When we first started 16 years ago there was no social media…

LinkedIn had just launched in the states. Facebook wouldn’t launch to the public until 2006, the same year Twitter launched. And the newbies (Instagram & Snapchat) arrived in 2010 & 2011.

Even email & e-commerce websites were poor (due to poor bandwidth). We started around the same time commercial broadband launched, but we could only afford the very basic package.

Back then our marketing plan was quite simple:

  • Press adverts
  • Leaflet distribution
  • Knocking on doors
  • Using the phone
  • Word of mouth

There wasn’t much in the way of physical networking groups around either. Even BNI (Business Network International) was not that well established in the UK, certainly not in the North anyway.

But how times have changed. Here’s our current marketing plan. And yes, we’ve got 40 activities to complete rather than 5.

And I agree. Some of the increase in activity is down to our business changing from just a printer cartridge supplier in 2003 to a total office solutions provider today. Helping organisations manage budgets with guaranteed fixed priced printing, photocopier and telephone agreements. Supplemented by affordable stationery, office supplies, furniture & workplace products.

But this isn’t the main reason for the extra marketing activity…

For me (with the explosion of social media) marketing has changed forever. Gone are the days where you placed an advert in the local paper & the phone rang. And they’re never coming back.

There’s no silver bullet anymore. And it takes a good mix of many things (including a strong social media strategy) to cut through the noise.

Yes, we still do some traditional things that we know still work. Like knocking on doors, using the phone and referral (word of mouth) schemes. But we supplement these with a strong social media strategy. Which encompasses good quality & updated websites, LinkedIn (which has its own strategy), Facebook, Twitter, E-shots & even a bit of Instagram too.

Social media though moves quickly, and over the last 12 months or so, we’ve seen a massive swing to video. But we’re also aware people like to consume information in different ways. So, it’s important that we provide information on video and in the written word too.

Physical networking is also part of our strategy. Currently we are member of 4 networking groups (Shout, BNI Kudos & The Business Network in Lancashire & Manchester). And for us they work, but only if you’re prepared to put in the effort building relationships & finding each other opportunities.

All our marketing activities are measured each year, and if they stop working, we stop them & try something different. So, what’s your approach to marketing your organisation in 2019.