How to build a business plan – reach your audience – Peter Grech, BRNDWGN interviewed by Monique Chambers.
Originally recorded and broadcast by CampusFM
Full transcript of the audio is below:
Monique: Welcome to Entrepreneur Clinic with me Monique Chambers and my guest this week Peter Grech from BRND WGN. Today we’ll be discussing how to reach your audience. Welcome, Peter.
Peter: Hi !
Monique: So we know who our audience is by now, what’s the most successful way to reach
Peter: Well, I think the answer to that is very wide. Definitely, you to speak to them and speak directly to their heart, you understand sort of what their passions are and then understand how they’re expressing those and how to get into their heads in the right way.
Monique: Okay. So you are sort of manipulating.
Peter: Well, not really actually. I think what I’m saying is that if you want to speak to your best friend, there is absolutely no point in trying to act like someone you’re not. So you got to reach and speak their language. So in your answer to your question is like, what’s the most successful way to reach your audience, I think it all depends on who your audience is? So I think clearly what needs to be done is understand your audience, understand what they do understand, understand what they read, where they go online, what are the sites that they visiting, what sort of sites that are visiting, for what reason. It’s absolutely pointless trying to reach your audiences on LinkedIn if you’re trying to advertise something that has absolutely nothing to do with LinkedIn. So people go on LinkedIn to look for jobs or to look for prospects or to look for business partners. You are probably not going to get anywhere if you’re trying to push a sports drink on LinkedIn. Having said that, if you’re trying to push a sports drink, you want to go on track suit websites and running websites, it’s actually probably more ways to get to them. So I think the best way is understand, really understand your customers, really know what they’re doing, what they’re doing with their lives and then try and plug in but give them reasons to talk about you.
Monique: So how do you approach them in general? Would you do the market research exercise? Would you get a focus group together? How do you approach these people to find out because they’re not generally going to be in your circle?
Peter: Yeah as I said I think it’s a matter of really understanding who your customers are. So once you know who your customers are, what sort of market segment you’re going for, you really understand what they want, what they do, you know, good sort of market research, just starting up some basic market research, just going online, doing the research on type of customers you’re trying to deal with, it is probably a good start. Having some focus groups, having some sit downs with these people and trying to get them and just speak them to understand a bit more about them is definitely the next step. And then it’s a bit of sort of trial and error. You got to go there, you got to try and access a market, some sort of marketing channel that you think they’re going to go for and then test it. And that’s the only way of doing it.
Monique: And so you would know if you put something in the traditional printed press say a sports magazine, you would measure the responses from there?
Peter: Yeah that’s a good thing. Obviously there are different types of marketing here; we’re talking obviously about communications, so that you can communicate to the customer just to push your brand. But then you can also communicate to a customer to actually make them buy something. So if you are reaching out for the sake of the example in sports magazine, and you are pushing a sports drink, then if you add sort of a coupon or a discount codes to it that they’re using it, and you know, that they’ve seen this ad they found about the product and this magazine and they’re actually using that code to purchase a product, then it’s traceable. Obviously, with this stuff, those things are so much easier, because you can actually track when they are clicking on your ad and once they click on your ad, you see that you’ve got a visit on your site plus the tracking code to measure up against. So you know, one plus one will equal well in this case one.[Laughs]
But of course that’s the difference between traditional advertising and digital advertising. So digital advertising is easily the cheapest way to getting to a customer doesn’t mean it’s the easiest way just because you can go on Facebook and put an ad about anything we can do. That doesn’t mean it’s going to work in the best way possible.
Monique: That’s true. Lots of lots of people can’t actually use Facebook or don’t use Facebook infact.
Peter: Yeah exactly.
Monique: So if you’re advertising this sports drink to an athlete. And, you know, he accesses various sites, is there anything else that you need to know? Is there if he’s at work accessing? Would that make a difference?
Peter: Yeah I think timing and place is everything. At the end of the day it’s pointless trying to push something when you’re not in a ready to buy or not in a position to buy. So you need to reach to your customers when they’re actually ready to listen. Otherwise, you are just wasting your money. So if you’re targeting a site, which is typically accessed by athletes, maybe, more than just creating some advertising, but also writing an article out there so that people could actually read and understand what it is in your drink which is different to other drinks. And what’s the unique selling point of your drink? So it’s about time, place, and what you’re saying.
Monique: And you would do that over a period of time. You write article a few weeks before the product I actually launched and something like that.
Peter: Yeah of course. I think one tip to entrepreneurs is that you better choose the right solution but hang on in there, it’s not going to work straight away, you’re going to spend some money for nothing till you realize which shows are actually working. And even when you find the right channel, it’s going to take some time for people still changing their habits, you know, buying, shifting from one sports drink to the next, it’s probably going to take a lot of time.
Monique: And how do you know that you’re making which has got to your audience? What’s the sort of success rate? If you send 100 emails? ,
Peter: Well, if you send 100 emails, and you get five back, that’s a super success. Ten would be amazing, you should write about it.[Laughs]
So don’t expect, you know, it’s like five to a hundred. Monique: So this will help sizing your audience as well.
Peter: Yes. I think the best way to get to your audience is to start small and capture small groups in a short amount of time. And then trying to grow as organically as possible. Advertising is an easy method to get in there. But that doesn’t mean you are going to be successful for forever, just because it worked yesterday, it doesn’t mean it’s going to work tomorrow as well. So you’ve got to be creative, you got to keep changing your ways. I mean, if somebody sees the same ad over and over and over again, just get so used to it, that they just block it out, right? So you got to be creative and in the method, and you got to be creative in the media design.
Monique: So you discussed articles, what about bloggers?
Peter: Blog is probably the most effective way of influencing audiences. If you get the right blogger who’s got the right audience who has got a captive audience who actually listen to what this blogger says. So they’re endorsing the product. And because they’re worth listening to this, you probably are going to push that success rates up by probably three times as much.
Peter: Because people believe like minded people who have done or doing things that they would love to do. So, maybe pushing and sponsoring, probably the easiest way to do it is get, you know, the right sports people to be drinking your product in the right events.
Monique: Does it cost a lot more than normal advertising?
Peter: You’d be surprised at how cheap it could actually be. So without taking advantage of struggling athletes, pop stars and singers and musicians, I think by offering free products and sponsoring the right influences with the right products can go a long way in converting your audiences. Everybody has got their local champion, everybody has got the go-to person that they actually listen to. So trying to find these influences in a big group of people, it’s gonna be so much more effective than just blindly targeting people on Facebook.
Monique: And that’s everything. You could do photograph with them using your product or even then writing about it themselves.
Peter: For example even just drinking and talking about this is going to be strong enough. Monique: That’s quite an interesting way. Now, I’m going to watch more bloggers. [Laughs]
Peter: I think most important thing is to find bloggers you can trust. Save, if your blogger is just going to ask you for money about the product and not ask about the product then they’re probably not great blogger to talk to. So as long as you have faith in the product you are selling, and I’m assuming the people listening to this program, all the fantastic people and Super entrepreneurs, you know, have a product that’s actually worth selling. And they can influence the bloggers and talk to them in a way that the bloggers understand what they’re actually pushing and pushing it to the right people in the right way, then it’s probably going to go very far. So there are websites that people trust and there are websites that people just run away from.
Monique: And there are other things I’m guessing you can track the journey from the blog back to your website for buying the product.
Peter: Yes that’s exactly how affiliate networks work. So just do put your picture. a blogger would be part of an affiliate network if you wish, some paid for some not. Some people can actually make money just by passing backlinks into your website. So anybody that clicks on an ad on a blogger site and then get straight to your sites to convert that link into purchase would be part of your network. You could offer bloggers a percentage on all sales. I mean, that’s pretty much how the gaming industry works. Having said that, setting that up might be slightly expensive for startup businesses so there are simple ways of doing it as well.
Monique: And does this work because obviously, once you’re on the internet, you’re looking globally and in your audience you could find somebody in Uzbekistan seeing your advert.
Peter: Then ship it there. Why not?
Monique: That’s it, we have to be able to ship our product and is there a different way of talking
to somebody in a different country?
Peter: Well, I think the key thing is to speak to people in their own language. Now obviously, language is a key and very very important thing over here. But also it’s not just a matter of on saying how the language works and actually speaking a language. It’s also about understanding the culture and understanding sort of the subcultures of the way people talk and speak so like sarcasm, and black humor might actually work in the UK but it may go completely flat in Uzbekistan.
Monique: Right. So from your market research again, you would find out how to talk to different nationalities?
Peter: Yes what language are they speaking? What slang are they using? What are the key words they’re using? What are sort of extra words that they are using when talking about the product?
Monique: Hot topics I guess will be things that they’re watching, like pitch around football etc.
Peter: Yeah, I mean, culture appealing, selling a product in different cultures is such a delicate process. And I think understanding the culture and trying to get somebody walking on the ground running around this case is so important trying to get people who really understand the audience
you’re talking to, making sure that nothing is sacred, be offensive or not. Making sure that whatever you’re pushing in whatever shape or format, actually appeals to the people you’re talking to, and doesn’t offend.
Monique: That applies also to imagery.
Peter: Yeah, of course. Well, I mean, in this extremely visual world we are working in, it’s not only visual in terms of static imagery but also in video, it’s so important with so careful and so sensitive. So the cultures that we’re trying to speak to, besides religion and language and even political backgrounds and sensitivity in terms of habits and trends in the local industry, goes such a long way. Just going back to the sports drinks, the cultures where everybody believes that you can pop Red Bull and go for a marathon. And there are others who believe in going organic and going sugar free.
Monique: It’s knowing all of that.
Peter: Yeah it’s so important. At the end of the day, each one of these of entrepreneurs listening out there have 24 hours in a day. They have a finite budget to whatever it is, no matter how big it is, the budget is finite, and they better spend it in the right place at the right time.
Monique: So targeting is absolutely key.
Peter: Yes. If you know that you’re going to be successful in one market and less potentially successful in the other, no matter how big the market is, go for the one we can get the biggest wins first because that’s going to teach you a lot about that particular market, but also is going to give you enough capital to then venture out into the more risky or sensitive markets.
Monique: So how do you know, then once you’ve if you’ve reached a market, how do you know when you’ve got to sort of saturation point when you know that now is the time to launch a product to-be more or then to move into the next market. But what happens at sort of saturation point?
Peter: So in every market is a of product life cycles stage where it takes a while till innovators commence and sort of start buying the product and then it reaches a critical point. I think the tipping point is sort of knowing how big the market is, and who are the competitors out there who’s the leading brand on the market, unless it’s something which is completely new, trying to understand how quickly can penetrate that.
Just because you’ve reached a critical point, there’s no mean you’re actually there, it just means that all your market is trided now, for how long can you sustain that for. How long before the next best competitor is going to come in and give a 50% discount on their own product and sort of cut you out of the market. How long can you last for that? Is it just you index of price, if you just managed to, you know, bulk up the shares with your problem, because you selling it for cheap. I think for me, starting my own business, I think it was a matter of, if I get to the third reorder, then probably I’m on a good thing. So I believe in sort of, in, three is the magic number. And I think if you’ve sold your product or your service, we’ve had, or you had an interaction with a customer three times, then you are probably there, but you also have a critical point where a customer might say, Oh, I had this product three times. Do I shift? So irrespective of whether you think you’ve made it doesn’t mean you’ve actually made it. And I think before you sort of shift your focus on something else, make sure that somebody else is focusing on what you could have been focusing on before.
Monique: So is their merit then in doing more market research at this point, now talking to those customers that you’ve spoken to, and finding out what they want next or what they want changed?
Peter: Never stop talking to your customers. I think you exist, your business exists only because of your customers. You can have as many staff, you can have a huge Board of Directors, you can have advisors, you can have bank managers running off, if you don’t have a customer you don’t have a business and it’s as simple as that. Your customers will change in the same way you’ve changed. And just because you’ve had a customer for five years doesn’t mean he’s going to be there forever, he’s gonna change. So you need to reach out to the next potential customer as well.
Monique: So is that like a constant dialogue you do through social media? or directly?
Peter: Yeah, any channel possible, but even face to face with possible. I think face to face is so important for even listening out there, just because you’ve made it to the top and you’re a big CEO of a huge company you need to be listening into the complaints, you should be checking your Facebook, you should be checking, or you being or any of these sort of sub companies, it’s so important. And if you’re lucky enough to actually have made it on our evening. So the typical blog, you know, with where people are complaining about the service. So you actually notice, that’s great, but there might be a number of others which are gone unnoticed, people might have complained to one of your customer care agents but they never got to you. I think as a business owner, it’s so important if you’re out there listening to what your customers say because they’re the ones keeping you in business.
Monique: And so they’ll be giving you pointers on something’s not working.
Peter: Yes and even just listening, sort of feeling that they’ve got, to get a bit of a touch to the market, what’s the pulse of the market, how they feel, are people still happy to buy my product? Am I today get a feeling I’m getting complacent in the markets? Are there some of the cool brands that have just become the next old brand now? Just because you’re an innovator once, doesn’t mean you’re going to be like that forever and people are going to catch on to the good stuff that you’re producing before.
Monique: Getting back to the complaints. How should a company handle those at the first level? If somebody does then post something on Facebook or somewhere.
Peter: Well, I think sort of my best advice to anybody out there with a brand should be ready for it. Because it’s going to come You know, one day something’s gonna go wrong, irrespective of how many standards and processes and procedures is it anybody new businesses following something’s gonna go wrong. And it might not be your fault, it might be a fault of somebody who was putting your product on the shelf, coming back to the sports team might have been left in the sun for a whole weekend before it’s sold to a customer. And it all the good stuff has gone by now. You know, something’s gonna go wrong, be ready for it. And I think the most important thing is to be honest with the customer and say, listen, this is exactly what happened. Acknowledge the problem, even though it might not be an issue might be some, you know, just might be a customer is trying to be cheeky out there. And it’s fine, just listen to them, that would go a long way. Acknowledge if there is a problem and try to fix it. I think having the right methodology out there and also the readiness to know what to do when something happens. I think it’s so important.
Monique: And again, you would answer them as vocally as they’ve complained so that they know that you’re taking the matter in hand so that other people can see you’re a company that cares? Not answering right down in the details just perhaps briefly.
Peter: Well, I think one of the most important thing is to be as fast as possible. So I think as soon as you hear about it, make sure that you have all the options and ways and practices to actually be able to listen to these things to notice stuff as it happens, answer immediately, acknowledge that somebody actually posted about it. I’m just saying you know, thank you very much for mentioning this. And we’re going to look into it and get back to you make sure you get back to them and see how you can fix it. I think that’s important.
You’re listening to entrepreneur clinic on campus FM with me Monique Chambers and my guest this week, Peter Grech from BRND WGN. We’re discussing how to reach your audience.
Monique: So Peter, we were just talking about complaints online, and you’ve reached your customer, how actually they’re trying to reach you back, can you give us some examples of complaints that have happened online recently?
Peter: Yeah, I think in this frame, I would say like the one thing which I believe entrepreneurs should be really thinking about is, you got to be loyal to number of things in business. But two of those people you should be loyal to is A) your customers and B) be your brand.
Your customers are following your brand. So if you have a good brand, if you have a brand that’s honest, and honest irrespective of what line you’re in, you might be selling really exciting stuff which might not everyone believe in. But if you have a brand which people believe in, people are following that brand. And it makes sense, make sure you’re true to the brand. Don’t dilute your brand.
So recently, I was reading an article about somebody who was complaining on Yelp about the restaurant that she acquainted. So basically just to put our readers and our listeners into the framework. There’s somebody who went up on Yelp and complained about going into this restaurant and the music was too loud and the people were too noisy, and the menu was too small, intensive choice. She didn’t find what she was looking for and she went out on Yelp and saying how loud this place was and how nobody really cared about the customers and nobody really cared about offering any choice in the menu. And so she gave them a one star rating and a huge complaint. I think within a couple of hours, the owner of this establishment went back on Yelp and sort of rated this review as one and explained why. She thanked her customer for coming into his restaurant. He clearly explained that as is present even on the Yelp rating is that, hey. We’re motorcycling bar we believe in loud music. We believe in offering a very very small choice of really good burgers and some very very basic stuff. We still be a really cheap, we don’t do it in the best of ways. But we do it in ways that our customers care about. They’re not here because they’re rushing off to a meeting they’re just going to stay here all night. You know, they’re talking about the pipe, right, talking about this and and that’s our brand. You know, the brand we believe in is offering a place for bikers to just come and rest and just have a good beer and a plane, good old burger, no fancy stuff. No, delicately delicate cuisine, just this is who we are. So clearly it doesn’t reflect too well on you by the fact that you chose us as a place where you wants to come for your fancy food and your quiet tea.
Monique: Yes so not everyone is your customer.
Peter: Not everyone is your customer and make sure that you dilute your brand because there are customers out there, you cannot be everything to everyone. So I think one of your biggest loyalty needs to be to your core audience. If you’re loyal to them, if you are loyal to your brand, and the brand that they follow, they’ll be loyal to you. And they’ll be really talking about you.
Monique: Referring their friends and their friends.
Peter: Absolutely. And that’s the best way to reach your audience because they trust their friends.
Monique: Is there any sort of metrics behind that knowing how many people will refer you want to saying earlier about email, you can send 100 emails and maybe five would come back if you use a blogger, you might have three times more than value, is there metric against referrals?
Peter: I think in every business it’s different. So in B2B services, I would say that probably 80% of customers come through referral. Tracking that referral is extremely important. I would say that probably 80% of our own customers came through referral. So they might have seen a friend of theirs, and other business, you know, who did your branding, who the marketing and that’s sort of, that’s how they might have heard about BRND WGN. So I think it’s really really important to understand what makes your customers take and hopefully wondering whether they could push it, somebody else. But I remember when I was starting the business, I used to ask all my happy customers, would you be able to recommend it to somebody? Is there somebody in your network who you think could take advantage of our service as well?
Monique: And that’s something important as you’ve built your own business, and everybody in the business respects the brand actually.
Peter: Absolutely. I think that’s really important. And we have a saying: do you bleed pink or not.
The truth is that, it’s really really important to develop a culture and trying to extend that brand across to the people that you work with, you essentially if you can’t sort of be the example of your brand, and your own team can’t be an example for your brand, you clearly did something very very wrong. The worst thing that could happen is that this image that you put something out there is very very different from the real image that actually exists.
Monique: And that is the same with every brand.
Peter: With every single brand, yes. The bigger up the food chain you go, the more important it is. You can hire out the most expensive agency and you can get the best Photoshop artists to work on your imagery. At the end of the day, it’s thing to the core, it’s just going to really stink.
Monique: Or the person who answers your customer complaint doesn’t maintain your ethics.
Peter: Certainly. So it’s this 360 degree look and Total Quality Control about what you’re doing, and also how you speaking, and how your people are speaking as well and fundamentally you are responsible for that. So say one of my team makes some mistakes, it’s entirely my fault, totally. And you’ve got to bear the responsibility for this.
Monique: So enticing to start your own business. [Laughs] Peter: Well no one said it’s gonna be fun. [Laughs] Monique: Or easy in fact. [Laughs] Peter: No. Easy? What’s that? [Laughs]. Well the harder you work, the luckier you get.
Monique: I’ll maintain that Mantra. [Laughs] Peter: It works for me. [Laughs]
Monique: So let’s go back to the sports drink, you only selling your sports drink, then to people who are going to run marathons, that’s going to be quite a limited audience.
Peter: Well I think that’s interesting thing about sports drink, and if you look at brands like Red Bull, and going fine, and all these other brands much here, but is the fact that what they might have started out to do would be very different to what eventually became. And I think looking at sort of openings in your audience. And sort of, even the convergence of your audience at play is very interesting. I mean, if you just look at that support string, maybe look at athletes in general, just because you’re an athlete, and just because you may be a weekend warrior, doesn’t mean you’re not student throughout the day, during the week, or, you know, a father of three kids who is also trying to fit in his, his math and runs in between. So, I think appealing that sports drink into different audiences could be something which you might want to do is, I want to come to you as extremely obviously at the beginning. But I think knowing your audience, knowing as it grows, and who’s purchasing your product, and for what reason they’re passing and product might open up completely different avenues for you to create different cross audience products if you wish.
Monique: You made an important point there that athletes are also fathers or students or housewives so you don’t just target the athlete magazine, you all the sites, you would actually go to the other things.
Peter: Well, I think in fact, I mean, if you try and target your sports people, just as they read sports magazines, you are probably competing with all the other competing brands in the market was if you try and get them was there you know, campus FM listening to startup program, you know, this actually might be a great place to get them which they weren’t expecting.
Monique: It might be more receptive to the idea.
Peter: I think what’s important is linking that sort of message to a good space so I think
experience this is where brands become you know, products that people buy
Monique: And you might find your product does something for people that you didn’t really expect it to do
Peter: Yeah I mean if you look at Red Bull as an example was actually during the taxi drivers or something so they wouldn’t fall asleep at the wheel. How that became a sports drink and how that became just an adrenaline junkies go to brand it’s amazing you know and I really believe the Red Bull as a brand could get into anything he wants at this point in time without even having to sell a drink anymore
Monique: It’s just very cool
Peter: Yeah I mean people are consuming their product is as if you wish as their friends you know just some YouTube just sharing the videos I mean there’s a brand in itself you know I’d rather go to the Red Bull channel on YouTube then you know what’s Discovery Channel probably.
Peter: Okay well we’ll leave that there and so you’ve been listening to me Monique chambers here on Entrepreneur Clinic on campus FM. My guest this week has been Peter Grech of BRND WGN. We’ve been discussing how to reach your audience.