On Thursday, 17 August 2017, Popimedia presented the Cape Town leg of its ‘women-leading profit-driven marketing’ workshop at the Fire & Ice Hotel to a fittingly female-first audience, with only two males in the mix. Lisa Steingold, head of marketing at Popimedia, shared the interesting story of how the potato became a sought-after item ages ago. No one was eating potatoes as the Catholic Church had banned them for not being mentioned in the Bible. In the 1700s, when people were dying of starvation, so King Frederick II of Prussia, AKA Frederick the Great, decided to fix things by rebranding the potato.
It was as simple as planting potatoes in the royal courtyard and loosely guarding them, so the people would steal them – steal them they did, in the hope of picking up some magical ‘royal properties.’ On how we got from there to here, Steingold said marketers shape the world, as we shape behaviour.
But Frederick the Great isn’t the current marketer in the know – Simone Frost, May Lalloo and Kirsty Sharman are. Here’s why…
Simone Frost, digital media specialist at Upstream Advertising, which provides marketing solutions to sell profitable insurance for the Telesure group, was up first with the gut-punch that “marketing as a cost centre is so yesterday.” She shared her learnings around metrics that truly matter in redefining digital marketing for profit.
First is the insight that you can only manage what you can measure, and defining what matters is the start of a successful journey in profitable measurement. To do so, you need to constantly drive and design positive strategies that lead to ROI, and mine potential for new and existing customers, build ‘love brands’ through the customer satisfaction of promise delivery and turning overwhelming data into intelligent information. This is about more than just bank balance profit though – be careful not to discount the other metrics like engagement and conversion that give insight into your customer and marketing efforts.
Einstein said it best: “Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts,” so make sure you measure the things that matter. Frost said the way to do so is to identify the customer touch points you need to make more effective, thereby creating the ultimate customer experience.
Doing so gives you the chance to constantly lift the bar in a challenging-yet-achievable way, and set new targets for marketing spend efficiency as it’s a journey and not a destination. By measuring the profitability of your marketing efforts, you can scale spend on the right channels, so if one segment of your marketing strategy isn't yielding ROI, you can shift that to another area. In analysing where your marketing challenges are, you can also make changes to improve the overall strategy based on understanding the customer’s experience. Fail fast and keep growing. Practically every business decision needs to be based on an understanding of ROI, said Frost. She concluded, “measuring profitable marketing is no longer a nice idea but rather an imperative for corporate survival.”
May Lalloo, head of digital at Nestlé South Africa took to the podium next, asking how we find marketing utopia while also driving profit. She said the answer lies in providing agency partners with a clear brief, ensuring you have the right KPIs in place, produce creative that stands out from the clutter in order to be disruptive, and include a strong call to action in your messaging. If that seems overwhelming, follow Lalloo’s simple ‘Eat, pray love’ ABC process:
Lalloo added that you need to make sure you have the right metrics in place, as it’s not just about collecting large fan bases. Times have changed, now ROI is more important than vanity metrics – a like of your brand’s Facebook status doesn't necessarily equate to a purchase.
Communication is also key here, not just internally as the team tends to get stuck in the idea and not realise where steps are missing. Communicating better externally means you’ll be able to track issues with campaigns, especially when localising global campaigns. Although you are likely situated in the same building, brand or department A doesn't necessarily know what brand or department B is doing. Have a fluid team structure and communicate across the board for deeper insights into your consumer. Having a cohesive team in place will help future-proof the organisation for change and disruption.
Another important factor for success with profit-driven marketing is designing your organisation by building teams and capabilities. Lalloo said marketing itself hasn't changed over the years, we just have sharper tools now to get the job done in a changing context. You need to make sure you're sending the same overall message across different platforms and not just storing that big data somewhere. Incorporate it into your systems so you can put it into use and personalise communication with your customers, as this builds loyalty over time.
Kirsty Sharman, COO of influencer marketing platform, Webfluential, was the final speaker of the morning. Introduced by Steingold as: "the ultimate geek girl knows everything about everything in the industry.
She said that marketing teaches you about branding and communication and running a company teaches you about profit. She’s been lucky enough to experience both, and shared the five things that running a software-as-a-service or SaaS platform taught her about profit-driven marketing with the hope that attendees would turn just one into an action when back at their desks.
Steingold ended by summing up the characteristics of a great marketer – curiosity, courage, failing fast, asking questions, putting your big girl parties on and starting again when you need to. We can all learn the skills, but those characteristics are deeply ingrained in those who prove successful in driving profit.
Interact with Frost, Lalloo and Sharman on Twitter this #WomensMonth and be sure to keep #BuildingBusinessonSocial with @PopimediaSocial.