As you would expect for a marketing agency we love anything digital – from social media to SEO, from e-shots to PPC and everything in between. Digital marketing has undoubtedly revolutionised the way we market our companies. The beauty of many forms of digital marketing is that you can reach high volumes of your target audience in a relatively cost effective way, and the icing on the cake is how easy it is to measure. With the allure of all these digital goodies it’s easy to get drawn into thinking that’s all the marketing you need to do.
Well this blog is here to tell you it’s not all about digital. Digital marketing however wonderful it is, is just a set of tools to communicate your messages. You still need to put the time and effort into creating your marketing strategy. Your strategy is the blueprint you need to make your company a success. It defines who you are and what you want to be or in true text book fashion ‘where you are now’ and ‘where you want to get to’. The rest of the strategy defines how you are going to make that journey. If we want to get really geeky we would use the old ‘Marketing Mix’; remember the four ‘Ps’? Product, Price, Place and Promotion. All of these are as relevant now as they have always been, so why are we so hung up on such a tiny part of that? Digital marketing forms just a small part of your communications plan, which forms just a small part of your promotional plan. (OK you can argue that digital falls in bit into the ‘Place’ category too when you are thinking about a website as well as or even instead of your bricks and mortar shop front, but I would argue that is just to do with the decision of how you are logistically going to deliver your product.)
So by concentrating on just digital what are we neglecting?
The majority of the companies we work with are service companies. The product offering here, being not quite so tangible, relies on the old adage ‘people buy from people’. Here we need strong networking skills, a robust referral strategy and exemplary personal service levels. The digital channels can be used to complement all these elements. For networking, use social media to announce you are going to an event, name drop the organisers, after the event say how nice it was to meet X etc. Share some photos, but use it to maximise the reach of the event. It should not replace researching the delegates before you attend to identify people you really want to talk to, working the room while you are there and following-up any interesting conversations you had when you get back to the office.
Again, with your service levels, you need to have the processes in place to make sure you really are giving exemplary service, this should be a big part of your marketing strategy. Secret shopper exercises from someone like Insight 6 can give you the real picture of how you are performing. Once you have your service levels consistently where you want them, ask for testimonials, create service promises/charters. Then by all means share these messages through digital.
Going back to a strategic level, look at your messaging and target audiences, look at all the channels available to you and go through the merits of each one and choose the most appropriate for the message and audience. So with your communications plan you will have different types of messaging that underpin the main message. Your overall message could be ‘We are the go-to agency for Professional Services marketing’ but supporting that you would have brand messaging, educational messaging, and sales messaging. If you take brand messaging, yes it’s important to have your logo on your social media and website designed in your corporate colours but what about promo gifts, events, business stationery, brochures, how your reception looks and how presentable your front of house staff are?
For educational messaging, which helps to build your credibility, create a suite of informative ‘how to guides’ or run some seminars. The digital channels are then just conduits for getting that content to more people but they are not the only channels. Direct Mail is enjoying a renaissance, not just in light of the recent GDPR changes but also because people have forgotten what it’s like to get some post, it makes a nice change. Pick up the phone, call your prospects, you never know it might even result in the chance to use your ultimate communication channel, actually meeting with them to talk.
If you would like some help with your marketing, digital or otherwise please do get in touch.