Recently a VC-funded client called to let us know they had achieved operating profit. His joy was infectious and the team’s pride was palpable. As marketing strategy consultants, we were happy to see the brand move to new heights and be part of their success story. While reviewing the brand’s journey from red to green, we realized our client had taken a lot of hard, well thought out decisions and put in an enormous amount of work.

In this post, I would like to share a few marketing strategies based on our SME success stories. Am sure a few of these points will help business leaders in similar situations:

Define the Customer 

Our client worked hard to understand his core and target customer. We did a comprehensive ABC analysis of his user base and divided them into ‘one time’, ‘frequent’ and other meaningful clusters. Clusters were based on ticket size, repeats and other business related parameters.

Once the clusters were identified, we ran our proprietary social media analytics and developed sharply defined pen pictures of his core and non-core customers. Based on the same a clear image of the target audience emerged. After that, it was much easier to define an appropriate product mix and create targeted marketing strategy.

Review Customer Requirements 

While looking for suitable data to mine in order to understand customer requirements, we decided to listen to over 200 customer calls. As the customer center helped close sales and address consumer complaints, the conversations helped us identify areas of strength and opportunities for improvement.

Based on this feedback, our client re-worked his marketing strategy  – overhauled his product portfolio, built on strengths and closely tracked potential ‘deal-breakers’ in the offering.

Align the Product Offering

We did a comprehensive review of the product offering vis-a-vis competition to identify various product opportunities from a customer’s perspective. This exercise helped our client remove internal biases and pragmatically identify areas of differentiation ( ‘sweet spots’ not being serviced adequately) and hygiene offerings (areas of extreme competition with limited opportunity for profits).

Based on the analysis and a review of sales trends (volume, value and profitability) our client took some hard decisions about his product mix. Once the revised range was finalized, the team focused on ensuring consistent quality and affordable pricing as the business ramped up. The newly aligned product portfolio was an essential part of his marketing strategy.

Identify best means of communication

Our client needed to achieve customer acquisition and retention in a limited budget. We identified the critical areas to spend on for acquisition (e-commerce enabled Website, SEO efforts etc.) and focused on that aspect alone. Retention was addressed via social media and email campaigns which we tracked and re-worked based on performance metrics.

As a marketing consultant, I would have liked a bit more visibility to build the brand for the longer term, but realized in this scenario of limited budgets – operating profit came first. When budgets are limited, keeping it focused on the primary objective has a higher chance of success.

Build a Lean team with Committed Experts

During this difficult time, our client reduced his team size and kept his focus on product quality, supply chain, pricing and other critical aspects. For all other areas, he hired expert consultants and trusted their judgment.

While we worked as marketing strategy consultants, he engaged other respected firms to handle aspects like tech development. This left him free to review our performance, get useful ideas and adapt quickly to the market.

Take feedback and share performance against metrics

Our client and his team were focused on the end objective. They were always ready to participate in a conversation, ask for ideas and thank those who supported them. Taking their cues from the founder, his team was always ready to share sales data, profitability trends and business needs. This enabled the marketing efforts to be dovetailed for business growth.

His focused and professional approach encouraged those accompanying him on his journey to operating profit, to walk the extra mile.

In summation:

Marketing strategy is an essential part of building a powerful brand. We believe a focused approach towards creating and communicating a customer-centric, differentiated brand plays a key role in business success. In the words of our client, “The key to success is keeping the customer and his needs at the heart of our business”.

Read more about how Centric Brand Advisors helps firms with their marketing strategy: