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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We 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.
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...]
We'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...]
Outsourced 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...]
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...]
Last 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...]
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 ......
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.
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...]
Regular readers of these blogs will know that lately I've been quite calm and measured. I haven't let my hair down and had a good moan about anything for ages.
Well that's about to change.
let me tell you about yesterday.
My partner had booked on to a a 90 minute teleconference run by a marketing guru but had been made a better offer so she suggested I listen in. It sounded like it should be interesting and useful so I agreed. It's always good to keep up-to-date and to hear other people's ideas and interpretations. I'm a firm believer in continuous professional development.
Then I discovered that it was being hosted from San Francisco so it started 8.00 p.m. UK time. "Oh well" I thought. "If I learn one useful thing it will be worth missing the UEFA cup for."
Next I discovered that it was dial-in only - no webcast. "Blimey!" I thought. "How much will a 90 minute call to the US cost?" But still it sounded like it would be worthwhile so I updated my Skype credit, got myself [read on...]
Have you ever thought that getting in the paper would be good publicity for you? Have you had great successes - or struggled? Although it has the attraction of promising to be free, public relations, and more particularly press releases, can be a rollercoaster emotionally to get right!
Public Relations (PR) specialism of marketing. This is the discipline that endeavours to position your brand positively in the mind of the public and particularly important stakeholder groups. There are a number of ways of achieving this but the use of the press and broadcast media communicating positive stories is probably the most common and well understood one for SMEs.
The great thing about news stories is that they can get you coverage without you having to pay for advertising. It's not all good news though. Since you are not paying for the publicity you can't control the message. Many a business has found that its carefully crafted press release has been taken and a completely different a [read on...]
Sometimes my blog is educational, sometimes opinionated, and sometimes meandering thoughts. This is mostly the latter! I've been musing about the biggest challenge that small businesses face. Is it cashflow? Finding new customers? Competition?
All these are undoubtedly challenges, but from working with a large number of small businesses over the past few years (and being one too) I have concluded that the biggest challenge to overcome is the feeling that you have to do everything yourself. Getting over this hurdle can be tough mentally and financially, but from my observation it's the ones that do succeed that go on to build the strongest businesses.
Why do we insist that we have to do it all? A number of reasons:
- We are afraid to trust someone else, even when we know they are better qualified
- We worry that the investment of time to brief/train someone else will be too much of a distraction - it's quicker to do it ourselves!
- We don't have enough money - maybe some day ...[read on...]
We have chickens at home. For a city boy born and raised they are odd creatures but not unpleasant. Obviously the biggest upside, no actually the only upside, of keeping chickens, is the eggs. I love eggs - they are the perfect food. A ready supply of fresh free range eggs is a delight which I can't find the words to describe.
We also discovered that they are a useful source of additional income too. A friend of our takes half a dozen a week and insisted on paying £1.50 for them. That's £6/month which I'm sure you will agree is not to be sniffed at. Especially when the only cost is chicken food which costs quite a small amount, you might almost say it's chicken feed but that would be a bit obvious.
Anyhow I'm sure you are thinking by now: "OK, thanks for the insight into your private life Jim, but what's this got to do with marketing?"
Well I was cooking dinner for my son and his friends tonight (they're in the middle of a rush of 18th birthdays and frankly it's li [read on...]