Saturday, April 20, 2013

My all time favourite ads!

Bodyform – Whoooooaaaaaaaa – need I say more?

Salon Selectives – the 80’s was the decade of big hair!

Guinness – this ad scares me off Guinness

Renault Clio – Nicole???? Papa????

Carlsberg - Probably the best beer in the world

Wrigley’s – That memorable bus journey

Diet Coke – the best Diet Coke man ever in my opinion!

Lynx – do men really think the Lynx Effect works?

Nescafe Gold Blend – the best romance story of all time

Nike – I like the song more than the product

Milky Way – Making chocolate malty nougat macho 

Fudge – a finger of fudge might be enough for kids, I need 5 these days!

Powerade – just because...Josh Lewsey


Land Rover official supporters of  England Rugby – again just because...Josh Lewsey

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Struggling with your marketing output? Have you considered outsourcing?

Many companies who opt to use external agencies find the process a better use of cost and resources.

Agencies can look at your strategies with a fresh eye and will offer advice that is proven to work, not just the latest, greatest marketing trend.

Projects are completed, on time and budget.

Agencies often have relationships with vendors so can offer discounts on printing, merchandise and production expenses. 

Do you have the capabilities to carry out industry research?
Do you have marketing and PR knowledge?
An extensive network of contacts?
Do you have a budget and is it important to get an external perspective? 

The benefits of outsourcing marketing are infinite but the key aspects to keep in mind are your budget, resources in terms of time and skills force and the need for specialist knowledge.

I have compiled a list of factors to consider when preparing an agency brief:
  • Describe the project
  • Describe your product
  • What is required to meet your objectives?
  • What are your assumptions, dependencies and constraints?
  • What marketing issues is the brand facing/expecting to face in the near future?
  • What brand competitor information is relevant?
  • What competitors should the agency have a look at?
  • What's the rationale behind the project?
  • What benefits does it offer the consumer?
  • What is the brand's communication strategy?
  • What are we trying to say about the brand to our audience?
  • What are its strengths?  Its weaknesses?  Its opportunities?
  • Who will supply the evaluation/performance indicators?
  •  Is there an opportunity to cross-sell/up-sell?
  •  What are their needs that have brought them to the site?
  • Why doesn't the current site meet these needs?  Has research taken place?
  • Is there any research the agency can look at?
  • If applicable, supply a broad map of the content (with flow chart) for the project.
  • Do you have any advice on the use of images/language?
  • What's the audience's view on the current content (quality/relevance)?
  • Should there be more interactivity?
  • What level of accessibility must be maintained (level 1, level 2, level 3)?
  • Are there any systems that must be used or involved in this project (like a database)?
  • What will be the key measure of success? 
  • Is there anything that the site must tie into?  An existing database? A CRM solution?
  • What Legal requirements are there? For the logo? Copyright?
  • Trademarks? Category legalities? Data protection?
  • Are there brand usage guidelines that the agency can access?
  • What is the budget? Is it including or excluding VAT?
  • When should the agency present back?

Marketing for Small Businesses

Most small business owners find themselves in a marketing role and don’t necessarily feel qualified or confident in making decisions. Before investing in marketing you need to have an understanding of what features are important, otherwise you can waste money.

Here are a few basics to get you started:

Social Media
The world of social media can appear daunting to some, but it doesn’t take long to get up to speed.

Social media allows you to engage with clients and prospects on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. You can provide updates on your activities, current newsletters or client projects. You can highlight your accomplishments in digestible segments.

It offers a great insight into business and markets and allows you to engage with clients without being intrusive. To encourage engagement you have to interact so make sure you follow relevant and interesting people so you can engage easily and offer advice where appropriate.

With any social media platform it takes time to build up a presence however you need patience and commitment. Don’t expect a decent following for at least 4-6 months.

Twitter gives you the opportunity to interact with individuals who you might not normally come into contact with. If you are keen to connect with someone you can retweet their content before you introduce yourself.

The benefit of Facebook is that you have more space for content and photos; therefore this platform is more suitable for larger content pieces.

LinkedIn enables you to interact with individuals and companies. You can join groups and engage with discussions and polls.

Top Tips for Social Media
Make sure your social media profile is on brand so you are identifiable to your existing customers;
  • Search for keywords to find relevant information and conversations. You can also see who is talking about you or your company and engage where necessary, even if the comments are positive or negative;
  • Plan ahead and set goals, know what you want to achieve and prepare content ahead of time – even if it is for tomorrow or next week it’s always good to plan;
  • To encourage engagement and followers you can post competitions on your social media sites to win your services;
  • Engage with the key influencers in your industry;

Events can be large or small depending on your budget, whatever your capabilities there is an option.
  • Set up contra deals with local businesses and co-host events;
  • Sponsor larger events to maximize publicity;
  • Plan ahead by putting together an events calendar;
  • Host educational events for SMEs (live or by webinar).

Never underestimate the value your website can bring. Your online presence is a powerful expression of your capabilities and success.  Potential clients will be comparing you to your competitors and first impressions count.

The business card is dying out as the world becomes digital. The first place people go to check you out is your website. It is an influential sales tool so should be utilized.

Your website is a great place to feature case studies and customer feedback.

The website should highlight how approachable you are so make it easy for people to contact you. Include information on your team and highlight their experience and capabilities.

To encourage engagement with potential customers offer free advice through your website on smaller issues where possible. This service can be promoted through your social media platforms.

To gain prospects outside of your immediate circle you can look to purchase list from various sources:
  • Companies House;
  • The Electoral Roll;
  • BT’s OSIS database;
  • The Times Top 1,000 companies;
  • Newsletter recipients;
  • Consider swapping lists or doing joint ventures with complementary firms. 

There are many ways of engaging with clients other than social media. Again, the important thing is to plan ahead to ensure you are not bombarding clients with too much information. Space out your contact so as not to annoy anyone! 
  • Newsletters;
  • Contact local publications/blogs and offer to write a guest post for them;
  • Promote client case studies and encourage referrals;
  • Surveys;
  • Polls;
  • Recommend a friend offers in exchange for your services;
  • Online knowledge hub with “how-to-guides” in downloadable formats;
  • Engage with editors of trade magazines to encourage media coverage. 
Finally, we come to the more fun aspect of marketing – the free giveaways! The key is to produce something people don’t just throw away. You want them to talk about it and you want their colleagues to ask questions. Here are some ideas:
  • Pens
  • Mugs
  • Key rings
  • Stress toys
  • Notepads
  • Post-It Notes
  • USB sticks
  • Umbrella
  • Refillable mints tins or cards
  • Diary (request sponsorship from clients) 

Or better yet combine a few ideas into one product a key ring, USB stick and a torch!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

'Red lipstick is the stiletto heel of make-up'

'Red lipstick is the stiletto heel of make-up,' says Terry Barber, director of make-up artistry at MAC. 

I love make-up but am not the most experimental. My day look is fairly natural with bronzer and pink blush, nude lips and black eyeliner with a flick.  But to make a statement I love bold lips but struggle to get the right balance. As a general rule you should either accentuate lips or eyes, however, it depends on the occasion.

Me working the red lipstick at a friends wedding.

I began my career as a beauty therapist and always had a personal interest in make-up. As I've got older I know the products and looks that suit me so stick to what I know. I often do make-up for friends weddings which is so enjoyable. It's great getting involved with the behind the scenes action and you usually get a 9am glass of champers for your efforts!

My favourite make-up artist is Lisa Eldridge, her looks are simple and achievable, elegant and classic. She has video tutorials on her website which are great, you can watch as she applies the make-up on her own skin, which is often more useful.

Sali Hughes is also another great advocate of all things hair and beauty. She's a writer first and foremost and covers a great variety of interesting topics. The Guardian have a YouTube channel featuring her video tutorials which is definitely worth checking out.