Archives for Insights

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
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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
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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
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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?
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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, the one that 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. The forward-looking business owner knows that 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
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Customer engagement – what does it really mean?

“Engagement” is a word that gets bandied around a lot, not always in a meaningful way: 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”.
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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
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9 reasons why customers are not all created equal

Not all customers are equally desirable and “everyone” is not a target market. Whilst there will be some subtleties in the way you target your ideal customer or clients there are some common qualities that everyone should be looking for: the ability and willingness to pay, knowing what they want and understanding what that entails in dealing with you (or being prepared to take your advice), and being easy to work with are key.   I’ve been doing some networking this week and one of the questions I usually ask in these situations is, “Who is a good customer for
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What is the Marketing Mix?

Many business owners regard “marketing” as being just about promoting their business – blasting out some promotional messages and waiting for the result in sales. A strategic approach to marketing understands that your business needs to offer a total package to customers: this is the Marketing Mix. With seven different elements, this framework enables you to take a holistic approach to meeting your customer’s needs, giving them a compelling reason to buy from you.   The Marketing Mix. It’s either a bit of business school jargon – or a useful framework to check you’ve covered all the aspects of your
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7 marketing objectives – choose the right one for your next campaign

Too often I hear about business owners spending money on a promotional activity because it will “raise awareness”. I don’t often like this as an objective: it’s not enough on its own to drive sales and, for a small business, can be difficult to measure. Marketing resources are precious so must be targeted. A more specific objective – for example, increasing your prospect base or conversion rate – is much easier to measure and monitor, allowing you to learn and adapt your activities.   I’ve written elsewhere about how “raising awareness” is not a good enough reason in itself for a
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