In the hypercompetitive marketing landscape, it can be tough for CEOs and marketing specialists alike to decide between the long-term vs. short-term when developing marketing strategies. Many defaults to the standard answer and assume that short-term demand marketing is best. But in reality, the answer is a little more complicated. Let's explore this question in detail and break down whether you should focus on long-term or short-term marketing overall.
In a nutshell, long-term brand marketing is all about building up your brand's authority, reliability, and market share in the minds of your target audience. The more long-term branding you practice, the more well-known your brand will be across its industry or niche. Long-term branding strategies can include:
While long-term brand marketing is undoubtedly an important part of a holistic marketing strategy, many businesses may discount its value. Why? Because it produces fewer short-term returns, like new clients or immediate sales. With long-term brand marketing, it takes a while to reap rewards. Because of this, many organisations that need revenue fast will double down on demand-based marketing instead.
This is almost always a mistake, and it's driven in part because of inexperience. Just as the average developer working today possesses less than five years of working experience, many marketers are likewise new to the industry. Or, some smaller companies don't even have professional marketers when they start off, taking it all on themselves in the beginning. No matter the situation, long-term brand marketing is just as important as short-term demand marketing if you want your business to thrive in the future rather than just making it to the next quarter.
Short-term demand marketing is designed to answer immediate consumer demands and get them to buy products or services immediately. Demand marketing strategies often include targeted advertisements, especially responsive ads with clear and emotional messages or email marketing campaigns that offer deals to encourage immediate buying. Short-term demand marketing is important so you can enjoy a steady influx of new customers to counteract customer churn. It can be tempting to focus on short-term metrics in order to produce measurable impact.
But long-term brand marketing will provide advantages for you in the long haul. It may take more time to measure, maybe up to several years. But when done right, long-term brand marketing can be even better for your company than short-term demand marketing. After all, if your brand is so synonymous with quality, you'll hardly need to practice short-term demand marketing to get loyal customers to make purchases.
The major pitfall that lots of marketers fall into is assuming that short-term demand marketing is better than brand marketing, or vice versa. In reality, both short-term and long-term marketing should be balanced for you to achieve and maintain optimal growth for your organization. There are several strategies you can leverage to make the most of your budget while still balancing long-term brand marketing and short-term demand marketing.
Firstly, make sure you don't over-focus your marketing efforts. It's a good idea to focus on your core audience based on demographics or shopping habits, but if you hyper-target, you can run into several limitations. For one thing, hyper-targeting can be counterproductive by ignoring certain buying circles or prospective future buyers, thereby restricting the reach of your ads. By the same token, you don't want to target such a broad target audience that your message doesn't reach anyone satisfactorily. If you target too broadly, you may not get enough of a dedicated customer base to get your company off the ground. With that in mind, try to balance your ad targeting so that you reach your target audience but you also leave a little room for brand growth in unexpected directions. Always keep an eye out for new customers who may come from unexpected channels, but don't neglect your core following.
Rational ads are usually best for outbound marketing, as they answer specific consumer concerns or requests and show prospects why you can solve their problem. Generally, rational ads are best for in-market customers, or any customers who are set to buy a purchase immediately. In contrast, emotional ads can be better for building a long-term brand identity and forging connections with your target audience. Emotional ads will help connect you to customers who may buy later or who may approach your brand with some hesitation. Make sure your marketing budget accounts for ads of both types to practice the balanced targeting described above.
Your online business should already be gathering lots of data on your consumers and your visitors. You can and should use this data to manage your marketing goals and update your website. For example, over 70% of customers report favouring using a credit card for online transactions. To that end, your website should make purchasing simple to streamline the buying process and ensure that no one leaves their shopping cart because they can't pay the way they want to. Similarly, you should use data to know which products are most popular with your visitors. Then you can double down on marketing or ads for those products as necessary.
Balancing your marketing budget for short-term demand marketing and long-term brand marketing in a 50/50 way is a good rule of thumb. You don't have to adhere to this ratio perfectly, of course. There may be times when it makes more sense to prioritise one over the other, such as during the beginning of your business's lifecycle. In this case, you might prioritise 60% of your marketing budget for short-term demand marketing and 40% for long-term marketing. But you should constantly be updating this balance as needed, informed by data and projections. Eventually, you may transition to the other side and devote more of your marketing budget to long-term brand building or brand maintenance.
All in all, long-term brand marketing and short-term demand marketing are both necessary if your business wants to succeed. If you use both marketing philosophies in roughly equal measure you'll see better results overall than if you prioritise one over the other.
by Lee Li Feng | 27 Sep 23
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