Marketing gurus’ tips for 2023
On Nov. 29, 2022, National Book Store and Shangri-La Mall sponsored a talk and book signing event featuring four bestselling business authors who gave marketing tips for 2023.
Marketing anthropologist Chiqui Escareal-Go focused on how consumer behavior could be quite unpredictable, being both rational and irrational. What is constant is how people are hardwired to avoid pain and seek pleasure. The key is to help consumers make an easy and clear choice, for example, in brand, promo or price management.
1. Think brand relevance before brand differentiation. As many consumers have already changed buying habits during the pandemic, it is important to capture their new and evolving preferences. For instance, consumers have gotten used to the convenience of online payments and deliveries during the pandemic. They are still willing to pay for that convenience postpandemic; it has become their default option.
2. Think surplus in pricing strategy (i.e., the difference of perceived value and price) to help consumers feel they are getting their money’s worth. The additional volume can lead to more profit as long as there are economies of scale, so watch acquisition cost as well. As the sequence of product feature priorities may change, be aware if additional bells and whistles could really provide value in product specifications. For example, consumers have been increasingly switching to generic medicine versus branded ones that have been priced too prohibitively.
3. Think of excitement creators (like new products or new promos that can also build the brand) to justify emotional hesitation to buy. For instance, Bounty launched a buy one-take one promo for their new Hei Hei chicken burger launch.
4. Think of adjusting packaging size that may attract lost customers back to be category users, instead of just lowering price. Instead of not buying, some consumers may settle for consuming less in the meantime. This was addressed, for instance, by the different packaging sizes of Coca-Cola, like Coke Sakto.
Franchising specialist Sam Christopher Lim shared five tips using the SHIFT acronym to understand the changing franchising and marketing landscape.
1. Scalability. This is about a renewed push and focus to create business models that can scale using franchising. This is to enter new cities and even new countries tapping other people’s money, time and talent. For instance, Bang Bang Bangus started only in 2020, but now has 100 stores. Potato Corner sustained its business through international operations, expanding in Singapore, Thailand, Australia, Canada and more.
2. Hyperlocal. Go to where the customers are and make it easy for them to shop. The White Plains area has developed a drive-thru site with Krispy Kreme, Yellow Cab and Turks Shawarma. Other brands created stores on wheels, community stores and even cloud kitchens in new and specific areas to service the market and test out new concepts.
3. Innovation (through collaboration). Intensified collaboration or cobranding among franchise brands has been happening. Examples are Moon Leaf-Potato Corner, Shakey’s-R&B Milk Tea and The Lost Bread-Arce Ice Cream teamups. Even the various brands of Max’s Group now share common kitchens and delivery services.
4. Flexibility (to handle fear of commitment). This means not locking the customers in—making it easy for them to change their mind with more options they can combine and add. Consider flexible working as a start. For instance, airlines and hotels give ease of rebooking and free cancellations. Brands can offer more generous return policies and price guarantees. There are also more “slashers” in the field such as lawyer/blogger, writer/blogger, or more options such as nomadism versus owning (leasing cars, renting instead of owning).
5. Time. Convenience is a priority over loyalty. Consider tap cards (used internationally) and the ease of payment, communication and shopping channels. Its touchless technology makes customers feel safe while shopping in physical stores.
Channel marketing champion Emilio Macasaet III talked about the three must-have marketing competencies in 2023 as job responsibilities of marketers continue to transform, requiring a new set of competencies. These are known in Mansmith and Fielders as the 3Ds:
1. Data analytics. This is the ability to frame the right question by analyzing, interpreting and evaluating data using appropriate techniques and tools. Marketers need to focus more on prescriptive and predictive analytics which have greater value for organizations. Today, most marketers only use descriptive and diagnostic analytics, leading to poor insights. As marketers in the new normal, they should also be data scientists.
2. Discovery. This requires a higher level of cognitive ability and insatiable curiosity. In a risk-averse environment, how should firms encourage its people to be more courageous in their quest for insights or new truths? As a competency, discovery is the ability not just to spot data anomalies but also to leverage data to obtain insight as well as foresight. One way to hone this ability is to be mindful and to learn how to ask power questions, which often begin with “why or how might we…?”
3. Delivery. As a marketer, how should one design a narrative that is memorable, persuasive and engaging in the midst of clutter? The way marketers design and deliver compelling messages to omni shoppers is a data storytelling competency. Storytelling is the ability to wrap a story around data using visuals and emotions.
The long game
Lastly, I shared the following big picture concepts that should be considered not just in 2023 but in the years ahead.
1. Evaluate the business model. Value proposition is only a part of the marketing mix, which in turn is just part of the offering model, which completes a business model with the inclusion of operating model. It is important to have not just nice marketing creatives but to turn compelling creatives into compelling profitability. This involves looking into a business holistically, including how to scale—by testing the effectiveness of the value chain and planning for real and relevant innovation, not merely catching up with competition.
2. Evaluate the revenue model. Ask if your business has a burning platform. As the revenue model in the past may not be the same in the future, consider alternative sources of revenue before your faucet runs dry.
3. Evaluate the core initiatives. Market development and operational efficiency must go hand in hand. A boxer always uses both hands going into the ring (imagine boxing with only one hand!). Never be limited with traditional market-driven brand switching tactics, but look into market-driving strategy targeting the underserved and unserved white spaces in the marketplace.
4. Evaluate the key assumptions. Premortem is always an important step to improve plans. Marketplace dynamics may have changed and it would be dangerous to think business as usual. Always challenge your plans. Think Plan B and be flexible if changes are needed.
5. Evaluate own mindset. Look into exploiting opportunities consistent with your vision, instead of being negative about why things won’t work. As behaviors are influenced by thoughts, try to normalize as many activities as possible—collaborating, socializing, networking, learning, dining, etc. Vision makes a big difference.
These tips can be made permanent in every marketer’s arsenal or tool box, where they become a checklist of things to consider at various points of the business review or during strategic planning. And as we expect the business landscape to continuously evolve, this guide can strengthen your fundamentals, anchor your purpose and focus your sights for future-proofing. Expect this list to keep growing.
Josiah Go is chair and chief innovation strategist of Mansmith and Fielders Inc. The 14th Market MastersConference scheduled on May 17, 2023 is now open for registration. Visit www.marketmastersconference.com for details.
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