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Brand Management Business Concept Market & Economy News Marketing Communications

How to Build a Customer Base for Your Startup?

What is a customer base, and why is it important?

By Wikipedia’s definition, a customer base is the group of customers who repeatedly purchase the goods or services of a business. These customers are the main source of revenue for a company. The customer base may be considered the business’s target market, where customer behaviors are well understood through market research or past experience.

How to identify your customer base if you don’t know anything about your market?

Disclaimer: you should not start a business without knowing your ideal customer base. Successful startups and new companies typically enter the market with several years of experience and deep knowledge about the market, industry, or sector they will operate in.

Building a customer base should be a key element of your business strategy, and a precise action plan should be defined well before starting any business activity.

How to get started with defining your customer base? 

If you can’t afford proper market research, think about key characteristics of people likely to pay for your goods or services. Inc. magazine advises you should narrow your focus as tightly as possible to determine exactly who to target for marketing your business.

A more industry-standard way to determine your ideal customer base is to survey various segments and see which groups of people react the best to your business concept or brand in general. 

This can be done with our Business Concept Audit.

How to engage your customers?

The best way to engage people in your target customer segments is to start conversations with them. As a small business, you can do this on Reddit or Quora, on your company’s Facebook page, or even on YouTube. 

Share relevant content that brings value to them and demonstrates your expertise and brand values at the same time. Encourage people to ask questions, start a conversation and be as human as possible. People react very well to that.

Key things to remember to be engaging:

  • Don’t sound like a corporation
  • Ask often, make your content inclusive
  • Make it rewarding and exciting for people to engage
  • Don’t try to sell – forget your any promotional language

Develop your industry expert status and brand identity

It mostly depends on what is your industry, line of business, and audience. In general, you cannot go wrong with establishing an expert status for yourself or your brand – so people in your niche will develop trust.

Once you find a tone for your brand, keep communicating to people without selling them anything. You can make your products and services easily available for them, and make it look like the best option out there -> that combined with your established trust will make them choose you over other alternatives.

What are the key benefits of being an industry-expert?

  • Increased credibility
  • Customers will want to hear from you
  • Your content will be shared
  • It will feel like a privilige to work with you

Five proven techniques and tactics to grow your customer base

Depending on your business model and industry, there are various proven ways to grow the customer base of your company. 

1, Do an amazing job, be the best in what you do

This should go without saying. The best way to increase repeat business and retain customers, as well as to get referrals is doing an amazing job for your clients.

2, Referral and affiliate programs

Asking your happy customers to refer your company is a super cost-efficient, yet effective way to acquire new clients. With social proof and trust already developed when being referred, closing referral sales is significantly easier than warming up people who are entirely new to your brand.

3, Go strong on brand building campaigns

Ask any executives in large companies – their brand is among their biggest assets. Investing in your brand is not a short-term process. In order to grow your brand awareness, shape your brand perceptions and get into the mind of your customers, you will need extensive advertising campaigns running continuously.

4, Offer free services on your website

Offering simple yet useful services is a proven way to get new customers involved with your brand. Most startups do it by offering online tools with limited functionality – something that does not cost them nearly anything to deliver, yet brings value to potential customers.

This is a great way to offer a freed sample of your work and introduce new people to your brand experience. Not every one of them will become a buyer, but chances are high that they will refer you if your free stuff was impressive.

5, Do regular market research to connect with potential customers

When collecting feedback from potential customers, your brand is getting exposed to people who are very much in the market for your products and services. 

Not only this but asking a question about their opinions and preferences tells them that your company does care about their customers – and this typically makes a very good first impression.

This advantage of market research has been long recognized by leading international brands, which is another reason why they are continuously running market research campaigns.

Stay in touch with your customers, but don’t become annoying

Keep your customers involved. Send them product updates, do a simple survey from time to time, launch a referral program, anything that they will benefit from.

After some time, you will notice which communication channels work both for you and your community. Focus on 1 or 2 instead of trying hard to be present everywhere.

What to do when people do not buy or engage with your content?

If you face issues with getting traction converting or engaging customers then you should audit your brand, business concept, or marketing communications.

In most cases, customers will not connect with your brand because of major business concept issues, or branding problems that make it impossible for them to like or trust your company.

Do not make your customers feel that they are part of an automated system

Whatever you do, do not make your customers feel like that they are bombarded with communication. This is a big mistake many companies do – sending daily automated emails will alienate your potential buyers very fast.

Recent market research results confirm this:

  • 87% of regular online buyers said that receiving more than one email a week from a company is annoying
  • 64% of regular online customers said that they will unsubscribe from all communications of a company and ignore them if they receive too many emails

Similarly, do not try to force them into Facebook or LinkedIn groups, those things are uncool in most cases. The only reason you should invite people to groups is if your community there is already very active and your customers would benefit from being part of it. But asking them to join your group just to bombard them with discounts and offers is a big no-no.

In case you want to measure how people perceive your marketing communications, you can do a Marketing Communications Audit.

Just make it attractive to buy from you and be there for them afterward. Simple as that.

Categories
Brand Management Business Concept

What Makes New Companies Successful, and Why Other Businesses Fail? 1M Data Points From 100 Audits Reveal Clear Insights.

Decoding what makes new companies successful

What makes a new business successful, and why most businesses fail? What separates the 10% of thriving businesses from the 90% that are destined to close in a few years? These are questions that most new business owners ask.

Having millions of market research data in our databases, we decided to connect the dots and decode what branding and business concept qualities successful companies have, and what are the common traits of businesses that fail.

What can we learn from this analysis?

The research is focused on revealing the following two insights:

  • What sets of qualities winning businesses have?
  • What sets of shortcomings losing businesses struggle with?

Where is the data coming from?

In our research, we were looking for general business characteristics that can be applied in most industries and sectors. The basis of the analysis is the market research data set we collected from 100 business concept audits from 5 different industries. This is over 1,000,000 data points in total.

The companies are:

  • 20 hotels and resorts
  • 20 tech startups
  • 20 non-tech startups
  • 20 e-commerce stores
  • 20 professional service (b2b) companies

Why companies purchase business concept audits with Brand Auditor? There are a number of reasons. In most cases, companies want to validate their business model and pricing. Other use cases include:

  • Already established companies want to fine-tune their business model
  • Unsuccessful businesses looking for insight to troubleshoot their business model
  • Angel investors requesting verified market feedback insights as a supporting document

All audits by Brand Auditor are based on targeted market research feedback.

Why this research is important?

A successful business is the dream of new entrepreneurs and people who desire to leave their full-time careers to start their own ventures. The sad reality is that over 90% of new businesses fail. 10% of startups fail within the first year. Across all industries, startup failure rates seem to be close to the same. Failure is most common for startups during years two through five, with 70% falling into this category.

According to Embroker.com, the most common why startups fail is due to misreading market demand — this is found in 42% of cases. Our brand and business concept audits to confirm the same.

Most businesses only seek help when their performance is in a critical state

Over 70% of clients requesting a Business Concept Audit are already on the verge of going out of business. Not surprisingly, over 80% of those who request us to audit their business concepts are getting negative feedback from their target customers. They launched their business without validation or any representative market research.

Other major reasons for startup failures (at least 10% or above) are pricing/cost issues, user-unfriendly products, poor marketing, and product mistiming.

The 30% of Business Concept Audit clients are using the audit as a proof of concept. Their intention is to understand what aspects of their business will be attractive or questionable for their future customers – so they can get back to the drawing board to address any issues before entering the market.

The purpose of this analysis is to draw connections between various business characteristics and the likelihood of sustainable business success. These insights will help new entrepreneurs tremendously to focus on developing those aspects of their businesses that matter.

man using macbook
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

Key findings about successful businesses:

Observing what qualities successful startups have in common, connecting the dots to understand the importance and connection between each.

1, Great product-market fit

Product/market fit, or written as product-market fit, is the degree to which a product satisfies existing market demand. Product/market fit has been identified as a first step to building a successful business in which the company meets early adopters, gathers feedback, and gauges interest in its product.

87% of companies with successful business results scored 7 out of 10, or higher in their perceived product-market fit.

2, A winner business concept

A business concept is a full, well-thought-out construct of all of the key items required to build a profitable business, including overall offering, specific products/services (at least to start out), who would pay for that product/service, how the product would be delivered to the target audiences, and why the concept is unique enough to succeed.

79% of companies with successful business results scored 8 out of 10, or higher in perceived business concept qualities.

3, Clarity in brand positioning

A positioning statement clearly defines your brand’s position – that is, the “space” in your audience’s consciousness that you want to establish as belonging solely to your brand. Positioning is about differentiating your brand from your competitors, so the language that describes your positioning is very important.

83% of companies with successful business results scored 7 out of 10, or higher in their positioning.

4, Earned credibility and demonstrated expertise

You know how important it is for any business to proactively demonstrate its expertise. It makes a real difference when the marketplace you want to serve sees you as an expert – in an area that demonstrates an understanding of the market and solves a problem that the market has.

76% of companies with successful business results scored 6 out of 10, or higher in their perceived credibility.

worried young woman covering face with hand
Photo by Liza Summer on Pexels.com

Key similarities of failing businesses

Observing what failure startups have in common –  connecting the dots to understand the importance and connection between each.

1, No market demand – proper market research was never done

Market demand is an important economic marker. Demand reflects the competitiveness of a marketplace, a consumer’s willingness to buy certain products and the ability of a company to leverage itself in a competitive landscape. If market demand is low, it signals to a company that they should terminate a product or service, or restructure it so that it is more appealing to consumers.

59% of companies with poor business results scored 4 out of 10, or lower in their perceived product-market fit.

2, Unattractive business concept, wrong packaging, and pricing issues

An idea that may seem outwardly absurd may not necessarily count as a bad business idea. Bad business ideas are typically ill-thought and under-developed; which makes them highly likely to fail in the business world.

There are a number of forces at play that can contribute to the failure of a particular business concept. These include lack of available resources, lack of demand for the product/service, poor marketing/positioning, and a number of other factors

68% of companies with poor business results scored 5 out of 10, or lower in their perceived business concept.

3, Unclear positioning and mixed marketing messages

Failure to correctly position a brand will leave your potential clients and customers confused. They will compare it with wrong alternatives, misunderstand unique differentiators and your brand values. There are four common causes of wrong positioning, which are:

  • Under positioning: here the customer’s have a blurred and unclear idea of the brand
  • Over positioning: the customer’s have too limited awareness of the brand
  • Confused positioning: when the customer’s have confused opinion of the brand
  • Double positioning: it happens when customers do not accept the claims of the brand

72% of companies with poor business results scored 4 out of 10, or lower in their positioning.

4, Failure to demonstrate the related skills and expertise

Misuse of facts, shallow content that lacks and scientific or logical substance – it is easy to the red flags when someone does not know what he is talking about. Same with business marketing communications. People are not stupid, the notice if claims and theories do not add up, and will undermine the credibility of the company.

55% of companies with poor business results scored 4 out of 10, or lower in their perceived demonstration of expertise.

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B2B Brand Management Brand Management Business Concept Market & Economy News Marketing Communications

Optimize Branding for Your B2B Business to Unlock These 8 Superpower Benefits

Business to business branding – how it all started?

Brand management, as we know it today, is nothing new. We are talking about knowledge and principles that were founded hundreds of years ago, way back in medieval times. It all started with guilds. What is a guild? Guilds were medieval associations of craftsmen or merchants, often having considerable power.

Each guild was known for something that they did best. The best swords, the best mead, or the best leather goods. They used to stamp, burn or carve their “logo” or symbol that was a guarantee of qualities and values their merchandise was known for. Their main concern was not designing their logos and symbols, but delivering amazing products that made them the best for certain reasons in their trade.

Brand management is not too much different today. The only big difference is that there are hundreds of new brands popping up daily – diluting almost all industries and reducing the trust of customers they have for brand promises.

Not even digital marketing technologies, online distribution and mass consumerism changed the basics of brand management. Today, more than ever, a great brand is a promise for quality and experience. Having a known, trusted brand is an extremely valuable asset.

Brand management for B2B companies today

Present-day companies, however, tend to underestimate the power of brands and trademarks in business-to-business decision-making. They think of branding as consumer-facing communication. But in fact, some of today’s most iconic brands are not, or at least not exclusively, consumer brands.

Prominent examples of strong brands that appeal to businesses at least as much as to consumers include Microsoft, Siemens, General Electric, Allianz, and MasterCard. Even companies without any consumer business whatsoever have gone to great lengths to build powerful brands, such as IBM, SAP, Goldman Sachs, Thomson Reuters, or John Deere – collectively valued at well over USD 100 billion according to expert estimates.

What you can do to manage your brand like a Fortune 500 company?

In the long term, your company will be known for delivering reliable and professional service. For established companies, trust and reputation are among the most important pillars.

For new companies, startups, and small to medium businesses operating in the B2B space, the same can be achieved by showcasing a high level of professionalism, relevance, and credibility.

Audit your brand regularly to get valuable feedback from your target audience, and potential customers

We offer three audits applicable for this purpose. These are the following:

Brand Awareness & Perceptions Audit

This audit offers a cost-effective way to measure how well-known and popular your brand is. Are your potential customers aware of your company at all? Do they have a good or bad opinion about your brand? In which regions your competitors are more popular?

Business Concept Audit

This audit helps to understand how your business concept is received by your target customers. Are you solving a real problem or your idea is seen to be useless? Does your business model make sense to your customer? Is your value proposition attractive enough? Is your pricing correct? Is your credibility sufficient to win the trust of potential customers?

Marketing Communications Audit

This audit enables you to measure how people feel about various aspects of your cross-channel marketing communications – including ads, social media, brand website, and PR.

Is your marketing relevant to your customers? What do people like about your brand and what makes it feel off? Do your followers enjoy your content or they just mostly ignore it?

Five major benefits of having a strong brand in a B2B environment

There are endless benefits of building and maintaining a strong brand, even if your business is operating in a “boring” corporate environment. Let’s see the five most important ones

Your potential customers recognize your company

Trust and recognition are valuable assets. Hearing about your business for the first time with hardly get the attention of anyone, but knowing you already will make them think “oh I have seen them before” – and when a good opportunity comes, maybe years later, people who know your brand might get in touch with you.

Having a strong brand works to build customer recognition. This means when a customer is shopping for a particular product or considering a company to perform a service, they recognize your company in the running. Consumers are far more likely to choose a brand that they recognize over something unfamiliar, even if they don’t know a great deal about your company at the time.

Competitive edge in the market

Your brand is what differentiates you in the marketplace. When customers recognize and back your brand, it helps lend a competitive edge to your company. The more recognition you receive and the more you build your brand, the more you will find that your brand elevates and is competitive with other well-known brands.

Easy introduction of new products

When you already have a strong brand and loyal customers, it is often easier and less expensive to introduce new products or test them out before you further invest in them. If you have a loyal brand following, your customers will often be interested in your new products and even anticipate them being released.

Customer loyalty and shared values

The recognition and elevation that a strong brand builds upon all lend to greater customer loyalty. Customers are attracted to brands that they share values with. When you build a strong brand, you need to convey these values to build an emotional connection with customers. Brand loyalty often lasts a lifetime and even transfers to future generations.

Enhanced credibility and ease of purchase

Having a strong, well-known brand enhances your credibility with customers, your industry, and the marketplace as a whole. As you build your credibility, you also build recognition, loyalty, and competitiveness. Everything goes hand-in-hand, and you’ll find that your credibility has a direct connection to customers’ ease of purchase. We want to buy from companies we like, know, and trust. If your brand is credible, you’re far more likely to get the sale.

Further advantages a recognized and trusted B2B brand will guarantee for your business

Your brand influences customer decisions

Many product managers purport that business marketing is all about superior products and services, offered at competitive prices. Sales executives insist that availability and service will make or break a deal. In their minds, branding is just the icing on the cake. Not so.

While our research confirms the general importance of products, prices, and distribution, we have also found that branding matters. In fact, decision-makers consider the brand a central rather than a marginal element of a supplier’s proposition. Our survey indicates that a company’s brand is on par with sales as an influencing factor. In India, brand-related factors are perceived as especially important. In Germany, the brand is perceived as less important, consistent with previous observations of this market as a more value-driven environment.

Your brand differentiates your company from the rest

Purchasing officers say that brands matter and the financial performance of strong brands confirms their importance as influencing factors. But to what extent do companies leverage business branding for competitive differentiation? To put it gently, there is room for improvement. It’s not that corporate reputation managers don’t try.

They are sending plenty of brand-related messages, emphasizing topics such as corporate social responsibility, sustainability, or global reach. But these are not necessarily the issues decision-makers are most concerned about. Our research shows that they often pick suppliers based on perceived honesty and specialized expertise. Fact-based business branding provides a unique opportunity to close this gap between suppliers’ messages and decision makers’ needs. Early movers can expect to reap disproportionate rewards by differentiating their propositions accordingly

Delivering messages makes connection between customers and your brand personal

One-way communication may be a great way to get customers’ attention. Selecting a new supplier, however, is still a deeply personal matter for decision-makers in many industries. Our survey shows that sales rep interactions remain the most important touchpoint, especially for customers considering switching suppliers.

Additionally, we see a range of other personal touchpoints gaining importance, especially as customers get closer to their purchase decision; examples include recommendations from peers and past experience with products and services. This is why leading players engage in dedicated narrow-cast communication, often leveraging social media to generate momentum among target groups with limited exposure to traditional media.

Examples include the Small Business Saturday initiative from American Express, a nationwide event accompanied by a large-scale customer engagement program on Facebook and Twitter. To help them stay relevant in this arena, we encourage our clients to start developing and disseminating digital content.

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Business Concept Market & Economy News

How to Do a Business Concept Audit With Brand Auditor?

If you plan to do a business concept audit, then you are reading the right article. Brand Auditor is an industry-standard solution to measure what people think about various aspects of your company, including your business concept. This article is about how to configure an insightful audit with Brand Auditor. 

Open this page to get started:

Business Concept Audit

Below the short description, you will find the audit configuration options that will enable you to customize your audit.

Configure your business concept audit

Before we start customizing your audit, let’s talk about where your data and insights are coming from. Our reports consist of diverse market research insights from the audience you tell us to survey. The basis of Brand Auditor reports is the fresh and raw data we collect through market research, based on your requirements and configuration. Your insights will be as precise as your configuration, so getting familiar with the basics is recommended.

Select what aspects would you like to include in your audit

First, you will need to choose what aspects you would like to get feedback about. In the case of the business concept audit, you have the following options:

Product qualities

  • Compatibility
  • Innovation
  • Usefulness
  • Desirability

Service qualities

  • Flexibility
  • Solution value
  • Usefulness
  • Helpfulness

Demand drivers

  • Desirability
  • Urgency
  • Problem solving
  • Value creation

Revenue model

  • Pricing
  • Flexibility
  • Refund options
  • Payment options

Value for money

  • Price / cost
  • Competitiveness
  • Additional benefits
  • Value

Perceived credibility

  • Reviews
  • Professionalism
  • Reliability
  • Reputation

Each aspect you select will add a new page to your business concept audit report with the micro-aspects included in your selection. The number of aspects you select will impact your audit price. 

Choose your line of business

To make your audit relevant, you need to specify your industry, or line of business. Use the drop-down list to select one that describes your business the best. If the available options do not include your industry, then we suggest contacting us to check the viability of auditing your business concept. We are continuously adding new options as our customers are requesting new categories.

Depending on your choice, the audit price might change slightly. More competitive industries require more efforts to audit, as market research and survey distribution costs can be higher. Choosing a less competitive industry will reduce market research costs, so your audit price will decrease. The system calculates audit prices in real-time, based on your configuration and signals from our market research partners.

Share your website or a social media URL

Your market research respondents will need something specific to look at. As Brand Auditor is a tool to measure customer perceptions, people will give feedback on what is publicly available to see.

Please make sure that your URL is correct, and content is easily accessible. We will manually test your links before launching the surveys, and if changes are required, we will get in touch.

Survey respondents will access your website or social link as your customers would do. They will leave score ratings and feedback regarding what they experience on the URL you share. If your business concept is attractive and easy to interpret, then they will likely leave good scores. In case your business concept is unclear, or unattractive then it will receive negative feedback.

Describe your target audience

The next step in your business concept audit configuration is to describe your target audience. Considering the endless variations of demographics, age groups, and interests that define your target customers, the easiest way to specify their characteristics by using the provided text box. 

Keep it simple, such as “female, 20-40 years, fitness”, or “professionals, finance interest, 40-60 years old”. Based on the information you provide, we will configure targeting for your market research manually. 

Complex or very narrow audience definitions might increase your market research cost or make it impossible due to a low number of potential quality respondents. We recommend leaving your target audience settings slightly broad.

In case your audit configuration and target audience are not possible, we will get in touch with you. If an audit is not feasible, we will be happy to issue a refund. If you know that your target audience is too small, we advise getting in touch with us before placing an order.

Choose the target quantity of responses

Use the slider to define how much feedbacks you would like to collect for your business concept audit. The minimum number of responses is 2,000. It is not possible to configure your audit for fewer responses. 

Choosing more responses have two main benefits:

  • Your business concept audit insights will be more reliable
  • Your business is going to be shown to more in-market people in your target audience during the market research procedure

The quantity of responses has a significant impact on your audit price.

Categories
Brand Management Business Concept Market & Economy News

What Benefits Good Branding Will Bring to Your Business?

Before getting into the details, please allow me to share some of my observations. For over 10 years, I have been working as a brand and marketing consultant. My clients were coming from all sorts of business categories. Hotels, resorts, small businesses, education, startups, fashion, professional services – you name it.

In the beginning, when I was quite inexperienced, I thought branding is bullshit. But as I saw more and started to work with larger enterprise-level clients then my opinion changed quickly. Branding is not bullshit. It is a very important asset that can make or break business success.

A couple of years ago I switched my digital marketing and advertising-focused consultancy services to brand management and online business development, as I saw that doing these right can make enormous changes in the performance of a company. It was only last year when we came up with the idea of Brand Auditor.

Companies with a strong brand are less exposed to market fluctuations

As years passed, I learned that demand, engagement, conversions, sales, and revenue are all depending on brand strength. Auditing brands in various non-scientific ways – before Brand Auditor – helped to connect some points.

Companies with great products without a strong brand are exposed to market trends. Their business performance is volatile. Companies with strong brands and a high level of customer closeness (loyalty, community, engaged followers, etc) are significantly less vulnerable and can thrive even in challenging market conditions.

Why strong brands are less exposed to market conditions? The reasons are very simple:

  • They will be in the know, opposed to small brands that need more advertising
  • They will be able to maintain, or even increase prices – see the next section
  • Buyers will prioritize trusted brands in case they can afford

Having a popular brand enables you to increase prices

Customers will not hesitate to pay a premium price for products and services they love and trust. On the other hand, companies without a distinct brand are seen as generic and treated as commodities. If you want to break out from the price-value trap, boosting popularity and mass-market awareness is the best strategy

There are various reasons why people are happy to pay more for trusted brands:

  • Social status being affiliated with a popular brand
  • Confidence in quality and value
  • The familiarity that triggers a sense of comfort

On the other hand, let’s see why customers are not willing to pay more for generic brands:

  • Lack of trust and confidence
  • Choosing an unknown brand feels like a sacrifice
  • No social value – they will need to answer embarrassing questions like “why did you choose this?”

In most cases, both people and companies would prefer to buy from trusted, reputable brands. They only look for alternative options when the budget is a concern – and in that case, they already sacrificed the values that popular brands offer. This is the main psychological reason why popular brands can sell at a premium price, while generic brands are stuck in constant price competition.

Having a purposefully designed brand experience will convert up to 270% more sales

Here, at Brand Auditor we conduct dozens of audits every week. We are blessed with millions of feedback, insights, and marketing data from various industries.

One important insight I can share is that regardless of their industry or location, companies with a professionally designed and managed brand are generating almost 3 times more sales compared to generic companies. 270% more sales is a significant advantage that cannot be neglected.

Why a great brand will drive more sales? Here are the top reasons:

  • A good positioning makes it easy to understand the values of your products and services
  • A great product presentation will make your potential buyers feel impressed
  • An appropriate tone of voice will make people feel comfortable
  • All the above will result in increased popularity and social proof

Now let’s see the other side of the story. Our data and brand analytical insights suggest that companies with poor branding struggle to convert sales for the following reasons:

  • A confusing or generic positioning will leave potential buyers confused
  • A lazy, lackluster product presentation does not impress customers
  • An exaggerated, “too much” kind of tone of voice will make your marketing communication feel like a cheap sales brochure
  • All the above will result in a general dislike among potential customers, and the brand will become ignored

Good branding will boost your sales funnels and reduce your conversion times – improving your overall marketing ROI

This one is sort of a continuation of the previous section. A convincing product presentation, clear positioning, and a brand experience that makes your customers feel great will significantly reduce the time and process to close sales. Our data suggest that the difference in marketing efficiency between companies with strong and poor brands is over 350%. This makes perfect sense.

Such circumstances will enable you to focus your marketing efforts purposefully on activities that make the biggest impact, such as brand building and traffic acquisition, instead of tactics for retention. 

It is easy to get lost and confused with a funnel or sales process that doesn’t work. 

You don’t know what’s wrong, no clue what to fix and the whole situation just makes you feel like your product is not good enough. While in some cases that is the harsh truth, around 70% of the time our reports show that customers like the product but don’t like the branding.

Great brands earn loyal customers, referrals, and repeat business effortlessly

For all the previously explained reasons, people are significantly more likely to buy from companies with proper branding. Not only that, but happy customers are 290% more likely to recommend a company that is well presented, compared to one that looks lame. Would you recommend a company that looks generic, or downright ridiculous? I doubt so. 

Customer retention and loyalty are not purely based on branding qualities, but also depend on the overall customer experience, fulfillment, and overall value received from the company. But forming a positive opinion starts with branding, even before the first purchase, and all the positive experiences associated with the company will add to the perception and value of your brand.

It is easy to understand that companies with amazing customer experience will not struggle to generate repeat sales and retain customers.

Conclusion

In this article, we discussed a couple of reasons why great branding is important. The list is not by any means complete, these were just the key observations I had witnessed personally – and based on the insights we could read out from the market research data we collected from Brand Auditor.

If you are curious about what’s wrong and right with your brand, our reports offer excellent insights. Check out our brand audits and customize one to your needs – the information you will receive will help tremendously to improve your branding and marketing communications.

Categories
Brand Management Business Concept Market & Economy News

6 Reasons Why Your Customers Can’t Understand Your Brand and Business Concept

A business concept is the direction and form of a company’s operations that gives a clear path when creating a business plan. Branding, including your positioning and first impression experience are the first things your customers will face when checking you out online. Regardless of the greatness of your business ideas, your branding basics need to be able to demonstrate the value of what you sell.

When customers do not understand your business concept, the sales of your product or service may never take off. You may be investing time and resources into brand development, sales campaigns and various forms of marketing, but you keep noticing that the people are hesitant to pay for what you sell. All this could be because your targeted customers do not fully understand your business. Or perhaps your business is not relevant for them.

Here at Brand Auditor, we run business concept audits and various other audits on a daily basis. Based on our millions of feedback data and insights, here are some of the reasons why your customers do not understand your business concept:

You don’t have confidence in your business idea

First and foremost, the only way to make anyone else believe in your business concept is to ensure that you have a conviction of the ideas yourself. If you have not convinced yourself how amazing of an idea your business concept is, you may not be able to convince anyone else. It is necessary to have confidence in your business as this will rub off on potential consumers and even investors if you are keen on sourcing funds for your venture.

If you are not sure about your business concept, we recommend to do a Business Concept Audit. This audit helps to understand how your business concept is received by your target customers. Are you solving a real problem or your idea is seen to be useless? Does your business model make sense to your customer? Is your value proposition attractive enough? Is your pricing correct? Is your credibility sufficient to win the trust of potential customers?

You may be targeting the wrong market

People cannot buy products and services that they are not aware exist. Well, you may be strongly marketing your business but still missing the mark because you are not targeting the right people.

Your brand building and marketing efforts might not be reaching the people who are likely to have the most interest in your product. Increasing your marketing spend while still maintaining a similar marketing vehicle may be what is causing your target customers to not look in your direction. 

Define the key demographic of your target audience and tailor both your brand and advertising to address their needs, in a way that they welcome it.

Select the right marketing channels that ensure that your brand will be visible to people it is supposed to persuade. If your target customers are online, no number of billboards will get the information to them.

Some products are best suited for the online market, while others will sell more where customers can see them in a physical store. Your targeted clients may not be understanding your business because the message you are sending out is not getting to them. 

Your products or services are not accessible

Customers will not have the opportunity to understand your business if it is not available to them. They cannot buy something inaccessible. They may have heard about your brand from your excellent marketing efforts, but if they cannot access the product, you might as well forget it.

Accessiblity means the following things:

  • Your product needs to be available to purchase
  • Your services can be rendered for them
  • The price point is suitable for your customers
  • They can pay with their preferred payment methods

People want to engage with a product that they can obtain and use easily. Try to make your products more accessible by having them in different locations and working on your distribution channels. Perhaps, you could make the product available online for it to reach a wider audience. If you feel like your consumers do not fully understand your business concept, you may want to analyze the accessibility of your service or product to see where to make changes.

Your brand experience and customer engagement sucks

For customers to understand your business and report great experiences, you need to provide channels for them to pose their questions and share their insights. Prioritize offering the best customer experience to ensure that you retain the customers and bring in more revenue. 

With all thanks to technological advancements, there are new tools available that enable smoother engagement with customers. It is now possible to engage with potential customers in real-time. You can use Brand Auditor to get real insights about customer’s perceptions of your brand. These channels are excellent for getting customer insight. 

When you fail to utilize these tools, you are at risk of customers not understanding your business. Opportunities for engagement are a great way to explain to your customers more about your products or services. You can clear any doubts they have as you explain the benefits they can get from your business. 

You fail to communicate the value of your products and services

While price is a huge determining factor to whether people buy a product or not, customers do not acquire items solely based on price. You may be offering the best price in the market, but if you are not fully explaining how the product will better the lives of the targeted market, you are missing the mark. Try to have a keen focus on highlighting the benefits your products will afford anyone who purchases them.

Ensure that your marketing message emphasizes the potential benefits anyone is missing from not using your product. That will pique their interest in the product or service. You can make a list of all the gains they can expect and amplify that in your marketing message. Maybe, just maybe, your customers are not understanding your products because you are not communicating the value of the products to them. 

You do not have specific buyer personas

One of the mistakes that most businesses make when marketing their products is using more general demographics like age, location, or profession to create buyer personas. These characteristics do not cut it in providing the best messaging that will resonate with the target audience. You can use tools like Google Analytics to understand your customer preferences. Dig deeper to know which outlets or which social media platform drives the most traffic to your business. Applying this information will help you identify the most effective ways to reach your audience. 

You could also get keyword data to help you know which descriptions different buyer personas use to describe your business. For this, you can employ Google Search Central Tool to help you make a list of the most popular keywords that bring people to your site. When you narrow down messaging to specific buyers other than opting for a more general approach, you are more likely to help more customers understand your business.

Wrapping up

Sales and profitability in any business can only be realized if the customers fully understand the business concept. They are more willing to recommend your company to their friends and family if they get it and believe in it!

Categories
B2B Brand Management Business Concept Market & Economy News

How to Do a Brand Audit, and How Evaluating Your Brand Will Benefit Your Business?

Brand optimization is a key part of any business that wants to become or remain an attractive choice for their potential customers. This article is about the importance of keeping your brand in line with customer expectations, collecting insights, and how to optimize for increased sales.

Start with asking the right questions: what would make your potential customers like you more?

People buy from brands that they like. It is common sense, but very important to understand and accept this. If your potential customers like your brand, you will get more leads, more prospects, and the entire sales process will become significantly smoother. 

It is not possible to substitute liking with reasoning. You can have the most practical solutions, offer the best value, and have the most innovative technology – your customers will not see you as an attractive option to solve their problems if they do not like how you present yourself.

It is very similar to dating: a candidate can have everything right: a good body, career, a pleasant personality with good manners. If he fails to be exciting for his target dates, women will only see him as a secondary option after the more exciting guys.

Why 78% of small businesses fail to optimize their brand and marketing communications?

Branding and marketing communications are possibly the most effective tools to increase sales and revenue without further investment. To optimize your brand for more sales, the first question you need to ask is: how to make my brand more popular? How to make people like your brand more? 

To answer this, you need to collect insights from your target customers. If you understand that asking your potential customers will return the most valuable feedback, that means you have already done better than 78% of small business owners.

According to a recent survey we conducted with over 2,000 small business owners and marketing managers working for SME – over 50% are guessing answers, 28% works with an external branding and marketing expert, but only 22% will take the effort to collect feedback and insights from their audience.

Making your brand and marketing more attractive to your target audience requires knowing what they expect from a company like you.

How to collect feedback from your audience?

When getting feedback from your target customers, you need to keep the following things in mind:

  • You need at least 2,000 feedback to make your market research representative
  • You need to be able to target your potential customers very accurately
  • You have to ask the right questions to get valuable answers

At this stage, a brand audit company such as Brand Auditor can help significantly. Brand Auditor specializes in customer perception-focused market research, collecting thousands of feedbacks from narrowly targeted campaigns.

It is also possible to conduct data collection in-house, if you are familiar with fundamental data collection and surveying frameworks. Tools like SurveyMonkey are great for designing surveys that you can distribute yourself.

The most significant cost factor of brand audit is the cost of data collection. To minimize market research costs, you will need to optimize for the following:

  • Cost efficient survey distriubtion
  • High response rate
  • Low survey abandon rate

To achieve these, the best practice is to use short-form surveys with simple yes or no questions, as well as score ratings that respondents can use to express the level of their liking or disliking. 

Most market researchers fail to get the necessary quantity and quality of responses because of using too long surveys, and asking questions that are difficult to answer. Surveys that can be completed in 30 seconds are having an excellent completion rate, so it is best to design accordingly.

How to understand your brand audit insights?

Once your market research data is in, it is time to move on to organize all that information into actionable insights. Once again, brand audit specific solutions like Brand Auditor are a great help in this, as their system automatically organizes all feedback data into insightful reports. 

Ideally, your brand audit report should focus on the following insights:

  • What potential customers like about your brand?
  • What potential customers dislike about your brand?
  • Does your brand look better compared to competing brands?
  • Would customers buy from you? Why or why not?

This structure can be replicated to analyze various aspects of your brand, such as:

  • Brand identity
  • Perceived benefits associated with your company and products
  • Marketing communications
  • Pricing and value related customer perceptions
  • Website user experience
  • Perceived credibility
  • … and a lot more

The point of organizing your market research data into brand audit insights is to understand the strengths and weaknesses of your company, benchmarked against your competitors or similar companes that you want to over perform.

When reading the results of this analysis, marketers tend to become defensive and protective about their work. Revealing poor performance and shortcomings is never a pleasant experience, but accepting the issue is the first step of solving it. Making meaningful improvements can be only done by addressing significant issues, so do not be afraid to reveal harsh thruths about how how people think about your company.

Categories
Brand Management Business Concept Market & Economy News Partner Area Updates Resources

How to Offer Market Research Services for Your Marketing and Social Media Clients?

Social media and digital marketing management is a mature business with huge competition, and a similar skillset across all service providers. Day by day, new freelancers, consultants, small agencies and established larger marketing agencies compete for the same set of clients.

If you make a living from managing digital marketing, social media ads, ClickFunnels, or anything online for your clients, then you need to think a few steps ahead. Here are a few questions that we bet crossed your mind:

  • How will you remain relevant in the ever-increasing competition?
  • How do you ensure better results and more professional services?
  • What skills and know-how can you bring to your clients that they would not get from other digital marketing service providers?

Market research services is a fantastic opportunity for marketing and social media agencies – so why is it avoided?

Getting started with providing market research services is super simple. One can sign up to be a research partner with Market Sampler and access a set of pro-grade research management tools.

Market research is an area that digital marketers and social media managers do not focus on – and for good reasons, we will explain later on. It is common for large and mid-sized digital agencies to carry out market research and brand audits either as a standalone service or more commonly bundled into other services they provide. 

So why is market research not among the services of small marketing agencies and freelance marketers? There are a few reasons.

  • Market research is known to be a complicated process that requires specialized skillsets – this is true
  • Data collection is costly, and data quality from most survey platforms is questionable – this is also true
  • Small businesses do not require market research – this is not true

The harsh truth and the single biggest reason small marketing agencies do not do market research is that it could potentially undermine the credibility of their strategies. Let’s talk more about this.

Doing market research can potentially harm digital marketing and social media self-proclaimed experts who work based on their intuition

The vast majority of digital marketing and social media marketing service providers tend to work with a similar process with most of their clients. 

The professional experiences and ideas that shape how a marketer works might be convincing to clients, but it does not guarantee that her strategies will work in all cases.

People who follow proven processes do not like changes. They look at a problem and think they know how to solve it with their skillset and toolset that they used in the past.

Having primary market research results at hand might shake them out of confidence, data might prove them wrong, and their clients might realize that their digital marketing was going in the wrong direction at all.

Meanwhile, in top-tier agencies, market research is a daily routine. Decisions and directions there are based on research data. In professional marketing and business planning, marketers answer questions with data, which is one of the reasons why professional agencies can deliver significantly better results – and why clients pay a premium for their services.

Data and evidence-based marketing planning sound a lot better to a client compared to “I know what to do, did it in the past.”

Including market research in your work as a digital marketing or social media company is a significant upgrade

Selling research and data as a separate service or bundling it into your services is a significant level up from basic marketing and social media service providers.

Now let’s talk about how someone can successfully integrate market research into their set of services. Before we get to that, let’s see why professional-level market research is a challenge for most people who don’t know the industry.

The problem with incentivized market research platforms and survey fraud

We mentioned that market research is expensive, and data quality is often questionable. It is true when someone uses basic or entry-level solutions like Google Surveys, SurveySparrow, or SurveyMonkey. 

The problem with such services is that these are getting responses from incentivized survey networks, which means these platforms are full of participants who only care about getting paid a few cents for completing surveys. This is why data will become expensive and low quality, practically useless.

The biggest problem of the market research industry is bad responses. Over 35% of participants on paid survey networks and “panels” are fraudsters abusing survey platforms to maximize their earnings. Another 40% are broke students who want to get a few dollars in their free time. A recent study showed that nearly 20% of respondents are bots. The ratio of genuine respondents is estimated to be below 10%.

Market Sampler solves this simply by not paying for responses. Our public survey delivery system reaches people who are happy to give genuine feedback. With our platform, you can distribute surveys to 4+ million websites or apps, with the ability to target people on premium placements like Forbes, The New Yorker, CBS, BBC, Cosmopolitan, and more.

Market Sampler is a professional-level market research tool for those who want reliable data without the price and hassle

Like graphic designers do not work with MS Paint, professional market researchers do not work with SurveyMonkey or Google Surveys. Adept researchers use Qualitrics, outsource their surveys to Lucid, or run micro-researches on Market Sampler.

Qualtrics is the industry-standard tool for professional market research in the Fortune500 segment. Using Lucid requires serious technical pre-requisites like APIs. Market Sampler is the tool for fast and relatively small-scale research at a low price.

Market Sampler was built for occasional researchers and marketing managers in small to medium enterprises, keeping segment-specific requirements and preferences in mind.

  • One can buy data at a low price, like $0.6 per response
  • Anyone can start professional-level market research from $50, which will get you over 100 responses with fairly broad targeting criteria
  • The micro-survey creation tool can take questions in any language, and targeting is possible to any country in any language too
  • Data delivery timeline, cost per response, and estimated response quota are calculated in real-time as you configure your survey
  • A research status tracker tool is available to check your order status
  • Market Sampler data is from public survey research, not from paid survey networks

The price end customers are willing to pay for a 1,000 response market research project is over $3,000 (USD). You can acquire this amount of data from Market Sampler at around $500-$600. Not a bad markup opportunity for buying and selling data, right?

Be an early adopter and extend your specialization with market research

Over 50 large marketing agencies use Market Sampler in the US and Canada alone. We do not yet have an extensive partner network among small and medium-sized marketing agencies. It is an excellent opportunity to start providing market research as a standalone service or to use research to enhance the quality of work.

Have you ever thought about offering market research for your clients? Do you think it is a good opportunity to add value to your business? If so, then register to become a research partner.