When meeting business owners I am often asked "what are the alternatives to digital marketing"? This is usually asked due to frustration as they don't really understand it, and don't feel they are getting the results that were claimed for it.
Alongside this, I am increasingly aware that so many of today's marketing "experts" know little more than digital solutions, no surprise really as that's what they seem to have grown up with. Plus, as business owners for 15-20 years, we have been increasingly brainwashed into believing its all about digital, social media, website etc. When I mention the "marketing mix" to younger marketers their answer is often purely focussed around digital options. The more experienced guys can remember when we had a broader mix and would mail out apples, oranges, pop ups and use fax etc. Which was more creative and more fun.
More than this, such methods created a different level of engagement with our customers. This is very important and is about the value of the real world.
To answer the question ‘are there any alternatives to digital’ my answer is ‘not really’. You need a strong digital strategy, HOWEVER there are other methods you should include to generate a ‘marketing strategy’ rather than a purely digital strategy, as digital is typically intrusive and push marketing.
I know excellent digital agencies who share my concerns that there are too many inexperienced digital providers who do not offer the depth of knowledge required. I would say for every great agency I meet, there are 4 more questionable ones. So choose wisely. Hence the common frustration of businesses that don't see or believe they get ROI from digital
There are other ways. The C500 club platform can get you to page one of Google within a few days simply by showing you how to write content and using a new platform, no analytics, which makes it fast, easy and, with organic, original content, you stay at the top of the rankings.
However, the one method we all take for granted, yet most people misunderstand, is how we use Word of Mouth [WoM] marketing. People seem to think WoM is simply about talking. What they don't know is there is a process, a method to making WoM work well and a way to understand “talkability”. You will find piles of reading from researchers and leading authors that tell you why you need to use WoM, the evidence is compelling. Don’t be fooled by the fact that it’s probably the oldest form of marketing as the human animal hasn’t changed that much in how we behave over the last 75 years. It’s not out of date its arguably never been more relevant
So what are some of the key differentiators of WoM that see 64% of marketers say that WoM is the lowest cost yet highest ROI you can get from your marketing efforts?
Firstly, it’s about knowing who you are talking to. You need to understand how your customers really behave, not what they say they do. You need to find your true advocates, as they will talk about you more than anyone else. More than this, your advocates can have a huge influence on your product/service, its development and messages, as they see your product from a user’s perspective, and they love it. So you need to do some serious research.
Now you can use market research questionnaires to get info, however when people are paid for this info it changes the way they respond, if they are not paid and are still willing to get really involved we get a different perspective.
Then we need to understand the ways we communicate with customers, as the level of intimacy we have with them and their volumes are under appreciated. We need to know how our customers experience our products and services and, when they talk about us, what they say.
The simple recommendation, or referral, is not that simple, if you don’t understand the process. How many of us simply ask others to refer us? Yet we don’t tell them what to say. So how do we control the story they tell about us? Do they say you are cheap or good? Neither is ideal. There is a process to writing a good referral.
There is lots of fun to be had, and key lessons to be learned, when you run WoM creative sessions and work on co-creating a brand’s future. Remember when work was fun!
So yes, you need digital strategies. Be sure you find the right partner, and get your website and social strategies right. Bearing in mind a lot of trust has been lost in social media over recent months, it is good to remember that more than 90% of people trust a recommendation from a friend over an advert, and that the most valuable conversations happen in the real world, not on line!
So perhaps you need to learn how to make those relationships work for you and learn how to get people spreading the word.
It’s easy to buy into the why WoM is important and WHAT things you should be doing. However, if you want to know HOW word of mouth works, have a look at www.womtwo.com
My working life has always involved working closely with people and delivering results. For nearly 30 years I have run behaviour programmes and been involved with many other methods of working with and analysing personality, performance and behaviour. Having enjoyed significant business success I believe that if we first build the people the people will build the business. Which in no way reduces the focus on clear business strategy and purpose. As a result I've already helped 11 people become Millionaires.
So what do I do?... I inspire transformation
A brief history
35 years in healthcare Services. Pharma, Med devices, Med Tech and the Care sector Key player in building the worlds biggest Pharma services business Innovex/Quintiles, driving consistent growth from 30- 60% per annum. From the UK to the USA and Europe
Chaired 6 businesses and been on 11 Boards from £300m to start up. Raised funds and driven successful exits.
Qualified as a Coach with Shirlaws the leading Global Coaching business. Still running and developing behaviour programmes. A Qualified Clinical Hypnotherapist.
I own and run a Care business and am also a Non Exec Director of 2 companies involved in leading edge marketing support, such as Word of Mouth marketing I Coach a wide range of clients in multiple sectors. Understand the numbers, believe its strategy and people that make it all work. Have a look at my profile for full details and links