What businesses often fail to understand about social

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What businesses often fail to understand about social

Finding the true worth of social

 

Have you ever sat back and said “I don’t get how social works for my business” or are you doing social and thinking “This is pointless” only to read every second day how people are building empires from social media exposure for their business?

Meeting as many business people as I do, especially men and women in their late 40s through to their mid 60s I often see and hear how they just don’t think social is doing anything for their business.

Sometimes, we will be engaged by a client for social whom we know will leave us after 6 months and question our role and the role of social at all in their business.

We have a wide array of processes in place to try and educate customers on the role of social, the realities of undertaking it, the commitment required to do it well and the potential outcomes for their businesses over time, but often despite all this our customers (a certain, small percentage, mind you) will leave and feel they got nothing out of their investment.

You may be thinking it is unusual for one to be so honest about a failed business relationship, but it is this approach that typifies how social works: being genuine and informative and I think there are lessons to be shared and learned by showcasing failure not merely success.

And as Henry Ford says failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently. Which is why each time we have a disappointing or failed experience with a client we further refine our offering to offer and even better service to our current an future customers.

So our success on any project often comes down to a combination of factors, some as an agency we can influence, others we can’t. But here are some are three key factors to consider when looking to find success sin social:

  1. Content
  2. Time
  3. Tracking

 

Content – MAKE IT GREAT – CREATE MOMENTS

One of the greatest mistakes brands/businesses make with social is they merely take their approach to promoting their products/services and plonk them on a social platform.

Social media is NOT an advertising medium in the traditional sense. Yes, people advertise there, but what really gets followers engaged is thoughtful and interesting content.

People in the social environment want to be entertained, intrigued and delighted but above all followers want genuineness… and it is that aspect of social, businesses fail to understand.

Successful brands in the social space don’t just “Brand” content, their content exemplifies their brand, its values, its approach and therefore it speaks clearly not merely about the products or services they sell, but why the brand exists and whom they exist for.

If you take a look at Red Bull for instance their content richly reflects their brand and appeals to those who identify with the more extreme… and if not those who necessarily live that life, at least those who aspire to add a little more excitement to their day. It isn’t about the product itself but the “lifestyle” the drink fits into.

A brand I have worked on – Maccona also has a hugely successful social following, and their content is all driven around the core idea that Maccona (the product) provides its drinkers with a moment of escape, through the taste, through the ritual of having a coffee. So, their content is formulated to provide a similar and simple moment of escape online.

Now these are both beverage brands and when I showcase these examples to customers (not in the Fast-Moving Consumer Good Space – FMCG) they often refute their ability to achieve this when their product or service is so much more utilitarian or generic.

And my argument is simple That is Bullshit.

Sure, your business won’t produce content that emulates Red Bull or Moccona, but there is no good reason why your brand/business can’t make content in the social space that is authentic to your brand and provides genuine engagement for your customers.

So, what is an example. Well if you haven’t followed the NSW police – check it out. Now I reckon the cops have a pretty tough sell on their hand with enforcing the law…. And let’s face it the “constabulary” don’t always have the easiest brand position either. But some of their stuff is pure gold.

Or what about mailchimp. Let’s face it mailchimp sells the ability to send emails to customers and its one of hundreds of similar products. It’s far from sexy, and as a facilitator who exists in a highly price sensitive environment – what could this brand really do to be “social”.

Mailchimp have done three things that I think are very clever for such a pragmatic product.

  1. In the social space they have taken a very pragmatic approach, their content is typically designed to give real working examples of how to maximise the effectiveness of your communications and in turn they seek to showcase the ease of use, not to mention how to maximise the outcomes using their platform.
  2. They have been consistent in their approach with regular posts across platforms both in terms of frequency and content.
  3. They have spent time and continue to invest in a brand identity (visual style) that goes beyond their logo and underpins the way they present their social communications.

 

This visual style is clever and recognisable and something that not many brands bother investing in. This isn’t just content it is content that is branded both in terms of the strategic approach as well as the ongoing content presentation.

There’s a lot we can learn from these brands, these are not funky products, not emotive brands and yet they have found a way to show their personality despite having boring businesses. They’ve produced genuine content that reflect their brand on social media which keep users alert to their future posts but also keeps their brand front of mind which will allow you to get more followers, build engagement, and grow your business, but let’s be honest to make all of this happen and build a solid following will take…..

 

TIME – ROME AND A SOCIAL FOLLOWING – BOTH WEREN’T BUILT IN A DAY

Building a social following for a retail fashion brand like Boohoo or The Iconic can be rapid and the numbers of followers, sharers and buyers – massive. Again, not every business will have this same ability. So, understanding your business and your customer is vital in determining how many followers you want and having a plan for how long it might take to reach them is just as important.

What is also important in determining the time investment required for your social presence is the latency of your sales funnel/process. For example, if you sell cheap holidays the time between posting via your social channels and seeing a sales response may be a mere matter of days, but if you are selling large mining equipment it may take an extended and ongoing effort to see conversions from social.

In some respects, however your regular sales process should give you some indication around this, so if you do sell heavy machinery don’t expect to put up a post on Linked In once and sell a 1000. Expect it to take some time to build, we suggest that to properly target and build an engaged social following will take a minimum of nine months and up to 18 months before certain business types will see results begin to flow.

But how do you know?

 

TRACKING – SOCIAL SHOULD BE TRACKED – IT’S NOT JUST FOR FUN

This is a big one – And socially savvy businesses consider this often long before they even make a post. How you track success and how you track sales through your social media initiatives are vital to the process and how you seek to measure this will vary business to business and product to product.

Ultimately, investing in systems that track sales and the channel from which they were derived is one thing, but if your business doesn’t have robust digital systems in place, then try simple things like unique URLs, pricing or promotional codes that can help your sales teams track sales coming from your social channels specifically.

This really is very important because, as an example, we worked with a client once who saw a 15% uptick in sales in six months after investing in social with us. We asked them if they could see the correlation between our social campaign and their sales increase. And their response was “no one has specifically said they found us through social, so we are no sure this is working”.

As an agency, there was only so much we could track the performance (within the scope of the brief), so whilst we could see and share from the analytic data showing the increased traffic to the website, see the increase in online enquiries and they reported the subsequent increase in sales Without the client actually finding out where customers found them, we couldn’t close the loop in regard to the effectiveness of the work.

Which brings me back to the crux of this article. Why do some of our clients fail to see value in social?

I think it is often a lack of understanding of one or each the above key factors and the effort that each takes in tandem to find success. Whether you are executing your social in-house, by yourself or with an agency partner you really do have to be invested; invested in the idea of creating meaningful content, invested in the idea of being patient and giving your social initiatives time to work and invested in the systems and processes to track its performance.

As an agency who helps business with social, what I can tell you is whilst our talent at producing great content and managing the complex nuances of each platform is what we pride ourselves in, what makes a truly great relationship and delivers the best outcomes in social is when the client is truly invested in the outcome and knows why social is important for their business.

Give us your feedback – Why is social important or not important to your business?

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6 things to do to get your business out of a funk

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6 things to do to get your business out of a funk.

Bring your business back to life

 

We are a marketing business, and when you think about that concept, essentially, we have to find the positive aspects of a product or service and we have to use that to showcase the most positive effect your product, business or service can have on the life your desired customer.

We often get called in when there’s a problem (although you should be marketing even when everything is going well) whether it is a dip in sales or completely rethinking tried and tested strategies because the market has changed. And naturally, with all this extra stress at work, they can find themselves in a funk and that’s when we meet them.

Now, I’m not a psychologist (not that you needed to be told that) but being in the “finding the positives” business and the fact that we regularly meet business owners and account managers who are stressed and in a funk at work, we often find ourselves in mock counselling session with a client – before they have even signed on the dotted line.

So, if you need to make some changes in mentality at work (and beyond) here are my tips on telling the FUNK to F-off and in doing so prepare your business to better sell itself.

 

1. Wake up earlier…

This is not one of those work longer or work harder concepts. No. Wake up earlier and make some more time for yourself.

One of the worst things about being a business professional is that you devote so much of your time to the business and in the end, you grow tired and resentful because it takes up all your time.

But this advice goes beyond just giving yourself back a bit of time for you. This down time where you lift some weights, go for a run, or have a latte at the café, gives your brain some downtime. And believe it or not this is when the best ideas will manifest themselves.

 

2. Get out there and meet people.

If you find yourself constantly engaging a certain type of client and they are draining (physically and time), not profitable or not really fulfilling to service, the likelihood is (by virtue of your current marketing activities, referrals etc.) you will continue to attract more of these types of clients.

So, take a moment, have a think about who your perfect client might be and then try and figure out where they are, what networking groups they are in, what events they go to, where they have a beer after work and get there. This is not the promotion of stalking. It is the targeting environments where customers you want to work with are.

And if you can hone in on this, the marketing initiatives we help you with will be greatly improved by your understanding of these customers, where they are and their pain points.

 

3. Shake it up a bit

Most jobs are repetitive, we become good at them the longer we do them because we become more effective and efficient at doing the same task repeatedly.

But over time, for some, this repetition can be quite monotonous. So, shake it up. Change meeting times. Only respond to emails at certain time during the day so you remain more focussed, vary your hours.

Changing little things can alter the way we perceive even what we have grown tired of.

This could be setting aside some time to really work on your thinking around marketing. Be hands on with your agency and inject some new energy into an otherwise repetitive scenario.

 

4. Declutter

Maria Kondo’s is a smash hit on Netflix (great watch if you haven’t seen it) and her show is all about decluttering your home.

Decluttering can go beyond the physical. Declutter your schedule, if you do 4 meetings a day do 3 and take that additional time to focus in on improving one aspect of your work life.

Don’t eat lunch at your desk – go out and have a walk.

Set a time each day to pack up your desk, clean your desk top and be ready for the next day so you can approach it with a clear mind.

Decluttering your time and mind will have a dramatic impact on your performance.

You can also declutter your products, seek out the highest performing products, declutter your messaging – work with an agency like us to make your marketing approach more streamlined and direct.

 

5. Stop focussing on money.

Money, ah, that old chestnut! – We all work or own a business to make it. It’s a prerequisite of life to some degree. Hell, even not for profit doesn’t mean not for money, look at the balance sheets of some major charities and you will see what I mean.

But if you think about the dollars and cents every minute of every day you may overlook the simple joy of service.

Now this isn’t some spiritual humdrum, nor is it overlooking the need to make money. But I sometimes think it’s like this: If you never take your eyes off the GPS whilst driving, there is no doubt you will have a very clear picture of the destination but I highly doubt you will get there.

Your marketing I think could benefit from similar thinking. People often think of marketing as a chore, an expense.

If you change your focus and become part of the process, own it and find joy in it. Make it part of your service delivery as opposed to an external function, I think you will find your marketing will improve greatly. This doesn’t mean you need to become a marketing expert, or do it all yourself, rather it suggests working with trusted marketing partners and together making great things happen

 

6. Be positive.

You know on a personal level, my business has taken some big hits over the years, we’ve been screwed a few times, we’ve made mistakes and we haven’t always been where we want to be.

It can be quite painful at times when things don’t go right.

But, I think you must be positive. After all everything that is wonderful in this world can have a dark side. And so too can your career or your business.

Take stock of the things that have gone wrong and assess the lessons that can be learned, there is so much we can take from tough times.

And this is a key lesson for marketing your business too, SH!T happens, but when you present your business, present the best it can be. Take the learnings, take the bits that aren’t perfect and use your marketing to make a public commitment that as a business you will do things better… customers respond to positive words, even more so positive action.

This little list has helped me manage the pitfalls of having my own business, they keep me sane and in the long run help my business run smoothly. They also help me focus on how I externally promote our business. Many of these personal activities can be reflected in the way you market both yourself and your business.

Give them a go and tell me what you think?

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Marketing is not a chore!

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Marketing isn’t a chore!

On the weekend my friends were discussing house cleaners; of the group, 3 people had cleaners (two fortnightly and one had hers come weekly).

 

 

I don’t have a cleaner – that’s not to say I am better than them, far from it: I don’t have kids nor do I have as big a house (apartment, in my case) and I have a terrible confession to make I don’t hate cleaning – shocking I know – but nearly every Sunday morning I put on some music or a podcast and get to it: vacuuming, mopping, clothes, bathroom, bedroom, windows. kitchen gets wiped down every night after dishes are done. And then during the week I will do some spot cleans here and there to keep it all spick and span. It’s just not a big deal.

My friends clearly still have to do a lot of the things on my cleaning list (e.g. wiping down the kitchen bench for example) but the nitty gritty is done by the cleaners – and that’s fine! They choose to use their hours on the weekend (which are precious and all too few) doing other things and pay someone to clean – and that’s fine.

It got me thinking that there seems to be direct correlations with marketing.

  1. Many people view marketing as a chore.
  2. Some people do theirs in-house and some outsource their marketing.
  3. Cleaning and Marketing make you look good.

On the weekend – they were actually having a laugh about the old trope of cleaning the house before the cleaner gets there to make it look respectable enough for them.

It’s often true that when you hire an agency you will still have to do some of the work. Whether it is provide a brief for us to work to or give some insight into an article we are writing or simply give feedback.

Most clients are great but sometimes we get some push back from clients or they drag their heels on answers. They view approvals or reviewing the stats from the last campaign as a chore.

But it shouldn’t be seen as a chore because it can be fun creating plans to get people excited about your company. And just like cleaning it makes you look good!

There are simple ways to change the perception of a chore

Treat yourself:

Mary Poppins had it right a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down; reward yourself when you do it on time.

Make it fun:

She’s at it again

 

Allot the time:

We are all busy and you have to prioritise – so choose the time each week/month/campaign when you will sit down and a) do the tasks required b) discuss upcoming opportunities. It will make it easier.

Positive reinforcement

Whilst you have allotted the time review how far you’ve come – it will make it all worthwhile.

And of course, even if you are a little messy doesn’t mean you can’t pretend (we are all messy sometimes)

 

 

If you have a mess that even you can’t clean – call in the professionals

 

 

give us a buzz sometime

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The client always comes first… but isn’t always right.

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Customer Isn't always right - providing great service in the digital industy

 

The client always comes first…
but isn’t always right.

Our job is often to create something new almost every day. I am not always sure that customers or even those around us appreciate how difficult it can be to create something from nothing nearly every hour of every day of your life.

For us, as artists, that can be both thrilling and terrifying all at the same time, and it can also be draining.

One thing is certain is that designers, writers, videographers and producers all inherently attempt to make something great each time. And that too can be as much trouble as it is worth sometimes.

Especially when those for which you are making things for (we’ll call them clients) are often not necessarily trained nor geared to think or do what we do.

Now this article is not to place us on some pedestal, nor to belittle clients, after all what we do exists 99% of the time solely for you, but it is an article designed to offer some perspective and perhaps seek to help clients better understand the process we go through for you.

So let’s role play here a little:

  • You’re a client and you need a logo, a brochure, a video or something…
  • You brief your designer, now there are a few key phrases we hear almost daily:
    • “I’m not looking for anything fancy”
    • “Don’t spend too much time on it”
    • “I need it quickly”

Each of these phrases is the beginning of the exact same process, effort and compromise as someone saying, “really make it awesome, invest as much time as you can in getting the right result, but the deadline is X”… You see the only real difference is the mentality the client brings to brief, because from this point on a client’s expectation is generally the same, but ironically, the one who suggests any of those first phrases I mentioned, are likely to be the most difficult client to deal with.

Why?

There are a couple of key reasons, the phrases themselves reflect a lack of appreciation of the time, effort and inherent skill the designer and design process entails. It also generally shows a lack of genuine personal investment in the achievement of the outcome which is distinctly different from their desire for the outcome itself.

When a designer (or, a design firm, or agency) present a client with something or a range of options, one of the most difficult aspects of our job is the flippancy for which customers either dismiss ideas, overlook the thinking that went into the work or again underestimate the skill that went into its creation.

Now, I am not insinuating that we are always right, but at the same time I am insulating that customers aren’t either.

If we have selected a certain image, or left s p a c e in a design it’s generally a considered approach to a design problem, it has been worked on and tested in all matter of ways to get to the end result – a result that attempts to blend the aesthetic requirements of the task with the need to showcase and clearly display or convey information.

Now all the words in the world can succinctly showcase my point so I thought these short videos might help.

Don’t get me wrong, you are the client and your opinion matters, but if the logo is a certain size, or the designer has left space for words to breath, it is not some sort of attempt to frustrate you, but rather it is years of education, thousands of hours working at their craft and an eye for aesthetics that make them specialists in their field being provided to you as part of their service to you.

As a designer, they will always put you first, a business we will always do the same, but the creation of all the work we do, we are always open to suggestions, but before you make them, take some time and consider if your feedback reflects the best interests of the project and if it may go against the approach your design or agency partner has put forwards with the best interests of your project, your message and your audience.

Enjoy the videos.

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Lamb ad 2019 – Masterstroke or Mis-steak?

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LAMB AD 2019 – MASTERSTROKE OR MISSTEAK?

We love Australia Day and if you have noted in the past we also love MLA’s Lamb Australia Day ad campaigns. So is the latest morsel up to snuff? Let us know what you think!

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Countdown: Top Resolutions for EVERYONE but mainly marketers

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Countdown: Top Resolutions for EVERYONE but mainly marketers

We flipped the good old new year’s resolution on its head and are counting down the most popular ones with a slant for the marketer.

8 – “I’m going to read more”

All of us want to knock off those books on our list, but we should also be reading more on the internet, and by that, I mean reviewing your pipeline and your statistics, spending a bit of time each week to know exactly where you stand. When you are across the ins and outs fine tuning will be a breeze.

7 – “I’ve always wanted to learn a language”

The universal language of love? Nope, I am talking the universal language of the code. Learning a coding language can be a lot simpler than one would think and even if you aren’t going to use it day-to-day it helps to be self-sufficient if you need to roll up your sleeves and do some maintenance PLUS it gives you a better appreciation and understanding of how one of your most vital business systems work.

6 – “Make New Friends”

Some of us wake up one day and realise that we don’t have many close friends, perhaps after struggling to find a ripper party to go to on NYE. Building your social following or email lists can be similar – you may have once had a thriving social media life but people move on get married, unsubscribe, have kids, unfollow you. You have to continually top up your streams with new friends that want to spend time with you.

5 – “Spend more time with family and friends”

On the flipside, nothing is better than rekindling a friendship that you hold dear so before you lose your friends engage them – keeping your followers interested in what you are doing is only half the battle, don’t foget to be interested in what they are doing, who they hang out with and where they do it.

4 – “I’m going to get more sleep”

Having a regular routine is key to getting sleep; just as having a routine like a calendar for creating content and reviewing your campaigns can keep the momentum going and not find yourself running out of time for one of the most important facets of your sleep business.

3 – “Take a break”

We often get preoccupied with work and lose focus on what’s important: our lives outside of the office which is why it’s so important to take on only what you can handle and delegate responsibilities for those that could be better handles by others.

2 – “Eat Healthy, Get Fit”

Leading on from taking a break is turning yourself into a lean mean marketing machine. If you are feeding your site with all the healthy hygiene and spend time getting massive gains from your hero content that will deliver engagement and awareness of your brand.

1 – “This is the year I will get organised”

You know you have been putting it off and doing things the hard way for too long, but this is the time to do it, clean out those drawers of unwanted items and get to organising and having everything in place. That means segmenting your DBs, making sure your followers are still engaged run a reengagement campaign. Oh, and wouldn’t it be great if once everything is organised you take a break, get some sleep, spend time with friends, new and old, and all those other things? That’s right part of organising is getting that CRM perfect and using your marketing automation platform that you set up but never really put the finishing touches on.

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5 Minutes with Menzies – Episode 4

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Robert: Today’s Theme is creativity.
You are a creative. You have studied design in university and are constantly learning and researching all things design and innovation – So – Are you born with it or is it something you have to work on?

Michael: I definitely believe that there is an aspect of creativity that you are born with. Imagining the unimaginable is something that not everyone can do and to be able to think of a new idea every day is not something in my experience every one can do.

But you definitely have to work on it. You have to be aware of as many things past and present so you can evolve that thinking.

RD: Do you believe anyone can be creative?

MM: Yes I believe anyone can be creative – after all creativity takes a great many forms. So, even though there are aspects of creativity that may be innate there is still room for everyone.

RD: What’s your process for being creative when you are designing?
Is it different depending on the job – UX, Design, Branding, Campaign and ideation?

MM: I am quite driven by solving problems and thinking what a proposed audience may expect to happen – remembering that their expectation may be to be amazed.

I think for me the approach to a problem is often led by a desire to lead someone to a place where there expectation is met; for a logo, that may be the feeling of connection to the brand or the services the business provides. For Campaigns, its about conveying an insight that engages a consumer and inspires them to act etc. 

RD: Like most creatives (except for those really annoying ones that lie) I am sure you get stretches without inspiration – how do you deal with “writers block” – any tricks you can share?

MM: The block you describe often comes from being over-focussed on the solution for too long. My best advice and this is why design is so much more complex than the average joe gives it credit for – and hence, why not being at your desk or just doodling or surfing the net is often the catalyst for the lightbulb moment.

RD: I know we often talk budgets about marketing but in your mind how big of a % of a campaign budget should be given to just the ideation and creativity phase? Do you think this is valued enough by clients?

MM: Well I think that is a tough one to answer because in some ways it may vary depending on the scale of the project.

For instance when you have a very small budget, there is in some ways even more strategic thinking required to find solutions that maximise the inherent limitation of the budget itself.

And for big projects – well you have a huge budget, now the balance is finding how to deliver a truely impactful idea and having enough money to amplify it.

But I would say between 25 – 50%

Do clients value it? I think some do and when they do the outcomes are often preferential.

But in many cases no. And I think that’s because often what we do is so intangible or easy.

If I make a product and it sits on a shelf and it costs a thousand dollars – that is an easily understood concept.

If I am designing a logo, or a piece of graphic art and it costs a thousand dollars – what if I don’t like it or in the case of a campaign it doesn’t work? For clients its these intangible variables that often impact on the perceived value of our “product”.

Often there is personal preferences or bigger broader influences that have an impact on the viability of a solution and that can sometimes make what we do difficult to quantify?

RD: The proof is in the eating sometimes and not just looking at the cake you have to see how it does in the real world I guess.

And that’s another 5 minutes with Menzies done and dusted – if you want to discuss anything we talked about feel free to drop us a line or give us a bell.

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5 Minutes with Menzies – Episode 3

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Robert: Alright, we’re back for another year and another installment of 5 Minutes with Menz. How’s it going?

Michael: Well thanks.

RD: You managed to not come into the office for almost 7 days over the break – congratulations! – What was the best thing you did?

MM: Well I actually was in the office – prepping for a BIG year… I think it was you guys that were on holidays… No but, seriously, I did take a few days. Did some stand-up paddle boarding up the coast and just some family time to recharge the batteries.

RD: Nice one, What do you think we will see in 2018 in the world of digital – will this be the year that AR and VR take over? Will any of the social media streams move up or down in popularity?

MM: It is a very interesting question… And for the second time today I refer to porn [ed’s note: we recorded another piece check out MMOM episode 3]… I think VR/AR’s momentum will be primarily driven by the porn industry. It has been a fairly slow uptake and I don’t see that changing necessarily this year. But there is no doubt that both are on their way I just don’t think at this minute the experience is adding enough value to the users engagement.

As for social channels. Look… the Facebook changes of mentioned last week are going to have an impact for sure on that channel. Facebook are arguing this is returning the Facebook feed to its roots, more about the friends and content you want to see.

Ultimately, for the longest time companies have been using the platform to reach people at very little cost (from a comparative media perspective) and that loophole has perhaps closed to an extent.

It provides an interesting challenge, if you ask me

The audience want the content ultimately and Facebook want businesses to pay to get it to them.

The core question is will business be willing to pay for something they got for free?

The sheer numbers of the FB audience for me says ‘yes”.

But it will change the dynamic of Facebook and smaller businesses of which Facebook has been the champion social platform will perhaps go by the wayside, so we could see an increased push on other platforms such as Instagram…

Will one rise up to beat FB… probaaly not immediately. But there is evidence that millennials (the next generation user) are not as in love with Facebook as GEN Y or X – and that will inevitably mean another channel will rise.

RD: Interesting thoughts, The research does show that the younguns are leaving Facebook, speaking of people being in love with different platforms. I was recently thinking about a client we had a while back who wanted us to create a website like one they had seen but it was in my opinion a very ugly site. How do you deal with clients liking poor design especially without sounding like a design snob?

MM: Well regardless of my experience people, be it clients or otherwise, people will have their own appreciation of what is good, bad or ugly.

When you are dealing with larger organisations often there is a committee and a more rigid process to deliver the outcome so perhaps in those situations our expertise become more valued.

But for smaller companies it often comes down to one or two people or a family and ultimately, regardless of what we say, they tend to go down whatever path they feel works for them.

For us, I am not going to lie this can often lead to the selection or creation of something we would not necessarily recommend, but at the end of the day there is a fine line between delivering an outcome that the client is super happy with vs offending them by calling their decisions ‘unfashionable’ for example.

But yes, sometimes we wish they would listen to us.

RD: So, the customer’s not always right but that doesn’t mean they are wrong.

MM: Something like that, look, clearly we make a living in what we do. So with our cumulative experience, we feel pretty confident in providing both advice and direction to a client in relation to their project. But if someone buys and Apple computer and uses it as a bath toy, at the end of the day Apple can only go so far as to suggest that that may not be the ideal way to go!

It’s the same with us. The client can at the end of the day choose to accept our thinking or go in a different direction, but we will always try and ensure they walk out the door feeling they have got great service.

RD: True, I guess that is half the fun. It looks like that’s five minutes – till next time.

MM: Thank you

 

If you want to discuss anything we talked about feel free to drop us a line or give us a bell.

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What Can Scammers Teach Us About Online Marketing

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WHAT SCAMMERS CAN TEACH US ABOUT ONLINE MARKETING

I was reading an article on SmartCompany the other day about an email scam and it occurred to me that they pulled their scam off quite systematically and following some good business rules. The perpetrators swindled “millions” from at least a couple of law firms in Queensland.  Obviously, I am not endorsing this type of behaviour but I was intrigued by the process:

  • “The email scam involves cyber criminals approaching firms via email, posing as prospective clients and asking details about their services.
  • The scammer eventually agrees to sign on as a client, then sends through personal documents to the law firm.
  • These documents prompt the employee on the other end to enter the login details of their work email address, which the scammer harvests.
  • The next step of the scheme involves the scammer watching the inboxes of firms until they see details of a settlement or payment that needs to be made from the firm to another party.
  • The cyber criminal sends a reminder email to the firm about the payment, prompting them to pay this into their bank account instead of to the legitimate recipient, The Brisbane Times reports.”

We are all aware of the different types of customer cycles and paths to purchase. These scammers pretend to be a normal customer and they approach the firm with Awareness; they then move on to, and feign, Evaluation; and finally they move in for a Purchase (which doesn’t eventuate).

Here’s the beautiful part – at the same time that they are pulling the “job”, the firms themselves are also spiralling down the scammer’s funnel. They are approaching multiple top-level firms, making sure the firm is Aware of them and seeing if they are Interested in a new client (who wouldn’t), then move in for the Conversion. I am sure some skilled conmen and women would also like to achieve Retention but I’m guessing that’s a bit hard in their line of work.

As companies become savvier, these scams will work less and less but as the article suggests, some firms are able to escape the funnel at different points whether it’s the lack of a phone number early on, or two-way identification which foils the scam.

All in all, it’s a lesson to be vigilant against scammers but also a reminder that a well thought out user journey or customer experience can lead to a great conversion.

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Why storytelling is so important to marketing your business

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WHY STORYTELLING IS IMPORTANT TO YOUR BRAND

“Stories constitute the single most powerful weapon in a leader’s arsenal.”

Dr. Howard Gardner, professor Harvard University

For today’s lesson, let’s replace “leader” with “brand” or “marketer”.

Leaders have used stories throughout history – many ships have been launched for leaders, greedy for new land – and many boats have been stopped by leaders too (don’t worry I won’t let my point of view on the Stop The Boats political saga drown us before we begin).

You can tell your story once or over and over again, and you can tell it in a few words, or a few hundred thousand. Did you know: A Tale Of Two Cities has 135,000 words and is the most sold book of all time.

Notorious drinker and never one to waste words, Ernest Hemingway was in a bar three sheets to the wind when a fellow drinker who was green with envy over the attention he was getting from the ladies, challenged him to write a six word short story that could make you cry. The next day, hungover and bleary eyed, Hemingway typed up the below and won the bet:

“For Sale: Baby shoes. Never worn.”

What a great story! Not just the six words, but the fact that it was Hemingway, the famously simple worded pathos in his stories shines through in those six words – although the trouble is, Hemingway didn’t write it. Just like Newton was never hit on the head with an apple that lead to his thoughts on gravity (a story so great it led to the name of one the best known brands and great storytellers in their own right).

As a marketer, you might only have enough space for six words. Coca-Cola went from 6 words to 5 in the 90’s. “You can’t beat the feeling” to “You can’t beat the real thing.”

Coke owns words like life, feeling, real, enjoy and happiness.

These words are crucial to their story telling. Which is why those terms come to mind when you think of Coke, and not obesity, type 2 diabetes and tooth decay.

If you ask people to think of Coca-Cola advertising or marketing campaigns, most in Australia think of sky surfing, Christmas or the your name on a bottle campaigns. These all tell a story about Coke and the way it makes you feel. But my favorite is the story teller – it’s blatant, it’s obvious, and if it was set up in any other way, it would feel like a 1950s sponsored ad but it has stuck with me since I was 10.

In short, stories have staying power and can create an emotional response in the audience that linger in their hearts and minds for years.

You can use stories to:
• detail events
• make concepts accessible to a new audience
• change minds
• increase stronger memories
• create attachment to you and your brand through all of the above

You may have heard that there are only a handful of story types in the world, whether you subscribe to Joseph Campbell’s Monomyth, Kurt Vonnegut’s 6 story shapes (to see three of his shapes click, watch it, it’s five minutes, all gold), Christopher Bookers’ Seven basic plots or any other number of numbers (see, writers have been doing listicles* forever).

No matter how many types there are, it’s important to remember there is no end to the variances you can create. Variance is the key word here. You may have been told many times that there is a reason why your business exists and it’s because you are offering something different to your competitors. Find your difference/s and extrapolate. Tell your story, create a connection with your audience and let clients know that you offer an experience or product that will make their life easier, better and happier – like a relaxing squirrel massage.

 

In part 2, we will expand on the art of story telling by focussing on what makes content bad (clue: it’s not a misspent youth).

*not sure what a listicle is (you’ve been reading them for ever): it’s an article that forms a list, wholly or partly. Bustle has an awesome article on the subject.

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