It Was Acceptable In The 80’s

During the 80’s, it seemed like technology was everywhere. From the rise of the PC and Apple making computers cool, to bands on the radio drenching their sound in synths, things were moving forward fast. Of course, the world of marketing had its finger on the pulse of the era, and it was during the 80’s that advertising started to go digital. Electronic databases made it simple to reach out to existing customers and attract new ones with tempting deals. This also led to the development of “relationship marketing”, where companies provide customers with information that’s specifically relevant to them. Now, instead of giving everyone the same message, marketing could now be tweaked, making it a lot easier to reel in leads.

It was acceptable in the 80's - the history of marketing computer

It was also during the 80’s that companies started thinking bigger when it came to ads. One of the most famous adverts in history, Apple’s “1984”, was the brainchild of Hollywood director Ridley Scott, and cost almost a million dollars just to make. With a distinctive sci-fi feel that captured the feeling of the era, while also showing the Apple Mac as something futuristic and cool, the ad became an instant sensation. Despite being broadcast nationally only once, during the Super Bowl, it became such a talking point that news broadcasts even included clips of it that night- generating millions of dollars’ worth of free publicity for Apple. Just as Michael Jackson was pushing the boundaries of what music videos could be, now the marketing world was starting to think big, too.

With big corporations now regularly spending millions on ad campaigns, smaller companies needed a way of keeping up without blowing their budget. In 1984, Jay Conrad Levinson came up with a solution- guerilla marketing. In his book of the same name, he put forward a type of advertising based on the guerilla warfare used by small-scale armies to take on bigger enemies- by using everything at their disposal. By using these same sorts of tactics, and thinking outside the box, Levinson saw a way for small businesses to capture the minds of consumers without spending a lot of money. Guerilla marketing relies on creating a social buzz around a campaign, and relying on word-of-mouth to spread your message. Not only does it save a fortune compared to big-budget campaigns, but Levinson also saw it as a way of reaching out to a public tired of bland, boring print and radio ads. From art installations and spray-painted slogans to zany stunts like having people tattoo logos on their faces, all bets were off when it came to where companies would turn next for guerilla marketing.

It was acceptable in the 80's - the history of marketing radio

While the possibilities grew, so did the number of people who could put together their own marketing materials. With desktop publishing becoming commonplace, anyone with enough computer savvy and creative skills could put together a strong marketing campaign with real results. No longer was marketing something that only big corporations could afford- thanks to a wealth of smaller ad agencies, the 80’s marked a huge change in just how accessible marketing was to the average business. Businesses could even create their own marketing materials from scratch, making advertising a whole lot more democratic.

So, the 1980’s were a time of great change for the marketing world. At one end of the spectrum, big corporations were spending unprecedented amounts on campaigns designed to wow the public. At the other end, those without a big budget to spend were coming up with innovative new approaches that worked through word-of-mouth. However, everything was about to change with the advent of the internet- and next time, we’ll take a look at just what impact this had on how businesses looked at advertising.

In The Beginning…

It’s very easy to take marketing for granted. After all, we’re faced with it almost constantly throughout our daily lives, whether it’s ads on TV, direct mail through our letterboxes, or via the internet. However, have you ever stopped to wonder about how all these different marketing methods have developed? In this series, we’ll be taking a look at how marketing has evolved over the years, and how the world of marketing has always been quick to adopt new approaches and technologies to help savvy businesses stay ahead of the game.

In the beginning - the history of marketing trademarks

You might think that spam is something that only originated with email, but in fact it goes back a lot further. In fact, in 1864 a group of British politicians were sent an “urgent” message by telegram that turned out to be an advertisement for a local dental practice. From this simple example of a company trying its luck in getting a little extra publicity, a whole new approach to marketing was born!

Another important development in marketing during the nineteenth century was the use of trademarks as a marketing tool. Unlike patents, which protect inventors from having their creations stolen, trademarks deal specifically with marketing- usually with logos, product names, and so on. The creation of trademark law was a huge step forward for marketing, as it encourages businesses to do something to mark themselves out from the competition. Now, as well as advertisements, the product or company itself could be made a key part of marketing. The first ever trademark in the UK was issued to the Bass Brewery in 1876, for their distinctive triangle logo.

By the turn of the twentieth century, it became clear that marketing was a hugely powerful tool in the business world, and one that no company could afford to miss out on. “Business” now took on a whole new meaning, as companies competed with each other to capture the hearts and minds of their customers. To help train up a new generation of marketing gurus, the University of Pennsylvania was the first institution to offer a dedicated marketing course in 1905, entitled “The Marketing of Products”. The concept caught on, and within just three years the Harvard Business School opened in 1908. Now it was official- marketing was an integral part of business, and those who couldn’t keep up were doomed to failure.

In the beginning - the history of marketing type writer

Marketing has always been quick to adopt new technology, from the earliest radio ads in 1922 to TV advertising in 1941. That also included telemarketing, which started to crop up in the 1950s as more people started to get their own phone lines. While they might be annoying, there’s no doubt that telemarketing calls generate a huge amount of revenue every day- and the fact that it’s still going strong after over 60 years shows that older forms of marketing still have a place in an increasingly digital world.

In the beginning - the history of marketing telesales

Up until the middle of the twentieth century, marketing still used the same old tried and tested approaches, albeit using the latest technology available to deliver their message. By the tail-end of the 1980’s, though, it was clear that a change had to come, as the public started to get tired of the way they were exposed to marketing. Next time, we’ll look at how the 80’s gave businesses big and small some brand new ways of reaching out to the public- and making advertising a bit more fun!

I have over 11 years of experience in marketing and have had experience working across the ever-changing marketing approaches. If you would like to discuss your marketing CLICK HERE to arrange a meeting (if you sign up with us mentioning this article you will get a FREE blog article every month for the duration of your campaign)

What’s New on Social Media in 2017

It is one of the most powerful tools for businesses ever invented. Social media has transformed how we market ourselves and, for SMEs on limited budgets in particular, it’s an invaluable platform to set out a brand and sell a product or service.

Things are changing, however. Reaching customers is becoming more and more nuanced. Here are just some of the changes that are happening this year and are important if you want your business to succeed on social media.

  1. Social Messaging for Beginners

Forget standard Facebook and Twitter timelines. Millennials want the personal approach. Businesses are starting to engage on platforms such as WhatsApp, WeChat, Facebook Messenger and Viber.

Why? Evidence is beginning to show that users are loyal to a greater degree with brands that engage directly on these platforms. How are businesses doing this? Many are linking their ads on social media to chat windows which means users can engage directly with a brand and get the personal touch. It’s more labour intensive but it could also be a lot more profitable too.

  1. Live Feeds

They’ve taken a while to gain popularity but live feeds are starting to become an integral part of social media platforms, including Facebook. Across the provision, social media live streaming is growing and creating more engagement than standard marketing practices. Millennials are one major demographic who are attracted to live video feeds and sharing the right kind of content is going to be the challenge of 2017 for many businesses.

  1. Chatbots and Automation

There’s been a big conversation in recent times about how automation can be introduced, particularly for businesses that are struggling with the time needed to successfully engage on social media. Artificial intelligence is improving quickly and the latest chatbots can make users think they are talking to a real person. Putting aside the ethics of using automatic responses, there’s no doubt that many businesses are improving their customer service operations by introducing this kind of technology. Chatbots on social media can have numerous benefits and boost confidence in your brand particularly among those all-important millennials.

  1. Augmented Reality

It’s been around for a good few years now but is, at last, beginning to catch on. Facebook is starting to experiment with it following the recent success of Pokémon Go and the growth of Virtual Reality devices and apps. Basically, AR puts digital images onto the real world and there is a lot of potential for social media, and businesses, to make good use of this technology and provide a more immersive experience for fans and followers.

  1. It’s All Fake News

Made popular by new President Donald J Trump in recent months, the notion of fake news is one thing that your business shouldn’t ignore. Social media platforms such as Facebook are looking at ways of reducing the amount of fake news that is disseminated through click bait sites. For businesses, it may well be a case of keeping a look out and being sceptical about information they intend to pass on via social media. A lot, of course, depends on what your business is all about but quick retweets of interesting news snippets is going to be a lot more hazardous for your brand from now on.

It’s vitally important nowadays to have a coherent strategy in place for social media, including policies for what can be shared and what definitely shouldn’t. There’s no doubt that 2017 could be an interesting year for businesses, and leveraging your brand in new and exciting ways is going to take some deep thinking and a good deal of experimentation to find what works for you.

Building Your Brand on Social Media

It’s one of the most powerful marketing tools businesses today have at their disposal. It’s free to use and can help you reach thousands, if not millions, of potential new customers, fans and followers. It’s often also the marketing opportunity that businesses get wrong. If you think social media isn’t working for you at the moment, then changing your approach could make all the difference.

1. Regular Engagement

Consistency is vital on the web and that means having a firm brand identity and a plan for communicating with customers, fans and followers. Regular engagement is important if you want to keep your brand ‘alive’ and in the minds of those who follow you, whether it’s on sites such as Facebook or through the shortened communications of Twitter. It’s not just about throwing tonnes of content out there, however. Consistency in the quality is key.

While you should be looking to post frequent content, it needs to have the quality and the relevance that reflect your brand identity and the needs of your customers. This has to be consistent across different platforms as well, so that your messages stay uniform. Get this right and you will find that readers will engage better and know what to expect from your feeds. 

2. Reach and Authority

Respect is vital on social media and is another big part of building your brand. Creating authority is a difficult thing to achieve if you don’t have a strong brand identity. Know what you stand for and post content that reflects and you will instil a sense of authority for the people who read your posts.

That doesn’t mean you need to be dull when it comes to posting content. In order to attract more followers, you will need to project professionalism in your social media work. Of course, your content can be quirky and weird if it fits with your demographic and your brand. Unorthodox content can be highly popular with a wide range of people. But as you build your brand in social media, you should keep in mind that you should always respect your followers and other social media users. Not doing so can turn off a good part of your audience.

Reach and authority is a complex balancing act and you need to be clear about where you actually stand.

3. How to Be Responsive on Social Media

When getting involved in social media activities, it is important to keep in mind that your main goal should be engagement. Social media offers great opportunities in terms of connecting with readers and potential customers. You are not a static entity throwing out posts and hoping others will pass on your good news. Pretend that you are in a room full of people and your job is to network. That means you have to talk, you have to respond, you have to engage.

When your readers click on, recommend or share your content, your website benefits so it’s worth throwing out a thank you or at least reciprocating by sharing some of their content. And, if someone asks a question, answer them. Readers appreciate when you, as the website author, actively engage in conversation with them.

Finally, don’t be afraid to experiment. Watch what you competitors are up to and try different approaches and gauge how they work. Social media can deliver success for any business, it’s just a question of finding the right formula that boosts engagement and delivers your brand to your fans and followers.

Are you are looking to save time on your social media we have a great tool which is like Hootsuite and Buffer which can do this for you! Just CLICK HERE and save time on your social media!

The Importance of Systems and Processes in Business

It might be fun to fly by the seat of your pants but you can’t do it all the time. Having the proper structure to your business and putting in place systems and processes that improve productivity and maintain quality are a much better guarantees of success.

When you first start up a business, you may find that you are able to control all the different challenges that come your way. As you get more successful, however, there comes a point when you have to put the right plans in place.

What are Systems?

They’re basically the documented processes and procedures that you need to follow to do your business. This can be anything from how to operate a piece of tech or machinery to how marketing material is disseminated. It can include putting your brand to the fore in any client contact or simply the right process for chasing up a sales call.

The reason many businesses don’t get on board with sorting out their systems and processes is that they are often seen as back room measures. The newest developments and the latest client are much more exciting. Putting in systems, however, means that people coming into your organisation to work have a strong framework to operate from.

Another reason that business neglect this particular area of their daily functioning is that it’s a thing which can be put off. We’ll do it tomorrow or we’ll schedule some time to get it done in the next month or so. This is understandable, particularly if you are working hard to get a business off the ground and have ‘more important’ things to do.

But systems and processes need to be put in place. They are actually vital and they can save you a lot of time and money. Here are just a few more benefits:

  • They are important if you want to move on and sell your business. Potential buyers expect systems and processes in place, they don’t expect to have to do all this work themselves.
  • Systems and processes prepare you to expand and scale up. It means you can take on new staff knowing that your business is going to stay on a desired course and not veer away because someone didn’t know how to do something important.
  • They make your brand and your business operation consistently. Everyone knows where they stand and what to do when X or Y happens.
  • You don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time a situation comes up. It saves on time and money if you have a process for this or that eventuality.

Implementing sound systems and processes can include:

  • Introducing accounting systems that keep track of sales and expenditure.
  • Writing down your business plan for at least the next five years, including what goals you need to achieve and by when.
  • How are you going to fund new developments and when you need it by.
  • How you are going to manage recruitment and what new employees need to know when they start working for you.
  • Creating a policy for technology including the use of secure passwords and the dos and don’ts of operation.
  • How you are going to bill people and collect money.
  • Where you are going to market and develop your brand.
  • What customer support you are going to provide and how this is going to be delivered uniformly and to a high standard.

Basically, as your business grows the more need for systems and processes you are going to have. While your business may be small now, the hope is that it will begin to scale up and become a success. Rather than putting them on the back burner for now, having a detailed think about what processes and systems you need in place is better done sooner, rather than later.

 

The World is in the Palm of your hands….. And so is Your Phone

At the click of a button you can now be at the North Pole on google maps, become the owner of a magnificent 50 inch fully HD TV via Amazon or experience snorkelling in the great barrier reef through you-tube. All of this can happen whilst sitting in the comfort of your own home. In today’s growing app market, any business can create an app, not just the big brand names. Apps create a vital opportunity for a business to be no more than a minute away from consumers. Consequently if you don’t have an app you are at a disadvantage to your competitors.

Engaging with customers on a real level is important in order to gain trust and loyalty. Apps allow you to do this through time, location and other profiled information that customers wish to share. This will then allow you to strategize and target different demographic groups with different information, offers and products. If done right, when your business is at the forefront of a customer’s mind, it is now so simple to just click on the app compared to going to the store or finding the website. From this, if desire is created through the app, these engaged customers can then earn you revenue.

Be Creative and put the Customer First

Having an app gives you an opportunity to be creative, making the shopping experience fun that the customer may otherwise not feel instore. This new level of the business could be through social elements, quick facts or rewards and discounts whilst browsing. Having an app gives you the potential to reach a whole new audience. This means, for those who are unfamiliar with the brand; a good, enticing first impression will hopefully encourage first time purchases.

Customer service is also one of the most important factors of a business as it can give you an identifiable image as well as a competitive advantage. When customers are put first and feel prioritised, sales are likely to follow. Having an app will make communication between you and the customer much simpler for both parties. Live chats cut the need for customers to go through the torture of waiting on hold to call centres but also cuts the cost for the business by reducing its need for one. A customer service operator will also be able to deal with multiple issues at once, something that isn’t possible over the phone. This efficiency is likely to result in a better relationship with the business and client, allowing customer to feel more prioritised. As well as this, being able to deal with issues quickly and efficiently means less negative comments are likely to be posted on websites and social media furthermore securing that necessary quality of customer service.

Persuading Customers to download the app

Apple ‘gift’ is a service on Iphones that could help promote your business, a valuable tool to which no one knows too much about. From the app store, Apple allows you to send a paid app to a fellow iOS user for them to download for free. Mintel suggests that some 28% of mobile users agree that sending an app to a friend or relative is a good gift idea but just 5% have actually done so. If promoted on your app as a small holiday gift idea, it has the potential to improve the awareness of your company drastically. This can then go on for those participants who are stuck on ideas for presents to go on and use your products.

According to Mintel app store ratings are only the third most influential factor when downloading an app with only 12% of mobile users ranking as their number one influence. The most commonly used factor is recommendations from friends and family. These will be people that already own the app so it is imperative to make the right impression to get the recommendations. It is important to note criticism is just as easy to arise as recommendations and so it’s vital that these criticisms are dealt immediately to maintain customer satisfaction.

It’s easy. From big name brands to small start-up companies, all you need is creative thinking and smart planning to be on your way to having your own mobile app, and providing yourself with that vital competitive advantage.

If you need any help with your social media or online marketing please pop your details in our contact us  page and we will get in contact with you to help!

Also if you are looking to save time on your social media we have a great tool which is like Hootsuite and Buffer which can do this for you! JustCLICK HERE and save time on your social media!