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Guide to Growth: How should marketing evolve as we grow?

How do we scale up from 100% organic marketing to paying for it, on a tight budget?

Drapers’ Guide to Growth programme is produced in partnership with Clipper.

Kate Hamilton, co-founder of content and communications agency Sonder & Tell, says that the key to successfully introducing paid-for marketing revolves around purposeful targeting: “Build out a really clear picture of who you’re already reaching organically in terms of demographics such as age, location, income, but also psychographics: what motivates them? What keeps them up at night? Then set your goal.

“Decide if you want to be reaching more people within that niche or if you want to attract a different type of audience.”

Investing in a marketing or PR specialist can pay dividends for a business.

“It will save you ad spend in the long run, and a young brand will have limited hard audience data, making targeting more challenging,” explains Sam Burgess, founder of Small & Mighty Co, a content marketing and small business hub for independent retailers.

Burgess notes that investing in strong lifestyle, product and campaign imagery is “essential” when moving into paid-for marketing. This increases the impact of PR, social media and websites. “These should not be overlooked,” she says.

Haeni Kim, founder of womenswear brand Kitri, advises taking an innovative approach to employing PR and marketing professionals when on a tight budget: “A lot of people don’t realise how difficult it is to make sure your brand gets in front of the right people. You could really see a lot of benefit from investing in a PR professional.”

She advocates using freelancers on night shifts or friends of friends on an ad hoc basis to keep costs down and brand awareness high.

Carefully planned influencer campaigns are also a solid investment, explains Burgess: “Budget should be split in terms of gifting of product and paid-for activity with influencers.

“Influencers still can make or break brands, and young businesses should not overlook the possibility of increasing awareness and subsequently, sales.”

In addition to paid-for work with influencers or investment in Instagram marketing, Louisa Clack, founder and director of PR consultancy Louisa Clack PR stresses the importance of “earned media” (gained through promotional effort rather than payment) – such as organic social media or press coverage – for young businesses.

“For a very young, pre-profit business, marketing probably isn’t where they should spend just yet, as there are so many ways they can use earned media, now more than ever,” she says. “The only cost of PR is hiring the professional. If a business doesn’t want to hire a full-time employee or an agency, there are loads of courses online and on LinkedIn to learn the basics and do it yourself.”

Our new advice portal for retailers and brands, Guide to Growth, aims to solve the problems and challenges fashion businesses encounter as they grow. Email your questions to associate editor and we will get them answered. 

Plus, read our Growth in a Changing Economy report here to learn how fast-growth brands and retailers are overcoming barriers to growth. 

In partnership with Clipper

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