It doesn’t matter how big your organisation is if you don’t have buy-in from your co-workers every penny spent on marketing might just as well be thrown into a bottomless wishing well.
Take the Homebase Spend & Save customer loyalty card that was introduced back in the very early 90’s. They, Homebase (the DIY giant that once was) spent hundreds of thousands of pounds introducing one of the first loyalty programmes in the UK. I was called in with my small team to advise and manage the data and to assist with third party promotions for the retailer. What the retail giant failed to do, however, was to engage the workforce in its’ importance and this was evident after I visited a few of their stores after launch. I remember clearly asking a cashier if I could have a Spend & Save form after making a purchase ‘ A what form?’ she asked.. At another store I was offered a form at the checkout with the following helpful statement ‘You can fill this in if you want to but you’ll get loads of junk mail if you do’
It was the same story with the high street shoe retailer Russell & Bromley, I was told after making my purchase by the helpful cashier that I shouldn’t complete the form because I would probably be pestered by unwanted advertising.
So if you are going to spend your marketing budget cleverly, how ever large or small you really should be engaging your teams. Maybe you should be spending more on your colleagues to begin with so that when you market your products/services you have a whole team behind you that provides back up. Take Richer Sounds a UK based Hi-Fi/TV/Home entertainments retailer with just over 50 stores. They do very little advertising because they let their team do the talking. They provide holiday homes, free health care, use of the company Bentley and many other benefits to their teams. They engage with the teams on a daily basis, create a fun and competitive atmosphere so they have complete buy-in. and then have to spend less on mass marketing but wisely on clever marketing.
I actually know of one very successful company that I have been involved with over the years that still don’t have a website and absolutely refuse to do so. They are doing incredibly well because their teams are all the advertising they feel they need.
When you look at the advertising budgets for the big supermarkets and see what they are doing in main stream press, TV and radio it’s astonishing how little they engage their work force. Tesco and Sainsbury are prime examples of this. They join the competition every Christmas to see who can produce the most expensive TV ad campaign and the cost runs into millions, the only ones rubbing their grubby little hands together are the ridiculously overcharging Ad Agencies but more on that mob later. I had reason to speak to ground staff some time ago to see what they think about their employers namely Tesco.
I asked one cashier if she thought the advertising for her employer was money well spent. I didn’t expect to get the answer that I did. ‘I think they should spend more on their staff, I’m on a warning at the moment because my IPM’s are too low! ‘ I asked her what she meant by IPM’s. She told me that these referred to items per minute scanned at the till. They needed to be up at 19-20 items and hers at that time had dropped to around 15. She was told that she spent far too much time talking to the shopper, when she said to her line manager that it was what the shoppers wanted sometimes, they just wanted to chat whilst shopping, she was told the shopper is not here to chat, they are here to shop and your job is to get them out of the store as quickly as possible. This particular cashier that I spoke to and others at different stores are so miserable and would rather be working anywhere else if they could but felt they had to tow the line in order to keep their jobs. So spending vast sums of money with over rated Ad agencies leaves a sour taste in the mouths of the work force added to this the fact that many of these people will be phased out as self scanning becomes the norm it is not surprising that year on year for all their ad spend these giants are losing their grip and falling victim to the pile em high and sell em cheap brigade.
If you are going to advertise through which ever medium think about back up first it’s not just the image you portray it’s how you are perceived internally that can save you a mint on useless marketing.