Making the most of marketing in your business strategy

Iain Muir, one of our advisers, outlines some reasons why you may wish to invest in your marketing strategy and points you in the direction of some resources that can help.

Organisations are facing many challenges because of COVID-19, which has resulted in some of the most difficult trading conditions for over a decade. However, if businesses are to respond and ensure their survival, the effective deployment of a robust marketing strategy can help guide businesses in the right direction.

Creating an online presence

COVID-19 has demonstrated the vital nature of an online presence if businesses are to increase sales and brand awareness.

For all businesses it is key that they capitalise on this long-term trend and take time to develop and refine their online presence. This will go some way to addressing the challenges businesses are facing due to the loss of face-to-face interactions because of COVID-19. With this channel gone, businesses must make time to invest in creating consistent and engaging online content to communicate with their key audience members.

Through digital marketing and effective eCommerce strategies, businesses have an opportunity to reach global markets, as well as a variety of different customers and increase their growth. Through digital platforms, it is also possible for businesses to find out exactly what their customer wants and adapt their service accordingly to convert this interest into sales.

There are a number of online resources and guides out there to help support business owners start this journey. DigitalBoost, Scotland’s digital training programme delivered by Business Gateway, provides free support to help businesses take advantage of technologies, improve productivity, and increase resilience, through a range of online support, including webinars, guides, podcasts and video tutorials.

Working creatively and collaboratively

Marketing goes hand in hand with creativity, which is important for many businesses to fuel innovative ideas which open the door to new businesses opportunities. However, with lockdown restrictions, businesses and their teams are increasingly stressed and working in difficult conditions, which means this can slip as a priority.

To address this and create an environment that lends itself to the creation of new, innovative ideas, businesses must work collaboratively to identify solutions. A new normal requires new ways of working, and by coming together, businesses will be in a strong position to develop more diverse ideas leading to innovative business decisions.

It’s essential businesses establish connections and networks with other businesses and external organisations. This can help provide owners with the support they need to think creatively and be inspired by other solutions to tackle the challenges posed by the pandemic.

Developing a brand

While the pandemic may be an unprecedented event for our lifetimes, it is possible to learn lessons from other crises and apply them to our current situation. These have shown that businesses with a distinctive brand that identifies closely with their audience are in a stronger position to recover during challenging economic times.

Given this, businesses should take the opportunity to focus on understanding how their customers perceive them, and if they have positive associations with their brand. The goal is to inspire customer loyalty, which can be facilitated with an effective marketing strategy.

By building an online presence, developing a personal brand will result in businesses becoming more accessible and visible to an online audience, as well as increasing opportunities for customers to interact with the brand via social media and other digital platforms. Building a strong brand can also help businesses interact directly with their target audience, allowing valuable emotional connections to form. These types of businesses will be the ones that customers support and will survive the coming weeks.

Check out our DigitalBoost programme, webinars and online resources for advice, guidance and upskilling opportunities to help you make the most of marketing - from marketing on a budget to social media, digital marketing strategy and more.

Our Online Resources section has guides, articles, videos and templates covering key aspects of starting up and running a business.