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MARKETING IS A BATTLE

There is a certain romanticism about the function of marketing which is, in my experience, far from reality.

Often clients come to me thinking that investing a few months in marketing will be enough to find the path to success and fortune. Others believe that there is a magic recipe that will allow them to see their sales increase significantly in no time. Finally, there are others who think that once the strategy is in place, it is enough to continue to execute it the same results will keep on coming in.

This is not what I have seen in my 27 years of experience.

Marketing is a battle. A battle against inertia, innovation, competitors, perceptions and technological change.

Inertia

I often explain to my clients that marketing is like a big wheel with a lot of inertia. To get it moving, you need to push hard. Often for 3-6 months before seeing results. The problem is that this same inertia resisting the initial efforts will keep the wheel turning for a while after the efforts have stopped. After that, we must start over. Here is an example of this. An online school worked very hard to improve the reach for their Facebook posts, increase engagement, and of course, increase sales. They did this by regularly publishing third parties articles and also writing and publishing their own. They manage to reach 672 people and have 136 interactions on one of the successful publications. After a break of several months, they resume these activities, but the engagement rate dropped to 56 people reached and only 3 interactions. They would have been wise continuing with this strategy rather than starting over.

Innovation

Here we make a distinction between innovation and technological change, although these two could be grouped together. Changes like chatbots, online scheduling applications, sales funnels, CMS (WordPress, Shopify, SquareSpace, Wix, Joomla, etc.), email platforms, website apps, social media management platforms, etc. (There are many more, but you get the picture ...). All of these have an impact on your marketing strategy. Are there any innovations that could be good for your business? If yes, how to use them? What are the best options for your company? In the past two or three years, changes within this sector have moved at the speed of light. And as a manager, you must keep up.

Technological changes

Changes to Google algorithms and other search engines, changing to smart devices rather than computers to access the Internet, voice search, artificial intelligence and its influence on big data and its use in decision-making, the rise of videos, the different forms of information transmission, augmented reality, the change in consumer purchasing habits (online purchases on sites like Amazon, for example), are all technological changes which shape our current reality and that of tomorrow. Are you up to date? Do you know the impact of these elements on the marketing of your business?

Competitors

Love them, or hate them, but the competitors are here to stay. They have the same information, the same tools, they often share the same objectives and fight as much as we do to gain customer attention and capture market share. It's a constant battle. It is not a sprint or part-time activity. Growing a business is often compared to a marathon rather than a 100m dash. In addition, when you slow down, you fall behind, and with the current speed of things, it is becoming increasingly difficult to catch up. So, you must roll up your sleeves, fight and innovate. Because in marketing/advertising, innovation can give you one step ahead if it is well-chosen and executed. Some ideas may come from your competitors. Conversely, they can also draw inspiration from one of your well-executed strategies. But you must keep an eye on the market and to stay informed of what's happening.

Perceptions

Often, perceptions are shaped by marketing or advertising companies doing their self-promotion. Unrealistic results, revolutionary processes, proven methods and all for just a few dollars! A few dollars here, a few dollars there and in the end, the customers who believed in these beautiful promises end up paying sometimes more for a solution that is not well suited to their reality. Each company operates in a specific market. There are certainly similar trends from one market to another, from one field to another too, but also specificities. For example, I have customers for whom GoogleAds work very well and for others, they do see the same results. The cost of keywords, the actions of competitors, the financial resources of other companies in your market are just a few of the variations to consider. The same goes for sales funnels. If you are in the health field, few professions can adopt this approach to this technology. If the client has no pain or health problem, you can send any follow-up emails you want, he/she will not act (of course, if you sell related products/services, this technology may be useful). Why am I telling you this? Because I experienced it with a client who provided home health care. Another example; customers who absolutely want to have a WordPress website even when they admit themselves that they don't have time to update or learn how to use it.

There are other important elements that make up the daily activity of a marketer. Analysis and measurement are among them. But the idea of this article is more to demystify the magic side of marketing than to highlight all the activities done on a regular basis.

So, if you choose to do business with a marketing consultant, have realistic expectations. He/she will be fighting for you. Do not go in with your eyes shut; measure and evaluate to ensure you made the right choice. But be patient too. Rome was not built in a day.

If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact me.

 

Stéphane Elmaleh-Riel, B.Ed., MBA
Marketing consultant