Internet Marketing: You’re doing it all wrong!

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Marketing; it all started a couple of centuries ago from the market women shouting out their products to the first advertising leaflets decorating the streets and the walls of shops. The real marketing approach however really kicked off in the last 60 years or so. There was a shift in the view of consumers and they demanded more customer services and lower prices. As the television and radio were now a more embedded part of the buying consumer pool, companies had to switch and become part of this approach. From the 1950’s and 60’s companies were aiming to create a relationship with the customers where customer service was key.

This lasted until around the 1980’s and although everyone still loves a bit of great customer service and satisfaction, the larger retailers noticed that value for money became more relevant. You lose a bit of service but you get “3 for the price of 2” and the famous it’s only 99cent (kudos for the guy who came up with that approach).

Around the 90’s however a new segment was added to the mix, this spoke more to the consumer’s instinct of belonging, where they would try to assign a brand with a personality. So the first stepping stones of “social marketing” were put in place by companies like Nike (Just do it ) or McDonald’s (I’m loving it). This brand association went as far as putting a granny on the box of your favourite pancake powder for example. In a survey they asked what type of person you would associate with each logo and by example, the Nike logo came up with a “sporty and athletic person”.

In the last 10 years another significant layer has been added to this marketing cake, this time due to the rise of the World Wide Web. Many companies tried the same approach as was done from the 80’s by getting the “3 for 2” or the 99cents offers approach, since it worked so well after radio and television broke through. Consumers however were collaborating and before you know it the product reviews, price comparison and user generated content were breaking down these offers to their bare bones. Hence the rise of social internet marketing, where the company would market their brand not as a “brand” but as a person online – Someone you could talk to and complain to if things were not right. Websites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube for example allowed both consumers and companies to do business on a level playing field.

However surprisingly many companies are not catching up on this and are still applying the same old marketing techniques on new technologies like the world wide web and the internet. This is either due to loyalty to the marketing agency or fear and misunderstanding of the new technologies around.

Let me give you a few examples of the most common mistakes:

1. Google Adwords – Yes its internet, but far from being successful! An estimated 10% of all clicks will arrive through Google Adwords and more then often will it not lead to any direct sales?
2. Radio/TV Ads – Think about how many people actually watch commercials? They can be effective but only for a short while and at the end of the day the user still needs to type in your website URL in order to find you!
3. Magazine advertising – Again a short term solution and most magazines are actually being read at places that don’t have internet access, for example at the dentist or on a bus or plane.
4. Billboards – Just think of the location where you will see the billboards, wouldn’t you be in a car or somewhere out and about?

Now of course the above examples will create some sort of brand awareness but people forget, and when you remove those billboards or that television ad your brand will go with you. Maybe if you created a good commercial or billboard, your brand could end up as a trivial pursuit question but those odds cannot really be relied on.

So how should one do it? Well every brand and product needs its own approach but the following guidelines should help.

1. Plant a lot of seeds – Look at the internet as a big orchard, everyone with a website or any online presence has been planting seeds; do you notice the big trees in the middle? Those are the likes of Google, Facebook and YouTube. So a good way of getting noticed is planting your seeds around them and stealing some of their light. Writing weekly blogs, updating your content and publishing internet press releases will allow you to spread out a lot of seeds more quickly.

2. Engage with your consumer – Our lives are built around entertainment these days and although many intellectuals believe that this is causing the increasing dumbness of our society, it’s also a good way of getting to know what you are doing wrong. Since the internet has no real face, consumers won’t be shy about telling you what they think of your product. Maybe it’s the price, the quality or the services you’re supplying. Feedback from and on sites like Facebook and Twitter will let you know.

3. Promote at the right time in the right place – Everything on the internet is “logged” and sites like Google (to name one) are supplying you with the tools to find out what works well. Google Insights for Search for example (mentioned plenty of times in this blog) will show you what the best time is to promote your product. Where you want to promote it is in the places that consumers visit (much as in offline marketing). YouTube for example are now placing an advertising video before each video and at the fraction of the costs of a television commercial.

Like I mentioned before, each brand or product needs a unique strategy so if you would like to find out more, talk to the experts here at Arekibo to see how we can help you succeed online!