Going Forward – Chapter Eighteen Part One

…..Previously

Other than expenses, until we were earning profits, we’d have to live off our personal means. I realised that I might need a part-time job of some sort. Others seemed to agree with that thought. The following Sunday, when Paul came, the snow was still down and we were able to have some fun making a snowman together and having a snowball fight. I left him in the garden to make our lunch while he played with some of the neighbours children – snowballing and making slides on the pavement. I hadn’t had such a good time for ages.

Continued…….

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN

Getting to know you better – Tony’s house

Everyone arrived at Tony’s house at about the same time that afternoon. He lived in a large pre-war semi-detached house in Eccles, not far from where Ben and Jason lived. His driveway was gravelled and crunched underfoot. At a couple of places, my shoe picked up a small piece or two and sent them flying ahead of me. His wife was out at work and his teenage children would be at school until four. His house looked well-cared for and with modern furniture. We met in his dining room, which overlooked a large garden, and we sat around the refectory-style table on which he’d placed his laptop computer so that he – or we – could demonstrate ideas.

We began with a bit of social chit-chat over a hot drink. The hot, astringency of my coffee awakened my senses and warmed me up. The wind had still been bitingly cold outside. I mentioned, during the course of these introductory socialising moments, how my job had only lasted a month and that Helen had left me for someone else. Beverly, in particular, was clearly shocked – it showed in her facial expression –  about my, so-recent, separation. She asked whether I was sure that I wanted to stay for the meeting, which I did. Susie also asked how I was: how and when it had happened. The other three in the group were also now waiting to be interviewed for jobs, but still wanted to proceed as part of what we were doing.

As arranged at our virtual meeting, this was a sub-group meeting to look at how the venture and its ‘products’ would be marketed. I say ‘marketed’ because I felt the need to recognise here – as in the print company – the components of marketing: Product, Promotion, Price and Place. Mainly for the sake of Beverly, I gave a brief explanation.

I told her that Product, not just the physical nature of what we were creating, included also the ‘beneficial product’ that the customer would be invited to infer as a reason for buying. I continued by explaining that, typically, goods and services can be Promoted – the second P – to satisfy different needs, which may be open or implied. Promotion to retail customers on television is often fear-based: such as the fear of getting old or looking old; the fear of danger to a child or other loved one. These are so-called beneficial products. For commercial and industrial consumers, they can be the fear of being sacked; the expectation of increased revenue or lower costs. Price is another aspect of marketing and often bears no relationship to the cost of production or distribution. There is a marketing maxim that Price is what someone is prepared to pay. Finally, Place is the context where promotion takes place and where the purchasing decision is taken – an example being where a seller has to understand what business they are really in – or should be aiming to be in. Should a blacksmith start to think of himself being in the transport industry if he is looking to grow his business.

Beverley seemed a bit shell-shocked by the complexity of our task – Susie and Tony less so. She’d simply associated marketing to be another word for selling or advertising. Those words, I told her were merely some of the methods of promotion – which could also include point-of-sale displays or, in our case, website design. As further examples, the design of logos, the choice of typeface and images to use, were tools of promotion – as were the choice of words used, the ease of navigating the website and how quickly it loaded. A cluttered page presentation could cause a potential purchaser to exit the page and look elsewhere. By now, I had Tony and Susie’s agreement. This, after all was their bread and butter – and they already recognised completely the issues involved.

I assured Beverley that, what I’d explained in twenty-minutes, were ideas that I’d take a whole day to unpack on some of the marketing seminars I’d presented as part of a team in the past. I’d given her only a summary of the traditional approach to marketing, and had left out several concepts including brand differentiation, the modern role of ‘influencers’ or other recent promotion channels of promotion or distribution.

Tony picked up where I’d left off and used his laptop to demonstrate the significance of issues such as typeface choice, white space, colour, eye-movement, use of images and logo design. He illustrated some of the ideas he’d been thinking about since out last meeting but admitted that he needed to know more about the wider marketing issues I’d mentioned before making firm proposals.

I next spoke about how demand for training courses has been changing from hotel-based, whole day seminars – that relied on slide presentations – towards online channels – tutorials, webinars and, in particular, the skills used by successful ‘influencers’.

Susie came in at this point, using her own laptop to do an offline presentation of the basic options we ought to be considering for the website – such as hosting, security and data protection, back-up, search engine optimisation and analytics, plug-ins and themes. She used images of a couple of WordPress themes together with different types of block and sidebar displays to illustrate the points she was making and offered some indications of the range of the costs involved. She tacked on at the end some of the basic issues involved in checkout and payment options and asked about matters such as soliciting reviews and enabling two-way email and telephone contact.

Featured Photo

Today’s photo is another that I took in January 2020 when I enjoyed a weekend of photography in London. This shot was one that I took from the side of Westminster Bridge looking across the River Thames at the London Houses of Parliament. Big Ben, the famous clock tower is shrouded during refurbishment.

The Exif data are as follows: Pentax K-1 36 MP full-frame camera with a 15-30 mm f/2.8 lens at 28 mm and f/11. The shutter speed was 1/100secs and the ISO 100. The shot was tripod mounted, without filters and post processing in Lightroom Classic.

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