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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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...]

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...]

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...]

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...]