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Ann Druce

Ann Druce

Ann Druce heads up Octarine, a marketing communications and advertising agency, where she focuses on copywriting and marketing strategies for clients in the professional and industrial sectors. Prior to that, Ann spent 15 years in marketing management for major companies including Unilever and Adcock Ingram before joining an ad agency.

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Schedule your digital marketing for maximum impact

Wednesday, 02 October 2013 10:26 Published in Online

Digital marketing is becoming an increasingly important part of the marketing mix. And whether you’re using email marketing, content marketing, social media (or any other form of digital marketing) it’s still relatively new and there’s a lot to absorb. So advice on how to schedule activity for maximum impact could be useful.


Best times to BlogThis infographic by highlights peak times for posting online, and I thought it might offer some useful insights. But then I started to ask a few questions: Are peak times the same in South Africa as in the USA? What are the demographics of the sample? Are my target market’s habits likely to conform?


There is no quick answer. These “best times” can’t be definitive. As Dan points out himself, they may be based on vast numbers of research results, but they are just generalisations. You need to test your audience to see what works best for them.


Take, for example, the 11 pm peak shown here. People use their mobile devices to go online at home, on the couch and in bed; that we know. We also know that many people check their email last thing at night. So I’m very happy to accept that there could be a spike at around 11pm. That’s bedtime for a lot of people.


But if your market is older, younger or in training for a big sports event, posting that late could mean you miss your mark, that they’ve been in bed for hours.


I’ve never suffered from insomnia and I’m not a student, so I can’t imagine being up and online at 2am, but that’s just me. Your target market won’t necessarily share my habits. But if they do, posting your article at 2am won’t help your visibility. On the other hand, if you’re targeting 22-year olds in the entertainment industry, this might be your prime time.


The peak of interest between 8 and 9am, on the other hand, seemed to make perfect sense.   I know the productivity experts tell you not to check your email first thing – they’ll tell you this let’s other people’s priorities drive yours. That’s all very well and good, but it’s my job to worry about your priorities - I’m in the service industry! So I usually check my emails first thing. Then I catch up on an online newspaper and social media.


You, on the other hand, may take one look at your early morning inbox and simply hit the delete button repeatedly, missing any alerts to new articles.


Two weeks ago I posted an article first thing in the morning, and the response wasn’t good at all. In fact, it was the worst response I’ve had in ages. Not a single comment. (Of course, it might just have been the article! If you missed it, please and let me know if it wasn’t up to standard. I thought it was packed full of valuable information, but maybe I got it wrong. Or maybe the timing just wasn’t right.)


The moral of the story is that you need to test what works for your specific target market. Your target isn’t an amorphous blend of statistics and you need to discover how best to reach them.


This isn’t a new insight; it’s marketing 101. So it would be naïve to expect a quick and easy answer when it comes to online marketing. There may be some general guidelines, but your target market will respond to you in way that defies broad generalisation. Make sure you know what they’re looking for, and when they might be looking for it.


Just by the way, today I found more research that cites afternoons as the best times to post. They argue that traffic starts to increase around 9 am but it’s better to wait until 11am to post. They also suggest that traffic fades from 4pm and you shouldn’t post at night between 8pm and 8am. In other words, it completely conflicts with the original research. I wonder who the sample was for this research.


This doesn’t mean that either research is flawed; it just underscores the fact that there is no definitive answer. Take an informed view of who your target market is, when they might be most likely to engage online, then test and measure your results and adjust your programme accordingly. Customise your activity for your particular market.


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How to write a great apology letter

Wednesday, 27 March 2013 12:03 Published in Media & Marketing
How to write a great apology letter

And turn your mistake into a positive customer experience

Children are particularly good at the insincere apology, spitting out the word “sorry” like a curse, forcing it through gritted teeth, or mumbling it under their breath.   


Sadly, some businesses seem to do this too.  It may not be deliberate, but an inadequate apology can add to your client’s frustration and send them running to your opposition.  A well-written letter of apology, on the other hand, can help restore trust when you’ve let someone down, and even turn a problem into a positive marketing opportunity. 

10 Marketing Blunders to Avoid in 2013

Tuesday, 06 November 2012 08:44 Published in Advertising
10 Marketing Blunders to Avoid in 2013

Before you finalise your marketing strategy for 2013, consider whether you are guilty of these 10 Marketing Blunders:

1.  Failing to define your target market 
If you are not specific about who you are marketing to, how will you know where to find them, what they are looking for, what problem they need to solve and what you need to do to appeal to them?

2.  Forgetting to focus on repeat business
It costs less to retain a client than to develop a new one, plain and simple.  And repeat clients are a valuable source of reference and recommendation.

3.  Blindly repeating what you’ve always done
To quote Einstein, “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. If you want to grow your business in 2013, you might need a new approach.

4.  Tinkering with inconsistent messages
Be consistent in everything you say and do - your values, your promise, your tone of voice, your corporate colours and identity - and develop a strong and clearly identifiable brand. 

5.  Failing to market your brand
Marketing shouldn’t be a desperate effort to save your business, but an essential element of your business plan that is executed consistently and measured on a regular basis.   And since repetition builds response, a sustained campaign will build a better response.  

6.  Trusting in a vague message
Even Coke is more direct now than previously.  While their brand promise is certainly emotional, “Open Happiness” is far more explicit than the “Brrrrrr” line they used in the past.  And since most brands don’t have quite the same brand equity as Coke (never mind their advertising budget), it makes sense that your message is even more specific.  Be single-minded and don’t complicate your communication with unnecessary detail.

7.  Refusing to advertise because you can’t outspend the competition
There is no question that frequency matters, and that the more your target sees your ad, the more likely he is to remember you.  But you can still differentiate yourself from your opposition even if they have a bigger advertising budget. 

8.  Squandering your entire budget on one ad
If you can only afford to run your ad once or twice, you need to look for alternative marketing channels.  And there are plenty of options.  Repetition is critical and a hit and run approach is unlikely to grow your brand.

9.  Overlooking Social Media
552 million people use Facebook every day.  500 million have an active Twitter account.  The average Facebook user reportedly has 234 friends and the average Twitter user has 126 followers.  So a single message about your brand by just one person reaches 126 people on Twitter and 234 people on Facebook.

10.  Hiring the biggest ad agency (when you are the smallest client)
Bigger is not necessarily better, and smaller companies can get lost in big agencies.  Major ad agencies tend to focus on big-budget clients and may not view your investment in the same light as you do.

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