How the marketing skills can be transferred in any area of people’s lives
By Fatima Gorezi
Eli Zheleva is a digital marketer with a passion for life. She has started her career over 15 years ago as an enthusiast developer. She moved to UK 9 years ago and since then she has worked with many national and international companies.
In early 2014 she started pretty much by chance to work with a life coach. This changed her life. Eventually, in Nov 2017 she left her manager role at the agency to get back into her business. She is now consulting for businesses, with focus on digital marketing, performance, productivity, mindset and data analysis.She want to encourage people to be better towards themselves and others.
Tell us who Eli is?
Eli is a girl born in a small town with big dreams. My mission today is to be a force for good, to be my own case study and remind people that if I can do it, they can, too.
You started your career as an entrepreneur relatively early in life. Tell us about your business, and do you think this led the way to your success?
I’ve had an entrepreneurial spirit for as long as I can remember. I’ve had my fingers in different pies and the only common theme over the years has been digital marketing. A few years ago, I realised that my marketing skills have sneaked into my personal life and have helped me tremendously. They have helped me build my confidence, project management and planning, communication and negotiation skills. There were years in my teens when I didn’t feel confident for several reasons. I’ve managed to hide it well, but I know how I really fell. If I knew then what I know now, I wouldn’t have ended up in some of the uncomfortable situations I was as a teen. That’s my motivation. The things I went through, I want no one to go through and I’m sure that by building up one’s confidence this can be achieved. My business and the book I wrote, called Marketing Matters in Business and in Life, both focus on how the marketing skills can be transferred in any area of people’s lives.
What sacrifices have you had to make to be a successful entrepreneur?
Over the years I’ve sacrificed at times social outings, so I can focus on the business. I have sacrificed sleep and physical activity. There were times when there was so much to do that there was physically no time for those aspects in my life. You need to know when to push yourself and equally, you need to remember to slow down. I’ve ended up doing something I love with all my soul, so luckily the long working hours were times when I had fun. I think that helped keeping me sane over the years.
What has been your most successful form of marketing?
Digital marketing campaigns are the most successful form and it’s for a simple reason. With digital marketing, everything can be tracked and so you know who engages with your ads, what they do and what they like. You can then use the data to refine the message, the target audience and resources applied to a campaign. In terms of a subsection of the digital marketing, nowadays, it’s not as much a case of which one do you choose. Instead, you need to think about how to combine the different channels for maximum impact.
Who has been your greatest influence in your business and why?
My ex-boyfriend is one of the people who has been one of my greatest mentors. He showed me how business is done in the UK, as that’s different to what it is back in Bulgaria. Over the years, I had the privilege to have two great managers – Carla and Kerry, who have taught me further about marketing, ethics in business and how to lead by example. I have been to many personal development and business seminars with Tony Robbins, JT Foxx, to name but a few, where I have learned how to do business on a different level.
Over the past year, we’ve seen some big improvements with social analytics. How can small businesses leverage this data to improve their overall marketing?
I’m always shocked to see that there are businesses, small and big who don’t make use of data. There is plenty of data available that can help business owners take their businesses to the next level, they just need to be aware of it. Part of the challenge comes from the fact that there’s too much data and people get overwhelmed by that. Regardless of the scale of the business, there are a few main metrics owners need to be aware of. What is the most profitable product/service they have? What is the average order value? What are the total expenses per month? What is the conversion rate (what percentage of people turn into customers after speaking with them)? Having at least those will help businesses forecast revenue, know what to aim for and ultimately have a leaner structure that reduces unnecessary spend and invests in what’s most profitable.
Which social platform do you think is the most under-rated and under-used by businesses?
In marketing there’s no one size fits all approach, so depending on the needs of the business, not every platform will be relevant for them anyway. Based on my experience, YouTube has a reputation of being under-utilised for businesses. There are millions of people watching videos every day, yet there aren’t as many millions of businesses posting content there. YouTube paid advertising is still relatively cheaper compared to other platforms, which allows more exposure at a lower cost.
Do you see any major changes to the social landscape for small businesses in the future?
I think this this is a good place to quote Peter Drucker, the father of business consulting, who said:
“Because the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two – and only two – basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs. Marketing is the distinguishing, unique function of the business.”
On top of that, we live in a fast-paced world where the latest craze only lasts for not more than a few months. To survive that, small businesses need to focus on mastering a skill called “speed of implementation”. If they have an idea, they need to implement it straight away. The longer they wait, the more doubt will get into their minds, the higher the likelihood of someone else doing it as well.
In your opinion how is the role of women in business changing?
Women are becoming louder in the business environment. We have finally dared to make our voices heard. We are taking a more active role in the business environment, taking higher positions and starting our own businesses. This is a pivotal point as we are setting the benchmark higher for everyone else.
It is refreshing and encouraging to see organisations like Global Woman that promote that.