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Why don't you 'like' me?

In a world of content writing, social media and e-news, the temptation to place all one's confidence in the new marketing credo is overwhelming. After all, with a thousand new 'likes' and happy faces, everyone wants you.
However, being wiser and more cynical, I regard the new love of likes the same way I regarded the revolution that the fax, and subsequently email, was going to bring to sales and marketing – no more toiling over marketing and advertising campaigns, pesky phone calls or sales meetings – all that was needed was a convincing layout and the orders would come rolling in.

And they did, if you were absolutely sure of your target market and had a product that needed no ‘selling’. But these were few and far between and, sadly, we had to go back to targeted, well thought-out marketing campaigns to support sales staff.

Being on the sales side was the forefront of technology but cold calls and customer support were still essential. The computer gave us more detailed information on sales, payments and data then ever (before we called it CRM) but it didn’t remind us to ask whether our customer’s daughter had passed her driver’s licence or his wife’s back op had been a success. Sales were still about human-to-human communication.

Advertising moved from straightforward AIDA (attention, interest, desire, action) to crowd pleasing and awards (there are now so many advertising/marketing/creativity awards; you could allocate a full time person to simply entering them). PR stories went from factual to Pinterest story-telling and social media began to eclipse traditional media.

So, your client has a 100 likes this week because of your cute picture about local fauna and flora – but as an upmarket lodge, its clientele mostly comes out the top 25% of the working population who are financially stable. This must be further subdivided into those that eager to travel and add to their experiences. Reduce this in terms of the province the lodge is in and the likes from 18-year olds outside your catchment area are nice but irrelevant.

Social media, PR, marketing and advertising have but one purpose - to engender a need not previously there and direct the customer immediately to the supplier – be it in the supermarket or from an electrical engineering specialist – and make the sale.

David Ogilvie said it superbly, “In the modern world of business, it is useless to be a creative, original thinker unless you can also sell what you create.”

6 Nov 2017 12:15

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About the author

Gwen Watkins has been in sales since she was 18 and in her own marketing business since 1988. She is a freelance writer, editor, subeditor and author. Almost 30 years of experience across industrial and commercial writing, as a reporter and PR consultant, has given her expert grounding in brand communication and native advertising. A Master NLP Practitioner, she uses these skills within the creation of copywriting, annual reports, brochures and website copy. Gwen has lectured on advertising, marketing and journalism and is a member of the Southern African Freelancers Association (SAFREA) the South African Science Journalists' Association (SASJA) and the National Press Club of South Africa.




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