Strategic Foresight: The Importance of Long-Term Goals over Short-Term Wins in Business Marketing and Branding

Balancing short-term sales activation and long-term brand building is key in marketing, ideally following a 40/60 spending rule. However, it's not only about resource allocation, but also about employing distinct approaches for each.

Short-term sales activation, representing 40% of the marketing budget, uses logical strategies and features, coupled with clear calls to action. Tactics like flash sales, limited-time offers, and targeted digital ads aim to immediately engage customers, spurring them towards quick decisions and purchases. These strategies, built on a rational appeal, are designed to generate immediate cash flow, providing an instant sales uplift in fast-paced competitive markets.

In contrast, long-term brand building, consuming 60% of the resources, greatly benefits from the use of humour and emotion. This strategy is about establishing a strong, enduring relationship with the audience over time. By leveraging content marketing, SEO, public relations, and customer service, businesses can create a lasting brand identity, trust, and loyalty. Humour and emotion, by resonating with consumers on a deeper level, enhance the effectiveness of these long-term strategies, generating sustainable growth.

In summary, applying a balanced marketing strategy means not only spending 40% on short-term sales activation and 60% on long-term brand building, but also understanding and utilising the different emotional appeals that each strategy thrives on. By using logic and immediate calls to action for short-term activation, and humour and emotional resonance for long-term brand cultivation, businesses can navigate both the swift currents of market trends and the steady flow of long-term brand development.

Reframing Recession: A Reset for New Zealand's Economy

Recession? Scratch that, it's a reset.

Early last month, we were joined by Cameron Bagrie, former chief economist for ANZ bank, for an insightful discussion about the future trajectory of New Zealand's economy.

One of the central themes of the discussion was a redefinition of the economic landscape. Cameron framed the past five years as a period of 'business as abnormal.' He suggested that the impending economic downturn is not so much a decline, but rather a reset to normal.

Cameron predicted a more challenging economic environment over the next three years. However, this adversity may be an opportunity for exceptional business operators to distinguish themselves from the mediocre. As he put it, "It’s going to put the fun back into running a business.”

The time has come, Cameron emphasised, for long-term investments and a strategic focus on capturing market share.

Following Cameron's presentation, Ron Montgomery, business development manager here at The Mark, shared industry knowledge on how to think about marketing in a recession.

In a normal marketing environment it can be expensive to increase market share, you’re trying to lure customers away while your competitor is also speaking with them, then a recession comes along and the first thing on the chopping block can be marketing. This presents a perfect opportunity to grow - when your competitor is cutting back.

Ron discussed Share of Voice. This represents your marketing spend as a percentage of the total in your field. For example, if you spend $100,000 out of a total $1,000,000 spent in your industry, you have a 10% Share of Voice. Significantly, this percentage often predicts your future market share - if your Share of Voice increases or decreases, your market share tends to follow suit.

Our tips for navigating the recession:
1) Recognise changes in your target market's priorities and ensure your messaging and tone reflect these shifts.
2) Conduct an audit of your marketing spend, aiming to refine and reallocate it to more cost-effective and high-impact strategies.
3) Make investments in long-term assets, like a distinctive brand and high-impression marketing tactics such as signage, to support both short-term and long-term goals.

Using the Product Life Cycle to Inform your Marketing

The product life cycle splits your market cycle into key stages, from introduction to maturity. It’s used primarily to make marketing decisions, as your business moves through each phase of the cycle you should be thinking about how that stage impacts your marketing - strategically and tactically.

By using this model, you can make informed marketing decisions, and continue your growth cycle. Your stage informs the decision that you make, for example deciding whether to continue with a market penetration strategy or look at new markets.

This model allows you to be proactive, across your messaging, your branding and your tactics and maintain your appeal over time, rather than running out of steam.

Phase 1: Introduction

The handshake stage. This is where you are entering the market and building awareness of your product.

Generally, this will involve a high investment in marketing and advertising to build awareness and get engagement. Costs are higher in this stage as you are developing your brand, and at times, competing against existing brands that are in a different cycle stage.

In this stage, you should have defined your marketing and have tactics that reach your desired audience. This stage is great for learning - A/B testing, discovering what channels and tactics work, what audiences respond, and importantly, what doesn’t work.

Phase 2: Growth

This is where people have adopted your product. The most obvious signs are that production increases, sales are consistent and suddenly you are seeing increased demand in your product or services.

When you notice this, it’s time to shift gears in your marketing. This is where you need to think about your positioning so that you stand out to the right people.

It’s here that you think about your brand and it’s identity, fine tuning those messages and tweaking them to fit your audiences. You can start thinking about loyalty here, and how you build it through the next stages, and prevent the decline.

It’s also here that you look at new channels, and invest in these, to maintain the upwards curve. You can also look at developing your product or expanding your services.

Phase 3: Maturity

This is the most profitable stage. Where your marketing and production likely cost less, but, competition is generally higher. When sitting in this stage, you need to be thinking about how to prevent the next stage, market decline.

Here is the time to start research - get feedback from your audience and understand their needs and exactly who they are. Find out what they want to see, and what you can do better in order to stay on top. It’s also the stage where you need to decide whether to invest in product development or diversifying your markets, or both.

Depending on what you decide, this will alter your existing marketing strategy as you either launch a new product (going back to the introduction stage) or you enter a new market (again, introducing yourself).

At this stage the Ansoff Matrix can be an excellent tool for decision making and informing your marketing decision.

This matrix can be used in tandem with the product development life cycle. To use this, look at each quadrant and note the strategies that you can use in each, review the internal and internal risk factors and then weigh up the options to plan your approach.

Phase 4: Decline

The decline phase is when you’ve lost your competitive advantage and are losing market share in a saturated market.

If you’re in this stage, it’s time to start thinking, and move now, before there's no return. Look at your brand, look at any loyalty that you’ve built up, and analyse your competition. Where is the room for you to grow? How can you differentiate?

If you are in this stage, we’d recommend looking at:

Product Life Cycle and your marketing

The product life cycle allows you to quickly understand what stage your business is in,and in turn, make informed, strategic marketing decisions.

It’s a valuable tool for deciding whether to push on, navigate an entrance to new markets, or to pull back, and focus on product developments.

Whatever stage your company is in, we can help you. Speak to our team today about your strategic marketing objectives.