Marketing 101 (or, 101 marketing things you should know)

Strategic Marketing

  1. Marketing done well is a controllable mechanism within a company that can be modified and scaled as needed to empower a business plan. “Spray and prey” can also work but will likely end with an awkward argument.
  2. Demarketing refers to the process of aiming to slow demand. Businesses may wish to do this if there is an issue with supply (and a fear of disappointing a mass market) or if they wish to reshape their target market (and discourage other markets).
  3. Social marketing refers to the application of marketing concepts and techniques in order to achieve objectives that benefit society as a whole rather than a particular group or business.
  4. Cause marketing is when a business aligns and supports a not-for-profit or social cause, usually to gain marketing benefits from their association, or through genuine alignment of values.
  5. If revenue is trending at a constant rate over a number of years and a business wishes for that trend to increase significantly above the historical trend, one of three things must occur – more customers, higher spend per customer, or higher prices. This requires a shift in marketing and/or sales effort (or a heap of competitors to go out of business).
  6. Marketing plans usually suck because no one is assigned the task of implementing them. In fact, if no one is assigned to deliver a marketing plan, there is no point creating one in the first place.
  7. One of the most underutilized marketing tactics is a competitor analysis. A competitor analysis identifies how one business compares to its competitors in terms of product or service range, price point, customer management, target markets and so on. It makes decision making for marketing teams much easier and with greater precision.
  8. Without a competitor analysis, it is extremely difficult to have a value proposition or unique selling proposition (it is hard to be unique if you don’t know what the others are doing).
  9. A value proposition articulates the value a product or service provides to the customer. If it cannot be quantified or proven, it isn’t a value proposition, it’s more likely a tagline.
  10. A tagline is a statement that is intended to evoke an emotional response to a brand, but is usually unquantifiable, for example: L’Oreal – Because you’re worth it.
  11. Vision, mission, and core values communicate to all stakeholders within a company what the business stands for and what it is trying to achieve without leaders constantly needing to articulate it in one-to-one meetings. Though, leaders need to drive this.
  12. A user experience map helps businesses devise the roadmap that they want their customers to follow when dealing with their business, and how the business reacts at each stage. This provides a consistent, repeatable user experience (and may go by variations of this name – customer journey, user journey etc.).
  13. Buyer dissonance is the negative thought process that occurs when a buyer makes a purchase but becomes aware that an alternative product may provide greater benefits than the one just purchased. Some retailers have tried to address this by way of an after-sale price match guarantee to at least offset price-driven dissonance.
  14. The five P’s of marketing are people, place, price, product, and promotion. This has been expanded on over the last 15 years or so, but these are the basic elements.
  15. People refers to those involved in the process of selling.
  16. Place refers to where to sell the products or services (i.e. the marketplace).
  17. Price refers to how a product or service is perceived by the market – budget, premium, or somewhere in between.
  18. Product refers to what it is that is being sold.
  19. Promotion refers to how a market is advised of a product or service and why they need it.
  20. Not everything in marketing has ROI. And some ROI may take years to see.
  21. Attention to detail is important. Perfectionism is crippling.
  22. There are no such things as ladies and men’s toothbrushes, ladies and men’s perfume, and ladies and men’s sunglasses. Our teeth, sense of smell, and eyes are not gender exclusive. Marketing has made us think this way.
  23. If you remove the criminal element and detrimental impact on society, drug cartels have the best business models – huge margins, low cost of production, heaps of repeat customers, few competitors, minimal tax implications, and robust demand for all occasions. Plus, they are useful guests at parties.

Advertising, Marketing, and PR

  1. Advertising, marketing, and public relations aren’t the same thing and are not all-encompassing (just as orthopedic, neurosurgeon, and cardiothoracic are all surgeons but with different skillsets). Though at times, they may overlap.
  2. Above the line advertising refers to mediums that broadcast to mass general audiences, such as TV, radio, cinema, printed press, and billboards. These are difficult to measure and rely on being found rather than finding an audience.
  3. Below the line advertising refers to the use of more specific methods such as Google and social media ads, PR, events, and content marketing. These are typically easier to measure and will find you.
  4. Advertisers for hamburger brands find models with small hands so that the burgers look large.
  5. The crinkly sound of chip packets is intended to capture the attention of children.
  6. The Sofitel hotel chain pumps out a custom scent in their lobbies called Essence de Sofitel. You can buy it online.
  7. One of Apple’s great innovations was their packaging. The iPhone wasn’t the first smart phone, the iPad wasn’t the first tablet, and the MacBook wasn’t the first laptop. But they did create packaging that built suspense, and people could not bring themselves to throw it away.
  8. Colgate has more than 50 varieties of toothpaste. This is not because they have demand for 50 varieties, but rather it allows them to take up more real estate in supermarkets.
  9. Hi-fi retailers will occasionally be incentivised by TV suppliers to move more of their products. To assist with this, it is not uncommon for the settings on all other brands to be modified so they look less spectacular, and then connect the promoted units to demo media to show off their capabilities.
  10. Elon Musk is a marketing weapon. He spent 15 years becoming a social media God so that now, all he has to do is hit a joint and it makes news.
  11. A marketing channel refers to the process of transferring the ownership of goods or services from production (creator) to consumption (end user) using people, intermediaries, and activities necessary to do so.
  12. An advertising channel is the platform used by a business to advertise products and services.
  13. CPC in digital advertising refers to Cost Per Click. This literally means how much you will be charged if someone clicks on your advertisement.
  14. CTR in digital advertising refers to Click Through Rate. This is the percentage of viewers who click on an ad when they see it (just seeing the ad but not taking action is measured as an “impression”).
  15. Impressions refers to when an ad or content appears on a screen. It does not mean that anyone did anything with it, only that it was viewable.
  16. A/B Testing refers to comparing two variations of a single variable (an advertisement or email message for example) to determine which variation performs better.
  17. Letterbox drops and telemarketing still work. Not for everyone in every industry, but they do work.
  18. Bait and switch is a sales tactic that entices customers with a specific offer that miraculously turns out to be out of stock, providing the opportunity for the sales person to sell a pricier product.
  19. It is important that we love our own brand, but it’s more important that our target market relates to it.

Tools

  1. EDM is an acronym for Electronic Direct Mail.
  2. When building an email template in an email marketing utility (MailChimp, Campaign Monitor etc.) remember that your message will be going to different mail platforms on different devices using different security restrictions. Elaborate designs are cool but may break or be blocked depending on the system your email ends up in.
  3. Additionally, in a lot of cases, you have no control if your bulk email will get through (which affects open rates). Often, we are at the mercy of the recipient’s email policies.
  4. Still on bulk emails, the way the open rate is commonly measured is by having an invisible image load within the email design which triggers a “count” back to the email utility. If the image does not load, it is not considered an “open”. If an email program or filter blocks images, the email content will still be accessible, but the count image will not load, rendering it as an unread email, despite the fact it may have been read. Yes, confusing, and a blunt way to measure.
  5. The average open rate for bulk emails is about 17%. This is a Worldwide stat across all industries.
  6. CRMs (Customer Relationships Management) are essential business tools. Most are excellent, assuming they are understood, and compatible with a company’s workflow. CRMs suck when they are rolled out to a company with the assumption it will kick ass straight out of the box.
  7. Uptime Robot is a free service which alerts you or your support team if your website goes offline. This is useful to know so that you can fix any issues before your visitor’s head over and find them.
  8. Free tools like Canva, WordPress, SquareSpace, and Piktochart are incredible. But a man holding a paintbrush does not magically make him a great artist.
  9. A good source of free stock images is com. It is not as good as a subscription site but useful none the less.
  10. Most cell phones these days can provide good enough photography for websites and social media. Though an eye for good photography is still needed.
  11. The QR in QR Code stands for “Quick Response”. COVID-19 has given QR codes a rebirth after a brief peak in 2008.

Google Related

  1. Google Reviews cannot be deleted by the company being reviewed. They can be flagged to be reviewed by Google, but Google will only remove them if they are convinced that the review is fraudulent.
  2. Speaking of reviews, they are becoming more and more meaningless, but also more persuasive. For some reason, a bunch of opinions from people that we know nothing about is a solid source for how we make decisions on anything from restaurants to TVs.
  3. Services exist, and have done for some time, that are paid to add reviews to a company’s Google listing simply to increase their review numbers.
  4. Google My Business is not only useful for search engine optimisation purposes but also allows users to find it on Google Maps using voice search.
  5. A broad understanding of search engine optimisation, Google Ads, or social media marketing can be done in a half-day seminar. Knowing them well enough to get repeatable predictable results from them takes a lot more time.
  6. Setting up Google Analytics is easy. Interpreting and making decisions based on Google Analytics data is not.
  7. Google Data Studio allows you to create cool graphics based on your Google Analytics data which makes reading the results much easier.
  8. Google Remarketing occurs when you visit a website that leaves a cookie on your system, and then subsequently displays advertising for that website on other sites that display Google Ads. This is why it seems that certain types of ads follow us around online. For example, if we go to a website to look for steak knives and that website has remarketing set up, we will suddenly see a lot of steak knife ads from that supplier appearing on other websites we visit.
  9. Getting “banned” from Google is a thing and is known as being de-indexed. Basically, this happens if a website is designed to trick search engines into receiving a better ranking on Google than it actually should.
  10. SEO (search engine optimisation) effort for each business depends on how competitive the industry is online. If competition is low, effort can be low. If competition is hectic, effort needs to reflect this. Sometimes a stop-start effort will be fine. Other times it will not.
  11. An old-school SEO tactic used to be to load heaps of keywords into a webpage and make the text the same colour as the background (making it invisible). Google sorted this out pretty quickly.

Websites and Analytics

  1. A website shouldn’t be a set-and-forget asset for most companies. Back-ups should be scheduled periodically as should updates. This does not need to be costly or overly resource-intensive but does need to be considered.
  2. If we consider a WordPress install for example, the website host needs to be running the correct PHP version, then we lay the WordPress version onto that, then a theme into the WordPress version, then plugins (web forms, security, image sliders, ecommerce etc.) into the theme. All of these aspects update periodically, and exclusively to each other, which is why things can go wrong if not frequently maintained.
  3. There are about 9 billion websites on the internet. Of those 1.9 billion, about 200 million are active. In other words, just under 90% of the internet is dead.
  4. For a website to be considered “secure” by Google, it requires the integration of an SSL certificate (Secure Sockets Layer). An SSL certificate encrypts data that travels from a user’s computer to a website and back.
  5. Further to SSLs, there is a cool website called Why No Padlock which lets you run your website through it to identify the insecure assets on your site.
  6. Websites typically consist of three components – files, hosting (or online storage space), and a domain name. When a site is offline, any of these elements could be the cause.
  7. WordPress (the website framework) is free. Many WordPress themes are free. Setting WordPress up so that it looks and acts like a respectable company website takes a lot of work and will likely not be free.
  8. Website speed (or performance) can be compromised by many different elements. These can be anything from your webhost’s server speed to the amount of traffic visiting your site, to the file size of pages or images on your site. It is not often a single cause.
  9. Still with WordPress: the use of plugins can largely affect a website’s performance. They are easy to install and do cool stuff but are often unnecessary or poorly supported by the developer. Some plugins are unavoidable, but a good web developer will be able to help minimize plugin quota and keep your website’s performance high.
  10. Google PageSpeed Insights can help identify website performance issues.
  11. When people refer to a website as being responsive, they are referring to how it behaves on different sized devices, e.g., mobile phone, tablet, laptop, large screen etc.
  12. Responsinator is a cool website to test how your website looks on different screen sizes.
  13. Having a great website is less important than how you get people to visit it.
  14. With regards to web search error codes, anything starting with a ‘4’ (such as 401, 403, 404) is usually a user’s issue (such as going to an incorrect or invalid URL or misspelling a URL) whereas anything starting with a ‘5’ is usually a server issue (such as 500, 502, 503).
  15. The HTTP in web addresses stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol. HTTPS includes the word “Secure”.
  16. With regards to web coding, HTML stands for Hypertext Markup Language and sets the structure for websites.
  17. With regards to web coding, CSS stands for Cascading Style Sheet and sets the style for websites.
  18. With regards to web coding, PHP stands for PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor and controls most of the dynamic content in most standard websites (such as animations, image or roll-over effects, and interactive components).
  19. A landing page on a website is literally the first page you visit after taking an action (such as clicking an ad link). In online marketing, a landing page is usually implemented to achieve a result (selling something or requesting a sign-up) and limits the options to navigate away from the page.
  20. The phrase above the fold refers to the section of a website that we see on our screens before we scroll.
  21. Bounce, with regards to website analytics, refers to a single-page session on a website. In other words, if you visit a site and then exit without visiting any other part of the website, your session would be considered a “bounce”. “Bounce rate” refers to the frequency of this occurrence in comparison to multi-page sessions.

Design, Print, and Media

  1. Circulation statistics with regards to media distribution refers to how many people receive a copy of a publication, not how many people actually use or read it.
  2. The letters CMYK in colour modelling refers to Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Key (black). All printed colours use a percentage of these colours to create every other colour. As an example, white is 0, 0, 0, 0, meaning that is does not use any of those colours to produce its own colour (and if you think about that for too long, your brain will cramp).
  3. Adobe CC (Creative Cloud) is still the standard for desktop creative works (Dreamweaver, Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator etc.). Free alternatives include GIMP (Photoshop alternative), Inkspace (Illustrator alternative), and Scribus (InDesign alternative).
  4. Alarmingly, the print version of the Yellow Pages still exists.
  5. Image file types that support transparent backgrounds include .ai, .eps, .png, .gif, .svg, .webp. The last four of which should work on websites and in most MS Office/Google Docs documents.
  6. When suppliers ask for a high-res image, they typically mean a .pdf, or .eps vector file, or an immensely gigantic bitmap image of 300 DPI (dots per inch) or more.
  7. Vector files are created using lines to build an image (such as a logo or icon) whereas bitmap files use dots to create images (photo-based images). Vector files can be made as large as needed without losing quality. Bitmaps cannot.
  8. We long for the day when business cards are no longer a thing, but while they remain, consider them similar to a handshake. No one enjoys a weak, flaccid experience.

Social

  1. The most popular social media platform is Facebook, in terms on accounts created, of which there are 2.9 billion.
  2. In 2012, Facebook waged war on pet profiles, considering them “misclassified” and was working to systematically remove them all.
  3. The first ever online social network was created in 1997 and was called Six Degrees.
  4. It is extraordinarily difficult to grow a large following on social media organically in a short time unless you are associated with other brands or products that do have a large following, have a particularly niche brand or purpose, or commit a shitload of time to it.
  5. There was a time when advertising on Facebook, Instagram, and Google could be done by anyone who could click a mouse. That is not the case anymore. It is by no means rocket science, but to do it well requires expertise.
  6. Social remarketing works by having a cookie placed on your system when visiting a website, and then having that website’s ads served to you when you revisit the relevant social network.
  7. Meme is short for “mimeme” which heralds from Ancient Greece and translates to “imitated thing”.
  8. The most viewed video on YouTube of all time is Baby Shark Dance with over 10 billion views. Daycare centers account for 7 billion of these views (just kidding).
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