|I admit it. I have something of a shoe fetish. While perusing my NY Times Magazine last weekend, I squealed when I saw the perfect pair of new shoes. They were jelly bubble booties manufactured by a Brazilian company I’d never heard of called Melissa Shoes. The blurb listed a web site link, and it showed a fetching photo of the shoes that convinced me that I “needed” them enough to go look them up.So, I followed the link listed in the piece…..and got nothing. The link was bad. Undeterred, I Googled several different search terms and finally came upon Melissa’s site. For more than fifteen minutes, I looked at every page on the site, seeking the bubble jelly booties. (I said I have a shoe fetish.) They were nowhere to be found. Disappointed, I gave up.
How many businesses make the same mistakes? Marketers are good salespeople, and they convince business owners every day that more marketing will mean increased revenue. Sadly, many of them don’t pay attention to operational details, like when a new shoe season will be ready and available for market or whether the business owner is on top of her web site updating so that she will benefit from a coup like a mention in the NY Times.
Marketing expenditures for anything – social media promotion; press releases; advertising online or in print – is like flushing dollar bills down the toilet one at a time without the proper operational backbone behind it. Anyone who tells you otherwise in an attempt to make money by selling you marketing services is handing you snake oil.
Here are some things that Melissa could have done to capitalize on her company’s mention in the NY Times – before the public relations firm got her here.
Checked delivery deadlines for the jelly bubble shoes. If the cute booties truly were not yet available, she could coordinate a more advantageous release date with her PR firm so that shoppers will be converted to buyers when they follow the provided link.
Made sure she will have enough shoes to meet anticipated demand. Again, if the shoes won’t be available, or if she doesn’t have them on her site because they are sold out, she could most likely coordinate another alternative with her PR firm for promotion, or make an additional rush order in anticipation of demand.
Included the correct web domain. Maybe her PR firm blundered this one in the submission, or maybe she moved or changed her domain prior to release of the article. Either of these snafus could’ve been rectified with some communication between client, PR firm and news outlet.
Created a platform for ease of ordering. How ordering platforms work is normally an operational issue, with the marketers worrying about whether or not they look pretty. This is one of my most consistent complaints with web sites – the order platforms are too clunky, include too many steps, don’t seem secure, or are impossible to find. The coolest web site in the world is useless to me if I can’t figure out who to have the company relieve me of my money.
Evaluated whether or not this sort of publicity would be good for the company. Many times, national or international publicity can backfire on a small company. In the case of service industries, it gives the appearance of being expensive or out of the league of many possible clients. For small product based businesses, they may simply not have the workforce, capacity or funding to pounce on the promotion, causing a brief boost in awareness with no real economic benefit. Oh, they’re working harder to try to move some product, but nothing ever really happens.
Be smart with your marketing dollars by making sure your business is ready operationally for the sales increases a successful marketing campaign will contribute. Again, any marketer who tries to convince you to market your business without considering the operational baseline is just after your money.
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