Marketing an elite equestrian brand is no walk in the park. Many marketing companies cannot properly market an equestrian brand because they don’t understand how the horse world works. Many equestrian marketing companies cannot properly market an equestrian brand because they don’t fully understand how corporate marketing works. If you’re marketing a small farm or a local rider, any marketing agency can get away with promoting the brand enough to show minimal results. However, when it comes to working with the horse industry’s top equestrian brands, these agencies are going to be walking away with their tails tucked between their legs and left to reevaluate their strategies.
The major elite equestrian brands you see in the industry today are not there by mistake, they are there through extremely precise, tactical, and relentless marketing. This doesn’t only apply to equestrian, but applies to every industry you see in any market. Coca-Cola is not one of the largest, most well-known, and powerful companies in the world through product quality and customer service, Coca-Cola reached that status through marketing strategy and implementation.
There are hundreds and thousands of different marketing techniques, ideas, and strategies that can be used to market an elite brand, however there is only one thing that matters: the results. As a brand, if your marketing agency has 8,000,000 genius ideas, but can’t produce results, then you’ll find a company who can. As an agency, a brand is paying you to produce results. If you can’t do that, then your days in this business are numbered.
Our company: NewStyle Digital currently markets some of the equestrian industry’s top equestrian brands including: Parlanti Roma, Parlanti Passion, Kingsland, Horse Gym, Kask, Personally Preppy, Jin Stirrup, Memo Gracida, and many other equestrian companies, riders, and agencies. We have worked with many of these companies for years providing results that have exceeded their expectations. To help brands, agencies, and riders who are looking to produce top-shelf results, we have compiled a list of the Top 10 Tips to Marketing an Elite Equestrian Brand.
1) No Brand Can Be Marketed the Same Way As Another
As a marketer, duplicating a campaign or strategy should never be an option. Different brands have different ways that they want the world to see them. Elite brands differentiate from their competitors, not assimilate. A brand’s marketing strategy should be like a fingerprint: from far away they look the same as another, but as you get closer you’ll see the similarities begin to disappear. If you want to be the best, you can’t be like the rest.
2) Always Be Planning
Marketing is a game of chess. You need to plan your moves in order to be effective. “Riding by the seat of your pants” is a guaranteed way to ensure that you’re not going to get the results you want. If you plan, coordinate, and execute (in that order), then your chances of producing an effective result multiplies exponentially. Planning needs to be coordinated for the long term and the short term.
3) Be Consistent With Your Image
“A river cuts through rock not through sheer force, but through consistency.”. The golden rule when it comes to marketing an elite brand is to maintain consistency across all channels. This means that you logo, your website, your business cards, your social media profiles, your advertisements, your marketing materials, and all facets of your business need to be consistent and reflective of the image you are trying to portray. A strong and powerful brand is consistent on all levels.
4) Always Be On the Offensive
Small brands are always waiting for a bigger brand to come out with an idea, and then attempt to duplicate it. Big brands are always trying to adjust their strategies to be where their competitors are not before they have a chance to react. You can stay alive having a great defense, but a great offense is what puts you on the scoreboard. In a game of chess, if you’re thinking defensively the entire match, then you’re just simply trying to stay alive instead of thrive. Be the attacker and make the moves that your competitors will have to adjust to. Control the market or let the market control you.
5) Stop Outsourcing To “Friends”
Everyone is good at something. Friends are good at being friends, dogs are good at being dogs, and professional marketing agencies are good at marketing. You can’t hire a dog and expect the results you want, this is just common sense. Do you want the job done right by a seasoned professional, or by someone who is a friend who has minimal or moderate experience? Just imagine what would happen to Microsoft if Bill Gates put his best buddy “Jimmy” from high school in charge of their marketing campaign? If you’re serious about your brand and the results then you need to hire professionals. Business is business, and I’m sure your old college roommate will understand.
6) Find an Agency That is Technologically Savvy
It’s 2016, everything is digital from print ads to websites. If you aren’t ahead of the digital trends, newest software, and digital marketing opportunities then you’re really doing a disservice to your marketing clients. If your website design portfolio consists of websites that look like they were built in 1997, then I would have to assume that your marketing tactics will also be about 20 years behind as well. A good agency is going to be ahead of the technological curve, and not behind. If you want state-of-the-art results, then you need to find an agency who is state-of-the-art.
7) Be “In Your Face”, But Don’t Be Annoying
There is nothing more annoying then getting spammed to death with email blasts and promo materials. There are far too many brands and marketing agencies in the equestrian world using these spammy techniques. Not only are they not effective, but they actually ruin your credibility with the community, so stop doing it.
8) Stop Acting Like a 14 Year-Old On Social Media
We get it, your brand wants to fit in with the younger crowd. There are thousands of ways to target your equestrian brand effectively to the younger crowd without actually acting like you’re in middle school on your social media accounts. When I see equestrian brands posting things like “#equestrianSWAG” on their social media accounts I cringe in absolute horror. You’re trying to become an elite brand (or representing an elite brand), stop making your brand look like the owner put her 14 year old daughter in charge of the social media accounts. Imagine if you saw Longines post a photo to Instagram with the Hashtag: #RolexSWAGbyeFELICA. Even if you’re not a top brand, at least act like you are.
9) Create a Community
Creating a community of people who love and respect your brand is a must. This channel alone will be one of your company’s greatest marketing assets. When you create a community between customers, fans, and your company you are creating a bond of trust and reliability. Your customers and fans will love it, and you can even get feedback from your community on things such as how to make your products better, stronger, etc.
10) Understand Your Audience
As niche’ as the horse world may seem, there plenty of sub-communities within the equestrian world. You need to understand these communities and if they are an avenue that your brand would like to involve themselves in. The key to marketing is to have a brand with a cause, product, or service, and communicate that to your audience in a way that achieves desired results. If you don’t fully understand your audience (or don’t target an audience of benefit), then you’re really missing out. An elite brand knows who their audience is and everything that their audience loves and admires about the brand.
We hope you enjoyed these 10 tips and maybe even learned a thing or two! If you need help marketing your equestrian brand, check out our Equestrian Marketing Services.