How to sustain the marketing of your business


Christan Duncan co-founded his business 11 years ago and has made sure it keeps growing.

As Duncan’s tastes changed, his Atlanta-based clothing brand Honor Roll Clothing continually sold different types of products. Even if you change to meet the needs of the future, still have a way to remind yourself of your brand’s core values, he advises.

At a Fast Company Innovation Festival event, Duncan and David Rusenko, Managing Director of Ecommerce at Square (the conference sponsor) spoke about how you can prepare now for sales in the future.

Merge digital and in-person experiences

Many restaurants have added QR-coded menus after reopening for in-person dining during the pandemic. Push yourself to mix digital experiences more with in-person, advises Rusenko. For example, you could ask customers to use QR codes not only to view the menu, but also to submit orders.

When looking to improve or strengthen your technology, you don’t have to go far. Hire a consultant, find a better system online, and check out YouTube. It’s “a whole university for us,” Duncan says.

More texts and podcasts

For a long time, companies have established the conditions for interaction with customers. Banks are a good example: their hours are “the most inconvenient for everyone but very convenient for the bank”, jokes Rusenko. Now, customers expect to be met wherever they are – email, text, phone, Instagram – anytime. Duncan saw it with his own eyes with his brand after the pandemic started and canceled his main revenue driver, Events.

His team realized that in order to make sales, they needed more contact with customers. Honor Roll doubled down on email marketing and asked consumers if they wanted to receive text messages. Then the brand began to connect with consumers in a less sales-oriented way, such as texting to check out the brand’s new playlist. “The challenge then is what am I going to put in front of my clients that isn’t just ‘Buy something’?” he says. Another way the Honor Roll solved this was to create a podcast to help grow their brand, which also increased revenue.

Keep and refine your voice

The pandemic has helped Honor Roll “take a step back and think about how we can sell the brand instead of just selling a hoodie or a t-shirt or a jacket,” Duncan said. Taking a step back has also helped the company stay connected to its mission, even as it expanded its online presence and other communications verticals.

The most important thing, Rusenko adds, to make your business sustainable is to stand out among the hundreds of email communications and sales inquiries that people receive all day. Ask yourself what you’re going to say next to your customers, “and do it in a way that isn’t boring,” he says.

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