Upstream vs. Downstream Marketing: What’s the Difference?

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Whether you think so or not, as a small business owner you are a marketer. You want to attract customers, fulfill their needs, and continue building positive relationships for your business and your brand.

Think of all the ways you promote your business: Social media, tradeshows, emails, advertising, store displays – the list goes on. This makes you what we call a downstream marketer.

As the title of this post suggests, there is such a thing as upstream marketing, too. So what can you do to satisfy both ends of the marketing spectrum and how will doing so help your business? Direct Capital will tell you.

The Difference

Downstream marketing, as we said, is the most common. It’s what everyone thinks of when they hear the word “marketing” – the product promotion, public relations, and advertising type of marketing. It’s considered downstream because, “they enhance the acceptance of a product or service that already exists.”

Upstream marketing, on the other hand, focuses more on the strategy and analytics behind fulfilling customers’ needs. Because you have to understand your customers and develop a plan to target them in the right way, upstream marketing happens at a much earlier stage. Upstreammarketing.com writes, “It analyzes how the end-users use the product or service and what competitive advantage will be required to win the customer and at what price point.”

Going Upstream

You already have a pretty good idea of how to be successful at downstream marketing, so allow us to help you start going upstream. First, it’s important to focus on innovation and creating new things. We know this is probably top of mind for you always, but try to put it in a different perspective by:

  1. Discovering where the market is moving and how you can develop products that move with it.
  2. Asking yourself what your customers will want next and how you can meet those needs.
  3. Conducting research on long-term market trends to help predict future changes.
  4. Following other blogs or websites to see what businesses like yours are up to.

You can’t build a product (or many) around your customers if you are unsure who they are or what they are looking for. Some may call this ‘building customer personas’, others may just call it ‘understanding your audience.’ In this case, we’re calling it upstream marketing.

Without knowing all the pieces of the puzzle, you can’t successfully launch a product to your customer base. So the next time you’re planning something big, make sure to cover all grounds in your marketing.

For more information on Direct Capital and how we can help your small business achieve these marketing goals, give us a call at 866-777-0117 or click on the banner below!

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