Dan Willis on building communities and engaging customers – MAF208

In this show, I chat with Dan Willis about building communities of customers and producing engaging content.

It’s all about understanding who your customer is, finding out where they hang out, and then listening and talking to them. Can customers become an audience?

Welcome to episode 208 of the Marketing and Finance Podcast.

Dan Willis on building communities and engaging customers - MAF208

What you’ll hear about in this episode

  • How to help clients get over the need for an approval process
  • Why you need to understand your audience first
  • The importance of having conversations
  • The process Dan goes through with his clients
  • How to build your community
  • Why you need to interact with people on your own platforms

Who is Dan Willis?

Dan started in business systems analytics and how they apply in different departments, helping companies to refine what they had. After that, spent some time learning about marketing and brand awareness.

Realising that social media was taking off and businesses needed to understand it, he began teaching them how to use it as a digital billboard. Five years ago, he noticed a gap between the relationship-building opportunities the internet provides and how businesses used it.

Now, he helps companies to develop better relationships with their customers and communities by using social media platforms to engage with them and market to them.

Summary of our chat

Many companies feel they need an approval process for online communications. Dan’s answer is to ask how employees answer a customer’s questions face to face. They’re equipped with all the right information and trusted to provide it in a professional way without being monitored. Social media works the same way.

Companies are often keen to jump straight into creating social media content, but Dan encourages them to identify their community and the conversations they’re having, first. Knowing who they want to serve and what to talk to those people about helps businesses understand better how social media can be used.

Dan says that not having dialogues with visitors to your social media does a disservice to them and everyone else who could benefit from your knowledge. Too many brands don’t listen to or engage with their audience, so they miss seeing people they could help. Your community should dictate your content calendar.

Dan asks clients who their audience is, and then who they are. He asks them about their brand, message, voice and passions. He says that when brands don’t know who to engage with, the problem is with them. Being clear on the digital persona helps them relate to their audiences.

Building a community uses both social media and real-world interactions. Brands need to take a digital interaction and turn it into an offline relationship. The key is to identify where these conversations happen online to successfully transition them offline. Brands don’t all need to use the same tools and content as each other.

Dan says businesses should avoid being reliant on a social media platform to engage with your clients or community. He recommends building relationships in multiple places, and to publish content on your own website first. Transition people away from social and into places where you can have one-to-one conversations.

One thing Dan would like listeners to take away

Dan says that relationships can be scary, and this is as true in the digital space as it is in the real world. People are afraid to enter into new relationships because they’re unfamiliar. They’re not sure what will happen.

As brands and businesses, we need to understand that any downsides of the internet (trolls and toxicity) can be solved with a click of a button. The rewards that come from making relationships with your community far outweigh anything negative that could happen.

If you’re hesitating about making time to build an online community, know that it’s worth doing. The effort is lasting, beneficial and will translate into a stronger business in the real world as well, because if you can make strong online relationships, you can make them offline too.

An example of simple marketing

In North America, Burger King went back five or 10 years through various social feeds and targeted major key influencers across Twitter. They started to comment on posts that were a decade old, and the influencers picked up on it.

The reason for this was because Burger King were re-releasing a product they’d first sold 10 years ago, so they built exposure for themselves through the tweet strategy and drove advertising to the product.

They didn’t pay the influencers for their time and attention, they simply looked through the feeds for relevant posts to leave a single comment on. This led to millions of dollars’ worth of exposure to the influencers’ followers.

An example of marketing madness

Dan says that the fashion industry is making things needlessly complicated, and seem to be trying to increase awareness of brands through negative attention. They’re creating racially-charged or stereotype-heavy adverts for products.

For example, a company has created clothes for monkeys, put it on an African-American child, which caused a huge backlash. Several other clothing companies have done something similar in this year alone.

Dan thinks that this was done either deliberately or accidentally at first, and when everyone else noticed how much attention and increased sales it brought the brand, they all decided to do the same.
Dan says it’s a complicated, twisted and unethical approach to marketing because companies are saying, ‘We’re going to be offensive simply because it creates awareness of our brand, and hope that the awareness outweighs the detrimental backlash of what we’ve done.”

Links

He sends a video reply to everyone who contacts him, to acknowledge them and show his appreciation.

If you enjoyed – Dan Willis on building communities and engaging customers – please leave a comment or a review on iTunes.

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Tom Marriott: A punk’s guide to busting digital marketing myths – MAF206

This week my guest is Tom Marriott, who describes himself as a digital marketing punk.

For many, digital marketing is a black art surrounded by jargon and mumbo jumbo. And perhaps some agencies like it that way.

I talk to Tom about busting the digital marketing myths and how we can make it easier for everyone.

Welcome to episode 206 of the Marketing and Finance Podcast.

Tom Marriott: A punk's guide to busting digital marketing myths - MAF206

What you’ll hear about in this episode

  • Why DIY marketing is more accessible than ever
  • How some agencies are using underhand tactics
  • The ‘Punk’ approach to marketing
  • The importance of transparency
  • Why Tom educates his clients on how tools work
  • Why you should be selective with the platforms you’re using

Who is Tom Marriott?

Tom says he’s had a varied career, but he was always interested digital marketing and worked for several agencies. He’s a millennial, growing up as the internet developed and digital communications exploded.

He imagined a glittering world of technological advancements, but the reality was somewhat different. He believes that some agencies have given their clients the wrong idea about digital marketing and tarnished the industry.

His intention with Digital Marketing Punk is to show people that marketing isn’t as difficult as they think and to help them remove their fear. He’s worked with both big-name companies and start-ups, and says the smaller companies are his passion.

 

Summary of our chat

Marketing has evolved into a digital world – old methods don’t have the same reach, and associated costs are lower. Tom could make a video on a smart phone and create a YouTube ad for 1p within 48 hours. Smaller businesses don’t have to pay high agency fees to market successfully.

Some agencies overcharge customers for little effort. Websites rank highly for keywords that have no search volume, obscuring the real data. They’re also using out of date tactics which could be considered spammy by today’s algorithms. The client is often confused by jargon because they don’t know about digital marketing.

Tom tells clients: “Digital marketing is easy; don’t be scared by the technical aspect of it. With new platforms and the evolution of tools, it’s now easier than ever to do your own marketing. There are benefits to having experience and knowledge, but the accessibility of information means you can learn everything you need to know.”

Transparency is really important, especially for smaller businesses. We need to strip away this ‘digital voodoo nonsense’ and making ridiculous promises. Instead, explain to clients how it works and how they can help themselves. Marketing strategies need to be combined with an understanding of their business.

Agencies work on a task-based system, but rarely tell the clients why they’re doing something. Instead, Tom explains the background of the tool he’s using, how it works and how the company can work with him to use it more effectively. Once they know what Google looks for, they understand the importance of producing content and using keywords.

Many clients come to Punk wanting to use a social media platform or marketing technique because they think they should. Tom encourages them to think about why they want to use it, and where their audience is. Trying to do everything is exhausting, so choose the channels that are effective for you.

One thing Tom would like listeners to take away

Don’t be afraid of digital marketing. If you want to develop and grow your business, you can’t be scared of it, and it’s important to learn more. It can be a pain, so Tom tries to give as much content and training as possible to help people.

It can be daunting to go and learn digital marketing on your own, as you don’t know if the information is viable or up to date, but find good sources to learn from. Test and track what you get back from it, and apply the relevant data to your business.

An example of simple marketing

Tom says the Greggs vegan sausage roll was simple but genius. One of the main takeaways is that you can be one of two types of people on Twitter: you can be the person who’s constantly tweeting and pushing for sales but not getting any traction.

However, the Greggs approach of creating one post with a clear image of the sausage roll in the box to mimic a new smart phone model was enough to generate thousands of likes, comments and retweets. You don’t have to tweet multiple times a day to do well on social media. One piece of quality content can make all the difference.

An example of marketing madness

People often ‘over-write’ or over-create content. We’re told over and over that for organic content we need to be writing constantly and publishing blogs three to five times a week.

However, Tom says he can guarantee that what people are writing is absolute tripe! Nobody’s reading it and nobody cares. What people do care about is the one piece of content which is really valuable. It’s long-form, quick-fire, with videos and images, and answers a question that every one of your customers has.

Links

If you enjoyed – Tom Marriott: A punk’s guide to busting digital marketing myths – please leave a comment or a review on iTunes.

And if you know anyone who would enjoy the show – please share it with them. You can use the buttons below to share on social media.

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Mark Loosmore on 7 Ways to use Technology to Improve Client Engagement – MPAF78

In this Episode I talk to Mark Loosmore of Iress about using technology to improve client engagement.

Covering client data, the connected world, social media and more, Mark’s interview is packed with tips and ideas you can follow up.

That’s all right here in Episode 78 of the Marketing Protection and Finance Podcast.

Mark Loosmore on 7 Ways to use Technology to Improve Client Engagement - MPAF78

Who is Mark Loosmore?

Mark is Executive General Manager Wealth for Iress UK.

With expertise in IT company sales strategy and eCommerce in financial services, Mark is a well known speaker in the UK on everything digital.

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If you enjoyed – Mark Loosmore on 7 Ways to use Technology to Improve Client Engagement – please leave a comment or a review on iTunes.

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