From Direct Marketing Dinosaur to Social Media Marketing Manager
The Dinosaur moves into Marketing in the 2010s (or whatever this decade is called) with Digital Mums
In case you missed part one of the Dinosaur’s blog -(https://medium.com/@SarahBennettCo/no-longer-a-marketing-dinosaur-thanks-digital-mums-a52be346337a), here’s a quick synopsis:
In a previous life BK (before kids), the Dinosaur was Head of a Marketing department of a publishing company which produced international B2B books and reports. Social Media was something just used by the “younger generations” at that point and certainly never mentioned in the context of B2B marketing. Then the Dinosaur left her job to have two kids.
Fast forward to 2015 and the Dinosaur tentatively put her toes back into the Marketing water, having been accepted onto the Digital Mums Advanced Training Course to become a freelance social media marketing manager.
But how had the marketing world moved on since the Dinosaur days of the 2000s (or whatever you call them)? Would the Dinosaur’s years of marketing expertise be relevant to the new marketing channels? Or would all the marketing experience be in vain?
Starting out on the Digital Mums course, one of the first things the Dinosaur had to do was to take part in a Google Hangout with her peer group. Sounded very new and techy but was actually fairly straightforward and the peer group (nicknamed Jo Paveys) were all lovely, down to earth Mums with a sense of humour. A bit like being back in the office with your marketing team, except we were all newbies and learning!
One early task was to set out the social media campaign objectives and targets for our designated businesses.
Planning a Campaign
We had to “define our audience, create an offer, agree a budget and work out how to measure our success”. OK, that didn’t sound so alien for the Dinosaur. At the Dinosaur’s old job she had to work out the best responding country markets to target (i.e. audience), work out with the directors the best offer for selling the product (albeit sometimes with a free gift or discount), agree with the directors the unit cost per mail piece (including cost of print, postage, mailing list name) and how to measure success (reports by response rates and profitability by country, list type, ROI, individual lists, job titles, industry sector, company size). Hmmm…so maybe not such a new world after all…
Next was the offer itself. The Dinosaur often had to try to reinvent the product offer with a different free gift incentive, or a special discount. Sometimes a seasonal spin could be put on the offer. The New World Digital Mum had the all-important campaign “hook” in her armoury to entice her followers and fans. Both were time sensitive with deadlines too.
Tone and Language
Then the Dinosaur and her fellow trainees had to think about what language and tone to use to get people to interact and engage on social media with our businesses.
OK, so the Dinosaur never really had to engage with customers directly in her old job as that was for the Subscriptions /Customer Service department to do.
However, the Dinosaur did have to ensure her large scale international direct mail campaigns of hundreds of thousands of pieces did convey the right tone for the company — professional, knowledgeable and authoritative — in order for customers to act and order the rather pricey Economic Forecast reports. Even within databases of thousands of prospective customers, the Dinosaur tried to tailor the messages on the letters to suit their geography, job title or business type as to how they would definitely benefit from buying one of the must-have reports. Personalisation of the letters and brochures through clever mail merging was a given — making the Managing Director of a company in Kuala Lumpur feel specially selected for the offer sent all the way from the UK. Using “lure language” to ensure they didn’t dare miss out on the publication offer…..especially if all their peers in their industry were already reading the material.
Surely the Dinosaur could adopt some of these tactics in the brave new world of Social Media too?
Images and Appearance
In our training, we were to be mindful of how our posts appeared visually. Although the Dinosaur had had a separate art and design department to call on before, she was very aware of the impact of keeping the font size reasonable size to read but balancing that with the need to prioritise details, given the limited space on a letter or brochure.
And then the Dinosaur came up against Twitter — Welcome to Twitter and its 140 character limit!
The Dinosaur also recalled how important it was to make screenshots of the publications look and feel real, especially before the actual reports existed! The New World Digital Mum also initially found it hard to find the right royalty free images to support her marketing messages, but found helpful suggestions through the G+ Digital Mums Community.
Digital Mums impressed on us the importance of what we wanted to achieve from our digital campaigns. “Make your call to action easy.” In my social media campaign, the aim is to grow brand awareness. The Dinosaur’s aim was purely to sell reports. But in both cases, the aim was made clear — the Dinosaur placing “order now by emailing subs@…., or faxing (yes that REALLY dates the Dinosaur for you) on +44 207….. And the Digital Mum by encouraging retweets, sharing, favouriting or using a campaign hashtag #
Timing or seasonality was important to the Dinosaur’s marketing success. She wouldn’t dream of mailing certain countries at holiday time, but e-marketing or fax broadcasting (!) was very profitable to Dubai on a Sunday morning at the beginning of their working week.
Same goes for social media marketing. People check their news feeds at all sorts of times of day. And it depends on their chosen social media channel too. Some check even before breakfast, some on the commute to and from work, others while lunching at their desk, others in the evening while idly watching TV. We just had to discover when!
The mention of paid advertising (e.g. Facebook Adverts) by Digital Mums sent a shudder down the Dinosaur’s skin! The Dinosaur had learned to be very suspicious of paid advertising, as one of the Dinosaur’s main objectives had been to keep the costs down; she also thought that successful advertising on the internet was hard to measure. However, Digital Mums have been working to sway the Dinosaur into realising that Facebook Ads are much more measurable thanks to analytics than Web adverts were in the Dinosaur age, with decent returns on investment possible too even on a small amount invested, if the message and audience are right.
Delivery and Scheduling
Choosing a 3rd party service to send out the social media messages reminded the Dinosaur of trying to select the best snail mail postal carrier in her old days of marketing — who could provide the cheapest service but would actually deliver the messages? Should you go direct or not? Will using a 3rd party dampen the likelihood of your message reaching its intended destination and harm your reach?
Response and Engagement
Being ready to respond to responses from the social media campaigns had much in common with the dinosaur briefing the sales and subscription teams when the Dinosaur had sent out a million pieces of mail worldwide over a couple of weeks. In the social media world, this meant setting up notifications for each social media channel to be ready to answer questions, favourite or retweet responses or deal with fallout!
Proof Reading and Consistency
Most marketing campaigns need a website of some sort to support them. The Dinosaur’s team had to proof read and keep on top of hundreds of unique country and industry sector report landing webpages, checking consistency of offer, contact details and pricing. Thankfully the new Digital Mum has only to check her company’s website, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and G+ pages, but the rules are the same — consistent logo, quality images, and easy to find contact details.
Digital Mums encourage engagement with fellow tweeters and followers, particularly prominent influencers who hold sway locally or in our interest areas. We are encouraged to “chat” with people when something piques our interest. It’s not quite as cut throat as the sales teams hungry for leads from the Dinosaur’s City office days though …. more a gentle chat and see what happens approach on social media as direct selling is frowned upon. Greater similarities were to be found with the Dinosaur’s co-marketing work whereby local business groups or leaders were encouraged to market, link to or recommend the Dinosaur’s company’s reports.
Analytics and Results
One of the parts of the Dinosaur’s job she enjoyed the most was analysing results of her mail campaigns towards the end of the campaigns. She could then see which parts had outperformed expectations and how she could make the most of that with follow up e-marketing campaigns to the same audience to prolong the tail of the campaign. This is very similar to the analysis the New World Mum was to undertake to see which parts of her online audience are most responsive and to see if it were possible to leverage that further.
Once the target audience has been defined for the company, we trainee Digital Mums had to find more similar people on social media through their likes, activities and businesses and put them into lists on twitter.
“Lists?” said a delighted Dinosaur who had spent the best part of 10 years looking for the best mailing and e-mailing lists for her target audiences, from speaking to fellow publishers, to conference groups to business group associations in the target countries. The Dinosaur also knew how important it was to get together a decent number of the right audience to address, otherwise you would never be heard or get any message across let alone sell anything.
The biggest difference for the Dinosaur has been the opportunity to try out new ideas and formats, particularly within a potentially dull B2B service (accountancy) to put across a more human side to the business. She has loved the chance to experiment with Instagram filters, take part in local #Tweethours and #Tweetups, chat with and support local businesses, making chalkboards and posters for Twitter and Facebook, Word Clouds, videos, read heaps of interesting and useful small business articles and tips….even putting our 4 year old’s orange teddy head in the sand to show how people hide away from doing their accounts! She’s now contemplating how to make Origami out of HMRC’s brown envelopes……
The Dinosaur certainly never got the chance to do all this!
Despite times having changed and the Dinosaur’s trepidation, there are lots of similarities between marketing old-Dinosaur style and New World Social Media. But with social media, in theory you have more control and transparency than with old fashioned marketing methods where it was much harder to assign an order or interest to a specific marketing action (or at least it was at the Dinosaur’s company). You also don’t risk your 35,000 mailshot being dumped in the Pacific Ocean (which happened more than once). But are results as good? Time will tell.
Oh yes, and I’m learning a lot and having some fun along the way too!