Monday, 23 November 2009

Integrated marketing

Marketing a product or service has many challenges. First, there is a need to raise awareness of the brand and promote it's promise; second, the marketing activity must drive sales and get customers to sign on the dotted line. Creating a truly joined-up marketing campaign is the ultimate challenge for every marketer.

Traditionally, marketers have thought in terms of above-the-line for brand building and below-the-line for response. Now the line is more blurred. Pressure on budgets means there is rarely room for campaigns that do one thing or the other: we are being forced to think holistically.

The danger of enforced cutbacks is that we think excessively about channels and too little about target markets and niches. The standard response to reduced marketing budgets has been to make wholesale cuts to specific media and channels. The most dramatic cuts have occurred in newspaper and magazine advertising, swiftly followed by direct mail and sponsorship. The principle beneficiary has, of course, been e-mail marketing and social media, not I suspect because they work, but because they are quick and cheap.

We need to carefully consider if these lower cost media are really effective alternatives.

Rather than scrambling for social media programmes, marketers need to step back and realise that it is the interaction of a variety of media that raises awareness and ultimately drives a purchasing decision. A reduced budget should be addressed with focus on a more tightly defined and better understood target audience, not 'we cannot afford to advertise' or 'we cannot afford the direct mail programme'.

An integrated marketing approach is not, in itself, a strategy: it is the tactical implementation of a marketing strategy. The distinction is important, because without the right strategy, no amount of talk about integrating channels and mediums will make any difference.

When all is said and done, an integrated marketing approach is not an option, it is essential. The notion that different channels perform different roles is wrong.

Monday, 2 November 2009

Moving on up - new offices for The Marketing Eye

Today is another big day for The Marketing Eye as we move into our new offices in Uckfield town centre.

After two very happy years in East Hoathly, we now need to be nearer to our clients and give ourselves more space as we work towards our medium term vision of being the most sought after provider of marketing services in the South East.

The new offices at Nelson House in the High Street provide us with 1100 square feet of working space, separate meeting facilities, a staff area and customer parking. We hope the town centre location will be appreciated by our clients and employees alike.

At the commencement of our search, we looked at properties as far afield as Lewes, East Grinstead and Tunbridge Wells, but we decided to stay in Uckfield because of its central location and friendly business community. While our clients are spread across London and the South East, we have a loyal following in Uckfield and want to build upon it. At the same time, Uckfield allows us to reach Eastbourne, Brighton, Tunbridge Wells, Haywards Heath and Crawley with ease and London is but a short train ride away.

The wisdom of committing to new premises and a larger team when the economic climate remains so uncertain will be questioned by some. At The Marketing Eye, we believe dealing with the recession is a state of mind: we can let it crush us and demoralise us, or we can accept it and work hard to overcome it. We prefer the latter option. There is business out there for those willing to go out and find it and finding it we are.

Now, faced with the prospect of unpacking boxes, plugging in computers and re-printing stationery, our first priority is to maintain business as usual for our valued clients. We will throw open the doors to our friends and neighbours with an official opening event very shortly.

We leave the beautiful Hesmond’s barn with a heavy heart, but great excitement and optimism for the future.

Foot note
We would like to take this opportunity to thank and recommend the following businesses for their help with our move.
Chris Boakes - Acumen Business Law - for all legal matters
James Neeter - Neeter Solutions - for organising our telephony requirements
Tim Knibbs - Knibbs Computer Services - for taking care of our IT and cabling needs.