Brand Strategy Inbound Marketing
Brand Positioning Strategy
Today’s marketing world is much different than last century’s invasive marketing. At one time a brand positioning strategy was shaped through mass marketing campaigns and whatever it took to generate leads, even if it meant buying them and then attacking them with aggression and repetition. But two profound developments have presented historic challenges to traditional marketing: the internet and consumer awareness. Today’s clients want to believe they found you … not that you found them.
The internet has turned individuals into multi-dimensional messengers of products, services and even non-business interests. Online pioneers who helped redefine the consumer landscape were Amazon, Craigslist, Google and eBay. These companies not only survived the dotcom bubble crash of the late 1990s/early 2000s, they each paved the way for successful online business models. Wikipedia also set a tone, since they emerged as leaders in search engine rankings for a wide range of topics. Apple’s iTunes also played a part in the online revolution by ushering in the first profitable model of the seamless digital download.
Amazon became the world’s number one retailer by letting consumers learn about products before buying them. Google empowered businesses with pay per click advertising while Craigslist and eBay, like Amazon, brought buyers and sellers together to find the best deals. How did these tech leaders alter the course of brand positioning strategy? They changed marketing by maximizing a concept called “the long tail,” popularized by author Chris Anderson. The long tail represents a long list of niche products that don’t sell as well as the most popular products, but the cumulative sales of several niche products can add up to huge revenue. The internet allows consumers to find the niche products they are looking for better than a flea market or a garage sale. The long tail empowers consumers to find bargains that cater to their needs as individuals.
As a result of long tail resources such as Google, which lets people find specialty businesses quicker than phone books, consumers can learn about solutions to their needs at an accelerated rate compared with consumers of last century. So no matter how you measure intelligence, today’s consumers have much more research and answers at their fingertips than ever before. Consumers no longer have to surrender to the pressures of top brands controlling product selection at stores with limited shelf space. Consumers now have the green light to explore online as much as they want until they find what they want.
Traditional advertising still helps sell units, but it’s mostly an expensive gamble that doesn’t always pay off. There are many stories of companies that went bankrupt because expensive media advertising drained their budgets and didn’t generate a return on investment. Consumers can be fooled if they are bombarded with the same exaggerated messages over time, but the internet has also taught many buyers to become smarter shoppers by replacing impulsive spending with online bargain hunting.
The New Definition of Winning
The old definition of winning in business was a matter of accounting. Whoever scored the most dollars from market saturation of big but often vague promises in advertising became the market leader. The new definition of winning in business is successfully nurturing online followings that breed long-term loyal buyers. This revolutionary direction is particularly useful to small and medium businesses who do not have the budget to buy expensive repetitious broadcast time or print space. In this sense, websites, blogging and social media level the playing field for all businesses.
As you carve your own corner in this amazing new business landscape, remember that your brand positioning strategy to acquire followers is now closer to honest artistic leadership than ever before.
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Ian Conklin is the President of OTR Web Solutions a web development company building marketing websites since 2000 with offices in Canada, USA, Europe and South America.
OTR Web is a Value Added Partner with HubSpot.
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