Off the Edge

Off the Edge is a marketing blog  written by Sharon Wilding and Jim Hunt of THE PURPLE EDGE and occasional featured guest authors. It aims to provide thought-provoking and useful content on marketing and business issues. Please feel free to comment on our musings, and if there are subjects you want to discuss further then please get in touch.

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Marketing isn't wacky!

Marketing is not wacky!I was invited to connect with someone on LinkedIn the other day. Nothing unusual about that I hear you say, and there isn't. The interesting thing is what happened after I accepted the request.

When you accept a connection these days LinkedIn takes you to a page where it shows you a load of other people you might know and with whom you might connect. Still nothing odd. I usually have a quick scroll around this page to see if I can spot anyone that I know, or would like to. It was then that I saw something that made me stop.

In all honesty it wasn't that unusual but at that moment in time for some reason I had a moment of clarity.

I'd seen similar things loads of times. In fact I see them all the time and have done for years but I never thought about them in the way I did at that moment.

"What on earth was it Jim?" I hear you say. "What could you possibly see on LinkedIn that would make you sit down and write a blog about it?"

Well it was this. I saw a photograph of [read on...]

Top 10 Product Naming Tips

Choosing a product name

I'm working with a client who is launching a new product next year. They know what it is, what it will do, who it's targeted at, etc. But they are having a devil of a job choosing a name for the thing.

The product does something they already do for big businesses but for a mass market. I can't say too much - secret squirrel and all that!

Obviously they've asked my opinion, and obviously I've given it to them, but I don't think they like it 'cause they are still chewing it over!

A very long shortlist

They have a long list of ideas developed through brainstorming sessions with the team. Everytime I speak to them the list seems to get longer rather than shorter.

Some of the names they've chosen include the function of the product which is not necessarily a bad thing. Some are Latin words that have unusual spellings, which is a bad thing. A very bad thing indeed.

Firstly, people will continually get the spelling wrong when they are trying to find it on- [read on...]

Is Marketing essential for success?

The secret of success

Strange that, having spent so long trying to show clients how much more there is to marketing than promotions, I find myself once again running a marcomms (marketing communications) team! It’s a great role, but I do sometimes find it a challenge to stick to my knitting in marketing (read marcomms).

If you´re a regular reader of this blog you´ll know already – we believe marketing is the most important function in business, not just about making things pretty. Working with businesses large and small over many years, however, has taught me that marketing is often relegated to the ´soft and fluffy´, the ´window dressing´ rather than being seen as critical to success.

Nonetheless, even when running a marcomms team you need to know that the messages you are communicating are built on solid ground or all your good efforts will be for nothing when the customers find you out!

Who needs marketing anyway?

Recently [read on...]

Christmas is coming!

Christmas is coming

It's summer - nearly Christmas!

It's July. The weather might lead you to conclude differently, but it's the middle of the British summer. Flowers are in bloom. Bees are buzzing around. French ferry workers are striking, no doubt air traffic control will soon follow suit. Schools have broken up and the kids are probably already bored. Everything you'd expect of a good old British summer. Including the first email pinging into my inbox advertising Christmas events at a local hotel - Christmas party nights £29.95 if you're interested.

A bit early you might think. I get a little annoyed when the shops pipe out Christmas carols in November. I'm certainly not trying to decide between the turkey and the fish for my Christmas dinner in July.

I accept though that I might not be typical, some of you might be dusting off your baubles as I write. Certainly some people might be efficiently planning the office party determined not to miss out on the top hot spot again this year.

When [read on...]

Do you have a personal brand?

Who am I? Personal Branding

Jim’s post of a couple of weeks back about getting on and doing stuff brought to mind a discussion many years ago, back in my BT days, about ‘personal brand’.

The exercise was designed to help us, as management professionals, understand what makes us stand out from our colleagues. We were asked to identify our values, what we were known for and, importantly whether that matched with our aspirations.

I was rather deflated at the time to settle on ‘getting things done’ as a key element of my personal brand. It didn’t sound as exciting as being ‘the ideas person’, or ‘the life and soul of the party’.

Have a Sharon Day – and get things done!

Over the years, however, I’ve come to take more pride in my ability to get things done and in being recognised as a master of doing (let’s take it as read for this discussion that I’m always doing the right things). My husband’s team even coined the phra [read on...]

Exhibition Time

It's show time

Next Tuesday (7th July) the Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce are holding the annual Kent B2B Conference and Show at the Ashford International Hotel.

Hopefully the backlog of traffic prevented from crossing the Channel by the Calais strikers will have been able to move on and Operation Stack will have been lifted. If it hasn't then there may be fewer business people there than normal but on the upside perhaps more lorry drivers seeking a stimulating distraction from a lorry cab in 40 degree heat.

Anyway, as we're coming up to an exhibition I thought it might be useful to offer some advice for those exhibiting. Too often businesses take an exhibition stand and put quite a bit of effort, not to mention budget, into the stand and the give handouts (and of course the freebies) without really thinking too much about the process. How will they engage with people? How will they qualify leads? How will they follow-up?

I could produce an article that would address these issues but in a [read on...]

You know what you need to do

Do it

"I know what I should be doing. I need to get on and do it."

Oh if ever a sentence captured the most fundamental issue facing so many businesses, this is the sentence.

It could probably be written on the gravestone of many failed businesses and it will probably be the epitaph for many businesses struggling right now.

But is it really as simple as that? Is marketing just a case of getting on and doing what you already know you should be doing?

Well lets start with what we know - things that apply to all businesses:

  • Not everyone wants to or can buy what we're selling
  • Those who do or may do probably don't want to buy right now (right this minute)
  • We usually don't know when they will want to buy
  • There are other people offering similar things to us
  • To get them to buy from us rather than someone else we need to give them a good reason

Given these facts of business life it would be pretty easy to conclude the following:

  1. We have to make sure that those people who want t [read on...]

The #1 sin in content marketing Ė mea culpa!

I will not do it again

I’m just home from a day’s training in the latest in digital marketing strategy – and I’m racked with guilt over having committed the number 1 sin in content marketing. What’s that you ask?


Jim and I have been as bad as each other. We have not posted in our blog for months! It’s hard to believe, let alone admit, but in 2015 we have only published new content 3 times. Did you miss us, or not notice because there is so much other content to get through?

Of course we can list lots of excuses – chiefly being too busy working on rolling out client marketing projects – but that wouldn’t really wash with me if I was sitting in front of myself as a coach. It was a steady decline from a regular once a week, to every other week, to once a month … then stop.

It’s just unforgiveable.

Creating new content, publishing regularly, on multiple platforms (websites and social media), addin [read on...]

One to One Personalised Marketing should be the norm for all businesses. So why arenít more companies stepping up?

Our guest blogger this week is Caroline Wilson, from Commsbox.

one-to-one marketingPersonalised marketing campaigns driven by online data collection are fast becoming a key consideration for marketing your business online.

According to Digital Marketing Magazine* a study by Teradata showed that 90% of marketers, want to embrace one-to-one personalisation. Marketing automation, the ability to collect data via your website and provide automated and personalised responses, is a key enabler for this important trend in 2015.

However, it is still early days in terms of uptake of this relatively new technology, particularly in the UK. In this blog, I take a look at the key factors affecting take-up of marketing automation.

What are the benefits?

The benefits of marketing automation are clear. A structured marketing automation campaign enables companies to reach out to their potential audience, capture customer data and then tailor future messages and offerings to the individual interests of that custome [read on...]

The businesses who missed the point

MarketingI know we're well into 2015 now but I'm going to say it anyway. New year - same problems.

Regular readers of my blogs will know that I am prone to a rant or two, so won't be surprised to hear that I've been banging my head against a brick wall already in 2015. I would pull my hair out if I had any. I'm told that my smooth cranium is a genetic trait rather than a result of too frequent frustrations but, well, I don't know...

"What is it this time?" I hear you say. "What is the cause of this frustration and banging of head?" Well sadly it's nothing new.

Today, dear reader, a tale of two businesses that missed the point.

As usual, no names no pack drill and, as they say at the start of all the best movies, any similarity between this tale and real life businesses should be considered coincidental (despite the fact that they are real and if you think you know who it is please keep it to yourself).

So the first business is a start-up in the entertainment sector - in the broade [read on...]