Thursday, 15 March 2007

Marketing, what do I know about marketing?

I was asked by a friend recently to give a marketing presentation to a group of Sixth Formers, though I understand they're now referred to as Year 12. Today was the day, and a little nervously I put myself in front of these eager young minds hoping I was going to provide them with some real-life insight.

I'm not a formal marketeer. My mind goes wandering when people start insisting we must segment and define messages, and position products. However we haven't got to having 2,500 active customers without understanding how to market our service.

I gave the following presentation, talked about our experiences and realised how far we'd come in the last few years with our marketing. From our tentative first steps with Google PPC and SEO we've got a system that is driving growth in 5 countries around the world.

The key message I drove home was measurement. Does it add up? Can the business make money? Online marketing is eminently measurable. Couple that with the rapid change and refinement capabilities and you end up with a evolving, iterative approach that forces you to segment without even perhaps realising that you are.

What is marketing for?

  • Acquisition marketing
  • Making people want to do business with a company
  • Includes
    • Branding
    • Message
    • Product positioning
    • Product targeting

Measure, measure, measure

  • Marketing costs money
  • Easy to get blinded by something lovely
  • What does it cost per acquisition?
  • Can the company make money?
    • ROI – Return On Investment
    • Does the cost of acquiring the customer exceed the profit from the customer?


  • Prospects who don’t know they have a need
  • Channels
    • Advertising
    • PR
    • Outbound telesales
  • Requires
    • Well known product or service
    • Well known brand
    • Something very innovative


  • Prospects who have identified they have a need
  • Channels
    • Search engines
    • Directories
  • Requires
    • Answering the prospects requirement
    • Differentiation

What do we do?

  • Internet Marketing
  • 95% of new business from web
  • PPC – Pay Per Click advertising
  • SEO – Search Engine Optimisation
  • Web PR

PPC – Pay Per Click advertising

  • Right hand side of Google
  • We pay every time someone clicks on the ad
  • Closed auction system
    • Highest bid gets position
  • 70% click on first 2 ads
  • CTR – Click Through Rate

SEO – Search Engine Optimisation

  • Left hand side of search results
  • No cost for click through
  • First 3 pages are key
  • Search engines love change
    • Blogs
    • News

Web PR

  • Links are gold
  • Got to be relevant
  • People like relevance
  • Search engines like relevance
  • Good places
    • Client/Supplier web sites
    • Directories
    • Blogs


  • Get them to your site, what next?
  • First impressions count
  • Landing page
    • Reinforce the message
    • Give them what they want
  • Call to action
    • Tell them what you want them to do
  • Measure the process
    • Does it add up?
    • ROI

Retention Marketing

  • Paid a lot for a customer now keep them
  • Regular communication
    • Newsletters
    • Product announcements
  • Up sell
    • Existing customers


peter said...

A thought occurred to me. You said that "your mind wanders" when people talk about segmentation. I am sure you’re being a tad disingenuous because you seem to have a shrewd understanding of marketing. As you said, 2,500 customers didn’t just land on your lap. It strikes me that your business is in a pretty good position to start profiling what is a significant customer base, if you haven't already. Using your own and industry standard characteristics and modelling techniques (e.g. clustering, logistic regression) you can identify the types and sub-types of customers within the full population. If you overlay customer profitability you can then complement what has been a predominantly ‘pull’ marketing strategy with an effective ‘push’ strategy by identifying prospects who look similar to your most profitable customers. Your channel and message need to be carefully tailored of course, given that this it going to be pro-active, outbound marketing, but if you get it right you’ll have them beating a path to your door. There are a number of companies that specialise in providing prospect lists to your specific requirements such as There are also companies that specialise in devising, executing and managing marketing campaigns via e-mail such as Good luck with reaching the 10,000th customer!

Adam said...

Thanks Pete, as you've identified we now have a population on which to conduct that kind of analysis.

Now where did I put my statistics text books.