Businesses from all over Kent and the Southeast came together at the Kent Event Centre for this year’s Kent Vision Live. The B2B conference and exhibition feature keynotes, industry vision sessions and specialist workshops.
Here are my top takeaways from the three morning sessions in the Marketing Live programme.
1. Successful Marketing in 3 Simple Steps
The first session was a workshop facilitated by Clive Reddihough, FCIM Chair of the CIM Kent branch. His talk discussed what he identifies as the three simple steps to marketing your business.
Commencing with a summary of the current state of marketing, he mentioned the diversity that is apparent in marketing at the moment with its many tools, digital trends, and must-haves, so much so, that many businesses are too consumed by the ‘how’ rather than the ‘why’ of marketing.
He outlined the marketing landscape that we as businesses and indeed as consumers are faced with each day where many messages compete constantly for our attention. How do we decide which method of marketing would work for us? Identify why marketing works: It meets a need, it stands out and it says the right thing at the right time.
The three simple steps to successful marketing are to firstly identify customer needs, secondly, to stand out from your competitors, and thirdly, communicate to your audience. Businesses should anticipate the needs of their customers and add value to their services. We should seek out what makes us different, what sets us apart from our competitors and communicate these effectively by talking to the right people, at the right time, with the right message.
2. The World of Social Selling: Know > Like > Trust > Buy
Next up was a talk presented by Katie King, Managing Director of Zoodikers Consulting. She explained that customers now hold all the power and the role of the traditional salesperson is all but gone. The age of social selling is upon us, and to be prepared, all businesses should be ready to embrace social media in all areas of their business from sales right through to customer service.
The structure of businesses is changing due to a shift away from the traditional sales funnel. With 75 % of all new purchases now starting with an online search, the customer is in the driving seat of the sales process from behind the screen of their smartphone.
She recommends using social media to leverage a relationship with the customer. Social signals complement each step of the sales process, nurturing the relationship, they shouldn’t be conscious of the ‘sale’. It provides an opportunity for customers to get to know you, begin to like you, to come to trust you, and then ultimately to buy from you.
Businesses should be ready to embrace the digital change, and shouldn’t be put off by the potential drawbacks of time investment in social media or the possibility of bad publicity. Find a reason to connect with your prospect or give them a reason to connect with you. Social media will give you that opportunity.
3. Get Yourself Noticed with Effective Search Marketing
The last of Marketing Live’s morning sessions was an informative talk from Becky Campbell of Reflect Digital. She began by overviewing the ‘searchscape’ that we find online, clearly defining the three areas of the search landscape: Active – where people are searching for something specific; Passive – where businesses cast their net to raise awareness of their product or service; and in the middle, Retargeting, and what this means for how businesses communicate to their customers in their digital marketing.
The talk touched briefly on paid advertising (PPC) and highlighted that it is now harder for consumers to differentiate between paid for search results and organically ranked search results due to the recent changes in Google. PPC still gives a good return on investment and can be beneficial if seasonality affects your business or if you are launching a new product, as its results are fast.
Organic SEO, on the other hand, can take a considerable time to have any effect on your website’s ranking, possibly between six and 12 months. However the benefits are that there is no charge for each click, your site may be regarded as more credible and this could gain trust from your customer, and it can help establish you as an authority in your industry. For organic SEO to work, your website needs to function well and be updated with good quality, original content.
Keywords still play their part, but should form part of readable and relevant content. These should be relevant to search queries – 50% of search terms used now are phrases of four words or more. There are many resources available to help to identify and plan your keywords such as the Google keyword planner.
Google’s ranking factors still place accessibility and content as the main influencing factors on search results, with social media and mobile friendliness coming bottom of the list. In summary, if your website is functioning well and is updated regularly with relevant, informative and original content that is based around the search queries your customers make, then Google will rank that more favourably.