Category Archives: Great Marketing

Is Facebook still relevant in 2013?

facebook still relevant
Is Facebook Still Relevant?
Personally, I am not big on Facebook. But without a doubt, Facebook has been a major force in the marketing arena, but is it still relevant today?

Often, this question is prompted by people looking at the stagnating numbers and the stock market performance of Facebook. That is really missing the whole point of the question. The relevance of Facebook should be tied to the subject matter of your question.

Are you asking if Facebook is relevant to your target audience? Or were you distracted by all the rhetoric surrounding its share price?

With 1.1 billion people on Facebook, do you really dare to say that Facebook is no longer relevant?

The key is to have an understanding of the medium. Managing media is a skill and an art. It is a job for professionals who know what they are doing. This principle has been applied in the areas of print marketing, radio, TV and direct marketing. At this stage of online development, it is foolish to believe that you can leave your social marketing to that young person in your marketing team who has 10,000 “likes” on his Kooky Holiday page. Really.

Any one who is willing to employ professional resources with the know-how and experience to manage the company’s online presence in general and its social media strategy in particular, will find that Facebook is as relevant as ever; if not more so.

Offline Promotion for your Online Business

Sometimes, we think too much. No where is it more true then where it applies to online marketing.

Compared to traditional marketing, online marketing can be considered “new”. Yet, the reality is that the break-neck pace of the online world means that learnings and evolution of the medium runs at a pace that far out-strips that of traditional marketing. Yet, many are still trying to figure it out.

I believe that it has already been figured out, we just find it hard to accept. After all, it is new media and therefore must come with its own lexicon of definitions, standards, processes and all the delicious complications that make “marketing” so mysterious and sexy, right?

Well, sort of.

The reality is that the old adage “The more things change, the more they stay the same” is really very true. The good old realities of promotions and marketing continue to hold true even online. Once the “Internet Bubble” burst, what remains is the truth that the Internet is nothing more than another medium of communications. It is a mega special interest group, if you like. It is like joining a Church Group, or joining a Gym; you join a community of people doing specific things and sharing specific things.

In other words, marketing online is no different than marketing offline. Which brings us to the title of “offline promotion for your online business”. It is actually a better idea than you think. Of course, you do have to promote your business online. But many people fail to realise that the offline route is just as effective, if not more so.

Rather than go into the details of how to do it, just go read my friend Laura Spencer’s excellent piece “Six Simple Ways To Promote Your Online Business Offline“.

I am sure you will enjoy it.

When Marketing Becomes Selling

I had an interesting conversation with someone yesterday, and it got me thinking. You see, an acquaintance of mine quit from his old job and wanted to get a new one. Naturally, he was asking around.

Of course, I had to ask him what type of jobs he preferred. As a trained Project Management professional, he naturally preferred program or project work. When I asked him how he felt about a business development role, his answer was quick and predictable.

“I don’t do sales. I have done some marketing work before and it was quite ok.”

So, marketing is not sales, and sales is not nice, marketing is acceptable. Good.

But if you looked around you today, there are a lot of jobs with the title “Marketing Something” and a lot of what they are expected to do are sales. Phony.

So, marketing – what exactly constitutes marketing? Let’s try to make a list

  • Brochures
  • Road Shows
  • Putting up Ads (print, outdoor, TV, online…)
  • Talking to Ad Agencies
  • Trade Show participation
  • Promotions and Events
  • Direct Mail

So, for the sake of argument, let’s assume the above list is correct. Now, we need to ask ourselves, what is the purpose of all those activities? Well, let’s make another list, this time, about what marketing is all about:

  • Brand building
  • Awareness
  • Customer Relationship (loyalty, repeat sales…)
  • Improve sales

Again, let us assume this is correct for now.  So, all the marketing folks are happy. You see, these are the things that marketing does.

Recently, there has been a trend towards accountability. What with the economy and the other disturbances, every penny saved is a penny earned. More and more attention is now being paid to the Return on Investment of Marketing Dollars.

Now, management wants to measure the results of marketing in a more tangible way.  For years, decades, marketers have been using brand awareness surveys, top of mind brand recall, customer loyalty index and so on to justify their spendings. But with the crunch on businesses, that has somehow become insufficient.

As most bosses will tell you, all the statistics are fine; but when it comes time to pay the salaries, a 20% increase in brand awareness with no money in the bank means absolutely nothing.

Marketing today needs to produce real, tangible results. Tangible usually refers to the area between the thumb and the forefinger. Most traditional, old school marketers clinging to their old ways disagree. Bringing in the cash is sales. Marketing paves the way. How can marketing be held responsible for poor sales?

Let’s examine the list of things marketing do once again:

  • Brochures
  • Road Shows
  • Putting up Ads (print, outdoor, TV, online…)
  • Talking to Ad Agencies
  • Trade Show participation
  • Promotions and Events
  • Direct Mail

Why give a brochure to someone if you don’t expect them to buy? Why waste time and resources at a Road Show if no sales are expected? Why advertise if you have nothing to sell? Why go to huge Trade Shows if you do not expect huge orders? Why run promotions and events if you expect no one to buy your products or services? Why waste the stamp money if you don’t expect a cheque in the mail?

Say what you like, when marketing becomes selling, it is an indication of two possibilities:

a) lousy marketing (your message must be pretty crude)

b) really effective marketing

What say you?

Going Organic?

The latest trend today is to “go green”. That is good. Don’t really know if that help us avoid 2012, but well, we do what we can.

So, thought I seen it all, until I saw this – Organic Cotton BABY WIPES. I am a little too old for this, but it did bring out the giggles. I fully understand the motivation and the attraction of the idea, don’t get me wrong here. But well, baby wipes?

Used to be that Organic Marketing had a totally different meaning. Now, new term like Sustainable Marketing and Triple Bottom Line are beginning to become common. Will it every become mainstream enough that you will not need to Google it to figure out what it means? Who knows.

Will you be on this band-wagon?

Increasing Sales

How do you increase sales revenue? There are only 3 known ways to increase your business legally:

  1. Get more customers
  2. Increase price
  3. Get existing customers to buy more

Usually, most companies focus on #1 – Get More Customers. This is intuitively the first reaction that any business person will think of. If I have more customers, I will make more money. Simple, straight-forward logic.

#2 – Increase Price seems to be the Freddy Kreuger of most busineses. No one dares to even think about it most of the time. Other times, this is entertained as a nice fantasy before getting on with the real business.

#3 – Getting existing customers to buy more is probably one of the most desired outcome for many business owners. Buy two get one free and other bundling offers is the epitome of this strategy. It is a good strategy, even though it does compromise margins, you make up for the shortfall in the bottom line by increasing the top line numbers. It could work in some cases.

The harsh reality is this – it is really hard to get more customers. It is easy to lose customers. This is food for thought. Let me ask you a question:

“Why does everyone prefer to think about how to do business the hard way?”

We have been taught that it is hard to succeed at business. So, if getting more customers is hard, then it must be the best way to improve business. There is no way that you can improve sales if you do not have customers. That is a given. However, once you are over that initial hump, do you really need to increase your customer base?

Getting existing customers to buy more is a no brainer. That will certainly increase revenue. Because they already buy from you, they KNOW that you provide a good product/service and they are willing to pay for it. They proved it once. They will do it again.

There is one sure way that we can increase price and ensure that customers buy more from us – provide a true and abundant value.

Giving more value than the customer expects is not about giving up margins. It is about buying good will. If we can learn to meet, and then exceed customer expectations, we will increase sales.

The problem is, how?

Thinking Out of The Box

Here is an interesting one – how do you think out of the box? More importantly, how do managers and business owners get their people to think out of the box?

Whether you are in marketing, sales, or operations; the ability to think out of the box is very important, right? Wrong.

Our entire education has been geared towards putting us INTO a box. We are taught the Laws of Physics, we are taught the Rules of Grammer and we are taught there is only one right answer – the one that scores the marks during an examination.

When you first start working, you are taught to toe the line, that your boss is always right; my way or the highway…

Suddenly, you are asked to think out of the box. Sure, you can do it, just tell me… which box?

That is the irony of it all. Bosses want employees who can toe the line, be team players, not rock the boat; then, when the going gets tough, you suddenly want these self-same people to think out of the box?

“Yes, Sir! Certainly Sir! What box might that be sir!?”

Creativity, initiative and so on is not a one-time exercise. It has to be part of the work culture, part of the value system. Nurture is important.

If you want your people to think out of the box, the easiest way to achieve this is as follows:

Don’t create the box in the first place.