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Philip Kotler, (The Father of Marketing) in his book Marketing Management remarked, “Marketing is an administrative and social process through which individuals and groups obtain what they need and desire by the generation, offering an exchange of valuable products with their equals”.
In one of his other books, titled Principles of Marketing, (co-authored with Gary Armstrong), Mr. Kotler goes ahead and proposes the theory of ‘Segmentation’. In their words, “Segmentation is acknowledging that you can’t serve all clients with the same level of satisfaction”.
To ensure that all your customers achieve the same level of satisfaction, Philip Kotler then talked about ‘Positioning’ by companies. In his words, “Positioning is making your target audience know exactly how you differ from your competitors”.
These are some of the golden rules of marketing which are just as relevant now as they were in the beginning. Which begs the question, what is modern marketing and what is so different about it?
Let us not forget that the scenario was entirely different a decade ago. Back then, marketing implied convincing people that your brand and product was the best amongst a given array of brands offering the same or similar products.
So what’s changed now? While the core concepts are the same, their approach has changed significantly.
1. Personalized connections with consumers
Coffee, an everyday beverage is served by tons of brands all round the clock in every corner of your city. Ever thought about what differentiates Starbucks as a brand and makes it a prominent choice among consumers?
Other than selling fresh coffee, Starbucks spoilt the customer for choice with the varieties and variations of beverages to choose from.
The urbane expectations of the millennial consumer spark with a consistent brand experience. Marketing is only complete when the company is able to maintain and meet those expectations specifically tailored made for them.
To accomplish this level of personalization, you must develop a deep understanding of your customer as a group with specific consumption patterns. Managing the current needs of your consumers while keeping future expectations in mind is an integral part of the marketing process. The deeper you dig this marketing pit, the better you can understand and nurture their overall brand experience.
2. Brandable Domain Names
In the nascent years of the Internet, .com, .net, .org, and .gov were some of the most common domain extensions used by organizations to build their website. Back in the day, the options were also quite limited. So, irrespective of the industry you belonged to, you could only choose from the selected options and most businesses went with .com.
However, today there are over 1200 new industry-specific domain extensions such as .TECH, .STORE, .PRESS, .SPACE and a few more versatile options such as .SITE, .WEBSITE, etc. These domain extensions strengthen your online presence and add immense value to your marketing and branding effort. For example, www.buisness.com could be anything but www.business.store is most likely an online store.
3. Perfect blend of people, processes, and technology
With the advent of technology, it is now possible to collect, sample, and analyze billions of data points to understand the corresponding impact of marketing efforts on customer behavior.
This intricate level of data analysis, even as a thought, was unimaginable a decade ago. Even today this technology is just the tip of the iceberg. To realize the full potential of technology, it takes combination and transformation across people and processes. These three forces incoherence will help modern marketers achieve their goal of a marketing transformation.
To thrive in this crazy pace of competition, it is imperative that companies adopt and clasp at new technologies be it; Artificial Intelligence (AI), voice responses, or augmented reality. Technology combined with the right mix of people and processes is the need of the hour.
3. Right blend between creativity and data
Gone are the days when creativity and data were two parallel lines. Creativity is and has always been the key ingredient in marketing. Modern marketing is the marriage between data and creativity.
Today consumers are an active part of creative marketing campaigns. Recently, Adobe teamed up with the famous band ‘Imagine Dragons’ to celebrate the 25th anniversary of its video-editing software, Adobe Premiere Pro. Exclusive raw footage from the super hit song “Believer” was shared and consumers were challenged to recut it for the chance to win a cash prize. Excellent marketing strategy, eh!
4. Harnessing the power of social media
Today, while offering a genuine product holds paramount importance; customer experiences shape the overall brand for the consumer.
Marketers cannot just worship the product alone and negate customer interactions altogether. They must create deep connections with customers to build strong ties. Experiences are the new competitive battlefield and social media is the key.
Interaction via social media, live shows, Q&A’s, opinion polls to name a few help take full advantage of any marketing strategy. Fitbit, a company involving personal fitness metrics surely makes the best use of social media in garnering the support of a strong community. In addition, they both share their knowledge and at the same time collect information from consumers about product usage and other relevant metrics.
Yes, marketing has evolved in recent years and the world has witnessed a shift toward technology and data-driven approaches. Is it important to keep up with these advancements while devising your marketing strategy? Well, of course, it is! However, do not forget that even in the 21st-century companies the classic marketing strategies will continue to be the foundation of a successful marketing campaign. Rethinking and refining classic approaches with all the technological changes and advancements are crucial.
“Rome was not built in a day”. Neither was content marketing.
Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
Creating blog posts, relevant audio-visual content, optimizing for SEO, building the domain authority and, posting on various social media handles sure takes a lot of effort; persistent effort. There are no quick rewards.
Consistently putting up good content builds credibility, trust and ultimately followers over time. In the words of Andy Crestodina, Co-Founder, Orbit Media, “It’s not the best content that wins. It’s the best promoted content”.
Today, we have multiple tools that aid content promotion; sometimes even with the help of a few clicks. However, content marketing can be deceptive. As simple as it seems, early entrepreneurs generally oversee the benefits of a well-defined marketing strategy. Those mistakes might not interfere with your progress today but they can have rough consequences in the long run.
So what are some common content marketing mistakes that amateurs are making?
Being cognizant of these mistakes will ensure better quality posts. Of course, taking care of just these won’t be enough to guarantee increased traffic, better rankings and higher sales. However, these initial steps will ensure a strong content foundation which will eventually lead to better SEO optimization and Domain authority. In the words of Andy Crestodina, “Don’t take shortcuts. They take too long”.
In the words of Barry Feldman, “You, my friend are a brand.”
The truth is, we‘re all brands. Some of us just position and sell ourselves better than the others. The way you build your brand differentiates you from everyone else because it changes the way you’re perceived by the audience.
Creative people have a much stronger need to build a brand for themselves. There are multiple channels available today to help them enhance their online presence. Some of them include building a personal website, using social media channels, engaging with other users, etc.
Building a brand takes time, and this article highlights the elements you need to build a successful personal brand.
What is a personal brand?
A well-built personal brand is the foundation of a successful career. You can keep doing splendid work all your life but if you don’t brand it well, no one will know about it. Which is why it is important to understand how you present yourself to the world.
…the list goes on. Now that you know that building a personal brand is much needed, here’s what you need to do to get started:
1. Create a unique online presence
This is about building the foundation of your online presence—your website. As a creative professional, you probably have an idea of how you want to design and share information on this website. But did you know you can get creative with your domain name too?
Domain extensions such as .TECH, .STORE, .FUN, .SPACE, .ONLINE, .SITE, etc. are not only great for branding but they also help you stand out and build your own unique presence in a crowded and competitive arena.
For example, if you want to establish a personal brand as a technology influencer and gadget aficionado, you could share branded links such as JimHalpert.Tech and you can share content on social media and other online channels using short branded links such as JimHalpert.Tech/iOS13-Review.
2. Forge relationships with influencers
One of the most effective ways to strengthen your personal brand is to leverage the influence of influencers, industry experts, journalists, etc. To get started, become an active member of professional communities in your industry. You can look them up on LinkedIn and Facebook groups. Make sure you consistently share your expertise and opinions on topics that are trending and relevant to your industry.
Here are some of the ways you can get started.
- Get your opinion/article published in industry relevant publications.
- Make yourself available as an expert commentator among journalists and other content marketers working in the industry.
- Answer questions about your industry in a meaningful way on Quora.
- Reach out to journalists and publications by tapping into online resources such as Pressfarm, ProfNet, and HARO.
3. Show your most authentic self
A key piece of advice when building a personal brand is to showcase all your accolades, achievements and honors that you might have received in your career. However, a good way to spice that up is to make sure you let your personality shine through in all your communications.
Your ultimate objective is to connect with people and that can only happen when you’re authentic and relatable in a human way. Professional is good, but authentic is better.
For example, look at the entrepreneur, author, speaker, and internet personality Gary Vaynerchuk. He has built a strong identity and understands his customers well. He wholeheartedly believes in what he’s selling and that makes it easier for his users to trust him. When you truly know and accept yourself, personal brand messaging becomes a lot clearer.
Here’s how you can achieve this:
When communicating with your audience, pick one (or max two) emotions that you want them to feel when they come across your messaging. For example, you could have an analytical take on politics or a funny take on current news events. Bottom line is, to truly establish yourself, try to be the best version of you that you can be. Have fun and give your users a reason to connect with you.
4. Get inspired by experts
One of the best ways to learn something is to turn to people who have already done it. There are hundreds of books out there by experts explaining how to effectively build a personal brand. Absorb the knowledge from those who have been there, done that. Some books you could consider reading include:
- POP! Create the Perfect Pitch, Title, and Tagline for Anything by Sam Horn
- Careerkred: 4 Simple Steps to Build Your Digital Brand and Boost Credibility in Your Career by Ryan Rhoten
- Careergasm: Find Your Way to Feel-Good Work by Sarah Vermunt
- The Accidental Creative: How to Be Brilliant at a Moment’s Notice by Todd Henry
- Maximize Your Potential: Grow Your Expertise, Take Bold Risks & Build an Incredible Career by Jocelyn K. Glei
Over to you…
As a creative professional, it is important to build your brand. This is a continuous process, one that involves consistently expanding your network and trying new things. Moreover, it is also about leveraging smaller things such as your domain name and how you use short branded links to better promote your work. The more you work on your personal brand, the stronger it’ll be and that’ll make you that much more credible in the industry.
The last few decades have seen marketing evolve into a whole new form. Today, we are in the midst of an era that not only focuses on what you say and how you say it, but also how it looks when you present it. Every fragment of a message can be used to improve branded awareness.
The use of short branded links in all your online (and offline) communication is one such tactic. The URL that you share on your social channels and email communication can be branded to better your visibility.
A short link is a long URL that is crunched to redirect visitors from one web page to another. For example:
- This is a long link: www.yourtravel.space/things-to-know-when-traveling-abroad/detailed-checklist
- This is a generic short link: https://bit.ly/6u2IxX1
A generic short URL contains a random slug that does not give any hint about the website or the content that it’s pointing to and therefore, does nothing for your branding.
A better approach here would be to create a short, branded link. What it implies is, to have a domain name that represents your brand and a relevant keyword that explains where the link might lead. This way you promote your own brand and content instead of some other service.
For the example stated above, a relevant short link could be travel.space/abroad-checklist
What are some good examples of branded short links?
– On Facebook
– On Twitter
– On LinkedIn
What are the benefits of short branded links?
1. Branded links increase brand name recognition
Unlike a generic short link, a branded one is your own. It explicitly communicates who is sharing the content and also tells what the reader might see on the landing page. Not only is it a great branding tack, but it also keeps the communication between the brand and its user transparent. This helps build a positive affinity towards the brand and the content shared.
2. Branded links give better visibility to your content
When you share a Bit.ly link, you are using an external service. However, when you use your own domain name, you claim full responsibility of the brand and the content being shared. These intricate details go a long way in building a credible brand.
For instance, Leonard Kim, one of the top marketing influencers named by Forbes and the co-author of Ditch The Act identified the importance of branding his short links to better promote his content and himself. He uses .SITE domain name to brand all his short links.
3. Branded links help build trust with your audience
A URL that highlights your brand is as good as it is “signed” by you. This allows for more link clicking and less link fluttering. And this is where online marketing gets exciting—you can create branded domain names highlighting your brand and the content and share it across social media and other mediums.
Consider having a domain name www.socialmediatips.online and every time you share something on social media, you could use a branded short link such as socialmediatips.online/10hacks or socialmediatips.online/insta to better promote your content.
How to create a short-branded link?
1. Choose an appropriate domain name
Your domain name should reflect the industry you belong to or the kind of work that you do. Most businesses/freelancers specialize in selected categories. If you’re one of them, then consider buying domain names that have keywords centered around your specialty/industry.
For example, if you’re a tech business, use a .TECH domain such as www.[name].tech, or you could go with a more versatile domain extension such as .ONLINE, .WEBSITE, .PRESS, etc.
2. Sign up for a link-shortening service
Multiple online platforms such as Rebrandly allow you to create meaningful and brandable short links to better promote your work. Sign up on their platform to create your own short links.
Online marketing experts are honoring the significance of using branded links in their digital communications. These links have become a staple in all their social media posts. Next time when you share a link, opt for a branded option and then see your click rates go through the roof.
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