Written by: Warren Jolly, CEO, adQuadrant
Perception is everything when operating a business online.
The Web, minus the cost required to access the network, is a free platform for people to share ideas, information, and sell products and services. This low barrier to entry creates a paradox in the marketplace because a vast majority of individuals are willing to sell at rock-bottom prices to undercut the competition.
The issue with this business mindset is that it’s not a viable long-term strategy. As each new competitor enters the market and drives the prices down the perception of value for said product/service begins to tumble.
To overcome this paradox a business must work on building brand equity.
Many businesses trying to build brand equity go about it in ways that actually cut at their bottom line and long-term prospect in the market:
- An increase in online advertising cuts into the profit margins
- The reduction of price for products/services reduces the budget allowed to market
- A departure of uniqueness to appeal to the general masses alienates customers
These items lead to the brand becoming bland. It begins to remove the agile nature of the business because it’s trying to form into a generic offer. Because the products/services become brand the perception of the brand also takes a dive.
Cutting back too hard allows those aggressive businesses to step in and take the market share. Likewise, overspending may give the impression that the business is over compensating.
How does a business reduce the CPA without reducing this brand equity?
- Quality Control. Deliver real value with a product or service you bring to the market. Create one with such high quality that it becomes a clear choice among the selections. Back the quality with testimonials, case studies, and branding. Encourage owners/users to share their experience and help spread the word of the product/service (which reduces your cost in advertising).
- USP & Story. Give your brand and what it has to offer a unique selling point. Explain how and why it’s different than others. Push the benefits of using your product over what’s provided by the competition. Likewise, attach a story behind the product/service. Give it life by telling how it was formed and its reception by your customers and market. Allow the uniqueness of your brand to spread your message in a viral, organic manner.
- Mind-blowing Experience. The customer experience needs to be front and center if you wish to reduce costs and build a strong brand. A customer who walks away from the purchase excited and ecstatic is far more likely to return and tell others of the experience. If each customer has an incredible, mind-blowing experience they will step in to do the promotional work. It does require the entire team to go above and beyond but it’s crucial for building valuable brand equity that doesn’t rely on brute force marketing tactics.
In all, a democratization of your brand, what it offers, its culture, and consumer experience are the essentials worth pursuing to avoid price wars and dilution of product/service perception on the Web.
Warren Jolly is the CEO of adQuadrant, an agency specializing in online direct response marketing. Through highly targeted media buying, adQuadrant acquires and scales profitable customer bases for its partners. Through every stage of the direct marketing process, adQuadrant’s finite targeting ensures your advertising campaigns are well-timed, well-placed and optimized to convert across the most powerful digital channels including social, performance, display, email and mobile.