This article will explain how marketing has changed dramatically over recent years and how companies can leverage and use the latest marketing methods to take their business to the next level.
With over 40 years experience of running marketing agencies, Alan is one of the most experienced marketeers around and has worked for a full range of businesses from start-ups to multi nationals.
Has been at the cutting edge of digital marketing technology for the last 5 years & has ran campaigns which have amassed over 150 million impressions across various platforms.
There has been a huge decline in traditional marketing methods over the last 10 years. Traditional methods such as Newspaper, Radio and Direct Mail are consistently being outperformed by digital marketing methods and social media.
AF: I have been marketing all types of businesses for 40 years and haven’t seen such a change in marketing methods since the first advent of Apple Macs over 20 years ago. I was managing director for a large agency in the South East of England for 18 years in the 80’s and 90’s handling a number of blue-chip clients. Since AST marketing was formed in the late 90’s I have seen a revolution in the way marketing has developed. The challenge used to be tracking the success from the different media. As Henry Ford once said, “My marketing department tell me 50% of the marketing works, but they couldn’t tell me which 50%”.
This has now totally changed. With the explosion of digital marketing it’s now possible to accurately track all engagement and to get your message in front of the right person at the right time.
EO: The effectiveness of newspapers, radio and direct mail have all reduced exponentially over the last 15 years. This needs to be measured against the rise in digital marketing methods such as Facebook, Google and email marketing. The way these platforms can be used most effectively will be explained later in this article.
Online Presence is the key
AF: No matter what your personal view of social media is it’s imperative that your company has a strong online presence. It goes without saying that every company needs a website but that is only the start. Social media in all its different forms has become the biggest influencer of our time.
The first port of call for most people when they want to find out about something or make a purchase will online. In this article, we’ll explain the most effective ways of getting your product or service in front of the right target market but most importantly creating opportunities and ultimately sales.
EO: I have watched a momentous shift of attitude towards social media over the last 3-5 years, initially many business owners saw networks such as Facebook as an app which their kids use to talk to their friends.
However, we’ve shown our clients that the best place to advertise is where your customers place their attention.
In the past newspapers had peoples attention, people would read them on a daily basis for news & information but now people seek information on websites & social media via their smartphones.
Research your target market
AF: There’s no point in getting your sales message in front of the wrong audience, it’s a waste of effort and money, but this used to happen before the advent of online search tools. Now it’s possible target via age, gender, income, interests, geographical area and numerous other criteria. Just imagine the effect it would have on sales if the right message was getting in front of the right people, time and time again.
EO: Historically with most traditional marketing (Newspaper, Radio, Direct Mail) it has been difficult to solely advertise to your target market. The majority of online ad platforms (Facebook, Google, Linkedin) have incredibly sophisticated targeting options which allow us to hit the right people.
Some platforms have even surpassed manual targeting and have algorithms which work out the criteria of people that have bought products and find more people that match those same criteria but haven’t bought yet.
There’s never been more choice
AF: Marketing can be split into two parts, offline and online. Offline marketing includes press adverting, radio, direct mail, Point of Sale and TV. Whilst these types of media still have a place it’s very difficult to quantify their impact and conversion rate. You can include direct response coupons but in some instances these might not be appropriate.
Online marketing includes social media, websites and email sends. With the use of trackers, analytics and auto response mechanisms it’s possible to see exactly how many people have seen your message and what their online journey is. Most importantly it’s possible to gauge the return on investment making it possible to channel investment more accurately. The smart companies are embracing online media and have seen spectacular results.
There’s a huge amount of choice of platforms to advertise on but that has presented an opportunity to use a strategy called “Omni-channel marketing”
It’s possible now to set up campaigns where people may see a Facebook ad, followed by an email, then an Instagram ad and then if they’ve shown an interest they’ll be retargeted by another Facebook ad.
There’s an old sales & marketing theory called the rule of 7, the concept is that people are most likely to buy after they’ve had 7+ “touches” from a company or when they’ve seen a companies message 7+ times.
Omni-channel marketing helps speed up this process.
AF: Because there is so many media platforms to choose from its easy to dilute your brand and send out mixed messages and be inconsistent with your corporate identity. It’s vitally important to maintain a consistent identity so people will become familiar with what you are saying and will recognise communications when they are consistent. Some of the largest companies employ people whose sole purpose is to ensure that all marketing initiatives adhere to the agreed corporate identity guidelines.
EO: Brand consistency prevents you from confusing your customers with mixed messages, this is why it’s essential to send the same consistent messages throughout the different marketing channels.
Points of difference is still the key
AF: The only way that people can decide whether to buy any product or service is their points of difference or USPs. Points of difference can become the brand values of a company. For a restaurant the differences can be the décor, the type of food and ingredients used, they might have a different type of reward scheme or online recipes. For a garage it might be a coffee lounge when your car is being serviced, it could be invitations to a variety of events, or a valuable recommend a friend scheme. The differences don’t have to totally unique but having several memorable differences it’s possible to position your company differently to your competition. It can be worthwhile to invite employees to suggest initiatives with a reward scheme to those that are used.
Credibility is more important than ever
AF: Trough online channels it’s never been easier to post criticism about a company’s performance so satisfied customers should be encouraged to post reviews. It’s always more powerful to have a satisfied customer tell people how great your company is. The best time to ask someone to give a review is immediately after they received great service. On the other hand, it’s not possible to get it right all the time, so when you get a bad review, don’t ignore it but try and communicate and find a solution, you’ll sometimes fin that this will create a strong allegiance from the customer because you have been proactive in finding a solution.
Social media has been a game changer
AF: The impact of social media cannot be underestimated, it’s been proved to even alter the outcome of elections, which let’s face it, is pretty frightening. However, smart companies are finding the correct use of social media has had huge impact on their business. There are numerous platforms but the most successful ones for companies are Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Google. Gone are the days when sharing and liking posts worked. The biggest social media companies want to become major media players so to achieve real penetration you’ve got use paid for platforms where it’s possible to target markets in ways that couldn’t be dreamed of only a few years ago.
Build a sales funnel
AF: A lot of companies suffer from the peaks and troughs scenario, they become very busy so stop marketing or when they start slowing down market like crazy to get more customers. The smart companies are marketing all the time and building sales funnels because you will always find that customers will leave for all sorts of reasons so it’s important to keep the funnel topped.
A sales funnel is a system that leads customers through the buying and retention process:
You first have to create awareness, this is done through the marketing channels you are using. The next step is to create interest by getting the prospect to start interacting with you through engagement, this can be by clicking through to a landing page, a request for more information or a quote. Then, through nurturing a sale can be made. But the process shouldn’t stop there, customers should be contacted on a regular basis, so they become advocates for your business.
Complete the Circle
AF: Marketing should work hand in hand with the sales department. Through digital marketing it’s possible to track enquiries and opportunities, but sometimes a prospect will choose to phone a company or pay a personal visit, but these enquiries may also have come through interest created by the marketing. All enquiries should be tracked and fed back to the marketing department so the return on the marketing investment can be measured. By doing this the marketing can be adjusted accordingly. We have seen instances where the marketing spend has been quadrupled over a few months because the return on investment exceeded expectations.
Monitoring and Reviewing
Elliott Oshoko: The business environment is constantly changing, it may be the economy, competitor’s activity or new innovations. Consequently, it’s important that your marketing keeps pace with any changes. A regular marketing meeting should be held to monitor all activity and review the return on investment then take the necessary actions for the next period. This might be to increase spend where there has been success and reduce where necessary. You should also be constantly reviewing your competitor’s activity to stay one step ahead of the game
We hope this article has been of help. Marketing is going through a step change and it’s vital that companies keep pace with what’s happening.
There have never been more opportunities for businesses to effectively leverage digital marketing, If you would like to book a consultation to discuss how we can help you market your business cick here.
As an agency, we stay at the cutting edge of marketing which allows us to generate incredible returns for our clients.