Saturday, 28 March 2009
Professor Clemons argues that advertising is not trusted, not wanted and not needed. His target is internet advertising, but his comments might be said to apply to advertising in any form.
The main premise of his argument is that pushing a message at a potential customer when the message has not been requested and when the consumer is in the midst of doing something else, is destined to fail. He goes further and says that advertising is misdirection, almost a crime.
Nobody minds a point-of-view, but Professor Clemons is wrong and shows a lack of understanding of marketing and brand development. Advertising placed with the right frequency and in the right place works.
Search advertising is one of the most powerful forms of advertising precisely because it does not misdirect searchers, nor interrupts them, but instead provides the answers they seek: classified ads in print work for the same reason. A well designed brand advert in a glossy publication can be said to be an enjoyable part of the browsing experience while at the same time creating positive associations for the advertiser.
Businesses need to be visible and consumers buy from brands that they know and trust. Advertising supports these aims. While it is fair enough to wax lyrical about blogging (ahem), Twitter and other forms of PR, not everybody has massive reach through these media and nor are they always appropriate to the marketing objectives and target audience.
Advertising can be a money pit and there are alternatives, but the fact that there are options doesn’t discredit it as a tactic. Indeed, with the economy in turmoil, there is no shortage of places to advertise and prices are being driven down to acceptable levels. Don’t rule it out.
PS. If you think we should put our money where our mouth is, take a look at the back cover of South East Business this month.
Article by Eric Clemmons
South East Business - April edition
Saturday, 21 March 2009
The internet has brought great improvements in the measurability of certain types of marketing activity, but that doesn’t mean to say that anything which isn’t online or that can’t be measured in terms of short-term sales should be abandoned.
And we shouldn’t only communicate when there is work on. Maintaining contact during the quiet periods is key to keeping the relationship alive. Ideas include:
- Keeping in touch with regular emails, publications and phone calls
- Sending articles and clippings - ‘I saw this and thought of you’
- Dropping in to see the customer on occasions (not so scary really)
- Suggesting networking opportunities and potential introductions that might benefit the customer
- Using entertainment and hospitality.
The measurability of these pursuits is sometimes difficult to gauge, but only doing what we can measure will lead to many valuable activities being abandoned. Staying close to customers by increasing the level of contact now will stand every business in good stead when the economic conditions improve.
Tuesday, 17 March 2009
Friends, colleagues and followers will have noted that my use of Twitter has increased in recent weeks and it’s fair to say that some of my initial views are changing. Hands up, I’m genuinely enjoying Twitter. I’m not a voracious tweeter, but I do try to post regularly and it’s becoming a lot less taxing to remember to do it.
For the record, and so you can monitor our success, my goals for Twitter are to:
- Build The Marketing Eye brand
- Earn the respect of my peers
- Be visible
- Chart our progress
Twitter shows great promise as a tool to build the brand. The power and excitement is in its viral nature and there is a glow of satisfaction whenever a tweet or blog post is re-tweeted. This is still a rare enough event for it to be a real buzz.
Traffic to the blog and the website has definitely gone up. I can’t specifically attribute a new client to Twitter yet, but I’m willing to be patient. At the end of the day, I don’t think it’s a tool for direct selling – or not that I’ve discovered yet. If all else fails, Twitter is fun. To say that it disconnects us from real contact and relationships is nonsense. I also think it is harsh to say that people who Twitter don’t have enough real work to do. For some maybe, but Twitter for me is part of a strategy and merits the time that I apply to it.
Saturday, 14 March 2009
Brand values originated as a concept somewhere in the 1990’s when the understanding of branding evolved from being simply an exercise in corporate identity to it becoming a definition of the overall emotional experience.
Like most original thinking, however, it was not long before everybody jumped on the bandwagon and brand values became commoditised – a box ticking exercise devoid of any original thought.
I have lost count of the number of businesses I have seen that define their values as professional integrity, customer focus and team orientation, perhaps with a bit of politically correct social conscience thrown in for good measure. Frankly, if we don’t all have these values in our brands then we shouldn’t be in business in the first place.
So, if values are meant to be the foundation of a brand and the things that make it stand out from a crowd, what is the point of them if they are all the same?
Brand values have to be about more than just words. Rather than turgid mediocrity, we need to think about defining and measuring brands in terms of their emotional impact, both inside the organisation and outside it. This means:
- Attraction - the capacity of our brands to be a magnet for attention
- Energy - how our brands motivate action
- Stature - what we are respected for
- Spirit - how our brands can generate excitement and inspire.
Whether these are brand values or not, I don’t know and don’t much care. What I do know, is that this is what a brand should offer and stand for. Time spent working out how to deliver these elements will be far more rewarding than time spent looking through a thesaurus for a new word for 'integrity'.
Tuesday, 10 March 2009
The trick is to define the segment as tightly as possible. This is the essence of niche marketing - focus down on a group of customers that you can get to know very well and then ensure what you offer gives them the value they are looking for. Niche marketing helps you develop your products directly for their needs, and can save you a lot of wasted time and money in communications.
Friday, 6 March 2009
Wednesday, 4 March 2009
The representative from Yell came to see me on Friday to talk about the clients who we look after the Yell advertising for.
I had my speech prepared on how the printed Yellow Pages were dead for anything other than plumbers and double glazing companies and for our clients at least, it was now all about Yell.com.
To a large extent, he got the speech. He put up a good fight though and I was encouraged by many of the things that I heard. There are some interesting developments available now or on the horizon, which show Yell has been listening to its customers.
The objection about a lack of measurability of advertising in the printed directory has been addressed with the introduction of call-tracking. Call-tracking routes all calls through a dedicated local telephone number and allows accurate response statistics to be provided. Most business have no idea how many calls their Yellow Pages adverts are generating and this is, therefore, a step in the right direction.
More exciting is a move to pay-per-call charging. Using the call tracking system and combining it with predictive data, Yell will be able to base its pricing on the number of calls generated. Customers will decide how many enquiries they want over a certain period and Yell will use its data to advise on the size of advert required. The charging will be based on a cost-per-call and monitored through the tracking system.
I am told that cost-per-call should be available on Yell.com within a few months and for the printed directory in 2010.
Another innovation that catches my eye is the introduction of video into Yell.com. This gives businesses a great opportunity to talk to visitors and stand out from the crowd. At £1100 for a Yell produced video (which can also be used for other purposes) or £350 to up-load an existing one, the pricing is within reach of many businesses and is something that I will be talking to clients about. We might even try it ourselves.
To see innovation inspired by competition and changing customer needs is encouraging and reminds the rest of us that we need to react, not submit, to changes in our own markets.