What’s more important – visual or audio? In 1983 the rock band Queen released this single. It’s theme lamented the demise of the radio program, unable to compete with the new, brash and sexier medium of TV and, in particular in their pop music world, music videos. The theme of competition came up in the discussion this afternoon, when I was invited along to the Black Country radio studio. I took part in a live discussion on ‘marketing’ as part of the regular monthly business slot with Steve Parker and the host, Dave ‘Balti’ Homer. The challenge for many smaller local businesses is how to make their voices heard when larger businesses dominate the airwaves?
For many smaller busineses the managers are overwhelmed with too many choices and typically want answers to these questions:
Which medium is best?
What type of website do I need?
How much should I spend?
What does good value look like?
The existence of many forms of digital marketing, social media and more ‘traditional’ marketing methods often makes them feel fearful of getting it wrong and making expensive mistakes. New products such as marketing automation and web tracking appear to demand ever increasing levels of spending and yet this can dilute their efforts across too many channels. The end result is less effective marketing. Some owners feel that all marketing is a waste of money, others are fed up with being sold ‘silver bullets’ that fail to deliver the promised results.
So, how does a David beat a Goliath? The answer lies in learning and imitating. Big businesses invest in marketing, they don’t see it just as a cost, and they spend consistently on marketing because it works. Small businesses rarely take the same approach. A small business will typically neglect their research and most don’t have a plan in place. They have a tendency to dive into marketing activity as a spur of the moment decision, and often neglect marketing when they go through a busy period, rather than sticking to their plan for the medium and longer term. You can compete with the big guys if you adopt some of their thinking.
Here are our top tips
Define your overall marketing strategy – where are you going and what route will you take?
Understand how your customers/future customers behave
Plan how and when are you going to reach your customers
Implementation – did you stick to your plan and did it work?
Review and refine your activity – what did you learn and what can you improve?
All these steps involve taking more time to consider and to think. This afternoon I illustrated this point with an iceberg analogy. We tend to think of marketing as the stuff we see around us – adverts, websites, social media posts, leaflets etc, These are like the visible part of an iceberg, standing proud above the waterline, and they only represent 10% of the iceberg. For successful busineses of any size the rest of the iceberg is more important. The 90% beneath the surface (invisible to the end consumer), is the planning, research, customer understanding, strategy and measuring. And finally, improving each time.
If you’ve done your homework, you won’t get bogged down in decisions about different media and whether audio or visual is best!
Still unsure? For a confidential chat about the homework bit, why not give us a call on 012 222 5743?