Off the Edge : Events
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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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...]
"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:
- We have to make sure that those people who want t [read on...]
As a thank you for reading our blogs and newsletters this year we want you to keep on reading as we bring you the marketing version of the 12 Days of Christmas!
It seems only days ago that we were welcoming in 2014 and here we are on the brink of ushering it quietly out of the tradesman's entrance whilst we roll out the red carpet at the front door for 2015.
We'll no doubt have some time over the holiday period, in between searching for creative things to do with left-over turkey and searching through the Quality Street tin for the overlooked green triangle hidden amongst the spurned toffees and fudge, to look forward to the coming year. Look out for a slightly portly and over-indulged blog soon.
But first, we'd like to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a happy and profitable New Year as you have a nip or two of your favourite Christmas tipple and sing along - you know the tune.
The Twelve Marketing Days of Christmas
On the first day of Christmas [read on...]
I read an article today entitled "Why purchasing Email lists is always a bad idea". It was created by Hubspot who are a company I have a lot of time for. They use content marketing extensively and usually it's good quality.
The arguments they used for not using purchased lists briefly are:
- Most reputable email marketing platforms don't let you used paid for lists
- There is no such thing as an email list that's for sale - people with good lists don't sell them
- People on a list you've purchased don't know you/have a relationship with you/want to hear from you.
- Deliverability and your reputation will suffer
The approach they recommend is that you build your list gradually over time through personal contact, search marketing, content marketing and other such "legitimate" methods. It's what is termed 'permission based marketing' - the recipient has given you permission to communicate with them.
The argument for sticking to permission based methods is based on two main thing [read on...]
We've had a busy few weeks, working on our clients and in meetings, putting together proposals for new clients and creating a marketing seminar which we ran today.
Now, with a bit of breathing space, I just wanted to share with you a theme that pulls a lot of this activity together.
The seminar we ran today was aimed at explaining why many businesses don't get results from marketing, describing critical factors for success, and outlining a marketing system that is very successful at building more business. It was a half day session which we ran twice. The feedback was fantastic and I'm sure people went away with something they can use in their own businesses tomorrow!
Anyway, in the morning session we had quite a debate about measuring marketing effectiveness. There were a couple of people on the seminar who, while not cynical about marketing, were suspicious about the value because it is difficult to measure marketing effectiveness.
To be fair they have a point. Marketi [read on...]
Have you ever said anything that you thought was really funny but no one laughed?
It happened to me last week. I know you'll think that odd 'cause you know I'm a funny guy, right, but it's true.
Here's what happened. We were at a friends house for Sunday lunch. We had an excellent meal and a glass or two of wine and the conversation ranged far and wide. At one point our hostess talked about an ex-boyfriend who was a nice chap but completely off the wall. He was very creative but easily bored and as a result had quite a chequered career history. When our hostess met him he was a magician but he had previously sold insurance and been a postman and a fireman.
At this point I said (prepare yourself because this is funny - parrot sketch funny), "Blimey, a magician, a fireman and a postman. What was his name, Mr Benn?"
Now I'm sure that those of you of a similar vintage to myself will find this hysterical. The assembled throng however were not impressed. Rather than the gales [read on...]
This week we bring you a slightly different perspective on how you can improve the way you manage marketing your business - by better managing yourself. Our guest blogger is Graham Landi of Graham Landi Wellbeing. Graham is a professional Counsellor, Coach and Hypnotherapist with a deep interest in people and the things that they do. He writes a weekly blog on mental wellbeing (that I really look forward to receiving) and works with businesses and private clients to drive positive change. Visit www.grahamlandiwellbeing.co.uk to find out more.
In business we are expected to be in control and on the ball at all times. Whether we are employees or business owners the drive for efficiency, diligence and ever expanding workload is paramount. These demands are significant and boy does it feel like it. In marketing, to do our best work we need space in our mind, the perspective of our customer, the creativity to hold onto those who value us and byp [read on...]
I didn't think the creature really existed.
I thought it was an exaggeration used for effect.
I thought everyone knew the dos and don'ts.
I was wrong!
At a networking event I attended recently (I won't say which to avoid upsetting anyone) I met the nightmare networker. If you ever read anything about "How to network effectively", or listen to someone talk about the subject, they always talk about them. The card thrusters. The salesmen who get straight to the pitch. The ones who drop you immediately they realise you're not an obvious prospect.
Well this person was all of them in one perfectly constructed social disaster!
I noticed her when she arrived - perfectly professional in a suit and with a notepad and briefcase she straight away struck up a conversation with someone across the room. I was chatting in a small group. When I next looked up she was talking to someone else. A couple of minutes later a friend arrived so I went over to say hello and passed her talking to another person. "Blimey!" I thought, "She's getting round the room". A few minutes later she was with someone else.
It wasn't long before it was my turn. I was talking about football to a nice chap from Charlton when I happened to glance round and saw her stood at my side. Without so much as a by your leave she jumped in "Hello, I'm The Predator from Widget Co". I told her my name which she took as all the invitation she needed to thrust her card at me. "Oh, thanks," I replied, "Would you like one of mine?". She paused (maybe she wasn't all that bothered) before holding out her hand. She then went on to ask me what I did. I told her. To which she replied, "Are you looking for any Widgets?" I explained that I wasn't and that was it, she was off.
The whole interaction lasted at most 10 seconds.
Later I was talking to a very nice lady from a design company when I noticed The Predator standing about 5 feet away staring at us. Again my look was taken as an invitation. I watched her then run through exactly the same ritual with my new friend. Again the interaction lasted about 10 seconds. When she left we had a bit of a giggle about her. Interestingly we were then joined by another lady from the same industry with whom we had a really nice chat. I know what she does, where she does it, how business has been, what her hobby is, where she got married, and where she went for her honeymoon. At the end I asked for her card.
If I ever do need some Widgets guess which one I'll be contacting?
The next time I looked up The Predator had left. I reckon she'd been there about 30 minutes and had got round the whole room of maybe 35 people. Incredibly efficient but not terribly effective - unless of course her objective was to make her company the last one you would ever contact for Widgets!
There's no doubt about it, e-everything has transformed the way we do business. We have email, e-newsletters, ecommerce - and lots of things that don't begin with e but are still electronic: websites, blogs, social media, video, laptops, smartphones, etc.
All these bring enormous benefits in terms of speed, ease of use, ease of reach and cost-effectiveness. But do you ever feel we are losing our sense of balance? Are we in danger of becoming too seduced by the charms of the e-world?
It was Christmas that made me think about this a bit harder. Like many people, in recent years we have turned to emails to send out cheery messages of glad tidings and great joy at Christmas. And we're on the receiving end of a fair few. But are they a good substitute for the traditional, hand-written card? I decided "not in all cases" so this year we took a step back into the dark ages and sent some of our contacts cardboard by snail mail!
Here's my 3 reasons why:
- It's more personal - the email versions are obviously sent as volume mailings, personalised by machine if at all. I like the idea that someone has taken the trouble to write me a card.
- It's more visible - email is fleeting, transient. Seen for seconds and deleted. I love the decorative effect of Christmas cards - having them on display is all part of the fun.
- It's bucking a trend - if everyone else is opting for email then sending a real card stands out and gets you noticed. And I don't really buy the 'better for the environment' argument - if it wasn't cheaper and easier than writing and sending a card most people wouldn't give a Christmas fig about the environment!
Sending greetings by email clearly has a role to play - especially when the message makes best use of the medium, with a animation or game for example. I love email communications. But my thoughts about Christmas cards can also be carried over into our choices about marketing communications for the rest of the year too. Especially when it comes to adding a personal touch and standing out from the crowd.
If you spend a lot of time at a computer, in the e-world, then it is easy to assume everyone else does too. This is a fatal mistake - as we've said before, you are not your client. You need to be aware of the preferences and habits of your target audience. Mixing up your media, integrating the more traditional methods with the new, will give you more opportunities to be seen and get known.
One size does not fit all!
What do you think about sending and receiving cards vs emails? And do you think differently if you're male rather than female? Another factor to consider in your targeting of marketing communications!