THE best way to create word of mouth

When was the last time you recommended a product or company to a friend? What made you do it?

In my experience, it's the last interaction that prompts us to share our experience with others.   The surprise element (good or bad), that sticks in our minds.  The companies which delight us, by validating our decision to spend our money with them.  Those products, which exceed our expectations and make us feel like we got a bargain.  It's the unexpected care and attention that becomes our dinner party story, not the glossy sales brochure or the flashy website.

Often companies are so focused on making a good first impression, that they forget what happens beyond the initial sale.  Lead generation is always on the Marketers agenda, with after sales service way down on the list of priorities.

As the world gets more social, it's relatively easy to 'like' something on Facebook without risking our reputation, but it's the contacts we share on a one to one basis that really show our loyalty.

What could you be doing to make a lasting impression?


8 Questions To Shape Your Marketing Mix

The marketing mix is the term used to cover all the tools and tactics you might employ to attract and retain customers.  The most obvious being direct mail, social media, events, website, collateral, PR and merchandising.

Everywhere you look marketers are talking about the importance of content and the marketing mix. I predominately work with SMEs and for them the marketing mix is generally more of a marketing 'one size fits all, fingers crossed' event.  If that sounds familiar, read on .....

Before you rush into anything, make sure that you know the answers to the following

1. Who is your target audience?
2. Have they already heard of your brand?
3. Do they know what you do?
4. What are your audience looking for/trying to achieve/hoping to solve etc?
5. Why do they need your product/services?
6. What alternatives are available to them?
7. Where do they currently look for product/service info?
8. Do you deliver on your marketing promises - are you as good as you claim?

Knowing the answers to these questions, means you're likely to produce content which delivers value and helps generate business.  You'll also be better placed to decide which channels to use, when taking your messages to market and therefore more likely to achieve a marketing mix.

If this all sounds easier said than done, I'd be delighted to help ; ).


Fit your own life jacket first - for all my freelance friends

It's a lightbulb moment.

Make your brand your most important client.

Write your blog post before tweaking the 3 others you're ghostwriting.

Populate your twitter stream before logging in under your clients ID to make them a star.

Start that discussion on your Facebook page, change your profile picture and engage with your community before writing that killer social media strategy for anyone else.

Repeat until you stop feeling guilty (of course that could just be me).


How Marvellous Is Your Marketing?


We're nearly a quarter of the way through 2013. How successful have your marketing efforts been so far?

It's time to dust down those excel spreadsheets, (I can hear you groaning) and see what hindsight, insight and foresight can be gleaned.  So, what should you do to start measuring?

1. Prioritise data collection against the most important metrics for your business
Your company might work to KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), which are generally linked to business objectives and nearly always focus on a mix of customer retention, customer acquisition and/or customer growth targets. Make sure you know what yours are and have the facts to speak to them. Alternatively, show how customer retention and acquisition link to social media engagement, your outbound/inbound strategy etc.

2. Who needs to know your metrics - deliver your findings in their language
The CFO wants to see all the numbers, the sales guys want to know how marketing has contributed to them making their numbers.  Everyone who needs a marketing metric has their own agenda.  Make sure to provide them with the evidence they need, to show marketing doing a great job.

3. Remember the intangibles
What impact has a project or campaign had on your customers, your brand and your colleagues? Maybe you can attribute new opportunities, targets or ideas to your current marketing efforts. Also look for new relationships formed with vendors, bloggers, event partners etc. This will give a more rounded picture than metrics alone.

If the thought of the above fills you with dread, then try to focus on the benefits to you and your marketing team, beyond securing next years budget.

1. Great results = Visibility + Credibility
Now that you've shown what can be achieved, what more could you do with additional resources/time/funds* (*insert your greatest marketing wishes here).

2. Identified success leads to opportunities
Now that you know what's working, can you replicate this across different products, geographies or industries?  Oh look, marketing just became business development.

3. Great results build trust 
Trust means being included in early level decision making that shapes your future business. Facts and figures take marketing from a 'nice to have' to a 'must have'.

Even if your results are less than worthy of a gold star, taking stock and reacting now, means resources can be rechanneled rather than squandered and your business will thank you for keeping them on track.  Promise.


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