Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Future of Marketing and Other Animals

I was recently asked about the future of marketing. Obviously like most of us I just went on the web to have a look and yes, there is a wealth of opinion out there. So just for a change I thought I'd write my own views about the subject. Below are my ramblings written at 4:00am on a Wednesday - so perhaps a little odd...

Customer is King (oldest adage and still true). Its clear that for companies that wish to succeed the choice is obvious: They will need to partner more closely with consumers and customers who can inform, ideate, and influence others on behalf of their brand.

This is known as crowd sourcing. Growth of crowdsourcing to solicit a group for the best idea, creative execution, or product submission via social media. A crowdsourced channel will consist of consumers or customers who will form an almost-symbiotic relationship with the brand in virtually all that the brand does.

Companies will develop "brand crowds"—these groups of consumers / customers willing to collaborate and spread the word about a brand—will be even more vested in helping to tell others.

Its scary because you won't control your marketing - your customer will. But you as a marketer are accountable !

Nurturing, seeding and prompting will become much more valuable to A company. Building an army of evangelists who can reach out on your behalf.

This allows a "channel for one" a principle where localised deep targeted marketing can take place. Each client has their own marketing dedicated just to them. (Or that's how it will be perceived).

Prediction will be based on statistics and analytics or - we take a best guess and use intuition. Patterns can be read in so called big data which can predict certain reactions - but people don't react in the way we think they do...but they do react.

Uncertainty becomes the norm. Who would ever have guessed that more people would look at and be influenced by a short clip of "Charlie biting a finger". Or a previously unknown Asian man dancing Gangnam style becoming a worldwide smash?

This spread proliferates and generates its own momentum. And if it's "manufactured" it rarely works. Trying to "make" something go viral is not the point. Viral is as viral does-

If history has taught us one thing about marketing it's that only 50% of it works. The problem being that no one really knows which 50% it is.

There will also be a renaissance of traditional targeted marketing as people become numb to edm.

Email will be replaced by instant messages specifically aimed at the exact activity being considered. These will be delivered by micro messengers who pop up inside our heads to offer us deals and value. Each MM will be customised to attract each individual persons likes (think avatar characters but created in your perfect image). Micro Message Marketing MMM (will not only turn the WWW in its head (!) but will be the delivery method of choice for DM.

"MMM" is also what we think when we like something. Mmm...I like it!

The Web Wave - this will be a tangible and measurable movement of towards real data. It will allow marketers to review opinion and effect. Patterns will allow certain predictions to be made. Vast volumes of minute data and trending will give us the ability to prompt and nurture.

The FatLine will allow products or people to be sent direct to individuals anywhere in the world (think teleporting via the Internet). The FatLine will be like fibre broadband for people. You'll be able to "think" yourself there. It'll make ordering takeout very fast. Marketers will have to allow for instant gratification models to accomodate the Fatline (Fatline is attributable to Dan Simmons author of Hyperion). What Dan did not fully consider is the commercial marketing opportunity the Fatline offers...

We laugh at this now but then we probably would have laughed at the idea of Charlie biting my finger ten years ago.

And as for Tweeting - does anyone really have any genuine tangible ROI for a B2B campaign. I expect so, I'd love to see it. If we are to believe that social media is the way forward for marketing then the "Channel for one" methodology mentioned above is a clear winner. But hang on, isn't twitter supposed to be about conversations? I'd like to see a proper business related dialogue that results in a sale... Personally I believe that twitter is about engagement and opinion rather than sales and marketing.

Same goes for all social media really, ask yourself have you EVER bought a product because you were advertised to via social media ? No? But have your friends ever recommended a product or service via social media ? Yes - then that makes our seed groups and brand crowds important - but it's not "advertising" as we know it. It's more to do with prompting and influence from people we trust.

Take Trip Advisor - if a venue get 99 good reviews and one bad one which do you want to read first? So if first impressions count, then what do we make of that?
( maybe its just me but I love reading the "bad" reviews - perhaps I am weird).

Gossip marketing - spread a rumour - something quirky - did you know that cats can actually smell colour? (No way of proving it however). But nonetheless it's the kind of soundbite that gets repeated.

I see a lot of industry gurus spouting off their words of wisdom in short tweets and soundbites. I guess that if you do this enough, then people will eventually start to believe. It must work but as a bit of a cynic I call this "self bullotion" basically broadcasting often self promotional hype to anyone who can be bothered to read it. (Think David Brent from The Office and you'll get the gist).

I'm obviously missing the point about micro blogging - so here are a few I have made up to get you thinking:

Beware the retweeter - for they have no soul

The pen is mightier than the sword, until someone stabs you with a pen

Don't assume, it makes an 'ass' out of 'u' and 'me' (an oldie but a goodie).

All that said and you have to admit, the WWW is cool - it exposes lack of original thought and gives us a very limited depth of information about virtually every subject. We can buy, sell, teach, learn, excite, laugh, cry - in fact it can reach virtually every human need. And it's a dream for marketers, a captive audience of billions. Easy!

Jonny's rants are just random views and are to be taken lightly.  He only writes them in moments of stark clarity and / or lucid enlightenment. No offence is intended to anyone with a mind of their own..!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Responsive websites are the way forward

If a customer visits your website we believe that they should gain the most from this experience. At Parkhouse Evans we are keen to help our clients make the most of mobile technology, be that pad, laptop or smartphone, when you have your new site designed by us, you can be sure that it will work across all new mediums.

When we started looking at mobile sites, we wondered why clients should have two sites (one for mobile and one for standard browsers) it seems like way too much to have to manage. We thought, why not have a single site that detects a browser type and automatically adapts to this. The result is a site that only needs to be edited once - so no need for multiple sites.

Our customer Barrachd came to us wanting a new site. Once which met a very rigorous set of criteria. A site that would be a foundation for their next tier of growth. With the help of Mark Sampson and our creative input we have built a site that is functional, clean, responsive and more importantly sets Barrachd apart from its competitors.

To see the live site please visit it here

Or if you have a website issue or want to move towards a cloud solution then please give us a call on 01332 291141. We can help you reach a greater market and also enjoy the benefits a responsive web site can bring.

The death of email...

Isn't it funny how things seem to come full circle?

In the recent past we have seen a decline in the success of Electronic Direct Mail (EDM). People have become almost numb to any form of email marketing, no matter how compelling the headline or wake up call.

When we first started doing email marketing in around 1995 it was almost a guaranteed read - people were excited by the idea of mail delivered in this way. In fact even less than compelling message would get through. We used to create all kinds of funky animated mailers (with dragons breathing fire and dogs with savage jaws etc etc!) People were genuinely impressed and the mailers were a great success.

Thus began the decline of the printed mailer. Everyone began to jump on the email marketing bandwagon - with 'experts' springing up all over the place. And for a while it worked and it worked well. But technology and legislation have a way of catching up pretty quickly and we started to see new laws and new technology beginning to get in the way of EDM.

Spam filters began to show up in larger companies on their mail servers - and some mail was 'rejected'. Clients wanted to know why their mail was not getting through. New legislation governing non-solicitation began to stifle legitimate mail. And worst of all thousands of spam engines began to spit out mail after mail bombarding us with, well, to put it bluntly, crap.

Not only that but we saw the rise of malware - these vicious little virus programs attach themselves to emails and infected networks, some really evil ones could render an entire network dead in seconds...It was becoming clear that email had to be policed.

And so it was, that with a combination of policing, legislation, scale and sheer volume, people began to look for ways to reduce mail, to filter it and to protect their networks. All this progress has virtually rendered email marketing as we know it, relatively ineffective.

Help me Obi Wan Kenobi, you're my only hope...

There is a way to engage clients and prospects. And it does not cost the earth if you want a genuine return on your investment. Try this for an idea...send them a mailer. Not an email, but a genuine printed or written mailer. You may spend more money on it but you will see a much better return. Of course you can follow this up with an EDM piece and no doubt your prospect will have become more attuned to your message by this time...

Direct mail works - its proven and it delivers. Yes its more expensive (after all you have to post the damn things) but for the right kind of product or service it cannot be beaten for ROI.

At Parkhouse Evans we think that an integrated approach is best. With a combination of traditional mail, EDM and a good old call out is STILL one of the best ways to reach your market. Couple this with an up to date database and you should see some great results. Get on to the traditional DM bandwagon now and be first to market with the 'brand new' medium!

You may surprise your sales department and your MD...

Give us a call now on 01332 291141 to find out how an integrated mail campaign can help your business and we'll show you how.

Word up...

When Word Pie came to us with a problem we are delighted to help.

As one of the UKs largest translation companies they know a thing or two about communication. They had a BIG problem -  how to tell a complex story in a simple but effective way and with no voice over!

We created this compelling animated sequence which helps to describe their services in a quirky and simple yet informative way. The video is around two minutes long and gives the viewer and snapshot of the WordPie proposition.

View the movie here

If you have a story to tell or wish to communicate a complex offering, then talk to us. We can help you communicate the right message to your customers. Give us a call on 01332 291141 for a chat and we'll see what we can do...

It flies, it really flies...!

We recently completed a direct mail piece for our telemarketing partners CPB. This mailer is designed to create an impression...it has a flying butterfly which delights and shocks the recipient!

We wanted to promote CPBs new creative division (of which Jonny is the Creative Principle) so it had to be good. Luckily CPB agreed to roll this idea out the results have been very promising. With some very good feedback and some possible work in the pipeline.

The theme being "We are evolving" the idea underpins CPBs move into the creative sector which enhances their client proposition.

if your business needs an injection of creativity then give us a call on 01332 29114 to see what we can do for you...it would be great to help you.

You can view the video of the flying butterfly here (although we only set it on a limited flight time...) or if you need some expert telemarketing services you can visit CPB here

Monday, July 01, 2013

Angry Birds Makes 3rd Place

When our friend Babs asked us to help her to produce some 'Angry Birds' graphics for her son Jack we wondered what on earth she was doing...

Well it all became clear when we saw these fantastic pictures!

The installation received a third place in the Linlithgow Bridge House Dressing Competition (apparently a seriously 'big deal' in the area) so a big congratulations to Jack, Babs and the Team on a job well done!

If you need some help producing large format graphics then why not give us a call on 01332 292241?