Emily Richards is the smart, funny, and energetic owner of Drew Consulting, a full-service marketing consulting firm based in Falls Church, VA. We were introduced at a BNI meeting (neither of us belongs) by a mutual business associate last winter. When we finally got together for lunch in May, we had such a good time that I realized I’d found not only a new partner and referral source (and vice versa), but a friend. Nice when that happens.
Because of Emily’s deep experience in marketing, I thought she’d have some useful information on marketing strategy to pass along to all of us small business owners. She had so much to say, I’m dividing this blog post into two. Enjoy!
Why did you decide to go into business for yourself? How long have you been in business?
Owning my own business has always been my dream. I began consulting on a freelance basis while still in corporate America. It was something I enjoyed and decided to pursue full time. I’ve consulted for 4 years.
What areas of marketing strategy do you specialize in/most enjoy?
I specialize in the actual development of marketing strategies; business development strategies (companies either in start up phase or expansion of an existing company); and market research. Typically all of the above mentioned areas go hand in hand. In order to develop new business, a business strategy, marketing strategy and market research are all necessary components. Market Research provides quantifiable data that supports my recommendations for marketing strategies. Marketing strategies are a driver in the success in new business development and ultimately, positive impact to the bottom line. These specialties are also what I enjoy most. It’s a nice perk in small business ownership to align your specialties with what you most enjoy.
What are the biggest marketing challenges your clients face? How do you help them overcome those challenges?
The biggest challenges my clients face are depressed economic conditions and a rapidly changing marketing landscape. While these are cliché challenges, they present obstacles I have to overcome on a daily basis. In a recessive economy, it takes more time and creativity to achieve the same results that came much easier in a thriving economy. My clients don’t necessarily have the allocation in their budget for the additional time and efforts. They spent less and earned more in past years. It’s a difficult concept for them to overcome. Secondly, technology is evolving at lightning speed. There are times when I simply do not have the answer as to the impact of a rising social media or interactive trend. I don’t enjoy not having the answer any more than they do. The positive spin to both of these challenges is the benefits of our global communication. There are many opportunities to create a strategy with grassroots focus at a minimal cost thanks to existing social media platforms.
Proving the ROI of marketing is not always easy. How do you help your clients quantify the effectiveness of their marketing programs?
As I mentioned before, I feel proving the ROI of many marketing efforts today are significantly more difficult to quantify. I am very adamant [with clients] that there be some form of capture method to measure the impact of our efforts. It helps tremendously when there is a database that can capture leads, lead sources and sales. But there are many creative metrics [apart from databases] to capture this information ranging from analyzing Google analytics (to determine if a marketing material with a unique URL generated traffic to a site) to analyzing the click-through of an e-blast to monitoring the number of fans to your facebook (before and after a month long posting campaign). I like to measure leads, number of sales and the lead conversion ratio. It provides us the ability to determine how many targeted leads we need to obtain in order to reach the desired lead conversion rate and ultimately revenue goals.
Read Part 2 here.Google+