Is marketing still relevant?

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If the question of whether marketing is still “relevant” seems a very broad one, it is nonetheless one that is always worth revisiting. After all, businesses both big and small often take for granted the many benefits that effective marketing can have, and might not fully recognise those benefits until they cease committing time, money, and effort to a marketing campaign. 

As hospitality businesses in the UK and the world welcome a New Year and consider how to make the best use of their budgets in 2023, we thought we would take a closer look at what makes the right marketing approaches as relevant as ever.

Firstly, what is marketing? 

Look up the term “marketing”, and you will see various definitions. Marketing is an overarching term for various activities that, in the words of Investopedia, “a company undertakes to promote the buying or selling of a product or service.” 

Meanwhile, the American Marketing Association (AMA) has set out a slightly opaquer, but nonetheless important, definition of marketing as “the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.” 

Marketing from the point of view of a hospitality business such as a restaurant, takeaway or bakery, then, is really about spreading the word about the given business and what it does. 

More than that, for you, it is about communicating to relevant audiences why they should care about your business and how you can help solve their ‘pain points’ – even if that ‘pain point’ is nothing more complicated than them feeling a bit peckish on the way to the office on a morning. 

The continued relevance of marketing, in numbers 

There are various ways you can answer this question; one of those is with the use of the latest data. 

Here in the UK, for example, marketing leaders were polled at the beginning of 2022, and it was found that digital marketing expenditure in for-profit companies was expected to go up by 28.29% over the next 12 months, compared to the previous full year. Even for traditional advertising, which is sometimes maligned as increasingly irrelevant, a 2.87% rise in spending was anticipated. 

There has undoubtedly been strain on UK marketing budgets in recent times due to factors like the COVID-19 pandemic and the ever-higher costs that businesses are facing in other aspects of their operations, such as escalating energy bills. 

But this is not an indication that marketing has become less relevant, particularly given the continuing ‘digitalisation’ of our world that has made it even more crucial for hospitality firms to maintain a strong online and social media presence. 

Instead, it is a reminder that firms need to take the marketing approaches that will give them the greatest “punch for their pound” in 2023. After all, if you try to go without a marketing spend altogether, you can be sure that many of your industry competitors will take the chance to grab the custom that your business might have otherwise attracted. 

So, in summary, why does your business still need marketing? 

Whatever the size of your hospitality business may be, and whatever its ambitions may be in 2023, you should still be investing in appropriate and effective marketing. That’s because both online and offline marketing remains vital for such things as: 

Increasing awareness of your business

If you depend on your restaurant, bakery or takeaway simply being spotted by passers-by on the street, you will almost certainly be missing out on a significant chunk of your potential customers. 

Cultivating a relationship between your business and potential customers

Even if someone who sees your online ad, Facebook page, or branded app does not become a paying customer of yours immediately, it is important to respect that marketing is a process, not a one-off act. It is about building and sustaining relationships with potential customers that will help generate reliable sales and revenue over the long run. 

Boosting and maintaining strong sales

Investing in the creation of strong products and a positive customer experience, but not investing in marketing to spread the word about these great things about your business, means much of the investment you have made will be effectively wasted. People can’t purchase products from you if they don’t know those products exist, or if they don’t know how those products would benefit their lives. And your business’s ability to generate steady sales and revenue will dictate whether it survives, thrives, or dies, especially in economically challenging times like the present. 

In short, marketing remains not only relevant, but imperative for hospitality businesses up and down the UK; a “ground-floor” essential. For a deeper discussion of how the Slerp team can apply its wide-ranging marketing expertise for the benefit of your business in 2023, please don’t hesitate to enquire to us

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