The Most Profitable Investment
Somehow, online sales have become the general trend in this era. The times when people would gather in droves to offline stores because of discounted prices are a thing of the past. Even just a few years ago, many consumers would only get on the internet if they were interested in online sales, but now it has become a thing of everyday life. Numerous sellers have dived into the online sales market, and for me, who had entered even earlier, ten years have passed in a flash.
What was the most difficult point for you when you first started online sales? I think it was perhaps analyzing consumer trends and predicting the future based on them. Because I had a decent strategy to predict the ever-changing business world and the even faster-changing lifestyles, the cultures of the consumers in this world, and consumption trends, I was able to navigate through and come up with marketing plans for this unfamiliar online world and get ahead of others in this intensely competitive society. To be competitive, one had to predict and know in advance the market trends and consumer behavior. Therefore, one of my constant concerns was how to come up with a good strategy and prepare for how things would change, depending on the situation. This required insight that would help to predict future market changes. Thinking back on it now, it was an enormous help that I was able to communicate with customers and build up their loyalty through online marketing.
Oftentimes people think of marketing as a means to merely increase sales and market shares. However, I feel that really influential marketing is not simply about boosting sales, but a means to raise awareness of the product brand as well as communicate with consumers at the same time, and thereby increase consumer satisfaction. Most offline competitors think of marketing as a cost of revenue, so if it does not result in profits right away, they quit. Therefore, the gap between online and offline is getting bigger, as well as the great success of online sales.
While managing my business, I have not once reduced my investment in online marketing. The reason that the marketing expense has always remained constant even though there were dips and crests in sales, as well as crises in the business, is because I have not once thought of marketing as a cost. Even during the recession, we continued brand and product exposure and to appeal to our customers through marketing because I knew that marketing was the best investment. Through this, I think that we were able to constantly communicate with consumers, resulting in good outcomes. Of course, it was difficult to immediately see the marketing results, but by actively investing in the future, I think that in the long run, the value of the brand increased and eventually led to greater profits, rather than leading to immediate sales.
However, whenever I tell my story to my recent consultation customers, their reactions are often apathetic. To them, marketing is a means to an immediate increase in sales or market share. However, marketing without the proper awareness will result in totally different results than your intended goal. I would like to point out that many easily give up before they see any results, complaining that they were expecting a better outcome.
“Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs.”
There is no guarantee in an investment. An investment is something you start with a certain degree of uneasiness, and you always have in mind there is a risk until there is some kind of visible return. But what if it was an investment where you were guaranteed a return? Marketing to communicate with consumers, rather than just advertisements for exposure, can be the greatest weapon to see returns several times over your initial investment.
The world’s best companies, which are still successful, have always been creating deep relationships with customers through aggressive marketing. Is this not the reason why they have been in the top positions for such a long time? If your ultimate dream is to create the best brand, you must have the best marketing.