At our Marketing Breakfast last week there was a lively debate with senior marketers from both larger and smaller businesses. It was an opportunity to discuss current trends and challenges as they affect businesses such as UKTV, Betfair, mydeco, EMI, Secretsales, Yahoo! and my-wardrobe.
During the two-hour session, the attendees shared practical solutions, such as which agencies should be used for specific tasks, as well as discussing what had worked from a strategic perspective for their respective businesses. Some of the key themes are highlighted below.
The room had a mix of marketers who had come up the traditional brand marketing route before making the transition into more numbers-driven marketing and others that had started in direct marketing. There were interesting insights shared on how brand marketing has evolved; especially if you worked for a pure play online business. From the start-up marketers, the idea that you drive traffic to your website and let excellent customer service and retention programmes do your brand work was also voiced.
The group discussed the view that traffic can be another word for community; a community that you need to nurture with the right content and incentives. From here the discussion moved into the realm of social media and the best ways of creating loyal users who will become your brand ambassadors. A couple of attendees offered examples of where devoting time and being openly responsive to bad publicity had resulted in creating customer loyalty. Another shared that the process of changing dissatisfied users into evangelists had been introduced as a key weekly metric within their business.
How to best measure the success of your activities was discussed at length. Everyone agreed that clarifying your objective early on is key. However, as expected given the different backgrounds of the attendees, it became clear objectives are very different if you are in online media as opposed to working for an ecommerce business. The use of appropriate measurement tools makes a huge difference. “One size” does not fit all and results can be interpreted in many ways; hence it is essential to choose the right solution for your business. The attendees all agreed on the importance of being commercially-minded and the need to create a good relationship with your CFO!
The last issue of the session was that of a changing environment for marketers. From being able to influence an audience with big branded campaigns and control the media output, marketing is now increasingly about pulling together a number of streams and creating one message. The group agreed that marketers today might have less control but with more accurate measurement tools it is easier to see what you are doing right.
The Marketing series will continue throughout the year. Should you wish to get involved then drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.