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Creating a Marketing Strategy

Our first top tip is about creating a fresh new marketing strategy for 2012.

This is a new year, so why not make a fresh start.

If you do one thing this January, try and evaluate your marketing activities and formulate a realistic strategy you can stick to.

Often companies write a strategy at a top level and it sits in a draw gathering dust until things aren’t going right. Why not make this year different and be proactive with your marketing plans. Create a strategy that uses SMART aims (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely).

Here are a few basic steps you can follow to create your own marketing strategy.

1) Write down all the things you want to achieve this year. (Make sure these are realistic but also a challenge)

2) Give yourself a measurable target for each goal, to ensure you can gauge the success of your actions. Either a date, figure or outcome.

3) Then take each individual element and think how you can achieve these. Start at the top level (i.e. increasing awareness, strengthen brand..) and work down to specific actions (i.e. write 1 press release per month or place 2 adverts per month).

4) Take all the actions set out in the brainstorm and formulate a plan for the next year, week by week, of what things from the list you need to complete each week.

5) Make sure you continually measure the success of your actions by comparing your achievements against your goals. If something isn’t working don’t be disheartened, just learn from it and try something new!

It’s not as scary as it sounds and can make a real difference.

Good Luck!

If you would prefer us to help you create your strategy, why not give us a call on 01524 510417 or email sarah@blackzestsolutions.co.uk

Did the royal wedding add anything to your bottom line?

Whilst reading Marketing magazine last week I came across an interesting article about the effects leading brands felt on their bottom line, following ties to the Royal wedding.

In short the research found that 66% of consumers said their purchasing behaviour would not be influenced by associations with the wedding. Moreover, 17% said they would be much less likely to buy a product attempting to link to the event. Also more than half of consumers believed it was inappropriate for brands to attempt to increase sales on the back of the royal wedding.

These findings contradict widely accepted marketing theories, that making advertising relevant to the audience increases impact. This shows that consumers can be intelligently discerning in their choice of brand usage, but they are also very aware when it comes to trusting brands.

In my opinion the reason behind the success and failure of some brands attempts at royal wedding ties was brand relevancy. For example it is appropriate for a wedding venue, dress shop or car hire company to promote the Royal wedding compared to a FMCG company. As consumers, we expect to see the Royal Mint promoting their products during the Royal wedding build up and we also accept T-Mobile’s ad for its comedic value, but we are perhaps less understanding when brands ‘jump on the Royal bandwagon’ with seemingly no reason to, except to increase sales.

An important point to note here is to consider carefully before tying in with major events and to think carefully about the relevancy of the links, as it may not create the impact you desire.

Where has the other 1p gone?

Following an interesting day I sat down with my OH and my 2 children for our tea, when my OH decided to completely blow my mind. He told me this riddle which he heard at work and since that point I haven’t been able to figure it out.

Therefore I am calling everyone for your help to understand the solutions.

The story

3 Friends walked into a shop to buy some chocolate. They gave the shop keeper 30p and he said:

“The chocolate bar is only 25p so I’ll give you all (3 men) 1p back each and I’ll keep 2p myself”

Therefore each person had spent 9p each on the chocolate bar (10p-1p=9p)

But if we add up everything:

3 x 9p = 27p

ADD

2p (that the shop keeper kept)

Equals = 29p???

So where is the other 1p gone

Please help explain this as my brain is baffled!!!

 

Start-ups beware!

I was approached by a lovely lady called Sharon Gibbs last week who runs Zip Button and Tuck, a unique style consultancy based in Lancaster.  http://www.zipbuttonandtuck.co.uk/ She asked me to try and explain the design process and to help her understand why she was having so many issues with her designs. This inspired me to write this post to try and highlight the possible issues start ups can face.

Top tips when choosing a designer

1) Always do your research- I have dealt with so many start ups coming to me after spending a small fortune on logo design with large agencies, who later realise they have spent over the odds. A design doesn’t have to cost a fortune to have impact.

2) Always research your printing costs before beginning the design process. Although many agencies like ourselves are happy to organise the printing for you, many don’t consider printing costs until the design is finalised. What many businesses don’t realise is that printing an A5 postcard, although quite standard, will cost considerably less than a fancy cut out design. Not only that but depending upon the quantity requested many printers will not deal with numbers under 500. Therefore if you do require something unusual and creative, ensure you always get a print quote before committing to a design. (This is something that we do as standard but if you are working with someone who doesn’t then just ask!)

3) Always get all the files from your designer upon completion. Often a designer will simply send you a high-res PDF of your finished logo. This is fine for most purposes however if you ever decide to alter the logo slightly, having the original file would make this a lot easier and save time chasing the designer a few years later.

4) Before doing anything consider what you want to achieve. Often people assume they need lots of printed materials to start up, however in reality the money can often be invested more productively in strong marketing advice and developing a small number of highly targeted pieces.

5) If you have a specific colour that your designs must match, it is extremely important that you give this information to the designer. Designs on a screen look very different once printed and variations across screens are huge.

6) One thing you should be aware of are the colour variations across different paper stocks and finishes. For example a red on headed paper with no finish will appear as a completely different shade to the same red printed on board with a matt laminate. Again if colour is important then you must keep the paper finishes and paper stock consistent to minimise differences.  Below is a table detailing some paper stocks finishes and recommendations.

7) Finally make sure your designer fully understands your business. A logo should be strongly rooted in your core aims and objectives and should be a true representation of your business. Using a designer abroad or a freelancer you have never met may seem a cost effective option but if they don’t fully understand your requirements this could be a costly mistake.

8 ) The graphic design of your website, logo, business cards and advertising are the first impressions your customers get, creating strong and exciting design and creative copy can have a huge impact on sales.

The tips above need not scare you away from getting a logo designed, they should be kept as a guide for what to look out for when choosing a designer.

The table below is a VERY brief guide to paper finishes and possible uses for the different options.

Gloss Laminate Matt Laminate No Finish
Differences Great for bringing out the colour in images and grabbing attention.I.e. Promotional cards and menus. Luxurious look with a very tactile feel.I.e. Business cards, luxury leaflets and postcards Useful for letterhead and long runs however with no finish they often crease get damaged easily.

We offer packages specifically for business start ups, we can also offer advice and guidance on the best most cost effective solutions to promote your business. Feel free to give me a call on 07729 703557 or 01524 771 726 or email me at sarah@blackzestsolutions.co.uk

http://www.blackzestsolutions.co.uk

What is Marketing?

Last night following a discussion on Twitter I was asked a question which set my mind thinking. (Which you will come to realise is often a dangerous thing).

I was asked, “In your words can you describe what ‘marketing’ actually means?”. Despite being a rather heavy question for a Sunday evening, it really made me question what marketing is and what I actually hope to achieve.

My short 140 character answer was,

“To me it’s about getting the best out of a business by highlighting their strengths and communicating these to the customer”.

At the time I thought this was a good way of describing marketing however following much consideration I realised there is much more to it than that.

When I am invited to offer marketing consultation to a business I often arrive and have to develop new ideas and strengths in the business in order to promote these. To research the customer preferences and develop an offering to meet the customer wants and even create ideas which the customer isn’t even aware they want.

Consider the Dyson example:

Before the Dyson, bagless hoover was invented there was no need or desire to have a bagless hoover. Customers were content with their standard models and knew no different. When developing the new product Dyson was said to be crazy and not considering the market need. He created a disequillibrium between customer wants and product offerings and set on a journey to move customer wants back into equilibrium.

What I am saying is what’s often missed is considering the bigger picture and understanding whether customer wants meet your product and if they don’t rather than change your product it is sometimes possible to change customer wants.

Not to create false wants as that is a totally different debate but change peoples perceptions of what is important. For example making consumers understand the value of buying fair trade and educating them on the value to themselves and others.

To conclude, next time you say to a marketing consultant, what exactly do you do again? Consider this post and this tiny insight into the world of marketing.

Visit www.blackzestsolutions.co.uk for more details or email sarah@blackzestsolutions.co.uk

 

Today is Sunday

Today is Sunday.

A day where most of us enjoy a well deserved rest and get the chance to spend time with our friends and families. (Well that’s the theory anyway)

I on the other hand am sat at home working, wondering where the day has gone.

As a mum of 2 aged 6 years and 18 months, I often ask myself why I do it. The long nights working, the weekends away from the family and the dark circles under the eyes come Monday morning.

The long and short of it is that I love my job. I love taking a business to new places they didn’t even know existed and to offer advice and guidance to those just setting up.

Recently however following a conversation with a very down to earth friend I realised one thing. If every once in a while I stop and take a break, even for 1 hour, would the world end? Would all my clients leave and question my loyalty for stopping work?

The answer was obviously no and from then on in I have begun a path of self realisation, developing a better work life balance and regaining my valuable family time.

Now I love my life, business, family and friends and can’t thank my friend enough. I would never change my life as, without my business I would simply be a mum 24:7, I often admire mums who have the patience to stay at home, but I certainly don’t.

I like the ability to drop the children off at school and nursery and change hats to marketeer or friend. Having such great clients, employees and a supportive family means that being a mum and running a business is fun rather than a chore.

So although not your standard first blog post I want to leave you with one thought.

Do you love your job or do you find things getting on top of you?

When things all get too much just remember to ask yourself.

Would the world end if I stopped for a small break?

Am I even productive in this state of mind?

Then stop take a break and you will feel invigorated (even a little naughty the first few times!)

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