Monthly Archives: July 2017

Get GDPR Ready: Expert advice from Matt Richardson of Recognition Express on why you should use promotional gifts in your marketing

Day to day we live in a world where we are bombarded by technology.  If it’s not emails, its ‘likes’, tweets, snaps, shares, PM’s, notifications, requests to link etc etc etc. It’s all noise.  Noise that we are all familiar with and by being used to it, we sometimes don’t see it or even ignore it.

That’s where promotional products come into their own.  What I mean by this, is pens, mugs, key rings, rules, torches, coasters, mouse mats…. the list is endless.  These items are loved by many, borrowed from others, picked up at an exhibition and given by companies. Why do we love this stuff?  Cause it’s free.  And everyone loves something for free.

That free pen, as long as it’s good quality, may well be your writing instrument of choice for years and the cost to you is zero.  You didn’t have to buy on Amazon or go to Smiths, it was given by someone who wanted to make YOU aware of THEIR brand.  Every day you use and love that pen, you’ll see them, subtly reminding you of who they are.  You know what, when you are in the market for that service, you’ll probably think of them!  It’s VERY powerful.

Why do people like Coca Cola advertise? we know who they are! They hope that when you are thirsty, there’s will be the brand you think of and it’s the same with that branded office mug, it’s always there silently selling that company.  It may well be used 6 times a day, that’s 6 messages being burnt into your subconscious mind. Keep that mug a year… I’ll leave you to work out the maths.

People often worry that the pen or items will ‘go into the wrong hands’, ‘be given away’, ‘the kids will take it’.  You know what, that’s awesome.  That’s perfectly fine, as the product is still out there.  The key is HOW it’s been given, HOW it was followed up and what sort of quality it is.

The question of ROI is often asked of me.  What will be my return on investment? I have no idea! But I have stopped counting the times I’ve spoken to clients who have kept my water bottles and a year later have ordered from me because the time is right!

In the next few years, the ability to cold call or cold email will be taken from us, and we need to get smart and be prepared!  Lumpy mail sent to your prospect is the next big thing.  An item, sent in a jiffy bag, too big for a letter box that has to be received I the hand.  THAT’S THE KEY.  A parcel that makes the recipient think ‘what on earth is this’?’. You follow that up, and your hundreds of times more likely to be remembered than a SPAM email that’s in the Junk folder.

You can’t unsubscribe from direct mail, you can’t put it in the junk folder, you can’t block it.  Sending promo items in the post is the new marketing goldmine and you need to get onboard. Promotional products are great; they make people smile, they show you are happy to invest in your prospects and existing clients.  it’s dead powerful and dead personal.

Worth a try!

For more information visit Matt’s website here


Get GDPR ready: Expert advice from Rupert Janisch of Elmhay PR on the benefits of story telling

There’s a slightly upsetting chicken and egg situation with Public Relations as a marketing tactic for small businesses. I come across it all the time and it’s this:

Conjure up an internal image of a PR agency, and you’d be forgiven for thinking sparkly office, blue sky thinking, expensive champagne lunches and power point presentations.

It’s not something which many small businesses have the inclination or the budget for, especially when their marketing funds are limited and money can be better spent elsewhere.

But the problem is one of perception – the view that PR is the sole preserve of big businesses who can afford big agency fees. It’s a self-perpetuating myth which drives the opportunity away from smaller companies. I’ll never forget hearing Deborah Meaden on Dragon’s Den saying that unless you have £30k to spend on PR it’s a waste of time. QED! I have clients who have spent a tiny fraction of that amount and achieved new sales as a direct result of the work I have done for them.

Of course, the end result of an effective PR campaign is media coverage – media these days meaning online press as well as traditional print coverage. Work backwards, and how do you get the press to publish something about your business? The answer, by giving the journalist something which they and their readers are likely to find interesting. And what’s that? It comes down to storytelling.

Yes, people like reading stories about big business, about who’s doing what, about new developments and about scandals and controversy. But they also like stories about the little guy – inspiring success stories, human interest pieces about people doing amazing things, articles about those flexible and nimble companies at the cutting edge of innovation, about the start-ups which are going to become the next Renishaw, Facebook or Virgin.

So the next time you write off PR as a marketing tactic because – I hear it all the time – you don’t think you’ve got anything to talk about, as yourself a few questions:

  • Have you won any big contracts recently?
  • Made any appointments?
  • Moved into bigger offices?
  • Completed any significant projects?
  • Won an award? Received any funding?
  • Achieved growth? Taken on an apprentice?
  • Merged with or acquired another business?
  • Overcome any personal adversity?
  • Done something truly innovative?

If the answer to any of those questions is yes, then you’ve got a story to tell! Either in your local business pages, or a trade title, or a small business publication. Apart from anything else, most journalists are swamped by the same old stories from the same old businesses put out by the same old agencies. They love to hear from new businesses! It makes their publications fresh and makes their readers – most of whom are involved in small businesses anyway – feel that they’re relevant.

An extra tip – supply good photos! I’m not talking a lo-res job from your iPhone (although it may do for online use). If you’re putting a proper press release together, spend a few quid and get a professional to take a good quality picture which helps tell the story. Or get a mate to do it for free. Either way, the combination of a good story and a great photo is something that journalists, who are a) pushed for time and b) inundated with the PR fluff which puts such a strain on the journalist/PR relationship, will be extremely grateful for.

The benefits? More than you can count. Even the much-derided local papers (tomorrow morning’s fish and chip wrappers) not only have huge readerships in print, creating powerful word-of-mouth publicity, but these days have massive followings online too, greatly helping with your search engine presence. And more often than not they’ll also have a business website which they’re affiliated with, as well as sending out a digital daily newsletter. So you’re getting much more than one hit, and a highly credible one too when compared with a paid-for advert.

What else? It’s something you can boast about on your website and in your other marketing collateral, giving you a feather in your cap against your competitors. And it will be well-written copy which you can use for newsletters, blogs and so on, too.

PR’s not a marketing panacea but it should definitely be considered as an important part of your marketing mix. And although online marketing and social media are changing the game there’s still something about a dedicated news website which adds credibility to your cause and which also suggests a sense of permanence and gravitas which can be a problem with social media and its constant self-reinvention.

Ultimately, it all comes down to the story you have to tell. Don’t put yourself down! Be proud of what you achieve in business and have the confidence to tell people about it. It’s a competitive world out there and, if you want to get publicity, it’s not a place for the shrinking violets.

GDPR is coming: is it time to revive off-line marketing?

In his book The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell describes how little things can make a big difference and bring about a tipping point thus creating a big change. One of the three rules of the Tipping Point is the Power of Context, defined by Gladwell as the conditions and circumstances of the times and places in which change occurs. In other words; while specific people and products can cause major trends, no trend can “flourish” without the right context.

If you had a chance to read my blogs recently, you may have noticed that I have been writing a lot about GDPR which are the new data regulations affecting everyone in the UK from May 2018.  I would say that the change brought about by this new legislation, will create the context in which some ‘old fashioned’ marketing tactics may make a comeback. This is because whilst you will still be able to make use of digital strategies such as Social Media and PPC, your ability to use the power of technology for direct marketing will be limited.

It might surprise you to know that When I started my career, online marketing did not play a big part in lead generation strategies. Instead, many businesses spent their marketing budgets on sending direct mail, leaflet dropping and advertising in magazines and phone books.  Whilst some of these methods may not seem as attractive, many can still be utilised effectively. Nowadays we call it Guerrilla Marketing because it makes us feel daring and special. Call it what you wish, some of these tactics are worth considering as part of your post GDPR marketing strategy. In the coming weeks, I will be sharing some pearls of wisdom from local experts covering some of these tactics.  In the meanwhile, here are a few famous Guerrilla Marketing case studies I liked:

  1. King Ronald

In 2005, Burger King implemented a guerrilla marketing campaign to increase their burger sales in Asia by luring more consumers into Burger King restaurants. Burger King promoters decided to target their number one beefy competitor, McDonald’s, by strategically placing branded Burger King t-shirts on Ronald McDonald statues, planting large footprints from McDonald’s to Burger King, and putting signs on empty benches that read “Gone to BK — Ronald.” Though a bit abrasive and cut-throat, this guerrilla marketing technique gained the attention of Asian consumers… and ultimately was extremely successful.

  1. Di*sel is no longer a dirty word

Another very popular form of guerrilla marketing is “reverse graffiti,” a technique where marketers literally paint the streets with subversive imagery. Difficult to execute, and sometimes controversial, this form of guerrilla marketing can be extremely successful because it catches the eye of hundreds of potential consumers, plus gets the grassroots communication ball rollin’. A prime example of successful reverse graffiti is when the high-end automotive company, Audi, was trying to promote their clean diesel engines. Audi painted the streets with messaging that read,”Di*sel is no longer a dirty word” around selected streets in metropolitan areas.

  1. Baroness Michelle Mone – Ultimo launch

“Sometimes you have got to have balls, and just approach people, because they are not going to come to you.”

With cashflow still an issue, Michelle was left with another problem – how to publicise her new product with a marketing budget of just £500. She said: “I hired 12 actors and dressed them as plastic surgeons and gave them banners saying ‘Ban the Ultimo bra because it is putting us out of work’ and got them to protest outside the store.

“I was hoping and praying it would work. When I was driving to the launch in Oxford Street, the taxi driver said the street was blocked with people. The place was swarming with photographers and it was known as the biggest bra launch in Europe – all for £500! Selfridges sold out six months’ stock in three hours.”

Even if you are not going to go Guerrilla the point is that there are a lot of different ways to approach your new lead generation strategy. The key is to take the time and effort to create your strategy so you can choose the most effective tactics and not the other way around.  Click here to see how we can help or get in touch to discuss further.