PART – II
The War – Marketing:
The Roman Empire ruled for six centuries around the Mediterranean covering a vast part of Europe, Africa and Asia. The transition from Roman republic to Roman Empire started with the emergence of the greatest military commander, Julius Caesar, whose political alliance dominated Roman politics for several years. Out of Caesar’s many accomplishments, his conquest of Gaul showed his unmatched strategic skills and granted him ultimate power to lead as dictator.
Gaul, the most unstable region, had been the only headache for Rome as Caesar feared the Germanic tribes might migrate closer to Italy soon. Caesar started fighting with the individual tribes and began his expansion for a period of six years. However, the tribes joined together under the leadership of Vercingetorix who managed to create a massive army to resist Rome. Vercingetorix went from strength to strength as more tribes joined him to oppose the atrocities of Rome.
Vercingetorix chose the hill top, Alesia, to rest his huge army of 80,000 warriors after humiliating Roman army in many encounters. Alesia, had several geographic features making a frontal attack impossible and impenetrable. Even Caesar knew the superior advantage gained by Vercingetorix from Alesia. Had Caesar attacked them in the hill, it would be equivalent to a suicide attack.
However Caesar changed his plan and laid siege around the hill. He chose to starve Vercingetorix’s army rather than a direct encounter. His army started building a strong fortification around the hill for a 10 mile distance. Within five weeks, a strengthened fortification was completed with flooded moats, pitfalls, watch towers. Sensing the problem, Vercingetorix managed to send his cavalry for reinforcement. Reinforcement arrived for Vercingetorix after a few weeks. But it was already too late. While the reinforcement and Vercingetorix army were trying to break the barrier, Roman army concentrated on killing as many people as they can. Though the number of Gallic soldiers outweighed four to one, the strategic advantage created by Caesar ensured the victory of the Romans in the Gallic land. With most of the reinforcement killed, the remaining panicked and fled away. Vercingetorix chose surrender to starvation and was eventually executed in Rome. Julius Caesar with his army of trained 50,000 warriors managed to defeat a massive army of 350,000 Gallic forces. Caesar, the supreme strategist, created a base for Rome’s prosperous future.
In business as well, success is not decided by the number alone. Even if companies have a great product or service, the way it is marketed make a lot of difference. If creating a product or service is like creating an army to fight then Marketing is the actual war where we can capture the market from competitors. If the business is not careful enough, huge savings can be easily blown away in advertising. A lot of valuable resources will end up wasted if not adequately supported by a proper plan. On the other hand, if carefully planned, they can bring back great returns. In this part, the five rules for creating a powerful marketing campaign is discussed briefly.
Rule 1: Know the territory – Understand Customers’ needs:
The biggest problem for the failure of most marketing activities is the failure to understand their customer’s needs. Marketing is all about projecting those needs that are satisfied by our product or service. It is those needs that will make the customers pay their hard earned money.
But it should be remembered that “Marketing is all about creating a perception that satisfies our customer’s needs”. For a clear understanding, lets see the watch industry where the cost of watches on the market ranges from a few pounds to millions. So what need does the watch satisfies to its customers? A customer who purchase Rolex wanted the watch to be much more than a piece of instrument that shows the time. Marketing such expensive brand is about creating such perception so that the customer is convinced to pay a huge price.
Similar to that, most of the people will be happy to pay more for Coke though they might get a Tesco cola for very cheap price. Therefore marketing is not just about the product. It is all about the needs of customers and creating a perception in the customer’s mind.
Just because the businesses don’t have the financial capability to spend millions in tv advert, understanding the need of customers should not be lightly taken. From packing of products to the way it is delivered, every aspect is marketing. Business owners should ensure to find their place in the market and satisfy the customers in every possible opportunity.
Rule 2: Understand Your Enemy –Explore their weakness:
Success in war and business relates mostly to the inability or the downside of the enemy. While competing in a war, understanding the weakness of the enemy will ensure an easy victory. Similar to that, understanding the weakness of the competitor will help us to create an easy advantage. Apple used this strategy and blew the problems of Windows Vista to promote their Mac book. Pepsi found a way to point the low taste of coke to capture the market share. Similar to that, if the downside of the competitors is understood, then through Marketing we can brand our business as much better product or service. Customers need a strong reason to choose our product or service and dump the competition. As a business we need to find that reason. If business owners can’t find a reason to show their product better, then there is no way to convince customers.. By the end of the day, customers should not regret choosing us over the competitor. Our marketing should ensure to satisfy them.
Rule 3: Strategize your Attack:
Out of all rules, strategizing the attack is the most important rule for successful marketing. Three questions should be clearly answered to strategize your attack.
What medium to choose? There are thousand ways to do the marketing. Imagine how many medium we have to market our business? Television, radio, billboard, pamphlet, website, Google advert, social media, email marketing, newsletter, newspaper, magazines, movies, mobile app, and a lot more emerging. So what are the mediums to be chosen and what not to? The answer varies from business to business. But the medium chosen should connect your business to the customers in cost effective ways.
Is is attractive? Customers nowadays get bombarded with marketing from all sides. But how many of them actually attract our attention? For instance, we get a lot of pamphlets every day in our mail box. But how many pamphlets do we actually read? Most of them go straight to the dustbin. Most marketing emails are marked spam and even customers flip channels during a TV advert. The attention span of customers has gone down so much recently that a boring advert is actually a total waste of money. If the advert is attractive enough, business doesn’t need to spend on marketing at all nowadays. On the other hand, attractive videos go viral and people love to share interesting information.
Finally, How are we going to convince? The beliefs over the advert by the people have gone down a lot over the period of time. Customers have been cheated a lot of adverts in the past and they are now more cautious on what to believe and what not to. They fear to deal with newcomers and therefore it is a challenge to convince them.
It is impossible to do all the marketing activities by business owners themselves. Therefore they tend to seek for assistance from some of the marketing firms. In most cases, marketing firms do what everyone else does and fail to do justice to the payment they receive. If a business owner doesn’t know what to expect from the marketing firm, then can only sit and pray for the best. Understand what you are going to get out f marketing so that each and every penny spent can be well utilized.
Rule 4: Identify the free resources:
It cost millions to use Television as a medium. It cost thousands to use radio to market our business. It cost hundreds of pounds if a pamphlet is used as a medium. So business might have some hesitation to choose one and leave the others. But “there are lots of mediums out there that doesn’t cost even a penny to use”. The social media like Facebook and Twitter have increased so much the opportunity of the businesses to market themselves for free. Blogs, websites, some interesting videos on YouTube are all goldmines if properly utilized. Some of the YouTube channels are given millions of pounds in advertising commission and a lot of people are doing it as a full time job. All these new mediums will actually take time to build. As long as the content is good enough to spread, getting into the market for free is never easy as it is now. If small business owners fail to utilize these free mediums to grow and spend with paid medium, it is equivalent to sitting beside a well and starving for water. The budget should never again be a reason for poor marketing. As long as there is a will, there is a way to prosper for Business owners.
Rule 5: Use Your Reputation:
If there is a way to win a war without shedding a drop of blood, it is through reputation. Great kings use this as a powerful weapon to expand their kingdom. Kings use their reputation to capture the small kingdom around them. Whenever their reputation is used, the effectiveness of growth grows multiple times. Using Reputation works in business as well. More than 80% items sold in the retail stores are repetitive items. Customers that get used to a brand will most likely stick with it as long as it satisfies all their needs even if they need to pay a little more. Building reputation is very important in survival. Most start up business find it hard to enter the market because of the existing reputation created by the competitor. Breaking such reputation is usually hard and that is the reason initial stages of business are very hard for new Entrepreneurs. But once the reputation is created, business should use every opportunity to reap the potential and grow forward.
Usually the difference between success and failure is very thin. Most of the business will be actually thriving in that thin line where they manage just to survive in the tough market. But when the gap between the success and failure is widened, then there will be no looking back. It is easier to say than to be done.
Having a professional assistance especially from a third person will not only help with bringing focus, but will also bring new perspective to the table. If you want such external service, we can work together. Check the link for more detail.