What attracted you most to be a part of the digital marketing industry?
Almost every self-employed activity that I’ve ever done has led me back to marketing. When I was a real estate agent, I needed to market my services. As a mortgage broker I needed to promote myself and market my services. When I sold physical products, it wasn’t enough to just have the product, but it was also essential to market the products. So, marketing kept on coming up as an essential skill. As time has gone on all marketing is heading towards the digital arena. There are multiple reasons for this but the fact that you get direct feedback on your marketing is a huge benefit. Traditional marketing campaigns, like television campaigns, or billboards need to wait months to see what the outcomes are. With digital marketing you can know in days if your advertising is working. Plus, you know who is interested and then you can refine your marketing on the fly. Digital marketing gives the marketer power to tailor the campaign in real time and focus the marketing to ensure maximum benefits for minimum cost in the fastest way possible.
Do you think the brand’s digital visibility is important nowadays and why?
Yes and no. I know many entrepreneurs that spend ages getting their branding right and their logos, website etc. all perfect before launching. Then they end up failing to launch anyway. It’s good to have an idea of where you want to go with your product and brand in the beginning, but so many new entrepreneurs spend way too much time on getting their “brand” right that they don’t focus on the important things. They seem to be under the impression that their brand is what marketing has taught us it is. Meaning the look and feel of the website, the colours, the patterns, the images, the logo, the domain etc. Although these are components of the brand, they are not the brand. If we go back to where the original term of branding came from. For example, cattle owners would use a hot iron logo and brand it into their cattle to show ownership. They would literally put their mark on the cattle. This then was them “making their mark” in the world and showing the world “this is mine”. That is what
branding is about, or at least that’s what it should be about, instead of colours and logos and domains. Your brand is who you are. It is a symbol of who you are as a company and who you are as an owner. Who you are does not change. If you are a company of your word, meaning you do what you say, then that is your brand. If you treat your customers with respect, then that is your brand. If you are environmentally sustainable and try to do good in the world then that is your brand. It is way more important for a company to work out who they are and what they stand for than it is for them to work out their colours and logos. Too many companies spend way too much time on superficially looking good on the outside rather than working on what’s truly important in the inside as in how they behave, what they do and how they do it. In conclusion then, the outside, superficial part of branding is not important, logos change, colours change, domains change. Getting the inside part of branding sorted is essential.
Why is it not enough to have a great and innovative idea for your brand to be successful?
What is the best book you’ve never read? Well if you’ve never read it, how would you know? The same goes for products, if you don’t know about them then it makes no difference how good they are. You don’t know about them, so they are irrelevant. This point is almost identical to the point above. Many times, companies spend too much on getting their ideas and concepts to work and not enough time focussing on how they will let the world know about the product. In order for companies to grow they need sales. To get sales they need customers, to get customers they need marketing. It is very rare for a product to do well on word of mouth alone. Upcoming movies are marketed years in advance of their actual launches. What kind of a box office opening would a new movie have if no one knew it was about to be released? There would be no one there. It is easier to market and sell a bad product than it is to sell a good product without marketing.
Which are the best strategies to capture new customers?
It’s difficult to answer this question as it would depend which company it is and who their customers were. Rolls Royce for example has a completely different marketing strategy to Xbox as they have different customers. The best generic strategy for all companies therefore is to first understand whom your ideal customer is. Once you know that then you can tailor your strategy to suit them and their wants and needs. A Rolls Royce customer is not going to be convinced to buy a Rolls Royce because you offer a discount voucher, but a teenager that doesn’t have a lot of money, might be enticed to pay Xbox online with a discount voucher. Again, I’ll refer to the branding portion of my responses. Once a company knows who they are and what they do for their customers. Then they can tailor that messaging to suit what the customers are looking for. A business is not there for fun. A business is there to perform a function and to solve a problem. What problem does your business solve? How does your company do this? Whom do you do it for? Then once you know that you know where to find your customers. Rolls Royce owners will most probably not be in online gaming communities where Xbox gamers would be, but they might read exclusive yachting magazines so a magazine ad might work best for them. To use your wording and to “capture” a new customer if we work on a hunting analogy then if you want to hunt deer then you need to go where the deer are and use deer hunting tactics. If you want to catch fish then you need to go to a completely different environment and use a completely different bait. First find out who your customer is. Then find out where they hang out. Then find out what they want from you. Then give them what they want. The Rolls Royce buyer most probably doesn’t need anything from you, as they could either buy it already or have it already. Our job then as marketers is to find out what they want but they don’t have or don’t know that might pique their interest enough to pay attention to us. Once we get them to identify themselves to us, then we can market to them.
What are the best ways to influence customers on an emotional level?
All influence is emotional. That is our job. We need to know our customers better than they know themselves. Then we need to find out what they want. Not what they think they want. But what they truly want. For instance, the Rolls Royce owner might think that they want a Rolls Royce. But that is most probably not what they want. When they buy a Rolls Royce it is not to drive from A to B. It is to be seen driving from A to B in a Rolls Royce. A Rolls Royce is not a car. It is a status symbol. It does not transport you. It tells other people that you are rich. It shows them how important you are. Not only that, it is British, so it has an element of class and sophistication to it. All Rolls Royce engines are hand made and assembled by one mechanic. They take a long time to build because they are exclusive and they have class, they have refinement. All of this then is transferred to the owner of the Rolls Royce the second that they become the owner. They get the class, the status, the refinement that the Rolls Royce brand already has as soon as they buy one. They get to become a member of the Rolls Royce club; they join up with other famous elite members and their status is automatically elevated. That’s why they buy a Rolls Royce and that is our job to find out and use in our marketing.
Do you think cultural differences shape customer’s behavior and preferences? How?
Yes. And again, that is why it is essential to know who your customer is before you start to market to them. In western cultures there is a well-known expression in advertising “Sex sells” and it does. There are a lot of scantily clad advertisements in the western world that would not be tolerated in more traditional societies. The rejection can range from not paying attention to your ad to a potential death sentence. The most important thing with marketing is to know who your customer is. Once you know that then you know how to say what you need to say and in what way to say it. Think of it this way if you walk into a room with a thousand people from all over the world. Some might speak English, some French, some Spanish and some Mandarin. If you address the audience in Greek then your messaging will not be understood or heard. You first need to understand who you are speaking to. Then find out how best to communicate, then structure your messaging in a way that makes sense and that they want to hear it. “Birds of a feather flock together” is an expression that clarifies and provides a simplistic way of thinking about this. People like other people that are like them, that think the way that they do and have similar values. That’s why you can go to many cities all over the world and you will find a Chinese community or a Jewish community. In order to speak to your customers in a way that they want to be spoken to, you need to first understand them, study them, observe them, learn to know them. Once you know them then you will know what to say to them and how to say it. Then and only then will your message be heard, understood, accepted and acted upon. If not then you might as well be speaking a foreign language to them, your message will be ignored, and you’ve just wasted your time and theirs.
How will today’s technology change customer’s expectations?
I’m not 100% sure I understand this question, but I think you mean digital marketing technology and not just technology on its own? I’ll answer it from a digital marketing technology aspect. People don’t have time. They are busy and want everything now. Digital marketers who understand this and adapt with new marketing technologies will get access to the “green fields” before all the other marketers arrive there. They will have access to the market before it becomes saturated. An example of this is chatbots. Customers would like to have their questions answered immediately regardless of what time it is. If someone decides to go online and make a purchase at 2 am then they can. However, they might have a question that they would like to have answered before they proceed with their order. Their expectation then is to be able to have their questions answered now, regardless of what time it is. A chatbot might satisfy that expectation and get a sale because it has satisfied that expectation. This has led to a whole new industry being created. There are now jobs available for chatbot text copywriters, this field did not exist years ago and now it is becoming more mainstream due to customer’s expectations and the adaptation to these demands from marketing companies.
What advice would you give to young people who want to develop in the digital marketing field?
Go for it. Everyone is being forced online anyway. There are so many companies coming online and every day there is more and more demand for digital marketing services. Companies have their own customers and products to look after, they don’t have time to learn digital marketing on-top of everything else they need to do. So, there is a perfect storm being created for digital marketers. More people coming online means more demand for services. More people not having enough time to learn how to do digital marketing means we have more people who need help. As demand grows, opportunities also grow causing a never-ending cycle of expansion. Like anything though, digital marketing is a skill that needs to be learned. It is constantly evolving and to be good at it we also need to be willing to learn and grow. There are formal ways of learning it and informal ways. Although you might get a better formal education by going to study digital marketing at a university you can also
teach yourself how to do this job by doing it. YouTube and other similar sites are incredible to learn the basics of how to do things. Then you can go out and offer your services for free to businesses that are in your area that don’t have a clue what they are doing. You only really learn how to do digital marketing by doing it. Books and videos can give you the basics, but you only really find out what works and what doesn’t work when you start implementing the steps.
A person who is motivated, disciplined, and self-educating can be generating income in a year or less. Whereas a university qualification will take years to achieve and will cost a fortune. Businesses are not going to pay you for your qualifications, they pay for results.
It’s the law of the jungle out there – survival of the fittest – get good or get eaten.
Adrian’s business is Copywriting with a focus on generating online sales through direct response advertising.
He also does digital marketing campaigns for companies, so that he can create everything for clients, from a Facebook ad to attract new customers through to the landing pages that sell to the customer and then also through to the email follow up sequence for those that do not purchase upfront but might in the near future. Adrian believes this is a great system and every company should be doing so.