On under-investing in social media…

I am continuously baffled by brands under-investing in social media. While many say they want exposure, engagement, and access to targeted consumers, most don’t want to invest the time or energy into their social efforts. What is the alternative?

First off, you must market your business in order to tell your story and even put yourself in play for consumers to make a buying decision. So where else are you doing that? Print? Out of Home? Word of Mouth? Demos? All of those are less measurable and harder to scale than leveraging social networks. Are they not?

I think brands get lost in the unknown aspect of it all, and they fear that since they don’t understand it they won’t be any good at it. As a result, many stand on the sidelines watching other brands succeed. No expert was labeled that way on day one. It takes time and effort to develop expertise. Just like developing a good product or service takes careful thought, planning, trial, and refinement, so too does your social media efforts.

Also, brands take a long time to come around to action and by the time they do the ball has moved. Newer brands to social media are looking at fans and followers and the metric for success, yet those are 2016 KPIs. These days it is about paid social prowess, influencer tactical warfare, and true content marketing. So some put their toe in and when they get it wrong they recoil and almost take an “I told you so” posture. This is the wrong move, because not only do you need to stay the course, but you need to be all in and on all fronts.

With anything good in life, what you get out of it depends on what you put in. You must invest the time and resources now if you want to succeed and just like working out, you must not get discouraged if you don’t see results after your first session. You must believe in the religion over the tactics (shoutout @garyvee) and play the long game. It is a matter of survival…

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On winning customers back…

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In 2017 we had a stellar year at Sircle Media and I am very proud of all that we accomplished. We grew our staff, expanded and diversified our offerings and brought on a number of new and higher profile clients. By all measures it was solid.

What I am perhaps most proud of, are the clients who returned to Sircle after leaving us prior. In the agency space, there is a lot of churn and turnover on retainers and contracts. Sometimes you lose business because you messed up and deserve to, but more often than not it can be for silly reasons outside of your control. Losing clients sucks, especially from a competitive and passionate person like me. Unfortunately, this is what I signed up for and it is a way of life I have had to become accustomed to.

Our number one reason for losing clients is a new Marketing Director or decision maker of some sort transitioning in and pushing us out for no rhyme or reason. The analogy I always use is that it is comparable to a new President who wants to come in, flip the table over and put all new people in their cabinet seats. A new leader wants to make moves to earn their keep and often doesn’t want to inherit a legacy agency that they didn’t select. We would argue that if you have a great Secretary of Defense in place, you shouldn’t just fire them, just to fire them. They just might represent the stability you need to make that new role a success. Unfortunately, they don’t even want to hear that.

Regardless of their reasoning, when we do get the notice from a client that they want to leave our agency, rather than getting angry, frustrated or even petty we go the opposite direction. I teach my team to deploy empathy first and foremost and realize that the other party is doing it, for what they think is a good reason for their business. We immediately pivot to customer service and hand-holding mode. We look to set them up to win without us and shower them with love and attention during our winddown month. Every former client would attest that we were rock stars in our darkest hour and that is a distinctly different posture than they are accustomed to.

I then try to keep in touch and root for them from the sidelines, in order to stay on their radar and to let them know that while we are no longer dating, they are still a former love that we care about very much. In a rough and sometimes unforgiving world, they appreciate that more than you would think. We invested a lot of time and energy together and developed a loyalty to their brand, that doesn’t just disappear because they’ve stopped paying us.

When your team handles adversity like professionals and does everything with integrity and class, you create a long-term impression that has lasting effects. Life is a marathon and if you treat it that way and stick around long enough, good things tend to happen. So to all of those returning customers in 2017, I say thank you. To all of the other ones out there, it is never too late to come back. You know where to find us.  #Squad4lyfe

 

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