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Proofreading…why is it so important?

5 Jan

Proofreading is a critical part of your marketing activities…below I give some examples of why it’s so important. At the end of the article I’ve included a poll about how you feel when you see errors from various organisation – please take the time to let me know your thoughts.

Having been in marketing for a long time, I have certainly had my fair share of missing a couple of errors in marketing collateral. What’s worse is the fact that it was in a magazine that went to over 8,000,000 people! I know this might sound strange as I am now a copywriter and proofreader…however it is almost impossible to proofread your own work. When writing your own content you know what you are saying and for this reason your eye reads what it knows is going to be there. After seeing this in action a couple of times, I realised how important it was to get a second set of eyes on everything that I had written.

However, when you are proofreading someone else’s work, you are fresh to the content and it is really easy to pick up errors. Having error free documents or copy is critical to maintaining an overall positive reputation with your clients and potential clients. When I see errors in magazines, advertising or anywhere else for that matter, it makes me doubt the professionalism of a particular organisation…I know that I am not the only one as many of my friends will mention this too.

I was watching a TV ad for a major retailer two days ago and they had spelt January as Janruary…spot the mistake! Overall it leaves a bad impression.

So, next time you take on a project whether it’s marketing collateral, training manuals, website copy, blogs or anything else for that matter that includes the written word, make sure you get it proofread. You can either get a colleague to do it, or of course use a professional proofreader that is trained and well versed in the English language.

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Customer Relationship Management – is it important?

18 Apr
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In one word…absolutely!

But what is CRM? It is actually about looking after and recognising your customers as individuals, in it’s most simple form.

Think about it this way – as a person in the working world, do you like praise, appreciation and thanks? Do you like to be treated as an individual? If you’re a regular customer at a coffee shop or a bar, do you like the fact that your host recognises you and gives you a bit of extra attention? I bet most people would answer yes to those questions. Why? Because it makes you feel valued. I know for me, tell me I’ve done a great job (only if it’s deserved obviously!) and I will move heaven and earth for you. We all love to feel special at times. Now, if you like it, how do you think your customers would like it?

As a paying consumer I am often amazed at what a brand promises and what a brand delivers on the ground. How many of my friends and colleagues, as well as me, just get mediocre service at best. It is all too often the case that we are sent from pillar to post just to try and get an answer, and half the time we don’t get an answer at all. We give up, and you know what, will probably just take our business elsewhere without airing our grievances to those who really should know – the company that we’re dealing with. We do however tell all our friends about the shocking service we received, and this as we know can be harmful. Don’t get me wrong, it is impossible to please everyone, but it’s how you as a business are geared to deal with unhappy campers that makes all the difference. Customers often feel like a little number in a huge pool of big numbers…quite frankly they shouldn’t.

Now think of the flipside – you walk into your local coffee shop, which is a small business. The owner comes over and greets you and says would you like your normal? Wow, you feel quite delighted! I remember in my youth in London, without giving too much away about my age, we were regulars at a particular pub. They would see us coming down the street and as we walked in our drink was ready and waiting, whilst all the other customers were waiting in line. We felt special, so we kept going back, over and over again.

In my opinion, big businesses have a lot to learn from small businesses in most instances. The difference lies in the fact that small businesses are fighting for survival and are always engaging with their target audience on a much more personal level.

But there are some corporates doing it really well. Take www.kulula.com as an example. At each and every point I engage with them, on their website, on a plane, their call centre…the message about who they are is very clear and they live and breathe it. The cabin crew especially are amazing and to me they completely and utterly are a true representation of their brand.

So, hopefully you can see where I’m going…to keep your customers delighted, engage with them and treat them as individuals. In my years of experience with big corporates in London and in South Africa, it forever has, and always will amaze me at the reluctance of big companies to implement a truly world class CRM strategy. In so many instances, businesses focus on chasing the numbers for new customers, tend to forget a bit about their existing customers, and don’t really have a plan on how to keep the new customers that they’re getting. Bad idea!

I believe that CRM is an absolutely critical element of any marketing plan and should not be ignored. It comes at a cost, which is often the stumbling block for companies…your software, your database, your infrastructure and your staff all cost money but are important elements in getting it right.

As a customer does it frustrate you when a company gets information wrong…your name, your address, your title or what you’ve bought? I get frustrated and that’s why the investment into your database has to done, and it has to be done properly. Data cleansing, de-duping, unsubscribes all need to be done. You might even need to conduct a telephone drive to make sure your database is up to date, but the investment is well worth it.

But it’s not all doom and gloom, there are a lot of companies out there that are realising the value of CRM Strategies…and are investing into world class CRM programmes. They will do well. Of course to do well, they will have to get it right! But that’s part of the challenge and that’s what makes it more exciting…it has got to be a fundamental part of your marketing plan.

I would love to hear your thoughts on your experiences of CRM…look forward to your comments.

Lisa Steyn, proofreader, copywriter, editor and marketer

15 Apr
Click here to view my LinkedIn profile…
Click here to read more about me and what I do…

This is me…Lisa Steyn, freelance marketer and copywriter ready to add value to your next campaign