Marketing – all the advertising, promotions, websites and other things we do to sell our products – entered the modern era in the late 19th century. One of its pioneers was John Wanamaker, who invented the discount department store and gave us the enduring conundrum, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half.”
If you don’t have a spare half budget to waste, you need to do better.
Fortunately, a lot has been learned in the intervening 150 years.
Unfortunately, that hasn’t included a silver bullet. People who wait around for that one infallible, killer idea are mostly disappointed.
The greatest marketing ideas ever invented have failed for someone, somewhere – and some of the worst ideas have been driven to success by someone who just kept trying.
The reality is that to succeed you need an evolving mix of ideas matched to your market segments. So you have to understand those segments, those people, and what gets them talking.
Actually, you might not have heard a marketing person say this, but all marketing is a poor substitute for word of mouth. Word of mouth is the most powerful marketing there is, but it’s slow, too slow for most organisations. So we use marketing to speed it up.
That's why marketing must first understand customers – because its real goal is getting them to talk about the product.
Modern marketing is not just a single transaction: an offer and a sale. It’s a process. In the beginning, the first sale, research shows the average number of contacts a person has with information about the product, before they actually buy, is seven or eight. And the process is more reliable if they get those contacts via more than one channel. So: a newspaper ad, a product review, something on the internet, a friend who bought one – these are the things that add up to a transaction.
From the first transaction to the second, we start to build something that modern marketers call brand. They’d like you to think that advertising creates brand, but that’s not true. Brand – real brand, that adds value to a product – is based on accumulated experience of the product by all its customers. The real brand value of a bank is forged over millions of individual customer interactions, not by millions of ads. Real brand can be enhanced by marketing but it is always grounded in the truth of what happens when the customer interacts with the organisation.
Well, obviously I could go on at some length about this. I’d like to tell you about back end and front end marketing, about the forgotten value of direct marketing, about the value of post-sale promotion and more. I’ve thought and learned about this, hands on, for 30 years.
If you’d like to put your marketing on a firm footing with a practical, structured plan for sales and brand growth, call me Michael Woodhouse from Glide. Call me direct on 0417 928 904 or email Michael@glide.co, that’s dot co for company.
Check out the video (3:27)
All marketing is just a poor substitute for word of mouth. Maybe you didn't expect a marketing consultant to say that. Word of mouth is great, but it's slow. Too slow for most of us. So we use marketing to speed it up.
Then the people who do the marketing start thinking it's all about them. But it's not. It's about your business story, told from the customer's viewpoint. The same as it was when it was word of mouth.
Think of marketing as customers talking about you and you'll understand the frenzy about social media.
Plan your marketing so it helps get people talking about your product – even if it's just with you – and it'll do the job that was intended.
If you're ready for an out-of-fashion kind of view of marketing, one that believes that customers just aren't that stupid or gullible or compliant, but sees value in a good story, give us a call on (08) 9218 8888.