Author Archive

Supported Feature

What do you do when a media company calls to say that they have been instructed by your biggest and most important client to produce a special feature about them and they’d like you to support it with advertising?

This type of supported feature has been around for a long time and we’ve all either been asked to support a client or have been approached by a magazine to suggest one to our suppliers. They can be useful promotional opportunities and helpful in building good relationships with key business partners.

That’s all fine and dandy, but do you take the approach from the magazine at face value and pay for the advert etc or do you, just by chance, double check to see if it is a legitimate approach?

Would you say what you tweet?

Is twitter the last bolt hole of the coward? A radical question perhaps but one I believe warrants investigating.

Market Strategy

Has the marketing world been turned on its head or are businesses so desperate that they are chasing up and down every route to market in the hope of a sale?

Every marketing strategy put forward over the last 20 years has been driven by market segmentation and the narrowing of marketing channels. The aim has been, and should be, to focus on a key target market, identify how to communicate with it and make the message so irresistible that customers cannot refuse the offer.

Personal opinion v business opinion

Living in Nottinghamshire and being in public relations I could not help watching the recent Channel 4 series, Coppers. I was keen to see how the programme portrayed our local police force and how the public reacted to it as well.

Myth or Reality

Two separate but connected events combined this week to get me thinking about a politically generated myth and a political PR agenda that was reinvented; some would say stolen.

Poor public relations

I wonder if there is any other service provider that has such a “customers must play by our rules” attitude as that I recently experienced with Fitness First?

Five quick communication tips

Here are five quick communication tips for new businesses that, from recent experience of talking to very unhappy customers, more established service providers seem to have forgotten.

  1. Do invest in an answerphone. It may seem an incredibly obvious thing to say and do but I’m still amazed at the number of business owners/managers that think it’s fine to let customer hang on the end of a phone until they lose the will to live. Customers do not want your product or service only between 10am and 4.30pm. Make sure you have some way they can leave you a message so you can get back to them – or risk losing them to a competitor.

Customer Service

Here’s a small challenge for you – see if you can nominate a pub, in fact any business that has the same level of customer service as The Salmon Tail in Stratford upon Avon.

Earlier this month we were visiting Stratford to see the RSC perform A Midsummer’s Night Dream, which we saw on the Friday night and a great show it was too. As England were opening their World Cup campaign the next day against Argentina we set about looking for somewhere to watch the game. On the way back from town we dropped in at one of Stratford’s few remaining “real” pubs, The Salmon Tail on Evesham Road, on the way out to the racecourse just before the cemetery where Maria Corelli is buried.

What I got out of Business Boost III

Last night I had the pleasure of listening to two very different but equally inspiring speakers at the third Business Boost event; a series of seminars/networking events organised to raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Support.

What’s behind your website?

A colleague of mine recently asked me for advice on social media strategy which resulted in us exposing some serious flaws in her company’s on-line presence which left me wondering – just what lies behind most websites and how effective are they?

10 top tips to make life easier when you’re setting up a new business

Running a small business, especially in the early days can be a very lonely place to be so here’s ten top tips to make life easier-

1) Join a networking organisation in your area. Develop a core group of other people you can trust and use each other as mentors – it works.

2) Invest in Customer Information Management software – it will save you weeks of time and make your operation run smoothly.

3) Take nothing for granted with your IT. Check your spam and junk files regularly – I know of at least one company that lost potential orders by not doing so.

4) PR is better than advertising. Develop links with one or two key journalists in your field and talk to them about what’s happening at your business – too many people hide their successes.

5) Organic growth is good, but proactive prospecting is better. Don’t rely on people coming to you. Decide who you want as customers and make contact with them.

6) Be persistent. 80% of people stop making new customer calls after the fourth/fifth attempt. 80% of successful new sales calls are made at the sixth/seventh attempt; do the maths!

7) Value your staff as much as your customers. Without either you will not be in business for long

Lord Sugar and the Telegraph corner shop

As a marketeer I’m always on the lookout for inspirational ideas and stories about how businesses and business people are successful in marketing their products and services.  Few business people will fail to recognise the face of Alan Sugar, even fewer will fail to acknowledge the value of reading his autobiography – What you see is what you get. I’m currently about half the way through it and thoroughly enjoying the read. Apart from it giving me an insight into the man, it is also challenging a key tenet of my belief about the value of low pricing as part of a marketing strategy. The Amstrad strategy was always built on “stack them high and sell them cheap” and without a doubt it was a successful ploy; the company made millions that way. In my marketing workshops I advise small and medium sized businesses to avoid this strategy and to focus on quality and customer care because only the big boys with massive buying power can win in a low price war; it’s a well documented marketing theory and one that’s easily understood. Once the undercutting begins, only the player with the biggest and deepest pockets can win out.