By D.J. Wonnacott-Yahnke, Director of Marketing, WOW Carwash
I wake up at 5:30 a.m., and check my phone for emails, social DMs and replies, overnight texts, Teams’ messages, Monday.com notifications and other communications. Across my four email accounts, I probably get 50 advertisement messages that arrived overnight. On social, I may be targeted by 10 ads, I might have a few ad-based texts as well. In the first 10 minutes of my day, I may have already encountered 60-65 ads.
As consumers, we’re bombarded with business-to-consumer (B2C) messaging relentlessly and continuously. In fact, according to a Forbes article published in 2022, it is estimated that consumers will encounter between 6,000 to 10,000 ads each day. That is up to 3,650,000 ads per year!
That’s some tough competition for companies looking to get their ads noticed and read by their target audience — potential car wash customers. The key is in not only knowing your customers and their preferred marketing medium, but also knowing your competition.
Marketing has always been important to the success and growth of a business. In today’s world of quickly evolving technology and constantly emerging brands and businesses, marketing is not just important, but a key component of the overall business strategy. For a professional marketer to successfully manage the 4 Ps of Marketing (product, placement, pricing and promotion) they must have a strong understanding of the consumer, the market and the competition.
Effective marketing can be the difference between a good year and a great year, and marketing starts with the consumer. Consumers are always telling marketers what product is or is not wanted, where they prefer to purchase, what the elasticity of their pocket spend is for each product, and how they want to be communicated to. It is the marketer’s job to listen. Pulling data on existing product offerings to compare purchase through price adjustments, market changes and competitive factors (internal and external) provide essential information on how to build a strategy.
Identify Your Target Audience
It seems beneficial or ideal to want all consumers, all the time. The truth is that consumers just don’t work like that and to try to achieve this approach will cost much more than a company will ever recoup. Consumers align with brands that fit their morals, their lifestyle, their expectations in quality and cost. Knowing the demographics, psychographics and socio graphics of the ideal group of consumers that will align with the brand will help to provide a strong return on investment and build sales and market share.
Just as important as knowing who your target audience is, is knowing who it isn’t. Because there are so many choices, and consumers will align their purchase decisions and loyalty with the brand that fits who they are, a consumer seeing and experiencing an increase in customers that don’t fit within the brand’s identity can cause a company a loss of their share of prime customers. These consumers are the ones that are most likely to be loyal, spend more and spread word of mouth. If a fast-food restaurant starts to target high-end luxury consumers, the primary target or target audience may begin to perceive that the brand is changing and no longer fits their characteristics. The direct competitor down the street will then have an opportunity to pick up market share lost through this misalignment.
Know Your Competition
Differentiation is pivotal. With all the competition each brand faces, utilizing the same cookie-cutter promotions, messages and practices can provide an opportunity for a competitor to steal market share by differentiating from the norm. Knowing which standard items are expected by the consumer in order to remain safe within the brand and identifying how to move certain factors away from the standard will provide a strong balance of being dependable and “above the rest.”
My mother used to say, “If everyone ate dirt, would you do it?” The same idea applies in business. Successful businesses are innovative, always changing or evolving with the market. Regularly reviewing product offerings, pricing, messaging and how/where a guest can make a purchase on a regular basis and then identifying opportunities to improve, change or remove them will differentiate a brand. Be a step ahead by getting to where the consumer is (physically and mentally) first and best.
Walmart famously chose to begin their business and expansion as a discount store on the outskirts of towns and in rural or lower populous areas, while competitors targeted high-traffic areas and large towns. This decision tapped a market that had an unfilled need. It put product in a convenient location for large numbers of consumers. By the time they began to encroach on their competitors’ markets, they had already built strong brand recognition. They were different because they knew their target market and built their brand based on where their consumers were.
Channels and Messengers
Authority matters. Customer to customer (C2C) is trusted best. Relevancy is relevant.
Just as important as knowing your message, is choosing how your message gets to the consumer. A layered approach with various channels and messengers is often the best strategy. Identify where your consumers are at ideal times of influence. Are they scrolling Facebook or watching TikTok? Are they checking emails at 5:30 a.m. or are they reading billboards in traffic on the way to work? Do they pay attention to a photo or a video, maybe a string of tweets or text style messages? Each target is different, and each demographic uses different channels.
A successful strategy includes various forms of messaging to the consumer. It will identify the best practices and tones. Often, using influencers or managing word of mouth through guest experiences and review sites are key to marketing strategies. Signage on site, staff to consumer interactions, website and mobile experiences are all ways and channels in which we speak to our audiences. A successful marketing strategy will include communication factors and messaging details in these areas as well.
4 Ps of Marketing: