We’re Web Presence; a rag-tag bunch of marketeers based in the sleepy little market town of Macclesfield – but we’re not sleeping behind the wheel, quite the opposite, we’re driving business towards stronger marketing practices, better KPI’s and increased revenue with our inbound approach.
This podcast was born out of our own making activities needing a revamp and we thought that sharing our approach, ideas and analogies with the world would help us to connect with other marketers, broaden our network and ultimately get us out there in the big wide world of podcasting.
Speakers: Astra Newton, Paul Kutschmarski, Jason Morton
ON THE SAME LANDING PAGE- PILOT EPISODE
Jason: Let’s go. Okay, so hello and welcome to the very first episode of our podcast. Note, I say very first, expect it to be held together with a bit of spit and sawdust. But allow us some mistakes, what we’re here to do today is speak to Paul. My name is Jason and I am here with Astra. We will be discussing most things related to return on investment (ROI) and marketing. We’ll be playing around with a couple of different things and you may even laugh at some point. We’re going to keep it very short and focus on burning challenges for marketers at the moment. Let’s start with introductions. My name is Jason, I’m the Marketing Manager at Web Presence, I’ve been doing marketing for six years, but only known what I’ve been doing for four years.
Astra: I’m Astra, Digital Advertising Manager here at Web Presence. I do all things, social media and digital advertising. I have a colourful background in television journalism, so very comfortable on the podcast scene.
Jason: And Astra never mentions that she was once a journalist.
Astra: Not all, people don’t know.
Jason: And we’re joined today by Paul Kutschmarski. Paul do you want to introduce yourself.
Paul: I’m Paul, one of the Directors here at Web Presence and have been here for seven years. Web Presence itself is just about to turn eighteen, so technically old hat in the digital world.
Astra: We should take Web Presence out for its first legal drink!
Jason: So why have we started the podcast? We thought that there just weren’t enough white people talking on the audio networks. Our core values are adding value and being transparent in our marketing, and in name of those principles, this podcast was born. We’re here to network, build a client list and have good chats with people that we like. The format will be fairly introductory, in terms of finding out a little bit about Paul and what he is interested in at the moment. We will then move on to a ‘say that stat’ segment. To finish, we will create an analogy, where we pick a word out of a random word generator and create a marketing analogy that’s relevant to the subjects discussed. So, Paul. At the moment, what do you think is the most burning issue in the marketing industry right now? This could be just in your day-to-day, something you are seeing clients deal with, or maybe you can just talk about your biggest pain or challenge.
Paul: If I had to pick just one this year, it’s not the easiest thing. I think the uncertainty has been the theme of the year. We’ve done this a long time, we know how important it is to plan for the long term. But you have to invest in stocks to see long term gains. When everything’s shifting around the way it is, we don’t know where people will be in a month or two. Even as this has been recorded, it’s a very unpredictable time leading up to Christmas. That’s been the burning issue of the year. How do you plan long term when you have no idea what long term looks like?
Jason: And how does that trickle through into real-life examples? Have you seen clients back out things at the last minute? Is it affecting people in a way that means we are living paycheck to paycheck in terms of how they spend? How does that affect you?
Paul: Everyone’s seeing the effects of the last two years differently, but suffering from the same problems. There are two big issues for business owners. One of which is if you carry stock, and the other being recruitment. Recruitment has been tough for everybody with the lack of certainty I mentioned earlier. It’s hitting both sides of the market. Even if you have a budget and the need for new members and staff, it’s not easy to place good people in your business right now. The changing seasonal trend from 2019-2020 and 2021-present, has been a nightmare.
We have several clients who work in the home improvements industry. In some cases, we have worked with them for 12-13 years and understand their marketing more than they do. Usually, these businesses follow the same seasonal trends; things pick up around March, stay steady through the summer, everything peaks throughout September and October and then the sales trickle down on the run-up to Christmas. In 2020 we saw a shift towards a peak in April and May, and then a slow decline towards Christmas. It’s as if everyone was trapped at home and decided there’s nothing else to spend money on, but upgrading your house. The end of year outcome was similar to the previous year because they were doing double what they’d done the previous year.
Astra: I cannot forget all about the Suez Canal rocketing up.
Paul: The Suez Canal decided to go on strike! So, businesses spent a good period without stock. Turning down new business because they literally couldn’t deliver on the product while paying through the nose for it. So that happened earlier in the year. And then you can see what’s going to happen here is that you’re used to a peak in September, October, you’ve been starved of stock all year. So when your supplier calls you and says yeah, what do you want, you order three containers, not one, and fill up. All sounds good. Everyone’s doing the job except the peak you’ve just purchased all that stock for doesn’t arrive. It happened back in May when you didn’t have to stock. So that’s been one of the really interesting discussions we’ve had is that this perfect storm is happening and you’re carrying tons and tons of stock in some cases, but the markets are not there and we’re dwindling to Christmas now where people don’t spend so much money on that. That’s the biggest issue that has sparked some of the most interesting conversations we’ve had in the last couple of months.
Astra: That hurts people’s return on investments. Because, as you say, due to external circumstances, the price of warehousing has gone up, the price of bringing new container has gone up, the price of storing that container has gone up, the price of getting it through customs and borders has gone up, so they are spending even more money or the same amount of stock as they used to. Doubling it up and then paying for it to be sent to the warehouse before that peak kicks in again. Clients are unhappy, their customers are unhappy, they go to the competitor. I don’t see an end to this in 2022. I did think it will continue for quite some time until the uncertainty evens out. It’s been a definite challenge internally for us, not only to manage the client’s expectations from what we can achieve with their advertising but also in what they’re likely to get out of their business this year.
Paul: I thought this would be it’d be worth talking about because we’re not passive here. This isn’t just happening to our clients, this is our or partly our job. Things have changed and goalposts have moved. Now it is all about how we react. Our clients are brilliant business owners, they know how how to run their businesses, but they’re not necessarily marketing experts. This means the guidance we give them and the conversations we have a day or two before all quote goes out, are probably something that I imagine most business owners would like to hear.
I have a couple I can share that are situations. One of the first is ‘don’t panic change’. We’ve put loads of effort into a strategy, the long term vision, we sat in rooms together and discussed what it is we’re doing and where we’re going. But now, you’ve got a bad cash flow month, and this client says they want to change their ad budget, move to a different channel or turn something off. It’s very easy to start being reactive all of a sudden and lose the vision and strategy. All that investment just gets thrown out. So it’s an interesting topic. When is the best time to make changes? How can we forecast the future results? The real answer is, we can’t!
Astra: I agree. In some cases, the long term strategy has disappeared. We have been using algorithms and automation for ten years with some of these clients. These algorithms learn when to show the ads and the best place to share them. Now the market itself has shifted those algorithms have shifted again. Stocks are increasing, warehouse pricing has increased, cost per acquisition has increased. The market is being saturated at different times and it is having a knock-on effect on multiple online platforms.
Jason: How marketers spend their client’s budgets can be a tricky business. Often, in times of crisis, the first thing to be cut is the marketing budget. how you spend a client’s budget, the uncertainty and indecision can pause everything. Often the first thing that’s cut the marketing budget. We have seen this with a few of our clients over the last two years, where they have paused their marketing spend over. Then in the last month have decided they want to spend the money they saved on reactive ideas. Most of us know that this kind of thinking often doesn’t provide results.
Astra: It’s not a sustainable way to market either. This high cost of bringing in stock, only to keep in storage throughout the winter.
Paul: Businesses need time to adapt. Most marketers will know, if it doesn’t rhyme, it’s not worth your time. My advice would be: if in doubt, zoom out. I think I’ve stolen that from people who trade on the stock market, but it’s the same concept. All marketers have received calls and emails from clients on a Monday morning because all the analytics arrows have turned red. But that’s just one week, we all know it’s just a week, we don’t worry about it. But that’s what sparked these conversations to panic change. It means businesses are spending money inefficiently and we are struggling to add as much value as we know we could if they put their trust in us. So, if in doubt, zoom out. I think it’s really good advice. Zoom out six months, zoom out twelve months and zoom out to compare this year (2020) to 2019. All of a sudden those arrows turn green. Businesses have to focus their efforts on a long-term strategy rather than reactive quick wins.
Jason: That’s a great suggestion, Paul.
Astra: It speaks volumes that my mind instantly just went to, oh, he means to get them on a Zoom call. Online video calling has replaced the actual definition of zoom!
Jason: So just to finish this segment, Paul, can you rank the next four marketing activities in order of importance. Just your opinion, no right or wrong answer. So we have PPC and Google Ads, social media, email marketing, and SEO. How would you rank those?
Paul: 1. SEO, 2. Email marketing, 3. PPC and Google Ads, 4. Social media.
Astra: My job down the line.
Paul: The reason SEO is number one for me is it’s intent-based. It’s not the same as putting your brand up on a billboard, people are searching for your product or service when they find you. So the efficiency rate of somebody clicking on your listing to come in through to you is high. And I think people need that right now. I’m putting email marketing second because of changes to tracking behaviour, and GDPR. And I think there’s going to be a much bigger focus on owned audiences, having your audience that you nurture and look after and tap into instead of constantly going out for new business. And PPC and social media, are necessary.
Jason: And then on a scale of one to ten, how confident are you in your current marketing strategy.
Paul: I want to say seven or eight. I’m 100% confident in our strategy. The seventh is just because we don’t know what the next year looks like. I imagine we’ll have to pivot as we go.
Jason: And what’s the most important factor in improving that score?
Paul: Data analytics. Anybody who says they know what’s coming this next year is a liar. We need as much data as we can to make informed decisions.
Jason: Okay, on to the next segment.
Astra: Say That Stat! Marketers communicate so often in numbers and figures and percentages. So we figured why not stick with what we’re good at and make it fun. In a panic style, I’ve got a statistic, which relates to return on investment. I’m going to give you the statistic and you have to come up with an idea as to what it might represent. So the stat is 48% in relation to confidence.
Jason: Confidence so, where was it done? What was the kind of study like?
Astra: It was a study done by HubSpot.
Paul: How many people are tracking? How many businesses are tracking how they’re performing? They’ve got good tracking stats.
Astra: You’re getting ahead though, but no.
Jason: Percentage of marketing professionals who know what? What’s generating their leads.
Astra: Also close, one more bash.
Paul: I can’t think of anything, that’s not a joke.
Astra: That’s fine, get them out there.
Paul: Now you’re going to have to put us out of our misery.
Astra: Okay, so when asked how comforted marketers are making budgeting decisions that invest in programs that influence revenue, only 48% said they were somewhat confident. So not even confident, just somewhat confident!
Jason: That’s exactly what we were saying earlier. So many marketing decisions are made in a panic. For example, you don’t want to lose the marketing budget for next year, so you have to spend it. You don’t want to put your name to a campaign that sucks and doesn’t have any return of investment. But this fear-based approach doesn’t lend itself to the best decisions because it’s inaction. Slow inaction is much more likely to keep you in your job. It’s probably one of the worst issues for marketers, most people don’t want to take risks or try something new in case it reflects badly on them.
Paul: You’re so right. I wrote an article this week on sensitive email newsletters, questioning what the point is if you don’t have a goal. That seems to happen when you’re a marketing manager. Your boss is going to give you ‘10 minutes to prove your worth to the company or your heads on the chopping block. In most cases, you’re going to do the safe thing and not take risks. You could continue sending your email newsletters out on a Tuesday, regardless of what you may think or how useful it is, just because its what is expected
Astra: That also ties into the theme of uncertainty. People are less willing to take risks because they don’t know the budget. Potentially their current customer base is going elsewhere to competitors who have stopped that kind of thing. I would suggest that if we check that stat again, in 2022, it’d be interesting to see how much that confidence is dipped or peaked.
Paul: Yeah. I know we feel it. We started this episode talking about uncertainty, but to get the figures on it is quite surprising, isn’t it? Just think it’s a handful of your clients. But that sounds wide-reaching.
Astra: We’ve got time for a quick analogy.
Astra: We’ve already prefaced this by saying we’re going to pick a random word generator. And the guests/us have to come up with an analogy related to that word to do with our right, so Jason’s pull up the random word generator or the Web Presence hat
Jason: Yeah. So I’ve selected a range of nouns. The word is ‘farmers’. We’re trying to think of how that could relate to marketing and return on investment or analogy.
Paul: I’ve got one, I think.
Astra: You go and we’ll tell you whether or not it’s good enough. Okay.
Paul: So what I want to leave you feeling is that if farmers can do it, you can do it too. Right? But let me expand on that.
Jason: Because farmers are well known?
Paul: No, no, because one of the most common challenges we have in getting data. So we all know data’s king. All of our experience, effort and education goes out the window when you haven’t got good data. The reason people don’t do it is that they think it’s too complicated. They don’t have the tech, they’re not a high tech company, they don’t need this data. The dates they put in, how much they order in advance the exact process they follow, and the effect that’s going to have on their yield other profits that they make off the back of it. That’s all decided way in advance. And I don’t think you picked your farm because they’re high tech, technical industry. And it’s not in a lot of cases, but they run on data, not hard work, or they do is roll and all of that.
Paul: So set up your marketing campaigns like a farmer. The farmer does get it all planned, get your projections ready, use historic data to know what you’re supposed to do in advance and then stick with the plan. You have to wait to see what the results are going to be.
Jason: Yeah that works
Paul: How’s that for the first analogy.
Jason: Yes it’s a good start.
Astra: Well, I think that went well. I was trying to think about something to do with sheepdogs and herding all of your marketing channels, and it’s a bit spread out sometimes, it’s a little bit chaotic, but you just got to herd them all into that same two tiny goalposts and it takes perseverance, a bloody good team. Like a really loud voice.
Paul: Like, visually picturing of a marketing funnel and how you fit them in.
Astra: That’s a good one. That’s not where I was going. You finish that better than I did. I was going for more like an everything is chaos and you have to just herd them in, you know.
Astra: Yeah, like the marketing funnel is a much better one for sure.
Jason: There’s also like, all of your eggs in one basket type thing, whereby no farmer will just farm one particular crop, because you know, that area field gets ruined. And his life is at the surface. I’ve only seen one episode of Clarkson’s Farm so I could stay my fingers on a pop of culture. Yeah. I did think, I’m pretty sure that as they have they have a couple of different crops or animals. That’s hard for you to remember. So yeah, I guess in the same way, marketers do that. Because you don’t just want to kind of life or die by an email campaign, you should have an email campaign sure, but if there, there’d be links to take them to the page. And you know, now that those people are business pages, maybe should be retargeting because they’re kind of a little bit further down that marketing folds. And maybe you need more people to feel those retargeting audiences to see, try a bit of just paid advertising in terms of Google ads. So you try and lots of different you plant lots of different seeds. And you might find that no one clicked anything from the email marketing. You didn’t get a copy, but that’s fine because your Google Ads pick-up up quite a few leads. And that’s why you should have a full inbound campaign. It’s not just about any one of those things in the last month of the year, because you’ve got a budget, or even though that can still move the needle a little bit. It’s about doing different parts so that you can have a nice Christmas turkey with your family at Christmas. We got to finish as we come to thirty minutes and eighteen seconds.
Astra: It feels a little bit like cultural appropriation for three office types to be talking about the farming industry.
Paul: Like we know what we’re doing.
Jason: Cool, let’s finish up then.
Paul: If you were in a business that helps your customer solve problems and if they’re going to search on Google for help with something or other and that’s what your business does, you might want to talk to us. That’s the kind of customer that does well with Web Presence. Well, I’ll talk right now. And the team here Jason lead on creating a b2b scorecard. So it takes two minutes to do. It’s just a few questions that you have to run through. But it will give you a personalized report on each of these six stages we kind of monitor our clients on and give you a personalized report of where you might be able to improve over those six stages, should give you some actionable points to go at. You can talk to us further about it if you like if you want some kind of more detailed advice. That’s probably the most useful thing we give to business owners every minute.
Jason: Thanks for listening guys. Thank you for listening to our first podcast. We hope to see you all soon.