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Sunday, 31 July 2011

A free marketing lesson – just a short walk away

I’ll explain why I wrote that heading in a moment, but it’s about why some businesses thrive and others flop.

First, let me ask: do you ever find yourself being infuriated by something stupid?

I do, all the time. It’s not just old age. I’ve always been like that. But it’s particularly aggravating when you’ve wasted your time and effort.

Two weekends ago I wrote some email copy for some people who wanted more responses.

Got the brief on Friday, delivered first thing Monday.

I did it as a favour to a client I like for way below my normal rate - and frankly my emails pretty much always get more responses.

The people in question had a meeting and decided it wasn’t right because it wasn’t in pretty html and they didn’t think it would work. I made a few snappish comments and told them I wouldn't charge them.

As the great Claude Hopkins observed 85 years ago, you won’t find the answer to your marketing problem in a meeting. You must conduct a test.

And as tests have revealed to the not-so-great Drayton Bird, sending what are really just leaflets through the ether is almost invariably beaten hollow by what looks like text – but is actually html so you can put in links and so on.

Few big businesses know this, because they waste countless hours in meetings talking tosh about strategy, missions, visions and other substitutes for thought.

You will learn little or nothing sitting in your office, but you can by going for a stroll, as I did yesterday.

In fifteen minutes I saw one business I bet will go broke and one that will make a fortune.

Would you like to know why?

In my area quite a few people have given up – especially bars and restaurants. Pubs are closing by the thousand all over Britain. I find it very sad. I was brought up in a pub – and I’ve had businesses go broke. I know how awful it is.

These pubs include one of the oldest in Bristol – been around for over 200 years. 30 yards up the road from them is another pub, with a big sign outside saying “Be your own boss – come and run this pub”.

That is coded language for: “We’re not making any money here – why don’t you try, sucker?”

Only a cock-eyed optimist would open a pub now, right?

Well, some folks have taken over the pub that went broke and refurbished it beautifully. But they have done precisely nothing to promote the place round here. No leaflets. No grand opening night. No special offer outside. Nothing. I only know about them because the pub’s next to a local supermarket.

I have a phrase for this folly. It is marketing by osmosis. Do they think people will come in because they put out thought-waves?

They chose a dodgy business to go into. They are at the less prosperous end of the street. They have a telling lesson 30 yards away. There are at least 5 pubs within 3 minutes’ walk of them. They offer meals: so does the best fish restaurant in Bristol, directly opposite them - with a very good lunch and early evening deal. So does the small but very good place one minute's walk from my flat.

I shall be sad to see them go.

10 minutes’ walk away from them a new butcher has opened.
They are in a better location than the pub, next to a small shopping centre. They are owned by the restaurant next door, which does a very good trade - specialising in steak. So they must have great buying power.

There is no specialist butcher nearby.Only a big Sainsbury’s supermarket with a very ordinary meat department, poorly trained staff and an average to poor display.

Many people going to the shopping centre will go past the new butcher. They may be drawn there, because there was a barbecue stand outside. It was impossible to ignore. The smell was enticing. There was a queue. I tried a hamburger. Home-made. Excellent.

The shop front had its name in stylish type, Ruby & White
(from the colour of well-hung beef, I guess). Inside everything was spotless and well-designed. The meat was well displayed. The people were friendly, trained and helpful. There were marinated cuts I shall certainly try. Interesting wines. Herbs. Good cheese.We spent £24 on beef and pork within 5 minutes. All unplanned. The carrier bag was smart enough to have come from a fashion store.

There are many, many lessons to be drawn from this contrast. If you want to know about marketing, get out a bit, take a walk, look around you. And if you want to pick my brains, and know a lot more than I covered here, come join me in October, here.

I will introduce you to some of the cleverest marketers in the world. They will reveal all they know. You will get a year’s free training and advice afterwards.

I only do this once a year.

The cost is below what you could end up paying surrounded by hundreds in a cavernous ballroom somewhere - then to be sold to when you came to learn.

We only have 40 attendees. It is in one of London's finest boutique hotels.

12 places have already gone (maybe 14: to be honest I'm not certain).

You won't be sold to by the speakers. There is an offer of free attendance at another seminar that covers one of the most important topics in business – featuring one of the world’s leading experts.

I'll tell you more about that shortly.

I only have room for 28 more people, maybe only 26.



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