Sales & Marketing

Confident SMEs Maintain Marketing Spend

Small businesses are more likely to maintain their marketing spend over the next 12 months than their larger counterparts, research from the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) has revealed. According to the CIM’s annual Marketing Trends Survey of more than 800 businesses of all sizes between April and May this year, small businesses showed the highest likelihood of boosting marketing strategies by increasing their marketing staff. In fact, 15% said they would hire additional marketers compared to just 3% of large companies. The research found that small firms were also more positive about their prospects for the forthcoming year than larger firms, despite lingering doubts over the health of the economy. More than half of the SMEs questioned said they expected the recovery to gain groun... »

Getting More from a Multi-channel Business

By Chris Barling, Chairman of ecommerce and EPOS systems supplier, SellerDeck (formerly Actinic). Over the last few years, both the traditional retail sector and the catalogue sector have adopted the web in a big way. The result has been a blurring of barriers between sectors and the rise of the “multi-channel” retailer. Alongside this, consumer behaviour has drastically changed. Recent research has shown that, for large retailers at least, more products are bought in-store following research on the web than are actually found and bought purely on line. Multi-channel retailing is becoming highly significant because consumers are behaving as multi-channel shoppers. Any business ignoring this trend does so at their peril. New behaviour The modern consumer uses a variety of approaches to thei... »

15 tips for writing the perfect press release

15 tips for writing the perfect press release

When you launch a new product, you need to promote it or no one will know. PR, or Press Relations, is a key element in this and press releases are an important output. Here are some tips on how to produce the perfect press release. Firstly, what is a press release? Also called a news release or media release, a press release is an announcement written in the third person for the news media and designed to stimulate journalists to write about you and your work. Above all it has to be news-worthy and written in a ‘pyramid’ style from the top, with each element opening up the story further. 1 Short and sweet Editors/journalists get hundreds of press releases a day so don’t have the time (or inclination) to work their way through page after page of prose. Aim for a maximum of two pages (but on... »

Accelerate your Sales & Marketing has teamed up with Sales & Marketing experts Mike Southon and Chris West, better know as the The Beermat Entrepreneurs, to produce a high-impact one-day Sales and Marketing Workshop with the aim of helping business owners and entrepreneurs of small to medium sized businesses to develop and accelerate their skills. Serial entrepreneur and Financial Times columnist Mike Southon says: “Many companies fail because they get their sales wrong – probably more than for any other reason, including finance companies with excellent products, able people and good-looking marketing plans: none of these matter if real live customers are not persuaded to write out real live cheques.” “Business owners can all too often be haunted by the myths that prev... »

The Client Experience is Everything

Whenever I initially ask a business owner, “What makes your special?”, or “Why should I buy from you?”, one very common response is “Well we provide excellent customer service”. Most companies promise ‘excellent customer service’ and will position their uniqueness around this notion, however, how many actually deliver on this promise, or in fact over-deliver? Excellent customer service these days is a given; we all expect it. This quality simply gets you into the game. Customer service needs to be something much more effective, demonstrable and above all tangible. That’s why I’m keen for you to explore and develop what I refer to as the ‘client experience’. You see from the very moment a potential client first makes an enquiry, to the time at which they receive the end result; you and your... »

Advertising & PR

‘Word of mouth’ from satisfied customers is often the best form of advertising – and the least costly. But for a more formal advertising strategy, you need a more consistent and long-term plan. For example, the advertising media you choose needs to be consistent with how you think your customers will find out about your business. Typical advertising media include: Yellow Pages Merchandising (such as point of sale, leaflets, packaging, shelf displays and window displays) Local newspapers/radio/TV National press and TV Posters and leaflets Trade journals Websites Exhibitions and trade shows The Advertising Standards Authority is a good reference point for UK standards and codes of advertising practice. This article based on Crown Copyright © 2002 »