is.
Under strategic marketing , organizations evaluate their positives (both present and potential) over their competition through the lens of their targeted consumers’ perception of them. Building on this allows organizations to provide better service and value to their consumers while creating an image that differs from their competitors. Successful application of strategic marketing into the marketing plan first requires answering these three questions:
Understanding these tasks through research and analysis helps fulfill the role of strategic marketing. The role of strategic marketing is defined as determining what a business needs to be and become to consistently beat competitors by consistently delivering better value. After answering the questions mentioned above, you can advance to the next stage—the strategic marketing planning stage.
Strategic Marketing Objectives
Though each phase seems to perform differently, all are interdependent. This makes the strategic marketing approach a full-circle process. The findings and results of each phase in the strategic marketing process meet the goals set by the previous one until the objective in the planning phase is achieved. Let’s break down the process of strategic marketing into its separate phases:
Planning is the first phase of the strategic marketing process. This phase is the most important because it lays down the groundwork for the subsequent phases. Here, identification and assessment are key. Goals, merits and shortcomings are identified while assets and liabilities are assessed. It’s divided into three steps:
SWOT stands for Strength, Weakness, Opportunity and Threat. Using a SWOT analysis brings out an organization’s strengths, uncovers its weaknesses, identifies possible opportunities and reveals threats that may hinder progress.
This analysis proves beneficial in identifying the direction in which an industry is moving, understanding prevailing trends and gaining an approximate assumption of how well an organization might perform against competitors. A proper SWOT analysis becomes a major factor in developing a strategic marketing proposal for an organization.
A marketing mix is a popular business model organizations use to formulate and pursue their marketing activities. It comprises four key factors, namely: product, price, place and promotion. These are also known as the 4Ps of marketing.
Here, it’s the next step in the planning phase. A marketing mix will help meet objectives brought to light in the strategic marketing proposal based on the SWOT analysis conducted. It aims to strengthen the organization on selling and brand fronts by focusing on its 4Ps.
Product will focus on what commodity or service is being planned for launch by the organization. It’ll involve research into the various aspects of the product, from its packaging to features and after-sales service, and work on developments on responses from focus groups.
As the name implies, this phase is where the strategic marketing proposal and all the data generated from the planning phase are implemented. Based on the data collected, it places a product’s launch into the planned market at a carefully determined price.
This phase can be seen as a review of the entire process. Based on the statistical data gathered from the sales in the second phase, the figures are evaluated with a plan to see if they live up to expectations. If yes, then the strategic marketing process has been successfully implemented. If the result is dissatisfactory, the plan needs to be worked on again.
What should your strategic marketing plan cover?
1. Market position–The first step in how to make a good marketing plan is defining your market position. Outlining what differentiates you against the competition will help you capture market share. Performing a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and treats) analysis of the competition can be helpful here. Careful analysis of consumer trends, preferences, attitudes and outlook should also be factored in to ensure that you maximise the appeal of your product / service to the target market.
2. Business Goals–One of the key steps in developing a marketing plan is outlining what the company is trying to achieve. This helps plan a strategic marketing plan that delivers on the business’s goals. In some complex categories (e.g. healthcare), the goal may be to educate customers on how the product can solve a problem that they have. In others, it could be as simple as driving awareness of the product (e.g. the chocolate industry, which is highly competitive and where brand switching is the norm). Other business goals may be to sell x number of units or to ‘become the market leader in category z’. Although this sounds simple, companies often miss this and risk running marketing programmes that don’t deliver on the targets. Without a business goal, you simply don’t have a strategic marketing plan.
3. Market Opportunities–Developing marketing strategies and plans are most effective when discussing Market Opportunities. These can come in many shapes and sizes. Perhaps the competition is overpriced and pricing your product lower is the market opportunity. Market regulation may change, which creates an additional need. Perhaps consumer tastes and preferences have changed (e.g. vegan food is a big market opportunity right now).Finding these opportunities and building the strategic marketing plan around the opportunities can speed up growth and keep marketing ROI high from day one.
4. Target Market Defined–Developing a marketing strategy plan also requires defining the target market to help develop marketing messages that speak to their needs and are more persuasive than generic marketing messages (baby boomers respond to different messages than millennials).
When you are planning marketing strategy, it is really important to target groups who have different needs and desires. Understanding those needs and desires can make the difference between success and failure. Where do they shop? What competing product are they using at the moment? Where do they live, what job do they have, and what are their aspirations in life? Getting into this level of granularity in your strategic marketing plan can really drive ROI in the final marketing plan.
5. Marketing Budget–Last, a strategic marketing plan is only complete with including a realistic marketing budget and a time-frame for implementing the strategic marketing plan by the team. Tough decisions have to be made at this point–not all marketing activities will be possible with the budget. It is also important to divide up duties and responsibilities across the team.
The 7 steps to developing your strategic marketing plan
Step 1: Setting your marketing goals and objectives
How to make a good marketing plan requires brands to ask themselves the following question. What goal is the business trying to achieve? Planning Marketing Strategy is much easier if you have the goal defined. What specific objectives does marketing need to meet met in order to achieve those goals? What specific measure of success (KPI) will we have for each marketing aim? Here are a few examples:
Up-selling to existing customers: One of the first steps in developing a marketing plan comprises persuading customers to purchase higher-quality products. Company x wants to have its existing customers switch from their standard to their new premium shampoo. Here, the aim may be to drive customer sampling in store and online to customers purchasing online via the brand’s website. The KPIs for sampling should be a specific number, so success can be measured.
Driving awareness to a niche audience with a low budget: Company x wants to maximise market awareness of its new vegan food product to vegan food enthusiasts with a low marketing budget. Here, the aim might be to work with Instagram influencers who have large market reach on vegan food and can share their experience of the product with their followers. Here, the KPIs should be impressions that the influencer campaign has delivered to their online followers, along with inbound traffic to the site from Instagram.
Translating business objectives into specific marketing goals is something that sometimes gets overlooked, but if it’s done thoroughly, it can ensure that every penny of the marketing budget contributes towards the business’s overall goal.
Strategic marketing planning can be simplified by measuring each marketing aim against a KPI keeps marketing teams focused on optimising their marketing activities. KPIS should ideally be specific, measurable, aspirational, realistic, and time bound.
Step 2: Analysing your marketplace and competitors
Another important step in developing a marketing plan is analysing the current marketplace. In order to achieve those company goals, it’s important to contextualise the current situation that the company faces in order to build a robust strategic marketing plan that navigates through the complexity.
A. Customer–To really get to know your customer, you can do an online survey asking your target customers what they are looking for from a product like yours. Other significant sources of customer insight are secondary research reports.
Management consulting practices, ad agencies and research houses frequently publish this research for free. Another significant source are customer insight tools, of which there are many. Some examples include Google Trends and Facebook IQ. After all of this research is done, you will put together your customer persona, which outlines (on one page) what your typical customer looks like. This is who you will market to.
B. Competitor–Identifying the opportunities, weaknesses and strengths that the competition poses can empower you to market your business more effectively. A few ways you can do this are to analyse the social media chatter of the competition’s brands to identify what customers are saying about them (what do they like and dislike about the competition’s product?).
In a customer survey, you can also ask the customer what their views are of the competition. There is a universe of tools out there which can reverse engineer the competition’s SEO, PPC and digital marketing tactics as well. Last, you can try a qualitative analysis of the competitor’s website in order to map out their brand position, tone of voice, price point, values, and their key sales messages.
C. Category –A marketing strategy plan requires knowing the movements across the overall industry in order to circumnavigate any issues and to capitalise on emergent trends. Good places to look here are industry associations, government consultations and innovations.
D. Channels – Where do your target customers spend their time online? What content do they specifically engage with and where do they get their product recommendations from? Knowing this will take you closer to being able to plan your marketing into the right channels. Looking only at the competition and the channels they are using may lead to you just copying their strategy (and being in direct competition for attention). You can get some great audience insights from Facebook IQ, Alexa.com and there is a raft of other tools out there which can tell you the channels that will give the highest ROI. In an ideal world, you want to find marketing channels and opportunities that look like they will drive marketing performance that the competition has overlooked.
How Do Specific Marketing Processes Work?
The steps of the strategic marketing process (mission, situation analysis, marketing plan, marketing mix, and implementation and control) are different than the process for a specific marketing effort. Specific efforts may support one goal or business line, but the strategic process supports the entire mission of your organization.
Target marketing identifies the specific market segments that will help your business grow. The three main activities of target marketing are segmenting, targeting, and positioning. Organizations use this S-T-P approach to pinpoint the best prospective customers.
Content marketers generate demand for a product by generating a steady flow of content that focuses on the problems and desires of potential and current customers. Here are the five steps of the content marketing process:
The product marketing process is the pipeline from strategy to implementation for a product marketing campaign. To be successful, this process focuses on making sure the product continues to meet the needs of customers throughout the product cycle. Here are the stages of this process:
Inbound marketing draws prospective customers to your product by providing useful and quality content that entices them to find out more. The inbound approach includes content marketing, social strategies, and search engine optimization, all tactics that bring your target audience to you. It’s different than outbound marketing, a traditional approach in which you advertise your product or service, typically through television and radio, print ads, and direct mail. Here’s how inbound marketing works:
- Attract and Engage: Create targeted content that answers your customers’ questions and be readily available online. This includes blog content, a social media presence, keywords that guide prospective customers to your site when they are searching for answers, and a well-designed and helpful website.
- Convert: Get more information about your prospective customers so you can guide them through the sales funnel. Start collecting details about your customers through sign-up forms and landing pages, email newsletters, ebooks, whitepapers, and tip sheets. The key is to deliver targeted marketing to the right audience at the right time.
- Close: Once you’ve collected detailed information about your prospective customers, you can customize the marketing that leads them to buy your product or service. This includes email messaging, which is typically done using marketing automation software that responds to the actions of a prospective customer.
- Delight: While an immediate goal may be the sale of one product, your strategic goals focus on brand loyalty and long-term value. In this stage, you should be staying in touch with your customers, monitoring the conversations on social media, asking for feedback through surveys, and finding ways to provide rewards for customer loyalty.
Email marketing is one of the most powerful drivers of sales for many businesses. It has an advantage over direct mail because you can track and measure your results, and it tends to be less expensive than other marketing channels. Here’s an overview of the email marketing process:
- Define: Identify your goals and your audience. Base the content of your email on who you want to reach and what you want them to do.
- Test: Email marketing has a range of variables that can affect the performance of your campaign. You need to choose the best design, content, and format for the message you want to send.
- Send: Email is one of the largest drivers of sales for many products. Each email you send has to align with your brand, connect with your audience, and offer a clear call to action.
- Measure and Report: You want to understand how people interact with each campaign. Track the open rate for your email, the number of clicks through to your site, and when they read your marketing. This data will help you create a more effective campaign next time.
How Is Marketing Automation Changing the Strategic Marketing Process?
Marketing automation is about software that streamlines, automates, and measures marketing processes and tasks. It reduces the amount of manual effort and tracking that marketing campaigns require. Automation makes your marketing, and your company, more efficient, effective, and profitable. Whether you have a small company or a large organization, you can gain a competitive edge by automating your ability to target your audience and track and measure your results. Here’s how:
- Marketing automation helps you nurture prospects for the long-term. Automation connects multiple digital channels, including social media, email, and content marketing. You can create and deliver a comprehensive plan in which every consumer touch point is optimized for conversion.
- Marketing automation makes your communication stronger. Once you’ve collected user data, you can add dynamic content that adds personal touches to your campaign. You’re not blasting customers with broad or irrelevant advertising messages. Instead, you’re guiding prospects through the sales funnel. With every action by your prospective customer, you can automate a response.
- Marketing automation can help your company find an effective approach for email campaigns. You can test different variables like email send times, subject lines, and ideas for personalization.
- Marketing automation improves your ability to segment your customers. As you gather data about their behavior, interests, and demographics, you can refine your messaging.
- Marketing automation helps you listen to your customers. You can map sales cycles, collect email data (unsubscribe rates, open rates, spam complaints), and customer service feedback.
My learning came not only from the professors and class material, but from a really diverse group of classmates from a wide range of industries — city government, pharmaceuticals, manufacturing, health care, and retail. Also, the case material was stimulating and gave me a chance to challenge myself way beyond my own business experience.”
Strategic Marketing for Competitive Advantage
In today’s highly competitive business environment, marketing is everyone’s business. No matter your work experience, if your role increasingly involves marketing responsibilities, you need a solid understanding of its core concepts, methods, and strategic perspectives.
Strategic Marketing for Competitive Advantage is based on Wharton’s popular MBA marketing management program, and unlike executive education programs offered elsewhere, it is taught by MBA faculty. Without distracting you with trends, they distill the latest in marketing research, thinking, tools, and techniques into five intense days. You will come away with a strong knowledge of the data-driven, fact-based science of marketing and know what it takes to understand customers.
Date, Location, & Fees
Highlights and Key Outcomes
Building Your Network
Another highlight of this live online program is office hours with Academic Director and Marketing Professor Jagmohan S. Raju, who is also Wharton’s Vice Dean for Executive Education and other Wharton faculty. Participant-driven discussions with Professor Raju and faculty can address individual challenges, answer questions, and explore program content in greater depth. In addition, sessions with expert guest speakers provide context and diverse perspectives on the current state of marketing.
Experience & Impact
In Strategic Marketing for Competitive Advantage, Wharton’s top marketing faculty — who represent a wide range of research areas and expertise — will give you a clear understanding of core marketing concepts. These concepts will help you better align with your customers, differentiate yourself from your competitors, and create a strong and effective marketing plan. You will join a learning community of participants from a variety of industries, geographies, and functional areas. The program uses quantitative and qualitative methodologies, case studies, lectures, and hands-on exercises that allow you to interact with faculty and peers throughout the week.
Convince Your Supervisor
Due to our application review period, applications submitted after 12:00 p.m. ET on Friday for programs beginning the following Monday may not be processed in time to grant admission. Applicants will be contacted by a member of our Client Relations Team to discuss options for future programs and dates.
What is marketing strategy?
Marketing strategy is a long-term, forward-looking approach and an overall game plan of any organization or any business with the fundamental goal of achieving a sustainable competitive advantage by understanding the needs and wants of customers.
A marketing strategy is a broad strategy that encompasses everything from how a company positions itself, to the creative, the strategic partners, the media relations, the marketing mix, and the channels and tactics.
A marketing strategy refers to a firm’s overall game plan for reaching prospective consumers and turning them into customers of their products or services. It also contains the company’s value proposition, key brand messaging, data on target audience and customer demographics, and other high-level elements.
The broad marketing strategy is what used to fall under the term "branding" back in the more ambiguous days of marketing. It’s a practical summary of the key details of the strategy and some of the broad goals and methods used to achieve them.
Define your brand value and offering
Your brand strategy is about defining the core values of your brand to make sure that they align with what your prospect and existing customer find important, that they align to your industry trends and competitive environment, and to what you actually offer ie your product.
AllBirds – Sustainable, transparent, comfortable
AllBirds began as a darling brand in Silicon Valley in 2014 and quickly grew to a 800.4B valuation in 2018. The shoe company set out to create the world’s most comfortable, and they overshot their goal. Their products are fully sustainable, and made out of wool and bamboo, and their branding is impeccable. Their mission statement reads – "Allbirds is on a mission to prove that comfort, good design, and sustainability don’t have to be mutually exclusive".
Besides the humor and the spunky brand personality, the brand has really taken advantage of this concept of transparency. They display the materials they use in a creative way and get down to the fine details.
Ultimately, the quirky brand voice and the incredible brand values of sustainability and transparency lead Allbirds to build a super engaged audience online that has contributed the most to the brand’s growth. Yes, it is a really comfortable product (the NY Times called it "the most comfortable shoe in the world"), but without a strong brand and a focus on the user experience, Allbirds would not have been the giant that it is today.
Casper – "here to awaken the potential of a well-rested world"
Casper’s strong brand helped it launch other successful products, like the Casper Glow, which is an innovative bedtime light that changes its light temperature and brightness automatically and can be remotely controlled through an app.
Top 10 Business-to-Consumer Marketing Strategies
What do business professionals think about different types of marketing strategy to reach consumers? We took a look at recent survey results and reports that compiled data on the topic, and created a list of 10 B2C marketing strategy examples commonly recognized as successful regardless of industry. Here’s what we found, in no particular order:
Social Networks and Viral Marketing
Social media marketing focuses on providing users with content they find valuable and want to share across their social networks, resulting in increased visibility and traffic. Social media shares of content, videos, and images also influence Search Engine Optimization (SEO) efforts in that they often increase relevancy in search results within social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram and search engines like Google and Yahoo.
Paid Media Advertising
Paid media is a tool that companies use to grow their website traffic through paid advertising. One of the most popular methods is pay-per-click (PPC) links. Essentially, a company buys or “sponsors” a link that appears as an ad in search engine results when keywords related to their product or service are searched (this process is commonly known as search engine marketing, or SEM). Every time the ad is clicked, the company pays the search engine (or other third party host site) a small fee for the visitor — a literal “pay per click.”
Internet marketing, or online marketing, combines web and email to advertise and drive e-commerce sales. Social media platforms may also be included to leverage brand presence and promote products and services. In total, these efforts are typically used in conjunction with traditional advertising formats like radio, television, and print.
There’s also a lot to be said about online reviews and opinions. Word-of-mouth advertising is unpaid, organic, and oh-so-powerful because those people who have nice things to say about your product or service generally have nothing to gain from it other than sharing good news. A recommendation from a friend, colleague, or family member has built-in credibility and can spur dozens of leads who anticipate positive experiences with your brand.
Email marketing is a highly effective way to nurture and convert leads. However, it’s not a game of chance, as to whether your message winds up in spam filters. Instead, email marketing is an automated process that targets specific prospects and customers with the goal of influencing their purchasing decisions. Email marketing success is measured by open rates and click-through rates, so strategy comes into play, particularly when it’s used as a component of a larger internet marketing initiative.
Direct selling accomplishes exactly what the name suggests — marketing and selling products directly to consumers. In this model, sales agents build face-to-face relationships with individuals by demonstrating and selling products away from retail settings, usually in an individual’s home (e.g., Amway, Avon, Herbalife, and Mary Kay).
Point-of-Purchase Marketing (POP)
Point-of-Purchase marketing (or POP marketing) sells to a captive audience — those shoppers already in-store and ready to purchase. Product displays, on-package coupons, shelf talkers that tout product benefits, and other attention-getting “sizzle” often sway buying decisions at the shelf by making an offer simply too good — and too visible — to pass up.
Cobranding, Affinity, and Cause Marketing
Co-branding is a marketing methodology in which at least two brands join together to promote and sell a single product or service. The brands lend their collective credibility to increase the perception of the product or service’s value, so consumers are more likely to purchase and willing to pay more at retail. Secondarily, co-branding may dissuade private label manufacturers from copying the product or service. Similarly, affinity marketing is a partnership between a company (supplier) and an organization that gathers persons sharing the same interests — for instance, a coffee shop that sells goods from a local bakery.
There is no shortage of co-branding partnerships, but several more recent examples demonstrate particularly good natural brand alignment including the adventurous GoPro and Red Bull, luxurious BMW and Louis Vuitton, and fashion-forward Alexander Wang and H&M.
Likewise, cause marketing leverages and enhances brand reputation. Cause marketing is a cooperative effort between a for-profit business and a non-profit organization to mutually promote and benefit from social and other charitable causes. Cause marketing is not to be confused with corporate giving, which is tied to specific tax-deductible donations made by an organization. Cause marketing relationships are “feel goods” and assure your customers you share their desire to make the world a better place.