BETTER MARKETING FOR BETTER BUSINESS

Sharing our thoughts on the world of today's media.

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Do Business and Politics Mix?

Lessons We Have Learned (Maybe)

In the past couple of weeks, we have seen more passion for our political process than many of us can remember seeing and hearing in a long time, if not the most in our lifetime. The beauty is in the big scope of things; we are still seeing many people passionate about what they believe to be “Our America” and we are protected by the very First Amendment of the United States Constitution to express our beliefs freely and openly.

As a business owner or President of a company, you have one goal, which is in your mission statement of core values, and in the bigger scope of things, and regardless of whether you sell widgets or serve people, you must ensure your company is around to support the people who work for the company – growing professionally, getting paid, etc. A decision also must be made towards whether you talk about politics freely with your team, your customers, or your community – and if so – what could be the ramifications if this is not met with the same openness and passion which it was intended. By many accounts, there are three things which should not be talked about in the workplace – religion, sex, and politics. This, however, is for good reason.

Business and Politics Blog Cover

In the past week, just after the election, many companies have come under fire for “mixing” business and politics. Take GrubHub CEO Matt Maloney, in his post-election e-mail to his employees. In this e-mail, he ended it with asking those to reply to this e-mail with their resignation if you do not agree with his statement. The e-mail went public, and GrubHub had to spend time re-communicating this message. At a further look, they are a publicly traded company (NYSE: GRUB) and their stock went from almost $39 per share on November 10th, to a low of $34.88 on November 11th – a loss of about 10%, when the broader market was up approximately 1% for the same period.

One can also look at New Balance. They have had some backlash with their support and people have been burning their shoes and vowing to never buy from them again. As a private company, they don’t have shares “in the market” but they do have people who buy their shoes and I am sure they don’t want to lose sales. This challenge exists for all businesses and how “politically active” should they be, if at all.

Of course, if legislation is preventing your company to some degree, of course one can’t remain silent. But in seeing what has been happening the past election, we may need to “think and plan a bit more” in deciding what and how we communicate when a company decides to jump in to the political arena. There is good reason to avoid the big three – religion, sex, and politics – in the workplace – and this past week has made it clear the potential challenges businesses face when mixing in one, of these three.

Be the Ball (Setting Realistic Objectives)

Measuring Marketing

Sure, it’s a great idea. The artwork is great, the media chosen is perfect, the sales person who signed us up was a great person and said it worked for everyone else they work with. Sound familiar? And then you wonder after a few months if this was good money spent. This is not an uncommon thought, no matter the size of the business.

Where to start

Agreed, all those things are perfect BUT results need to be measured. Should we do more? Should we do less? Should we keep it the same? The starting line begins with defining the objective as clearly as possible. What do you expect to happen three months after the advertising begins? Are you looking for direct sales or improved brand awareness? Increased repeat business or increased spend?

Close up hourglass on wooden background,vintage color tone

Direct marketing is easy to measure, like a Google ad (PPC) or a phone book ad. Use a tracking phone line to help easily identify the results of these types of campaigns. When at all possible, use a tracking line where the calls are recorded and you own the phone number. If you stop a campaign you may still need access to that tracking number for a while afterwards. For example in a phone book which may be lying around potential customers homes for sometime.

Magazines are a bit tougher. Do you expect direct calls, a bit of branding or both? Direct Mail can be the same, people seeing your message over and over may remember you when it is time for your product or service and not reference the media they have seen you in.

Unless you are a multi-million dollar company with a huge marketing budget, you probably won’t be able to afford a marketing study to see your brand’s awareness in the marketplace. You might not even have enough marketing to improve brand awareness. So the question is “How do you measure?”

Answer sheet

We always look at where the media is being advertised, as well as a target testing area where results can be measured. If you use direct mail in a specific city or zip code and other marketing in that zip code, you can see the results from this area compared to other areas you service. If the targeted city has 10% of your customer base and it grows to 15% after your ad campaign you’ve succeeded, well maybe. There are other factors which can influence the results that may be determined before, or upon review of the campaign.

This sounds like it could be a bit complicated. However, if you start with clear objectives, have some measurements in place, and take time to review the results, possibly even half way in to the campaign, you will be ahead of the game. It may not always give you the answer you want but it will be better than nothing at all.

Last note, when a campaign doesn’t seem to be working it may not be the media. There are many factors to consider and you should not discount the media on its own accord. It could be the message or offer, the time of year, or some event which effected the results. If you ran a campaign and there was a road closing you didn’t know about, a national/world event which changed people’s buying habits, or possibly a competitor jumping in to the same media/campaign outspending you, then your results could be better or worse for it.