April 10, 2017 3:00 pm
For any business, marketing management is one of the most important aspects of the day to day running of your business. It is also one of the most complicated for people who aren’t marketers and often neglected. Typically businesses open centred on the skill of one or 2 people, for example, when a new florist shop opens, the owner is usually a qualified florist (rather than a qualified marketing professional). At Ketchup, we believe that a clear marketing plan is crucial to the longevity of your business.
It is essential for the growth of any business to have a marketing strategy to attract new customers and make people aware that you exist and then to remind them to buy from you. Marketing also allows you to understand your customer better as you learn what marketing works better for you, and gives you an excellent opportunity to communicate with your customers.
Marketing management involves managing the whole marketing aspect of the business. It means planning, executing, reviewing and analysing the effectiveness of a campaign, keeping up to date with the online marketing efforts. Marketing managers must understand customers, be creative, meet deadlines and also do effective marketing! It is a big task and one that can have a significant difference on the effectiveness of your business.
This is why marketing management is so important. There are many aspects that need to be updated, added, co-ordinated or reviewed at any time, as well as overseeing a single project as well as ongoing campaigns.
A marketing manager will usually work with a team of marketers – including copy writers, website designers, digital marketing experts, publishers, PR agencies, printers etc. as well as having to communicate to the board of directors or business owners.
Whilst it is useful to be able to perform well all aspects of the marketing tasks, the skill set of being a marketing manager is a little different to that of a marketer. It is more about organisation, communication and cooperation.
With so many different skills needed both in the management and in the execution of the marketing plan, many businesses chose to use the services of an integrated marketing agency to ensure consistency and return on investment.
Ketchup is owned by Michelle Jone a qualified marketer with over 20 years of experience, our team also include fully qualified strategists, copy writers, graphic designers and web build experts, view the team here.
For more information about marketing management get in touch today.
March 20, 2017 10:18 am
Marketing Relevance: who is your audience and why should they care?
Knowing your target market is key, and it is important you know your clients well; where do they shop, what are their hobbies, what kind of lifestyle do they lead? At Ketchup, we refer to this as knowing your ‘Janet and Johns’, and having this kind of information enables you to think about who your customers are and what kinds of products or services you can offer them specifically, which in turn allows you to create campaigns that appeal to this group of people.
What is your marketing message?
This is something we have discussed previously and is vital, as you need to not only target the right people, but also say something relevant to them and how they interact with your business. For example, you wouldn’t identify young professionals as your target audience then offering them a 20% discount on over 60’s health insurance. When planning campaigns, consider what is important to the person you are trying to reach.
When are you trying to tell them?
This is a key point for businesses with seasonal services or products, as Marketing these at the wrong time can lead to disappointing results. For example, a wedding shop owner will consider when wedding fayres are on and what months are most popular for events, scheduling a campaign for when brides are likely to be looking for dresses.
Where are they?
Understanding the geography in which clients live and work is essential and links back to understanding your target audience. If the majority of your customers live in one area, advertising in the local magazine is likely to be more effective than random location selection.
How are you telling them?
What kind of form your marketing takes can make a big difference to how well received your marketing message is. Some clients will prefer reading a glossy magazine to the local papers, others will engage more with Facebook advertising as opposed to a leaflet through their door.
As you will have noticed, all the above are linked. Gaining knowledge about your customers helps ensure Marketing campaigns remain relevant to them and so are more effective.
If you want relevant Marketing campaigns produced by experts, contact Ketchup on 0330 088 9277, or use or contact form here.
March 2, 2017 10:37 am
When it comes to the effective marketing of a business, one of the most important things that you can do is have a plan or strategy. Without a plan or strategy, it is impossible to coordinate all of the aspects of marketing that are important and you will end up with a mess that doesn’t have any impact.
An integrated marketing strategy involves looking at each aspect of marketing and coordinating it all to create one big marketing machine, which runs in line with a business’s branding and specific campaigns.
Marketing always starts with research, and this means that marketers are the best people to help in designing new products or services. They are always aware of the general climate in your field as well as what your competitors are doing, where and why.
Market research also gives businesses a good idea of how much things cost, and therefore can give important information about how much a business should be charging for a product or service. Likewise, with buyer habits, where to sell and who to sell to.
All businesses need to have an effective marketing strategy, and the main focus around a marketing strategy is to grow awareness of a company brand, as well as developing confidence and trust in a brand or business amongst consumers.
For the effective marketing of any business, there are a number of different marketing channels which must be employed. A business may want to use offline channels such as TV, printed media or radio, as well as online with websites, pay per click, or social media. It is clear, that with so many channels, a multi-faceted approach is needed.
And this is where marketing strategy comes in. A well designed strategy will coordinate all of the different medias and channels to create an effective marketing campaign giving the best results for a company. A bad marketing strategy can also have a bad effect on a company’s reputation, so it is important that it is done properly.
One important part of marketing strategies which is evolving in front of our very eyes is the effect that increased marketing online in promoting engagement and two-way conversation between businesses and their customers. It is changing the way that we market our businesses as we are requiring more interaction. People no longer want to be told what to buy. They want to buy from the people who give them importance.
Another impact of the internet is that businesses now have competitors from all around the world, not just from your local town and this really needs to be taken into account when planning a marketing strategy.
Just like any finely tuned, effective and smooth running ship, you need to have a goal or destination, and then you can work out how you’re going to get there through a number of different strategies. The marketing of both specific marketing campaigns and general campaigns needs to be coordinated across all platforms whilst always having the overall goals in mind, and this is why marketing strategy is so important.
For more information about marketing strategy, get in touch today.
June 5, 2015 10:17 am
As the saying goes, knowledge is power, and nothing could be further from the truth when it comes to your business and attracting customers. A large part of carrying out effective marketing involves carrying out research and gathering information on everything from new techniques to your competitors and customers.
We truly are spoiled today because getting access to useful data and information is easier than ever before. The internet and the willingness of companies to share valuable data and insights as part of their content marketing campaigns means that we have no excuse not to know our marketplace inside out.
So, as a business what kind of research should you be carrying out and where can you find this information? The team at Ketchup have put together their top tips.
- Competitor Research
If you don’t know everything that you can about your competitors then you are potentially missing out on vital opportunities. Knowing your competitors inside out not only allows you to stay one step ahead, but what your competitors are up to can give you access to the next big idea for your marketing. Focusing on what your competitors and the market leader are doing well and then improving on that is the best way to remain a key player in your marketplace.
How do I find out more about my competitors?
- Websites – if your competitor has a good website then the likelihood is that it will be full of useful information about them as a company and the products and services that they offer
- Social media – social media platforms are a fantastic way to find out more about what your competitors are saying and how the marketplace is responding, take time to monitor their most active accounts on a daily or weekly basis
- News and alerts – setting up Google Alerts for your key competitors will show you how they are being talked about on other platforms, for example, are they guest blogging and getting positive results, are customers writing good or bad reviews about their products or services, are they receiving positive or negative press etc…
- Customer Research
How can you provide your customers with the right products and services and craft the right marketing messages if you don’t know who your customers are and what they want. We can’t be everything to everyone no matter how hard we try, so identifying your ideal customers, finding out exactly what they need from your products and services and the most effective ways to communicate with them is the recipe for success. A key ingredient for that recipe is customer research.
How do I find out more about my customers?
- Internet research – once you have identified who your ideal customers are, take the time to find out where they hang out online, what blogs do they read, websites do they visit, events do they go to etc… The internet can be a great way to build up a more complete picture of your target market.
- Surveys – if you want to know more about what your customers want and need from you, ask. A short online survey is a fantastic way to get direct answers to your questions both from existing and potential customers. There are a wide range of free online survey tools out there to help too, it’s never been easier to get feedback.
- Interaction online/building a community – businesses across all industries need to build a relationship with their customers and potential customers to be successful. Much of this comes from interaction and building a community, whether that’s online, offline, or a mixture of the two. Posting regular useful content across your social media channels is a great way to build and nurture this relationship, email marketing can support this too. Regular contact and useful content are key. The better the relationship you build, the more you will find out about your customers.
- Social media – honestly, social media platforms are information gold mines when it comes to finding out more about your customers. They can also spark marketing ideas based on exactly what your customers are saying that they want. Follow trending hashtags and topics that are appealing to your target market to find out more about what they are saying.
Taking the time to research your competitors and customers can pay dividends in terms of increasing sales and becoming a front runner in your marketplace.
If you would like some support in understanding your market, the team at Ketchup Marketing can help. Contact us today on 0330 088 9277, or complete our online enquiry form.
May 21, 2015 8:27 am
When QR codes were first launched businesses went crazy, adding them to everything that they could. However, the excitement has now died down and people have moved on to the next big thing.
You still see QR codes around but actually, I think that we have gone to the other extreme and we under-use what can be a great additional feature to any printed piece of marketing collateral.
What are QR codes?
QR codes are a way to make your printed marketing collateral more interactive and they are a very handy tool for getting people to visit your website. Essentially QR codes are a little like the bar codes used in shops. They can be scanned by a smartphone or tablet, this then takes you to a web page of your choice, it could be a specific page on your website, or even a social media account.
Benefits of QR codes
As previously mentioned, QR codes are a great way to add some interactivity to printed materials, they also offer other benefits;
- Encourage further action – printed materials are still a fantastic way to tell people more about your products and services, and they are still an effective marketing tool. However, the addition of a QR code offers an easy to follow call to action.
- Allow you to point people in the direction of targeted information – the printed material that you give to your customers can still only tell them so much about the products and services that you offer. The addition of a QR code can encourage people to view further information, and even visit a page where they can purchase the product there and then.
- Gets people onto your website – let’s face it, today we want to encourage as many people as we can to visit our website. This used to be achieved by adding the website address to you printed materials, which meant that the holder of your flyer or brochure had to actively type the website address into their browser. This may seem like a small thing but it meant effort on the part of your potential customer. Now they simply scan the code and end up on the exact page that you want them to view.
- Save on printing costs – with QR codes, you can offer more in-depth information without having to increase the size of your printed collateral
Some ideas for using QR codes
If you would like to try using QR codes as part of your printed materials, here are some ideas to help you to get started;
- Business Cards – adding a QR code that points to your LinkedIn or professional online profile to your business card is a great way to offer people the opportunity to find out more about you.
- Brochures – people are often put off from reading thick company brochures. With QR codes you can reduce the amount of information offered to just enough to get the reader interested enough to scan the QR code and find out more information
- eGuide/Whitepapers – if you want to offer people access to further information about a topic, maybe even point them towards specific facts and figures, case studies etc…, the QR code is a perfect way to do this and avoids overwhelming your readers with too much information/a War and Peace size document
- Point your QR code to a specific offer, sign up, or purchasing page – the QR code makes it easier for the readers of your printed material to sign up to your mailing list, or take advantage of a special offer by purchasing online via a dedicated QR code
For more help with the design and production of your printed materials, contact the team of expert designers at Ketchup today on 0330 088 9277, alternatively, complete our online contact form.
April 28, 2015 8:06 am
The main objective of online advertising for any business is to increase awareness and drive people to look at what you can offer them. Advertising online can attract visitors to your website with the click of a button and in many cases, business owners can use this to accurately measure the amount of people that are enticed by their ads. When you know where to advertise, what successful online advertising means to you, and how your ads should be designed, you should have a combination that will increase your profits. So, how do you successfully advertise online?
- Find out what works for you – There are so many platforms and options offered that you could spend your entire budget on online advertising alone. To narrow down the best websites and platforms for you to use, you need to know where your audience is. Put yourself in their shoes and brainstorm what they would be searching for when coming across your advertisement.
- Set your objectives and measure results – As with all marketing campaigns, you need to know what you want to achieve. What will make your online advertisement a success for your business and how will you measure the results? One of the key benefits of advertising online is the ability to see how many people viewed or clicked on your ad, so you can see just how effective it has been. If people seeing your ad alone is a classification of success then you need to set that as an objective beforehand.
- Invest in the right design – Wherever you decide to advertise on the internet, the design of your online ad is crucial to attracting the right people. Anyone can produce an ad that has the right details, but it needs to catch the viewer’s eye enough so that they will follow your call to action. Sometimes there can be so many ads on any given website that consumers are subconsciously training themselves to ignore them so you need to stand out. Hiring a designer costs money, but the rewards should more than cover what you spend.
- Social media – Taking advantage of social media, and the online advertising options offered by the platforms that are relevant to your business, is a really effective way to target the right people. Not only can you get people to follow you so that they receive future promotional messages, but you can heavily drill down into your target market and tailor the advert specifically to that group. This can lead to higher levels of success at a fraction of the cost of some of the other online advertising options that are available.
Compared with traditional advertising, online advertising can be much quicker, much more efficient, and much more successful. Whether you want to hook new customers, increase website traffic, or keep existing customers returning for more, the internet is a wonderful and ever evolving tool to use.
If you are looking for support and the right team to help you make your online advertising activity a success, contact Ketchup today on 0330 088 9277, or complete our online form. We’ll have online advertising working for you in no time.
April 22, 2015 8:02 am
Everyone loves a bargain, that’s why most businesses will put on special offers and discounts for new and existing customers and the majority of the time, if done correctly, they are a huge success. It’s the perfect way to encourage people to try or repeat purchase your products and services.
However, many small businesses don’t know how to use special offers to their advantage. It’s easy to make common mistakes when it comes to producing and marketing offers, discounts, and freebies. If people don’t take up your offers, or you are constantly giving away your profits, at some point you may get so frustrated that you give up entirely. Here are some pointers for getting the best out of offers and special deals for your products and services.
- Make sure your customers aren’t waiting for offers – If you have offers and discounts on too often then you run the risk of customers holding off on their purchase until the next bargain. This means that you’ll potentially have long periods where people aren’t buying, or be left with very little profit and a customer base that isn’t loyal to you. If you’re going to give your customers special deals, calculate what you can actually afford to give away first and how often you should be marketing special offers. Be strategic, not desperate.
- Think outside of the box – Some companies tend to have sales or put on offers at the exact same time of year so it becomes easy for customers to predict when they will get the best deals. Why not do something a bit different, and at a different time to your competitors? It will get you noticed and attract new customers.
- Make profit, don’t lose it – If you are too generous when putting on special offers you can actually lose money, make sure that you are still benefiting as a business and that you are still taking a profit.
- Know your objectives – Make sure that you understand what you want to achieve when putting out your special offers. Do you want to entice new customers and encourage them to switch brands, attract early adopters to a new product or service, or encourage repeat purchase from existing customers? Identifying your objectives is the best way to ensure that the offers you are marketing are the right ones that attract the right people.
- The offers that will cost you very little can be just as effective – There’s no point in giving away your most expensive items every time business is a little slow when there are so many other options that work just as well. Try running a competition for an inexpensive item that’s well loved – it can get you tons of attention and usually results in new customers and sales. Other less costly offers include free delivery, loyalty cards, free trials, free workshops, and even giving cheaper items for free when more expensive items are purchased.
When offers are marketed and implemented in the right way, they can be extremely beneficial to business of all shapes and sizes. If you are looking for a dedicated marketing team who can get your special offers noticed, contact the Ketchup team today on 0330 088 9277, or complete our online form.
April 17, 2015 7:56 am
Businesses do not operate well in isolation. A business will grow if you are willing to take the time to build relationships, learn from and teach others; networking with people and experts can help you to fulfil the vision that you have for your business. Networking can also help you develop and establish trust with your customers and potential customers.
Networking is not only a way of attaining new customers but keeping them interested too. There are so many benefits to business networking that a lot of people miss out on if they don’t try it. There’s always the fear that networking with other like-minded people will mean that your ideas are stolen but this very rarely happens and if it does, there’s a good chance that customers will be able to see that you know the product/service better. Take a look at some of these benefits of networking:
- Referrals – When you start networking you’ll develop relationships with other business owners who will get to know you and your products. If they like what they see, it’s probable that they’ll tell their own customers and contacts about what you do and refer them to you when they need the products and services that you provide. You can also do the same for them and build long term relationships that will help your business to grow.
- It’s who you know – As your connections from networking grow so do your opportunities. It’s likely that you’ll meet people that you never dreamed of meeting; people with power and influence that can help your business become bigger and better. You may also consider joining forces with other business owners so you both benefit from regular custom. The possibilities are endless.
- Advice – There will be times in every business owner’s life where something difficult crops up and you aren’t too sure how to handle it. Business can be tough but if you have a network of people that you can rely upon for advice, it’s almost guaranteed that someone will have been in your shoes before and can offer you a solution. It’s not like taking advice from people who just enjoy giving it; it will be valuable advice from people who’ve been there and done that before.
- Get noticed – Getting noticed will not just be for your business but for you too. Of course, it’s great for people to know about what you do and what you can offer customers so you can increase your clientele list but it also means that you’ll be able to interact with people who can help you learn at every step. Positive influence and support is extremely important in business and without it, it’s easy to make the wrong decisions. You may also notice that your confidence is boosted and you won’t feel so disheartened when you make the mistakes that many others have a thousand times over.
- Satisfaction – Along with being helped, you get to help others which can bring tremendous satisfaction. Many business owners face problems on a regular basis and you may have the answer for some of them. The majority of people that take the time to network regularly find that they make life-long friends with the people that they meet, so it’s definitely worth it.
If you are looking to build on the awareness that you have created through business networking, why not talk to the Ketchup team about your marketing requirements? Call us today on 0330 088 9277, or complete our online enquiry form.
April 14, 2015 3:35 pm
We recently welcomed in April with the traditional April Fool’s Day antics and at Ketchup we even managed to fool a few people with our own email prank. This was very well received, and it made us think about the numerous benefits that being lighter hearted with your brand and marketing communications can bring to your business.
April Fools is seen by childish by some people, but it can be a great opportunity for brands to reconnect with their customers and potential customers by having a bit of fun. Remember, your customers are human beings, even when it comes to B2B marketing, and most people love a laugh.
Here are just a few of the benefits of taking part in April Fool’s Day
- It shows a humorous and more human side to your organisation – no matter what industry you operate in, people buy from people. Everyone loves a bit of fun, and playing a harmless joke on your customers on the 1st April can highlight the human side of your business and remind your customers that there are actually people behind your brand.
- You could make your customers laugh and improve relationships – leading on from the opportunity to highlight the more human side of your business, April Fool’s Day gives you the perfect excuse to make your customers laugh. This not only brightens their day, it will also paint you in a positive light and help you to build stronger relationships with your customers and prospective customers.
- It’s a great way to increase awareness and draw attention to your brand – if you carry out your April Fool’s prank in the right way and it resonates with people, they will share it with their friends and colleagues. This is a fantastic way to increase awareness of your brand and make it memorable.
- Drive people to your website – your April Fool’s prank is the perfect opportunity to drive people to your website. Making your products and services part of the campaign means that you can easily encourage your customers and potential customers to click through to a landing page, or the relevant page on your website.
If you are going to play an April Fool’s Day prank on your customers and potential customers, try to make it relevant to your industry and the products and services that you provide. It’s also advisable to put yourself in your customer’s shoes and imagine how they would respond. Providing that the prank is amusing and in good taste then you should reap all of the benefits highlighted above.
If you are looking for an outsourced marketing department that can actively help you to grow your business, contact Ketchup today, pure marketing support with no unhealthy additives. Call 0330 088 9277, or complete our online form.
April 13, 2015 9:30 am
When you create a marketing campaign, you must decide upon a clear and concise message that calls your customers to action. The nature and structure of your marketing message can make or break your campaign.
When developing your message there are a few things that you need to consider before committing to it. The first and most important thing is knowing who you want the message to be seen by, the second is knowing what you want to say to those people, and the third is being confident that whatever you say will be remembered. If one of these areas fails you then your marketing campaign is likely to be less successful and you risk wasting a portion of your marketing budget, so carrying out the groundwork beforehand really is worth it.
Who is your audience?
Many start-up companies will wrongly define their audience when they send out their first marketing campaign. Whether it’s because the audience is too general, too broad, or the company is over-reaching, many find that they fail at the first hurdle. Looking at quality rather than quantity here is key.
Making your audience bigger by targeting people that won’t really be interested in what you have to say will not generate sales, making your audience as specific as possible will. In the same way, if you’re a company that targets other businesses, you must realise who is likely to open an email or message that you send. You may be preparing your message for the CEO of that company, when in actual fact it’s the CEO’s secretary that everything has to get clearing from first. So, before developing a ‘one for all’ message it’s important to think about the people who will be on the other end of it.
What are you going to tell them?
The most important thing you need to tell your audience is what problem you’re offering to solve, how you are going to solve it, and why you are the best person to solve it. There’s no need to go into massive amounts of detail, but your audience needs to know what you can do for them and why they should buy your products and services and in a very short space of time. In many cases you only have seconds to capture your audience’s attention.
Finding the perfect way to say this and hook your audience with it can take time and discipline but it will be worth it, don’t be afraid to test and experiment with your marketing messages. Try to anticipate the questions that your customers may want to ask you and the objection points that they are most likely to throw at you, do your best to answer them precisely so there’s nothing left for them to wonder about or question.
Are you worth remembering?
There are so many things that have an impact on us when we see a promotional message (marketing message). Your marketing campaign should be attractive, present the right details, and capture the attention and imagination of your audience quickly. Most people will only remember three key features so keep the message to the point and easy to use. Remember that a marketing message is the start of a conversation with your customers and you want them to respond by visiting your website, clicking on links, and buying products and services. With that in mind, you have to give them something unforgettable.
For help developing the perfect marketing massage and campaigns for your products and services, contact the experts at Ketchup Marketing today. Call us on 0330 088 9277, or complete our online form.
March 17, 2015 8:45 am
Setting up and running a marketing campaign is often carried out with one or more of the following objectives in mind – increasing enquires and sales, receiving feedback and encouraging customer engagement, and/or getting your brand seen by a bigger audience. However, before your marketing campaign is released, you should have clear expectations of what you want it to achieve. How many enquiries do you expect to get from it? How many of those enquiries would you like to see convert into sales? There’s no point in creating and releasing a marketing campaign if you don’t know what you want from it and have no way of measuring and monitoring how successful it is.
Marketing analytics are so important to the success of businesses these days. Your marketing performance will seriously affect your ROI, whether positively or negatively, so you need to know what you’re doing right and what you’re doing wrong. By monitoring and measuring your results you can work out what your customer’s preferences are and offer your services accordingly. In addition, when you know how well different aspects of your marketing activities are doing, you can spend your marketing budget in the right way. This will save you and your business from spending money unnecessarily.
What can you learn from measuring the response to your marketing campaigns?
Aside from the basics of understanding the levels of ROI from a marketing campaign and identifying what your customers like and where you should spend your money, measuring and monitoring the results of your campaigns can give you specific details that will help you to beat your competitors. For example, it’s important to know what your customers want but it’s perhaps even more important to know the keywords that they use when looking for something that you can offer them. Knowing the most frequently used keywords can help you to position your products correctly, write and distribute compelling content, and speak your customer’s language.
How to start monitoring your campaigns
Unfortunately, nothing really comes for free and the best ways to monitor your marketing campaigns can cost, whether it’s in terms of time or money. There are various ways of measuring your campaigns depending on the channels used. For example, using tools like AdWords and Google Analytics, alongside metrics from your email marketing and social media activity can give you a lot of useful information about campaign performance and customer behaviour. The results from these tools, if used correctly, can help you to increase the effectiveness of your campaigns, which in turn leads to more awareness of your products and services, as well as increased sales.
An online marketing campaign can potentially reach thousands, even millions of people thanks to our ability to instantly share with family and friends via social networking platforms, email, and other media. This means that getting it right is vital to existing and future business and measuring and monitoring individual and collective campaign performance is a huge part of finding out what works and what doesn’t. Take the time to analyse the information that your campaigns give you and there should be no reason for not seeing a great financial return.
If you are looking for help with your marketing audit, or a specific marketing campaign, whether it’s email, PPC, or online advertising, the experts at Ketchup are here to help. Contact us today on 0330 088 9277 or complete our online enquiry form.
March 6, 2015 8:08 am
When a business wants to market products and services it’s important to consider several different aspects that will help you to make it a success. These aspects include marketing the right product, in the right place, at the right price, and in the right way. Should your product be marketed online, offline or both? Does your price match or beat other competitors? Is your marketing campaign something that your customers will take notice of? These are all vital questions that should be asked before you can even begin to think about launching your first marketing campaign.
A great method of getting the answers to some of these questions is to take yourself through the Marketing Mix, as detailed below. This will help you to clarify information about various key aspects of your products and services.
Your product needs to stand out. There’s no good in marketing the same product as a competing company in the exact same way. You need to know what makes your product better than the rest and why your customers should buy from you, make sure that you have identified your areas of differentiation. Anticipate their questions and have your answers ready and waiting so they can see that they’re buying from someone who knows their products and services inside out.
If only a few people buy your product because they feel it’s unfairly priced, you aren’t going to make a profit. Your product will have to sell in bulk for you to see ROI so make sure the price is appealing without making you bankrupt. What do your customers value your product at? Before you price your product it’s a good idea to research what your consumers opinions are about pricing. In the same way, you need to know what your customers are willing to pay as well as what is fair. For example, someone in the desert is likely to pay more for water than someone in the UK.
Considering where to sell your products and services is a big part of the marketing mix. Will you sell directly to customers or have a retailer do it for you? You need to go where your customers will be and sometimes that takes a fair bit of consideration. The most important thing to do is make your products and services available to the right people at the right time and when you know who and when that is, the where will follow.
No matter how you choose to sell your products and services, you will always have to promote them. In order to promote them well, you need to know the audience that you’re promoting to. Using online and offline promotion will be important but both need to engage the audience in communication and encourage them to follow your call to action. Your promotion will tell your audience about the product, why they should buy it, and why it’s better than other similar products. Sending out messages should see a return on your investment and if you don’t, you may need to re-think your marketing mix.
The marketing mix is called just that for a reason. It takes the combination of different elements of marketing to make a business a success. From product to distribution, merchandising and promotion, it all matters. Don’t let one area slack in favour of others or you may find yourself losing out to the competition.
If you need help with marketing your products and services, from website design, to content marketing and copywritng, we can help. Contact the team at Ketchup today on 0330 088 9277, or complete the online enquiry form.
January 23, 2015 8:15 am
The number of your potential consumers who use the internet on a daily basis to browse websites, research products, and purchase from businesses, is constantly and consistently increasing. Therefore using internet marketing isn’t just a good idea because of the lower costs and advanced data and monitoring options available, it’s essential to business survival now. Although face to face communication will never fail, using the internet to promote your business can allow you to create and sustain relationships that may never have been possible without it.
Internet marketing offers an opportunity to personalise the way that you communicate with your customers and potential customers online, while managing to have a much bigger customer base than traditional promotion and communication methods would allow.
The advantages of internet marketing:
- It’s easy all round – Customers can find you quickly, search for what they want without having to leave the comfort of their own homes, and they can even purchase something from you at 3am if they wish. Internet marketing will lead your ideal customers to your website, Facebook page, or other social media platforms even more effectively than a board sign would lead someone to a shop. Targeting options will also allow you to target the exact people or companies that would be interested in what you have to offer.
- Internet marketing is guaranteed to increase your custom – Why? Because you’ll reach a much bigger audience and they’ll tell their friends and family, who will tell their friends and family…you get the idea. Word spreads much faster when you can promote something with the click of a button at any time.
- Take it out of the country – You no longer have to stick to your home town. Internet marketing allows you to reach potential consumers all over the globe, so if you want to sell your products internationally, it has never been easier.
- Save your pennies – As mentioned before, the cost of internet marketing is much lower in comparison to traditional marketing. Yes, it may cost something to get a website designed and you can choose to spend money on social media advertising, but these costs are nothing compared to what you would pay for leaflets, banners, local or national magazine adverts etc.
- Your customers will feel more involved – The magic of internet marketing will let you personalise your offers to your customers. Most people will ignore generic, mass produced newsletters, but if you send a personalised email with offers that will interest that specific person, you’re much more likely to gain sales.
- It’s easier to monitor – Whether you use email, social media advertising, or banner advertising, you will get access to useful data which can let you know how your campaign is performing. Open rates, impressions, click through rates, and page views are all very telling and can help you to constantly update and improve your online marketing activity.
The internet and its many benefits are ever changing and it’s guaranteed that the majority of your customers use the internet in some form every day. Whether it’s on a laptop, mobile phone, tablet, smart TV, or any other number of devices, people are surviving on the internet these days. As a business owner, it’s important to take advantage of the opportunities that internet marketing presents to you. Some small businesses are thriving by using social media sites alone, so imagine the improvement in ROI that you’d see if you were to utilise the many online marketing options that are available to your business. The greatest part of using internet marketing is watching the results happen before your eyes and using it as motivation to do more with your business and see it flourish.
For help with internet marketing, whether that’s the development of a strategy or the execution and monitoring of your campaigns, we can help. Contact the Ketchup team today on 0330 088 9277 or complete our online form.
October 23, 2014 4:57 pm
You can use all the marketing tricks in the book but if you don’t differentiate yourself from your competitors, you’ll be going nowhere fast. Why should your customers buy from you instead of your competitors? What makes you and your products and services so special? It’s important to find out what you have to offer before you start sending out adverts and e-mails, or creating blogs.
What’s your unique selling proposition (USP)? For example, two jewellery stores may be selling the same necklace, but one of those jewellery stores is offering free engraving when the necklace is purchased. Who do you think customers will buy from?
There are many different ways in which you could differentiate your business from your competitors.
- Offer as many unique, high quality products and services as you possibly can. Take the time to find out what your USPs are, i.e. what’s unique about the products and services you are offering.
- Make your product or service stand out by presenting it as the best deal within your area. For example, a dry cleaning service may charge by the garment but could attract more interest if they were to dry clean three garments for the price of two.
- Find your niche in the market. If you have a business that’s offering unique products and services that are tailored to a specific audience, it’s more likely that you’ll attract them successfully and you can raise your prices because of the bespoke product/service you offer.
- Make yourself known for something. If you have a special offer and people start talking about it, you could become known for it. It’s great if a leaflet comes through the door but if someone you know says, ‘Hey, ____ does a free valet on your car with every service’, you’re much more likely to go there, word of mouth is always best.
- Have confidence in your products and services? It’s amazing how many businesses will boast about what they have on offer but never guarantee the results the customers are looking for. If you believe in what you’re selling, say so. Tell your customers that results are guaranteed or they’ll get their money back and their confidence in you will be immediately boosted.
- Offer fantastic customer service. A happy customer is a customer that comes back, so you might try going out of your way to make them feel special; whether that’s with a discount, a gift or even a nice friendly chat. It will all make you stand out from the rest!
Differentiation is all about identifying and making your customers aware of what’s different about your business and why they should purchase what you’re offering. Taking the time to identify just what that is, and then capitalising on it will get your business noticed above your competitors which really is the overall objective.
If you want to make your customers aware of your USPs, or if you need help identifying them and think a third party could help, contact Michelle at Ketchup Marketing today on 0330 088 9277 or use the contact form here.
October 8, 2014 8:30 am
High quality data is the foundation of effective marketing. Collecting, analysing, and using data is the best way to get to know your customers better, and the more you know about your customers, the better you can tailor your marketing to them.
Whilst you need to keep the Data Protection Act in mind when it comes to your customer’s personal data, there is actually a lot of information you can collect without going against data protection legislation. For example, the buying habits of your customers, what method of payment they frequently use, where they are based, if they use computers, and much more. Collecting this kind of data and keeping records of the communication you receive from every customer will go a long way towards your business being able to offer the things that your customers actually want to buy and in a way that appeals to them.
Do you understand your customers?
The data you collect from existing or potential customers should allow you to make informed choices on what kind of products you stock or services you provide. For example, if you are a women’s fashion outlet, you should know the type of garments that are popular for each season, the trending colours, and why certain items won’t sell in the area you’re based. Once you know what will sell, it’s time to advertise it, but if you don’t know where your customers are looking, the word won’t get out. You need to find out if they have email addresses, if they use social networks, and what marketing channels they pay attention to. This way, you’re targeting the people that will bring you revenue.
High Quality data is also what enables the majority of businesses to personalise any communication with their customers. Customising your marketing messages means that you are much more likely to get a positive response to a campaign, and therefore meet your objectives.
So, how do you collect data?
For fresh data that’s being collected for the first time, the most obvious way of getting it is to interview your customers, either by a questionnaire, or asking them to leave comments and feedback on your website. You can also use online data capture by offering the opportunity to register for exclusive offers across multiple channels.
Monitoring activity and response to existing marketing campaigns can also enable you to get an insight into your customer’s behaviour. For example what products, services, or messages are getting the most attention on your social media accounts?
When you want to collect more specific data there are many companies that sell data that has already been collected. Make sure that this has been collected legally, the list members should have opted in to receive communication or for their information to be used for research purposes. This is a great way of getting the information you actually need quickly to produce the best service for your customers.
Before collecting all of this information you may want to invest in developing a good CRM system so that information can be recorded and stored safely in a way that will benefit you. CRM systems are also great for analysing your customer data, helping you to gain useful insights into customer behaviour and expectations.
If you don’t know anything about your customers, it’s almost guaranteed that your competitor does, and a dead certainty that those customers will buy from the company that best targets them. Therefore, whether you’re a start-up or an established business, collecting marketing data is just part and parcel of what it takes to make sure that your marketing activity is successful.
Need help using your data to target your customers? Contact Ketchup Marketing on 0330 088 9277 to discuss.
September 5, 2014 7:20 am
We continue our A-Z of Marketing blog series by looking at competitors. So often we get caught up in the day to day running of our businesses that we forget that we are not operating in isolation. Monitoring your competitors is key and luckily it’s never been easier, most of the time you can find all of the information that you need online, most of it is probably even on your competitors own websites.
At Ketchup we have a team of stealth experts who have helped many of our clients increase their understanding of their competition and what they are up against. More often than not, this understanding has led to greater success for their business.
So what information should you be looking out for when monitoring your competitors?
- New products/services or developments to existing offerings
If your competitors are launching new products and services, or making changes and developments to the products and services that they currently offer, you need to know. Any activity in this area will give you an idea of the direction the company is going in, and if they offer something you don’t and it’s proving popular, there’s no reason you can’t work on offering the same thing. This works particularly well if you can improve on what your competitor is offering, leaving you with the upper hand.
Set up an alert in Google alerts, monitor the news section on your competitor’s websites and, if relevant, keep up to date with local business news, and sign up to their newsletters.
- Details of new clients and case studies
Are your competitors getting a high number of new clients? This area of monitoring works particularly well for B2B organisations as they are more likely to announce a new client win or publish a case study about a particular project they have delivered. The number of new clients won will give you a good idea about the levels of success your competitor’s are seeing, any information in news stories or case studies will tell you more about their product/service offerings, implementation methods, USPs, etc…
For businesses with a B2C focus, keep a look out for statistics published online or in your competitor’s annual reports.
- Search engine rankings
Every business should have an understanding of the keywords and phrases their customers use to find the products and services they offer. Once you know which keywords and phrases work for your business you can use these to monitor how your competitors are performing, chances are that they are optimising the same keywords and phrases too. If they are above you in search engine results why? Are they using advertising such as AdWords and PPC to get to the top of the pile, is that something you should consider doing too?
You can tell a lot about your competitor’s approach by how they tackle SEO.
- Staff changes
Staff changes within companies can tell a much deeper story. Is staff turnover high? Are redundancies being made? Have they just brought on board a new CEO or senior managers? Have your competitors just bagged the latest talent?
Answers to all of these questions can give a real insight about what’s going on internally, whether it’s good or bad, and can help you to see the direction your competitors are heading in.
- Marketing campaigns and online activity
Monitoring the marketing activity carried out by your competitors can not only show you where the focus of their business lies, it can give you an idea of the size of their marketing budget. You may also pick up some inspiration for your own marketing campaigns.
The amount of money businesses allocate to marketing is a very telling sign. The marketing budget is often the first to be cut, so if one of your competitors used to spend thousands on marketing their products and services but has recently dropped off the radar or scaled back their marketing, this can be an indication about what’s happening within the business.
If you are not taking the time to monitor what your competitors are doing, not only are you missing out on potentially useful information, but you may fall behind in market share and industry developments. If you are the market leader you may fail to notice when your competitors are creeping up on you or using ideas and initiatives that you’ve previously executed to grow their own business. You might not be watching your competitors, but they will be watching you.
If you would like to discuss how we can help you to understand your competitors and how to monitor them effectively, call Michelle or Kate today on 0330 088 9277 or use the contact form here.
June 10, 2014 8:00 am
The moment the .uk was born
What’s in a domain name? Actually, quite a lot. Like a regional accent, a name gives a vivid pointer to a company’s country of origin, its working sphere and all the attendant pre-conceived notions that march alongside nationality. For businesses, being inextricably linked with British-ness can be a distinct plus. Consumers and buyers of services prefer dealing with a company that is identifiably operating from the UK.
So it follows that the newly-launched .uk confers many benefits
As always, Ketchup’s web specialists – oh alright, geeks – are on hand to advise you how to gain the most momentum from the newly launched domain, and add value to your business. But here are a few of the main benefits you could access.
First of all, there’s the aforementioned issue of trust. Consumers across England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales are much more comfortable dealing with a British company, and even overseas customers have a high regard for the integrity of UK companies. So the obvious and most immediate way of waving the Union Jack is by attaching .uk to your company’s name.
Focus on the traffic
By being more punchy and direct, the .uk domain throws the emphasis back onto your brand name – making it more powerful and modern-sounding. Being shorter, it is also much easier to remember, crucial in the fast moving swirl that is internet marketing. If no-one remembers your name, no-one will be visiting your site.
Smarter for smart phones
Registering this new domain also makes it easier and quicker for users of smart phones and tablets to contact you – vitally important when you remember the percentages of people who now use mobile devices for shopping.
.uk will also sit very tidily alongside your existing domain name, giving you extra flexibility to add websites, URL shorteners and redirects to your existing marketing effort; allowing you to target, separate and quantify the responses to your communications with clients.
Evict the squatters
To maintain the sanctity of your personal or company name you need to put up the barricades against squatters and competitors. People who would hi-jack your name or devise something similar and trade off your marketing efforts. Registering a .uk domain that is a version of your existing address(es) puts you back in control.
So that’s it. If you want to make the .uk your domain, talk to your outsourced marketing department about registering now. Call Michelle on 0330 088 9277 or use the contact form here.
May 18, 2014 8:42 am
One of the most common misconceptions we come across as a marketing agency is that branding is only for the big boys and is too complicated and expensive for SMEs. Nothing could be further from the truth; many businesses of all shapes and sizes have achieved great success from developing a well-known brand within their marketplace.
What is a brand?
Many people are under the impression that a brand is an expensive logo, but it’s so much more than that, your logo and the colours/designs that you use represent the kind of business you are, your culture, and values. The logo is simply an image, a brand encompasses everything.
The aim of your brand is to get people to associate it with the products and services you provide. It should help distinguish you from your competitors and help customers choose you over them. Not only that, it should create a positive emotional response within your customers and potential customers.
Examples of brands that have nailed this are:
Disney – the brand just makes you feel happy
BMW – quality, status, success
Amazon – reliability, variety, fast delivery, quality
Visual brand representation
Logos, colours, and fonts all represent the visual aspect of your brand. To make these effective for your business, and to begin to build a brand that is recognisable and linked to quality products and services, you need to make sure it is used correctly.
You can maximise the visual representation of your brand by adding it to everything you put out into the marketplace, from your website and email signatures, to business cards, product manuals, and building signage. Download our branding signals document for more ideas about where to use your brand.
Emotional brand response
We touched on the emotional response of brands earlier but what is behind this response? The visual representation of your brand, i.e. your logo, is the vehicle for people recognising the company but it, in itself, will not create an emotional response.
The emotional response comes from a number of factors
- Your products and services – why do people buy what you offer, is it a symbol of success, does it make them feel good etc..?
- Your customer service – how do your customers feel when they are dealing with your company?
- Your staff – do your employees enhance your brand and the customer experience through the way that they act internally and externally?
- The messages you put out into the marketplace – what tone of voice do you use, what response are you trying to get from your audience, why should they buy your products and services?
The implications of not building a strong brand
The implications of not investing in and building a professional brand can be far reaching. Today business is more competitive than ever and with the ability to get your business online and out to the masses instantly, you need a strong brand to back up the messages about your products and services.
Some of the main implications of not having a strong brand include:
- You will get lost in the crowd – If you don’t build a strong brand you can lose out to your competitors and get lost in the crowd. People need to recognise and relate to your business, branding is one of the key ways to begin building recognition and relationships with your customers. A strong brand, which incorporates everything mentioned in this article, will enable you to stand out from your competitors, therefore increasing interest in your business and what it has to offer.
- Your products and services won’t seem as valuable to customers – one of the key benefits of a strong brand is that it actually adds value to your products and services. Why else would we pay so much more for branded items, such as coffee, when the supermarket’s own brand is half the price?
- Not having a brand, even if it’s a personal one, can impact on customer relationships – your customers will be filtering a lot of promotional information throughout the day, you need to have something up your sleeve that will make them sit up and take notice. A strong brand is a great start.
- Harder to establish loyalty from customers – in some marketplaces and for some products and services brand loyalty is everything, from going to a particular hair salon to only buying a specific brand of cola. Building brand loyalty increases repeat business and creates ambassadors for your company.
If you are looking for some expert help with your branding, call Michelle now on 0330 088 9277. Start building your brand today!
May 7, 2014 4:34 pm
They say that cash flow can make or break a business and this is very true, however, in order to get your cash flowing, you need to generate leads. Once you have those leads you then need to nurture and convert them into sales.
Lead generation is something that many companies struggle with. The Ketchup team have put their heads together to come up with a few tips on how to get your lead generation activity running smoothly; contributing to your cash flow, and the growth of your business.
- Make time for lead generation activities – whether you are a start-up or a well-established business with a mature client base, you need to carry out lead generation activities. Yes this takes time, but remember, you are doing this to ensure that your business survives. Make sure lead generation activities are happening in your business every day.
- Think about your lead generation and put together a strategy – when you are looking for and targeting prospects, you need to have a fair level of knowledge about:
- Who is most likely to need and buy your product or service
- How to contact them, who to contact, and through which channels
- What problem you are going to solve for this prospect – for example, at Ketchup we get results for your business through great marketing
- Don’t give up – unless your prospect comes back with a resounding no, as in we will never be interested in what you are offering, then keep in contact. They may not need what you are offering now, but they may need you in the future. You want to be the business your prospect thinks of when they are looking for the products and services you provide.
- Quality over quantity – this comes as a result of carrying out tip number 2. If you have profiled your ideal prospect and stuck to that profile when adding to your prospecting list, the leads you get should be of high quality, with a high chance of conversion to a customer. If you are finding that the interest in your business isn’t from people you want, you should probably sit down and review your lead generation strategy and prospecting list.
- Log, monitor, and measure – You need to know that your lead generation activities are working for you, no matter what channels you are using. You also need to manage the leads you have generated so that they move through your sales pipeline to become customers. Look at:
- The number of quality leads you are generating
- Which channels your leads are coming from
- The cost per lead generated
- Cost per customer generated
- The accuracy of your data
- The conversion percentage – i.e. how many leads turn into paying customers
- Continually look at and improve your lead generation process – Based on the information gathered on the number of leads, the costs involved, etc… how you could improve things? Always question your lead generation activity and the results being generated. If they’re not good enough, tweak things until you are getting the results you need.
- Don’t stop once you get busy – This goes hand in hand with making time for lead generation. You will need to be continually generating leads so that your business always has customers, new and existing, and cash coming in.
- Don’t forget your current customers – This is something that can’t be stressed enough, repeat custom is a sign of a successful business. By keeping in contact with your customers, offering them a great service, and saying thank you, you will have a flow of repeat business and happy customers who will recommend you to others.
- Referrals are important – One of the best ways to generate new leads is to encourage referrals from existing clients. Be sure to say thank you though, we send flowers or a bottle of red wine to people for each referral they give us.
Your lead generation activity and management should run like a well-oiled machine, by following the tips in this blog and having a great marketing team behind your business, you should never be short of qualified, high value leads. If you feel that you need more support with your marketing and lead generation activity give Michelle a call on 0330 088 9277 or use the contact form here.
January 9, 2014 1:25 pm
– isn’t that an oxymoron?
When we come to work with new clients there can occasionally be a slight sense of dread on their part that; a fear that we are going to arrive at their offices and “be all creative at them”. And so we thought it would help to explain, step by step, how we actually work.
Yes, there is always ‘method’. No, there is not, as a general rule, much in the way of ‘madness’.
First of all, we do our best to get to know your business, your goals and aspirations. If we don’t understand where you’re trying to go, how are we supposed to help you get there?
Then we talk budget. Always a tricky part that, but it has to be done. We are always totally transparent and up front with our pricing. The price only changes if you decide to change or expand your brief.
Once we’re all agreed, off we go. You may only see the tip of our creative iceberg at this stage, while we sit down with you and ask probing questions and take careful, copious notes of your answers – this is the beginning of probably the most valuable part of our process. It’s the bit where we sit down and start hammering out ideas, evaluating your competition and developing an approach that is tailored to match your goals. A bespoke solution, because your business is unique and one size certainly doesn’t fit all.
Then we present our ideas – these could be rough designs and/or strategic suggestions – and with your approval, we begin to implement them, getting your feedback and sign-off at each stage.
Once the project is complete and delivered to your total satisfaction, we can continue to work with you to monitor and measure the impact on your bottom line.
So many oxymorons make up part of our daily language, it’s an open secret, you might say. But we don’t believe that ‘creative process’ is one of them.
To see how a splash of Ketchup can transform your marketing, give Michelle a call on 0330 088 9277 or contact us here.
December 12, 2013 11:17 am
Being paid for doing a job well feels great but getting good feedback feels brilliant – and not all of the projects we do for clients are big expensive strategy documents, sometimes all your business needs is a simple solution, as long as it is well-thought through and executed properly.
So when we recently produced this flyer for a client (pic below) we were confident it would have a positive impact on their bottom line, which is ultimately what marketing is for – to help your business attract profitable customers.
Here’s what our client said…
“I can’t lie…the response has been awesome! What would have been a very poor month has, within the last week turned into a good one! The foot flow and telephone enquiries have increased and the quality of customers has been good. It’s something we’ll definitely do again.”
Not all marketing activity needs to be budget-busting! A simple case of analysing the situation, understanding your client and communicating with your target audience effectively can make a huge difference. Whether it’s a flyer, press advert, brochure, simple web presence through complete campaign, re-brand, social media strategy and management or ecommerce-websites – we won’t try and sell you something more than you actually need.
We work by the KISS principle – Keep it Simple, Stupid! So, want some Ketchup with that?
Need a simple solution to your marketing problem? Just pick up the phone and speak to Michelle on 0330 088 9277 or contact us here – yes it really is that simple
June 10, 2013 10:00 pm
When you’re out networking, as many busy business-owners & directors do week-in, week-out, you build up a great rapport with some of the contacts you make, and this can lead to great introductions and ultimately, convert into paid work.
It’s good practice to tweak your pitch, see what generates a good response, see what seem to hit people’s hot buttons, and then keep on honing it to perfection. Also, it pays to mix it up a bit if you’ve got a particular offer or deal, or if you’re swamped with one kind of project and need to keep your whole team busy by promoting one of your other products or services.
So the other week Michelle ventured out to networking group she’d been going to for a while. A nice bunch of people, and a lovely venue. We have, to be fair, been absolutely stacked in the studio with website work, so this time we’d decided in advance to promote more of the strategic marketing side of the business.
All was going well until in passing someone said how much they’d love to work with us, but that they simply couldn’t afford it. Now, alarm bells were set a-ringing by that, not because we didn’t like people to think we might be fractionally more expensive than the next agency, but because after having invested time and effort in promoting our technical expertise and great creative thinking, but because the individual concerned couldn’t see that as a general rule ‘you get what you pay for’.
There is a common misconception in small business that in order to be competitive you need to undercut the competition. No you don’t. You need to differentiate yourselves from it, add value to every stage of every transaction and deliver what you said you would at the time you said you’d deliver it. In so doing, you’re justifying the extra little bit of money you might be charging – because people are buying your expertise.
Let’s put it like this; If you’re booking a flight with a budget airline, the headline price might seem great. But then you end up getting charged for your hand luggage, charged to book your seat, charged if you check in at the airport, charged for your in-flight meal, charged extra to pay by debit card or credit card when you pay… and actually it adds up to double what you originally thought. Whereas if you booked with a non-budget airline, the ticket price you pay includes all of those extras. The same applies when you’re choosing your agency.
So yes, it’s true that we aren’t the kind of agency that promotes an inexpensive service. There is a perception that perhaps we are more expensive than the next agency. But it’s funny how things transpire… a couple of projects we’d lost based on price earlier this year are now back with us. So perhaps alarm bells needn’t have rung quite so loudly after all.
If you’d like to have a chat with Michelle, and get a quote for marketing strategy, a new website, social media management, email marketing or SEO… then pick up the phone and dial 0330 088 9277. After she’s gently grilled you (!) to make sure you know what you want, she’ll meet you to get a clear understanding of your business & she’ll prepare a no obligation quote for you. And if you go ahead with your project, unless you suddenly ask for something extra, they price you are quoted is the price you’ll pay.
Simple as that!
March 15, 2013 5:20 pm
A wise man once wrote “Loyalty is for the dogs. Count me among the cats. And count me twice—once for each of my faces.”
The truth is, that with our purses and wallets having been squeezed over the last few years, our buying decisions are perhaps not as straightforward as they once were. But when I recently overheard the owner of our local farm shop proudly telling a customer they’d be launching a loyalty card next month which would give shoppers a discount on their basket price, it took all the self-discipline I could muster to not to go running up to him and plead with him to reconsider. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against small businesses adopting successful practices of larger businesses, but let me tell you why I think this particular scheme is a bad idea.
How many of those plastic rewards cards have you got crammed into your purse or wallet? I seem to have more loyalty cards than bank cards. The reason why stores like Boots and Tesco introduced these kinds of schemes wasn’t to reward loyalty. Oh no. The ingenious truth is that when we swipe our loyalty cards at the checkout, we’re giving away hugely valuable data about our habits as shoppers – what products we buy, how often, what incentives we take advantage of, how we pay etc. Data like this is priceless. The stores can build up a detailed picture of their customers, categorise us and send us tailor-made offers based on our shopping history to encourage us to return to the store and buy more stuff. And they see which vouchers and offers we use and which we don’t. So every time we go back in the shop they are finding out more and more detail about us. It’s actually a bit creepy.
So why shouldn’t my local farm shop do the same? Well, that’s because they won’t be collecting and harvesting all of that important data using an expensive EPOS system. What they’ll be achieving is something quite different. There are, broadly, 2 types of customer at the local farm shop. The first type is those people who support the shop because they want to see it succeed, like the produce and the whole experience of shopping there. The second type of customer is the one who use the local shop to top-up their weekly supermarket shop. That’s not to say that this second group of customers isn’t as valuable, but you probably aren’t going to change their buying behaviour any time soon. The farm shop is a single store, not part of a big chain. The people who own it, as they serve you at the till, see with their own eyes who is buying what, how regularly they use the shop, gather feedback and ideas, so they don’t need a complex computer system and computerised systems to give them that customer insight.
So what does the loyalty card achieve? Actually, what it will potentially achieve is what worries me. It’ll mean that every customer who has a card will be contributing a smaller amount of profit to the business. Which means that the farm shop will need to increase the number of customers and volume of sales to achieve the same level of profit as before they introduced the card. And when you’re located in a rural area, that’s not easy.
So does brand loyalty still exist? Yes. Some of the time. But it’s not as simple as it might first appear and these days loyalties are tested almost hourly. And it depends on which face we have on.
Why hire a design agency when you actually need a marketing agency?
July 12, 2012 9:37 am
The question isn’t which design agency. It’s why.
Now don’t get us wrong, we have nothing against design agencies. After all, we are a design agency. partly. So if you’re looking for a spangley new logo, a redesign of your corporate identity, a commercially successful website or a complete rebrand – we can thoroughly recommend us.
But are you? Are you just re-dressing your old website in a pretty new graphic frock? Are you just having a rebrand because the old logo has a few cobwebs hanging off it?
Of course you’re not; you’re moving your image forward so that it becomes more powerful, has greater appeal to a wider audience and – ultimately – allows you to grow your business.
Why hire a design agency when you actually need a marketing agency?
You have your beautiful, imaginative new identity, and everyone loves it (except the FD’s wife, of course, who doesn’t like anything). But then what? You’ll be wanting to use it in a marketing campaign to pull in new business and maximise the potential sales that a new look trails in its wake. And for that you’ll want marketing team with the in-house experience and resources to give you a coordinated, sustained sales campaign.
You’ll need copywriters, specialised web builders, SEO experts and marketing directors. Exotic creatures (some of them) not often found in design agencies.
Once again, we have no problem in thoroughly recommending ourselves.
Which comes first; the marketing or the design?
Actually it’s neither. Or maybe it’s both. Commercial pragmatism is a wonderful thing; it means that whenever our designers reach for their crayons, they also pick up their marketing hats. Our Marketing Director starts talking about communication strategy and target market appeal . The copywriting team chip in with message delivery concepts and tone of voice, straplines and campaign directions.
In short, we have an all-round discussion that results in ideas that can be used in a total communication package. So, when the time inevitably arrives when you want to translate the new brand identity into a poster, or use elements of the new web in a press ad, it all works. You gain sales, attract business, maximise the profitable effect of your marketing effort.
Trust us; we’re a marketing agency.
A hedgehog smoking a pipe
April 10, 2012 9:14 am
Life’s a pitch – part two
Those of us in this industry with long memories talk glowingly of the time when prospective clients actually had something called a pitch budget. That’s right; they would see choosing a new advertising and marketing agency as akin to hiring new staff, and have recruitment costs built into their business overheads projections. They would pay agency pitch expenses. Those were the days.
Yes, they actually shot the pilot
Then they realised agencies would pitch for free, and the budgets disappeared. Of course, in advertising ‘free’ is a four letter word, so costs were recouped via other channels. But the expense was spiralling out of hand – some agencies were shooting pilot commercials for new business presentations – until a select band of London agencies stopped doing creative pitches altogether, relying on presenting their credentials instead. (Bartle Bogart Hegarty was one of them and they now work with British Airways, Dulux and Google, amongst others.)
Well, we tried that with The Caravan Club (see Life’s a Pitch – Part One) and it went down like an Elddis Buccaneer off Land’s End.
A hedgehog smoking a pipe
So for Parkers Cars – part of the massive Bauer Media group – we did it differently. We went in with three different strategic routes. We created concepts and wrote baselines for each route together with some carefully crafted copy. We created layouts with three different visual identities. And, because the art of advertising is to persuade people to buy stuff without them being able to see how you’re talking them into it, we produced full creative rationales for everything we’d done. So Parkers would see the full cunningness of our ideas.
Well, sometimes clients think you just make things up for the hell of it. I know – let’s stick in a picture of a hedgehog smoking a meerschaum pipe, that’ll flog a few cars!
A foot in the door. As it slammed closed
So did we win the business? Well, we made useful contacts and the people we impressed will certainly consider working with us going forward. So that’s a ‘no’ then. Maybe that hedgehog wasn’t such a bad idea ….
Life’s a pitch – part 1
March 19, 2012 8:54 am
Life’s a pitch – part one
Busy isn’t it? We’re touching wood here, of course, but at the moment there aren’t enough hours in the day, days in the week, weeks in a month. Checking around, it’s not just our clients who are pushing through the work; the advertising and marketing industry as a whole seems to be pedalling furiously just to keep up.
Shhhh, the dog’s asleep
So why are we pitching for new clients? Isn’t that akin to waking up a dog you can’t feed? The point is that you can nurture contacts over a period of time, but you can’t choose the moment they invite you to pitch for their business. So it’s often a case of buckle up boys, here we go.
We recently presented our wares to The Caravan Company. And we didn’t exactly win ourselves a week in Great Yarmouth in a top-of-the-range Marauder. Or even in Gorleston-on-Sea, for that matter.
Off with the new. On with the old
Now, a lot of agencies cannot resist the glitter of prospecting for new clients. There be gold in them there accounts. But we make a point of putting keeping our clients long term, and that means them first.
So, for The Caravan Club we decided not to present creative work. After all, we reasoned, they can see our skill with words and design in our portfolio. So we concentrated on the thinking.
What, no crayons?
We discussed marketing strategy in some depth. We put together a marketing activity plan stretching over the next 12 months. We created on and off-line strategies. We talked about Search Engine Optimisation, Pay Per Click advertising and alternative revenue streams like eBay and online stores. We even put together some wire-frame layouts of sample web pages, just to give them an idea of the content.
Did we win the business? Does a Ferrari have a caravan hitch point? Maybe we should have got the crayons out after all.
Life’s a pitch – part 2
November 7, 2011 10:42 am
Sometimes, running a busy marketing company with a wide variety of differently-sized, clients is like running blindfold through a zoo. You can’t envisage what sort of creature you’re going to bump into next!
Our sponsorship of the local Rotary Club of Grantham Kesteven springs to mind. The Rotarians had received a donation of 10 bottles of tomato sauce from Wilkins & Sons and challenged our graphic design and copywriting teams to come up with a way of using them to raise money for their ‘End Polio Now’ campaign.
Tomato sauce and Ketchup Marketing? Hmmm, obviously a natural fit in there somewhere.
We devised a bottle baton race, the sauce passing from person to person to create a…well…gravy train of £1 donations. With 10 bottles and 201 or more donors the race would raise over £2012 towards polio eradication by 2012.
The Rotarians were delighted and we set about a logo design, whilst our print design team and lead copywriter created a graphic but inexpensive advertising promotional leaflet to market the events to fellow Rotarians and prospective bottle baton participants.
We’re also sponsoring a saucy competition. A case of wine will be awarded for the most interesting photo of the bottle, taken in situ. So our web design team will be posting pictures on the blog as the bottle baton race continues.
Gives a whole new perspective to the idea of ketchup marketing!