In 2012 I put my hand up to help with an on-line marketing campaign for an up and coming musician, handling the Facebook promotion with the help of Facebook’s EMEA marketing team. That in itself was an eye opener, but being an inquisitive soul I found myself digging deeper. The more I learned, the more I realised that I’d been left behind over the last ten years – buried as I was in the rather blinkered world of the construction sector. The more I read, the more I discovered there was to learn, and the more I learned the more excited I became.
Now if I’m honest, I haven’t been excited by marketing for a few years and didn’t expect I would be again. But what I discovered was nothing short of a paradigm shift. Everything I knew was out of date (not quite, but it seemed that way) and there was a whole new world of opportunity waiting. Even better, it was using tools I already understood, from playing at promoting my ‘just for fun’ hobby-photography for the past few years.
It all made sense to me right from the start. Customers have migrated – they are all online. And their buying habits have changed. They are smarter, they do their homework. One statistic told me, and I have no reason to disbelieve it, that the average buyer has done more than 80% of their investigation into a new product or service before they ever consider talking to ‘sales’. I know that is true for me, why not for everyone else? If you want to find out about something new what do you do? Google it! So it makes sense, if you want to be the one who ends up selling those goods and services, you’d better be the one providing that information – if you’re not, the sale will go to your competitor who is!
While it is possible to do a certain amount of on-line marketing for free (except the hours toil), I soon discovered there are tools that can give you a very competitive edge. But the best tools cost a lot – way more than my cash-strapped business could afford. Then an idea struck me. If I couldn’t afford best-in-class marketing automation tools, then neither could other small businesses or start-ups – nor could they afford the time to investigate what to choose and how to use it – I have studied this solidly for nearly four months and am just becoming confident I know my way forward.
The inspiration for a service to help small businesses market effectively online, gain leads, prospects and sales.
Wouldn’t it be great if there was a cooperative who could supply the tools and the expertise, and let the little guys in on the action at a price they could afford? It would give them the chance to supercharge their marketing and grow their business faster. They could generate more life-sustaining revenue in those critical early years when more than four out of five businesses fail (a quick Google for that statistic took me to a BBC web-article “Why Small Businesses Fail” and it was amusing to see the author didn’t mention not getting enough profitable revenue!)
It was this idea that lead me to set up Marketing Coop – primarily to help more of those entrepreneurial start-ups to succeed. I believe it is small businesses and entrepreneurs who will collectively save us from recession. If I can help a few more succeed, then it is a worthy cause. At the time of writing, this is little more than a nebulous idea, with the bones of a website and an idea of a plan to market. I’m still courting the big boys with the big toys to see if I can leverage their tools in a massive philanthropic gesture… well, OK, on reasonable terms. I have some heavy-weight associates I want to involve also… time will tell. As the old saying goes – watch this space!