Apr
14

April Fool’s Day – why fooling your customers could be great for your brand

April 14, 2015 3:35 pm Published by Comments Off on April Fool’s Day – why fooling your customers could be great for your brand

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Oct
23
marketing differentiation

A – Z of Marketing: Differentiation

October 23, 2014 4:57 pm Published by Comments Off on A – Z of Marketing: Differentiation

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.

 

Oct
08
High quality data

A – Z of Marketing: Data

October 8, 2014 8:30 am Published by Comments Off on A – Z of Marketing: Data

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.

Aug
29
Marketing Budget

A – Z of Marketing: Budget

August 29, 2014 8:09 am Published by Comments Off on A – Z of Marketing: Budget

Marketing Budget

When you are looking at how to market your business it is always advisable to look at setting a budget for the amount you want to spend specifically on marketing activity. This will allow you to focus your efforts and identify exactly how much return on investment you are getting from each marketing campaign you carry out. In fact setting a budget should be a key part of your overall marketing plan, one of the keys to successful marketing is strategic spending.

A common misconception, particularly among business start-ups and SMEs, is that to market your business effectively you need to invest a lot of money. The truth is that investing a certain amount in marketing activity is wise, but you should always stick to what you and the business can afford. You can always increase the amount over time.

We help a number of our clients manage their marketing budgets and we have identified some of the most effective options when setting a budget for your business:

  1. Percentage of turnover

This is one of the most common methods used by businesses to set a marketing budget. Depending on the industry you operate in, the average percentage of turnover spent on marketing activity ranges from 5 – 10%.

The benefits of this method are that the budget allocated will grow with your business and a specific amount of money is guaranteed for your marketing activity right from the off. However, should you have a slow year, with a lower level of turnover as a result, your marketing budget will be less. This is a mistake many organisations made throughout the economic downturn. At the time when they should have been demonstrating the value of their products and services to their customers, and differentiating themselves from competitors through effective marketing, many businesses scaled back their marketing budgets, causing sales to dip more than it would have had they ‘marketed through the crisis’.

It’s worth noting that even if you use this method, you should still set you objectives and plan your marketing activity for the year ahead. If you don’t you could overspend before the second quarter on any opportunity that comes your way.

  1. Per activity/campaign

For this budgeting method to be effective you need to plan your yearly activity in advance, research costs, set benchmarks, and identify ways to measure the success of your campaign all in one go. Planning your marketing activity is always preferable to winging it and you should have an idea of what marketing activity you will be carrying out and when, but if you max out your budget as part of your initial plan and then a fantastic opportunity comes up will you be in a position to take advantage of it?

Perhaps, if you feel that this method is the one that suits your business at the current time, you could plan the majority of your marketing activity but have a pot of money set aside for those unplanned opportunities that will inevitably come up throughout the year? Budgets are a fantastic part of the planning process but there should always be an element of flexibility, as there should be in your marketing plan as a whole.

  1. Last year’s budget plus a certain percentage/amount

This method takes into account the previous years’ performance and if the business is looking at growth over the coming year. If the next 12 months are looking positive then your will take last years’ budget and adds a bit more on top. For example, if you spent £20,000 on marketing last year, results were good and you want to build on last years’ success and increase your exposure, plus turnover projections are good for this year, you may add an extra £5,000 to make next years’ budget £25,000.

If the increase in turnover doesn’t happen then you could overspend. However if your marketing plan is flexible then you should be able to accommodate any changes as you go along.

  1. Per product or service

This budget setting technique can be especially useful if your business supplies a number of products and services, or trades in international markets. By treating each product or territory as a separate entity you are able to more accurately allocate costs – for example spending more on marketing to the US market than the UK market because that’s where the majority of your sales come from.

It also allows you to monitor results from your marketing activity in a number of ways which will probably match the methods you will use to analyse sales turnover. You can analyse ROI from marketing across the board, or break it down to focus on results by product or territory.

If you are looking for support for your marketing activity and would like to discuss what we can do with your marketing budget, call Michelle or Kate for an informal chat on 0330 088 9277 or us the contact form here.

Aug
08
Marketing Agency

A-Z of Marketing: Agency

August 8, 2014 9:00 am Published by Comments Off on A-Z of Marketing: Agency

Your Marketing Agency

Business is changing and becoming more virtual. As a result more and more business owners and start-ups are recognising the benefits of outsourcing critical business functions that they cannot carry out effectively themselves. Outsourcing not only frees up your time to concentrate on running and growing your business, but outsourcing key functions, such as marketing, can help you save money and see better results faster because you are working with experts.

What does a marketing agency do?
There are many kinds of marketing agencies of various shapes and sizes; all offering different levels of marketing support. They can act as your complete marketing department, which is great for SMEs and business start-ups that do not require full time support. Alternatively, a marketing agency can support you or your in-house marketing team with specific projects such as a customer survey, website development, or event planning and marketing.

Many businesses outsource some aspect of their marketing at some point in time.

Some agencies specialise in a specific industry and only work with organisations providing products and services across that industry. Others are more general and apply their expertise to businesses across many different industries.

How does outsourcing your marketing work?
When you have made the decision to outsource all or part of your marketing activity, it is crucial that you find a marketing agency that is a good fit for your business. The agency should be curious about your business and want to know about the long and short term objectives, and how you see the agency fitting in with what you are trying to achieve.

It is advisable to discuss your requirements with a number of agencies so that you are sure of a cultural fit and high level of understanding about your business. You need to trust the marketing agency that you decide to work with, after all they will be handling one of the most important parts of your business, great marketing leads to business growth, increased sales, and a strong brand. Great marketing is the key to business success.

Why Ketchup Marketing?
Ketchup Marketing prides itself on being your complete outsourced marketing department. We are made up of a strong team of people from marketing experts to graphic designers, copywriters, and website developers.

Combined our team has many years of experience in successfully planning and executing marketing campaigns and activities for organisations across a number of industries. We take our time to get to know your business and will always put a firm strategic plan in place before we begin to roll out any marketing activity.

We offer a number of services, from setting your marketing strategy so that it supports your business’ overall objectives, and delivering effective marketing campaigns, to making sure that your website is ranked highly is search engines through our Pay per Click and SEO copywriting services. We can support you as your marketing department, or work with your existing marketing department when time is tight and you need our expertise for bigger projects.

We also offer top end skills without the big city price tag from our offices in the East Midlands.

If you are looking to outsource your marketing and don’t know where to start, call Michelle or Kate today on 0330 088 9277 or use our contact form here.

Mar
15

Does brand loyalty exist anymore?

March 15, 2013 5:20 pm Published by Comments Off on Does brand loyalty exist anymore?

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.

 

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