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Changing focus – How to adapt your marketing for business diversification

Date:

21st July 2020

The impact of Coronavirus has led to many businesses adapting their offering as they may need to target new sectors and territories as demand for their products decreases in their traditional markets.

During these unprecedented times, opportunities may arise and new partnerships may be formed to help you tackle market challenges. You may wish to target new markets for an existing product or service, develop new products and services for new target sectors, or diversify your offering to your current customer base. You may even wish to expand into different regions of the UK or international markets.

This blog will guide you through the steps to take to successfully diversify, and to establish your company in new markets.

We also delivered this content as a webinar– If you would like a copy of the presentation, please email us and we will send a copy to you.

Tip #1 – Be prepared for diversification. Ensure the building blocks are in place.

Diversification should be well considered and strategically planned as when it is done successfully it can be extremely beneficial to your business. It can help increase revenues, create new partnerships, grow your market share, and limit the impact of future market changes.

What should you consider?

  • Consider if you have the expertise to successfully diversify into new markets and if your in-house skills are transferrable.
  • Do you have the resource to dedicate towards market diversification? If not, you may need to consider recruitment to fill resource and skills gaps.
  • Analyse potential challenges or barriers to entry, both internally and externally.
  • Market diversification may require additional investment, so check if there is any funding support available.
  • Consider if your current business infrastructure is set up for market diversification.
  • It is important to understand your route to market, this may be direct or through partners and distributors.

Tip #2 – Do your research. Get to know your audience inside out.

In-depth market research is integral to your diversification strategy. It will ensure that your strategy is well-informed and your activity is focused. For example, an analysis of your target markets can support your sales strategy and reveal the risks and opportunities of market diversification.

What can you do?

  • Conduct a competitor analysis to benchmark your industry standing, understand the markets competitors operate in and their USPs.
  • Speak to your current customers and prospects – understanding your customer persona and their perceptions of your business is integral to identifying the most suitable markets for diversification and will inform your messaging.
  • Undertake marketing channels and tactics research: this will allow you to determine the most suitable approach to reach your target audiences.
  • Conduct an analysis of your target market – what are the safety standards and industry regulations? What are the trends in their sector?
  • For international markets it is also important to understand laws, language, regulatory bodies, and culture.

Tip #3 – Create your diversification blueprint. Build your marketing strategy.

Your ‘go to market’ strategy should be clear, focused, and well-informed. This will support your business growth and diversification success.

A strategy will ensure your marketing activities are aligned and will provide focus and direction for all your marketing efforts. In addition, defined marketing objectives and a strategic approach will allow you to measure your return on investment.

What can you do?

  • Define your strategic marketing objectives – these should be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timed), and in line with your company’s market diversification objectives.
  • Analyse and utilise your market research.
  • Define your customer journey and key touchpoints.
  • Create a launch schedule – you must consider your route to market; the most suitable tactics to launch your new product/services into market or your business into new markets, as well as activity which will continue to build and establish your profile; timeframes, resource and deadlines.
  • Determine your KPIs and reporting methods. These should be in line with your strategic marketing objectives and allow you to measure marketing successes and areas for improvement.

Tip #4 – Get your messaging right. Re-shape your content and get noticed.

Whilst your core proposition may not have changed, as you enter new markets, implement new processes, or launch new products/services, you need to update your key messaging.

In line with your diversification, you may also need to make additional considerations with regards to your messaging. For example, the benefits of your products and services may differ for each market you operate in. In addition, the language and tone you use will need to be tailored to each audience you target.

What can you do?

  • Review your messaging to ensure it reflects your new proposition.
  • Consider what your audience needs from you – what product/service benefits matter most to your new audiences? What are your USPs? What expertise can you offer this market?
  • It is important to consider your brand. A name, logo or visual style can be suitable for one audience, but not another and you may need to rebrand or reposition your products and services.
  • Consider the most relevant language and tone of voice for your new market. For example, if you are diversifying into international markets it is important to take cultural considerations into account and ensure your messaging and content is translated to the language of each market you operate in.
  • Ensure you update all your marketing channels and collateral with your new key messaging.
  • Provide your staff with a communications toolkit to ensure your messaging is used consistently.

Tip #5 – Re-energise your website. Ensure it connects with new audiences.

Your target audience will engage and research online, so it is important to ensure your company has a prominent digital presence. Your website is your ‘digital shop window’ and must clearly represent your offering, expertise and USPs.

In addition, your website is a key point of interaction for both customers and prospects and it is therefore important to consider not only the content but also the visitor journey and user experience of your site.

What can you do?

  • Ensure your updated proposition and messaging is portrayed on your website.
  • Ensure new products and services are reflected in both the content and structure of your site.
  • Consider the best approach to updating your digital channels. This may be creating a microsite, or it may be adding new pages and sections to your current website, in which case it is important to remember to update the navigation.
  • For international markets it is important to consider if you need to create microsites tailored to your markets or offer translated versions of your current website.
  • Visually engaging landing pages can enhance your marketing campaigns – consider creating these for your new products or services.
  • Promote and demonstrate your market experience through content marketing, statistics, key messaging and client testimonials.
  • Optimise your content with relevant keywords and search terms (SEO) to enhance your ranking and help your target audience find you.

Tip #6 – Re-shape your social media. Drive engagement with different audiences.

Social media is a powerful marketing tactic and sharing relevant and interesting content can create engagement with your company. For social media to be most impactful, it is important to understand where your new target audience is most likely to engage with you – this should be informed by your market research.

What can you do?

  • Your research should identify the most suitable social media channels for your audience – where appropriate, create new social media profiles or utilise new social channels. It is also important to ensure your current profiles incorporate your updated messaging.
  • Consider creating a LinkedIn Showcase Page – these are extensions of your LinkedIn Page, designed to spotlight individual brands, divisions and initiatives.
  • LinkedIn is an important tool for both sales and marketing, so it is important to ensure your sales, business development and marketing teams are on LinkedIn and have the tools and training they need to best use it.
  • Create new infographics, visuals and content to reflect your updated offering and market expertise.
  • Consider how to best reach and engage your target audience. This should include analysing which hashtags to use, what content themes engage your audience and which specific LinkedIn groups are most utilised by your target audience.
  • Follow and engage with industry leaders and publications.
  • Don’t forget to react to and comment on sector news!

Tip #7 – Raise your profile in the press. Use PR to build credibility in new markets.

It’s vitally important to establish your company in target markets. Not only can PR help you launch your company in to new markets but ongoing and relevant PR can also help you build and maintain your brand profile.

What can you do?

  • Analyse your target markets – research where prospects get their news, what trade publications and journalists are prominent in their sectors and what topics are trending in their industries. This information, alongside publications from your region, should be used to create a media list.
  • Create a press pack which utilises your new key messaging or update your current press pack to reflect your modified proposition.
  • Create a PR plan which will help you meet your objectives and appeal to your target audiences.
  • Review feature and comment opportunities in the press and build these into your PR plan.
  • Define your KPIs and continually evaluate the success of your PR.

Tip #8 – Get creative. Ensure your marketing collateral hits the right note.

Marketing collateral and resources are important tools and can support your teams with their direct selling efforts.

As you diversify, it’s important that your marketing collateral and sales tools reflect your offer, updated proposition and expertise within your new market.

What can you do?

  • Create marketing collateral such as company brochures, flyers and data sheets which portray your new offer. It is also important to ensure your team, partners and distributors have access to these materials.
  • Convert marketing collateral into PDFs for email or make them downloadable via your website. High quality digital collateral can engage your prospects and can be utilised across all digital channels and correspondence.
  • For international diversification, it is important that your collateral is available in the language used in your target markets.
  • Ensure you have a visual sales presentation which demonstrates your USPs and brand story, aligns with your prospects’ needs and ends with a strong call to action.
  • Create a suite of engaging content which will resonate with your audience and which demonstrates your expertise and product benefits.
  • Create a suite of dynamic and interactive content such as infographics, animations, or videos.

Tip #9 – Build your networks. Get closer to your target markets.

Trade networks and industry bodies are quick ways to access new markets and to establish your profile within target sectors. They also provide you with a great opportunity to improve your industry knowledge and engage with sector professionals.

To get the best out of your memberships, it is important that you truly understand your networks and their members. Researching network members, the industry landscape and sector trends can help reshape your sales and networking approach, as well as hone your elevator pitch.

What can you do?

  • Attend virtual events held by network organisations – don’t forget to promote your attendance in advance!
  • Create member to member offers to drive further engagement.
  • Research network member companies – use your mutual memberships and industry connections as platforms for engagement.
  • Take the time to connect with members and utilise member to member introduction opportunities offered by networks.
  • Utilise the communication channels available through your networks. Where possible, share your company news, offers and case studies.

Tip #10 – Get your team on board. Take them with you on your business journey.

Your employees are advocates of your business and are often a main ‘touchpoint’ for your customers, it is therefore critical to the success of your market diversification that they are fully bought in to your strategy.

It is also important that all your stakeholders understand your objectives and approach, and their role and responsibilities from the outset. This will allow them to truly champion, support and deliver your diversification strategy.

What can you do?

  • Engage your teams – your employees are more likely to buy-in to market diversification if they are involved in the dialogue.
  • Gather insight and feedback – your employees can provide invaluable insights to help shape your strategy and can gather feedback from your customers.
  • Ensure your teams have the tools, guidelines and marketing collateral they need to deliver and support your diversification strategy.

Moving forward…

Above all, this is a good time to forward plan and seize new opportunities. Take a step back, re-evaluate your proposition and market approach, research and plan new ways of generating revenue and maximising on opportunities, and ensure you have a range of tools that will help your sales team grasp these new opportunities.

If you would like to assess your current marketing position, from strategy to delivery, why not try our free online marketing diagnostic tool Snapshot360? Complete our online assessment and within minutes you’ll receive a 360 snapshot report which scores all areas of your marketing. Click here to take the test.

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