How Does Your Marketing Measure Up?

22.03.2010 Part 4: The TLC Business Marketing Formula

Here we are, it’s part four of the TLC Business Marketing Formula.

It’s results time.This is what it all boils down to. Has your preparation, inspiration and perspiration paid off? Has it delivered a return on investment (ROI)? Surely you want to know where all the time and money has gone and what it has achieved?

Well, it’s amazing how many businesses don’t ever find this out. Sadly, very little marketing is actually measured, with the success of far too many campaigns simply rated according to gut feeling and assumption.

This is where businesses seem to get stuck in a cycle of marketing that doesn’t work or achieves very little. It’s usually because they’ve never spent any time evaluating why, and taking steps to avoid making the same mistakes again.

Like preparation, evaluation is critical but all too often neglected. Many small businesses seem to overlook it because they deem it too costly and time consuming, or see it as something that only applies to the ‘big boys’ with their multi million pound marketing budgets. Wrong! Measuring results should be doubly important to small businesses because success, and often survival, depends on their marketing delivering a return.

It’s all about being rigorous, organised and putting systems in place to do the job. It needn’t cost a great deal of time or money. Google Analytics is free. Putting a code on a piece of direct mail is straightforward. Asking your customers for that code shouldn’t be common practice. Tracking who’s opening your emails is all down to using the right software and taking full advantage of the tools available to you.

There you have it – results! We love them and you should too, because nothing beats seeing your hard work, time and money pay off.

Rebecca Pash, Marketing Manager, TLC Business

 

July’s Top Marketing Tips

We have some great top tips this July: a source of free data, a tool to find out which page on your website your target audience prefer and a free opportunity to review your marketing over the summer.
Top Tip 1 – As many of you know, data can make or break a marketing campaign. It can be very difficult and expensive to source good quality data. Well, the good people at Corpdata have decided to try and help kickstart the economy by giving every business the opportunity to create their own target list of 200 potential customers for FREE. All you have to do is open an account for free, choose the types of businesses you’d like to include in your list, then download 200 records for free. That can’t be bad. Visit free data offer to download your free 200 records.

 

Top Tip 2 – Trying to get into the minds of your target audience can be tricky. Knowing what they like and don’t like can take a lot of time. Well Google have made it easier to work this out when it comes to your website. Their free website optimizer tool allows you to split test different pages on your website so can see which layout, copy or imagery is best received, very useful for improving your conversion rates.

 

Top tip 3 – If you haven’t taken your free Marketing MOT yet, the summer is the perfect time to do so. Many businesses experience slower periods during the end of July and August. This provides a great opportunity to take a look at your Marketing, review how successful it has been and explore areas for improvement. TLC Business’ free Marketing MOT does just that and gives you a whole host of ideas and suggestions on how you can improve your marketing performance. For more information or to book yours, visit our Marketing MOT page.

Hope you find these useful and do let us know how it goes.

October’s Top Marketing Tips

  • Sometimes it’s not easy reading through books looking for the perfect answer to your design query. If you struggle to find inspiration; here is a great book to add to your wishlist. The Non-Designers Design Book is a great tool for helping you create flyers, business cards and teach you all about type. This book lets you in on all the tips and secrets that professional designers use on a daily basis.
  • This October’s top tip maybe not help you with your marketing but it’s some great advice none the less. Some things are too good to lose, especially if you’re a small business.TagBak UK, the innovative UK lost and found solution, will move heaven and earth to get your lost possession back to you in less than 24 hours of finding it. Protect your possessions with TagBak UK.
  • Get a clear overview of your Twitter stats using Twitter Count. Track statistics of more than 100 million Twitter users, using this free and easy tool.

Why no Preparation and Planning?

14.03.10It never ceases to amaze us how little regard SMEs seem to pay to preparation and planning, when considering their marketing.

Our market research found that 100% of the businesses we spoke to in Hampshire felt their marketing could be more effective and weren’t happy with its performance.

When we asked why they thought it wasn’t performing as well as it should, nearly 80% said they felt it was because they didn’t have enough time and money to invest in it.

You might feel your marketing is not delivering the results you need for the same reason.

We have another theory.

One of the most interesting trends to come out from our research was how little (if any) time and money, is invested by small businesses, into proper marketing planning, before they start investing their time and money in specific marketing activities.

With businesses now beginning to see those precious ‘green shoots’ of recovery, after a difficult few years, it is vital that every penny is used effectively and that should be no different when marketing your business.

What better way to make those important marketing decisions, than by basing them on facts and figures, instead of assumptions and guesses.

Big businesses and corporates spend millions of £s each year on the marketing planning process. The question one must ask, is why? The obvious conclusion, because it works.

The next question that springs to mind is this; if big businesses and corporations value the results delivered from their investment in marketing planning, why do small businesses think they won’t?

As yet, we haven’t got an answer for this. But what we can confidently say is:

Small businesses that invest time and money on the marketing planning process – SWOT analysis, competitor analysis, customer surveys, market research etc. – will get a direct return on their investment through more effective marketing activities and massive savings on ineffective marketing campaigns.

As the old adage goes, ‘Fail to plan and plan to fail’. The same applies to marketing.

 

Want to see something amazing?

This amazing video still blows our minds. If you’ve got the time, watch it to the end.

 

Top Monthly Marketing Tips

1. When designing a website or simply putting together an email campaign, it is important what colours you use and place together. SwatchSpot is a simple and useful online tool that can help you by generating random colour swatches so that you can check the combination and see if the colours look good together.
2. Like many, the team here at TLC Business can be hit by the dreaded writers block. Why not try One Word, the idea is to put your free writing to the test and get your spontaneous thoughts out there. Your sentences are also put on display. Take a look at the responses from other writers and you will see that everyone has their own take on what a word means to them.

3. How We Decide by Jonah Lehrer tries to answer two questions, how does the human mind make decisions? And how can we make those decisions better? From Firemen to CEOs, Lehrer shows you how people are taking advantage of this new science to make better television programs, win more football games and improve sales.

Google top brand for 2010

The Brandz report for 2010 has just been published and it is no surprise that Google are top with their brand value increasing 14% over the last year, to a huge $114 billion.
The top 100’s total brand value exceeded $2 trillion! That is just shy of the $2.2 trillion GDP forecast for the UK in 2010 from the IMF.

Indeed in a period of extreme economic hardship and uncertainty, the overall value of the Brandz top 100 increased by 4%. However, part of this increase could be attributed to the inclusion of Oil & Gas companies for the first time.

The big gains, as you would expect, lay in the technology industry and highlight the massive importance of innovation in this sector. Brands like Blackberry weren’t even in the top 100 5 years ago, however, now it ranks 14, with a brand value of just over $30 billion dollars.

The report highlights the importance of defining a brand on more than just product and service excellence, it needs to be founded on deeper ideals and values:

‘The biggest share price gains will be made by brands which aren’t afraid to stand for something. They will go beyond the functional, to represent an ideal, which appeals across products, categories and cultures.’

One of the most interesting areas of the report focuses on the role of Social Media and brand building. Those of you still questioning the importance of social media as part of your business’ marketing mix should take notice. Widespread adoption of this medium by many of this year’s top 100 brands, shows it is here to stay.

The report cites examples of brands as diverse as HSBC, Ford, Evian, Coca Cola and Starbucks, all employing social media campaigns to compliment their more traditional marketing methods.

The WPP study makes an interesting read and provides insights into brand building, relevant to even the smallest organisation.

To access the full report visit: Brandz Top 100 Most valuable global brands 2010.

Great Marketing Seminar Yesterday

Room-shotThank you!We wanted to say a big thank you to everyone who took the time to attend our marketing and sales seminar yesterday. It was great to meet such a wide variety of exciting businesses. The feedback has been great and we will be running a variety of these type of events over the rest of 2010.

TLC Business Marketing Formula – PIPE
Thursday’s seminar started with an overview of TLC Business’ marketing formula for success – PIPE, followed by a look at some top marketing tips, including email marketing, social media and blogging.

How to grow a business & NLP
The audience were then given insight into: ‘How to grow a business’ by award winning Action Coach, Kevin Stansfield.

Kevin rounded off the morning with a quick look at how NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) can be employed to improve your conversion rates and improve one’s rapport building skilled.

Copy of presentations
To access a copy of each presentation click TLC Business ‘Marketing Matters’ Seminar and 5 Steps to growing a business.

Feedback
“Impressive performances by both presenters. Provides plenty of food for thoughtand a couple of ‘must dos’ immediately.”

“Excellent use of a morning”

“Brilliant”

“Excellent speakers clear and easy to understand. Made me think a lot.”

“Excellent information and balanced presentation”

“Very good: aimed at right level and right amount of content given time. Thank you!”

Your suggestions for future events
It would be really useful if you could let us know what type of topics you’d like us to cover in our future seminars, so we can make sure we give you the information that will be most beneficial to helping your business grow. Please email your ideas and suggestions to rob@tlc-business.co.uk.

The Holidays Are Coming

For many, Christmas is an important landmark in the calendar. For some, it’s the culmination of a year-long planning process, and for others, it’s a last minute shopping trip to grab the Christmas essentials.
Whilst, we were all enjoying the BBQs, beach trips and summer activities this August, the people at the prestigious British department store Selfridges, were busy preparing their Christmas department; a whopping 145 days early; the earliest it has ever opened. Displaying decorations, Christmas trees and tinsel, the festive shop opened as an extravaganza of everything Christmas.  Is this too early to start Christmas marketing, or is it an example of great marketing planning, attracting customers early?  Well, according to Selfridges, you can never be too early. Last year their festive shop sold 1,000 baubles in the first week alone, simply down to tourists looking for a small memento to take home.

Here at TLC Business, whilst we were enjoying the summer evenings this August, Christmas wasn’t far from our minds. We believe that it is essential for companies to prepare and plan for the festive season, months ahead of time.  It should be part of your yearly marketing plan. We don’t necessarily believe you need to get your Christmas products on the shelves at the height of summer, but having a plan of action for the year’s last quarter is a must.

It is not just retail businesses that benefit from this advanced planning. Many B2B organisations view Christmas as an unwelcome distraction that disrupts their business. Advanced marketing planning for the festive period is not just relevant for consumer-focused businesses. The period will impact on business of all sizes and across the majority of sectors. You need to be in tune with the needs of your specific customers. In our opinion, it’s never too early for companies to start preparing for this potentially lucrative season, to ensure they maximise the marketing opportunities that surround it.

This is especially relevant for online retailers.  Adding new features and festive graphics to your website will be appealing to the eye; however, don’t neglect less obvious areas, such as ensuring your site is prepared for the surge in festive traffic. Online retailers should be reshaping their email, SEO and pay per click campaigns to benefit from the Christmas boom period. Now is the time to ensure that your site is robust enough to deal with Christmas demand, in order to satisfy your customers, instead of damaging your brand value with a poor performing site.

With consumer lifestyles changing, more and more people are turning to the web for their Christmas gifts.  With more brands then ever competing for business online, it is important that SMEs establish their Christmas marketing ideas early and incorporate them within their yearly marketing plan, ready for implementation months in advance.

Christmas may be a holiday for most people, but to many businesses it’s a prime opportunity to increase turnover and meet your financial objectives for the year. You may not be a big business like Selfridges, serving consumers, but that is no excuse to avoid planning your festive season’s marketing early, to maximise sales and get the results you require.

Welcome to the TLC Business blog

18.01.10 New Beginnings
Welcome to the all new TLC Business blog, on what is officially the most miserable and depressing day of the whole year.

Not for us though! Here at TLC Business we are most definitely defying the winter blues. In fact, we couldn’t be more upbeat if we tried. We’ve just sent our lovely new business cards off to the printers, the new website is live and we’re raring to go!

It has indeed been a very exciting start to the New Year as we go full steam ahead with TLC Business – the reincarnation of The Lifetime Company’s TLC Office.

TLC Business has grown out of a desire to do what we do best and love most, and that’s marketing.

Our mission is to provide SMEs across Hampshire and the South with carefully conceived, innovative and results-focused marketing solutions that represent great value for money. The new team bring together a fantastic range of skills and experience, and everyone is full of fresh ideas and enthusiasm for the year ahead.

Over the coming months and beyond this blog will record what we’ve been up to and flag up any events you don’t want to miss out on. We’ll also share anything we’ve found particularly interesting or helpful and put forward our thoughts on all things marketing; the stuff we like, the stuff we don’t and everything in-between. We hope you find it useful.

Rebecca Pash, Marketing Manager, TLC Business