[ Ref: The “Spirituality, Realities and Business” Series ]
In an earlier post, I mentioned that we decided to downgrade the use of platforms until we have a better understanding of how it works. Allow me to expand on that. One of the experts I consulted was my son, who is currently Director of Strategy of one of the largest Advertising companies in Malaysia. What he told me had a profound impact on our decision to shift back to Non-Platform Marketing. He informed me that his company has over 200 people dedicated to platform marketing and they are still figuring out how to use it effectively. Another issue he raised was the constant shift in rules and procedures, that fully occupies his Team to remain current. And so he advised me that this was perhaps not the route our small company — without that kind of resources — should take. Another problem that arises is that with so many fake accounts (bought subscribers and hits) on so many lists, a lot of data is misleading.
When I wrapped my head around what he said, I decided to relook at how marketing used to work in the early 2000s. Back then, the mantra was “build your list” … with course upon course on how and why we needed to do this. In the first iteration of It’s My Life ezine, we didn’t actually have that large a list — only around 2,000 plus, in addition to working with a network of like-minded publishers — but it brought us a stable income. How?
1. Our list was organic. We never bought lists or hits. And so we knew many of the people on our list. We got to know their business and who they were. And this proved critical. This is also called first-level data — real people with real concerns and questions. Because of this close interaction with our list & our networked publishers, our opening rates were very high and we got healthy advertising revenues.
2. Today many platforms are re-inventing their business models and the “free” services they used to provide are now slowly becoming fee-based. With the rise in interest rates, many will face unanticipated impacts. And I suspect some may not survive the transition we are witnessing across the Internet World.
3. Also, as far as I can see, the environment on platforms today lends more to price competition… and not the development of value propositions of USP (Unique Selling Propositions). Take for instance the current trends of influencer marketing. Influencers need to promote many Brands in order to earn sufficient income. So they cannot articulate the uniqueness of individual Brands effectively.
Small independent businesses with USPs are still best served by organic lists. It’s slower to build that list but its plus point is it’s consistent and the list stays ours no matter what happens.
“Amateurs talk strategy. Professionals talk logistics.” ~ General Omar Bradley
I like this quote. It informs me that strategy only works when all the working parts work. Advertising, Promotions and Marketing are key components to business success. You can get all the other parts correct but if you cannot connect to the market in the way that your USP is differentiated, then the business can flounder. This I believe is the secret to value creation.