• Over and over again
    Doing the odd e-shot, advert, or mail shot will not work.Be consistent and persistent.So many businesses complain that their efforts are in vain, nothing works... But when these efforts are queried it often boils down to one advert, or one e-shot, and  a few personal tweets, with agency work often costing over the odds (because they are one-offs)You would have to be very lucky for these activities to bring any ROI at all.With all the options available nowadays there is no excuse for not having a proper communications-mix; one that will ensure your business is put in front of prospective customers through multiple platforms, over a period of time, allowing you to build brand awareness and perception.I was speaking to a business a while back. they's had an e-shot carried out for them which brought nothing, not a single enquiry. Upon close inspection they had no proper way of tracing feedback, their website is "old" and unappealing,and they never did anything to follow up, didn't carry it out within a campaign structure ( additional e-shot, a press release in the right publications, some social media activity....), absolutely nothing.In a stagnant market (conservatory roofs ), where competition is fierce, they feel they are doing well. The business has grown year on year since it was set up 10 years ago, despite industry volumes declining, so there is no doubt they are indeed doing something right.But how much better could they do, and how long can this growth be sustained?All the competition is out there, digitally active, websites that are more up to date, and mobile optimised. What is more competitors are expanding their wings (geographically and with a diversified portfolio) as they can neither hope to grow by focusing solely on the local / regional market, nor attract new customers with a product range that is too limited and is not in line with the latest trends in home improvement.The answer is simple: you need people to know about you.. and once you have exhaused repeat business and recommendations (which in themselves can be a strong driver if managed properly) you are left with developing a communications-mix that will help you acheive just that. And it doesn't have to cover every single tool in the box.... that would be neither practical, realistic nor useful (depending on industry, budget, target market etc..). This post isn't about what tools to use, but about what to do with them once a business has selected the ones most appropriate for them.And the answer is really quite simple: use them over and over again.There is no point going through the effort, time and cost of setting up an email template, or an email management account, building a database, and then send just the one e-shot. Prepare a full campaign.There is no point setting up social media accounts and wait for people to follow / like you.... you need to post, you need to build your networkThere is no point booking one display ad in one publication. Who is going to take note if they have never heard of you before.There is no point building a poor website if you need it to bring you leads, and then just leave it there for the next 5 years, feeling that at least you've got an online presenceMost potential customers will need to have seen you several times, ideally on several media, before they can recall your company, or, more importantly, have your company's name come to mind once they need your product.So be consistent and persistent.PS: of course the one-offs do sometimes work, but we can't rely on that to build a business, surely....
  • international marketing - how not to do it
    This email came through today... a perfect demonstration of why, if you are going to develop foreign market, you should invest in the right staff and skills (well, a lot more really, such as a proper strategy, but I don't think the company who sent this was concerned about such matters).Ladies and Sirs,Sorry, you are not reachable by phone for me. When I call my name, your Secretariat cuts the conversation.In the week 47, Wednesday until Friday we planned a Tour to UK.Are you interested in a demonstration?It is free and non-binding. The production is not thereby interrupted. We need to be able to demonstrate a table or two goats and electricity supply and a few glasses with mistakes.With kind regards.This should keep me laughing for weeks to come
  • What is wrong with this advert?
    This was on the front page of my local newspaper this week. I initially looked at it because solar energy is of interest to me (the company has "solar" in its name). By the time I finished reading the advert I had made the decision to avoid the company advertising their services.This illustrates why advertising - and marketing as a whole - gets a bad name. Because I can't imagine anybody with any sense, and the money to spend,  would ever want to give that company their business.In turn said company will simply blame it on "marketing", how expensive it is, and how it never works....Not sure who is more to blame, the advertiser who didn't have the sense to proof read the advert, or the newspaper, who cares only about the money and didn't think that to have that on the cover page of their weekly publication would be a bad idea.And if you are thinking, small business, no big deal... well no, I don't accept that. Size doesn't matter, it is all about success, return, making it work for your business.Whether you are wasting ....spending £500 or £5000, the amount will be commensurate to your business financial capability, and you want every penny invested to work as hard as possible, and give you a good return....So whether you are a small local business doing... "that" or a large multinational corporation (see Nestle's attempt to sell baby food in Africa. The illustration was the picture of a baby, but with a highly illiterate target market people thought the food!) you must do it right.
  • 8 seconds is all you've got - better be quick
    A recent study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information shows that the average human attention span has rapidly declined over the past decade. While in 2001 people could stay focused for 12 seconds, marketers now only have eight seconds to grab their audience’s attention. To put that into context, the average attention span of a goldfish is nine seconds. -Click here to read the full article 
  • Marketing and Sales - why they need to get on.
    The marketing and sales function are so intrinsically linked we must wonder why they always seem to be at odd with each other.Speaking from a marketing bperspective we know that the sales process is an essential element of the whole marketing function, the "P" for Personal Selling. Without sales we might as well not bother......But we do need to work together.Yet in some organisations the functions are ran in such separate ways that the teams barely communicate, never mind sit down and discuss such key areas as customer demand, product feedback, new opportunities etc...It is more likely that sales will say "we need a funky brochure, let's get marketing to put something together", effectively driving down the role of marketing to being just a creative / promotional role withing an organisation,.Marketing therefore loses the ability to being involved in the core elements of what helps ensure a business builds on sustainable business: the full marketing-mix, the strategic planning aimed at giving the business its market-driven focus.Instead, sales team focus on the easy sell and the eye is taken off long-term planning.The Chartered Institute of Marketing has just released an interesting paper on the subject which highlights all the problems that have been created withing organisations through the separation of these 2 core functions, and why we should seriiously consider bringing them back together.Marketing and Sales Fusion can be downloaded hereAnd I for one, agree.
  • 10 seasonal secrets (from The Marketer)
    Every Easter, 90m chocolate Easter bunnies are made and, according to a survey by the National Confectioners Association, 76% of people believe the ears should be eaten first.Every Christmas, Brits serve up around 10m turkeys to family and friends. In the US, however, where Thanksgiving is also celebrated with a roast turkey, about 60m turkeys are eaten annually.The UK's first chocolate Easter egg was produced in 1873 by Fry's Chocolate in Bristol. But the market didn't pick up until a way was found to pour chocolate into moilds.White Christmas by Bing Crosby is the biggest selling single of all time, with 50m copies sold worldwide. Silent Night is a close second with 30m global sales. Band Aid's Do they Know it's Christmas? comes third.Hot cross buns were among the first Easter treats. They were made by European mons for the poor during LentTen new candy Love Hearts sayings are added every year ti keep up with the latest trends. Recent additions include: "text me", "tweet me", and "luvu 24/7". The sweets have been in production since 1933 and many of the original sayings are still in use, including "be mine" and "kiss me"Teachers receive the most Valentine cards, followed by children, mums and wives.According to Pew Research Centre more phone calls are made on Mother's day than any other day of the year.Samhainophobia is the irrational and persistent fear of Halloween, Symptoms include feelings of anxiety, nausea and dizziness.Black and orange are Halloween's trademark colours. Orange symbolises strength and stands for the harvest and autumn. Black is typically a symbol of death and darkness and acts as a reminder that Halloween originated as a pagan festival that marked the boundaries between life and death.
  • Promotions - handle with care
    As a predominantely B2B marketer the opportunity to run promotions can sometimes be lacking.However I am very aware that there is a thin line between success and failure, and between good and bad.The one example that always comes to mind is the highly publicised 1992 Hoover promotion that offered a 2 free flights for any purchase of over £100. The sheer volume of sales overwhelmed Hoover, who became unable to fullfill the requests. Cases got taken to court. The whole exercise costs the company £50 million.What can be learned from this.... over to Mark Smith, Solicitor at Osborne Clarke (From The Marketer)Avoid the pitfalls of promotionAdvertising and running promotions fairly and transparently can be tricky – clear terms and conditions are crucial sales promotion can be a great way to persuade customers to buy a product or service and increase brand awareness. But it can be a challenge to navigate the rules on how promotions can be advertised.It is important to understand what the terms and conditions should contain and how they should be displayed. To avoid disputes, promotions must be run promptly, efficiently and participants must be dealt with fairly – but what steps should be taken to translate these principles into practice?Terms before entry Promoters must communicate all significant conditions of the promotion before a purchase is made or, if no purchase is required for entry in the promotion, before or at the time of entry or application.Cover all details Conditions must include, among other things, details on how to participate, the start date and closing date, the number and nature of any prizes or gifts, any relevant geographical, personal or technological restrictions, as well as the promoter’s name and address. All factors that are likely to affect a participant’s decision to participate or their understanding about the promotion should be made clear from the outset.Avoid disappointmentIn December 2012, the ASA upheld a complaint against Mafiabikes. The company advertised a competition to win a bike on its Facebook page, but did not set out the applicable terms and conditions or provide a link to them. The entry criteria also demanded a description of why the participant deserved to win the prize.A complainant contacted the ASA after their entry was put to the public vote on Facebook with two others and was subsequently removed. The ASA found that Mafiabikes had failed to provide details of significant terms and conditions, including a closing date, had failed to explain how entrants would be judged and ultimately failed to avoid causing unnecessary disappointment to participants, breaching a number of CAP Code rules. T&Cs a click or two away The ASA guidance on sales promotions acknowledges that some online promotions can be limited by space, and states that in this context all terms and conditions need not be set out in the initial advert. Instead, the initial ad can indicate that “terms and conditions apply”, with significant conditions accessible one click away, and less important conditions two clicks away. Limited space will not be seen as a justification for failing to provide applicable terms and conditions. Easy access infoIn September 2012, the ASA upheld a complaint about a tweet from Petplan that announced a goodie bag giveaway, but failed to state the conditions that applied to the promotion or provide access to them via a hyperlink. Petplan also breached a second, related CAP Code rule, which requires that participants must be able to retain terms and conditions or easily access them throughout the promotion. Prizes In addition to the significant conditions outlined earlier, if a promoter is running a promotion involving prizes, they will need to provide additional details either before or at the time of entry. The terms and conditions should state any restriction on the number of entries, whether the promoter may substitute a cash alternative for any prize and how and when winners will be notified of results. If the result is more than 30 days after the closing date, the date by which the prize winners will receive their prizes must be stated. Copyright In certain promotions, the criteria and mechanism for judging entries, details of who owns the copyright in the entries, how the promoter will return entries and any intention to use winners in post-event publicity, should also be included. TimescalesFinally, information about how and when information about winners and results will be made available should be provided, in light of the fact that promoters must either publish or make available on request the name and county of major prize winners and, if applicable, their winning entries.Case notesCompetitions and social media In April 2012 the ASA upheld a complaint against directory enquiries provider The Number when it ran a prize promotion on a social network. The complainant was disqualified from the promotion because the organisation believed she had canvassed for votes on the social network, which they deemed to be unfair to other participants. The ASA, however, considered that canvassing for votes was commonplace on social media and would not necessarily be considered unfair by all participants. If The Number intended to disqualify participants on these grounds, this should have been made clear in the promotion’s terms and conditions, but it was not.This adjudication highlights that promoters generally cannot create and enforce new terms and conditions retrospectively; they need to be set out in advance and then followed.The article can be viewed here:
  • Gobbledygook
    30 SECONDS ON:gobbledygookThe great and the good have much to say on the importance of avoiding pretentious, jargon- filled phrases:- 'Gobbledygook may indicate a failure to think clearly, a contempt for one's clients or, more probably, a mixture of both.' Michael Shanks, former chairman of the National Consumer Council- 'Our business is infested with idiots who try to impress by using pretentious jargon.' David Ogilvy- '"Speak English!" said the Eaglet."I don't know the meaning of half those long words, and I don't believe you do either!"' Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland- 'Using plain English is not just a good intention. It is a business necessity.' Lord Alexander of Weedon QC, former chairman of NatWest Group- 'One should use common words to say uncommon things.'Arthur Schopenhauer, German philosopher- 'The great enemy of clear language is insincerity.' George Orwell- 'Mystification is simple; clarity is the hardest thing of all.'Julian Barnes, Man Booker Prize-winning writerFrom Helen Edwards, Marketn Magazine, 27th March
  • ICO issues first fine
    Direct marketing ICO–first fine issuedThe Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has fined a Scottish kitchen company £90,000 for making thousands of unsolicited marketing calls to members of the public. The ICO and the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) received nearly 2,000 complaints about DM Design which had failed to check whether people had registered with the TPS.This is the first such fine that the ICO has issued in the UK but the ICO says it is investigating other companies and this “sends out a clear message to the marketing industry that this menace will not be tolerated.”Source:, 20 March 2013
  • Interesting facts on Word of Mouth (WoM) marketing
    The Blair Witch project made $250m worldwide, but cost less than $100000 to make, in 1999. Its success was due to the buzz created following an early online viral marketing campaignHarry Potter's author, JK Rowling, became a world bestseller through personal recommendations. Only 500 copies were printed when first published.Boot's No7 Protect and Perfect face saw sales soar by 2000% following an endorsement from BBC2's Horizon programme.
  • Word of Mouth Marketing
    A new report from a study commissioned by agency MediaLab found that:A recommendation from a friend would make 71% of people "more comfortable" with a product or service - even more so than their own past experience (63%) and far more so than advertising (15%)Useful Marketing
  • Stick to your budget
    Had a revealing conversation very recently...A small business spent £12000 on marketing / promotional activities in the last 3 to 4 months.The activities haven't met their targetsThe budget was not £12k, it was a lot less£3k was spent on a motivational speaker: only 6 people attendedI guess my first thought was: missed opportunity to manage the project (well, you would wouldn't you!), but more to the point missed opportunity to make that project a more successful and cost efficient one.The main point here is: stick to your budget, there is no point in spending what you cannot afford. Do some research to identify those activities that are going to be the most appropriate to reach your target market; what are your competitors doing for example? Then, obtain quotes for all your activities, and don't just settle for the first price / supplier.Time your plan; any project will have a fixed deadline, so ensure all parties are aware of it, and give yourself contingency time - as delays always occurr - by increasing the time required for each individual activity.Once the work starts don't just carry on regardless; keep an eye on progress, monitor results, be proactive. And if things aren't panning out as they should, consider making changes.For example, if your email campaign isn't producing the results, consider changing the wording to make it more punchy; or may be you had planned to only carry out one email shot, but need to increase that number as you realise that a "one time wonder" just enough enough.The point is: manage, keep controlThank you for reading.Anne-Marie BuschReally Useful Marketing
  • Marketing on a budget
    We all know that the last thing to do right now is to stop all marketing activities; now is the time to really think marketing.Buyers are more careful about where they are going to spend their money, so it is essential that your marketing activities cover the whole of the marketing-mix:revise you products / services to identify those that are most likely to be needed by your target marketensure your delivery / routes to market are efficient, that service is flawlessintroduce incentives, promotions to entice the buyerreview your pricing structure to ensure you remain competitiveNote that I put pricing at the end. it is always tempting to reduce price when times are hard, but more often that not pricing is not the primary factor when making a decision, value for money is. Add value to your offer by extending a service contract for example, or introduce a "basic" range. This will be attractive to the customer and also means that you are not cutting too much into your profit margin.Below are some ideas on how to carry out marketing on a budget:•Change existing product / service to include less ( a “basics” range)•Use online free resources to promote your business (directory listings, free trials etc…)•Optimise your networking: follow up, add contacts to your database, contact them with offers, join networks like or •Customer Relationship Management: customers are you most important asset, look after them, cross-sell to them•Collaterals: use electronic leaflets (cheaper, can be adapted, in-house / small quantities of print, VAT free leaflets)•Email marketing: no postage, no print, low sending cost ( •Advertising: renegotiate, reduce advert size, don’t use advertising as your only means of promotion•Offers: introduce special offers (with time limit), make sure relevant to the target market•Pricing: don’t use price reduction as your first option – difficult to step back •Referrals: actively encourage your clients to recommend you, and reward them. If suitable implement a formal referrers program.•Press releases: you cannot guarantee their publications, but a good release, which provides "newsworthy" information (ie: which is not obvioulsy written as an advert, but provides the readers with an item of interest), stands a good chance of going to print and will provide your business with some worthwhile publicity. Examples include: new members of staff, participation in charity events, new contract, new product etc...Any marketing activity should be carried out with your objectives in mind, and with care. Don't go "slap dash" just because it is cheap, make sure everything is perfect, from the spelling of an email to the offer you put together, or the way you introduce yourself. First impressions are what count the most.On a slightly light note, I don't make a habit of publishing 5 blogs a day, I just transferred from one host to another yesterday, so rather than start from scratch I just put them all back in here, one by one.Thank you for readingAnne-Marie BuschReally Useful Marketing
  • Setting Marketing Objectives
    You might say that your objective is to remain profitable, or to turnover so and so, but when it comes to putting in place actionable strategies and actions you should consider your marketing objectives as being one of the following:- sell existing products to existing markets: a local law firm decides to sell more of its wills and probates services to the families in its current geographical area- extend existing products to new markets: a local law firm decides to sell its wills and probates services to a wider geographical area, or to local small business owners- develop new products for existing markets: a local law firm decides to introduce family law services (e.g divorce) and sell it to its existing target market of families in its local area- develop new products for new markets: a local law firm decides to introduce commercial services to businesses throughout the UK.It is only when you have decided what you want to achieve that you can then work on how you are going to get there (ie set the strategies).And you can only decide on your marketing objectives once you have set the goal for your company, understand how it performs, understand your competitors, your customers, your target market, and how well your current marketing efforts are performing.But this will be discussed in other entries, all good things come to those who wait.Thank you for reading my blog.Anne-Marie BuschReally Useful Marketing
  • What is Marketing?
    Well, some of you might think it rather obvious, but unfortunatley I can assure you that in the last 12 years of practicing marketing I have come across many people (business professionals) who completely misunderstood the concept of marketing.At best marketing is seen as whichever means of communications used to get a company's name out there, and at worst it is simply a synonym of "advertising".One thing is certain, such concepts as customer service, product / service range, pricing and routes to market never seem to be considered as key elements of marketing.It always seem to come down to"this is what we do, let's just get some buyers"...So, what is marketing? A definition provided by the Chartered Institute of Marketing goes as follows: "Marketing is the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably"The key here lies in "customer requirements" and "profitably". Always put your customers and potential customers at the centre of your business, its driving force. and then manage all the aspects of the business that your customers will be concerned with, and these are what is commonly know as the "4Ps":- the product or service you offer, is it what they want, are the specifications appropriate, are the customers' needs met?- the price: is it competitive, does it reflect the value of the product, is it over or underpriced? can you set the price so that people would buy and you can make a profit? is that particular product or service a loss leader to attract more business?- the place, or distribution route, making certain that your product / service is delivered effectively, on time, clearly, in line with your company's image / reputation- the promotional activities, are they chosen to ensure you reach your target market, are they enticing, are they value for money?So, lesson over. Brief, I know, but keep these point in mind. Good marketing is not just about some advertising, or "having a website". Planning, market analysis, financial control, and understanding your customers are what is going to make your marketing successful.Thank you for reading my blogAnne-Marie BuschReally Useful Marketing
  • Do you know your acronyms?
    We've all heard of YUPPIE (Young Urban Professional), but what about these:YEPPIES: Young Experimenting Perfection SeekersWASP: White Angla-Saxon ProtestantGLAM: Greying Leisured Affluent MarriedORCHID: One Recent Child HEavily In DebtSITCOM: Single Income Two Children Oppressive MortgageDINKY: Double Income No KidsSINBAD: Single Income No Boybriend Absolutely DesperateGUPPIE: Gay Urban ProfessionalSKIPPY: School Kid with Purchasing PowerSomehow brings a completely new meaning to the words .Thank you for reading my blogAnne-Marie BuschReally Useful Marketing
  • 7 Times
    Yes 7 times!This is the industry average when it comes to marketing communications and results. Basically it means that it takes an average of 7 contacts from one company for a potential client to react to the message.So to all businesses out there, keep it in mind when carrying out your campaigns. it would be worth to give up early on, you might as well just throw your money away. More to the point keep it in mind all the time, because it also means results will not happen overnight.But be innovative, don't just send 7 letters, or make 7 phones calls, somebody will become annoyed with you.Vary the communications methods so that the potential clients come accross your company name in a variety of ways, over a period of time. The target customer will gain confidence in your name, brand, company, and as time goes by, when they do need your product or services, they will already know about you.These methods will change depending on the nature of your business, your target market, and whether you are a B2B or B2C organisation.Thank you for reading my blogAnne-Marie BuschReally Useful Marketing
  • Marketing for SMEs
    After over a decade working in marketing there is one certainty with regards to the implementation of marketing in a small or medium size business: it is a balancing act. Balancing between the daily needs of the business and its capacity in planning effectively, for the medium to long-term, as well as implementing the actions of the plan. It isn't alsways about having a plan that runs into reams of pages, but about being able to put in place actions that address the yearly needs of the organisation as welll as its long-term needs in terms of growtThank you for reading my blogAnne-Marie BuschReally Useful Marketing