After cutting her teeth in the PR industry in Cardiff, Alex founded Bristol-based McArthur Davies with her partner Richard Davies in 2010, providing outsourced marketing support for ambitious, growing businesses. Many of their clients have been with them for several years and have grown steadily during that time, with one even recently winning the Marketing Award at the Business Leader Awards.
What’s the key challenge that your clients come to you with?
The initial thing they come to us for is more leads. But actually when you dig below the surface, they're all just a bit stuck. They don’t necessarily have a process in place that’s working for them. The problem with marketing is that it’s not just about the big exciting stuff - if you don’t have your systems and processes in place for following through, keeping track of leads and so on, then it’s not going to work.
In your experience, what is the biggest mistake people make with their marketing?
Expecting quick results! It’s so important to test and measure. Give something a go and then give it a reasonable amount of time. Be willing accept that some things aren’t going to work. You learn as much from what doesn’t work as what does. If I had a magic marketing wand, I would be a millionaire! I don’t know what’s going to work right away, but the approach we take is well thought out and planned and focused, so you learn a lot along the way. That way even if something doesn’t get results, you’re one step forward rather than scatter gunning all over the place. Our mantra is plan, do, review, evolve. It’s a continuous cycle.
Which marketing channel have you found most effective in delivering ROI?
For small businesses, I would say a combination of email marketing, social media, personal selling / networking and an element of advertising. If you can get that right then that’s a winning and affordable marketing mix.
What one thing could people do more of to give their marketing efforts a boost?
Absolutely get a newsletter out. Sending an email to your existing customers can create great impact. Business owners become so obsessed with wanting new prospects that they often overlook the power of engaging with their existing or old customers on a marketing level. Sending an email is a quick win, everyone can do it. You may get some more business or great feedback or something else that adds value. It’s so powerful.
How important is consistent brand voice and visuals in marketing?
Really important! We had this debate recently with a client. Business owners get bored of their brand and because they’re bored they think their customers are bored. But you need to stick to what you’re doing. A lot of work has gone into that. Yes, brands evolve - and they need to evolve. But evolving doesn’t mean constantly changing and confusing people.
What is the big challenge in the marketing industry at the moment?
What’s scary is this whole talk of AI and automation. You wonder how far that’s going to go. Realistically all social media could be curated by robots in a couple of years. But at what cost? Automation is a great thing but I believe marketing increasingly has to be personal, it’s about creating connections and building relationships.