Comments and observations on business, marketing and life: by Martin Donohoe

Tag: marketing (Page 1 of 2)

Marketing – Are you Hands On or Hands Off ?

There’s a joke post that pops up from time to time on LinkedIn. It’s a conversation between a recruiter and their client. The client is looking for a marketing person “they need digital skills, build websites,seo, ppc, need to code, be able to write copy, organise events, design adverts, take pictures, edit video, create marketing strategy, devise campaigns…oh and they need to be able to write PR pieces. They need to have at least 5 years experience and I’m looking to pay less than £20k”. The recruiter points out that individuals like that are quite expensive because that’s a rare skill set and perhaps the client needs a marketing team? Inevitably, the post has lots of marketeers commenting their agreement.

Jokes aside, irrespective of the size of organisation many marketing professionals are required to work across a wide range of areas. This can be a positive thing, it can make a role more interesting because of the variety of tasks and it can also lead to discovering an area that you might wish to specialise in. What it does tend to drive though, is a tendency for many marketeers to be prepared to jump in, roll up their sleeves and tackle whatever comes along. Personally I don’t think this is a bad thing, proper understanding of tasks can aid you when you are managing others as you truly understand what is required to get a job done.

If you’re fortunate, your marketing department might be one that can call upon a host of agencies to complete tasks, but for some organisations the expectation is that the work is generally undertaken in house. At the other extreme, as in any organisation you will find people who never do any hands on work, possibly have never really done any and are therefore seen as hands off – whether this is good or bad can be debated.

As many commentators have identfied, marketing remains poorly understood in many organisations. But that is a whole other topic.

A negative consequence of being a multi-skilled marketeer can be that of being typecast as a ‘doer’. This is valued in some organisations, but for others it leads to a mistaken belief that if you have hands-on skills, you can’t possibly combine that with sufficient strategic skills or it detracts from the way a marketeer is viewed. I feel it’s a reflection of the inflexible thinking that we all encounter too frequently, it possibly also shows a lack of understanding of how marketing teams and individuals in marketing develop their skill sets and get the work done.

As many commentators have identfied, marketing remains poorly understood in many organisations. But that is a whole other topic.

Hands on, hands off – or a combination?

In praise of the direct mail shot

For lots of SME level marketing, email rules. There’s no doubt that a well crafted email campaign, sent to an engaged and anticipating audience will generate great results. Except, that it seems to that many small and medium-sized businesses in the UK still haven’t “got” email marketing (although it’s probably fair to say that many large operations haven’t got it either).

You don’t have to look too hard to find a litany of graphic only emails, weak marketing messages and ‘electronic leaflet’ mails that break all the rules, but still get knocked out week in, week out. It would be interesting to know just how much email blindness this causes amongst customers of these businesses.

So, what to do when emails just don’t cut it any more? Well, judging by the barrage of direct mail I keep getting from my favourite search engine, direct mail still cuts it. Certainly, in a b2b environment the general amount of direct mail seems to have reduced so maybe now is the time to use mail to get cut through with your customers. Email isn’t going away, but it might benefit from a short holiday!

Google off line – fish out of water?

I’ve received several copies of a letter from Google UK recently, promoting their Adwords (pay per click) advertising product. Nothing wrong with that, as an online marketeer I use Google’s products, so it’s good targeting. Or is it?

Firstly, I already have more than one Google account where I manage reasonably sized Google Adwords accounts. Clearly Google are failing to make the link that some of their registered users already have that service in their Google accounts. Secondly, the letters, whilst addressed correctly and with the right name (!) have a job title that reads something like “SEO Manager / Online Manager / Internet Manager”. Come on Google, direct marketing 101, use the right information, or don’t include it at all!

Perhaps most annoyingly, the letters contain vouchers (typically £30 or £50) to use on an Adwords account, but it has to be one that has been opened in the past 14 days – so no use to my existing accounts.

So to summarise Google UK’s direct mail efforts:

  • Badly targetted – I already have the service being offered
  • Uses an incorrect / non-existent job title (not hugely annoying but not professional either)
  • Making a useless offer which potentially alienates existing customers – “hey new customer here’s something for free, but for you loyal customer spending many hundreds of £’s – nothing”
Compare this to Google’s slick, precise and targeted online presence and it really makes you think they should stick to the virtual world and avoid envelopes! Of course, this will presumably have happened all across the country to others involved in online marketing – much wasted paper and money!
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