Four States Small Business Blog

What is a Marketing Bridge and Why Do You Need It?

Posted by Mark Zimmer on December 1, 2016 at 8:30 AM
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why-do-you-need-a-marketing-bridge.jpgThe concept of a marketing bridge for business was first introduced to radio advertisers in 1968, and it is arguably one of the most important elements of a company's marketing strategy. Simply put, it is the connection between what your advertising says about your business and what your customer experiences. It’s the forces that combine to make a sale. If your advertising tells people something about your business and they don’t see, hear, or experience it when they arrive at your store or contact a salesperson — in other words, if there is a disconnect — that's a problem. If any of these connections in the marketing bridge are broken or ineffective, it can affect whether your business makes a sale, thus affecting your bottom line. Advertising is the glue that holds the bridge together, but it is not a substitute for strengthening weak links.

Marketing Bridge: Forces Combining to Make a Sale

Building a bridge between advertising and your customer

Your marketing message should be consistent and be closely aligned with your sales strategy. Ensure that your marketing message is included in everything from the way your employees answer the phone to what’s printed on your sales receipts. It should be on your website, invoices, letterhead, and business cards. As noted above, advertising is the glue that binds together all the elements of your marketing bridge. In other words, advertising cannot stand on its own. Your marketing bridge is built by ensuring that your company delivers on its promises and makes a connection with the customer in a way that is consistent with your ads.

The marketing bridge consists of four major elements that are connected through advertising:

  • Your business. A convenient location, or multiple locations, is an important element in your marketing bridge. Don’t let poor accessibility — with parking, pickup, and delivery options — be a weak link in your marketing bridge. Also, building a reputation for honesty and trustworthiness is vital to a solid marketing bridge.
  • Price. You must provide a quality product that delivers a solid value for the price while ensuring that your price is competitive with similar products.
  • Merchandising. Customers don’t like dirty stores. Your location should be clean, well-lit, and attractive, so your customer is encouraged to return.
  • Personal selling. Customer service is vital to building a solid marketing bridge. Appearance and attitudes of salespeople are important. Thorough knowledge of the product and its benefits, and the ability to upsell, helps complete the marketing bridge.

Tips for connecting advertising and sales

Ensure that your advertising tells an honest and real story about your company. Never make false or exaggerated claims. Always follow through on promises and promotions. Merchandise items as they’ve been advertised. There’s nothing wrong with upselling, but never give the impression that your advertising was designed only to lure the customer into your store, as opposed to offering a good value. Train and educate employees so they can speak knowledgeably about the product and make valuable recommendations to the customer.

The Value of using a Marketing Bridge

By ensuring that the customer experience aligns with your advertising, you build trust and loyalty. The result is stronger relationships with your customers, resulting in future sales, referrals, and growth.

It’s vital that all employees — particularly the marketing and sales teams — understand the importance of a marketing bridge. The connection between your brand’s advertising message and your customer’s experience can be the difference between a successful marketing campaign and one that fails. It’s important to ensure that there are no weak links in your marketing bridge and to recognize that a great advertising campaign will be ineffective if the underlying structure of your marketing bridge is not solid.


Topics: Small Business Resources, Marketing Strategy