Effective marketing strategies rely on a number of factors including the needs, desires, and preferences of the target market, strategies employed by the competition, distribution strategy, and any of a number of factors, including legal requirements. But, did you ever think about how marketing strategies change based on the industry? Of course, industry is a shorthand for the other factors that impact your choice of marketing strategies, but industry goes beyond that. For instance, marketing strategies in a creative market differ widely from those in a financial marketplace. Obviously, you need a different marketing strategy in these widely different markets. That assumes; however, you accurately diagnose the different types of consumers in each market.
In fact, sometimes great success comes from ignoring the seemingly universal “rules” for marketing in that industry. For instance, Apple saw great success by treating the high-tech consumer products industry like other consumer packaged goods; ignoring all the jargon in favor of making products simple and marketing to higher-level needs of consumers rather than presenting their products as industrial workhorses. The same appears to work for Capital One whose current marketing messaging about “cafes” instead of traditional banks differentiates them from their more stogy competition, while drawing in a large target market of consumers who prefer a less formal banking arrangement.
By the same token, differences across industries mean you need a deep understanding of the types of consumers, their motivations, the problems they need to be solved, which factors are most impactful in decision making, and even how consumers approach decisions in a particular marketplace. You need to understand how to talk to the market if you want successful outcomes. In the case of Apple mentioned earlier, they didn’t so much ignore the rules of communicating to their target audience as recognize that a different audience existed within the marketplace; one that others in the market ignored. Apple then developed a laser-focus on the needs, motivations, and lifestyles of that market.
The best way to illustrate this point is to look at a few key areas that demonstrate how marketing strategies change based on industry:
The tone of voice is remarkably diverse in the marketing world.
SEMrush, a leading digital marketing agency, defines the tone of voice as:
Tone of voice reflects your brand personality, helps you connect with your audience, and makes you different from the rest.
Nielsen characterizes the tone of voice using 4 dimensions: humor, formality, respectfulness, and enthusiasm.
Often, businesses in a specific industry end up using a specific tone by tacit agreement. As an example, companies in the business sector often use formality as a means to identify with their audience, which is seen as more rational and quantitative than corresponding consumer markets. Thus, their tone is designed to make these companies seem legitimate, professional, and authoritative.
In contrast, healthcare businesses have more of a calm and caring demeanor. You see this all the time with dentists. Talk to a dental marketing agency and they’ll tell you that tone is so important for people in this profession. Many individuals are afraid of dentists – and other healthcare professionals – which means the calm and caring tone helps soothe prospective patients. Legal requirements, such as full disclosure, similarly inform communication and tone in the healthcare industry.
The tone is present in all forms of content, including web copy. As you move through other industries, you see subtle changes in the tone of voice to correspond with the specific brand personality envisioned by marketers.
Another significant change in marketing strategy revolves around social media.
More specifically, the types of content shared, tone, and engagement elicited by brands in social media. Some reports claim social media marketing is dying, but this is far from the truth.
Social media still forms a core part of most marketing campaigns, even if the brand doesn’t own any pages or profiles. That’s because their markets use social media, which requires listening to hear how the marketplace views the brand and the industry, problems consumers in that industry face, and criticisms of brands in that industry.
As for the industry variants, you see some sectors devote more time to one or two platforms over the others. Largely, the choice of platform depends on the target market for that industry – and where the competition tends to have a presence.
Will you see big accounting or finance firms, for instance, running a Snapchat campaign? Probably not. Will you see retail brands devoting time to LinkedIn? Rarely. Understanding what platforms make sense in your industry helps you develop a better social strategy.
More important is how you engage with your target market across platforms, which differ in the types of content appropriate or effective. For instance, a more casual conversation that supports your target market works well on Twitter and Facebook, while a more professional conversation full of industry-specific jargon and long-form content works best on LinkedIn.
Content marketing is king. As you can imagine, the type of content produced for marketing strategies is vastly different across industries. While every sector spends a lot of time on content marketing, the exact forms of content change. Some industries cater more to written content – like blog posts, reports, white papers, and so on. Others have a strong focus on visual content – such as videos, infographics, images, etc.
Once more, it depends on the target audience for competitors in the industry and for specific brands. But, as mentioned earlier, it also depends on the platform and specific types of content more appropriate for a specific platform. Marketers must create content designed to appeal to the target demographic and may develop different content designed to appeal to different targets within the marketplace. If one type of content works in one sector, it doesn’t necessarily mean the content works across all other target markets.
The bottom line about how marketing strategies change across industries is that industry affects what works, but so does your target market. Within industries, you might follow similar paths in developing marketing strategy or set out on your own to capture a different segment of the market.
In fact, it’s helpful to look at companies within your sector to see how marketing strategies change from one to another. This gives you an idea of what strategic options exist. But, also consider what works in other industries that target a similar market segment. Combining a deep knowledge of your target audience, with their needs, wants, and decision variables in your specific industry are the keys to marketing success.