If done well, marketing truly has the power to drive sales and growth. But how do you ensure you’re doing it well?
Evidence and measurement
Cognition has been in business for 15 years, and the big lesson over that time has been that guesswork marketing isn’t worth the money it costs.
To deliver the best possible results you need:
• Evidence to back up your strategy, and
• Methods for measuring how things are working
Here is an excellent example. The company, BSC Diecasting & Finishing, is a Midlands-based business whose components are used in products manufactured by the likes of Jaguar Land Rover and Budweiser.
Following heavy investment by the owner to reinvigorate the business and expand its capabilities, Cognition was selected to carry out a rebrand and establish a watertight marketing strategy geared for growth.
Our challenge was to make an immediate impact by raising the business’ profile and generating new leads. With a dated existing brand, very limited online presence, no previous PR activity and no sales strategy in place, we were effectively starting from scratch.
We undertook a full review of BSC’s brand, the market, its customers and competitors so we’d have a strong body of evidence on which to base our recommendations.
The evidence showed that BSC’s brand did not align with its reputation or its illustrious client roster, giving the impression of a smaller, less established company. The existing name – BSC Diecasting – did not communicate the fact that its true strong point was delivering a perfect finished product.
We therefore recommended that the name be changed to BSC Diecasting & Finishing, retaining the existing equity, but better communicating its range of capabilities.
Our creative team refined the logo and look and feel to mirror the company’s emphasis on a sleek result, giving pride of place to imagery of BSC’s most intricate components. We defined the company’s proposition and key messages so we’d have a consistent way of communicating its offering to customers. This new branding was then rolled out across a suite of collateral including brochures, e-shots and a website.
The evidence also laid the foundation for a targeted marketing strategy that included elements of online, offline and PR, all feeding into each other for maximum exposure and impact.
Our research unveiled untapped opportunities, particularly in online marketing.
Until this point, the diecasting industry didn’t think an online presence was important. Our research showed that there were actually online opportunities to be had, providing we created a website that targeted the right segment of the market.
The site had to communicate BSC’s key selling points and be very easy to navigate. We had to strike a delicate balance between providing enough information to persuade visitors to make an enquiry, but not so much that competitors would be able to match BSC’s offering.
BSC and its peers were also sceptical that potential customers would use search engines to look for services. But our evidence suggested otherwise. We therefore presented BSC with an invaluable opportunity to steal a march on competitors with almost exclusive access to a new source of business.
We also identified an opportunity to put BSC’s expertise in the spotlight.
The diecasting industry generally was not active on the PR front. We therefore launched a communications programme using our key messages. The aim was to position senior management as expert commentators in the manufacturing sector. After several briefing sessions with BSC’s managing director, we set up introductory meetings with key journalists to establish on-going relationships.
And our integrated, evidence-based approach paid off.
In the first week, the new BSC website generated more than £2.7 million worth of leads, prompting our client to remark:
“I have never seen so many new leads, and they’re exactly the type of work I want.”
This trend continued with 20 viable new enquiries in the first 6 months. Direct telephone enquiries also increased significantly.
To the management team’s surprise, search engines now drive more than 70% of all traffic to the site. A three-week pay-per-click campaign increased traffic to the website by nearly 60% and generated three contact form conversions. It was suspended after it generated sufficient data to feed into the search engine optimisation campaign.
In addition to the online campaign, Cognition’s PR activity has achieved consistent positive coverage in trade and regional titles, reaching an audience of more than 9.6 million.
BSC’s key messages featured in 100% of all coverage achieved. As an example, The Guardian wrote:
‘When the management team [at BSC] embarked on this growth push they made a concerted effort to invest in new machinery, the skills of their staff and, importantly, re-branding and running a PR campaign. They “talk the talk as well as walk the walk”.’
Cognition organised a round table event, which led to a four-page spread in Midlands Business Insider featuring photographs of BSC’s managing director. As a result of the article he was invited to join a regional committee.
We also helped BSC build links with the Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) via Twitter. BSC was then asked to comment in the MAS’s press release announcing the results of its industry barometer.
In an excellent demonstration of how PR activity builds on itself, this comment resulted in a TV appearance for BSC on BBC Midlands Today. The segment included a site visit to the factory and an interview with BSC chairman, Mark Nunan. The new BSC branding was clearly displayed during the TV programme, which commanded average viewing figures of 607,000 for each of its two showings.
In the three days following the broadcast, BSC’s website saw an increase in traffic of 175%.
The BSC example demonstrates how an evidence-based approach has a real impact.