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Getting maximum benefit from your marketing toolbox
Recently, member and marketing consultant Steve Gunn, of Steve Gunn & Associates, presented to members on how to get maximum benefit from their “marketing toolbox”. Here we summarise some of the key points. Steve started by asking the question, “If I asked you which tools you use, when you use them and why you use those particular tools – how many of you would be able to give me and answer.” The rationale for the question was that there are so many choices these days that some businesses simply follow the herd and focus on one or two “in” tools and techniques without considering:
1) Whether they are appropriate and effective for their particular business and its objectives
2) How they complement each other and integrate with other marketing activities.
Steve commented that the group had probably all attended networking meetings where they had been told that: “video is a ‘must-have’”; “you must ‘do’ social media”; “email marketing is what you need”; or “nothing beats a quality printed document”, and added that his aim was to “Shed some light on how to use your marketing toolbox.”
Back to basics
Steve used the task of converting prospects into delighted, repeat customers to illustrate the principles.
So what tools do we have available to help us?
Plenty! So the challenge is: Which tools to use when, and for what purpose?
Steve said that over the years he had seen any number of pronouncements about the “next big thing” come and go! People said, “Traditional advertising is dead – you need direct marketing; you need exhibitions; corporate videos; multimedia; online advertising; SEO; PPC; video; social media”.
Eventually we learn the capabilities and limitations of each and how it compares to other tools, and we work out where it can best fit into our marketing efforts.
One challenge is, “How do we meet the varied communication needs of different groups such as prospects and customers, as well as other important stakeholder groups?” Steve suggested we develop specific plans and objectives for each key group and choose appropriate vehicles to cater for the different needs, for example, a prospect carrying out a preliminary high-level scan of “what’s on the market” compared to a regular customer considering purchasing one of your new products. Different tools and different executions can help meet these diverse needs, for example:
- Concise flyers with bullets vs. brochures vs. white papers, technical reports, etc.
- Short copy web pages vs. long copy web pages.
- Short awareness ads vs. long copy ads.
- Long copy direct mail.
To help us in our planning there are some models of how a person moves from “unaware” to becoming a customer. Some of these models are better than others. None is perfect.
They tend to go through three basic phases; in psychology speak these are: cognitive (in simple terms, what does one know or think about the subject – your business, product or service!), affective (one’s feelings and attitudes towards the subject) and conative (one’s behaviour towards the subject).
Sales people will be familiar with the AIDA model – “Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action”. Another popular variation used in marketing is the Lavidge and Steiner Model.
So what are the implications of this?
The consequences when marketing anything more than a simple, inexpensive product or service to someone in the unaware phase compared to someone with already knows your company and has a favourable attitude towards it are:
- If your prospect is in the unaware phase, with little or no knowledge of your company and its products or services, you can't just give them the specifications of a product or service and hope they’ll buy. You need to build awareness and knowledge about the company and its reputation; an understanding of what the product is and does, and the benefits it will bring the customer; as well as a degree of positive attitude, before diving into the details.
- On the other hand, if you’re talking to someone who already knows what you do and has a favourable opinion of your business and products, you can discuss the specifications and attendant benefits immediately.
The “risk” attached to the purchase has an effect – you are more likely to buy a simple, inexpensive product or service on the basis of ittlle knowledge and limited trust in the supplier than you are a more complex, expensive product. Steve illustrated this by looking at the process a consumer may follow when purchasing an expensive new camera, compared to the one the same consumer may follow when purchasing a simple can opener for the kitchen.
Things that will impact upon the process the prospect follows and the amount and type of information they require are: the complexity of product/service; the stage of the cycle that the prospect is at; the cost of the product or service; and the risk of failure (I’m sure we’re all familiar with the old adage, “No one ever got fired for buying IBM”).
To help members select the appropriate tools and technique for the job in hand, Steve provided a chart showing which tools would be more effective at the various stages of a prospects journey from awareness to action (hopefully purchase!).
Once you decide which tools and techniques to use and start creating marketing collateral, Steve advised members to put themselves in the shoes of their customers. “If a marketing person shows you a concept for a nice brochure, website or video, etc., make sure you don’t get overwhelmed by first appearances and think ‘Wow this is flash and has lots of bells and whistles - I want one just like this’. Instead, put yourself in the shoes of your target customer and then ask yourself, ‘If I was a customer of my business and was shown this brochure, website or video, what impact would it have on me. Would it make me think, ‘Yes, these people have the expertise, products and / or services that can help me solve my problems or achieve my goals’.”
The good news is that no one could or should try to use all of these tools and techniques. Pick those appropriate for your products/services, audiences and their stage of the journey, markets, objectives and budget. When it comes to the objectives, consider, “Where are my audiences on the journey and, consequently, what do I need to do, raise awareness with audience X? Generate preference and conviction? Etc.”
For help with your marketing strategy and execution, contact Steve today for more information:
Recently, Handy Croissant member Theresa Marks of AddHR spoke to the group about the importance of accurate and reliable data for the HR function and the potential costs of not getting this right. She illustrated the subject with some case studies.
The Members of Handy Croissant would like to invite you to a Business Breakfast at The Holiday Inn High Wycombe (J4, M40) on Friday 9th October 2015, 7.15am – 9am.
R.S.V.P to Jerry Hughes, Chairman. Tel: 07973-749176. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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- Right customer.
- Right terms.
- Right process.
Rita went on to explain each of these elements in detail.
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Handy Croissant member Steve Gunn of Steve Gunn & Associates Ltd recently presented on the topic of effective planning of communications activities with the aim of helping the members to make their communications activities more successful and cost-effective
At a recent Handy Croissant meeting, group member David Banes gave a presentation entitled “It’s only email”. Drawing on his experience in the IT industry, where his work encompassed IT security and anti-spam technology, David outlined:
- Some of the ways in which people, especially in small business, abuse their business email accounts when sending marketing emails, and how to improve the situation.
- The dangers posed by incoming email and some ways in which you can mitigate them.