Well this entry is the first of many which I hope to be amusing, interesting and informative. You may be bored silly by it but thats just a chance I have to take. I’ve been working for more than 7 years as an independent marketing professional in Israel with the aim of helping local successful companies expand abroad. I do everything from business planning and strategy to building websites, attending international exhibitions and closing deals on behalf of my customers and I have a wide variety of clients in many different business sectors ranging from the obvious to the absurd. Each has a story to tell and each has the potential to succeed… If only they’d listen to me!
Which takes me back to my first client who asked me to create a business plan and a presentation for investors. I happily agreed but when I got down to it, found huge holes in the core technology and flaws in the research he had undertaken. I advised him how to fix things but he would have none of it and disagreed with me with an intensity that was quite alarming. “I’ve contracted you to write a business plan and prepare a presentation and that is what you shall do!” I did it, got paid on time but didn’t put my name on the document since I disagreed with almost every word. Onto the second client who asked me to prepare and implement his marketing strategy and a new set of marketing material. I showered him with my worldly advice, my work was superlative, he hung on my every word and worshipped me like a demigod but unfortunately didn’t pay up and we nearly ended up in court. (We’ve since remained friends!)
I’ve moved on since then and learned a great deal about doing business with Small/Medium Enterprises. These are the ones who most need my help but are least able to pay but nevertheless, there are some great products and services out there, some wonderful people with good intentions and best of all, potential for all of us to succeed.
This week I have been invited to make a presentation at the Israel Export Institute to the 20 Israeli companies who are going to the Cosmoprof exhibition in Hong Kong in November. I did some quick research about these companies online profile… grading them according to whether they had a twitter account, a blog, used google adWords advertising etc. Here are the results:
What this shows us is that out of 20 companies, 2 don’t even have a website, only 9 of them track the visitors to their website, only 4 of them have advertised on their website that they are going to be in Hong Kong, only 1 has a Linked In or Twitter account and none of them maintain a blog or run a basic Google AdWords advertising campaign. Keep in mind here that out of all these ‘features’ which will get a company noticed, only one of them actually costs money…. the Google AdWords account. The rest are totally free, apart from the cost of the person that maintains the channel.
The combination of all these marketing tools is commonly known as Inbound Marketing and reflects the function of a modern website and online strategy in attracting people to your website. Traditional outbound marketing broadcasts indiscriminately and, as in a newspaper or TV advert, it is impossible to know if the advert has had any affect or anything about the people who have seen it. With inbound marketing we focus on 2 stages:
- Attract people to the website using a wide range of techniques (some of which were ‘graded’ in this exercise).
- Make sure that when they get to the website, they make contact or take an action that can be followed up.
So is the cup half full or half empty? Well if we take the 9 possible marks that the 20 companies in the Cosmetics sector could have got in my grading exercise, 78% of companies got a score of 3 or less (See chart on right showing the distribution of the scores out of 9).
Now this is clearly shocking but as long as the patients can admit they have a problem it is not too late to send them to therapy and do something about it. At a relatively low cost, websites can be upgraded, linked in profiles can be created, google adwords campaigns can be started and companies can start to get the benefits of inbound marketing. Unfortunately, its a little late for the 20 companies going to Hong Kong in November, but lets see how it goes on Tuesday and I’ll let you know!