Having a strong background in marketing was all the incentive that Samantha Wardman needed to establish her own marketing consultancy business on the Mid North Coast. She shares her passion and some tips on current trends in using social media in business.
You’ve got a long and proud history on the Coffs Coast. What do you love about this area?
Coffs is one of those places that has the best of everything: beaches, restaurants and people. It’s where my family and friends are, which makes it an easy choice when choosing a great lifestyle like the Coffs Coast boasts. I was born in Coffs Harbour some 30 years ago, and I’ve lived here for most of my life – with the exception of a few years spent in Neutral Bay, Sydney. I moved back around three years ago to enjoy the lifestyle once again and to embark on my goal of running my own marketing consultancy business.
Luckily for me, I was offered the marketing manager’s role at the C.ex Group, and so began this journey. It was through some great experiences, challenges and fantastic achievements at the C.ex Group that empowered me to begin this business. I also devote quite a lot of my time to the Coffs Harbour Surf Lifesaving Club and Tubby’s White Whales Trust, as well as assisting Michael Crossland to spread his inspirational story throughout the world.
Having a strong marketing background has helped launch your new business?
Yes, it’s very exciting times for me at the moment. After spending the past nine years working for various national law firms and not-for-profit organisations honing my marketing skills and knowledge, I decided it was time to launch my marketing consultancy business, CornerPost Marketing.
Why now? I feel that the Coffs Coast is growing at a rapid pace and so too are the competition challenges and the consequential need for businesses to be distinguished in what they offer. By working with a marketing consultant like me, I can provide the strategic guidance and expertise to ensure your business is projecting the best possible image to consumers and in turn, achieve your business goals. I’m also a local, which is a plus!
I also bring expertise in planning and creative art direction for events, interiors and advertising. The Tubby’s White Whales events are a good example of my local creative endeavours. Furthermore, working with a consultant such as me, with broad marketing, event and creative skills, is often a more effective and efficient alternative to employing marketing staff, as you are only paying for the output delivered and have access to a variety of expertise.
You’re also working in association with Peter Williams of Axis Print Solutions. What makes this partnership so special?
Peter and I have been long term business associates, and he’s one of my mentors. Honesty, integrity and respect are key values we both share in our business and personal lives, and I think that’s what makes this partnership so special.
Now that I can provide marketing specialist services, Axis Print Solutions can provide clients with a uniquely focused approach to marketing, print, graphic design and mail-house services. It’s a really fabulous synergy of core services for businesses to take advantage of.
What’s the secret to successful marketing?
The key to successful marketing is ensuring that firstly you know what your product is, secondly, have identified a market need and thirdly, ensuring that your brand and ultimately, product or service is chosen by your customers over your competitor’s product or service. How do you do this? Well, it’s simple – tell your customers the compelling reason why they should choose your product or service over another’s – a reason which is deeply embedded into your branding and consequentially product or service, marketing and customer service objectives.
Brands include everything from your logo, unique selling proposition, brand personality, tagline and core business values. Subconsciously and whether you believe it or not, all brands resonate with our internal value system. It’s important to ensure that your business brand is projecting the right positive vibe.
So often I see businesses that have a great logo and seemingly good brand, but fail when it comes to actually delivering on the brand values, and consequently product or service, resulting in a negative or dull overall experience. This is because having a good brand and great marketing is only half of the answer to successful marketing. The other half is ensuring that your staff know what your brand, product or service and values are and that they live these values and understand them better than, or as good as, anyone.
My tip: take a look at your brand and the market you are in, as it all starts there, and really think about how your ideal customer might perceive your product or service from your brand and external marketing efforts to your internal marketing and customer service objectives. Your business needs to speak and act the same, which will make the marketing and sales job easy!
These days, social media plays a big role in marketing. What are your thoughts on the best way to take advantage of it?
Social media is truly all encompassing and overwhelming. It has engulfed us all like plague of locusts, but there is light at the end of the tunnel! It can be an overwhelming thought to tackle, but my suggestion for business owners is to really think about how social media marketing might help complement their business offering and work out a strategy to achieve set objectives.
Social media and social media marketing (SMO) are two different things. Commonly referred to as Web 2.0, social media includes: social networks (Facebook, LinkedIn, My Space); blogs and micro blogs (Twitter); media-sharing sites (YouTube, Flickr); review sites (Yelp) and forums. SMO is integrating the best identified social media platforms into your marketing plan, focusing on creating content that attracts attention and encourages consumers to share it with their social networks. This will allow you to enhance your brand awareness, gain insight into customer and competitor trends and ultimately, customer service.
There is no reason why your business can’t use SMO; it costs relatively nothing, is easy to get started and may have a very favourable financial impact on your business, if done effectively and with a targeted strategy. The best advantage of social media is that it can cost a little or as much as you like and is easy to track response rates, making it easy to work out what’s working or not.
Current trends we should be aware of?
Wow! Trends are always appearing in the marketing world; it’s sometimes hard to keep up! But I’d have to say that Customer Relationship Management (or CRM) is a very important trend that has really come to the forefront in the last few years. When you think about it, every minute of the day you are gathering customer data, whether from your website, email, sales conversations, or from ongoing service history.
CRM really involves the careful ‘mining’ of this data to establish ideal customer segments and pin point who buys, when they buy and why they buy. My tip: think about all the customer ‘touch points’ that you have with a customer when they are purchasing a product or service and from all potential points of contact (i.e. phone, email, social media, website, in person). This exercise will help identify the key areas to focus your ‘data mining’ efforts to discover your ideal customers and ultimately, hold the key to how to best develop successful long term relationships with them and service them best.
What’s the best piece of business advice you’ve ever received?
The most-important piece of advice I ever received was from my dad, Peter Wardman, who shared with me that acting with integrity at all times is the single most important value that you can possess in both your business and personal life. So long as you act with integrity, you can always be comforted that what you have achieved has been done so by honesty, hard-work and respect for yourself and others. This is a core value of mine, and one I hold in high esteem.
How can people contact you?
I’d love to help any business out, large or small, with any marketing needs – whether it be social media strategy, advertising, marketing planning, branding, content writing, sales promotions, PR, events or creative, I’ll help you to achieve your business goals. You can contact me on 0400 560 323 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org Alternatively visit my blog – cornerpostmarketing.wordpress.com