The Five Types of Utility in Marketing

The Five Types of Utility in Marketing

How do prospective consumers spend their money? What matters to them when they make decisions about how much to spend, where to spend it, and which company earns their business?

This is the role of sales and marketing teams in your organization: Designing and deploying consumer campaigns to showcase the unique value proposition of your product or service so you stand out from the competition.

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The challenge? It’s not easy.

Customer preferences are constantly evolving in response to both external market forces and internal financial constraints. As a result, the reasons around how, when, and why consumers spend money are never static — companies must find ways to understand and articulate the value of service or product offerings in a way that both captures consumer interest and convinces them to convert.

Here, the concept of utility-based marketing is markedly useful. In this piece, we’ll explore the basics of utility in marketing, why it matters, and then dive into five common types of utility in marketing.

What is utility in marketing?

Put simply? Value.

While in a non-economic context the term “utility” typically means “usefulness”, the marketing-driven definition speaks to the specific value realized by consumers when they spend on products or services. Understanding utility in marketing can help companies both better-predict spending habits and design campaigns to capture consumer interest.

Why Marketing Utility Matters

Historically, marketing efforts have focused on making an impression. It makes sense — if consumers notice and remember your print, email, or television ad campaign, you’re better positioned to capture their spending when they see your brand again in-store or while shopping online.

The problem? With so many companies now competing for consumer interest both online and in-person, market saturation is a significant concern. Even more worrisome? As noted by a New York Times article, “people hate ads.” Oversaturated and overwhelmed by ads across desktops, mobile devices, and in-person, prospective buyers are now tuning out enterprise efforts to impress.

Instead, they’re looking for utility. This is the goal of utility-driven marketing: To offer consumers functional and useful products or services that provide a specific benefit or can be repurposed to serve multiple functions.

When done well, utility marketing can create stronger bonds between customers and companies, and drive increased brand loyalty over time. It’s a slow-burn process rather than a quick-spend process and one that serves a different purpose — connecting customers with brands based on value, not volume.

The Five Types of Utility in Marketing

Despite our definition, the notion of “utility” in marketing remains fairly nebulous. That’s because trying to identify the exact value offered by your products or services to a specific customer segment, and how best to communicate this value effectively, is no easy task.

As a result, utility in marketing is often broken down into different types, each of which can help inform better ad building and effective sales outcomes. Depending on how specific — or how generalized — your marketing approach, however, it’s possible to identify anything from one massive utility model to hundreds of smaller utility types for each consumer segment.

To streamline your audience targeting and campaign creation process, we’ll dig into five common types of utility in marketing.

1. Utility of Time

This is the “when” component of utility: Is your product available when customers want it? Will it arrive quickly and without complication? Consumers want to spend as little time as possible waiting for products to arrive in-stock or at their homes — as a result, utility of time is critical to capture consumer conversion on-demand.

Time utility also accounts for seasonal changes in purchasing habits; for example, sales of boots and gloves spike in the winter, while ice cream sees greater demand during the summer.

Some products are staples and are therefore time-resistant — such as groceries — but still need to be in-stock and delivered on-time. As a result, time-based marketing efforts are inherently tied to inventory and delivery systems to ensure outcomes meet consumer expectations.

2. Utility of Place

Place utility refers to the ability of consumers to get what they want, where they want it. Often applied to brick-and-mortar stores, utility of place is paramount for customers looking for familiar items that are easy to obtain.

In a world now driven by digital marketing efforts, place offers a competitive edge if companies can showcase their capacity to keep specific items in-stock at all times. And as improved logistics chains shorten the time between order and delivery, it’s possible for ecommerce operators to leverage place utility as a market differentiator.

3. Utility of Possession

Possession utility speaks to the actual act of product possession — such as consumers driving a new car off the lot or having furniture delivered to their home. It also highlights the connection between possession and purpose.

Consider plastic storage bins. While they might be sold in the “kitchen” section of an online or brick-and-mortar store, consumers are free to repurpose the items as they see fit once they take possession, increasing their overall utility.

4. Utility of Form

While some companies offer lower prices by shifting the responsibility of assembly to the consumer (e.g. that new dresser that you bought and had delivered, but still need to assemble on your own time), finished forms are often more valuable to customers.

Consider complex products such as vehicles or electronic devices — by highlighting the finished form of these items, companies can reduce potentially purchasing barriers by making it clear that consumers will receive feature-complete products that don’t add the complexity of self-assembly.

5. Utility of Information

Information utility is a new addition to this list, but in a world where competition for even basic goods now happens on a global scale, information can make the difference between successful sales and failed conversion efforts. Information utility speaks to any data that helps consumers make buying decisions. This includes product details on ecommerce pages, targeted marketing campaigns, and well-trained call center and in-store agents capable of answering customer questions.

Simply, the right information at the right time improves market utility and increases the chance of sales conversion.

Creating Customer Value

The ultimate goal of any marketing strategy is to create customer value. While not every campaign requires the complete implementation of all five utility types to improve conversion and customer satisfaction, general knowledge paves the way for implementation to deliver value at scale.

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The 5 Types of Social Media and Pros & Cons of Each

The 5 Types of Social Media and Pros & Cons of Each

Marketers commonly use social media to increase brand awareness, generate leads, and improve traffic. If you’re tasked with starting a social media strategy for your company, you might be wondering which type of platforms you should be on. Your platform choice will likely change based on your audience.

The list of social media platforms is growing, and well-known platforms like Facebook are always evolving and adding new features. With a greater and greater need for a social presence and an overwhelming amount of platform choices, it can be hard to pick which social channels to use.

You might not want to spread yourself too thin by managing a channel on every imaginable platform, but you also don’t want to miss great brand-awareness opportunities.

To help you make informed decisions about which platforms to use, this post will guide you through some of the core types of social media, examples of platforms within each category, and the pros and cons that each type might present. By the end, you should have a much clearer idea of what kind of social media strategy will work for your business.

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Social Networking

Examples of Major Platforms

Social networking is possibly the most traditional form of social media.

Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are often called “networking” platforms because they allow user accounts to interact with each other in a variety of different ways.

Professional Uses

If you’re a small business, like a restaurant, a platform like Facebook could be a great place to start your social strategy. With Facebook, you can build a business profile that includes links to your website and details about your menu.

Once your profile is all set up, you can post regular updates about your business, “like” other pages, and answer customer post comments or messages. Business profiles also allow other Facebook users to give you reviews.

For companies looking to offer a professional service, B2B or publishing companies, LinkedIn is another great way to grow your following. LinkedIn emphasizes career-related networking.

Brands looking to build an audience of professionals from a certain industry can create a business profile there, categorize it with an industry type, and then use posts and messaging to publish updates. They can also use messaging and comment features to interact with their audiences, or users who comment on their posts.

A Twitter account could be helpful to companies in a wide spectrum of industries, from entertainment to e-commerce. This platform similarly allows you to create a profile where you can list and link company information.

You can then use Twitter to post about company updates, tag companies or customers in posts, retweet positive customer tweets, and respond to customer questions via tweet or direct messages. Like Facebook, you can also post content like photos or videos.

On all three networks, users can easily communicate with others through simple actions like tagging, hashtagging, commenting, private messaging, reacting to posts, and re-sharing content.

Aside from social interaction, newsfeeds on common social networking platforms are designed to show off a mix of text and visuals, rather than one primary content type.

This flexibility makes social networking platforms easy to begin a social strategy on because you can experiment with different forms of content before branching out to platforms that require more specific content types.

Here’s an example of Facebook’s newsfeed:

Facebook newsfeed

For those who want to dabble in video or graphics, these platforms could be a great place to test this new content. With the growth of video marketing, many have begun to launch more advanced features like Facebook Stories and Twitter’s live streams.

Platforms like Facebook and Twitter have also started to encourage native video and photo uploads more heavily. Recently, Facebook even adjusted its algorithms to favor live video and image uploads. This has caused these types of native content to gain greater user engagement.

If you’re still not sure where to get started, check out our beginner’s guides for Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Pros and Cons

Pros

Cons

Photo Sharing

Examples of Major Platforms

Two of the biggest platforms that specialize in photo sharing are Instagram and Pinterest.

Instagram offers a visual feed with posts showing photos and short videos followed by a caption. Users can also post live video or create Instagram Stories that disappear after one day. Like the social networking platforms above, users can interact with others through tags, likes, comments, or direct message.

Professional Uses

This platform would be helpful to companies like restaurants or stores that want to photograph and display and update followers about their food, goods, or products in a crisp, clean way.

Instagram has become a home to influencer marketing, as 93% of influencer campaigns took place on the platform in 2018. It also offers opportunities for advertising and ecommerce because of its highly-visual layout.

Unlike some social platforms, Instagram emphasize visuals and doesn’t allow link sharing directly in posts. Basic users on Instagram can only share links in their bio. Verified users, or accounts with over 10,000 followers, can post links in their Stories.

To show you how visual the platform is, here’s a look at Instagram’s search feed:

Instagram search feed

Although basic users have minimal linking options, Instagram has tried to make the platform even more friendly for ecommerce businesses with the addition of Shoppable posts.

Pinterest is well-suited for ecommerce companies, such as those who sell home goods, and businesses that would like a place to share crisp standalone product images with links.

It similarly offers a photo-based feed with posts that can include a photo and short description. Unlike Instagram, it allows all users to link directly to websites or product landing pages in posts.

One interesting aspect of the platform is that users can heart posts from others, or assign them to a themed “board.” For example, users might make boards centered around topics like “Inspirational Quotes” or “Bedroom products.”

Once a board is created, other users can also follow it. A business could potentially make a board with their own product posts, or find their products on another user’s board.

Here’s an example of what a board looks like:

Pinterest Home and DIY board

Before getting started on one or both of these platforms, you’ll want to determine whether your goal is to gain brand awareness or link-based traffic.

While Instagram and Pinterest can both be helpful tools for product shots and brand awareness, Instagram’s active audience is much larger than Pinterest’s. Instagram has also hosted over 25 million business profiles.

When choosing a platform, you may want to consider your content-related bandwidth. Both require visual imagery, but you might also need to include video creation within your Instagram strategy. Here’s a great guide that demonstrates what it takes to gain followers on Instagram.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Platforms like Instagram help with brand awareness. Approximately 60% of people say they’ve learned about products or services on Instagram.
  • Pinterest and Instagram provide an outlet for showing off visual content or product shots.
  • Platforms like Instagram also allow you to experiment with visual or short video content

Cons

  • Upkeep on these platforms might require a photo budget or dedicated production time.
  • Some platforms, like Instagram, require you to post from a mobile app.

Video Sharing

Examples of Major Platforms

Professional Uses

Roughly 88% of marketers say video gives them a strong ROI and 90% feel the level of video competition has increased. Adding a video platform to your social strategy could make your brand look relevant and keep you up to speed with your competitors.

Video can be helpful to a wide range of industries. While a restaurant could have a vlog with cooking tips, a technology company might focus its video strategy around product demos.

To help you pin down a strategy that’s right for your industry and service, check out our video marketing guide.

When it comes to long-form video, Youtube and Vimeo are the leading platforms. While Youtube has the bigger audience base and better SEO capabilities, Vimeo’s smaller platform is very community driven.

Youtube also seems to have better opportunities for advertisers and monetization, while Vimeo offers viewers the perk of no pre-roll ads.

For a longer list of similarities and differences, check out this head-to-head piece where we compare the business capabilities of Vimeo and YouTube.

Along with Youtube and Vimeo, the more traditional social networking platforms have also begun to embrace video marketing more aggressively. In the last few years, Facebook launched Facebook Stories and Facebook Live, and added a tab on their mobile app dedicated to video. Meanwhile, Twitter has allowed users to launch live video streams which are powered by its Periscope software.

Pros and Cons

Pros

Cons

Interactive Media

Examples of Major Platforms

Apps like Snapchat and TikTok allow users to share photos and videos, they also have a variety of unique interactive and highly experimental features. These two apps include AR/VR filters, musical overlays, and interactive games. Their audience bases are also prominently Gen-Z.

Professional Uses

Because mainly large companies are just starting to experiment with these new applications, marketers who are just beginning a social strategy don’t need to prioritize these interactive apps before traditional social networking platforms.

The large companies on these platforms tend to produce high production-level content. Brands with large followings might also publish Snapchat Stories, or videos that are curated from fans. Without a high-budget or giant online following, these strategies might be difficult for a company that’s just starting out on social.

Brands and influencers on these apps tend to cater their content to the platforms’ younger audiences. For example, on Snapchat, you might see stories that present beauty tutorials, wellness tips, news, or trendy new products.

If you’re really interested in interactive media, there are still a few viable ways you could get involved with Snapchat or TikTok.

While major brands, like VICE and BuzzFeed have become Snapchat Discover partners, the average business can still create a Snapchat business account that can be searched and friended by users. This account allows you to send publish temporary stories, just like individual accounts can. However, those with a business account can also purchase ad space.

Here’s a comprehensive video that explains how to use Snapchat:

If you’ve set up an account, check out this guide to getting started on Snapchat.

TikTok, an app based around short, repetitive clips — similar to Vine — offers five types of advertising options for businesses. While large businesses may find value in all five, smaller businesses may lean more towards “In-Feed Ads.” These ads are 9-15 second clips that can be skipped by the user.

Guess is one notable brand that has used its account to create trending campaigns with trendy hashtags. Universal Pictures has also had influencers create posts to promote its films.

If you do test out these platforms, you might want to make sure your industry and content fits in with the young age demographic. You should also try to properly estimate the time and money that might go into keeping these accounts up to date and relevant.

Pros and Cons

Pros

Cons

  • Producing regular content could be expensive and time-consuming.
  • Business accounts aren’t promoted up-front on the Snapchat interface. You may want to promote your channel on your website or other social channels because users will need to search for you with your Snapcode or username.
  • Snapchat and TikTok are limited to mobile and aren’t as easy to use.

Blogging/Community

Examples of Major Platforms

Tumblr and Reddit both allow users to post about interesting niche topics, like memes, events, politics, and pop-culture. When users publish a post, these platforms allow other users to share them or add to the conversation with their own commentary.

Professional Uses

Both blogging and community building platforms could be helpful to those who want to encourage discussion around very niche industries or topics. For example, on these platforms, you might see discussion about anything from alternative health to machine learning.

By blogging, you can write posts about topics in your company’s industry and link them to your product or site. While many people have a blog on their website, platforms like Tumblr might be great to use if you haven’t set this feature up — or just want to see what others in your industry are blogging about.

With a discussion site like Reddit, you could share a link or a post about a specific topic on a discussion board related to your industry and see how users respond. You could also start your own board if a topic you’re looking to encourage discussion on doesn’t have one yet.

These two platforms specifically encourage web chatter and post shares from users that care about the same topics.

Both also allow users to follow you or subscribe to your blogs or Reddit boards so your content could show up on their feeds. Here’s an example of what Reddit’s feed looks like.

Reddit feed

When someone publishes something on Reddit, other users can up-vote or down-vote it. Up-voting makes a post show up higher in Reddit feeds while down-voting does the opposite.

On Tumblr, the feeds are organized by time. However, a post can show up higher when it is re-shared by other users. When a user shares or interacts with your Tumblr content, they give it a note. When they reshare, they have the option to post a comment with the post that gets added to a thread.

Here’s an example of how notes and threads can be used to encourage discussion:

Tumblr music recommendation thread

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Both platforms allow you to share text posts, photos, and videos about your business, brand, or individual thoughts.
  • These platforms enable you to start conversations about a topic.
  • Both platforms allow linking to outside websites.

Cons

  • Longer blog posts might take time to craft or write.
  • Getting downvoted on Reddit or no reaction from Tumblr users means your posts may go unseen.
  • Your audience might be too niche or limited to just those on the specific platform you use.

A Few Things to Consider

Before you start logging in and setting up your accounts on a bunch of platforms, be sure to consider these factors:

  • How much time do you have to devote to strategizing around a social platform?
  • Do you have resources for creating graphics or videos?
  • Do your goals involve boosting brand awareness, or traffic and revenue?
  • Will you need an additional staff member to run this platform, or will it be easy to maintain?

Once you’re on a platform or two, be sure to stay in the know of how it’s changing and what marketers are doing. For a current outlook, check out our Ultimate Guide to Social Media Marketing.

social media content calendar

A Foolproof Way for Achieving Success with Different Types of Videos

A Foolproof Way for Achieving Success with Different Types of Videos

Video marketing strategies work wonder if it’s teamed with different types of videos. Needless to say, videos are the best marketing tools to convey your brand message to your target audience.

With massive response from the consumers, online marketers nowadays prefer incorporating several kinds of videos in their video campaign. These tactics have a considerable success rate because of several good reasons-video is more engaging, more memorable and reaches the target audience more than any other type of contents.

As videos are one of the most dominating marketing trends with far-reaching effect, digital entrepreneurs have been conceptualizing new techniques to make the campaign more interesting. Showcasing different styles of videos would make your audience stick to your brand as they won’t lose interest in the information you offer.

Here’s A Foolproof Way for Achieving Success with Different Types of Videos

There are different types of videos in the marketing funnel. Take a look at the video style examples you must introduce in your marketing campaign.

1. Product Summary Videos

Videos that deal with product reviews are well-preferred by today’s consumers. Highlighting your products’ benefits would add perks for your brand. Marketing reports show that purchase decision of the present day buyer is significantly affected by videos. Consumers trust a brand when they go through the review of a product. Reviewing are the process of proving authority and genuineness of your product.

Product reviews are popular among business fraternity because they are affordable and influence the modern viewers’ mind significantly. These types of business videos have a shorter length, appealing style and relevant information. All these features make the target audience to get interested and view these videos. For fruitful results plan and share different types of product videos on the social networks where maximum viewing is foresighted. Customer experience is the vitality of business success, so to keep your existing and potential consumers satisfied you should provide them with recommendations what and why to buy.

product-review-videos

2. Company Culture Videos

Company corporate videos are the type of promotional videos that provide detailed information about your brand and organization to your target audience. Before buying a product or service, present-day customers always look for proofs. They want to know about the accomplishment of the organizations that offer them their products/services. According to research, when connected emotionally with the company-consumers respond better. Culture videos are those that showcase each detail of a company. Such videos may include a tour of the office or bits of employee interview or a company day out. Investing in a culture video would enable the target audience about the offered products/services and also create an emotional bonding with customers. Marketing experts suggest that company culture videos acculturate your brand. Through culture videos, you would also gain brand advocates who will share your message.

3. Vlog

Video blogs or Vlogs are one of the proven ways to attract potential customers to your company. These are different styles of videos in the video marketing world. In the content marketing world, too many written blog posts exist and needless to say most of them get lost because of their monotonous nature. Hence, video blogs are the best techniques that usher sheer engagement from your target audience. Vlogs are easy to produce and they require lesser investment. Digital marketers support vlogs that are of 5-minutes duration. If you start embracing video blogging your brand would become visible among your competitors. Experts suggest that instead of trying to come up with brand new content ideas for your business, plan to document your brand’s journey through a Vlog.

4. Event Videos

Among several types of videos, event videos have taken a front seat in the video marketing campaign. Posting event videos are the best way to introduce your existing and potential audience about the type of programs you held at your organization time and again. These videos mainly showcase the proceedings of a corporate event. Such videos are created in a polished and highly share-able fashion. Event videos can attract huge attention when shared on social platforms. You can upload your event videos on Facebook Live because this is the best channel that enables you to broadcast the entire event in real time to your Facebook friends. Sharing an event video can increase your brand’s online presence. To shoot an excellent event video, you can employ event production houses that specialize in shooting pre-event promotional videos.

5. Video Testimonials

Video testimonials are those types of video presentations that are reviews from your existing clients who have used your product or services. These reviews are genuine explanations for your brands. These testimonials act as official acknowledgments for your potential clients who can understand the potency of your product/service and consider buying those. You can incorporate these testimonials on your website homepage or the landing page where you have maximum traffic. Every testimonial video should also include a precise intro and outro. 

video-testimonials

6. Animated Explainer Videos

Explainer videos are those broadcasts that explain a product or service in depth to the existing and potential customers. Such videos include anything informational from sharing helpful tips or providing some teaching to the prospective clients. Explainer videos showcase step-by-step instructions to the clientele which are much-favored by them. Explainer videos have earned recognition in the industry for establishing expertness and authority. Consumers like to pose several queries before buying any product or service. Explainer videos provide answers to all the questions of the consumers. Hence, such videos have a far-reaching effect compared to other types of video styles.

7. Live to stream

Live-streaming videos are among the best video styled examples. Clients prefer them because they have the unique power of attracting the required amount of potential customers. You can utilize Facebook Live and Periscope to share your live streaming videos and interestingly these are channels that can broadcast to their audience whenever they want.

8. Presentation Videos

Presentation videos are another popular video formats that use short and powerful talks to influence the target audience significantly. Such videos have a global reach and thus preferred by more and more business organizations as the best video marketing tool. A presentation is a combination of events that also have features of the webinars. These are among the most compelling and shareable narrative videos. Presentation videos are the vital means of communication within the company and the audience. A compelling creation counts as one of the best means of establishing a positive image of the company on the digital space.

9. Tutorial Videos

Tutorial videos are the best ways to build your business reputation. These are the ideal source to attract potential clients. Brands can plan for coaching videos with informative and helpful contents. Such content should be more than just promotional tie-ins with the aim for soft selling. Formulate tutorial videos according to your brand specification.

tutorial-videos

10. Interview Videos

Video interviews are one of the proven ways to connect with a potential employer. A good interview video can leverage some productive discussion on LinkedIn or other favorite social channels. Interviews are the perfect way to introduce some authority into your bevy of engaging, funny, and humorous offerings. Video interviews are the excellent source of building relationships with potential referral partners also.  With  interviews videos you can introduce different types of videos on YouTube.