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Sensis launches first brand campaign amid ‘very limited’ awareness of digital services

Directories and marketing business Sensis has launched its first brand campaign after research found there was “very limited awareness” of the digital product it offers to small business.

A four month campaign kicks off this week, initially in Melbourne, featuring TV, radio, digital and out of home. Sensis’s recently-created in-house agency Found did the media buy with Ogilvy Melbourne behind the creative.

The marketing push comes several months after Sensis relaunched its brand in a move to reflect the shift away from print directors to digital marketing.

While print, through its Yellow Pages, White Pages, TrueLocal and Whereis directories, will remain “integral” to the marketing mix for clients, digital is far and away the “growth driver”, director of corporate affairs Libby Hay said.

Speaking to Mumbrella at the launch of the campaign, Hay said the rebrand last August had been communicated very well internally and “at a tactical level” outside the business, but not to the wider market which still only associates Sensis with its directories.

Sensis characters

Sensis relaunched its brand last year

“There was very limited awareness of our digital offering,” she said. “We conducted research and found people knew us but were not really sure what we do. The time was right to share the essence of who we are and what we stand for.”

The research also explored the “key drivers” for small and medium businesses in their marketing, with the study finding many SMBs have little understanding of digital marketing and adopt a hope-for-the-best approach.

“The whole digital marketing space for SMBs is quite confusing and they are not sure about their marketing spend in general, or what will work,” Hay said. “ROI is really important for them but they have a trial and error approach to their marketing methodology.”

A recent e-commerce report compiled by Sensis found that while many were “dabbling” in digital marketing, only 17 per cent of SMBs have a digital strategy.

A major flaw is their lack of mobile-optimised websites, Hall added, which is counter to the rapid growth in consumers who are using their phones to research and buy.

While seven out of 10 consumers are using the Internet on their mobile only 35 per cent of SMBs have a mobile optimised website, she said.

“There is a great opportunity for SMBs to take advantage in getting mobile presence up to scratch,” Hay said. “We have the tools, guidance and support to help them take the next step.

Sensis“Part of the problem is they are often short of time. The owner of an SMB must also be the chief operating officer, HR director, they have to manage sales and marketing and front of house.”

Although time is a factor, many SMBs simply find the ROI of digital marketing confusing and they do not know what their marketing mix should be, she said

“From a digital perspective, businesses first and foremost must understand their online presence, how easily can you be found and how does the website look?

“How can people easily get information? Is the content searchable from an SEO perspective? Where else do your customers go to get info? Do they go to ratings and reviews and see what other consumer are saying?

“You can establish a really strong marketing presence based on your budget. It’s about understanding your customer first, understanding your product and your key differentiator and then how do you reach and communicate with that customer. Social ads one way but having a good website is your fundamental.”

Engaging with social media and forums is also key, with Hay urging businesses owners of the need to respond to negative social media comments.

“Word of mouth, or word of mouse, has become very important,” she said. “Your position on Google and SEO piece is partly based on how well you respond to ratings and reviews.

“If you don’t work hard to address comment, it will count against your reputation and your findability.”

Despite the focus on digital, Hay insisted its print assets remained an important part of the business.

“We should not discount it because it is absolutely integral to the marketing mix,” she said, adding that many of regional Australia was still reliant on directories.

“Adelaide is very heavily loyal and focused on using print directories, Melbourne is 50/50 and Sydney has a stronger sway to digital. But when you get to regional where we have a strong presence print is significant.

“But there is no denying print is in decline and digital is our growth engine. We are going through a transformation to make sure we are are nimble and agile…but certainly print has a future.”

Steve Jones

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