Marketing is the success or failure of business

Hein Ludick of the Digital School of Marketing shares valuable tips and advice about one of the most important driving factors in a business.

MELITTA NGALONKULU: Marketing is a vital component for anyone starting a new business, in order to get your brand or product out there you must know how to market it to the right audience and there are plenty of books, videos and internet articles that can give you helpful advice in this avenue. But today you really don’t have to go far to get that advice, as we have Hein Ludick, who is the general manager at the Digital School of Marketing. Hi, Hein, how are you doing?

HEIN LUDICK: I am very well and yourself, Melitta?

MELITTA NGALONKULU: I’m great, so Hein what is the importance of marketing and branding when it comes to small businesses?

HEIN LUDICK: The importance of marketing and branding can definitely not be underestimated. At the end of the day it’s one of the most important driving factors of your business. Many startups tend to focus on other factors like their finances or the logistics of the business or even the staff hire, whereas the marketing and branding is what will ultimately generate interest around your product or service and, in turn, generate leads that turn into sales. For me, it’s basically the success or failure of your business.

MELITTA NGALONKULU: What is the difference between branding or marketing?

HEIN LUDICK: Well, that concept has been debated a lot but, for me, branding is the process that’s involved in creating a unique name or image for your product in the consumer’s mind, and that’s done mainly through the advertising campaigns that you use with a consistent theme. Also, branding aims to establish a significant and differentiated presence in the market that attracts and retains loyal customers. For the customer it will basically be, it’s a decision-making shortcut when feeling indecisive about the same product from different companies. Then, for me, with marketing it’s more the process that involves the design, the creation, the research and the data mining about how to best align your idea or product or service with your target audience. So marketing can even help to define your product even more than the actual product does.

Defining your target audience

MELITTA NGALONKULU: Hein, speaking of the target audience, how does a small business go about actually reaching that target audience because they might not know. They might know, okay, this is my target audience and this is the product or service that I want to provide for them but now how do I market to them correctly.

HEIN LUDICK: To define your target audience there are obviously a lot of questions that you’re going to need to ask. You’re going to find out, for instance, if you want to market digitally, the various types of social media that you can use. Every type of social media, for instance, Facebook has a different audience to Twitter, and Instagram and LinkedIn, and all those target markets all have different audiences at the end of the day. So I would be answering key questions like what is the age of your target market, where is your target market based, questions like that.

MELITTA NGALONKULU: How simple is it with digital marketing?

HEIN LUDICK: With the rise of the internet, I would say it’s a lot easier now with digital marketing than in the past with traditional marketing because you’ve basically got the world at your fingertips. If you look at what Google essentially is at the end of the day, it’s a question and answer machine, so if you’ve got any questions about how to get your business started or anything like that you can always type it into Google and get a lot of answers from various sources.

So that’s a great tool that wasn’t available in the past. So in terms of how easy it is to get started with digital marketing, what I always advise for small businesses is to get started with your social media channels. So get your social media channels set up and let them all link back to your website. At the end of the day, if you think about it, it’s like a big net that you’re casting out if you have determined your target market and that net goes out, and the more contact there is back to your website, the better it’s going to be for your business.

Blogs and infographics as marketing tools

MELITTA NGALONKULU: Hein, can you please give us a couple of tips on how to basically get started so that these entrepreneurs out there can start building those blocks?

HEIN LUDICK: So, like I mentioned, it will be with your social media, so find out what is your business, is it B2B, business to business, or B2C, business to customer. If it’s B2B I would say LinkedIn would be the best platform to start advertising, as it’s so specific and you can target certain businesses and people in certain companies. So it’s very specific if you are a B2B company.

Then if you are B2C, I would recommend either Facebook or Instagram. Facebook is obviously one of the biggest social media platforms out there with over seven million companies and users advertising on social media. So when you are advertising B2C on Facebook, what I would recommend doing is your copy – and what I mean with copy is your advertising copy – so you’ve got two options, it can either be logical or emotional. So with a logical advert, if you’ve got a weight-loss company, you can say, well, my weight-loss product will guarantee you to lose this amount of weight, these are the ingredients and it works, and with the emotional copy that you can use is a scenario of walking down the street, six months after using the product and someone who you haven’t seen stops you and says, wow, you look great, how did you get the results. Then you can advertise the product that way as well.

So you need to make the logical and emotional connection.

Another tool for small business that I would recommend is that they create their own original content, for instance, blog about your product or service, write articles and publish that, take the articles and blogs that you have and create infographics about that to market on your various social media platforms.

Now, it’s not always easy creating an infographic or something like that and that’s why there’s a great tool that I use quite a lot and it’s called Fiverr. Now, if you aren’t a graphic designer or you need a blog written that is a great, great tool that you can use to get a quick blog written for yourself or an infographic created, and you can repurpose the content that you do. So if you do a blog, try to repurpose that blog into an infographic and publish that on all your social media sites.

MELITTA NGALONKULU: Do you need a big budget to start marketing and branding your business?

HEIN LUDICK: Recently with Facebook, in the past you didn’t need such a big budget but now there’s a policy of you need to pay to play. So it is a bit more expensive to actually market your business online but what I would recommend is to get yourself upskilled, read up about the various digital market channels that you can use and get some knowledge and also just some insight before you actually start advertising, especially paid advertising because it is possible that you can lose some money if you don’t know what you are doing. So my advice would be to get upskilled before you start to play around and to experiment with paid advertising specifically.

MELITTA NGALONKULU: That was Hein Ludick, the general manager at the Digital School of Marketing.

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