Mon 23 / 09 / 19
It’s time to return to “old school”
No, we’re not talking hip hop, we’re talking about how best to create cut-through in your sales and marketing campaigns.
This was the overriding message from the Chamber’s recent event ‘High Growth – the future of sales, marketing and influencers’ on 19th September at Barclays Eagle Labs.
Sponsored by Plus Accounting and chaired by Si Conroy from Scarlet Monday, the panel of experts included Myles Anderson from Bright Local, Marlon Bouman from All Conditions Media, Bethanie Mardon from RocketMill and Dave Nicol from VetX.
The panel cited targeted campaigns as the best strategies to employ. Beth proclaimed non-personalised catch-all emails as the worst offending tactic. Myles agreed, calling the many seemingly-personalised-but-not emails he receives as “false and disingenuous”. His business’ email marketing strategy is focused on retaining customers by offering useful content to showcase expertise and build trust.
Content marketing came out on top as a successful strategy, which all the panellists had deployed to great effect by creating authentic, unique and useful content and amplifying it across multiple channels.
Dave first used content marketing to raise awareness of his business right at the start, offering training services to veterinarians who, in his words, “are great with animals but suck at dealing with the people on the end of the leads!” The best performing types of content for Dave have been podcasts and YouTube shows offering tips and advice.
Collaborations, partnerships and ‘offline’ tactics were recommended - Beth is organising events with Google and Sky purely to inspire attendees, rather than a hard-sell. At a local level, partnering with organisations such as Brighton Chamber to increase collaboration and find other businesses to partner with will aid business growth.
But should you be giving away all your thought leadership for free? The answer was a resounding YES. Marlon used celebrity chefs as an example – they frequently push out free content such as recipes and cooking tips without denting book sales.
Being charitable with your content will encourage people to buy your services and you’ll come across as more approachable – after all, people tend to buy from people they like and trust, so make sure your character comes through in your content. That doesn’t stop once you’ve won the business – content marketing plays a big role in retention to reinforce alignment with your customers.
The thorny issue of influencer marketing was raised and described as ‘a dirty word’. Marlon cited a recent piece of research which found that only 4% of consumers believe what influencers say. It was a large and credible study which surveyed 50,000 respondents across 80 countries.
Widescale deceit in influencer marketing, e.g. Chinese click farms, has led to a changed role for influencer marketing. Large brands such as Adidas are selecting influencers and inviting them to ‘look under the bonnet’ of the company and then talk about them in their own words, rather than giving them prescribed messaging to use.
Dave made the astute point that all businesses already have an excellent network of influencers – their customers. These are the people to focus on and to encourage referrals and reviews from through the provision of excellent service.
Beth, who is considered an influencer herself, could see the argument from both sides and reiterated that the best influencer campaigns use real people. She used the example of a recent campaign with Huggies for which she suggested the use of actual customers… and sales rocketed over 50% in the first two weeks of the campaign.
Each major social media platform is trialling hiding the number of followers accounts have, so soon you won’t be able to judge an influencer on the size of their audience.
In terms of metrics and measurement, the main advice was to focus on your objectives, set KPIs and concentrate on the metrics that drive the fulfilment of those objectives, i.e. if you want a piece of content to help drive engagement, focus on comments and shares. The best overall metric is new customers and revenue growth – if your business is growing, you must be doing something right!
In summary, the advice from the experts is to focus on delivering value, personality and useful content. Don’t be afraid to give away your tips and tricks for free as it will help build trust with your customers who will, in turn, continue to use your services or buy from you and will be more likely to refer you to others – becoming your most valuable influencers.
Not all businesses need to use every single social media platform or marketing tool at their disposal – test them and see what works best, then focus on the best performing ones. Invest in being distinctive; find your niche and stick to it.
Go “old school” – get out, meet people and develop personal relationships to help grow your business. Don’t be afraid to expose your personality through your marketing – people buy from people they like – not a faceless brand.
And finally…ask the wonderful folks at Brighton Chamber to put you in touch with a fellow member that might be able to offer support!
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