Archives for Insights

What do you need to know about your competition?

Your marketing strategy should give your business a competitive advantage and you should think widely about what constitutes a competitor – it might not be what you assume. This post talks about the different responses you need for different types of competitor and what you need to research and understand about them.   A key factor of a marketing strategy is that it should give your business a competitive advantage to keep your business ahead of the game. To achieve and maintain that competitive advantage you need to understand your competitive environment. So what do you need to know about the
Read More

Media Neutral Planning – is it right for a small business?

Media neutral planning is not just for big businesses. There are sound reasons for small business to use this approach to get the most out of their marketing investment. To do so, you need to ditch any preconceptions or bias about which marketing media you use and go back to the fundamentals to determine your core message, understand your priorities for any marketing communications activity and then choose which media and channels to use. Terms like “integrated communications planning” and “media neutral planning” sound like the preserve of big corporations. So what are they and how are they relevant are
Read More

What customer loyalty is – and isn’t

“Customer loyalty” can be a misused expression, with an emphasis on tying customers in to a contract or simply rewarding transactions. Not necessarily bad things but they ignore the potential for developing the emotional connection from which real loyalty stems. There are benefits in a system that allows you to measure customer behaviour, so why not find a way that combines the best of creating a good customer experience with a system that allows you to better understand their needs and wants? I dare say that many of us have got a purse or wallet stuffed full of various cards,
Read More

Maintaining a competitive advantage in a changing market

Traditional strategies for achieving a competitive advantage were developed in a time when the expectation was that a market position could be relied on in a relatively stable market environment. Today markets are affected by an increasing rate of change, from extreme shifts in political-economic alliances, to a whole raft of new technologies, to changes in customer attitudes to brands. Do those traditional strategies still hold true? Yes, with a nuanced and fluid approach. In essence, they do. As the fundamental building blocks of competitive advantage they haven’t changed but a business’ approach to implementing them needs to be both
Read More

What does the General Data Protection Regulation mean for your marketing?

With the General Data Protection Regulation coming into force in May 2018, with its emphasis on transparency and accountability, small business owners really need to act now to established opt-in practices that will not only comply with this legislation but will stand them in good stead for improved marketing performance. Think about marketing to existing customers and new prospects alike and find the model that will work best for your business. The General Data Protection Regulation is a new EU legal framework on the processing of personal data due to apply in the UK from 25 May 2018. It presents
Read More

In search of the elusive Value Proposition

Your Value Proposition, USP, call it what you will is the thing that gives your customers a reason to buy from you and not a competitor. For some businesses it’s easier to find one than others but whatever sector you are in you need to understand what makes the difference to your customers and base your Value Proposition around that. It isn’t always necessary to change the product or service you sell, though. There are other elements of the Marketing Mix that can be changed or improved. The hunt for a unique Value Proposition can be a bit like an
Read More

Can marketing take the hard slog out of selling?

Theodore Levitt’s famous quote is that “Marketing exists to make selling redundant”. But too often I see a disconnection between the disciplines of marketing and sales. Either a business owner sees “marketing” as being producing brochures (or whatever) for a sales person to use or supposed marketing activity is undertaken with no view as to how it should lead to sales. Marketing is a strategic approach to make the process of selling much easier – and who wouldn’t want that? Whilst some are born salespeople many small business owners really don’t like the process of selling. How does marketing help? So
Read More

Marketing orientation – which way is your business facing?

The orientation of your business is the focus that it has when it comes to serving customers. Of the three different focuses that you might have, only one is fully focused on the customer – the marketing orientation, which enables those customers to choose to buy from you rather than from a competitor and the one which helps to take the hard slog out of selling. A forward-looking business owner knows they need to move on from more inward-looking orientations towards their product or to the selling process. Product orientation A business that is product orientated focuses on what it makes or
Read More

Customer engagement – what does it really mean?

“Engagement” is a word that gets bandied around a lot, not always meaningfully: one reason that business owners’ experience of using social media can fall short of expectations. Understanding the forms that customer engagement can take as well as the value that you expect your audience to concede in engaging ensures your content marketing serves a strategic purpose. A deeper understanding of your audience’s motives will help you prompt them to feel, think and act in ways that connect with your brand. With the rise of social media has come increased use of the expression “customer engagement”. But has this
Read More

Spreadable marketing – a perspective on generating “word of mouth”

“Spreadable marketing” is more than another term for “word of mouth”, requiring a strategic focus on the sweet spot where your audience needs meet your business objectives and achieving this in a way that is engaging to the audience and encourages them to share and circulate your media. Unlike “viral marketing” it understands the agency of the audience in this choice. It requires you to understand what you want your audience to think, feel, do or know and to create content accordingly. When I first came across the term “spreadable marketing” I wondered whether it was just another buzz phrase
Read More