When I started my marketing career it was with a mail order company in Manchester, JD Williams, with a large department filled with women (and the occasional chap) who had learned their trade from the bottom up.
I was fast initiated into the science of direct marketing, where every penny spent was measurable against sales made. Back then, before the dawn of the internet (yes, I’m that old) it was all about leaflets in magazines and direct mail. Hours were spent in media planning and list buying, creative testing was carefully planned and daily updates on results a given.
It was here I learned the fundamentals of marketing that have carried through my time as a marketing specialist and still hold true today. Some things never change:
Understand the metrics: Whereas once I measured Cost Per Response now I also measure Cost Per Click. Where once it was all about conversion rates from catalogue request to making a sale, now it’s all about…hmm, the same thing: Cost Per Customer. Where a catalogue was requested and no order placed, we’d send a follow-up mailing – and measure the response. Now I manage mail-chimp campaigns for the same purpose. Media costs, creative costs, time costs – you need to know it all, and keep on top of it all.
Test and Roll Out: creative executions cannot remain static. Whether it’s online or offline, a website or a catalogue, you have to test your creative and MEASURE THE RESULTS!
Social Media: You think this is new? Not so much. Competitions, testimonials…interactivity with customers not based around sales has always been key. We may not have had the platforms to maximise our reach, but we knew that social validation through testimonials and sharing winner’s stories was immensely valuable to our success.
Content: While the demands of Google mean that a copywriter’s job has changed somewhat, content was always key to a campaign’s success. Answer that key question – ‘What’s in it for me?’ – and you’re halfway to making the sale.
The Four P’s: Product, Price, Place, Promotion. Online or off, these are an immutable truth.
The point of this post? Marketing is a science. Marketing is a profession. It’s something that when done properly can create business growth, increased profitability and customer loyalty. So why do small businesses insist on doing it for themselves? Use a skilled, experienced and proven marketer in the same way you would use a skilled, experienced and proven accountant and you WILL see the difference. Trust me, I’m a marketer.