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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Ideas 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...]
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...]
Choice 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...]
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.
Using a free package like Google Analytics, y [read on...]
In the good old days there used to be 4Ps of marketing:
Then some bright spark made up three more that were considered particularly important for services although in reality they affect us all. They are:
- Physical evidence
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...]
Who 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?
Did you watch the BBC Three series 'The Call Centre'? I've got them recorded and have only watched a couple but Nev, the call centre owner, is a fascinating character. He has some unorthodox tactics, but the fundamental principles he uses to approach the motivation of his team seem to have merit.
To produce not just good but great results you need to feel positive and energised about the role you're carrying out. And working in a call centre, where you are continually abused or simply hung up on time after time, has got to be one of the hardest jobs ever. If you can't handle rejection then you won't last 5 minutes.
His motto is: "Some will. Some won't. So what? Next!"
A great philosophy that many of us can benefit from. And it got me thinking about other fears, or limiting beliefs, that stop us achieving our full potential in business.
Fear of rejection is common among many of us engaged in sales and marketing. But what about some of these other fears:
- FAILURE - enough [read on...]
Yes it is. And I'll say that every time you ask me (see what I did there?).
The question arose a couple of nights ago down the pub. Yes I am sad enough to talk business down the pub on a Friday night. In my defence I was in the pub to introduce two friends, one wanted some animated cartoons to use in promotional activities for a new business venture; the other is Walt Disney. OK, he isn't, but he is an artist who does really cool cartoons on the side.
The reason the consistency debate came up was that the artist had come along with an idea already prepared which as it happens my friend really liked. We talked about how the idea could be used in a variety of ways and he then said that he would also like a really simple stick man type thing, and also ... Sharon (who was also present) and I looked at each other and simultaneously said "No!" The friend was clearly a little put out by our reaction - he wanted a stick man. "Look if you want a stick man then have a stick man but ha [read on...]
Continuing this little mini series on websites, I thought I'd share with you the 5 things you need to do if you want your website to perform well in searches in Google. These hints don't come from Google of course, life is not so straightforward, but luckily there are organisations such as Moz and SearchMetrics who make it their business to study what 'seems' to be working!
In most cases these are things that you can very easily take control of yourself and can see results from pretty quickly. Remember, Google is just trying to give the searcher the best experience - which means being able to find result that meets their needs - i.e. results that are very relevant to the search term entered. You should similarly be bearing the user (your customer) in mind when you are constructing and managing your website!
1. Select keywords carefully
Doing the research into which keywords people are using is your first and most important task. You can use the Google Keyword Tool (just Google i [read on...]
Sorry! I know it's hard to take but unfortunately it's true.
No one cares about you.
No one cares about your business.
No one cares about your growth.
No one cares about your history.
No one gets up in the morning wondering how you're doing and whether business is good.
Why am I saying these horrible things? Why am I bringing you down? Well the fact is I lied a little bit. Someone does care - me! That's why I'm breaking this terrible news to you. It's important that you know because once you realise that no one cares about you, then you can start to make people really love you!
OK grab a tissue and let me explain.
We've been running some training courses recently and in preparation we've been looking at a lot of promotional material of local businesses. We saw some good things and some not so good things. One thing that we saw time and time again on these websites or in these brochures was a fixation with "I" or "We". I'm sure you know what I mean "We are a hi [read on...]