There’s an important difference between marketing strategy and tactics. Many business owners I work with don’t understand the difference. Marketing strategy is big picture. Marketing tactics are the day to day decisions.
“The task of marketing is a never-ending exercise in reduction,” said Terry O’Reilly, the author of a new marketing book titled This I Know: Marketing Lessons from Under the Influence. From my 4 years of running a marketing company and working with over 50 clients, I can say that this is the truth. When it comes to a business, it’s about communicating the core of a business in one simple sentence. When it comes to the company’s advertising, it’s about simplifying the message or idea down to its essence.
Our team is currently working with a private school on redesigning their website. “Is your website’s home page primarily for potential parents and students, or is it for current parents and students?” I asked them. This is an important question that every business should answer before designing or redesigning their website. The school’s website will be used by both potential families and current families of the school, but who is the primary audience?
On Friday I was invited to guest lecture about SEO for a group of 20 students at UBC’s downtown campus. These students were taking the Digital Marketing Communications Accelerated Diploma Program, which is a four-month full-time program that combines classroom and online learning, a practicum, and a capstone project. When I posted on social media about teaching SEO, several people asked if they could come to my next course. So I decided to do a webinar on SEO.
Every business has the challenge of standing out from their competitors. For your customers to enjoy the benefits of your product, they need to know about it. For them to know about it, you need to get their attention. To get their attention, you need to stand out.
Many businesses are aware of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) as a marketing strategy. I regularly get asked about SEO: how much it costs and whether it will work. Yes, SEO works. But overall, it is becoming less effective of a strategy. Here are 3 reasons why. (Note: in this blog post I focus on Google because it is by far the most used search engine, but there are other search engines out there).
As you might know, I’m a big fan of Facebook. It’s the social media platform I use the most and am the most comfortable with. One of the features Facebook has been quietly developing is their search function. I’m starting to use it more and it’s shown me helpful results. In some cases, it is more useful than Google’s search engine.
There’s a new car washing business that will be opening up soon across the street. In front of the building is a big sign that says $7.62 + GST Car Wash – 4 minutes or less. Except that the “$7” is very very large and the “.62+GST” is very very small. Is this marketing manipulative?
Earlier this week we had Jason clean the ducts in our house. This is the second time we have hired him. The first time Jason helped us he was friendly, polite, and took the time to explain why duct cleaning is important and what his process was. We liked the guy, so we hired him again. He gave us a “loyal customer” discount of $50 off. Many businesses do this. Other businesses offer coupons and discounts for new customers. This begs the question, “Is it better to offer discounts to new customers or loyal customers?”
Charities around the world do amazing work. But they have an inherent disadvantage when compared to businesses. A business has one customer. That customer makes the decision to purchase a product and they also benefit from the product. A charity has two customers. The first customer is the donor that makes the decision to buy the “product” from a charity (I will call them the buying customer). The second customer is the person the charity gives the product to (I will call them the benefiting customer). That is the inherent nature of a charity, that it has two customers.