Market and sell, Market and Sell

As the summer draws to a close and we get ready for the autumn, we would suggest that companies large and small, need to review, revamp and refresh their sales and marketing communications, plans  and strategies.

Every company needs to get inside the mind of the buyer, be that a home based buyer or an international customer.

Brands and the expertise they bring need to be known and trusted and the challenge is to be on the shopping list of the buyer.

Consistency and continuity of message is required – the steady drip system coupled with some purple cow moments that turn the spotlight on an organisation.

It is a competitive and tough old world out there and as ever when going gets tough the tough get going.

For more information on a range of sales and marketing initiatives, contact

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Promotional gifts – still a great way to market

Read a very interesting piece in marketer magazine that talks about the value of promotional gifts – deskware such as mugs, pens, diaries, mobile phone holders, usb sticks post its, and gifts.

When there is so much clutter in the electronic world and we now have to scroll through pages of apps on our i-phones, the way to keep your name in front of the customer may be that mug, pen, screen-saver, mouse mat etc.

It is certainly worth considering –  we always need to find ways of keeping our names in front of customers on a regular basis – without them having to make a conscious decision to look it up or search for it!

The key is to understand how your market works, where they go, how they think, and what their business day consists of. For information on marketing activity that will work for you, contact russ@

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Everyone’s market is ever changing

Just read an article on the Aldi family who of course are completely cornering the market for groceries in the UK and targeting the mid range of consumer.  Their rivals are Tesco, Morrisons etc, those mid range operators where the decision making process is based on a blend of quality and price.

So far, the top end seems to be thriving – Waitrose, Farm Shops etc where brand and lifestyle are perhaps more dominant in the consumers purchasing criteria.  The Aldi business slogan: “The best quality at the lowest price” has endeared them to the top end consumer. They have introduced premium ranges and more British produce leading the bold claim “more Bentleys in the car park than other supermarkets”.

The issue is that business to business markets are just as volatile though perhaps not as public.  Key challenges in business to business markets are in the business process, the use of technology and understanding how to make it easier for customer to interact.  In marketing we always have to look out for what the next age of customer is looking for and position ourselves well.

For more information on this topic contact

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Town Centre Marketing

Southwold, a perfect answer for strategic marketing. Just returned from this iconic little town, packed to the gunnels with holidaymakers, young, family and old. Key elements in the mix are – Nice clean beach with colourful English beach huts, great pubs and independent shops with hardly a national chain in sight, local products, ( food and craft) and the staff in the hotels and b and bs will tell you all about the shops in the town.  They have a discount card to encourage you to browse, the residents come over as a friendly with a pride in their town.

When so many of our towns are scratching their heads about the demise of their town centre, this is an excellent example of a village that knows where it is going. Perhaps helped by a local hero in the form of Adnams Brewery with the vision to keep employment in the town and provide great products.  Ok, it is located in the South East but the lessons should hold true for many places.

For more information on this topic of town centre marketing contact

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Repetition, Repetition, Repetition

It has been said many times before but the way to get recall, recognition, trust and opportunity is to keep your brand and brand values out there in the minds of your existing customers, potential customers, older customer, younger customers etc.

These lessons apply in business to consumer and also in business to business sectors – the
difference is in the right messaging, using the right medium and the right call to action. It seems to me that we are constantly told that the way to grow is to concentrate promotional
efforts largely on social networking, – eh wrong in many cases! Social is just one part of the
mix and the panoply of media and communications open to you. It really depends on the type of business you are in and the media consumption patterns of your target audience.

The large fmcg companies will use a blend of online – Web, youtube, Twitter, Facebook and the rest and also offline – TV, radio, direct mail, PR, point of sale, telephone, sales, promotions etc, to engage and gain commitment from their target audience. The smarter boys are now linking all of this to e commerce sites that deliver to a global consumer.

It takes at least 7 hits before your brand will be recognised, so the message is to think about your customer bases, what they will read, watch or listen to, get the message and the creatives right and plan the process over time.

If you need to fast track this and have some help from a team that have been doing this for
years, just contact russ @

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Internet Wars – disrupting the status quo

There are many examples of internet based companies disrupting traditional business models.

Roger De’Ath from Google’s enterprise division, spoke recently at the recent Digital 2014 Interactive Scotland event:

“For digital businesses, location is irrelevant, it’s an entirely democratic process. If you have the best ideas, then you can win in any market.”

Jumpstart UK have created significant growth for UK businesses by spreading awareness of the government’s research and development tax relief scheme. By positioning itself as “a classic disruptive technology,” their contribution has helped companies like BrewDog to sustain essential funding to improve their infrastructure. The Jumpstart model is based on efficiency and accountability where everything is tracked. This has allowed them to beat off the competition who they believe are traditional Accountancy firms.

Air Bnb offers a cheaper alternative to hotel overnight accommodation to see its popularity go from strength to strength. This original concept has grown wings and now an army of followers have subscribed and are renting out their home or visitors taking advantage of this economical accommodation. Despite being taken to court by representatives of the hotel industry, i.e, the competition, AirBnB has expanded thanks largely to the power of the internet combined with the pressure from the crowd. The rest as they say is history!

In the world of retailing, Amazon’s well documented growth has turned hierarchical supply chain models on their head, upsetting book publishers along the way but providing a unique customer centric experience.

In contrast, Kodak cameras had plenty of warning about the emergence of the digital camera and underestimated the shifting trends and ultimately forced them to close down a once powerful device.

The internet represents a world of opportunity and no matter what industry niche your company operates in, there is a powerful tool at your disposal to be a force for change.

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Marketing to the slightly older

There is a very interesting piece in the Marketer this month about the importance of understanding how the more senior consumer consumes information and likes to be promoted to.

A third of the UK population is over 50 and accounts for a staggering 40% of consumer spending. It is a lucrative market as they hold 80% of the nations wealth.

The inference in the article is that this ‘baby boomer’ group are often classed as one homogenous lump, when in fact, it is important to segment, understand how the market operates and market to the needs of the customer.

Growth areas in this category include – online dating, a preventative approach to health and foods and research by Saga found that 8 out of 10 of the people surveyed were planning to go abroad for holidays in 2014 and spend more than they had in 2013.

Trend information is fairly freely available in each and every sector, – consumer, industrial and business to business. It provides broad, background information and can begin to signpost the way forward for any organisation.

Once a direction has been decided, then primary research of target markets can be developed, which will tell the business owner how to take advantage of the trend, within their own business.

The large plcs will not make a move without understanding and interpreting the market trends in some depth. However in the smaller company scenario, the concept of real understanding of buyer behaviour is often not practised.

For more information on how to segment your consumers more effectively, contact russ @

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Developing a Customer culture – easy to talk about, more difficult to deliver

Perhaps a provocative statement, but one that summarises the importance of having a strong culture that is customer focussed, with all employees having an understanding of the role of ever increasing customer satisfaction.

High levels of customer service endorse the relationship with existing customers and contacts and often lead to new opportunities.

Customer satisfaction is often seen as a surface activity that is only skin deep. However, in depth customer satisfaction requires cultural change, a never ending appreciation of customer’s viewpoints and an individual ‘passion for customers’. In practise, it requires to be a continuous process in any business, particularly if the objective is to delivered ‘added value’ and therefore the opportunity of ongoing work on project extensions and new projects.

The ‘people’ in any business create an impression of the product or service at every single touch point. This can be technical support, van delivery, telephone support and enquiries, right along to the financial and accounts departments. Often, these categories of personnel will get further into a customer’s organisation than any sales person ever will.

The chances to create a positive perception of the company arise on a daily basis as do opportunities for future growth and additional work. Additional work is often provided at a less price sensitive rate ( the focus by this time is on quality and service rather than price). In many cases, opportunities are obvious but not spotted and certainly not maximised.

For more information on customer service and revenue generation, contact russ @

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Spot the opportunity – Transferring skills to employees

Everyone in a team needs to understand sales and sales process in today’s world.  If you ever ask yourself these questions. –

  • How can we develop more sales for the company?
  • How can we acquire more customers in the UK?
  • How can I acquire more customers throughout the world?
  • How do the team negotiate away from price discounting?
  • How do we deal with objections?
  • How can the team close more deals?
  • How do we align ourselves more effectively with customers?

For answers to all these questions, the opportunity is there to review the sales and customer acquisition process in your organisation and to skill up your people to be more focussed on creating increased sales.

Most companies we see should be in a position to increase their sales by a factor of 10% or more, almost overnight if they implement their skills learnt. This is bespoke to the company, – not a ‘one to many’ public course.

It is a powerful proposition and one which requires little investment. Skills Development Scotland also offer Flexible Learning Grants and subsidies to help companies improve their skill set.


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Map your customer journey – clues for improving service, sales and retention

I just wonder if this is the key to creating even greater competitive edge, particularly in a service business. If you can get under the skin of the customer to find out their thought, emotions , hurdles and actions at every moment on the road to purchase, you have the key to more profit.

At a recent event held at AD Plus Chartered Accountants in Cambuslang, a presentation from the Wise Property Group in Glasgow showed how they had embraced the customer journey with modern technology to deliver a superb customer service offering in a service sector, – all at transparent value for money prices that were not discounted. Check out their website, – home page – property survey – speedy estimate vide. It is such a simple proposition but executed well and used as the start point for superb customer service.

What I can tell you is that the results were staggering in terms of increased business and return on investment. It is a real lesson on innovation for profit based on research and understanding of the customer and putting yourself in their shoes.

For more information on looking at the customer journey to shape the customer offering to engage and create more sales opportunities, contact

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