I was in a supermarket the other day queuing with my shopping to pay and the gentleman in front of me said to the staff member “wow, what’s going on, it‘s so busy in here today!” She looked up, smiled and said “is it, or is it a case of there are less staff working today?” Both of us looked at each other, looked around the shop and shrugged thinking “actually, that‘s probably more the case”. It got me thinking, sometimes it isn‘t what we think, it‘s actually all about our perspective of the situation…… different perspectives bring different thoughts.
As I walked back to the office, I pondered over this comment a lot, what is the perspective of advertising, what is the perspective of Forest Traders in general, what is the perspective of our work? I thought about whether we are informative enough to our customers, whether we give them realistic targets to work with and whether we are clear with their expectations from the start?
Breaking them all down and bringing them back together, advertising is actually really hard to measure outcome from. Every business is encouraged to ask where this piece of work came from, having things such as vouchers or references can help but it‘s not fool proof in any way. Tracking cookies, analytics all have their place in measuring what is and isn‘t working but again, you only receive part of the information. Is there a fool proof way of knowing whether or not something worked? In essence, no sadly. It used to be a case of finding a phone number, ringing it and them saying “i got your number from X”. With the internet and social media, it‘s now untrackable as to what has come from where because people now scope out businesses through their different platforms. They might see it in print, look up the website and then flit from your website, onto social media platforms and then maybe back to the website, a contact form, a message, a call, maybe even back to a search engine…….the end answer of “I found you on Facebook” actually is not the start of the chain at all, it could have been from any where. Could it be that what you‘re using isn‘t “not working” and in fact, your perspective of what it is meant to do is incorrect and it is actually doing what it needs/should be doing? Is the thing you think “isn‘t working” actually the one that is – when you have multiple forms of marketing running at once, how do you tell?
Unfortunately there is no one who can give you the black and white answers we all want and it is important to evaluate what you think is/isn‘t working at periods throughout the year but the businesses who flit from different business directories and marketing plans every couple of months are the ones who can‘t measure accurately long term gain. As per the saying, “Rome wasn‘t built in a day”, nor was successful advertising or any form of marketing. Having thousands of page likes on your social media doesn‘t mean it‘s successful, not if they are from people who aren‘t local or relevant to you. If they‘re not going to interact with you then they are just a number on a screen. It isn‘t about the “glory” of the big numbers, it‘s about the few that really utilise you, even if that‘s just 50 of them.
The beginning of the year is a great time to sit down and think about your goals. What do you want to achieve this year and how are you going to get there? Were there things in 2019 that didn‘t work, were there things that were the best move you‘ve ever made? Will those things continue to be sustainable in this new year? Before you go cancelling your subscriptions and stopping your direct debits though, make sure you talk things through with each business. Talking together about how you have found the experience and what you think you have/haven‘t gained from it will allow a different perspective in as the business involved will be able to give you more insight into what they have found has/hasn‘t worked. They can tell you statistics you don‘t have access to, they can tell you how many people they have spoken to about your ad, they can give you an idea of how well it was received. Perhaps it just needs tweaking, perhaps it‘s about communicating more and really squeezing the value out of your subscription. Perhaps there is more to advertising than meets the eye……