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Firstly, let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Fiddes, I have been marketer for over 30 years, working with some of the largest and smallest companies across the globe in that time. I am known for my straight talking when it comes to marketing, so I thought I would share some FACTS not fiction with you on the subject of marketing.

Over the years I have become increasingly frustrated with the ‘7 steps to this’, and ‘12 steps to that’ approach to marketing success.  Apart from being rather annoying, it demeans our profession and plays lip service to the complexity of marketing itself. Ask yourself – how can just 12 steps cover a global market consisting of unique businesses with specific target audiences, and a diverse range of products and services and provide advice exactly to the requirements of an individual business? They can’t and we really don’t need that type of content taking up valuable memory in our inboxes!

Keeping it simple stupid

The addition of the web and digital mediums over the last 20 years has created a much greater level of complexity. Most recently, social media has exaggerated this extensively with a greater understanding required on how to promote ‘Emotional Selling Points’ as well as ‘Unique Selling Points’. Keeping it simple now means exploring all possible avenues, but drilling down to those that provide the best route to successful marketing for your business – eventually we have to cut out the complexities and focus on the driving factors within marketing that will create success.
“Fools ignore complexity. Pragmatists suffer it. Some can avoid it. Geniuses remove it.”

Simplicity shouldn’t mean lip service

There are numerous social media management companies out there that offer an all singing and dancing social media management/social marketing service for £50-£99 a month.

Please don’t waste your money. Go out for a nice meal every month instead, it’s more rewarding and better value.

Why? Providing a professional and meaningful social media management service for any business requires a certain amount of time. It requires extensive, high quality content research, expertly written posts, ongoing scheduling of posts and monitoring of timelines, analysis of results and adjustment of strategy where appropriate. It’s clear then that anyone providing this service for £99 must either be earning well below the minimum wage, or paying you lip service. It is impossible to achieve any sort of tangible results or engagement and therefore is largely ineffective.

Many businesses just tinker with social media, popping up the occasional post, and sporadically scanning through accounts. However, the companies and brands making a success of social media will tell you that in order to maximize its potential, social media should form part of a much wider content and response marketing process. In fact, it should form a major part of your overall marketing strategy.

So what’s new?

Your website for many years was the central place to tell prospective customers who you are and what you do, and of course what you can do for them. Subconsciously and consciously we anticipate all websites will say how great a company is, and how wonderful the company is to work with. However, to gain a true insight into a company we look for a place where they express their personalities, namely blogs and social media pages. Research tells us we are doing this a great deal more often nowadays.

How to do Social Media, Content and Online Marketing the right way

In the beginning there was a website. It was full of useful content, and it had its very own blog or articles sections. It had numerous locations where the visitor could interact, and gave great insight into the business sector it represented. It told the visitor about its team, and made sure the visitor was entertained enough to visit several pages before moving on. Oh, and it was aesthetically pleasing to the eye, and looked very professional.

“Great, we now have a website that works, the next stage is to drive traffic to it. What an awesome web we can now weave!”

As marketers we spend a lot of time trying to reinvent the wheel, but just as the wheel is still round, the process of marketing remains essentially the same. Nowadays the buzz in marketing is all about interesting and engaging content. There are a few terms I use quite regularly when speaking about ‘Content Marketing’ as a whole.

Relationship Marketing
Leverage Marketing
Online Marketing
Digital Marketing
Influence Marketing

I’ll stop there! Let’s spend a few moments identifying each of these types of marketing and why these titles are readily used – a bit of jargon buster.

Relationship Marketing

With the influence of social media in marketing over the past 3-4 years, marketers look to create real time communication with customers and prospects via social media channels. The goal is to build a stronger brand affinity through relationships based around loyalty and trust, which is absolutely true – this can be done.

Influence Marketing

An extension of relationship marketing except that after those relationships have been built, brands will actively seek to influence the customer to buy products and services over those offered via the competition. Various forms of direct response marketing may be used to do this.

Online Marketing

A very loose term for all web based marketing activity.

Leverage Marketing

This essentially is where companies use their connections to sell products for them. The most obvious example of this is the ‘share’ button, where fans & followers can share products and services on whatever platform they choose.

Digital Marketing

This encompasses online marketing, as well as using other digital processes like email and interactive marketing collateral, to promote products and services.

Now some facts!

Social media marketing/management is only part of the process of a full content marketing strategy. Content marketing requires significant and targeted direct response marketing to take full advantage of the relationships that have been built having utilized all of the above.

Direct response marketing can consist of targeted advertising campaigns, customer surveys and questionnaires, so we can gain a response from our online connections and readership. This could be focused purely on selling our products and services, or finding out what products and services our customers wish to buy from us.

To build an audience, we have to create experiences for our customers to enjoy, which could be great video content, great articles or attention grabbing posts. We don’t have to talk solely about our products and services. In fact we shouldn’t, readers will switch off if we do. We use appropriate, engaging content to build relationships and loyalty. Only then can we start to market to our connections in a positive manner, and gain high quality response.

Content Marketing is a complex beast, and requires a very well thought out strategy built around the target audience of the business.

At Elan we use a very useful piece of mapping software to build a content marketing profile around our clients businesses. This helps to fully understand the process, and make sure we have a well thought out plan and starting point for future marketing activity.

There are indeed a huge amount of factors involved, which can also include the updating of existing assets to meet with the requirements of Content and Direct Response Marketing activity, i.e., making sure the website supports the process.

…and back to that great website that all businesses need!

If you would like to talk to us further about our Content and Response Marketing services and build your very own Content Marketing Map, then call us on 01206 252378.

Now for a bit of straight talking! The future of marketing is online. As human beings, we will never lose the desire to receive tactile printed materials. I am told that printing is a dying trade – it will never die, but just find a level.

The new generations now and in the future will increasingly all look to the web to provide the information they need. The revolution is an online one, and social media is the latest evolution in that process. If you are not engaging now, it isn’t too late. Relatively, the revolution is just beginning – you can’t afford not to be part of it, but don’t forget to engage – I can guarantee your competition won’t!

Article written by Mark Fiddes – Marketing Director

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