Sunday, 13 September 2015

Lazy or brilliant?

 I just got home and found this on the drive.

 In fact, there were two. 

Good job it wasn't raining otherwise I'd have come home to a soggy mass!  But it got me thinking....

Ikea must have spent a small fortune on; photography, catalogue design, printing and finally door to door distribution, only to stumble at the final hurdle.   Although you can't say I didn't notice it, it's now on my 'to flick through' pile.  So door to door distribution is a good way of getting your leaflets, catalogues, brochures into the households you wish to get into.  But, the moral of the story is, be warned, it's down to the individual delivering whether it actually reaches the letterbox or not!

 Then again, it is a Sunday, so perhaps he/she had a heavy night!

For marketing tips contact

Marketing must go............

Don't do it!!

"Marketing is always the first to go when it comes to budget cuts" an 'oh so wise' friend told me this week.

Although not news, it does baffle me!
Who decides "we don't need to communicate with our customers anymore" or "we're doing well today, it's bound to stay like that for the foreseeable?"

No-one.  Because it doesn't make sense so why cut out the very thing that enables you to communicate with end users?
When times are tough and budgets need slicing.  Surely your marketing effort is even more important.
Don't let customers get wind of the fact times are hard ... keep finding ways to communicate the great things your company do.  Remind them you can give them what they want or need. If you don't they'll soon find someone else who can!

If the market's quiet, chances are your competitors are feeling the pinch too, so DON'T be the one to lag behind. Remind and reinforce your brand.  BE the brand of choice.
Never assume your customers will remain loyal.  Chances are they can get the same somewhere else and if you pull all your regular communications they'll soon forget you.

Instead of cutting marketing altogether how about shaving costs by being a bit cleverer?  There are things you can do better without spending a penny:
  • Improve your SEO on your website (if you use Wordpress there's a traffic light system which shows you when your Search Engine Optimisation is at its best on every page)
  • Post regular news stories and share via your social media networks
  • Get the press to publish the 'good news' ... there is power in PR
  • Hook up with a local charity for a fundraising event
  • Become an expert in your field and get blogging
  • Sponsor someone, something, somewhere..........

Never let the grass grow under your feet, keep their attention!


Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Be the motivation ...

... not the distraction

My thought for the day which could apply to your advertising efforts.

Motivate your customers to buy from you, rather than distracting them with all the clutter in your ads.

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

What does your customer look like?

Let's build a man

To be able to reach your ideal customer with your marketing communications, you need to understand him or her. 

Let's imagine your 'ideal customer' is called James.
Let's get to know him.  This is called "building a customer profile."

Imagine you've invited James out for coffee?

He's sitting opposite you in your favourite coffee shop. Make some notes while he makes himself comfortable and orders a coffee.

What does he look like? How old is he?  Where does he shop for clothes. Where does he live? Does he own or rent his home? Does he drive a car? What kind of car? Is he married? Does he have children? What matters most to him in the world? What does he do for a living? What's his job title? Where does he work? What newspaper does he read? Does he read the local paper? What does he do in his spare time? Does he have a hobby? Is he sporty? etc etc.

I could go on.........

This is your customer profile and not only will it inform you where you need to put your marketing messages so that James sees them but also what sort of messages are most likely to appeal to him.

For more marketing tips contact

Thursday, 2 July 2015

It's not what you say, it's how you say it.

The power of feelings

A great example of associating products with emotional needs demonstrated this week by Benson For Beds new TV advertising campaign.  I think it broke on ITV yesterday.

Strong visuals, soft focus imagery, few words on screen, nice 'plinky plonk' music, softly sung, hardly any actual full blown product shots.  Simply an implication that the manufacturer is focusing on what customers need and demonstrating visually that they're providing just that; ultimate comfort.

Much more effective than if they'd spent 30 seconds trying to ram their entire product range down our throats.

I'm going to be much more engaged by images of nice looking people languishing in soft, comfortable beds!  Made me feel sleepy just watching it.

Topped off with a strapline; "Whatever you want to be, be comfortable, be Bensons."

What do you reckon the creative brief said?

Make Bensons synomyous with comfort!

Click here to see for yourself if they did it:

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Good marketing makes good business

 "Don't tell me you don't do marketing. If you're selling a product or service of any kind you're marketing, but how about getting better at it?"
No. 1: What's marketing?
The best definition comes from my college textbook ally, Dr Philip Kotler:
“Marketing is getting the right goods and services to the right people in the right places at the right time at the right price with the right communications and promotion.”
No. 2: Your tool kit
Get marketing right for your business by using the tools of the ‘marketing mix’.  Even Tesco admitted this week "we must get our marketing mix right."

No. 3: A cake analogy
The marketing mix is like a cake mix.  You'll use various ingredients in varying quantities.  Blend the right quantities together and hey presto the perfect cake!  Too many eggs and the cake tastes tough.
Similarly with the marketing mix, put the right emphasis on each element to suit your business and you'll have the perfect strategy.
No. 4: Elements of the Marketing Mix
PRODUCT – What are you selling? Where does it sit in the ‘product life cycle’? IE; introduction, growth, maturity or decline?
PLACE – Where do customers buy your product/service from? In-store, online or via third party
PRICE – What price will your product/service sell at? What’s your pricing strategy; consider overheads, the market, competitors, what are customers willing/expecting to pay?
PROMOTION – How are you going to promote your product or service? EG: advertising, online, PR, direct marketing, sponsorship etc
PHYSICAL EVIDENCE – What are the material elements of the product? IE: packaging, uniform, tickets, literature
PROCESS – The procedure customers experience to find out information about or purchase the product/service
PEOPLE – Staff the customer comes into contact with to purchase your product
Which elements of the mix are key to your business?  Once you've got that sussed you can set the path to success.

Now you need some objectives, both for your business and specifically marketing.  Next time I'll help you set them.

Bye for now.

Monday, 22 June 2015

What does this blog offer?

“A breath of fresh air”

The fantastic ‘blogger workshop’ I attended at the Winchester Writer’s Festival (#winwritersfest) yesterday has inspired me to join the blogger community.

But what to blog about?  I’m a crap cook, there’s only so much healthy food I can stomach, I hate camping, I’ll never be super fit (no stamina!) and travelling seems to be the luxury of others!!

So … what to blog about?
I love writing, I love marketing and with over 25 years’ experience helping businesses do better marketing … why not combine all 3?

My blog will:
  • explain what marketing is … no more misconceptions … I’ll spell it out
  • provide tips and advice on “best marketing practice”
  • help you think about how to get newsworthy publicity
  • work out your target audience
  • get you thinking about setting some objectives
  • take a sneaky peak at those doing it well
  • take a sneaky peak at those doing it badly (much more fun!)

Roll your sleeves up  then … let’s get started.



Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Advertising, love it or hate it, it's here to stay.

Advertisements have always fascinated me. The variation of graphics and photography used, the different messages and media.  All components fitted together in either an eye catching, innovative or irritating package.  Advertisers utilise endless methods to plead with us to buy 2 not 1, change supplier or upgrade, all in an attempt to encourage us to spend more.
As much as I love them, certain ads still make my blood boil.  A typical case in point; the recent Co-Op’s ‘Ethics and Values’ tattoo commercial, trying to convince me that they do have some, whilst all it does is remind me they’re still reeling from a recent drugs scandal.  Highlighting for me how misjudged and untimely the ‘Ethics and Values’ premise is.  However, advertising done well, aimed at the right audience is based on a carefully crafted science.
Hundreds of thousands of pounds are spent every year on “Customer Focus Groups” where individuals, who represent you, me and the man next door, spend time answering questions, viewing creative concepts and responding frankly.  Whilst researchers analyse their responses in order to shape the form of advertising you see today, developing messages that will slip into your subconscious “because you’re worth it” or “every little helps”.
Before you know it, it’s affecting your retail experience, encouraging you to change supplier and believe that you really do have a need and only they can fulfil it.
Advertisers may appeal to the greedy, ambitious, aspirational side of your nature or in the case of a charity may be attempting to shock you into action, pleading with your sense of decency and fair choice or simply encouraging you to act quicker. 
For example; Cancer Research UK’s ‘Let’s Beat Cancer Together’ slogan recently changed to ‘Let’s Beat Cancer Sooner’.  A subtle difference but an urgent one.
My advertising training ground was McCann Erickson, an advertising agency operating 180 offices in more than 120 countries, responsible for some of the world’s most iconic advertising campaigns.  For example; commissioning Haddon Sundblom to paint the 1931 Santa Claus in red for the festive Coca Cola campaign, an image which has become synonymous with Christmas ever since.

When McCann Erickson opened their doors a century ago, they did so with the creative philosophy “Truth Well Told”.  An enduring commitment to the power of truth transforming brands and building successful business in the long run.
 On one hand you may believe that advertising harms society and the planet by increasing consumerism, manipulating cultural values, and invading all aspects of our lives, on the other you might be happy to embrace freedom of speech and choice.
As Rory Sutherland (former President of the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) acknowledged “The truth is that marketing raises enormous ethical questions every day—at least it does if you’re doing it right…”
Over the years advertising has highlighted many social and environmental problems we confront worldwide; from climate change and global warming to famine, disease and child abuse, whilst also positioning campaigns for social or health improvement.  The British Heart Foundation’s commercial featuring Vinnie Jones doing ‘Hard and Fast’ CPR to the Bee Gee’s ‘Staying Alive’ resulted in at least 28 people in the UK being pulled back from the brink.

Whilst Sainsbury’s controversial Christmas ad commemorated World War I with all profits from the WW1 chocolate sales going to The Royal British Legion.  In 2013 alone Sainsbury’s raised around £4.5m for the charity.  Not to mention the ads promoting public health warnings; “Think and drive”, “Smoking kills” and “FRANK confidential drug advice”, all tackled via traditional and social media, surely these messages are aimed at social improvement?
 Love it or hate it, advertising continues to seep into our lives, it’s here to stay, so why not enjoy its Technicolor, stand by your freedom of choice and join the debate.
AUTHOR: Victoria Ward, Footprint Marketing