May 12 2015

A new take on the 4 P’s of marketing

Published by under Great marketing stuff

The original 4 P’s of marketing – Price, product, place and promotion – devised back in the early 1960′s by the American Marketing Association – have been extended and tweaked over the years. They still represent the basics of how to shape your strategic marketing thinking but times have changed – even the definition of marketing itself has changed dramatically over the last 60 years. Duct Tape Marketing’s John Jantsch has come up with an interesting take on what the 4 P’s might stand for in today’s ever-changing marketing landscape. Today’s marketing is all about building trust, according to John, and today’s 4 P’s are all about how a customer experiences dealing with your company.

P stands for Passion – when a business owner has a real passion for what they do, good things can happen. Leading with passion and connecting to others within your company and your customers will bring about a desire to commit.

P stands for Purpose – why you do what you do. A clear definition of your purpose builds trust – amongst your employees and your customers – because it enables them to see their own values in action.

P stands for Positioning – with a clear understanding of purpose it’s easier for companies to then position themselves within their market.

P stands for Personality – letting all those who come into contact with the business understand its personality and actually experience its purpose.

Whilst you might not agree with John’s suggested new P’s, it’s an interesting slant on a tried and tested way of looking at the basic marketing building bricks of your company. To read his blog in  full, click here.

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May 12 2015

Is web design a dying art?

Published by under Great marketing stuff

Whilst we are always at great pains to stress the strategic nature of our marketing consultancy, we obviously do get involved in helping customers to develop or improve their online presence. We have over the years  helped customers develop some highly successful websites across a variety of sectors, working together with our web design partners.

But as any quick sortie into google will testify, setting up a website is no longer the sole preserve of the web designer. Thanks to an ever-increasing array of web design tools, together with cheap hosting packages and idiot-proof content management systems, companies are able to launch a website at a considerably lower cost than hiring a web developer/designer. But what does this new trend signify for the vast number of highly skilled web developers out there?

Thankfully it does not appear that the writing is on the wall for the truly creative, talented developer. What has happened is that, whilst the barriers to entering the online market are being lowered every day, finding the right person to create a truly compelling, commercially robust online presence for your company is still a difficult goal to achieve. The technical, routine aspect of setting up a website is now no longer shrouded in mystery. But creating a valuable online resource, which accurately reflects and promotes your company and your brand values in an original way is still something of an art.

The combination of engaging content, fantastic design, powerful SEO and bespoke coding is still beyond the capability of any off-the-shelf package. And the importance of getting each of these core elements absolutely right is still at the heart of what makes a great website really work for you. Web design isn’t dying, it’s just growing up.

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Mar 26 2014

New Holiday Cottage Website up and running

Published by under Online marketing stuff

We’ve just finished working with a local Cornish client – Hallagenna Riding – to develop a new website for their riding holiday business. Hallagenna’s owner, Paul Millward, wanted the new website to convey not only the quality of the holiday cottages but also the variety of the excellent outriding available from their base in the heart of Bodmin Moor. Hallagenna Customers – from local riders to overseas customers looking to explore the county on horseback – can now also check availability online and book their riding package. We’ve also developed a facebook page, carried out a per-per-click campaign and secured some fantastic local pr – which have all contributed to Hallagenna’s first year in operation already boasting high booking levels both in peak and off-peak periods. Take a look at the website here

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Jun 24 2013

Is how you sell as important as what you sell?

A recent study by the American, member-based advisory organisation CEB, has published some startling results from a new survey. It revealed that a staggering 57% of all 1400 respondents from a variety of B2B business sectors already made their purchase decisions before talking to a supplier. So not only does your product or service have to stand scrutiny, so must your sales and marketing process. The same survey revealed that the sales experience itself was one of the main contributing factors to continued customer loyalty.  Whilst buyers felt that most products, services, prices, benefits were roughly the same, the real point of differentiation was in the sales process. To read the full article from John Jantsch – click here. To find out how to smarten up your sales act, get in touch with our sales and marketing consultant Rennie Gould here.

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Dec 05 2012

Suits you sir! Why tailoring your product or service doesn’t have to become a never-ending story

It’s great to be offered a “tailored” service, one that meets your requirements exactly, be it a shiny new webite, a leadership development programme or even a new pair of shoes. That feeling of having a product or service, specifically designed to meet your own or your business’ needs, goes a long way to building a unique customer relationship. But at the same time, the art of providing that customised service can come at too high a price. As Marketing Consultants, by the very nature of our work – listening to a wide variety of companies, developing strategies that are going to work for them – everything we do is customised. There’s no such thing as an off-the-peg marketing strategy.

As a result we have, over the years, come to realise that there are steps which can be taken to ensure that “customised” doesn’t mean “bottomless pit,” strategies which can help other businesses to manage their own customer offering. Being clear about what your customer wants saves time and money, of course, but also gets you to a happy customer quicker. Seth Godin has very succinctly summarised some of the key points to remember en route to providing a tailored service, which neither wastes time or money and avoids frustration on all sides:

1. Make sure you’re doing it on purpose. Create the right environment to understand the client’s personal taste and preferences, build the neccesary boundaries at the very start to avoid “scope creep.” It’s better to do this at the beginning of a process when it’s still cheap, rather than at the end whe it starts to get expensive.

2. Benchmarks – get your customer to show you other examples of the product/service that work for them, achieve the look or feel they want to achieve. It’s not just about achieving financial objectives here.

3. Walk through the whole assignment before you start, precisely stating the problem you are looking to solve.

4. Before presenting your solution, restate the problem. This will ensure your customer remains focussed on the initial, stated goals.

Even Seth admits, however, that this approach is not watertight. There will always be clients who are looking for a magic fix, and that is something that just cannot be articulated in advance. But by being aware of the process throughout, it can be easier to avoid falling into a bottomless pit of never-ending adjustments, which in the end will not result in a happy customer relationship.

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Nov 21 2012

Let me tell you a story…. Storytelling in marketing is more than a passing fad

Once perhaps viewed as just another flakey gimmick, story telling in marketing has proved itself to be no longer a passing fad. As the importance of communicating effectively with your customers in an ever-increasing number of digital forums continues to rise, telling an interesting and – crucially – a convincing story is critical when communicating successfully with your customers.

But with a focus on the bottom line, budgets and spreadhsheets, are we too focused on the facts and too willing to sacrifice that emotional tug or our message? Perhaps companies are now so focused on making sure they communicate the facts that they just don’t trust their audience enough to “get” them if they’re wrapped in the emotion of the brand.

The danger of going down that path is that buying is an emotional response.  We buy based on our emotions and justify the purchase with the facts offered. We very rarely buy on facts alone. So it we don’t offer up both sides of the equation — we leave our prospects wanting and our sales figures potentially languishing.

It’s important to realize that storytelling in marketing isn’t just to entertain or to be memorable (good reasons though!).  Weaving a story to draw your customers in can drive brand loyalty and, as a result, increase sales. It might be time to take a look at what story you would like to tell. Does your social media and content marketing currently lend itself to good storytelling? Is there too much emphasis on factual case studies rather than emotionally triggering customer stories? How can you better marry your digital marketing tools with the age old art of telling compelling stories to drive sales?

Storytelling in marketing is hardly new. But it’s as effective today as it was when I found myself half way up a mountain in Wales, crouched barefoot on the floor, full of cynicism – but by the end of the day totally in awe of one of the greatest storytellers on the planet. Threading a compelling story through all your marketing – digital, in print, internal communications, gives you a stronger case to present, a cohesion in your communications – and the opportunity to make a difference to the bottom line.

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Oct 28 2012

What makes a great leader?

Great leaders move us. They ignite our passion and inspire the best in us. (Daniel Goleman) Where in this statement do we mention their intelligence or IQ? No matter how good these leaders are at their ‘day job’ – their competence and professional achievement – if they cannot engage and lead, where does that leave the business?
We are all aware of the highly intelligent individual, who is highly skilled but still failed at his job. Daniel Goleman, identified a direct link between individuals who have strong emotional skills and measurable business results.
I have found working with coaching clients a repetitive theme where there is an imbalance in these softer but vital skills proving to be a barrier to these individuals really thriving in today’s business environment. The EQ-I 2.0 Model (see below) looks at 5 key factors, which when balanced maximises individual’s ability to work effectively. Just as an example – a highly emotionally charged individual maybe be good at being passionate and ‘rallying the troops’ – but with poor decision making and low stress tolerance – will struggle to lead the project through to its conclusion.
The good news is – these skills can be developed. Unlike IQ which is set when you are about 17, Emotional Intelligence can be developed and improved throughout life, through awareness and effective coaching.
If you like to talk to us as specialist marketing consultants and coaches about we can help assess and / or develop the skills and capabilities of your marketing team then please get in touch.

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Oct 23 2012

Future leaders – look to executive coaching as a solution

Business leaders are increasingly concerned about the delta skill gap between our experienced marketers and the upcoming generation of future leaders. The Marketing academy

How do you develop once you are in a ‘marketing role’? If you are lucky you may have been through a professional course such as the CIM; you may get the chance to go on occasional training courses on tactical areas such as digital marketing or even a marketing planning course – but who helps you build your management and leadership skills? How do you move from a marketing assistant through to management?

Executive coaching and mentoring is now a proven technique, to develop the skills, mentality and depth of knowledge required to develop a succession of outstanding marketers that will lead UK business out of the recession and into growth.  If you like to talk to us as expert marketing consultants and coaches about we can help assess and / or develop the skills and capabilities of your marketing team then please get in touch.

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Oct 18 2012

Is marketing leading your business growth

My frustration continues as marketing continues to struggle to be heard at senior levels. Is this because marketing is still seen purely as leaflets, brochures, PR and now social media? How do we persuade directors that successful business growth comes from taking the right products, to the right customers, at the right time! Not just shouting aimlessly about what they have – like a market trader!
Is the missing link – just clear strategy and planning, or do we have to invest in our marketing teams to step up to the challenge and take the lead? Marketing is the foundation for business growth.
I am still confounded when working with clients, who set a business plan financial budget, and then ask for activity to meet it! This is an accountant’s led approach – not what the market wants needs or can even take!
The TMS team of strategic marketing consultants continues to challenge and champion the wider advantages of marketing, working with a variety of companies to direct their resources to make maximum impact for their business. If you like to talk to us about we can help put marketing at the centre of your business growth please get in touch.

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Oct 16 2012

Struggling to win tenders? A new bid capability diagnostic service from TMS could be the answer!

Having recently started working with a new client, whose major share of new business is dependent on winning tenders, we recognised that a new approach was urgently required to increase the number of successful bids. Following on from our initial discussions with our client, we have just delivered a diagnostic workshop – focussing on improving bid capability – in collaboration with Chris Wyatt of Get to Great. Chris’ company focusses on using powerful self-assessment tools to improve business performance, with particular emphasis on sales. Working with our client, we were able to firstly use the self-assessment tools to identify current areas of weakness before then clearly identifying how to improve each area.

“Working together with Chris has enabled us to give our client a high impact, low cost approach to tackling the problems they have been experiencing with the tendering process,” says Mark Brewerton, TMS Managing Director. “Not only have we clearly identified the key changes that are required, we have helped our client to put new strategies into action. A follow-up assessment in three months’ time will enable us to review progress and fine-tune where necessary.”

This diagnostic approach to improving sales performance can be applied to companies who rely heavily on tendering to secure new business – whatever their industry sector.

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