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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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If it ain't broke.....

If it ain't broke don't fix itWe've all heard the old adage "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." This strikes me occasionally when I talk to people about their marketing but I was reminded this week how important it is.

I was talking to a woman who as usual was looking for more sales. I asked about things they had done in the past and what worked well and what didn't. She told me that 18 months ago they had used some Google Adwords (pay-per-click) advertising and that had generated quite a lot of enquiries and some substantial sales.

I asked why they stopped and she told me that they were busy enough and didn't want to generate so much business that they couldn't manage it all and start letting people down.

I followed up by asking when sales had started to slow down and was told that it was about 9 month ago. "So did you switch the Adwords campaign back on?" I innocently asked, assuming the answer yes. You guessed it.

"No." came the reply.

"Why not?" I asked slightly confused.

"Well we were spending quite [read on...]

How much should a website cost you?

Website planningYou want a (new) website. But what should you pay? £500? £1,000? £5,000? Does it make sense to try and get away with spending as little as possible or is there another way of looking at it?

In truth you can pay any amount for a website. I've seen ads starting at less than £100, and I know people who have paid tens of thousands (including me when I had those kind of budgets at my disposal). 

The critical question when setting a budget is actually - how much is your website worth to you?

Just Google it

Studies estimate anywhere between 80 and 95% of people now search online before committing to a purchase. That means your online presence (not just the website) is not a trivial matter. 

No matter what market you are operating in a website is a critical component of your marketing strategy, but it can play many different roles:

  • Awareness/education
  • Reputation/positioning
  • Lead generation
  • Direct sales
  • Customer service
  • Customer applications
< [read on...]

Good, cheap, fast - can you be all 3?

Good, cheap, fast

A friend sent me this photo, thinking I might appreciate the sentiment, and I do!

We're always talking about value propositions, i.e. the offer you make to your customers, but this brings home how tricky it can be to meet customer expectations and build a sound, sustainable business. Something has to give!

Stick to your guns

At a networking meeting this morning someone told a tale that illustrates this perfectly. He'd been asked to supply a machine and gave an all-in price that would see it fitted & working perfectly the next day. He was asked to match the price of the competitor that was for delivery only but wisely refused to do so as it would devalue his service and he'd lose all his profit.

The customer went elsewhere - but came back a day later to ask if he could fit the machine he'd just bought. Of course, was the reply, and the price was a premium on the difference the customer thought he'd saved! A lesson learned there I think.

The theory of relativity

Of cours [read on...]

Are You Avoiding Business?

marketing action planIt's been a busy week at The Purple Edge HQ but I've just time for a short blog before the weekend. Short but valuable.

I'm going to address a common theme that we've heard in talking recently to some prospects and we've been addressing with some new clients.

The theme is "You are avoiding business!"

"Who? Me?" I hear you say. Well yes, if you're like most businesses then you are.  It's no good telling me that it's not true. It's pointless going on about how you're working hard to win new customers. If you are like most SMEs (and some larger companies too), you are positively avoiding businesses.

How so? Let me explain with a couple of recent examples:

  1. Company A installs and maintains certain domestic appliances. The manager has a list of clients he has installed appliances for and he admits that he's had no contact with them since the installation.
  2. Company B has successfully grown over recent years but is highly dependant on one large customer. While they are confide [read on...]

More power to your teaspoon

Cup & teaspoonIdeas can come from anywhere, from any conversation or mundane daily happening. Many ideas go as easily as they come, but the trick is to take some action, to spread the word maybe, then ideas can become reality!

A simple illustration

Last week a chance conversation about the trials and tribulations of moving offices - one of which is the difficulty finding the teaspoons amongst the packing - lead to a brainwave for branded promotional items.Teaspoons of course!

How often in your office do the teaspoons go missing? How vital are they to productivity and harmony in the workplace? How grateful would your clients be to receive teaspoons as a gift?

Not that I'm saying no-one had thought of this idea before, but that teaspoons are just a bit out of the ordinary when it comes to branded gifts. We're all used to seeing and receiving the same old things: mugs, pens, mousemats, keyrings, stress balls, fridge magnets, you know what I mean. And the difficulty with unusual is that it can al [read on...]

Dealing with overwhelm - in life & your marketing!

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.

Graham LandiIn 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...]

Let Customers Choose to Buy More

choice in marketingChoice eh! It can do interesting things. I have seen a number of articles recently that have made me think about choice quite a bit and I thought I'd share some of them with you.

You've all probably heard that the second cheapest bottle of wine on a restaurant wine list is often the worst value. Restauranteurs, the idea goes, know that most people won't choose the cheapest (because they don't want to appear stingy) so they price the second cheapest to give them the most margin. I don't know if this is true but I wouldn't be surprised.

Article one was about some medical research that demonstrated that when patients were given a choice of which pain killers to use they reported greater efficacy than when there was no choice.

Article 2 explained that people like to have a choice. Giving people the ability to make a choice increased their motivation, their perceived control, their task performance and their overall happiness. If, however, they were give too much choice they beca [read on...]

The blinkered website owner

Andy Harris, A1 WebStatsThis week we have a guest blogger - Andy Harris of A1WebStats. What Andy doesn't know about driving more of the right traffic to your website is not worth knowing!

Read on for some tips on what you should be doing to understand your web visitors better.

If you’re like 90%+ of other website owners then you’ve got blinkers on.  It’s not a special club to be in – more a club to get out of!

Worked on your website content? Check!

Visible in Google? Check!

Fully understand how people interact with your website? Eyes glaze over.

Analysing website visitor movements, even at a basic level, is a vital activity that the majority of website owners fail to do.  And with that, they fail to gain enough business from their websites.  In short, your view of your website will be blinkered if you’re not taking advantage of website visitors’ data that’s readily available to you.

The basics

Using a free package like Google Analytics, y [read on...]

People - The Forgotten P of Marketing

People the 7th P of marketingIn the good old days there used to be 4Ps of marketing:

  • Product
  • Price
  • Promotion
  • Place

Then some bright spark made up three more that were considered particularly important for services although in reality they affect us all. They are:

  • Process
  • Physical evidence
  • People

That really opened the flood gates and marketing "gurus" far and wide produced their own list of important Ps (the most I've seen is 44 - seriously) that marketers needed to be thinking about.

I like to keep things simple to be honest and I think 7 is quite enough if for no other reason than getting 7 right is hard for most businesses to do without another 37 waiting to cause them grief.

Today I want to talk about one of the 7 Ps. The one that everyone understands but the one which often gets overlooked when people think about their marketing.

Step forward People, the forgotten P of marketing.

The importance of people was brought home to me recently by a TV programme, Back To The Floor, in which [read on...]

The power of controversy

Controversy makes newsWho said "there's no such thing as bad publicity?"

It's clearly nonsense of course - there are some spectacular failures in marketing case history. Stories of companies severely affected by bad publicity: BP, Hoover, Perrier.

But a bit of controversy, on the other hand, can get you a lot more column inches and air time than sticking to the straight and narrow. Just recently Sky Broadband have been in the news having their Bruce Willis ad banned for being misleading. Coca-cola was similarly castigated not so long ago, Ikea was accused of frightening people with its gnomes ad, and Marmite too has been criticised for being insensitive to animal protection organisations.

I've picked up on these in the marketing discussion groups, but they were all featured on major websites, including the BBC. Publicity worth having?

Could it be that some companies actively seek to use the angle of controversy to make their publicity budgets go further?

There is a ad for Dreamscape Networks featuri [read on...]