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Off the Edge : Marketing

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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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...]

Achieving goals takes practice

Practice hitting the target

Where did January go? I’m already staring the middle of February in the face but it feels like Christmas was 5 minutes ago!

For many of us, by the time we get to February the New Year resolutions are history – broken and scattered on the floor. I admit I'm struggling to meet the aspirations I had as 2015 set sail, but this year I am focused on the goals and determined to be kinder to myself if I don’t succeed immediately.

That’s the thing with goals – they are there to inspire us to achieve, but have to be challenging. Only minor goals (such as the January Dryathalon – which I didn’t even attempt by the way) would have been achieved by February.

I need to be prepared to put in the practice if I want to hit the bullseye!

To achieve a goal you need to have a plan

Maybe, like us, you did take stock of your strategies and plans in January. Looked at what you had achieved in 2014. What went well, what didn’t go to plan and, mo [read on...]

How irrational pricing can work for you

Heart price tagIt's peak shopping time and, for some businesses, peak sales time. But there are some interesting findings coming out of recent behavioural studies experiments (mainly US based just because they have so many more consumers!) that it is worth knowing about when you set your prices.

We tend to believe we make rational decisions most of the time. That we are pretty good at weighing up the evidence and making a smart choice. But are we really? Here are just a few of the interesting responses to being presented with different priced choices that you might find of use in your business:

  1. There are, apparently, 3 different attitude-groups that describe customer spending behaviour: 24% will be tightwads, 61% unconflicted (average) and 15% spendthrifts. A small change to the language you use in your pricing can make the tightwads more likely to spend. A trial of the cost of overnight shipping on a DVD compared payment of "a $5 fee" with "a small $5 fee". The second option sold 20% more [read on...]

Overcoming inertia

Overcoming inertiainertia
noun
a tendency to do nothing or to remain unchanged

Inertia is - by definition - a passive state, often with negative connotations. Human beings have evolved with a bias towards preferring the status quo and change can involve a lot of effort. It can be a lot easier just to stick with what you know!

Reading an article about brand loyalty this week, brought it home to me how important it is for marketers to understand the power of inertia to work for them as well as against them.

Inertia means loyal customers

So, it's important to recognise that there are times when inertia can work in your favour, so inertia is not necessarily a negative thing. Maybe you can rely on your customer's inertia to keep them buying from you? In which case why would you want to overcome it?

When it comes to existing customers you do want to encourage that natural tendency towards inertia - not by putting in negative barriers to leaving or switching (such as long contracts with punitiv [read on...]

Social media for B2B SMEs - Don't waste your time

Social media for B2B SMEsWe all know about social media these days.

We're all at it. It's unavoidable.

We all know that it can be a great way to develop relationships and get and keep our brand out there.

We all know we need to be engaged on behalf of our companies.

We simply got to be on social media.

Haven't we?

Most of the businesses I come into contact with are B2B - business to business, they sell products or services to other businesses. Not all of them, but definitely the majority. They are all interested in social media and how it can help them. The problem is, though, that finding examples of successful campaigns run by B2B companies is hard. Finding examples of successful B2B social media campaigns run by SMEs is even harder. I know, I've tried!

Check it out for yourself - try a Google search and see what you can find.

Even when examples are quoted the measure of success is not one I would be happy with. Basically the success is in terms of likes/shares/website visits. Now don't get me wro [read on...]

The 5 Golden Rules of Website Design

5 Golden rules of website designWe've been spending a lot of time recently working on websites. Some sites we've built for client some we've been trying to improve.

It's no surprise that websites take up a lot of our time. Every business has a website these days. Google is the main place buyers research their purchases. If you don't have a website that appears reasonably high up in Google for the thing you do then you are missing out on the opportunity to tell your story to a large community of potential buyers.

The thing about websites though is that although every business has one many of them are not very good. Now I need to be clear here. When I say they are not good I don't mean they look bad, or that they don't have lots of clever functionality. I mean that they don't pull their weight. They don't effectively help the businesses grow.

There are many reasons why this might be the case and I can't address them all in this blog but there are many, many sites that fail in some pretty fundamental areas. Is yo [read on...]

Is outsourced marketing for you?

Yes, no, maybe to outsourced marketingOutsourced marketing is our core business. We promise to take the hassle out of planning and implementing marketing activities, for those businesses who don’t want/need fulltime, in-house expert resource.

Experience of providing this service for the last 7 years has taught me, however, that outsourcing is not for everyone. Here are some of the client issues that we come across regularly and that can make it hard to make outsourcing work:

1. Not staying engaged

By far the biggest problem is a client who, breathing a huge sigh of relief that someone will take away the burden of marketing from them, slowly disengages from the whole process.

Marketing is a critical business function, on which the success of the business depends. If, as the boss/leaders of a business, you abdicate responsibility completely such that any marketing activity that can take place is not linked to the rest of the business plan, then it will fail.

As marketing experts we can only give our best advi [read on...]

5 Essential Rules of Marketing

We’ve just completed another round of training and have had the pleasure to meet and chat about marketing with a wide range of small businesses.

People commonly face the same problems – not enough time and not enough money! They also commonly adopt some of the same habits and misconceptions about marketing. I’ve boiled these down into 5 Essential Rules of Marketing.

When you’re overwhelmed and unsure what to do, take a deep breath and focus on the following:

1.       Always start with the customer

That should be start with, and end with, the customer. The customer that is specific to you, the one that has the problems that you can solve, and will appreciate the value of what you are providing.

Segmentation (splitting the market into smaller groups with common characteristics) means that you can target more effectively and efficiently. You need to be able to describe your ideal customer groups by size, geography, gender, ag [read on...]

Is SEO a high-risk strategy?

Risk taking tightrope walkerLast week I attended a day-long seminar on digital marketing. As always, a day out of the office away from the task-list was a great chance to focus the brain more effectively on different matters. I learned nothing I didn't know already - but it was powerfully wrapped up in a single storyline, and I had the time to think about all the concepts more deeply.

Being about digital marketing there was a lot of talk about websites and a bit about Google rankings - but not as much as you might think.

It's a commonly held belief that to have a successful website (i.e. one that delivers its objectives) you need to be at the top of Google. And of course that makes sense - you need to be found and if everyone's using Google then how else would they find you?

But it's less commonly understood how you get there, although there are plenty of companies to advise you on exactly that - including us of course. The mantra is SEO (search engine optimisation). Trying to learn what factors about yo [read on...]

Impactful Marketing Messages

I gave a presentation at a Channel Chamber event a couple of weeks ago which went down very well. A number of people came up to me afterwards and said how useful it had been. As is often the case with these sort of things, I don't suppose what I was saying was completely new to people. I wasn't deafened by the sounds of scales falling from eyes. Sometimes we fall into bad habits and it's just good to get a reminder of what we should be doing.

Anyway, I offered to document what I'd talked about and send it to them. It occurred to me that others might find it useful and so here it is a blog about ......

impactful marketing messages

See what I did there?

Businesses need A.I.R.

The first thing I want to get across is that just like human beings businesses need AIR.

Attention

Interest

Response

The messages we give about our businesses firstly have to grab the attention of our target market - make them sit up and take notice. Next they have to create interest in what we can do for them and finally they ha [read on...]