Is engagement another marketing buzzword that has a different meaning for each person and organisation?
With Social Media Marketing taking centre stage, marketers are all focused on increasing engagement through ‘content marketing and conversations’. By the way, about 10 years ago we had the same sort of buzz, except back then the buzz was around ‘loyalty’!
Here are some dictionary meanings of Engagement:
An appointment or arrangement
A pledge, an obligation or agreement
…most are not getting down on one knee and proposing a lifelong commitment with a diamond ring, not yet anyway!
But what are marketers really doing about ‘engagement’, most are not getting down on one knee and proposing a lifelong commitment with a diamond ring, not yet anyway!
Maybe it’s easier to define disengagement; like the now infamous whistleblower Edward Snowden disengaging from his employer and country, although some would argue a contrary perspective or the now ex Prime Minister Julia Gillard losing support of the general public and subsequently her party room.
Are you one of the many organizations trying to improve the effectiveness of your marketing team in house only to find the marketing professionals you have recruited are incapable of meeting their KPIs?
Are you just not sure what ‘success’ means when you find someone who you think meets your requirements?
If you ‘still haven’t found what you’re looking for’ U2 are not the only group to have sung this tune!
At best, the recruitment of marketing professionals is a challenging task for most businesses, given the lack of understanding of what they really need, and how to go about searching for it.
Common mistakes in recruiting for marketing professionals are made by business and recruitment agencies alike, the amount of time and money spent on finding and selecting the right individual is rarely proportionate to success in the outcome. Most recruiters exist to ‘sell’ you a marketing professional, yet all that glitters is not gold! They are interested in closing the sale, not the longevity and fit of a new team member. Usually recruiters of marketing professionals are neither willing nor able to ‘get their hands dirty’ and examine what your business really needs, nor do they know which language and method to use to find it. We exist in an anomalous realm where we both understand how to help you to determine what you need, and how to find it midst a sea of potential candidates.
The main issues with recruiting fall into two categories – not knowing what you need, and not knowing how to recruit.
Almost every job ad on SEEK and other recruitment sites echo organizations’ confusion regarding who they are looking for, this is reflected in a plethora of marketing job ads that contain a shopping list of ‘must haves’, which are usually impossible to find in one individual. Seeking a ‘Marketing Co-ordinator’ which is a junior role, as well as seeking a ‘Marketing Strategist’ which is a senior role – will find you someone who is either under-skilled or overqualified and increase the chance of staff turnover, wasting your time and money.
Casting a wide net and listing multiple functions in the one marketing job description, hoping to snare the one person who is out there to answer all your prayers, i.e. looking for a designer, copywriter, and search engine optimiser… will only find you someone who at BEST will be good at one of these things but great at NONE!
Combining inappropriate functions such as business development which is about sales, within a Marketing Strategist’s job description proves you don’t know what you’re talking about and provides an open invitation to those who are great at selling themselves to apply – functionality and suitability – optional.
If you’re considering traditional recruitment methods like resumes and psychometric testing – think again
These methods have been superseded by the use of convincing portfolios but mostly by projects. Firms who mean business are now asking candidates to do real time project work, either solo or in groups, otherwise known as “projeclications” or “applijects” wherein potential marketing professional candidates work on a task they could well be tackling in the future – editing a keynote presentation, for instance, or help redesign a social media campaign – the results of which are considered more indicative of a candidates real potential.
All is not lost when it comes to finding the right person to meet your requirements, avoiding these common errors is a start, however it is essential to make use of talented marketing and advertising agencies for areas of specialisation which cannot be found in one individual.
I was watching TV last night, a rare occurrence that I’m sure reflects the media diversification trends and the decreasing importance of the traditional TV spot, but I digress from the 2 ads that struck me, one positively stimulating my senses and the other making me mumble “what happened to their marketing strategy”?
Good, Better, Bosch…those were the days…
I used to love BOSCH, the German multinational that stood for quality across a range of product categories from brown goods, to car parts and even business services! I was disappointed when they dumped the brilliant positioning statement “Good. Better. Bosch” And yesterday when I saw their ad for the dish washing machine I was simply dumbfounded! Then again I was even more surprised to find that in Europe they were starting fires.
Even if I wasn’t a marketing consultant or an ad agency professional who is preoccupied with marketing strategy, I think I’d be even more offended as a consumer.
Here’s the offending commercial, albeit the version I saw was sans the Finish promotion!
Water conservation is an important concern for all of us, but an ad aimed at convincing you to use a dishwasher instead of washing by hand? Really? Seriously? How many people do you know who still wash dishes by hand? I could understand Bosh running this ad in Brazil, India, Russia, but in Australia?
Maybe I’ve got it all wrong; maybe Bosch decided that Australians were more like their English forebears where only 1 in 3 households own one and decided to take a leadership position but a quick check of the ABS Statistics going back to 1999 showed total Dishwasher penetration being around 95% of the population in Australia!
If you still don’t have a washing machine, and you are thinking of buying one wouldn’t you be comparing different types of washing machines?
So maybe that’s what the folks at Bosch were trying to achieve? Get to me emotionally?
However forming an emotional connection at its most basic, is all about helping others see you as the same as them, as someone who gets them…not someone that insults their intelligence! And let’s get real; the Bosch machine is priced at the premium end of the market, ranking at 7th and 10th spot for 2013, hence one would guess they are targeting a fairly intelligent demographic?
In contrast this ad, through it’s sheer cinematic brilliance and use of a haunting Nick Cave soundtrack made me want to visit the Barossa Valley and discover the mysteries it has to offer!
Most interestingly have a look at the number of people who viewed both ads and the number who actually engaged with it, in this case “liked it”. That’s a story in itself!
When To Get a Marketing Consultant or hire a Marketing Professional So You Can Focus On Your Business
With an uncertain future, are you left wondering whether your business is confidently operating with skilled marketing consultants or professional/s in the right roles working for or inside your business?
“Nobody can really guarantee the future. The best we can do is size up the chances, calculate the risks involved, estimate our ability to deal with them and then make our plans with confidence”
Previously we discussed the reasons why you may wish to recruit a marketing professional as opposed to or as well as contracting; there may be a need to do so particularly for roles related to consolidating intellectual property within product development and also for efficiency within distribution and technical roles. Beyond this lies the more creative and strategic realm most suited to advertising and marketing consultants.
“The future belongs to the competent. It belongs to those who are very, very good at what they do. It does not belong to the well-meaning.”
With the help of external consultants, you can pick and choose from a pool of highly skilled marketing professionals to meet the specific needs of your business.
Product and services branding, for example, stems from your existing branding strategy and forms part of your product development processes, this function traditionally falls within the ambit of an internal Marketing Strategist or Product and Brand Manager capturing your brand identity, values and personality. However many small business simply don’t have these specialists in house due to lack of resources, hence making an external marketing consultant the most cost effective answer.
Captivate Your Audience
Brand communication, however, is a reflection of branding strategy and an external brand communication specialist who works closely with you foresees every vantage point where consumers encounter your brand and ensures every brand touchpoint builds your brand by being a memorable, positive experience. Using an external source for this task greatly increases the likelihood that this individual has worked across more and/or diverse branding portfolios and provides incomparable insight on customer perception.
Considering you already have a good understanding of your target market it would be useful to ‘hire a marketing contractor’ for promotion. A skilled marketing consultant or advertising professional will be able to captivate your audience with the correct mix of messaging and media and convince them to take action through a well-planned communication campaign, clearly differentiating your brand.
Consumers overdose daily on information relating to products and services through a myriad of marketing channels – television ads, blogs, websites and e-mail mailing lists, to name a few! These are all locations where clarity and consistency of your marketing content is critical.
Since media is increasingly fragmented, communications programs are more complicated and it is impossible to be an expert media strategist, social media expert; copywriter and so on! Using an external source such as a marketing consultant to assist with the production of these marketing materials you can select an expert in every field, with years of experience or simply hire a marketing agency with all of the required services under one roof.
If you’re still unsure about what to recruit for in-house and what to outsource, we are as willing as we are skilled in helping you to determine your best course of action.
Small to medium enterprises today are faced with the quandary of meeting the strategic and practical challenges of marketing their business.
This raises questions like – how do we meet our marketing requirements in the most cost effective manner with the most optimal outcome?
Do we really need to recruit a marketing professional, or can we meet these challenging demands by outsourcing to a marketing consultant or marketing agency?
The solution to these issues lies in knowing what roles you need filled, and then being smart about allocating them, i.e. do what you do best, and outsource the rest!
Today’s’ competitive marketing environment requires specialist knowledge for each marketing function, thus gone are the days of trying to fill these diverse tasks with a one size fits all marketing job description, and expecting a superhuman applicant to be able to do it all, although you may get many applicants claiming just that -the topic of how to recruit a real marketing professional and not get stuck with a ‘wannabe’ will be covered in the next few blogs.
The solution to these issues lies in knowing what roles you need filled, and then being smart about allocating them, i.e. do what you do best, and outsource the rest!
Every day, businesses and recruiters are searching for Marketing Managers, Marketing Strategists, Marketing Co-Ordinators. Like Shakespeare, you may be wondering, does ‘a rose by any other name smell as sweet?’ Or are there notable differences in the functionality of these marketing roles.
In reality, semantics are par for the course, both on the recruiter’s side and the job seekers side – what we are interested in, is adding value where it counts.
We know that when it comes to marketing recruitment it’s not simply about the position description, rather it is the experience, passion and creativity of the people selected to work for or beside you that make the difference for your business to stand out.
Recruitment of a marketing professional as part of your business might well be necessary if your internal marketing function does not have adequate support in areas like product (or service) development.
From concept development to market testing, are you confident that your product development process is comprehensive? What about pricing strategy, is your pricing reflective of the differing value segments in the market and how does the pricing of this component impact the rest of your portfolio? You will also need in-house management of distribution, someone who excels in familiarizing himself or herself with your target market and maximizes the opportunity of them accessing your product or service through a unique and convenient distribution channel.
Certain marketing functions such as media buying, web and social maintenance and updates, are well suited to be performed within your organization as are administrative and project management tasks. These functions lend themselves more easily to training, than the other more technical or creative marketing functions.
Outsourcing has many benefits, the most powerful being the agency’s capacity to demonstrate a new perspective about a product or service that those inside the company do not have.
Many of the remaining marketing activities that were once trying to be captured in an overzealous Marketing Manager or Marketing Strategist role description can actually be completed by a talented marketing consultancy or an advertising agency.
By choosing this option you will have access to a diverse range of individuals who are experts across all areas of marketing communication, ranging from integrated strategy to brand development, design and copy-writing and search engine marketing. Outsourcing has many benefits, the most powerful being the agency’s capacity to demonstrate a new perspective about a product or service that those inside the company do not have.
Maybe I have been experiencing self-delusion all these years but during this rainy weekend whilst catching up on all the TV programs I have missed, my bubble of idealism was painfully punctured, not just in relation to myself as a marketing consultant or in relation to consultants in other business disciplines but to people and consumers in general.
The sad truth was probably always there in the recesses of my mind, but my wishful self just kept suppressing the truth in the same way that we all suppress information that is likely to clash with our firm held beliefs or wishful thinking.
In 6 out of the 7 episodes (I couldn’t bear watch any more) in Season 1, of “The Pitch” by AMC– the reality TV show about ad agencies pitching for new business, the client chooses not the strongest idea but the average idea that was presented in the slickest way. Interestingly, almost always, the agency that used video won the pitch! It seems that even seasoned marketers of big brands lack the strategic foresight and imagination to recognize brilliant positioning or the big campaign-able idea for their brand.
Presentation and Execution win over Strategy every time!
You can’t imagine the disappointment I felt when I was rudely awakened by the fact that Style beats Substance. Surely as a seasoned marketing consultant this is something that I should have known? Of course I did…but maybe my own knowledge and 20 years experience in the marketing industry, together with the knowledge of these 3 facts below, have been the very culprits that have clouded my mind and lulled me into a false sense of security:
Most clients in the small business arena lack marketing strategy,
Brilliant strategy is nothing without the execution and
Great marketing strategy allows a company to create an execution that will WOW the target audience
How could I have become complacent about the very essence of marketing communication when it comes to our own business, something that I repeat to every one of our clients, every day of the week, which is that humans are mostly creatures driven by feelings not rationality, making emotional decisions and then justifying them with logic!
Maybe like me, you love what you do, but remember to place enough emphasis on the execution part, especially during the sales or pitch process, the very process that gives us the professional service providers or consultants the opportunity and privilege to work with the client in the first place!
“The Pitch” is a show that once again highlighted to me the basic human need to see explicitly the “finished product” or the “end result”.
People simply don’t have the time, imagination and desire to work hard and turn that great idea into a great execution or result, they’d rather buy the idea that simply looks good and is ready to use!
That’s why a furnished house will beat an unfurnished one at an auction and why an average idea executed well will beat a great idea executed in an average way!
Of course my judgement about “The Pitch” is subjective and based on the footage shown to us as TV viewers, whereas in reality that is outside of ‘Reality TV’ there would have been other factors at play other than a competition of brilliant ideas. The size of the agencies, their personalities, passion, the clients perception about the agency’s ability to make their idea come to life, would have all played a role in the client’s decision.
A lesson for all professional services providers and consultants – have the great idea but make sure you execute it brilliantly to win the client!
My only consolation is that once the ideas are accepted and put into practice the brand needs both substance and style to get the target audience engaged and all things ‘executional’ being equal, the better idea will win, but that sort of comparison is rarely possible!
“Industry executives and analysts often mistakenly talk about strategy as if it were some kind of chess match. But in chess, you have just two opponents, each with identical resources, and with luck playing a minimal role. The real world is much more like a poker game, with multiple players trying to make the best of whatever hand fortune has dealt them.” – David Moschella
But in the end it all comes down to relationships, being liked and playing the hand you’ve been dealt. People buy from people they like. Tall sales people out-perform short sales people and being attractive is likely to swing the odds of a deal in your favour which means that the rest of us who are under 6′ and do not belong on the cover of a fashion magazine just need to work smarter.