Did you know that we are living in the material …or rather in the marketing world?
Customer profiling, social media and e-commerce are popular tools used by small and big businesses to enhance their presence on the Internet and to attract customers. Wherever you go, you notice banners advertising variety of products, pop up commercials, Google (in)famous Adwords and Analytics PPC (pay per click) campaigns, sponsored links, articles and a whole plethora of other mediums that are trying to sell you something.
It can be tiring but we will not be able to escape it. Social media are the new black and if your company doesn’t have Facebook/Twitter, Pinterest, Flickr account – then you are in serious trouble. God forbid that you lack a proper website and it cannot be easily found on Google. The truth is out there and has been tested by the biggest marketing sharks on the planet. Customer’s attention span is getting shorter (right now it is marked at 3-4 minutes) and if you don’t capture the hearts and souls of your core targets in that amount of time, you are as good as dead. If something is not on Goggle, then it doesn’t exist. Simple as that.
Having run e-commerce campaigns on social media platforms for many people (don’t worry, we are the good guys, Gladiators in suits, white hats on white horses – we do it pro publico bono!), we have learnt that while the whole marketing chase is getting crazier by each year, we can still use it to our benefit. The problem is, the campaign needs to be well prepared to succeed. Good strategy is like Jack Sparrow’s magical compass. It may not point north, but it points to the things you want most in this world. The key is to learn how to use the compass without ending on a deserted island with only a pistol and a bottle of rum to keep you company. Now, this is exactly where we come in.
Some time ago, we posted a blog about crowd founding campaigns. John Faye and Brittany Rotondo of Philadelphia’s power pop duo John and Brittany, created a superb marketing campaign that we have used as a teaching example for others. Please click on the link below to read the whole article: https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2012/06/27/john-brittany-crowd-funding-done-right/
Tips from our previous entry can apply to any campaign, not only for those created on Kickstarter or PledgeMusic. The point of that article was to show the basics of e-commerce campaigns. Today, however, we will try to show you something completely different and much more complex. Many people do not know how to design a campaign and they struggle to understand what is necessary to know.
Recently, we have been asked to prepare a faux marketing campaign for online retailer (online store) selling clothes, shoes and accessories for men, women and children. To make the whole exercise trickier, we chose Denmark as our target. Let’s pretend we are marketing directors for an online store called HOTSPOT and we are trying to enter the Danish fashion market and of course, take it by storm. Our board have no clue about Denmark and we need to convince them that we can be successful. Our bosses asked for a PowerPoint presentation to be made, as they want to check our skills as well at the same time. It took us 5 days to prepare this presentation and that include speaking to test group (10 Danish people), market research, design and proofreading.
All we need at the beginning is:
– Healthy amount of time to make the presentation (about 5 days). You will be adding, removing and changing a lot of things as your research deepens. Do not leave it at the last minute. You might be a marketing genius, but if your final product looks awful, nobody will be interested in seeing it.
– Find a research group (also known as test group). We have used Facebook to speak to our friends who live in Denmark. If you struggle to find anybody among your real-life or virtual connections, look for a forum or advice groups on the Internet. Ask people few questions. For our campaign, we have asked our friends: “What Danish/International retailers or online shops they know”, “how much money they spend for clothes online”,”how do they look for clothes”, “do they look for bargains or sales”. etc.
– Prepare to use Google a lot. We made a list of popular places on the Internet where Danish people could hang out: popular portals, newspapers, celebrity magazines, tourist sites, fashion blogs, groups, competitors. Write down all piece of information that you come across, even by accident. Keep your eyes open for numbers and statistics. Remember who will look at the final presentation. If you need to convince accountants and financial managers, you need to speak their language. And nothing speaks better to an accountant than numbers and revenue figures 😀
– Find good quality graphics, charts to illustrate your presentation. If you cannot make them yourself, use the free stock on the Internet. If you find something you really like, ask the creator for permission to use it and provide link and copyrights. Don’t steal anything just because it is on the Internet. There are websites like Wikicommons that can provide you with maps, pictures and photographs.
1. Front Cover – presentation is like a book. It needs to have a cover with title and your name on it. We wanted to keep things simple yet clear. Danish flag makes a splendid background. We called our presentation “Danish market overview”.
2. Table of content – it is not obligatory to have it, but we are traditionalists. If your presentation is long, it allows the reader to look for the most important information at the same beginning. Please add page numbers next to the titles. We decided to add small Danish flag buttons to mark bullet points. Notice that we are having a new background. It is darker and white letters are very visible. After printing the presentation on A4 paper, we had a lovely result 🙂
3. Introduction to Danish market – Do you remember the film called “Philadelphia”? One of the characters, a lawyer named Joe Miller (played by Denzel Washington), had a particular way of establishing facts. He always asked his clients or witnesses one question: “Can you explain it to me like I’m a four-year-old?” Slide number 3 is where you have to explain the core of your presentation to your audience. The simpler, the better. We entitled our slide number 3 “Introduction to Danish market” and used seven major points to describe the fashion market. Our test group came very handy here – all the information we managed to find online ourselves have been checked with what our friends from Denmark have said. The conclusion from our investigation needed to be presented in shortened version. Do not worry if you made an error and your conclusion is not 100% correct. This is not the end of the world. Unless you have been supplied with hard, undisputed facts, you can always make an honest mistake. Just provide the audience with links where you found the information from. Do not invent your own statistics – that would be a lie. In marketing, it is not always possible to find exact data or numbers as many businesses hide them fearing that their competitors will use it against them. Keep it simple, short and to the point.
4. Targets – This is the most important part of your investigation and your presentation in general. Target means people who are going to buy your product or whom you want to reach. Without a well defined target, the marketing campaign will not go well. Think who are your customers, how old are they, where do they come from, what do they do, how much they earn, what do they do in their spare time, what are they interested in, what are their beliefs etc. The more questions you ask, the better picture of your target is created. In our case, the online store HOTSPOT needed to identify what kind of customers would be buying the clothes. Again, after talking to our test group and showing them our apparel, we determined what they liked and disliked. We have also checked other online stores at the Danish market (our competitors) and Goggled for their reviews. If a former client left them a comment, we would check his or her Facebook profile or Twitter account and try to find out their age or interests. This is not stalking! Under any circumstances, do not ever contact those people. This is illegal and we do not recommend anything like this! What we tried to do, is to gather data about the clients and make a rational guess. Many companies (Facebook, Google) screen their users’ activities, websites they visit and try to tailor their commercials especially for them. Being a small business, you don’t have access to anything like this, but it doesn’t mean you cannot successfully find your targets.
Customer surveys and PPC campaigns are also perfect to establish who is looking for your services.
5. Competitors – Ok, honestly, this is the worst part of every marketing research. The most time consuming and frustrating job you can imagine. A real nightmare for every marketing professional. To be successful, you need to know who is going to play against you. If your company is a monopolist, then feel free to skip this section, the rest must pay attention 😀 HOTSPOT is entering a new market, and there are many online stores fighting for every client, especially during an economical crisis. We have decided to divide our competitors in two groups: retail (big brands and international stores) and independent designers (Danish clothing designers, that have their own popular brands and their own online stores). We gathered all information we could find about each one of them: how many boutiques they have, how many workers they employ, their annual revenue, their brands, how many language versions their online store has, where do they operate etc. Each research will be different and different questions will have to be asked. Most of the information you can see at our slides number 5,6 and 7 come from official trade reports and store websites.
6. How to make your company visible on the Internet – Let your imagination flow! This is where a true marketing starts. Ideas, brainstorming, anything that works for you and your business. Once again we have divided this section into two parts: how to increase company’s visibility on the market using the Internet and Professional links. The Internet gives you incredible amount of ways to reach customers: website, Facebook, Twitter,Pinterest, Flickr, Linkedin, blogs, magazines, third party websites. Sky is the limit. HOTSPOT being a fashion online store will concentrate on social media, bloggers and magazine campaigns. They will also try to establish professional co-cooperation with Danish designers, fashion institutes and industry experts. Please remember to make lots of friends, exchange links, comments, banners, invite people from your industry and update your social media platforms constantly. Be loud and enthusiastic. People like new things so they will check your business just out of curiosity. All you need to do is to keep them there!
7. Exemplary campaigns – Slide number 10 is connected with previous ones (increasing visibility on the Internet) but is a little bit more specific. The campaigns do not really need additional explanation – these links and hash tags HOTSPOT will be using in their Twitter campaign. Also, they will be contacting several popular fashion bloggers in hopes of establishing a closer co-operation.
8. Gaining customer trust – Very important part of every marketing campaign but sometimes completely overlooked. Bringing customers to your website is not that hard, the key is to keep them coming back. To encourage customers, the business must gain their trust and present itself in the favorable light. There are several things that online store needs to do. First of all, the website must be protected and the clients data (credit cards numbers, password, usernames) cannot be stolen or leaked. Getting a certification of trust from a third party or internet security company offers your customers a sense of security and proves that you are not a scam artist. Becoming a member of Trusted E-store organization can help a lot. The process of becoming a member is not easy and requires a lot of checking, but it will prove worth every trouble in the long run. Teaming with PayPal and credit card companies will also work to store’s advantage. It not only allows the clients several payment options to choose from (the more the better as usual), but it also proves that the company is working with credit cards providers. If your company uses Google Adwords and Analytics, the website can become a certified partner for Google campaigns (you will receive a badge and a number). Gaining trust can also be done by answering to every question and inquiry quickly and efficiently. Many businesses tend to ignore negative comments or reviews left by dissatisfied clients. This is a very serious mistake. Do not leave any comments unanswered or even worse, do not remove them! We are not saying here to leave comments full of profanities for everybody to see, any extremities (written, pictures, shares) should be removed and reported. If a clients complains, an honest answer should be provided asap and the problem should be investigated. Sweeping under the carpet or “website cleaning” will backfire sooner or later. Internet never forgives and many clients will be lost.
9. Increasing customer interest – AKA Here we are now, entertain us!
After convincing customers to visit the website, and gaining their trust, all we need to do is to keep the fire burning. Increasing the interest in offered products can be a bit of a pain. First of all, online clients are not as faithful as the traditional ones and will go everywhere else if they are bored or if they find a better deal. Second thing is, it takes a lot of work and effort to keep the visitors happy. Well developed affiliate programs, point system can be very helpful here. Competitions are quite important as well. HOTSPOT decided to award points for every purchase and introduce badge system for their clients. They are going to have several competitions per month including fan of the week, the best stylization, letter of the day and others. Each social platform (Facebook, Twitter and others) will have different competitions and different content in two languages – English and Danish.
10. Ethics – Every business should posses a strong sense of duty towards customers, providers and their workers. Taking care of economy, local communities or donating to charity helps to send a clear message to visitors and partners. Becoming aware of ecology, reducing carbon imprint or energy management can earn the business not only approval from NGO’s but also very respected ISO certification (for example ISO 50001). Marketing strategy should always incorporate ethical stand and lists of corporate responsibilities. Remember, making money cannot be the only reason why the business exist. Danish market puts a strong emphasis on ethical behavior. HOTSPOT will be involved in several community and ecological projects from their very start.
11. The end – The back cover can contain a bit of humor. We decided to end our presentation in Danish 😀
It says: “Thank you kindly for reading our report”. Thank you Linda for providing us with translation skills. You are the best!
We would also like to thank our test group: Linda, Merete, Torsten, Mette and other Roskilde Festival people. TAK!!!
Good manners are always in demand!
All right, we hope that this blog will help you to create your own marketing plans. You don’t have to use anything that we posted here. Marketing strategy depends sorely on the person who is preparing it. There is no universal solution that will work for everybody. Sometimes it is just a trial and error. You have to be open minded and try out new things and ideas.
You can download the full presentation from Issuu: http://issuu.com/vanadianavenue/docs/danish_market_overview
Be creative and experiment.
Please feel free to contact us if you have any comments or questions. We’d love to hear from you. Send your letters to firstname.lastname@example.org
Rita and Malicia D.
********** Update 18/08/2013***********
This proved to be one of the most followed posts on the blog. We got retweets, were included in paper.ly collections and even got 40 hits from Bahrain! Just wanted to share few screens.
Thanks a bunch everybody!