Friday, April 17, 2015

Why events should be key part of your marketing strategy

Recently there has been a lot of focus on building relationships online; in particular the mining of the statistics that you can gather from social media. I believe that most companies now understand the benefits of using social media and it has become an integral part of most organisation's marketing strategies. 

That said, I think now is the time to remind ourselves of the benefits we can achieve through face-to-face interaction, especially when delivering a service to our Customers. 

  • When a customer is looking for a service they are likely to be faced with many different companies competing for their business; it is important therefore, to have quality touchpoints. By hosting events that facilitate face-to-face discussions with a potential customer you are establishing a more personal and intimate relationship that is impossible to create digitally. 
  • Providing clients with an event to attend gives them something experiential to remember, which consequentially means they are more likely to remember you, helping your organisation to cut through the clutter when it comes to choosing who to engage with. It is important that the event is unique and runs smoothly as those who attend are just as likely to remember you for any bad experiences as as they are a good experiences. 
  • Events can be seen as an added value service as it gives the customer the opportunity to network with other professionals, as well as giving them access to quality speakers and useful introductions. The client relationship then develops from more than just being a transactional service to the client viewing your organisation as the facilitator for the growth of their business network, which will give the relationship longevity. 

Running events could be considered a counter-trend to online relationships. The opportunity to grasp this counter trend, and have face-to-face contact with your customer is probably unexpected, which gives it much more impact leased which will create an even better impression of your company.  

Social media is something that can be used alongside running an event in a number of way; a) by interacting online with those who attend before to encourage dialogue and anticipation for an upcoming experience, b) as well as during the event, driving engagement with the speakers and other attendees and c) as a method of listening to and collating any feedback your audience is freely willing to provide. 

It will also create an interest among those who are not attending, and encourage them to question what value they could gain from attending one the events that you host in the future.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Marketing and technology

Changes in advertising 

A combination of two things lead me along the path to working within marketing; my interest in psychology, the reasons people do what they do, and I was pretty good at business studies at GCSE level. You may think that I could have opted to do a degree in psychology and with the vision to open my own practice however a very good business studies teacher showed me how marketing is all about psychology but additionally has a measurable impact upon a business. Impressed by this, I went on to study business at A Level, eventually receiving a BA (Hons) Marketing degree in 2014.

During my time studying for my degree and these first few months of my first marketing job, I have noticed the strong link between marketing and technology, particularly how the continual progression of technology will only help those working in marketing. Experiential marketing has been taken to a whole new level thanks to technology. 

At university we were taught that experiential marketing was a strategy that engages all of a customers senses - this is very true, however there was no mention of technology being the facilitator of this. Technology has come so far that customers are now able to experience a virtual reality which is something that brands have tried to achieve in the past e.g. Harry Potter World.Samsung's Galaxy VR headset - Oculus Rift - is a headset created by Oculus VR for 3D gaming purposes. 

As you can imagine when someone is wearing this they are a captive audience. It's not like when you advertise on TV and someone can be looking on their phone or tablet or making tea. You have their full attention. This is obviously a great opportunity for marketing professionals to ensure their adverts have the full effect. It allows people who work in marketing and have an interest in psychology, like me, to look at how virtual reality can be used to ensure the ads we create are remembered by those who see them, therefore improving our ROI. An example of this could be virtually riding on a roller coaster for a Disney Land advert or getting a guided tour around a hotel or event venue. 

In my opinion there will always be a place for the traditional marketing methods, however if your customer is likely to have a Oculus Rift on their Christmas list then you should be embracing the changes this can make to the very format of an advert. Marketing works when you know your customers behaviour and this needs to be replicated in advertising.

I think there has been a slow uptake in the change that touch screen technology brings to marketing, with most simply replicating their TV ad.You wouldn't put a radio advert onto the TV because it needs to be visual, well the point in touch technology is that its interactive, therefore adverts need to be made more interactive. Interaction within adverts could include giving customers the option as to which version of the advert they want to watch. This will also provide very good market research results and therefore would improve the tailoring of your campaigns. 

Start being more creative. Don't ignore technology, embrace it!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Number 1

THE RISE OF LIDL ... and the fall of leading supermarkets.

After reading a recent article from marketingweek I was inspired to write my first blog post as a professional marketer. 

Lidl was a brand that had never really made a big impact or made me stop and think. I had certainly not ever thought about going there to do a weekly shop or even to just stock up on the usual things like milk and bread. However this was all about to change...

On a very very boring day I decided to go into my local Lidl for a little look around to pass some time. Not a lot had changed since my last visit, the floors were the same, the stock on the shelves seemed the same, the lack of people seemed the same. But there was one thing that caught my attention and that was the smell of baking bread. Just as you entered Lidl there was a station where an employee was taking bread in and out of a big cooker. This made me think about the some of the things I had learnt from my marketing degree about creating an experience for a customer and exciting all their senses. Well as i'm sure you all know the smell of cooking bread is just delicious and this has been used by leading supermarkets for a long time. It not only sends off positive messages about the store and the quality of the food (home made)  it also makes you more hungry! Obviously a very handy thing for customers to be when they are buying food. I still left Lidl empty handed but I was much more impressed.

Lidl then started their new campaign 'Surprises'. The first I had seen of it was in this TV ad and it certainly did surprise me! I did not expect those reactions from someone who was eating something from Lidl - clearly the ad worked! I was also impressed by their sudden engagement with social media. They promoted their Facebook and Twitter pages with #LidlSurprises which is simple but very effective. They carried this campaign through to their Christmas ad showing surprised families eating a full Christmas dinner from Lidl. A very good idea as people start considering where to shop. 

Recently a new pop-up restaurant called Deluxe opened in London which seems to have a very similar logo to Lidls new premium range, also called Deluxe, and the restaurant is also serving reindeer carpaccio, a new addition to the Deluxe range this year. Lidl has not commented on this but I believe that just adds to the mystery and surprise. 

It has been widely reported that the likes of Tesco, Sainsbury's, Asda and Morrisons have falling profits and are losing market share fast. Tesco’s half-year profits have dropped from more than £1bn to just over £100m. Sainsbury’s lost nearly £300m over the same period. The cause of this, in my opinion, doesn't need to be shown in statistics or massive amounts of data, they simply have forgotten about the customer. They have enjoyed the top spot for such a long time that they were focusing solely on price and revenues and not enough on what the customer was really looking for.

The German retailers Aldi and Lidl are growing at a rapid rate with 12-week revenues up by 26% and 17% respectively, according to Kantar Worldpanel, and I am sure this is going to continue to grow. 

I believe customers are now looking for the something different, something that none of the giant supermarkets are providing and are therefore going to the smaller supermarkets like Lidl who are capturing their attention. Lidl is certainly doing all the right things to change its brand image and I think its a very interesting situation to watch unfold. 

Will customers be giving up their loyalties to the 'Big 4' this Christmas or will Lidl and Aldi have to work just a bit harder to move customers permanently? 

Whenever it will be I expect to see Lidl and Aldi rising to the top.