DIY Marketing – Biggest small business mistake
DIY Marketing and Hiring Marketers to work In-house is one of the biggest mistakes being made by many Australian small businesses.
Marketing, like most business disciplines is changing rapidly due to advancements in technology, media fragmentation, and the resulting change in consumer wants and behavior.
Increasingly, there are more marketing specialists than ever before and the decreasing number of remaining marketing management generalists have to keep up their knowledge across an increasing array of new channels and tools whilst managing more complex campaigns and measuring and analyzing increasing reams of data on an ever decreasing budget.
Marketers are struggling with issues around Loyalty, CRM, Big Data, Search Engine Marketing (PPC, SEO, Display), Social Media, Content Marketing, PR, UX, etc. And each of these distinctively different disciplines has at least 3-4 different broad areas before one even drills down to specialities!
Outsourcing Your Marketing Infographic
Essential small business guide to hiring a marketing resource or outsourcing to a marketing agency
Yet most SME Marketing Job Descriptions read like a mythical Marketing Super Hero, with marketing job descriptions for a Marketing Manager, Marketing Assistant or Marketing Coordinator encompassing vastly disparate skill sets.
Here’s a typical description for a Marketing Coordinator or Marketing Assistant in a company where this individual is the one and only marketing resource and hence a recipe for disaster, where he or she is expected to:
The simple truth is that these marketing superheroes do not exist except on resumes of individuals who need a job and tailor their CV’s to say so.
The sad reality is that most SME business owners do not know what they really need and end up “copy and pasting” from job descriptions they have seen. Due to the fact that most business owners are not professional marketers, they have no idea how to tell a ‘good’ applicant with the appropriate skills, in a few areas they are actually good at, from ‘bad ones’.
At the very best, the SME business owner hires someone who is good in 2 or 3 areas out of the 7 or 8 they have advertised for, effectively investing in a marketing project manager, who will still have to either engage outside marketing specialists or try to do it all themselves. The overall result, no matter which way you slice it, is at best mediocre.
The easiest way to understand this dire situation is to look at the marketing department of a bigger company, where the typical job description above would be performed by 2 or 3 different teams or at the very least 2 or 3 different individuals. Yet small business owners expect one person to perform miracles or worse still believe they can do it themselves.
Now don’t get me wrong, there are exceptions, success stories of entrepreneurs doing their own marketing and doing it brilliantly, but the key word is exceptions. In many cases these entrepreneurs have a marketing background and a real passion for marketing their business. This is not the case in general. Most people go into business to do what they love, being an accountant or an architect, a lawyer, a plumber, a gardener, etc.
According to the Mavenlink infographic Hire or Contract Your Marketing Department there are a number of key criteria that should steer you in the correct direction:
Here is a summary of the factors that would see you lean towards an in-house or hiring solution:
- Large marketing budget at your disposal
- Slow to steady rate of growth
- Very sensitive proprietary information
- Few Urgent Deadlines
- You prefer Day-to-Day supervision of all personnel versus a Results Only Work Environment
- You disagree that media communication has become too complicated.
The Marketing Network Outsourcing vs In-House Marketing Diagram summarizes the advantages marketing outsourcing can deliver to a small and medium sized enterprise.
Outsourcing Your Marketing Infographic
Essential small business guide to hiring a marketing resource or outsourcing to a marketing agency
For a free and no-obligation assessment of your marketing needs don’t hesitate to call us or alternatively in the first instance you can have a look at the Marketing Check document in our Marketing Resources section.
The post DIY Marketing – Biggest small business mistake appeared first on The Marketing Network.
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11 Questions To Help You Select A Marketing Consultant That Is Right For Your Business
Are you looking for a marketing consultant who can assist your business growth or help you overcome a challenging situation?
Judging by the number of SME clients who we have worked with who have previously been let down by their chosen marketing partner, it is easy to see why so many business owners are concerned that marketing people over-promise and under-deliver.
We believe the problem in the industry is multifaceted and is unlikely to go away in a hurry – here is an examination of some of the industry issues. Hence the purpose of this article is to assist SME business owners in selecting the right marketing professionals to work on their business.
At The Marketing Network we don’t hide behind jargon nor try to impress you with it
At The Marketing Network we don’t hide behind jargon nor try to impress you with it – talking of which this is hilarious! You know your business better than anybody else – we know how to get you in front of your target audience, with the right message at the lowest possible cost.
At The Marketing Network our experienced marketing consultants have the expertise to increase your sales and decrease your costs.
Marketing is about common sense so it is best to interview a few providers and see who makes most sense to you. Make sure to get references and see examples of their work before making the final decision. Most importantly, you need to be comfortable with how well the marketing consultant understands the key drivers in your business.
Here is a list of questions that will assist you in selecting the right marketing consultant for your business:
1. How many years experience does the marketing consultant have in the marketing industry?
Anything over 10 years is acceptable.
2. How many years experience does the marketing consultant have in consulting to small medium enterprises (SME’s)?
Less than 2 years is unacceptable. Consulting in general is one of the most transient industries and marketing is no different.
Anyone can call himself or herself a consultant and in fact over 8,000 individuals in Australia do so, but your chances of finding an independently accredited professional consultant are just 1 in 12!
So make sure that the marketing consultant you are talking to is a member of a professional marketing or consulting body, at the very least this means they have the right education / qualification.
3. How many different product / service categories has the marketing consultant worked across?
The more diverse the marketing consultant’s background the more likely they are to provide your business with innovative ideas on how to find, attract and retain customers.
4. Has the marketing consultant worked both in the corporate world and small medium enterprise?
The diversity of the marketing consultant’s experience across both big and small businesses is a great asset to your business, as each camp can learn much from the other. A marketing consultant that has worked with big business has the planning discipline and knowledge that can only be gained working at the big end of town. A marketing consultant that has worked with small and medium enterprises will have the street smarts that come only after one has experienced the limitations of tiny budgets that force a marketing consultant to think outside the square.
5. Does your prospective marketing consultant have B2C (Business to Consumers) and B2B (Business to Business) experience?
Although the marketing principles are the same each type of market – B2C and B2B – have their own peculiarities. A marketing consultant with experience across both areas will be able to deliver more comprehensive and creative solutions to marketing challenges faced by your business.
6. Does the marketing consultant have Integrated Marketing Communication experience?
The term Integrated Marketing Communication refers to the deep understanding and knowledge of all the facets of the marketing industry and how these different disciplines interact to provide the consumer with a superior brand experience.
Does the marketing consultant you are interviewing have experience across all or at least most of the marketing disciplines, and for how long? Here are some of the main areas:
- Research and Product Development
- Strategic Brand Positioning
- Online and Social Media Marketing
- Direct Marketing
- Media Planning / Buying
- Sales Promotions & Events
- Personal Selling
Ask for proof of their experience and examples in all of the above areas! Only marketing professionals that have had experience in most of the above areas for a period of at least 12 months per discipline can claim to understand and utilize Integrated Marketing Communications.
Why is it important, you ask?
Only an Integrated Marketing Communication approach will deliver the full benefits of marketing to your business. Integrated Marketing Communication is the “helicopter view” of your marketing situation, rather than a band-aid approach to the immediate challenges at hand.
7. Has the marketing consultant worked both on the client and advertising agency side of the marketing fence?
Marketing professionals on the client side concentrate on developing products or services to meet the needs of their target market, managing the distribution relationships and the sales process, analysis and research of buying trends etc.
Marketing professionals on the advertising agency side concentrate on the communication aspect of marketing, making sure that the right message reaches the right prospects, the right number of times. This is also generally the most expensive part of your marketing – getting your message into the hands of your prospects, before their eyes, and into their ears.
Both sets of skills are vital to achieving success for your business. Ask your prospective marketing consultant for proof and examples of their work on both sides of the marketing fence.
8. How creative is the marketing consultant that you are considering?
If a marketing consultant can’t come up with a few innovative ways of promoting your business in your first meeting, they are probably not right for you. Be aware, however, that ideas and strategies are tools of trade and marketing consultants may be hesitant to give those away for free, but they should be able to at least provide you with some constructive observations on how your business can be improved. If they can’t show you or talk you through at least a dozen creative concepts from current or past clients, you shouldn’t consider them!
9. Failure! Ask your prospective marketing consultant to give you some examples of projects that didn’t succeed or attain desired objectives and why.
Every one of us has failed in something and hopefully learned from that experience. This question can really provide you with great insight into the person’s honesty and ego, ability to overcome challenges, and learn.
10. Has the marketing consultant ever run their own business or invested in businesses other than their consulting business?
Marketing people are used to spending other people’s money with the aim of doing so in the most cost effective manner. Nothing makes one appreciate the real value of a hard earned dollar as much as spending money on marketing your own business. Marketing consultants who have simultaneously worn the hat of entrepreneur are much more likely to treat your marketing budget like they would their own – and that makes a world of difference!
11. Finally, will the marketing consultant just take your brief or will they challenge it?
Does the marketing consultant have the guts to challenge you – their potential prospect? It is an unfortunate fact that most marketing people who call themselves professionals do not have the fortitude to tell their clients and prospects the truth about their chances of success, about their briefs and about their businesses in general. At The marketing Network we promise to give you a good dose of reality. Our clients thank us for it and watch their sales increase.
As always, we love to hear from you, so if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us for a confidential and obligation free discussion about any of your marketing needs.
The post 11 Questions To Help You Select A Marketing Consultant That Is Right For Your Business appeared first on The Marketing Network.
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Are Your In-House Marketing Professionals Working Hard And Smart Enough?
For years there has been a disconnect between the marketing function and the rest of the organization, especially when it comes to management understanding what in-house marketing professionals actually ‘do’.
This chasm has been widened by clever marketers looking busy, wowing senior executive teams with pretty power-point presentations and using terminology that only they understand – all in an effort to justify marketing expenditure.
To be competitive, it’s time to get real and ensure your marketing function and the marketing professionals therein deliver.
Examining the in-house marketing function and your marketing professionals’ effectiveness begins at a high level.
When considering your product development process, is your product or service in line with market requirements? Do you have current and ongoing research activity to monitor if the appearance and functionality of your product or service addresses the evolving needs of your target market? Has your Marketing Manager justified the strategic development of this product or service, such as extending or broadening a brand to meet seasonal changes or matching a competitors’ point of difference?
When considering pricing strategy, are your in-house marketing professionals setting pricing that not only meets profit objectives, but forms part of a plan that reflects your brand image and increases market share?
Additionally, is your Marketing Officer or other responsible marketing professionals ensuring your product or service is made available to your target audience through convenient and appropriate locations in a timely manner? Are they flexible in developing and adapting distribution strategy?
Good outcomes from lower tier marketing professionals who conduct more administrative tasks are easier to measure, and are reflected in attention to detail and adherence to internal management protocols.
The father of modern management, Peter Drucker once said “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it”, it follows that measuring individual performance using Key Performance Indicators is effective as long as those KPIs are truly reflective of both the marketing functions KPIs and those that the individual has been hired for.
Too often KPIs form a laundry list of tasks that existing team members can’t or won’t fulfil and aren’t related to an individual’s core competencies or experience (such tasks could well be handled by a talented marketing or advertising agency).
For obligation free advice or a more detailed analysis of the effectiveness of the marketing professionals you have hired, we exist in a unique position knowing how to measure success for individual businesses and how to increase marketing functionality that delivers to your bottom line.
The post Are Your In-House Marketing Professionals Working Hard And Smart Enough? appeared first on The Marketing Network.
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Six Marketing Tactics all Boxed Up: Face Five
The doorbell rings at night and you look through the peephole to see two police officers. Do you open the door? Now how about the doorbell rings and you see two strangers in street clothes outside. Would you be just as likely to open the door? Most likely not. You would have probably judged the police officers by their uniform, guns and badges and see them as credible, whereas the strangers would lack any clothing or proof of authority.
We grow up to respond to authority figures, from our parents to the characters on the TV. We know to obey our parents, otherwise we may be punished, or that teachers are people to look up to for knowledge. That’s why marketing tactics involve brand building with authority, which leads to credibility, and thus helps influence others in the art of persuasion.
The Fifth Face to Persuasion is the Law of Authority
When marketing communications quote vague authorities, that “experts say this is their preferred brand,” you may wonder who these experts are. What credentials do they have? Why will you trust them? Do they have a vested interest? Simply having authority may not be enough, but you will have to establish credibility.
There’s a reason why more definite and distinct celebrity endorsements or expert testimonials work. When building your brand identity, you should select people that are most suitable for your product or service. Do they have relevant knowledge or qualifications? Are they trustworthy, or do people regard them as trustworthy? Even physical attractiveness may come across as someone of credibility. When you see a person on the screen, whether they are a celebrity, policeman, lawyer, politician, doctor or guru, if a product or service is good enough for them, then it must be good enough for you.
What ways can you express yourself or your brand identity and authority?
Lavelle, J 2010, ‘6 Laws of Influence’, Psychology Today, no.2, viewed 12 November 2012, <http://www.blueiceconsulting.co.uk/documents/6_Laws_of_Influence_-_Part2_-_JonLavelle_000.pdf>.
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Six Marketing Tactics all Boxed Up: Face Four
Anyone who has studied or has a brief understanding of Economics 101 will recognise the marketing tactics used in the fourth face to the cube of persuasion very quickly. Since you were born, it has been affecting you throughout your life. When you were told you couldn’t have that box of chocolates, when you saw that kid playing with a brand new Rubik’s Cube, or seeing a Ferrari speed past, things you didn’t have or couldn’t have instantly became desirable. The fourth face to the cube of persuasion, the “Law of Scarcity,” is about supply and demand. When there is high demand, or less supply for something, the more rare and valuable it can be. Basic marketing tactics and sales training deals with this idea of scarcity for the potential of influence, which primarily is about creating desire for purchase.
It is no wonder that even at the birth of creation, Adam and Eve couldn’t stay away from the forbidden fruit, despite having the rest of the Garden of Eden to take from. Scarcity drives us crazy. Things are always more valuable and enticing when they are hard to obtain, or the last one on the shelf. By being prohibited from a product, we feel that our freedom is restricted and will experience psychological resistance and fight to restore that freedom.
One great example in history was a time when potatoes were made to be as valuable as gold. During the late 1700s, potatoes were regarded with suspicion, distaste and fear. The French believed they caused leprosy, the Germans used it as animal fodder, whereas the Russians presumed them to be poisonous. Catherine the Great, ruler of Russia, saw there was a great famine, and had high fences erected around her potato fields with guards stationed around to fend off thieves. Of course, the peasants of the town would watch and wonder why the wealthy were keeping the potatoes to themselves. Such an exclusivity of the potato created their desire, that eventually turned potatoes into a staple of the Russian diet (Pratkanis & Aronson 2001).
Catherine the Great’s campaign to transform the potato from something that was barely fit for a dog to eat, to a solution to the Russian famine, is the epitome of branding strategy and marketing tactics in play. By taking advantage of the human psyche in the persuasion process, you can increase the attractiveness of an object, simply by shifting the perception of its scarcity.
The Fourth Face to Persuasion is the Law of Scarcity
Brand and marketing consultants recognise that scarcity sells. We are all aware of the ads that scream: “for a limited time only,” “only available in this store,” or “sale ending soon.” And they work. Some marketing tactics include even deliberately limiting stock. Since the introduction of the Barbie doll in 1959, there has always been a toy that becomes the central, scarce item each year. We’ve seen the fads of G.I. Joe action figures, Magna-doodles, Furbies, Robot Poo-chi and Meow-chis, Pokemon cards and Tamagotchis. Due to the rarity of such popular toys, they were frequently out-of-stock. Through brand building and marketing tactics, it has been shown that the threat of potentially losing the opportunity to purchase an item will influence on the decision-making process. This mental trigger can cause tension and unrest and even such great anxiety in people that they will act to prevent this potential loss – even if they weren’t initially interested in the product in the first place!
Think of Romeo and Juliet. If the ancient feud between the Capulets and Montagues did not exist, do you believe Romeo would have been as committed to elope with her? We have been led to believe that love was an uncontrollable process, that these chemical reactions within us were unexplainable – but the impossible truth is that this can be controlled! Playing hard to get is one common relationship dynamic, based off the Rule of Scarcity. If your availability seems limited, you may seem that you are “in demand” or “one-of-a-kind,” increasing the perceived value of yourself. Whilst frustrating to the other party, we know that we must work for love, in order to play the game.
So what can this mean for business? Can you say “limited supply” in your communication? People tend to stay away from empty restaurants and popular clubs will have long lines outside, even if it may be empty inside! It’s about creating the perception of scarcity through artificial queues.
The challenge is to make your brand that forbidden fruit.
Pratkanis, AR & Aronson, E 2001, Age of Propaganda: The Everyday Use and Abuse of Persuasion, rev. edn., Holt Paperbacks, New York, ch. 30.
Westside Toastmasters n.d., ‘The Rule of Scarcity: Get Anyone to Take Immediate Action’ in The Rules of Persuasion, ch. 7, viewed 7 November 2012, <http://westsidetoastmasters.com/resources/laws_persuasion/chap7.html>.
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Six Marketing Tactics all Boxed Up: Face Three
Robert Cialdini’s marketing tactics in “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” tells us you are more likely to say “yes” to someone you like. Yes, that’s common sense. It doesn’t take a marketing consultant or someone with years of sales training to tell you that. But what many haven’t mastered yet is how to have someone like you. That’s why you’ll see many people curling on a coach, watching a movie for one, or those who found their special someone may find themselves spending time trying to avoid arguments, rather than sharing a gelato masked in some fancy Italian name. It’s no wonder that How To Win Friends and Influence People became a number one on the best seller list and remained on the list for ten years straight, even outselling the bible!
The Third Face to Persuasion is the Law of Liking
We’re strongly influenced by people who we like; liking someone builds trust and you tend to believe them more often. The simple math is that we like to do business with people we enjoy being around, or feel are “just like us.” It’s about establishing rapport, which means an employee-employer relationship is more important than ever, if you want to achieve goals in the workplace. This means developing a social network within your work environment.
How likeable are you to your team and co-workers? Are you approachable, optimistic, trustworthy and a person of integrity? Psychological tactics applied by successful salespeople include mirroring – from finding common backgrounds and interests down to speech and body language. Salespeople using these tactics can build rapport to a much deeper level, improve and accelerate the sales process. We all get along with someone whose values, beliefs and assumptions match up with us (Perhaps you might even pretend to root for the boss’s footy team around grand final, but secretly hang your team’s colours around your neck and cheer for your team by a television in the basement!).
When it comes to brand building and marketing tactics, customer insight is the key to reaching this rapport. If you’re targeting teenagers, you can use the same language or jargon as them – but without looking like you’re trying too hard! Likewise, finding information on a target market can tap into a prospect or customer’s deepest hopes or fears. When it comes to choosing brands, just like we do with people, we choose those we feel most connected to, those we like more and those brands that reflect to us our beliefs and values.
Of course, another dimension is that people like others that make them feel good. The easiest and most overlooked way to do this is to compliment people. We’re all suckers for flattery so compliment when you can, but make sure you are authentic in your praise. Complimenting fulfils two of our most important needs – the need to be recognised and the need to feel loved. Praising people for their efforts will also means that you will be more appreciated and respected in the workplace, or within personal relations. Of course, this links back to the Law of Reciprocity where people are more likely to “return the favour” in the future.
What people don’t realise is that complimenting others will enhance your own well-being as well. By focusing on other people’s needs and desires, rather than on yourself, you can improve your self-esteem by perceiving yourself as a thoughtful and kind person. Likewise, complimenting will naturally lift others’ self-esteem and in turn, boost productivity.
As the need to be liked goes down to the core of the coveted feeling of belonging, it is no wonder that Dale Carnegie’s “How To Win Friends and Influence People” is still as applicable today as it was 80 years ago.
Below is a list of his Six Ways to Make People Like You:
- Talk in terms of the other person’s interests.
- Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely.
- Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
- Become genuinely interested in other people.
- Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
Perhaps nice guys can finish first.
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Seeing is Achieving
InsightGIS is an IT company that specialises in geographic information systems (GIS) and location intelligence. Our services add value to your business and information systems by merging them with locational information. You gain the benefits of visualising your data and easily accessing your information.
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Client : Insight GIS
Seeing is Achieving
InsightGIS is an IT company that specialises in geographic information systems (GIS) and location intelligence.Our services add value to your business and information systems by merging them with locational information. You gain the benefits of visualising your data and easily accessing your information.
Brand Strategy and Positioning
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B2B Branding, selling the brand first
In B2B, particularly in start up businesses, time and investment is reserved for R&D and production. If this is all that you do, you’re not going to make it. You’ll be another business with a great idea or a great product that finds itself a little lost in the commercial world.
Your product is only as good as the strength of your brand. Brands attract attention; brands get noticed and brands are memorable. Investing in building your brand protects you from other companies trying to take market share from you and raise the barriers to entry.
Let’s work through an example, imagine you developed the “intel chip” and were ready to take it to market. You had put an enormous amount of work into R&D, production, manufacturing, forecast, and financing – but it had no brand, no tagline, no logo. It has a value proposition; you know what it does well, what it does differently, who will benefit from it and how it will change people’s lives. However, these elements are not easily communicated without a brand, something to bring it all together and make it mean something to your target audience.
In B2B often people think that brands are a fluffy/nice to have, non-essential item. Without one though, if you were take the “intel chip” to PC manufacturers and tried to on-sell it, you are offering them just another component, and what is stopping another company with the same amount of resources and expertise from offering the same type of chip cheaper? Brands help you to charge a premium, brands help you to mean something to your customer and brands are not easily replaced by substitutes (when you invest in them).
At The Marketing Network (www.themarketingnetwork.com.au), a marketing agency an advertising agency, all in one, we come in at the early stages of product development or even when your product is just an idea. We help you to create a strong value proposition to build an emotional connection with your brand, so that when you are ready to launch, your brand is ready too. Read more about B2B Marketing at Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B2B_Marketing#B2B_Branding.
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SMEs: Stand tall and play with the big boys
I am sure that you can put your hand on your heart and say that your new product or service is different and unique.
You have a point of difference that would convert a prospective customer in seconds. But how?
Here’s a checklist to ensure that you convert your prospective customers:
1. Look reputable:
- Have you got a logo that looks substantial?
- Do you have a tagline/slogan/positioning statement under your logo that communicates your point of difference?
- Does your website wow your customer?
- Is the content on your website relevant and proof read?
- Is all your marketing material consistent and themed?
- Do you have an office address and customer service number?
2. Build confidence:
- Do you offer guarantees and or warranties?
- Do you have testimonials from existing customers?
- Can you use the logos of existing customers to create instant credibility?
3. Get noticed:
- Do you have and regularly update a blog, to exhibit thought leadership and improve your SEO?
- Do you update your customers through email and LinkedIn/twitter/facebook?
- Do you have listings and or advertisements in business directories?
- How is your Google ranking?
- Do you do sponsored(Pay Per Click)advertising on Google?
- Do you regularly communicate through email and direct mail with your customers and new leads?
- Is your point of difference obvious and consistent in all your forms of communication?
To find out how we help our clients to play with the big boys, contact us now. We are a marketing agency and advertising agency, all in one and our website is full of information on brand identity and styling, content development and campaign development. By working on looking reputable, building confidence and getting noticed, you’ll look just like a big player in your market, on a small budget. Remember ‘Perception is Reality’! We’ll help you to launch your brand successfully and maximise the return on your marketing investment.
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On a small marketing budget it’s all about choices
If you have a small budget and your marketing agency is suggesting email marketing – consider the benefits of a direct mail piece instead. The payoff could be better.
The main difference is that direct mail is considered a more acceptable form of communication for new leads, especially if you have a great offer. Whilst email is a cost effective was of keeping in touch with people who know and love you, but is often dismissed as spam when it arrives in the email inbox of a prospect.
If you have a decent budget, then hedge your bets and do both! But, if you don’t then you have to know the facts before you make your decision
At The Marketing Network, a marketing agency and advertising agency, all in one, we understand that you can’t have it all, on a small budget. So we suggest that to really get your brand noticed, consider the old fashioned way – snail/direct mail. The rationale is quite simple.
• Firstly, you are putting your brand in the hands of your target market.
• Secondly, it engages all the senses, plus addressed mail has an emotional component (i.e.: it’s addressed to me, I feel special).
• And lastly, the letterbox is the least cluttered promotional channel. The inbox is full and the letterbox is quite empty!
On a small budget, it makes sense to look for a channel that is less cluttered, allows for a high degree of creativity and has a far higher chance of getting noticed. A direct mail that ends up in the bin was read first!
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