There’s a hole in my bucket

by | Jul 17, 2017

Trusty and me are prone to a bit of postulating. Not only does it help pass the time it’s also a good way for us to think about the environmental issues that could impact on our business. Environmental in terms of external factors that should be discussed at great length whilst drawing up a SWOT analysis, rather than a consideration of how air pollution may cause us a problem. These are interesting but not needed for this purpose. Sometimes it throws up something that we believe will change the way we work …and the way everyone works.

This week we were thrown a curve-ball of momentous proportions. We’d been asked to put in a proposal to supply some consumer data. Nothing in any way contentious or underhand about how it was going to be used. We decided to approach Experian who told us they’ve taken all the x millions of phone numbers off the market.

What? When? Why? Cue much head scratching.

Not only do we love a postulate, we’re also massively cynical. Our initial reaction was “oh fudge!” or something similar. We then moved on to the “What does this really mean?” question.

For starters Experian are huge and we feel this suggests that if they can’t find a way of proving compliance what hope is there for the rest of us. This is a genuine concern. You can throw in suggestions about numbers as a product being a loss leader etc. etc. but it just doesn’t feel right.

But rather than get too bogged down with the fate of data from one source we started to think about this in the broader context. We resorted to drawing pictures, because it helps us think. We came up with the idea that if it wasn’t possible to access the majority of your market by purchasing the names, then you had to identify the different segments within the market and find ways to connect with them individually. I don’t know, this sounds a little bit like an old fashioned integrated marketing plan. Who’d have thought of that one?

You’re probably having a hearty guffaw if you’ve got that far; shouting expletives at the screen or scrolling down with a derisive snort. But for some time now we’ve become quite lazy marketers. We’ve worked on the basis that we just go and buy a load of names, make a phonecall and we get work. That option is now being taken away from us, so we must be more creative about getting in front of our audiences.

I noticed an article on LinkedIn today which supported this theory: “Door-drop industry hails revival as spend tops £266m”. I appreciate that the vast majority of that will have been spent by Domino’s Pizza, but it still shows that businesses are seeing the old-school channels as being viable and relevant.

But what about the small returns? I hear you ask. Well, you’re right, there is likely to be a lower response to some of these, this is why so many businesses favour the immediacy and directness of phone marketing, but think of the conversion and income potential of a prospect who has seen what you have to offer, liked what they saw and willingly responded to it. It’s a way of very quickly getting to the people who have an interest.

Not all of the old stuff works well, and sometimes it’s OK but the cost is too high; this is where a simple cost per acquisition calculation is invaluable in helping a business assess the value of individual activities. But it’s imperative that everything is looked at in context so you if something has a high CPA but you get a 95% conversion rate and the year one spend and retention rate are sky high, then you have to ask yourself is it worth the additional cost.

Whatever you think of taking an integrated approach to reach your customers, if you need help in reviewing the options, a dose of creativity or if you need some guidance on where your customers hang out, then call Julie or Charlie on 01462 713444 to talk through options and get some ideas.

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