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  • Innovation - don't ask your customers what they want
    things his organisation were already good at things that were part of his core competencies They also fitted well into his existing portfolio Would his customers have asked for any of these services Well if he had asked questions like How can I improve my leaflet printing and delivery service or What can I add to my leaflet printing and delivery service to make it better then no I doubt they would have If he had asked Which customers do you find it hardest to engage with or How do your customers like to get information about the sorts of service you offer then maybe they might have To me the best way for a small business to innovate is not to ask customers what they want you to do but rather to explore their problems and what they want to achieve Then look at what you can do with the skills and resources you have or have access to that can help them How have you innovated to create more value for your business Tweet track back URL add comment Comments No comments so far why not be the first Your name Email address never displayed Web site Organisation add me to your email list HTML markup not supported Access code 5366 Please enter the 4 digit code above into the following box We re sorry about this but we need to do this to prevent our site being abused by people looking for free advertising required fields Past Blogs search Oct 2015 Top 10 Product Naming Tips 23 Oct 2015 19 50 I m working with a client who is launching a new product next year They know what it is what it Aug 2015 Is Marketing essential for success 7 Aug 2015 11 11 Strange that having spent so long trying to show clients how much more there is to marketing than Jul 2015 Christmas is coming 27 Jul 2015 20 40 It s July The weather might lead you to conclude differently but it s the middle of the British Do you have a personal brand 10 Jul 2015 16 25 Jim s post of a couple of weeks back about getting on and doing stuff brought to mind a discussion Exhibition Time 3 Jul 2015 21 33 Next Tuesday 7th July the Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce are holding the annual Kent B2B June 2015 You know what you need to do 25 June 2015 22 58 I was with a coaching client this week and in the middle of the session she said something that I The 1 sin in content marketing mea culpa 15 June 2015 21 27 I m just home from a day s training in the latest in digital marketing strategy and I m racked Mar 2015 One to One Personalised Marketing should be the norm for all businesses So why aren t more companies stepping up 20 Mar 2015 19 06 Personalised marketing campaigns driven by online data collection

    Original URL path: http://www.thepurpleedge.co.uk/blog/detail.rhtm/649401/innovation_-_don_t_ask_your_customers_wh.rhtm (2016-02-14)
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  • How can you get people to do what you want them to?
    is OK if you do too The better way to encourage people to turn up and they have tested this too is to tell people how many people DO keep their appointments In that way you are persuaded to go along with everyone else and are more likely to keep yours too Another useful insight is that we are notoriously bad at predicting our own behaviour and explaining our motivations So it s no good asking what messages will make you act a certain way it is only when put to the test that the real truth comes out So if you need to write a message to persuade your customers to act a certain way bear in mind this lesson and give them the social proof Here s an example to show you how it might work call rates and purchases were increased in a campaign simply by changing the call to action from Call now operators are waiting to If operators are busy please call again Far from putting people off it made them think the product was more worth having if so many people would be calling Sweet as my son would say How can you use this information in marketing for your business Yes 50 secrets from the science of persuasion Noah J Goldstein PhD Steve J Martin Robert B Cialdini PhD Profile Books Ltd 2007 Tweet track back URL add comment Comments No comments so far why not be the first Your name Email address never displayed Web site Organisation add me to your email list HTML markup not supported Access code 2755 Please enter the 4 digit code above into the following box We re sorry about this but we need to do this to prevent our site being abused by people looking for free advertising required fields Past Blogs search Oct 2015 Top 10 Product Naming Tips 23 Oct 2015 19 50 I m working with a client who is launching a new product next year They know what it is what it Aug 2015 Is Marketing essential for success 7 Aug 2015 11 11 Strange that having spent so long trying to show clients how much more there is to marketing than Jul 2015 Christmas is coming 27 Jul 2015 20 40 It s July The weather might lead you to conclude differently but it s the middle of the British Do you have a personal brand 10 Jul 2015 16 25 Jim s post of a couple of weeks back about getting on and doing stuff brought to mind a discussion Exhibition Time 3 Jul 2015 21 33 Next Tuesday 7th July the Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce are holding the annual Kent B2B June 2015 You know what you need to do 25 June 2015 22 58 I was with a coaching client this week and in the middle of the session she said something that I The 1 sin in content marketing mea culpa 15 June 2015 21 27

    Original URL path: http://www.thepurpleedge.co.uk/blog/detail.rhtm/648991/how_can_you_get_people_to_do_what_you_wa.rhtm (2016-02-14)
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  • It can pay to show customers a good time
    you need to follow up on Set objectives to measure your corporate hospitality programme by but be prepared to track results over the long term not expecting overnight success Don t forget to measure results While you may be able to track the initiation or culmination of a particular deal back to a discussion held on the golf course or at the racetrack it is more likely that you will have to focus your measurement on the lifetime value of a client Consider not only the additional revenue earned but also the ability to retain or even recover sales that you could be at risk of losing So don t rush to chop the frivolous from the budget You may even want to consider adding social events into your programme where you never have before Corporate hospitality can be a brilliant tool for helping to develop strong long term mutually beneficial relationships with customers and suppliers use it wisely and it will serve you well Tweet track back URL add comment Comments I guess it s like anything if you re gonna do it then do it well When I analysed the strategy and outcomes back in my old job I found lots of ways it their corporate hospitality programme could and should be improved Sadly I couldn t stop them taking a knee jerk response to cost cutting and pulling the lot I think it was more about worrying how extravagant it looked to other directors internally rather than worrying about customer relationships Internal politics won the day Comment by Sharon 23 Aug 2011 10 58 Hi Sharon I ve just last night held a golfing event after withdrawing for a few years from this type of marketing exercise and from first impression it was a resounding success from a social and business view From now on I will be focusing a bit more of my budget on this type of activity and what s more I get to practice my golf which is badly needed Great article right on the money Craig Durrant Comment by Craig Durrant 19 Aug 2011 06 26 Hi Sharon great post Like anything if its planned and executed properly its worthwhile If it s a mindless jolly waste of time Comment by Kent accountant 19 Aug 2011 01 37 Your name Email address never displayed Web site Organisation add me to your email list HTML markup not supported Access code 1281 Please enter the 4 digit code above into the following box We re sorry about this but we need to do this to prevent our site being abused by people looking for free advertising required fields Past Blogs search Oct 2015 Top 10 Product Naming Tips 23 Oct 2015 19 50 I m working with a client who is launching a new product next year They know what it is what it Aug 2015 Is Marketing essential for success 7 Aug 2015 11 11 Strange that having spent so long trying to

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  • Easy peasy marketing
    on their table a roof above their head and clothes on their back How can they be so ill disciplined about it Comment by Jim 15 Aug 2011 19 05 There are those who pick up an instrument and are instinctively brilliant allegedly Mozart Others who can put a ball into a hole they cannot see positively unsportsmanlike when the spirit of the game is to measure failure Then there are the rest of us Self improvement is commendable victory is achievement failure can lead to improvement which makes golf so addictive While hero worshipping those who can I prefer to admire and seek out those who spread the elusive quality joy People with great attitude work hard regardless of the gifts they have The rest is slavery to opiates in one form or another as age changes the appetite for idealism to pragmatism Does anyone else feel hard work is the tool not the key What s more its values are often misappropraited by the unscrupulous Excuse me while I lock myself in a soundproof broom cupboard to practise my scales a simple demand set by my family that I find unfathomable but I admit that my desires may be a triumph of hope over aptitude Might all this be just about attitude to life and each other No offence meant and I hope none will be taken Comment by Uttam Chakravorty 12 Aug 2011 12 49 Jim You are so right about people wanting the quick fix with little effort The trick if I might call it that is FLOW based on the principle of FLOW as written about in Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi s wonderful book It is my belief that we can make any activity enjoyable even the most tedious mundane or downright boring But we get sabotaged by our own emotions We don t do those things that would take our business forward because they are painful unexciting etc etc So really all the wrong reasons I had a case of this myself when I did my first ever webinar Let me explain I love the live event I love people and to be in front of an audience thrills me to this day But when you do a webinar it s virtual there s no one to applaud or give you much feedback at all So when I did it I HATED IT with a passion But and here s the big BUT if I then decided or just didn t feel like not to do it ever again I would be reacting to my emotional pain rather than analyzing whether or not the continuation of this activity would take my business forward You are right there are loads of things we avoid because we don t want to do them for whatever reason So what s the solution It s this Focus on the outcome that you expect to result if you do the thing you don t want to do Get inside of how

    Original URL path: http://www.thepurpleedge.co.uk/blog/detail.rhtm/648686/easy_peasy_marketing.rhtm (2016-02-14)
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  • Marketing Myopia
    initially define the business they are in as the solution to a customer s need not as the need itself So we have printers web developers hotels telephone companies By the end of the programme we have people who are in the business of creating an impression building business on line making perfect weddings helping businesses communicate By thinking like this they are opening themselves to new opportunities rather than closing themselves off So spend a little time and work out what business you re in What is the need the real customer need that you re fulfilling and what ideas and opportunities does this create for you Let us know Tweet track back URL add comment Comments Thanks QJ You are right of course the better you know and understand the people who can most benefit from your offering the easier and cheaper it becomes to communicate effectively with them Comment by Jim 18 Jul 2011 11 58 Hi folks Once again really cool content worth millions to anyone who wants to use it I would add that getting inside the mindset of your customers even describing what your ideal customer had for breakfast what clothes she wears why he joined the golf club what age she is and how many children he has will get you even closer to speaking the right language and sharing your mutual wealth with each other Cool Huh Comment by QJ Inspirationist 15 Jul 2011 10 25 Your name Email address never displayed Web site Organisation add me to your email list HTML markup not supported Access code 9591 Please enter the 4 digit code above into the following box We re sorry about this but we need to do this to prevent our site being abused by people looking for free advertising required fields Past Blogs search Oct 2015 Top 10 Product Naming Tips 23 Oct 2015 19 50 I m working with a client who is launching a new product next year They know what it is what it Aug 2015 Is Marketing essential for success 7 Aug 2015 11 11 Strange that having spent so long trying to show clients how much more there is to marketing than Jul 2015 Christmas is coming 27 Jul 2015 20 40 It s July The weather might lead you to conclude differently but it s the middle of the British Do you have a personal brand 10 Jul 2015 16 25 Jim s post of a couple of weeks back about getting on and doing stuff brought to mind a discussion Exhibition Time 3 Jul 2015 21 33 Next Tuesday 7th July the Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce are holding the annual Kent B2B June 2015 You know what you need to do 25 June 2015 22 58 I was with a coaching client this week and in the middle of the session she said something that I The 1 sin in content marketing mea culpa 15 June 2015 21 27 I m

    Original URL path: http://www.thepurpleedge.co.uk/blog/detail.rhtm/646953/what_do_you_do_.rhtm (2016-02-14)
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  • Off the Edge
    and why Apart from looking more professional it keeps all the information you need for personalised follow up in one place Trust me it s hard to get all the information on the back of their business card and even if you can make it fit you won t be able to read it when you get back in the office Finally enjoy your exhibition and keep smiling Even though by mid afternoon your feet hurt your back aches you re wired on vending machine coffee and the serious visitors are becoming outnumbered by school kids cruising for sweets keep smiling You never know the snotty school boy with his hand in your choccie box may be there to meet his businessman father with the million pound contract in his pocket read comment add comment Why Marketing is like Central Heating Filed under Marketing by Sharon Wilding on 19 May 2011 How often have you bust a target and beaten a deadline I m betting not as often as you ve missed or just made the deadline or the target The harsh truth is that in most circumstances projects take longer than expected to deliver target audiences are slower to respond and customers take longer to convert And most people s planning doesn t take this into account stay with me I ll get to the central heating system by and by Take this typical scenario Client 3 years ago we d built sales up to a level we were struggling to handle lots of new service development and heavy promotion So we stopped all that and things carried on OK for a year or so Us Then what happened Client Then the recession came along and slowly sales have stalled very little new business now not enough to replace the natural losses Us When did you last contact your customers and prospects Client Over a year ago I think we really need to do something quick We ve got quite a big list Mind you I don t want to spend a lot Us We can see what needs doing but quick doesn t come cheap So activity has kicked off but without significant investment results will take a while to build and it should come as no surprise to find that the list contained lots of dead wood and that people who had been ignored for so long are not rushing to buy Not to mention the tougher market conditions Of course it could have been different if all marketing had not been stopped in the first place if the thermostat could just have been turned down Managing your marketing is a lot like getting your central heating system to keep your house just as warm as you want it when you want it When you switch it on it takes a while to get the hot water to the radiators and then a bit longer to heat the air in the room If you get too hot and switch it off it takes a while to cool down so you don t notice the change immediately When you realise you are cold you know you re back to square one and you re not going to get instant warmth when you switch the central heating back on Thank goodness someone invented the thermostat So how do you create a thermostat for your marketing activities Create a plan that supports your goals and objectives covers a full 12 months and is realistic about how long it takes you to make things happen NEVER stop completely identify the constants ways that you will keep your brand and offerings in the consciousness of your customers and prospects Remember marketing is not just promotion your plan needs to actively manage product price and place too Marketing cannot be turned on and off at will if you want to be successful And while we re often tantalised by the promise that someone will reveal to us the secret of outstanding results instantly deep down we know that the most likely scenario is that we will have to work hard and allow time for that hard work to pay off You have to make time to manage your marketing effectively if you don t what s the implication for your business short and long term Let me know how well your thermostat is working read comment add comment Get your customers to hit the road Filed under Marketing by Jim Hunt on 9 May 2011 There are times when something happens and you just wish you could bottle the moment Unfortunately you can t bottle moments but you can talk about them in your blog so here goes I regularly attend a well known networking group After some informal networking each person has 40 seconds to present themselves and their business to the rest of the group and then people try to arrange 10 minute one to one meetings with people that they are interested in and think that they might be able to do business with They do this by exchanging numbered business cards Arriving at a recent event I discovered that three of our coaching clients were also in attendance When it came to the 40 second introduction one of our clients who had just completed our Group Coaching Programme stood up and said that she wasn t going to talk about her own business Instead she was going to say how brilliant the programme had been and how she now felt like she really understood what marketing was all about She was followed by the next client also a recent graduate of the group coaching programme She took time to echo the positive feedback saying how brilliant Sharon and I were Amazingly the third client followed suit to some groans and raucous banter from the assembled crowd In the space of maybe 5 minutes these three people had each gone out of their way to praise our services in a way that really got the group excited I d like to say I was a little embarrassed but actually I loved it The interesting thing about this was that at the end of the 40 second round I was inundated with requests for a one to one I had given my three cards away in seconds and had to turn people away Now I realise that so far this story sounds like an exercise in blowing my own trumpet but there is a marketing moral here trust me What everyone at the event witnessed and indeed was involved in was the power of referral These three clients had a very positive experience of our services and were prepared to tell everyone about it That had several impacts on the rest of the group It grabbed peoples attention no one could forget it and it wasn t even my pitch It created interest what is this programme Is it something they should do It created desire It sounds great I d like to do that It convinced it provided independent and trustworthy evidence that the programme is valuable It stimulated action I wouldn t say that the business cards were hitting me like confetti but Now that publicity cost me nothing It was entirely unsolicited and it was incredibly powerful For me at that event having those three clients there was like having a three woman sales team That s the power of referral Now this particular referral was a complete surprise to me but it doesn t have to be that way Imagine how successful you could be if you had all your existing customers out there selling your services and providing you with qualified leads You can achieve this with a customer referral scheme It could be very informal or very structured whatever suits your brand Anything from regularly asking happy clients if they know of anyone who could benefit from what you offer right through to a formal reward scheme You need to decide what works best for your business It s a truism that you existing customers are your most valuable asset and if they like you and see real value in what you offer they will be happy to recommend you Now we have another Marketing Mindset Group Coaching Programme starting on June 9th in Canterbury If you know anyone who you think would find it valuable add comment Marketing is a waste of time Filed under Marketing by Sharon Wilding on 20 Apr 2011 Who among us is not guilty of wasting time now and again And who among us struggles to find time to do the marketing for our own business Unless it is your full time job to do the marketing in your company there always seem to be other priorities Is that because we think that marketing really isn t that important Frankly do we think that doing our marketing is wasting our time You won t find any marketing companies and consultants saying marketing is a waste of time yet we struggle just as much Even though we know that without intelligent thought and a decent amount of effort into our marketing mix the 4ps product price place promotion we can t complain when business does not grow at quite the pace we want it to So how do we get round this Unfortunately there is no magic bullet Believe me I ve obsessively studied all the promises and secrets that are on offer from many and varied marketing experts and I ve come to the conclusion that all you can do is do some good old fashioned prioritisation and project management Good intentions need to translate to real actions First diary some time each week to focus on your business and marketing issues Treat it like a real meeting as if you were out of the office Ignore the phone and the email Create a budget and a plan that projects at least 6 months into the future if not the full 12 And that covers all of the 4 ps not just promotion Schedule your activities realistically check you have the resources The most important resources are time and money Which things will you do yourself and which services will you buy in in order to hit your goals Review progress and re plan accordingly Sometimes our plans don t go anywhere because they are over ambitious but don t let that get you down Take control and reschedule When we re coaching clients they are often concerned that they need to be finding the next big new idea in their marketing should they be trying social media for example More often than not we discover they have plenty of ideas and plenty of things they should be doing to cover the basics before going onto something new Too many new ideas and too much new information can definitely lead to time wasting by stopping you getting on with anything So I challenge you to take your marketing from the bottom of your priorities and stop treating it like a waste of time If not marketing then what other process is going to grow your business read comment add comment Ignore your best customers Filed under Marketing by Jim Hunt on 11 Apr 2011 Did he just say ignore your best customers Yes he did I think he s losing it No people you heard me right and I m not going mad ignore your best customers Absolutely I guess you d like me to explain Well it s like this As some of you will know we run a really great Group Marketing Coaching Programme honestly it is It s not just me saying that look at the feedback and we re in the middle of one right now At the end of the first session our students were given some homework One of the things we asked them to do was to talk to some 3 5 of their clients and to get some feedback on what the client likes doesn t like what the student s business could do better more quicker smarter etc It is a part of getting the student to see themselves through the eyes of their customer At the next session we started with a review of the homework Two of our students told us that they had been forbidden from talking to some of their clients because they were difficult or challenging clients or because they would be negative I have to be honest I was amazed How can anyone believe that they can get an honest appraisal of how their business performs by only asking the best customers the customers who like them It s a nonsense and just the kind of limiting mindset that we are trying to change That s not to say you can t learn anything from the customers who like you of course you can You can learn so much more though from those people who are not happy with what you do If some of your customers are unhappy then they re unhappy for a reason It could be that they expected something more than you are delivering It could be that your product is not what they thought it was It could be that they don t feel they re getting value for money It could be that they are just not the right sort of customer for you Whatever the reason you need to know Here s five reasons to ignore your best customers and engage with the ones who are difficult You probably talk to your best customers more often already It can help to identify opportunities to improve your product or service It can help to identify how you may be miss communicating with your prospects It gives you an opportunity to build bridges and repair relationships It can help you clarify what it is about a customer that makes them wrong for you So go on take a deep breath and a slice of humble pie and talk to your worst customers It could be the best call you make all day read comment add comment Debunking Some Marketing Myths Filed under Marketing by Sharon Wilding on 10 Mar 2011 Many moons ago I wrote a series of articles some about Marketing Myths which we often hear espoused especially by small businesses The articles were very well received so we were encouraged to transform them into an e book which is available now for you to download for FREE Developing a Marketing Mindset Exploding the Seven Deadly Marketing Myths Any of you who originally thought before subscribing to our blogs of course that you don t do marketing or that marketing doesn t work I hope think very differently In which case you ll appreciate what we have to say in this e book If you re a convert to the Marketing Mindset I think you ll still find our marketing advice useful to remind you how to use marketing more successfully in your business The myths we have chosen to tackle in this e book are Marketing and advertising are the same thing Customers don t like being contacted too often You have to be the best to be number one In a big enough market you can t fail Marketing is expensive except on the internet Doing something is better than nothing You re competing on price So go ahead download your copy now and let us have your comments on the myths we ve selected And please tell us which ones you ve come across that you think we ve missed We can pick the best and start working on volume 2 add comment Get the Marketing eX Factor Filed under Marketing by Sharon Wilding on 9 Feb 2011 Since starting running my own company and being in a position to advise others I ve become more aware of the importance of the eX Factor The eX I m referring to is nothing to do with an unexplainable extra special something I mean eX as in EXTERNAL An outside view an objective opinion a fresh pair of eyes call it what you will External input can be useful in any discipline but I think it is particularly so when you are talking about marketing your own company It seems it is very hard to be objective when talking about your own business something that you are deeply emotionally attached to We can all suffer from this problem it s like a leaky tap or chipped paintwork when you live with it everyday you stop noticing but when you have a visitor round you are suddenly aware of how shabby things are getting Yet a key principle of marketing is to be able to step into the customer s shoes and to see through the eyes of the customer Just how easy is it to see your business through someone else s eyes and to admit that what you see is not up to scratch It was a combination a review of our own marketing plan and the work we are doing with clients that highlighted the problem to me very clearly While I can see instantly where clients are going wrong with their messages or positioning sitting down to re write our website caused angst and paralysis Engaging some help eX ternally can help you overcome these problems External input can be formal or informal via Consultants Agencies Coaches or mentors Freelance specialists Tutors training Customers Peers Friends family The important thing is to be brave enough to ask the advice be prepared to admit if you are wrong and to take action to put thing right If you approach it right you and your business stand to gain enormously from eXternal input Fresh ideas from independent people Access to skills you don t have in house Knowledge transfer by learning new techniques Introductions to new

    Original URL path: http://www.thepurpleedge.co.uk/blog/index.rhtm?cat=marketing&first=100 (2016-02-14)
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  • Off the Edge
    length but this is primarily a marketing blog So let s restrict ourselves to the marketing issues What is England s brand value today Brand value is the amount of extra money a strong brand can extract from its customers For the FA the England brand value is realised through TV rights sponsorship ticket sales membership fees etc How much do you think sponsors would have been prepared to pay to get their name on an England shirt website tour bus kit bag etc just before the South Africa World Cup compared to today I don t know the answer but I have my suspicions I notice that match attendances at Wembley for the Euro qualifiers are down on those for the World Cup I also notice that membership of the England Supporters club is half price on the website at the moment Coincidence I believe that we are seeing a classic example of the difference between what a company would have us believe their brand is and what we actually see it to be Brand is a short hand for a whole range of feelings beliefs and expectations about a company a product or a team For a brand to be credible the communication about the brand must reflect our experience of the brand I don t know what the FA would cite as the England team brand characteristics Maybe something like Pride Passion Honour Teamwork Strength Character How well are they doing do you reckon Now clearly sometimes a company will define brand values that are to a degree aspirational We want to be like this and we re trying to become it The Nat West bank is a well known example It very publicly set itself the target of becoming the UK s most helpful bank It is then incumbent upon the company to do what is necessary to change the business in a way that will change customers experience and hence attitudes You can t simply say one thing and do another You also have to recognise a great brand is hard to build and easy to destroy what is Gerald Ratner doing these days everyone in the organisation has to demonstrate the brand all the time the company has to publicly endorse and enforce the brand I don t believe the FA has done a great job in this regards What about you read comment add comment Making a virtue out of weakness Filed under Marketing by Sharon Wilding on 1 Feb 2012 Trust is one of the most important factors in our decisions to buy Do we trust the company to deliver Can the product be trusted to work What if things go wrong can we trust that our problems will be put right And we use lots of different signals to reach our conclusion about whether and who to trust brand and image promotional messages customer reviews testimonials etc However don t be mislead into thinking that you have to paint a 100 rosy picture in order to be seen as honest and trustworthy Confessing to being less than perfect can be a real boost to your integrity Evidence from the science of persuasion a book by Goldstein Martin Cialdini suggests that showing some minor weakness can make your overall case that much stronger A study showed that lawyers admitting to a weakness in their case before the opposition could mention it were rated as more trustworthy And job applicants admitting to some limitations have been shown to be invited to more interviews than those whose CVs are only positive You might also have better luck selling your car if you point out some of the small flaws before the prospective buyer finds them out for themselves Why might this information be important to marketers Well because it suggests that you don t have to paper over all the cracks when communicating to and with customers In fact admitting to a few cracks may make you seem a better bet than the competition Volkswagen famously employed this technique with the Beetle playing on its ugliness made their claims about better fuel consumption and affordable price that much more trustworthy and believable In short more persuasive Customer testimonials that are over the top glowing and positive can it follows have the reverse effect While companies that present a more balanced set of reviews of their products and services can gain brownie points for being honest I m not suggesting that you deliberately go looking for negative reviews but that you do resist the urge to totally sanitise any hint of criticism from statements you use And it might make you think differently if you are worried about opening your company up to comments on social media the odd problem can work in your favour Of course this only works if you have other REAL strengths that you can highlight once you ve admitted to the MINOR weakness no one wants to be buy from someone boasting of being bottom of the league tables but it s whole different way of looking at how you put your messages together Honesty is indeed the best policy read comment add comment Would video help your business Filed under Opinion by Sharon Wilding on 26 Jan 2012 Guest blog on the power of video from Iain McBride This is my take on video as a way of getting publicity with videos on the web and Youtube but first I d like to add my brief thoughts to the social media debate I started as a hack in the days when we all used manual typewriters and in moments of high stress these were not only used to bash out copy but physically thrown across the room Twitter was what the birds did and social media was a meeting of reporters in the pub I must admit I ve not personally embraced Twitter and Facebook but they are great tools for journalists Most tragedies now mean a quick search of Facebook for the victim s picture and nine times out of ten it s there in the public domain I m happy to argue the morality of it with anyone but since a judge ruled that once people had chosen to publish these on the internet on an open forum anyone could use them it s been a free for all Similarly Twitter is a great way of finding out what some organisations are doing and in some cases careless Twittering leads to negative headlines So keep tweeting and facebooking we love it One of my roles now is as a freelance video producer and one trend that has become apparent in recent months is the growth in demand for Youtube and web videos to draw attention to a product service or business Web video boosts a site s rankings on Google and also has numerous spin offs It can be produced in days once it s been commissioned and it can also be placed on Youtube for nothing I m obviously biased about their value but one recent example shows I think how they can add value A Kent racehorse trainer recently invented a very simple product and we were asked to produce a video about it for their website but also with a view to it being used at exhibitions and to show potential sellers at home and abroad what the product does You can see the video here at http www equinedesigns co uk One of the directors told me it s succeeded beyond their wildest dreams At their first exhibition at the NEC in Birmingham people were drawn to their stand because the video explaining the product was showing on a screen and their sales team didn t have to explain what it was all about Since then they ve used it to win distributors in the United States China and Australia If you re thinking of having one then a few words of advice Think pictures it s got to look interesting People just talking to the camera are a lazy and fairly pointless exercise There are always ways of illustrating things and that s where your producer earns part of his fee Think endorsements nothing is better than a good soundbite from someone who s used your product business or service Think who s talking on behalf of you without being cruel some people are best kept away from the camera Not necessarily because of how they look but because of how they sound or their obvious lack of dynamism The good news is that a bit of coaching before they re filmed can iron out most problems Again this is where a good producer stands out from the crowd Think what you want to achieve what s the aim of the video Who do you want to interest or convince If it s very different audiences for example one with technical knowledge and one without consider doing two versions One word of caution there are many people out there doing videos and a bit like wedding photographers if you want it done on the cheap you can find someone to do it But beware the 250 web video will look exactly like that cheap and is that the image you want to portray Iain McBride has worked in newspapers and radio and was with ITV for 23 years He was Head of Media for Kent Police for two years and now produces corporate videos and runs media training and press release writing workshops His website is www iainmcbride co uk read comment add comment Is marketing on your list of resolutions this New Year Filed under Marketing by Sharon Wilding on 16 Jan 2012 Has reality already set in or are you determinedly sticking to your New Year Resolutions assuming you make any of course It s easy enough when you have a bit of a break over Christmas to promise yourself you will take a different approach this year Thinking about this perennial problem made me dust off an article I wrote back in 2010 hopefully it will help you if it s marketing you ve resolved to tackle There never seems to be enough time in business to do everything you want to or feel you should be doing Priorities have to be juggled and renegotiated every day My clients struggle to find time to move their marketing activities forward and at The Purple Edge we too have more ideas for things we want to do than we find time to do them As always when I m talking about marketing I m not confining myself to just the promotional activities I m including the full scope of marketing understanding the market and customers developing your product and service portfolio setting price and last but not least telling your target audience about what you can do In short a marketing plan Of course I believe that marketing is the single most critical activity in any business because it is the process by which you will thrive and grow if that is what you want for your business And that is the nub of the issue What do you want for your business Step one of your marketing plan is about setting your business objectives so that you can build a suitable and relevant plan Get that bit right and setting your priorities and making decisions about how much marketing budget you need to invest and what activities you will rather than should do to achieve those objectives comes that much easier A plan needs to be built on the resources you have available It is not a wishlist So if you carry out all the activities in house in the timeframe needed then you should be looking at whether it is better use of your time and money to outsource the work This is especially true if your own time is worth more when spent on the delivery i e directly money earning part of your business Marketing does not need to take up a huge amount of your time As it impacts on so many areas you are probably thinking about one or other aspects throughout the day for example improving service to customers as you carry out many other tasks but a few hours every week should be set aside to really concentrate on marketing Time when you can check you are on track in your plan and take at least some small steps to move matters forward If you find you are way behind on hitting your objectives it can be a long process to implement action that will generate new business coming from a standing start Building and maintaining profile awareness and reputation cannot be done overnight So to help focus you on making time for marketing here are my top 3 priorities for your marketing Build a plan for the year linked to your objectives This will make it real and help you take decisions on how you will use the resources you have to hit your targets Establish some level of regular communications to the market and I include in that keeping your website up to date I talked about customer contact in a previous blog post and maintaining a light contact programme can take relatively little time More importantly it gives you the wherewithall to increase the volume without huge time or expense when you need to increase your results Review your plan regularly that way there are no nasty surprises and you can take any additional action calmly without having to put everything else aside while you catch up on the marketing that you have let get so far behind Time management is all about focusing and priortising what really matters and marketing does matter to every business Little and often will help you keep it under control and if you are hitting your plan you can stop worrying that you are not doing enough add comment Social Media Necessity or Luxury for B2B Filed under Opinion by Sharon Wilding on 10 Jan 2012 Time to add my two penneth to the blogs on this subject penned by Debra Andrews and Neil Edwards you might want to read these as well As social networks grow in number and members so the pressure on businesses grows too For many business owners keeping social network profiles updated and regularly populated with stimulating content presents an increasing strain on resources and sanity Some general points before diving into the specifics of different networks I don t believe social media is transformational for any business apart from those selling social media Whether something is a luxury or necessity is a relative judgement If you haven t got the basics of your marketing programme under control then ANY social media activity is a luxury e g don t waste time attracting people to a crummy website Assuming you ve got the basics covered then you have to consider that ignoring anything that has millions of users could be a mistake but the challenge is for you to work out whether YOUR target audience are active on the particular network and in the right frame of mind to engage with your brand Defining something as a luxury doesn t mean it shouldn t be done just that it knows its place in your overall priorities Engaging in social media has important indirect spin offs for example in improving your website rankings in search For this reason alone it may be important to have a strategy your organisation can follow So here goes my thoughts on each network LinkedIn Necessity I agree with both Debra and Neil this is a necessity for all professionals Whether we are running businesses or looking for employment our personal profile can be an important influencer in relationships I do make early judgements based on the way people present themselves online and how up to date their information is and I won t be the only one Take control of your profile try and see it from someone elses shoes My favourite game is to spot the howlers people who say they have an excellent eye for detail but can t spell for example LinkedIn also presents a great way to keep in touch with people you meet at face to face networking events and it s always a disappointment if I can t find someone that I think should be there It doesn t have to take a lot of time the most distracting thing is the emails from the various discussion groups but I ve solved that by having them automatically moved to a different folder that I can review just once or twice a week Twitter Luxury Agreed again a luxury Very valuable if you want to learn about different topics but terribly time consuming as you can easily end up following one interesting lead after another and before you know it hours have passed It is possible to search on topics and organise lists and favourites but even then you have to keep those up to date I dip into Twitter most days but very briefly so it really depends what catches my eye I keep my own posting score boosted by bulk scheduling of 3 4 weeks of tweets then when I go on live I can post about something I have just found or done or just look to engage with others I confess that I found Twitter fascinating to begin with but its appeal has somewhat faded and I am always suspicious of the people I meet who are tweeting everything they do even while out at meetings Slightly needy don t you think Facebook Luxury I agree with Debra on this one a luxury for B2B Neil on the other hand sees it as a necessity Maybe this reflects the effort that Neil has put into building up a significant following I think 952 likes for

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  • Price yourself out of the market
    to slash the prices by half to get rid of the stock However the employee who was left a scrawled note to this effect mis read the x 1 2 as x 2 and doubled the prices instead The surprise was that within days every article had been sold Cialdini s explanation for this is that it is a form of human automatic action the holiday makers with little real knowledge of turquoise were using a standard principle to guide their decision making expensive good The higher price made the jewellery more valuable and desirable and I m sure if you re honest you can find examples in your own life when you have followed this principle And if you have been brought up on the maxim you get what you pay for then price is a good shortcut to efficient decision making The converse is also true of course cheap rubbish in many granted not all cases Be sure to bear this tale in mind when deciding your own pricing strategy Understanding the needs and attitudes of your target customers is critical to determining where to pitch your price in order to maximise your profit And note I say profit not revenue You can make more money by selling fewer items at a higher price and potentially for less effort than by going for volume at a lower price Value based pricing is the only way to go as long as you are clear which market you are targeting of course And if you have a choice as you all do then why would you target the people with the least money Being the cheapest is not an easy option it requires ruthless cost management and at the same time making significant investment in marketing to hit the volumes Particularly hard for small businesses without the scale and buying power of larger corporations Hence the message price yourself out of markets that you don t want to be in Quality is remembered long after the price is forgotten Ed Sabol Tweet track back URL add comment Comments It can feel like a brave move but the reality is that price is not usually the main barrier It is that we haven t done a good enough job of convincing people that the value is there Comment by Sharon 12 Jul 2011 11 20 Pricing Yes this echoes the lady on Goggle this week who when asked Do you offer freebies and do they work replied Not any more as they did not work but what did was when I gave up the freebies and put up my price by 66 She never looked back Good thinking good luck Comment by Ian Johnson 8 Jul 2011 09 41 Your name Email address never displayed Web site Organisation add me to your email list HTML markup not supported Access code 6402 Please enter the 4 digit code above into the following box We re sorry about this but we need to

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