Simple Marketing Part 8: An Example

2 06 2008

One of the simplest ways for me to illustrate how the Simple Marketing approach to building your marketing strategy works is to give you an example based on my own experience. So here in Part 8 I will explain how I developed and deployed the marketing strategy for Opportunity Wales. I hope this will help to contextualise the previous 7 parts of the Simple Marketing Series and also help to develop the marketing focus within your own enterprise.

Marketing Opportunity Wales

Background:

Opportunity Wales is a not-for-profit organisation, established to help Small and Medium Sized businesses based in the Objective 1 area of Wales to become effective and profitable users of eCommerce applications.

Research in 2001 showed that Welsh businesses were lagging behind in their adoption of the technology and that this needed to be remedied to help ensure business sustainability and to further help increase prosperity in Wales. The same research, undertaken by NOP, also indicated that small businesses were not using eCommerce for a number of reasons. These included:

  • The technology wasn’t appropriate for them
  • The costs were too high
  • Web sites were for large businesses
  • Businesses didn’t understand eCommerce or the benefits it could bring
  • The dot-com crash had only just taken place shaking confidence

The service was to be provided by a network of eCommerce advisers who would work directly for their own Local Delivery Partner. For businesses their Opportunity Wales Adviser would visit them and undertake an eCommerce review of their businesses and present them with an impartial eCommerce review report. The report would set out the steps that need to be taken to ensure that the business concerned could start to effectively take advantage of eCommerce applications.

Further subsidised support was also available to assist businesses to implement the findings from their report and a small amount of grant aid was also available. 

First steps:

On joining the business in 2001, my first steps were:

  • Review all the existing information, this included the business plan and the research that had been undertaken
  • Gain a comprehensive understanding of the service we would be providing
  • Investigate the ways in which support for business was currently being provided
  • Establish the consideration for Opportunity Wales

 The  Considerations:

In building my marketing strategy for Opportunity Wales, I took into account a range of considerations that included:

  • The project had a life span of 3 years (although we have successfully gained new projects to follow on from this initial work).
  • The Objective 1 area of Wales was not in-line with media coverage areas, so much above-the-line activity could be seen, read and heard by business that were not eligible for the service. This would have been particularly true for any TV advertising.
  • All of our materials would be bilingual in both Welsh and English.
  • As we were running an advisory service demand had to be managed to ensure that our advisers had sufficient but not too many appointments at any one given time.
  • eCommerce and it’s benefits were not fully understood by our potential clients.
  • Opportunity Wales had no brand or awareness.
  • Business support had previously focused on providing grants and businesses were used to receiving support in this fashion. Our service, whilst free for the initial report was ground breaking as businesses would be asked to pay a subsidised amount for our Implementation Support service.
  • As Opportunity Wales was established to help small businesses, I believed it be appropriate to use a variety of small businesses to provide marketing services to Opportunity Wales.

 Building the marketing strategy:

The Brand

To develop our brand, I took on-board the considerations and realised that Opportunity Wales had to:

  • Be non-threatening in its appearance, this meant banning the use of “technology” images.
  • Have personality, this would allow us to stand out from the crowd and make our arrival as a business support organisation.
  • Be authoritative, businesspeople had to be able to trust us from the outset. This meant ensuring that in copy we talked about how our work was”impartial” and we stressed our credentials and the fact that our advisers were fully trained. This was further supplemented by eCommerce editorial in the press.
  • Arrive with a strong and memorable presence. This was achieved by launching simultaneously across 4 venues across Wales. In itself this immediately helped to ensure that we were acknowledging our commitment to businesses across all of the Objective 1 area. But by working with BT one of our partners we were also able to launch Opportunity Wales from the BT Tower in central London. This helped to ensure we gained access to another level of media and influencer attention that would otherwise have been denied us.
  • Be creative, whilst Opportunity Wales was designed to support businesses, it was important to understand that businesspeople are busy people and that like all of us they are subjected to a barrage of information and messages every day. To ensure we weren’t ignored all of our promotion materials and imagery were specifically designed to be attention grabbing through their creative design and execution.

This considered and integrated approach to the development of our brand was highly successful and ensured that Opportunity Wales got off to a flying start. The overall creative imagery has been overhauled once to our current “Helping Business Grow” theme, which has served to refresh our appearance and allowed us to successfully market our follow-on project Opportunity Wales eVolve. This is testimony to the need to keep developing your brand to ensure it remains fresh and continues to generate interest.

The Marketing Strategy.

The Marketing Strategy was developed to specifically answer the considerations and to ensure that the project would meet its targets. Taking the considerations into account a strategy was built that:

  • Would allow the maximum amount of marketing flexibility. This was important because as a new project it would be difficult to gauge demand, by having flexibility built-in it would be possible to increase or decrease marketing activity as needed.
  • Would make sense to businesspeople. The benefits of eCommerce would be effectively communicated through our own literature, our Web site and through the media.
  • Would ensure that eCommerce become firmly placed on the agenda for business.
  • Would utilise the services of small businesses to help deliver the marketing programme.
  • Would ensure that targets were met, within the predefined marketing budget.

The results.

From the strategy the more hands-on Marketing Plan was developed to facilitate the effective delivery of the strategy. The key aspects of the Marketing Plan for Opportunity Wales were:

  • The development of an events programme across the Objective 1 area of Wales to raise the profile of Opportunity Wales, to introduce businesses to our service and to increase awareness of the importance of eCommerce.
  • A communications strategy using paid-for editorial and press releases to key South and North Wales media. Here the focus was to explain what eCommerce was, how it could help and show examples of businesses that were benefiting from its use.
  • To capture attention, this was achieved with our first eCommerce magazine that was highly stylised and rather than dwell on the “eCommerce is” message we focused on the benefits businesses could gain by adopting an effective eCommerce strategy and showed plenty of case studies from other businesses.
  • To generate appointments for the service a data set of Welsh businesses was purchased. This was housed in our Contact Centre. This allowed us the ultimate flexibility as we could arranged mail-shots to anywhere in Wales we needed to, at short notice and to any number of businesses. Further at very short notice our Contact Centre team could telephone businesses to discuss their eCommerce requirements and arrange appointments for them immediately. This approach negated the need, and cost, for large scale advertising campaigns and ensured that we could always manage demand for the service.
  • Suppliers were identified through a series of tenders. Large pieces of work were broken down, which made it far more accessible for small businesses to apply to provide marketing services to Opportunity Wales. The role of my team was to ensure that everything in this marketing toolkit worked and that we delivered on time. This resulted in us using businesses from across Wales, including Bangor, Bodfari, Anglesea, Caernarfon, Aberystwyth, Whitland, Pontypridd, Pontypool, Newport and Treforrest.
  • All targets were met and Opportunity Wales has even been acknowledged by the European Commission as an best practice case study. And further the Marketing of Opportunity Wales has always been within budget.

Overall.

This is a very simplified example of how the first steps in the Simple Marketing series have been successfully put into practice. This is not a template for any other business to follow, instead what it can do is offer useful inspiration to show how, but applying a through thought process to your marketing you will be able to develop the optimum strategy for your enterprise.

 

 

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