Tag Archives: customers

Love, what’s that got to do with your brand?

brand love O'C&K

8 ways that might help people to love your brand a little more.

 We have written about business and marketing plans here before but now let’s get a little romantic, and talk about how much brand love you can attract, if any, from your customers and prospects. Perhaps, instead of spending your time sweating about operational plans for your fantastic service, it would be time well spent thinking how sustainable is the love for your brand.

We presume your mission is to have people engage with your brand (buying your stuff) – right? Well then, working out a way to get them to love you, long time, will lay the foundation for a good business strategy.

Of course, along the way, people are going to see your brand from different viewpoints, but that’s fine. Your focus should be on getting the right people to want to engage. Think about it this way – it would be a bad state of affairs if people weren’t aware of your service, (product), but wouldn’t it be even worse, if they were and didn’t care about it, at all? If you are in a competitive environment you may survive by being liked, but to grow, your brand has to be loved.

In a service based, small business your brand is yourself.

So here’s the point, nobody can ‘love’ a letterhead, a business card, a brochure or a website because these are just elements of branding. No one is going to love your premises or your background operations. They are going to love how you make them feel.

Your brand must go deeper than visual extensions, and it can because your brand is a personal promise to people. This promise can set you apart because you are promising value, and you have everything to lose because it’s your reputation that you are putting on the line.

In any business, is it not the founder’s unique qualities, their vision and mission and their values that manifests in a brand? Yes, it is, but the main difference between one competitor (brand) and the next is how the above is communicated through all interactions with people.

Why many start-ups fail is that they try to copy what other businesses in the industry are doing. The downside of this is that they are not unique or authentic, which are the very things that customers are looking for. Our advice – just be yourself because that’s what people will love about you and what you provide.

If you have a clear notion of what your brand stands for you can build on being perceived as a specialist and a credible resource in your industry. Of course the people, you want to have credibility with are those in your target market. The more you are the go-to brand, the more people will notice you, engage with you and eventually (hopefully), love you more than your competitors.

When determining your brand, therefore, the first step would be to define your unique qualities e.g. what do people like about you? The next step would be to clarify your strengths e.g. think about past successes, what talents / strengths did you use to achieve them? The last step is to nail down what exactly is your promise e.g. what are you committed to delivering to people on a consistent basis and what would they say if asked about you?

If you go through these three steps, we believe that you will be in a position to ‘live’ your brand and thereby develop its story. People love good stories. If you have your story, you can determine your brand messaging and then you can incorporate these into some of the branding elements referred to above.

Tips and Timesavers.

As alluded to above, brands can achieve sustainability through a consistent delivery of their promise. However, when businesses plan their messaging on an annual basis it’s hard for people to really connect with what the brand is all about, never mind loving it. A brand that changes its messaging every year will result in people perhaps liking their product / service, but not loving the brand.

Here are 8 ways that might help people to love your brand a little more.

  1. Build your brand on an idea that can create a bond with people.
  2. Everything you do should be customer focused, without exception.
  3. Connect with people, based on their insights.
  4. Don’t just solve a basic problem, connect in an emotional way.
  5. Show people that you are passionate about your own brand.
  6. Be unique in what you do and how you do it.
  7. Focus your efforts on areas where you can win (quality, cost, experience, different).
  8. Over-deliver on your promise.


It’s really important to be consistent in everything you do and everything you say if you want to manage the reputation of your brand, properly. It is also extremely important to remain on-message in whatever communication channels you use (online and offline). You must remain focused and true to your promise.

Do not be distracted by all the ‘shiny new tools’ that are available, nowadays. People will love you because of your heart, not your head. Pick a method of communication that suits your strengths, your brand’s style and engages at every brand touchpoint with your customers.

And hey! There’s no rush, it can take years to develop a strong brand.

Real love for a brand

 “We hope you have enjoyed our marketing tips and timesavers blog” – Aidan & Jim.

 Would you like to be notified by email when we publish new content? If so, just let us know by clicking here. Of course, we can always meet face-to-face, just leave your details here and we might grab a coffeet, cheers.   Jim – O’C&K

Ringing in the marketing bells of 2015.


It’s time to break old marketing habits and embrace new methods of engagement.

Hands up who has read a 2015 predictions article, in the last week? Yep, I thought so – almost everybody. In this post, we might refer to one or two trends but in general we will discuss what we’ve learnt from our own marketing interactions, in the last year.

Heading into 2015, marketing has become a key word again because, as a business discipline, it appears to be finally moving out from its perceived buzz-word shackles. As we move into a new year and the tsunami of new technologies, channels and platforms continue to wash over us, the ability of marketing to tell a brand’s story, in an engaging way, is becoming even more important to business growth.

Why is this important? Because, in general, people won’t put up with any brand communication that wastes their time anymore. There are a lot more pressing factors in people’s lives nowadays and brands need to be able to empathise and understand this environment. As mentioned in previous posts to this blog, companies that treat people as humans, with honesty and relevancy, will come out tops. Organisations need to focus on empowering people with a little more control over their lives.

Marketing’s time in the sun.

It is being said, with more frequency, that customer experience is the new source of differentiation for businesses. We agree and believe that this will only intensify over the coming years. How brands analyse and use customer data correctly, and not just pay lip service to it, will determine if they get a return on their investment (ROI) in data analytics. Marketing activity is central to realising this ROI.

I suppose you cannot talk about customer experience without mentioning, ‘digital’. The challenge for brands is to integrate responsibility for all customer touch points, during their purchase journey, under the one umbrella. To us, it makes sense that it is a marketing umbrella that’s used. More importantly, and probably controversially, a marketing strategy should include all customer-facing technology as well. Those internal silos need to be broken down, as nobody knows customers better than the marketing team.

One of the biggest challenges facing the marketing function is to be more disruptive (in a constructive sense), internally. For many years ‘marketers’, myself included, simply  implemented campaigns (advertising, sponsorship, CSR etc.) rather than investigating some form of ongoing innovation. With the marketing team’s new ‘time in the sun’ it needs to stand up and lead the revolution towards putting the customer at the centre of all business operations. The secret of marketing is to understand the psychology of your audience.

Marketing can play a key role in the growth of a business because it is the motivating factor for new customers – for example:

  • Getting people’s attention and interest
  • Getting them to buy your service instead of a competitor’s offering
  • Making them loyal and to become brand advocates

Is listening the new marketing trend for 2015?

As is said by many, brands need to be smarter about their marketing and evolve it, because their audiences are more knowledgeable and in control than ever before. Here are a few areas where a marketer can focus on, in the coming year.

  1. Personalisation – people will accept information that is relevant to them personally
  2. User experience – know how and where a prospect gathers information, and their influences
  3. Communities – think of each relevant community member as a potential brand advocate
  4. Advocates – personal engagement with influencers, will create a WOM ripple effect
  5. Storytelling – People like and remember stories – make yours a compelling one

So, how do we go about dealing with these five customer-focused areas? Simple – use the three ‘Ls’ – listen, listen and listen. You will only understand this if you accept the notion that your customer expects a customised experience. They do because it is being fuelled by digital, mobile and a resultant sense of empowerment.

When planning ahead, that old marketing chestnut of ‘awareness’ must be taken as a given rather than a focus and thereby modern vanity metrics should become less of a distraction. If real brand engagement is to match customer’s expectations you will need to know, in real time, what those expectations are. Therefore, we need to listen more.

Tips and Timesavers.

Let’s be honest, running a business can follow a fairly simple model. Make / provide something that people want and tell them about it. Thereafter, your satisfied customers tell other people about it and eventually a loyal community is developed. If it is that easy then why isn’t everyone successful in business? Because, it is still, all about the brand and the skill that is required to develop a powerful one.

Increasingly, you must be a thought leader in your business category so as to differentiate your brand. In this regard, and looking ahead to 2015, we would suggest that brands:

  • Get emotional – use the emotional values in your business category for positioning
  • Be authentic – your brand story must reflect the category’s realities by being ‘believable’
  • Be relevant – there is no point in using many online sources unless they’re engaging
  • Be brave – people expect you to be using technology to customise their experience
  • Be conscious of privacy – people will expect greater security in relation to their data
  • Outsource – use the expertise of others to make yourself a thought leader

Of course, there is not much new in what we are suggesting above but, as a wise person once said, ‘if you want to do something new, you must stop doing something old’.

We don’t like finishing on a negative note, but it is worth mentioning a few business pitfalls to avoid in 2015 and beyond.

Don’t think that you know everything about your business category or that the bit you do know is still true. There is also a danger that you might believe that whatever has made you successful to date, will continue. It helps to  look outside your own category of business. The two obvious lessons to be learned, from recent years, are thinking that a) your next big competitor will come from within your industry and b) there is no need to be online because, it doesn’t apply to your industry.

“Aidan and myself wish you a brand engaging, technology-embracing, profit making and smarter outsourcing 2015.”

“We hope you have enjoyed our marketing tips and timesavers blog” – Aidan & Jim.

Would you like to be notified by email when we publish new content? If so, just let us know by clicking here.

Of course, we can always meet face-to-face, just leave your details here and we can grab a coffeet, cheers.   Jim – O’C&K


Social Media can be a solution to business growth, when used properly.

Social Media Choices

“We want to create value for you by sharing marketing tips and timesavers” – O’C&K.

10 questions to ask yourself about your company’s social media activity.

Let’s face it – us marketers have flooded the social media scene. It’s a no-brainer really as, when done properly, it does offer an opportunity to raise brand awareness and strengthen relationships with people.

Despite all the advantages of social media however, I was reminded recently by a Facebook post from BAG Chairperson, Ramona Nicholas, that it should not be the only solution to your business growth. Ramona warned against small businesses spending too much time online and not concentrating on generating revenue. So, I thought that I would use this blog to explore the matter further.

In my opinion, Ramona is right. The number one thing to remember is that social media doesn’t sell. Despite having a following of say, 7,000 people on Twitter or a huge number of likes on your FB page, it doesn’t mean that they are all interested customers / prospects. In fact, probably 1% might be interested in a relationship. Think of the time you spend chasing the 6,930 others.

Of course, exposure is good for any business but no matter how well we ‘expose’ ourselves, ‘likes’ and ‘RTs’ don’t translate into sales. Unfortunately, some organisations pursue a goal of achieving thousands of followers, which on occasions is pure vanity and other times – a waste of energy. The danger is that using social media with such a narrow focus, may lull you into a false sense of marketing, resulting in unrealistic expectations and lost opportunities. In fact, this drive for numbers can actually alienate existing customers that do want to ‘link’ with you.

At O’C&K we ignore any business that asks for follows or ‘un-like’ those that use their online presence to constantly promote themselves i.e. broadcast marketing.

I am not discouraging the use of social media for marketing at all, it’s just that it is only a solution, when undertaken in a meaningful and planned way.  I’m also agreeing with Ramona’s sentiment that social media should be part of your overall marketing activity, but not the majority of it.

The customer’s overall experience of your brand will determine repeat business.

I outline later, under ‘tips and timesavers’, why it is understandable that social media is being looked to as a ‘fix it all’ strategy. This is evident to us when we talk to businesses about outsourcing their marketing. On most occasions they see social media as an inexpensive solution to many of their marketing problems. I don’t know how many times we have had to explain that a solid understanding of marketing is required before jumping on the social media bandwagon.

The message we try to convey is that traditional and social media marketing are a very powerful combination but must be fully integrated and linked to an overall business strategy. Simply knowing how to use social platforms and adding it on to an existing activity does not constitute good marketing.

Yes, customers will respond to professionally executed marketing messages but as we are aware, they also form impressions based on their experience and word-of-mouth. The customer will have to resonate with your story / strategy (not your channel) and offerings before they will become a repeat customer for your business. It follows that if social media has a part to play in a customer’s experience it is therefore, an important element of your marketing activity and resultant business growth.

Let’s think about marketing strategy for a moment. We all know that ‘finding’ the budget for marketing is difficult and where to spend it is even more difficult. It is very easy to be overwhelmed by all the experts out there, advising where to focus, how to split it up or when to do testing. In our minds, quite often a business may be wise to stick with what they have and ‘tweek’ it, in a smarter way.

By having a marketing strategy, linked to a business plan, many of the marketing solutions are obvious.  Where you might require some professional assistance from outside, is deciding whether another area of marketing might provide a better ‘bang for your buck’.

To get back on track here – the same questions you might ask yourself about your overall marketing, can be used to determine your social media activity.

Tips and Timesavers.

I’ve already alluded to not ‘putting all your eggs in the social media basket’. However, it is understandable why people want to start using social media. There are a variety of reasons why it makes sense to you, initially:

  • It is easy to set up and implement by yourself.
  • It looks like it won’t take up much time.
  • It costs nothing (other than your time).
  • You use it for personal reasons so why not your business.
  • Your competitors are on social media.
  • Your friends and other marketing ‘experts’ are advising you to do so.

Most of you reading this already know that engaging an audience with information, education, entertainment or even customer service takes up a hell of a lot of time. Your time is not free. Using social media as part of your marketing strategy is complicated, time intensive and a lot of work. This does not mean you don’t do it. It’s just that you need to decide how much of it you use or whether, in fact, you need it at all. Please don’t confuse having an online presence with using social media.

The blog post heading reads that ‘Social Media can be a solution to your business growth’. I included the words ‘when used properly’ because sometimes it might only require a small effort to bolster your existing online presence. For instance if you have a company blog, a social media channel is definitely necessary to promote same. However, you might only need to be on ONE channel – the one where your audience is!

So, if you are thinking about allocating marketing budget to social media, here are three questions to ask yourself, in the first instance.

– How important is it for your customers for you to be on social media? – Have you sufficient financial resources to allocate to this new activity?

– Are your existing marketing activities providing a good return?

There is no ‘yes or no’ answer to these 3 questions but thinking about them will set you up to continue the exercise and see how compatible social media is with your overall marketing plan:

10 questions to ask yourself about your company’s social media activity.

  1. Have you a set of goals for using social media.
  2. Will your customers / prospects receive added value from you being there.
  3. Can you compete with your competitor’s activity.
  4. Have you the skills, in-house, to dedicate the time to ensure success.
  5. Do you have a plan to engage with your audience in a relevant way.
  6. Where will you source your content.
  7. How often will you post & will you use it for promotions.
  8. What channels will you use.
  9. Do you have a way to measure the success of your actions.
  10. Will you commit to staying abreast of social media developments, as they occur.

Business relationships form in real life, and online, by being human.

If you are already ‘set-up’ on social media, but it doesn’t appear to be paying off, here are some thoughts that may help you review your activity.

Are you trying to be all things to everyone on multiple channels? Why not become an expert in one of them that suits your business and your customers. Become a thought leader.

Are you engaging with the people who followed you – or are you just promoting your business to them? If you have not set up social monitoring tools you should do so straight away – they are usually free. Listen for mentions of your brand, competitor’s activity, industry keywords etc.

Delete any inactive social media accounts that you have. It does not reflect well when a prospect clicks through a social media button on your website to find that there’s no one home.

We have covered this thought before in a blog, but it is worth repeating again and again – be human. Business relationships are formed by being personable with your customers.

To finish, I want to reflect on three things that remind me that whilst social media can be a solution for your business growth, there are caveats.

First of all, the basic concept of marketing hasn’t changed .i.e. to let people know that you have something of value to share. So, social media isn’t a substitute for marketing, but it can be an alternative channel for people to connect with your business when they need to.

Secondly, remember that people do not want to see your brand in the middle of their personal conversations online. Social media, for the general punter, is an opportunity to share with friends and family. This must be respected.

Finally, social media will always be an interactive channel between business and customers, however what ‘social’ means to both parties is going to change in the near future. Be there but be professional and aligned to your business goals.

  If you have any other tips or timesavers please leave a reply below. If you’d like to receive similar content, just subscribe by clicking through the pink button, on this page.  Of course, if you want to get in touch, leave your details and perhaps we might meet for a chat, cheers.   Jim – O’C&K

Brand Loyalty vs Engaging Relationships.

engaging relationships

“We want to create value for you by sharing marketing tips and timesavers” – O’C&K.

There are warning signs that you may be complacent about your brand.

Better analytical tools are providing organisations with the capability of making smarter marketing decisions. As a result, the scientific element of marketing is growing in importance. In the midst of this science though, we should not lose sight of the fact that humans react to social connections (Matthew Lieberman) and relationships that engage them. It should not be a surprise to anyone that a customer wants to connect with brands that resonate with them.

I believe that often, this customer desire is perceived as brand loyalty. Organisations that use loyalty metrics on which to base their business decisions, must be careful not to fall into the trap of remaining in their marketing comfort zone. We will have a look later on about how organisations may become a little complacent in relation to their brand management and, in particular, their relationship building activity.

Perhaps another (jargon warning!) way of looking at how brand loyalty is not the same as engaging relationships is to observe how customers evaluate purchase decisions. The changing marketing paradigm means a move from relative evaluation (provided by traditional marketing messages e.g. ‘our washing powder washes whiter than yours’), to an absolute evaluation, where comparative information can be sourced from anywhere, by anybody. So customers are no longer buying from brand loyalty but are buying based on absolute information.

In such a scenario therefore, it is even more important to proactively engage with customers, online and offline, so as to retain them by providing the information they need. A good engagement marketing strategy is ideally placed to meet these challenges. It also offers guidelines for growing a business in collaboration with customers so knowledge of the ‘customer journey’ is a key to this strategy being successful.

Stop selling and start telling.

The foundation for any successful organisation has always been a founder’s long term vision of what she/he wants to achieve. In O’C&K we sometimes encounter small organisations, or start-ups, that don’t believe in the necessity for a vision statement. As I’ve alluded to above, customers are beginning to choose to deal with brands that give a damn about building engaging relationships.

Often it is the vision or the ‘brand story’ that resonates with them in the first place. Thereafter, they are more open to relationship building. In this digital age, with all its noise, it is important to know and communicate your vision so as to entice customers into being a part of it.

What I’m saying here is that organisations should stop selling and start telling. A story gives people a context for decision making. It allows your brand’s personality to shine through and gives relevance to what you do. Also, the tone of how you tell your story should be one that is like that of your existing or intended audience. The days of the boring old advertising campaign are over, in my opinion, because people can just switch it off, if you don’t resonate with them.

There is a plethora of new channels through which organisations can communicate. These channels allow for direct engagement with the customer and an interface at their level. As visuals are such an integral part of the online world, there is no excuse for campaigns not to be more interesting and engaging.

There is one BIG difference that organisations should take into account when developing an engagement strategy. That is the environment in which your audience engages with your brand. Smartphones, laptops, tablets, smart TVs etc. all deliver real time engagement, but in different contexts.

The user doesn’t care about how you got there, just that you are, and that you can help. Although you cannot control such environments, you can make an effort to create an experience that is relevant to the user. This is where an engagement strategy is paramount.

Tips and Timesavers.

There is a danger that when business is good, an organisation can get a little complacent about their brand and their marketing efforts. I wrote in a previous post, here, that some organisations can pick up bad marketing habits, but complacency must be one of the worst. The business landscape is changing fast, driven by customer expectations and their technology. You must keep up to speed or your competitors will whizz by you.

Here are some warning signs that you might be getting a little complacent about your brand.

  • Your existing customers are not spending as much with you as they were. – You probably have no engagement strategy in place. You may have lost touch with your customer base by being too busy to listen to them. You don’t know what they want or expect from you anymore.
  • Your lead conversions are down. – You might be basing your strategy on old research and your audience has changed. You are not using up-to-date sales tools that are available or you are not engaging with prospects in a way that they expect you to.
  • Your ‘look’ is a bit old fashioned. – Is your brand identity getting a little jaded? You can modernise your identity without affecting your vision and while you’re at it – check out your website. Even if it is only a few years old, SEO, usability, download speeds etc. can all affect your customer’s experience. By the way, how do you compare with your competitors at trade shows?
  • You still use dated photos for your marketing. – Changes in clothes, hairstyles, products, transport and even YOU, can all quickly date your image. You can upgrade sales proposals or presentations by using modern apps and plug-ins (often for free).
  • You do not use social media channels. – You might be on social media, because a ‘friend’ or a competitor compelled you to set one up. It is important that you devote the time and resources to use these tools to their full effect. 
  • You don’t have the time to attend to any of the above. –  Your existing marketing agency should be attending to these items or you can outsource projects to a small flexible company, such as ourselves.

Relationships are the new currency.

What organisations should realise is that nowadays, they must prepare to invest in engaging relationships. Everything they do, every piece of content they create from ads to emails should create a positive interaction so as to form a relationship. The interaction may be short lived, but it is still a first step. Thereafter, smarter marketing will build the relationship by using repeated engagement.

The only caveat I have for you here is to bear in mind that not everybody wants the same kind or relationship. The best kind of relationship is to provide your customer / prospect with the engagement they want, when and where they want it.

So, to summarise, don’t rely on presumed brand loyalty. Continuous relationship building is imperative, all of which should start with a positive interaction. Thereafter, repeated engagement how and when they want it, will form a ‘bond’. This bond is the difference that will stop your customer being tempted to move to a competitor. The ultimate achievement is that they would become your brand ambassador and we would love to help you with that objective.

If you have any other tips or timesavers please leave a reply below. If you’d like to receive similar content, just subscribe by clicking through the pink button, on this page.  Of course if you want to get in touch, leave your details and perhaps we might meet for a chat, cheers.   Jim – O’C&K



Have a professional marketing approach or hire one.

professional marketing

“We want to create value for you by sharing marketing tips and timesavers” – O’C&K.

Professional Marketing can eliminate bad habits and denials.

You may not have noticed that Aidan and myself have recently re-designed our website. Click here to have a quick look.  Anyway, why did we change? Initially, we focused our work on SMEs that were looking for a professional marketing approach to their business. Our site was informational and aimed at the challenges facing them. As a result, it was quite heavy on content / text.

As we progressed through our first year in business, we noticed that we were receiving repeated requests in relation to specific areas of our expertise. The requests related to the not-for-profit sector ( fundraising and dealing with corporates), commercial sponsorship proposals and the development of engaging communication campaigns. All are areas in which we have extensive knowledge and experience.

If you’ve had a quick look at our new site, you’ll notice that we’ve put these three areas up front to show ‘what we can do together’. We do provide many other services, but we’ve learnt that when an organisation makes the decision to hire a professional marketing company and go searching, they want to see your strengths, quickly, clearly and up front.

What we’ve noticed of late, when meeting potential customers, is that without the help of a professional, many had built up some bad marketing habits.

I’m going to talk about some of these bad habits first. Then I will mention some of the more common defences that organisations put forward, when deciding upon whether to hire a professional or not. I’ll finish by giving you a few pointers to keep in mind if you do decide to hire an external resource to help you develop your brand.

Bad Marketing Habits.

The most common bad marketing habit that organisations fall into is reproducing the same marketing plan, year after year. There may be a few ‘tweeks’ but rarely do they take the time to completely re-evaluate their activity.

Here is our free business guide that we have used with some clients, which might be useful for you to audit your marketing strategy.

A further bad habit is a focus on sales with no marketing effort at all. As a result, they spend a lot of time and energy on attracting new customers (which could well be non-buyers). We would suggest that they should be engaging with existing ones and enticing new customers that show similar characteristics. The next habit is quite common also – businesses base their marketing on old data and perhaps some research that they have done in the past. As a result, any marketing plans will not be well founded.

Here’s another one for you – have you ever used old brochures with labels over the outdated content? There is nothing so unprofessional looking in my eyes. Again this occurs when the finance people (or the owner) decide to ‘save’ on costs, which usually leads to a bit of DIY marketing. For instance, I’ll bet that you know at least one person who has a) talked a friend into building a website, b) had a sibling take photos or a company video or c) allowed a young marketing intern to write the content of your brochures and / or buy ads in local media. None of these are good ideas from a professional image, point of view.

How about over- marketing? We have engaged with businesses who flood their customers with direct mail, special offers, unprofessional in-store radio ads, daily emails etc. This is one of the worst habits as it could drive customers away from your business. Finally, this habit is a more modern one – not understanding how to use social media channels for business. There is a fine balance between over and under posting. And if you decide to have a presence online (which you must), not listening to your customers is the greatest time suck of all.

Are you in denial?

Even if an organisation has no bad habits, sometimes when we meet business owners, or their marketing person, they slip into denial about their need for professional marketing. Quite a lot of the SMEs we talk to have a misconception about marketing. Their first response is “we’re too small to have a formal marketing plan”. As a consequence, they think that marketing is just about running ads in local media rather than as part of an integrated campaign, aligned to business objectives.

It does take a while but eventually they acknowledge that a marketing plan can be a roadmap for their business. In fact, on occasions we have saved them money by suggesting smarter ways to approach their existing marketing activity.

When we talk about their target market, the reaction sometimes is that they ‘know their customers very well’, so they only need to market to potential customers. I’ve referred to this ‘bad habit’ above so I’ll just mention one point in this regard – societies are changing, the business landscape is changing and your customers are definitely changing.

Another common reaction is “we don’t have the budget for more marketing”. Usually, this is because they are comparing themselves to large businesses or competitors. They don’t realise that by dropping some existing activity and having a more targeted approach, they can achieve more lucrative results. A relatively inexpensive way of marketing these days is to manage an online presence. So a lot of our recommendations include a content marketing plan. This plan includes social media tools for listening and content distribution.

To finish this section off, I would emphasise that reducing your marketing budget may provide a short term gain, but will prove to be expensive in the long run. Also, if your business is not online, at an appropriate level, you are going to be left behind. There are many competitors out there champing at the bit to engage with your customers – don’t let them. If you aren’t the marketing ‘type’, hire a professional to help you.

Tips and Timesavers.

So, if you do decide to hire a marketing professional, I always say to people, ‘hire somebody you’re comfortable with’. Professionals do have to charge for their work and efforts, but I say again, find a person that suits your style and budget.

In deciding to get outside help, do a little research yourself before meeting them. It is useful for you to know your immediate competitors and have an opinion on their brand. At least you will have a better idea what to discuss when you have a meeting.

When you do meet, think about how they make you feel.  Are they listening to you?  Do they make you feel at ease with a topic that may be outside your comfort zone? Let’s presume that they have the experience, but even so you should still determine if they have built up trust in their own industry? Do they know your industry? Don’t be afraid to ask them anything at all. In fact, ask them to produce a presentation for you outlining their modus operandi and their own sources of data.

One thing I will say is that if you have done your research and have met and agreed to use a professional, you must allow them to do their work. After all they are professionals and you have to trust them to do their job. Some business owners have their own creative ideas about what the solution should be and get involved too much. I admit that I have been guilty of this, in my previous life, on the corporate client side.

When you decide to take the leap into professional marketing, just remember that it is for the long haul. Marketing attends to how you engage your customers. It is up to you to ensure that what you do as a brand owner lives up to your customer’s expectations.

You are knowledgeable about all aspects of your business but if you subscribe to being the best, you should be professional about your marketing, and hire one.

If you have any other tips or timesavers please leave a reply below. If you’d like to receive similar content, just subscribe by clicking through the pink button, on this page.  Of course if you want to get in touch, leave your details and perhaps we might meet for a chat, cheers.   Jim – O’C&K