VENTURES AFRICA  – When choosing a marketing budget, bigger isn’t always better – especially in social media campaigns. In some cases, smaller budgets have netted the best results. With a little bit of ingenuity, knowledge and the following tips, your product and marketing strategy can be the next big thing.

Have a Good Product

You could have a viral campaign marketing idea but without a quality product it will go nowhere. The success of a campaign relies heavily on the need, convenience and quality of the product. It may take years perfecting it, but make sure your product is the best version of itself before you get viewers excited about it.

Establish Your Brand

You may have spent years developing your product and have the best technology available, but you won’t find success without knowing how to market it. Establish a brand by deciding what you want the company and product to be known for and associated with. Set a standard that follows this brand. Be specific and find potential customers in your niche. According to Wetpaint Advertising, a Bryanston-based agency, good brand management is positioning your brand wisely, understanding and developing perceptions, communicating to the right market and adapting to market conditions. Once consumers feel like they know your brand and can trust it, you will have life-long, loyal buyers.

Get a Second Opinion

Especially if you are part of a small business, hire outside help to get a second opinion on your product’s marketing strategy. If your office is mainly filled with engineers, find someone with expertise in marketing. Even with a room full of talented thinkers, having a fresh, outside opinion can shed light on possible campaign strategies successes or failures you might have missed. Before you launch a series of funny videos, show them to someone who has no idea what you are trying to market and see if they respond the way you hoped.

Appeal to Your Audience

You may have more than one audience you are trying to appeal to. Tailor your approach to each niche. Generally, teenage boys and working women won’t be grouped together in the same campaign audience, but they both may be interested in the same product.

Take BlendTec, an American manufacturer of industrial blenders, for example. In 2006 the company started uploading videos to YouTube demonstrating the strength of their product. Some of the videos appealed to people interested in learning about how to use the blender to cook good food. Others appealed to those who just wanted to watch it destroy things (golf balls, a six pack of Coke, a chicken). The strategy was that even those just watching things get destroyed would remember the product, and when they eventually needed a blender they’d buy it or suggest it to their parents.

Keep it Simple (and Cheap)

Look at successful campaigns that have gone viral and see how you can adapt their strategy to your needs. What do Ford’s Fiesta Movement and Old Spices’ “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” campaigns have in common? Both companies got the conversation started in an inexpensive way and it was the viewers – aka potential customers – that kept it going. If you offer free products or incentives, post funny videos or interact with your customers, they will tell everyone else what a great product you have or what a great company you are. Let them do the bragging for you.

Track Sales

A great product with a viral marketing campaign won’t mean a thing if you don’t track the sales. Monitor the amount of sales you are generating from your marketing campaign using social networks, such as 2Go, WhatsApp and Mxit, online tools and analytical teams. You’ll be able to see what works, where you can improve and what you need to eliminate from your campaign.

Follow the Money

Be flexible, be innovative and realize when there is something you can change. A good example is South Africa’s First National Bank (FNB), a division of FirstRand Limited, which was named the world’s most innovative bank of the year at the 2012 BAI-Finacle Global Banking Innovation Awards held in Washington, DC. Watch other campaigns and stay up to date on what is trending. The more you know your audience the better you will be able to tailor your product and your marketing strategy to them.


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