I recently got asked by a good friend of mine to check a marketing plan that she’d written for a new job she was starting. The job was at a training establishment (I’m used to arts venues), and the budgets were small.
It was good, but it got me thinking about how marketing on a shoestring can actually be more exciting that marketing with a larger budget. You have to be more creative, pull more favours, cultivate more relationships and have a closer relationship with your customers. And it got me thinking about the marketing tools your potential employer would expect you to use.
The first thing on everyone’s lips when you mention marketing on a small budget is social media. It’s almost a given right?
I’m struck by how blinkered a view this is. It’s a trap I’ve fallen into. I have a Facebook profile, I log on two or three times a day, and probably 90% of the events I’ve attended (in real life) or organised in the last 3 years have started with a Facebook invitation. Does that mean that it’s a great marketing tool? Certainly. But what about the people who aren’t on Facebook. How do I reach them?
It’s easy to think that everybody’s on Facebook. Yes – soaring towards a billion profiles, and most of the UK population. But is it disproportionately used a lot by a few? How many people actually engage with the content? How many people post notes, blogs and link to news stories? My (strictly unscientific) survey of my friends concludes that only about 20% of them actually regularly link to something external or recommend an event or product. I know some of my friends haven’t posted in months, merely read Facebook like another site.
So nearly a billion accounts – yet I’d have to surmise – a large proportion lying dormant.
Also, as I scan down the full list of Top News (the information that Mr. Facebook deems that I will find relevant), I’m struck by how many organisations and businesses make it into this list. Surely as time goes on, and I ‘like’ more pages and sites, my feed will become little more than a spam list.
All this leads me to wonder whether Facebook is another bubble that will eventually burst.
Then there’s Twitter. Again – awesomely simple in concept, brilliant in execution, but as a recently signed up Tweeter, I still feel outside the club. I tweet to my modest amount of followers, thinking that they may be interested, but I find it’s harder for them to engage with my content. Maybe I’m not tweeting regularly enough. Maybe I’m not using #hashtags or @profilenames in my tweets enough? Or maybe (and I think probably) I’m just not confident that my tweets would be interesting. They’d be tantamount to amateur reviews – like the hoards of tweeters who I’m sure would irritate me in real-life, yet I still follow.
Twitter, for me, seems like it’s great for people who have the time and inclination to put a lot into it. Like anything, the more you put in, the more you get back. But for most of us – who dip into lots of different media, who are a little less confident that what we have to say merits being put out permanently into the ether, it’s just too hard to get excited about.
Which brings me back to marketing. What chance do I have to sell to these people amongst they plethora of other messages they’re already receiving. When do the News Feeds or Tweets they’re reading become so full of advertising messages that people switch off, or find another medium. I reckon on it being very soon.
And how effective is Twitter or Facebook at actually selling tickets? Sure, you’ll probably attend a show your friend is performing in. And it’s great at spreading the word between PRs, industry bods, reviewers and the press (and anyone else who would normally expect a comp on press night). But normal people who queue up and purchase an actual ticket in the real world?
I’m yet to be convinced.