Issue 7: Predicting The Future
What small business can do differently in 2022
If you ran up to a perfect stranger and asked them to marry you, would you expect them to say yes?
In one example shared at a Google HQ event, attendees were asking about the measurement and value of YouTube videos, storytelling, and display ads.
The marketers in the room would say, “The pressure on last click metrics from our boss is too great”.
The reply? Well, the concept of dating isn’t exactly new. We just ignore the similarities because it doesn’t suit our lack of patience.
Start-ups and small business owners will say, “We don’t have any money for branding! We don’t have any money to invest in first impressions and top of funnel activity. We’re only buying pay-per-click advertising and focusing on the last step of confirmed leads or sales volume. Once we make enough money, THEN we’ll consider stuff that doesn’t directly generate profits.”
Or put another way…
“Look. I’m not interested in going to the gym. Or personal hygiene for that matter. Or in buying new clothes. Or in meeting people at events and developing new hobbies. I just want to get married and once that’s happened, then I’ll consider all that self-development stuff.”
Attribution: Which Beer Gets You Drunk?
Or if you want an even more relatable example of credit in marketing…
It isn’t the last beer that gets you drunk. It’s ALL the beers.
The first beer is the one that triggers behaviour, right? So why do many businesses ignore the first touchpoint? Again, because it doesn’t suit our lack of patience and spending money on things that require a different approach to allocating credit.
We look for the easiest answer, no matter how misleading it might be.
Getting back to the dating example, who do you think attracts the most in this situation? Those that invest in creating a positive first impression, obviously.
This has to be the easiest concept to learn, and yet the hardest to allow ourselves to believe.
I get it. We all want the end result by means of a quick win or silver bullet and don’t want to face the truth: that we want to hire someone with a magic wand.
It’s easier for SMEs with ineffective branding to assume the performance marketing agency must be crap and change agency or freelancer. And repeat the process over again. And again. And… you get the idea.
If you’re not prepared to invest in how you are perceived, the end result will always be much lower than your market opportunity. What’s the ROI on going to the gym?
Without a plan as to how to look your best and invest in first impressions, it’s much harder to connect with the people you really want to connect with.
Pricing Advice For Small Business
OK Andrew you think to yourself. Let’s say I want to believe you. As a small company our margin for error is very small. We simply cannot afford to waste a penny. What’s your advice on where to go from here?
Industry thought leader Mark Ritson has just published his thoughts on smaller businesses looking to make the most of their marketing budget.
This is the best free advice you’re going to hear anywhere and is 100% worth your time. I strongly urge you to watch this video and take notes, especially on your pricing.
Make this the first step to creating a better first impression for your small business.
In doing so, you’ve just saved the £30K he charges for consulting.
Branding Advice For Small Business
Next you’re getting your booster shot. Not only have we shared the incredible insight from Mark Ritson, I’m now about to share with you the best article I’ve read on brand strategy for start-ups and SMEs.
If you haven’t heard of marketer Joanna Lord, she is one of the smartest people in the marketing industry.
To be clear, nothing I write in these newsletters is intended as egobait. I don’t have the time or stomach for any of that nonsense. This is about you, the reader, generously giving me your attention and in return sharing the best insights and actionable advice I’ve come across over my years of experience.
And when it rings true, it rings true.
In her own words…
‘So what ends up happening? It’s a constant struggle… and your brand will most likely end up being the output of a bunch of ad hoc campaigns that cost too much, deliver too little, and meet company-wide skepticism the entire way. Your best creatives leave, and your original team hires that believed in your mission are quick to follow. You might do a rebrand and rewrite your mission statement with a new shiny About section on the site, but it didn’t do much. You end up wondering why you have the best product in your category, but no one seems to really know that. Your acquisition costs are going up, your marketing portfolio skews paid, your customer retention metrics are dismal, and at the end of most days, you are left wondering how you ended up here.’
The solution? Well you’ll have to visit her post on medium and read it for yourself. Trust me, it is worth your time. Your brand strategy in 2022 deserves it.
Making The Difference
At Big Pond we understand that small business might find it almost impossible to know what to measure that proves sustainable progress is being made, other than measuring last click leads and sales.
Think media obsession with goal scorers in a team as opposed to all other positions that defend what you have and assist in creating new opportunities.
In 2022, our goal is to shine a light on the things we know can make a difference.
Small incremental changes when sustained eventually create significant impact.
Ayrshire: man to brave sub-zero temperatures as he prepares for charity mega sleepout - LINK
Aberdeen: Growth programme for senior managers to help boost business performance [12 week programme starts Jan 19 2022] - LINK
Dundee/London: Beano Studios and DC Thomson is on the lookout for new talent - LINK
Cultural Recovery Report explores how local business is doing - LINK
Glasgow: The Herald Scottish Family Business Awards Winners - LINK
Edinburgh: venue bosses weigh-up potential impact of new Covid variant - LINK
The Skill of Humour, and how to use it in business [Video: 11m views for this entertaining Ted Talk by the brilliant Andrew Tarvin] - LINK
Practical tips on managing your email to save time and get more done - LINK
As we’ve established in this week’s newsletter, one of the biggest mistakes small business can make is not investing a single penny in building awareness, respect and trust.
Only measuring the last step (or beer!) taken is a fatal mistake.
Building trust and confidence as the go-to choice pays off over time. Building your community or the network around your business is what keeps the pulse strong.
Andrew Chen’s new book reveals what makes winning networks thrive, why some startups fail to successfully scale, and, most crucially, why products that create and compete using the network effect are vitally important today.
You can watch his latest interview from Talks at Google on YouTube.
Until next time - good luck!
Andrew @ Big Pond
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