Tag Archives: smarter marketing

18 Useful Smarter Marketing Tips You Might Want to Know


As a marketer, you know that the concept of useful marketing is still about connecting people with a brand in the hope that they will buy something.

If you have been a marketer for many years you probably use a marketing approach that has worked to-date. This post, therefore, may serve as a checklist for you or hopefully will give you some ideas to try. For people new to the industry, start-ups or SME owners I’ll include some tips that can start you on the road to success.

There are plenty of useful smarter marketing activities that are being lost in the sea of buzz words such as – content marketing, digital marketing, strategic marketing etc.  It is becoming more and more obvious, to us anyway, that despite the description of the method used, successful marketers realise that people will always have different relationship needs.

If marketers want to be able to focus on these needs, they really need to be much more flexible in their approach and thinking. This requirement is even more pronounced in our ever-shifting digital world.

In addition to traditional one-to-one communication, this flexibility also means having the ability to adapt to social media insights, behaviour analytics, personalisation, big data, etc. You could argue that never before has it been so easy to deliver the right kind of messaging to the right person at the right time.

So yes, building relationships are nothing new, but it has never been as important as now if we are to create a positive experience for our brand (or that of our client’s brand).

In many of our previous posts, we stated that the smarter option for success is to link marketing objectives to business objectives. The challenge for marketers, however, is not to get caught up in the trap of only focusing on quantifiable business results. In doing so, we forget that regardless of the result, marketing remains about the one thing mentioned above – relationships.

Here’s one more complication, relationship types don’t remain fixed. Depending on outside factors people may change their relationship needs daily, hourly, weekly etc. especially when they encounter your marketing message. No, it’s not as easy as it used to be but if you get your focus right – you will be successful with your marketing activity.

Useful Smarter Marketing and Business Priorities

So what am I saying here? Firstly, we don’t have to learn and undertake new types of marketing. We just need to be smarter about what we currently do and use the tools available. Some specialist skills might be required but these can be learned or outsourced. Secondly, if we are genuine about building relationships, we have to think about people’s priorities and not put our own first.

If you can message people according to their priorities, you have a better chance of being successful. Caution is required when engaging people many times with the same messages because most of them will not be at the same part of the buyers’ journey. The danger is that while your messaging can be establishing or cultivating a relationship, it may also be damaging it.

Here is a useful checklist that we put together that may help you reconsider your business priorities. The idea is to put relationship building front and foremost in your objectives.

Useful Smarter Marketing Priorities Checklist

As marketers, we should realise that how each time we touch a person with content is important because it forms part of building a relationship. If you are doing this right, therefore, it means that marketing campaigns would change, in real-time, to individually fit/ respond to the customer’s needs.

On this point, here is a link to a related article on just-in-time marketing that’s well worth a read.

The downside of this relationship building is that there is no definitive way to measure the impact of relationship building. From a sales point of view, we can check metrics such as leads generated and conversions but this can’t be directly quantified to the nurturing element of our engagements.

What is becoming the norm though is that people want to deal with a brand that is human-friendly. They do not want to be seen as leads, opportunities and in-the-pipeline. No, they want to have a relationship just like every other aspect of their life. For an established brand this is a challenge and for start-ups, it really needs to be up front and central in their planning.

6 Useful Smarter Marketing Approaches for Start-Ups.

  1. Market your product/service before it is ready
  2. Explain why you’re different (the benefit), don’t compare
  3. Listen to your customer (sometimes they defy logic but are usually right)
  4. Test fast. Fail Fast – think outside the box (live streaming etc.)
  5. Connect multichannel advertising and PR activity (builds credibility)
  6. Provide a place for customers to engage with you (website etc.)

Useful Smarter Marketing Essentials to Grow Your Business

I’ve often been asked at networking events, to provide a quick list of essentials in a marketing approach, for start-ups and established organisations alike. Here are 5 main marketing approaches that I suggest they should really be using.

Create a Marketing Plan

We have mentioned the importance of a marketing plan in many posts before e.g. ‘Marketing Plans: Who Needs Them Anyway‘ and the main reason for it is consistency. Sending out flyers, using social advertising and building a website on separate occasions do not make for a concerted effort – results will be unpredictable. Create a plan for 6 months at a time and keep the priorities in the graphic above, in mind.

Build a Mailing List

All traffic directed to your website or landing page takes time, effort and money. If you don’t secure people’s contact information while they’re there, you are throwing money away. Building an email list is the easiest way to stay in touch with your customers/prospects. Use a monthly newsletter or lead magnets so as to offer value in exchange for their email address.

Have a Mobile Presence

Every day we are seeing statistics on how using a mobile device is the main way that people are searching online. If your site or content isn’t mobile friendly, your business will not survive in the long term. Even if you are a bricks-and-mortar business you should allow your prospects shop from their mobiles.

Social Media

I don’t need to quote all the statistics for social media usage in Ireland here, but suffice to say that almost 50% of the population have smartphones and 700,000 of them use Twitter, for instance. People use social media for various reasons but from a business point of view, relevant automated posts and a presence for answering queries is a must to stay in the conversation with your customers and prospects.

Search Engine Optimisation

The blogosphere is awash with posts that delve into the specifics of Search Engine Optimisation. Whilst it can’t be gamed anymore, it should definitely be incorporated into any marketing campaign so as to make sure your efforts are recognised by the various search engines.

Of course, not all of your marketing ideas will generate a profit. In fact, you might lose money at the start of a campaign. But as long as you know what factors to measure, you will be able to adjust your approach.

Tips to getting your marketing plan on the road to success.

We believe that you can certainly be a better marketer in this day and age by working smarter and not necessarily harder. Here are 7 smarter marketing tips to contemplate, that might help you along you along the road to success:

  1. Be professional – have a unique and descriptive business name with the online domain to match.
  2. Don’t be boring – build your brand on being remarkable, authentic and realistic.
  3. Have professional branding – consistency is the key word because first impressions count.
  4. Deliver your message in different ways – use multi mediums (social, radio, referrals, online ads etc.).
  5. Make sure everyone knows you – ensure you/your business is the most recognised in your market.
  6. Out-serve your competition – market where your competitors aren’t
  7. Always improve your digital visibility – social media, website, landing pages, SEO etc.


No business can succeed really, without good marketing. While nobody has the ultimate cheat sheet that propels us up to the next level, being smarter about your marketing can definitely contribute to success.

Instead of copying everybody else in your marketing plans, be remarkable in what you do. Look for unique ways to appeal to and reach new audiences. If you are to build a relationship with your customers/prospects, it is essential that you talk with your customers and not at them. If they have a complaint, deal with it and if they have a question – answer it.

Finally, admit to yourself when something isn’t working. You have to make changes if your marketing isn’t creating the impact that you want it to have on your customers. If people didn’t respond to your first efforts, you can be sure they will dislike having you repeat the process for the second time.

Plan to be smarter about your marketing and you will eventually see some real return for your efforts.

“Thank you for reading our blog post today – Aidan & Jim.

By The Way: Can We Send You Emails During the Year?

Twice a month or so we send an email with our best content. We never bug you; we just send you our latest piece of content.

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How to Build Your Business with Smarter Online Marketing


Smarter online marketing is something that any growth-minded business aspires to, isn’t it? The trouble is, with little experience and even less time, many business owners or marketing managers dive straight into digital marketing because they don’t want to be left behind!

In this post, I’m going to suggest some questions about online marketing that you should ask yourself before you prepare a formal plan. Plus, I’ll briefly list some basic online marketing concepts and finish off by providing you with tips on how to market your business online.

The pitfall of rushing into online marketing, just because everyone else is, risks a complete waste of time and money. Just like any other business activity, it is advisable to plan for it. Even before that, we would advocate standing back to ask yourself some questions about how embracing digital might impact your business.

Questions such as:

– Will it change the actual business that you are in or drive existing business objectives?

– Will it help you to be more competitive?

– Could it help you increase the value you can offer to customers?

– Will it improve the cost or quality of your existing product /service?

– Might it serve to change your target audience?

– Will you be adding digital capabilities or adding digital to your capabilities?

Instead of rushing into formulating an online strategy, we would recommend that you focus on how any new technology you use, can add something extra to the business strategy you already have in place.

[playbuzz-item url=”//www.playbuzz.com/jimkelly10/smarter-online-marketing” info=”false” shares=”false” comments=”false” recommend=”undefined”]

8 Smarter Online Concepts to Understand

In our experience, what seems to be happening these days is that many organisations are looking at their online presence as being separate to their other marketing activity. Some contact us and ask – “can you help us with our Twitter or Facebook?” or whatever.

In response, we explain how social media is just one digital element in the overall communications effort. Thereafter our job is to show how to integrate their digital objectives into their overall business strategy.

Every day, it seems, we come across new specialist roles in the online marketing space. In our opinion, unfortunately, these people, whilst experts in their field, are failing to grasp how their outputs fit into an overall business strategy. Their impact on business growth, therefore, is negligible.

Of course, digital experts are required but all people in business should have at least a basic understanding of what online activity might entail. Whether you are a business owner, a marketing manager or a not for profit, it is important to understand these 6, fairly basic, online concepts:

  • SEO – being findable and having the best answer for your customers/prospects questions
  • Content Strategy – planned content must be able to attract, engage and convert
  • Paid Social Media – social media algorithms means effective reach must be paid for
  • Pay Per Click – reduced organic search means paid advertising is required to reach your audience
  • Influencer Marketing – amplify your created content by using online influencers (e.g. bloggers)
  • Online Analytics –analyse your existing data and also measure success of your online activity

Be smarter about your online image and the tools you use.

Your Image –

At a very minimum, it should be understood that how you look online is as important as how you look offline. We are starting a new year, so it is probably a good time to refresh your online presence with an image makeover. Here are some quick fixes that you can do immediately:

  • Update your professional headshot – hair, clothes and even you can change over the years.
  • Use new images on your website – your homepage image, your team, your results
  • Ask your customers for new pictures of them using your product/service
  • Update your images on your social media channels and display advertising
  • Remove any images of promotions that are out of date

Some of your customers might only engage with your brand online so it really is important that your online marketing landscape is professional, consistent and reflects the authentic you.

Your tools –

As an SME, have you signed up for some time-saving online tools that you no longer use? Or have some of the tools you use, been surpassed by better ones? There are hundreds of marketing tools out there that can genuinely help you improve your effectiveness, way too many for us to cover. Here is a sample of some that we use and have found to be effective:

  • Open Site Explorer – check out your competitor’s domain authority and copy their links
  • Siteliner – duplicate content check and internal/external links view
  • Portent Title Generator – it might not find you a title but it will get you thinking
  • Grammarly – a must on your computer for checking grammar – even if you don’t blog
  • Google keyword planner – good resource when launching pay-per-click campaign
  • Buffer – schedule social media posts for optimal times
  • PostPlanner – similar to buffer but also has a content generation element
  • Pablo – free images for social media
  • Followerwonk – for analysing your twitter followers
  • Start a fire – places a link back to your website on shared content
  • Wisestamp – professional email signature
  • Adobe Spark – free graphic templates for whatever platform you are using
  • Evernote – store everything for later (free version is excellent)
  • Playbuzz – allows the creation of polls, quizzes etc. for social media posts.

This is a really good infographic providing reasons why you should have a digital marketing strategy and steps to build one. Source – www.digitalvidya.com

12 tips on how to go about smarter online marketing

The first thing to remember about online marketing is that it is not a quick fix. Some actions will have a short term effect and others might take months and years. Being smarter about it means adding value to your digital journey and to that of your customers’.

  1. Website/SEO – your site has to be user-friendly, relevant and attend to your SEO in three elements based on the search impact i.e. tech SEO -25%, on page SEO – 25%, off page SEO – 50%.
  2. Post high-quality content on a blog regularly – adds value, drives traffic and creates authority
  3. Use social media purposely – LinkedIn groups, Facebook ads, Instagram influencers, YouTube tutorials and Twitter lists.
  4. Email marketing – Connect first and then sell. Use lead magnets and landing pages.
  5. Online Reviews – Accept them whenever you can and always answer negative posts
  6. Collaborate with bloggers – find the industry leaders and their blogs and collaborate
  7. Offer something free – a consultation, an audit, a review and upsell in due course
  8. Use business listing sites – google local, whatswhat.ie etc. and contribute to local forums
  9. Sponsorship – there are many online groups that would love to develop an awards programme
  10. Become an authority – use webinars, Quora, speak at conferences etc.
  11. Manage your email signature – link your website, blog, social media to your signature
  12. Use hashtags – create #smarter hashtags and use on Pinterest, Flickr, Instagram etc.

The caveat here is that none of the above tips is going to get you instant sales or perhaps not even instant traffic. The objective is to build a network of people that view you / your brand as being relevant, authentic and personable, and therefore somebody they want to do business with.


There is absolutely no point in jumping into online marketing at the deep end. It could cost your business time, money and even reputation. Understand the basic concepts of what’s required and if necessary outsource the work to professionals.

I was asked at a recent www.whatswhat.ie sponsored networking event to highlight some areas that will impact online marketing this year. In response, I suggested that online advertising will grow (especially Facebook), and off page SEO will be even more important. I stressed that search is not dead especially on mobile devices and neither is email marketing. Finally, I thought aloud that real online interactivity e.g. answering live questions will become an expected way to engage.

“Thank you for reading our blog post today – Aidan & Jim.

By The Way: Can We Send You Emails During the Year?

Twice a month or so we send an email with our best content. We never bug you; we just send you our latest piece of content.

Join others who love to get free smarter marketing tips –  right here, right now.


Why Powerful Brand Marketing Is The New Normal


“Oh no – not another article on brand marketing”, I hear you say. Well here’s the thing – if your current marketing activity isn’t helping you build a better, stronger brand, you just might be wasting your precious time and money. A quick read through this post will help you review your approach to brand marketing.

Let’s start off with an example. You have just designed a wonderful home page on your website. It’s simple, user-friendly, warm and informative. So much so, the searcher (potential customer) is interested in engaging with you and clicks on your little chat link to ask you a question. So far – so good.

The message the searcher receives back, though, is a sales message and not exactly what they are looking for. The message then directs them to another contact page – to get more information / download a free infographic, oh, and they want credit card details for a trial!

If you’re like me, you’re well gone from that landing page (and probably that organisation). The point I’m making with this example is that there is always a risk of a disconnect between what people expect (because you’ve promised it to them) and what they might get when engaging with your brand.

There is a thread that connects all your customer touch-points and that thread is an emotional one. It is your organisation’s brand. Brand marketing, therefore, must be looked at from a human / emotional viewpoint, if it is to connect positively with customers or prospects.

[ctt template=”3″ link=”045oK” via=”no” ]The emotional thread that connects all your customer touchpoints is your organisation’s brand. It has to be marketed in a smart way.[/ctt]

Brand marketing can be considered powerful when a person’s experience of that brand is constantly positive. This can occur when encountering an organisation’s social media activity, their web page, a press ad, their staff or their service etc. Are you monitoring your engagements?

Of course, there is a danger that online visibility gets all the focus (and measurement), and as a consequence, some business owners (and marketers) can neglect the big picture – their brand marketing. This is not to suggest re-inventing the wheel – it’s just about being smarter about marketing your brand.

Elements of smarter marketing.

Smarter marketing is, for instance, understanding that your brand is NOT your logo, your tagline or your advertising. And that your brand IS the experience that people have while engaging with your organisation is what differentiates you from competitors.

Being smarter is also knowing that in this world of inbound marketing, the content your organisation produces is part of your brand and will remain so forever. Therefore, the voice, tone and message embedded in your content is extremely important.

For example, long after you’ve forgotten about a blog post, a reader might discover same and form an opinion based on the sentiment, structure and relevancy of your words.

Another thing about marketing smarts – your brand promise should also comprise everything that represents your organisation. What type of suppliers you have, your employees, your place of business, how you act and everything you say.

People’s perception of you is your real brand. Brands are a shortcut to help people break through a sea of choice and they mainly use shortcuts that they have had satisfaction with previously.

Finally, how you use your customer data is definitely an element of smarter marketing but it is worth remembering that as everybody has access to data, it still is your brand that remains a key differentiator.

Whatever your organisation’s size – brand marketing is important

The thing to remember about a brand, especially when building a brand from scratch, is that it has to be managed and maintained constantly. Size doesn’t matter.

The business objectives of quality, service and price need to be wrapped in a well thought out branding strategy. Where do you start out? By deciding where your organisation is going to fit in the marketplace you’ll be operating in.

The rest of your brand foundations are set when you determine what it is that makes you different and who your potential customers are. Answers to these questions will be guided by your values and principles – and then you’re good to go.

The main challenge you will then face, with regard to brand marketing, is consistency. This is even more pertinent now when social media activity is included in your marketing. Branding is inclusive of all channels that your organisation uses. Smarter branding is streamlining all your activity with a unified identity, appearance and approach to customer experience.

Use every opportunity you can to market your brand.

There are many good, and bad, examples of organisations using every occasion to promote their brand whenever, wherever they can. Mostly, it will cost something to have your identity promoted, but you should still be looking out for opportunities as/when  they arise.

Here are six examples:

  1. Giveaways – if providing a customer experience, brand it e.g. coffee mug
  2. Apparel – perhaps staff that work with you could wear branded items
  3. Graphics – everything you publish should be branded, including online channels
  4. Email – it is very easy to include branding in your email signature
  5. Presentations – slide templates / and printed materials should have your branding
  6. Packaging – Bags, boxes, vehicles etc. are opportunities to promote your brand


I really like this graphic below. I came across it in an article on digital marketing by Marketing Labs in the UK. It shows examples of offline vs online branding tactics.


Brands are now in the relationship business.

The new norm of brand marketing is being a good listener. “Nothing new in that”, you might say. Now that the much relied upon method of broadcast communication (i.e. one-way discussions) is becoming less impactful, building relationships by listening first and then having a dialogue is the way forward.

Many agencies, such as our own, O’C&K, can offer social media strategies, content management, digital expertise etc. However, these will only be powerful brand marketing activities if based on customer insights, feedback and ongoing dialogue. Another way of listening is through influencers that operate within your line of business.

So, as a small business owner, let’s assume you don’t have the time and/or experience for marketing – what traits do you look for in an individual or outsource agency?  We would suggest that the following traits are important in the business of building relationships:

– Listening Skills

– Creativity

– Customer Focused

– Curiosity

– Empathetic

– Story Teller

“A brand is not something you manage over time. It’s something you deliver in the moment”.

I came across this quote when doing research for this post. It was part of a very interesting article from the Harvard Business Review about building your brand as a relationship.

Tips for building brand recognition

As alluded to above, people are interacting with organisations in a plethora of new ways – usually facilitated by technology. Consistency is vital if people are going to remember your brand and what you can do for them. Here is a check-list for some online and offline touch-points that you could apply your branding to:


  • Website / landing pages / blog (+ images) /online maps
  • Social media (logo avatar + promos on cover pictures)
  • Email newsletter / magazines / ebooks /downloads
  • Online directories / infographics
  • Advertisements / forums /groups
  • Online agreements / contracts / invoices /receipts


  • Print advertising / catalogues / brochures / flyers / posters
  • Business stationary / packaging / labels
  • Storefront /window merchandising / interiors (directional signage)
  • Trade Shows / exhibitions stands / podiums
  • Employee clothing / car stickers
  • Sponsorship signage / promotional items / prizes


A simple recipe for brand marketing is to be unique, authentic and to consistently provide value. Of course, you need to manage your brand identity but concentrate on delivering the brand experience in real time.

Marketing in the modern age hasn’t become harder but business owners and marketers do have to be smarter about it. Brand marketing can be distracted by the many marketing specialists that have appeared in recent years, bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

If you need to use an expert, make sure you choose the one that will deliver exactly what you require to grow your business.

“Thank you for reading our blog post today” – Aidan & Jim.

By The Way: Can We Send You An Email?

Twice a month or so we send an email with our best content. We never bug you; we just send you our latest piece of content.

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Smarter Marketing is a Route to Business Growth


You had a brilliant idea for a new product / service that nobody else has thought of, so you set-up a small business. For business growth then, you decide that your marketing time is best spent on social media to spread the word (because it’s free). Does this sound familiar?

Unfortunately, many start-ups use social media as a substitute for effective marketing techniques as they tend to focus more on building the business from an operational viewpoint. As a result, they don’t have the time for consistent communications.

We believe that effective marketing is just being smarter about your marketing. If you don’t have the time or experience for smarter marketing well then, outsource it. It is an investment just like any other assets you use for business growth.

In this blog post, we’re going to look at ways that you as a business start-up or an SME owner can undertake smarter marketing which will help business growth through more effective communication.

Many small businesses don’t realise that a formal marketing strategy is the best way to build brand recognition and to grow a customer base. As a result, businesses that don’t undertake effective marketing initially will take longer to establish a customer base and therefore profitability.

3 Marketing Planning Actions for Start-Ups to Consider.

When setting-up your business it really is important that you allow for some time in planning your marketing activity.

The first action we recommend, that will only cost you your time, is determining what makes your start-up unique. The result will form a basis for your marketing message.

Our second recommendation is to focus on a specific customer base. All businesses seek revenue as a route to success and specific audiences will deliver that revenue. This requires a focus on which activities will build a sustainable customer base. Only by attracting customers and maintaining relationships can future revenue be delivered.

(Our last O’C&K blog post, alluded to the different types of brand loyalty).

The third action, we would recommend is to spy on your competitors. This does not mean copying them but it does mean finding out how you can improve on what they offer. There are many tools available to enable you to do this. RAZORSOCIAL is a website that has a wonderful array of online tools.

These three actions will deliver an outline for your marketing activity and for your business communications going forward.

Don’t forget the Business Plan

We know we said that this post will be about smarter marketing but it really would be remiss of us not to mention a business plan – especially if you are in a start-up scenario. When done properly the business plan will provide you with a real growth strategy and a guideline in how to tackle specific challenges along the way.

The plan can be as brief as you wish but just needs to be thorough (not detailed). There’s no point in copying a competitor, as every plan should be as unique as the business itself. Just remember to make a fair assessment of the business needs and plan accordingly.

[ctt template=”3″ link=”BPgER” via=”no” ]Every business plan should be as unique as the business itself. Just make a fair assessment of your needs and plan accordingly.[/ctt]

So, once the business plan is in place you should have a good idea of your mission. Your mission will reflect what you want to achieve / change or add value to, in the marketplace. It helps if your offering comes from an empathy with a specific customer base. If not, perhaps you might find a partner that brings that empathy to the table.

Your business plan will also have provided you with goals. The only caveat here, we believe, is that goals should be changeable mid-stream. If your business (and you) is set-up for continuous learning, you should be able to adapt in real time as you progress through your business cycles.

A business plan is a documented description of your organisation’s future. It doesn’t matter whether it’s written on the back of an envelope or in an online template – it is a plan. You have a starting point, an ending point (perhaps) and an outline of how you are going to get there.

Not being Smart about Obstacles for Business Growth

There are many common causes for business failure obviously, but perhaps some that you might not think about as much would be:

– Not paying for an expert’s help with areas that you are not strongest at e.g. taxation, legal and marketing can be a mistake. We would put, not being able to analyse your data, in this bracket also.

– Not understanding that a business is more than one product / service is another reason for a short business life-span. It’s not all about selling one product, it’s about understanding that a customer has a life-long value and that a sale can take a long time.

– Clinging to a wrong idea because of a fear of failure is a very common malaise amongst start-ups particularly.

– Not being ready for the challenges of being a business owner can have its own, personal life pressures as well. Also, changing from being an employee to an employer is not an easy task.

– Lack of a smarter marketing strategy can definitely be a cause of failure, especially in a changing business environment.

Here are a few old school marketing vs modern day marketing reasons why your marketing activity might not be as smart as you expect:

– Relying on PR press releases for media coverage vs promoting content across all brand touch-points

– Designing a logo with strict guidelines vs adapting to a changing design paradigm (e.g. websites)

– Campaign + message + paid media vs A/B testing, online polls, customised CTAs + remarketing

– Major advertising campaign vs continuous engagement

Tips for getting your branding right for business growth

As a start-up business, getting your brand off on the front foot initially can be the main route to revenue growth. Not doing so, however, might be a very costly mistake. Here are six ways of avoiding the latter –

  1. Choose your brand name carefully
  2. Understand how your visual identity matters
  3. Don’t confuse your brand with your logo
  4. Know your audience and think big
  5. Convey the right message to the right people
  6. Embrace failure


Of late, there appear to be many people embracing self-employment or setting up new businesses. This could be as a result of many things e.g. responding to the uplift in the Irish economy, technology removing barriers-of-entry, more female entrepreneurs or people not finding employment to be fulfilling. Whatever the rationale, turning a new business into a profitable enterprise is not an easy task.

Business growth is about being smarter about what you do – especially your marketing.

Those start-ups that are successful seem to be the ones that are driven by a personal vision – a story. The purpose or cause appears to be at the heart of everything the business stands for. Therefore smarter marketing should be an integral part of your business, ensuring consistency of message in the telling of that story.

When people believe in your brand as much as you do – it’ll be easier for them to do business with you. Make it easy for them – be smarter about your marketing.

“Thank you for reading our blog post today” – Aidan & Jim.

 Would you like us to notify you, 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 coffee, cheers. Jim – O’C&K


A good relationship is more than a value exchange – people don’t care about your business.

Marketing Relationships

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

Is relevancy the currency in a relationship-based economy?

If you have something of value that people want, they will pay you for it. A simple exchange of value. The challenge is to keep them coming back for more.You have heard of terms like, strategic marketing, content marketing, social marketing, integrated marketing, contextual marketing and so on. Can you guess what all these ‘types’ of marketing have in common? Yep, they are all intended to build a customer relationship and thereby make more money for your business.

I ascribe to the notion that in addition to delivering value, if you do so through a positive experience for people, it will build a stronger relationship. Many businesses struggle with that concept, for some reason. Maybe it’s because they get caught up in quantifying costs, which is understandable I guess, in the current unstable economic environment.

As a result, marketers are asked to focus on sales, conversions, acquisitions etc. and, in my opinion, ignore the experiential  element of the value exchange. Invariably, they get distracted by measuring shallow digital relationships such as page likes, followers, G+s etc.

Let’s look at my own simple explanation of marketing. It is communication activity used to connect people with a brand, in the hope that they will buy something. I know this is a simplistic viewpoint because it doesn’t take account of people buying at different times and for different reasons. Still, we cannot get away from the fact that marketing exists to create a connection. That connection may well be a first one, or with an existing customer but without it, there can never be a relationship.

Online relationships.

There’s nothing new here folks. We create and cultivate relationships every single day. We meet a receptionist, the cashier at the supermarket, we laugh with our family, talk with our work colleagues, we tweet, we post updates etc. Of course, they are at different levels of intensity, but they are ‘connections’ none the less.

The thing is that people need value exchanges in different ways i.e. different relationships. When we talk about online relationships, it is obvious that some of them just need information and others want to (or have to) engage with you. Here are a few examples of digital relationships:


  • Annoying – people who get you to follow them and then ‘spam’ you with their posts.
  • Contactless – people who like to use the information / knowledge you provide online, but don’t want to have a conversation.
  • Recognition – people who don’t want a one-to-one relationship but will ‘like’ or ‘follow’ you online.
  • Empowering – people who want to be the leading voice in a conversation you are having.
  • Involved – people who want to build a relationship with you because of the value you provide.


It is the last one above, the involved relationship that is the one businesses will want. Marketers should use various technology platforms to filter the types of relationship they are looking for. At the end of the day, however, you cannot beat the traditional one-to-one communication with the right person at the right time to close the deal. So if you do create a connection online, try to arrange a meeting offline to follow up on the opportunity.

Smarter relationships.

So, if marketing is all about relationships, online or offline, why do many marketers still persist with big generic marketing campaigns?  Even large corporates such as Coca-Cola are attempting to change. Instead of teaching the world to sing they are now personalising their bottles with people’s names. To be fair, customised communication is nigh on impossible to quantify so I can see the marketer’s dilemma. The argument with the CFO will be the difference between short-term and long-term results.

It is a long term play to create a pleasant brand experience that will generate positive attitudes and eventually, more paying customers. One thing is certain though, the businesses that are conscious of this changing paradigm and who adapt, will survive into the future.

Investing in technology is another argument to be had with the CFO. Technology has a large part to play in shaping a customer’s experience. Social media, mobile, big data and augmented reality will allow businesses to enhance customer experience. Needless to say some industries will be more affected than others, but all businesses will have to embrace the new reality. For instance, we already know that mobile is at the heart of how customers are interacting with your brand.

It is almost a cliché now to say that we live in a rapidly changing business environment. Being smart in this environment doesn’t mean having college degrees. In my opinion, it means being a good communicator and networker. Being smarter in these areas also means making your business more flexible and adaptable. Internal relationships are as important as external ones, if a business is to embrace smarter marketing.

In fact, having a strategy and multiple plans these days may well act as a straightjacket on your business. This is because it’s not about coming up with the right answer anymore – it’s about coming up with the right question. The right question is ‘what matters to my customer’? Thereafter businesses should be focused on providing a contextual experience that matches the customer’s expectations.

A downside of businesses adapting to the new ‘context’ of building relationships is that there is a rush to publish stuff, just to be seen to be doing it. Sometimes the need to get content ‘out there’ supersedes the quality that is required to be effective.

The worst scenario is that marketing ‘gurus’ become sales people and the relationship building element is lost. Marketing will always be about compelling content, relevant media, top class production, engaging sales follow up and the creation of outstanding retail experiences.

My point? Be smarter about your marketing.

Marketing isn’t complicated.

Despite the new marketing tools out there, the original marketing principle remains in place. Know your audience and hone your message. Technology is your friend as long as you prioritise the most important aspects for your customer and your business. As mentioned above, a business must be agile nowadays, so don’t over-plan. Keep it simple.

If marketing is about connecting with people, it has been said that there are only three ways you can communicate your marketing message: write to them, talk to them or create a visual (video, picture or graphic). Writing would involve blogs, articles, press releases etc. Talking would include podcasts, seminars or networking events. Once you have decided which method you’re more comfortable with, you then go about choosing your platform.

Tips and Timesavers.

Here are examples of marketing platforms that you may or may not use. The platform should be focused on where the people you want to engage with are, but it’s also important that you don’t spread yourself too wide. Concentrate on a few channels and become proficient in them.


  • Social Media (FB, Twitter, LinkedIn, G+), Blogging, Email Marketing, guest blogging,
  • Radio, Advertising, PR, Leaflets, Run competitions, Enter Awards, Testimonials, Branded vehicles.
  • Cold calling, Networking, Join local associations, Exhibitions, Joint ventures, Business referrals.
  • Set up a website, video marketing, Search Engine Optimisation, Localised offers.


There are many other platforms but before I finish, I would like to return to the notion of your online platform. People are going to find you, actively through online search, passively while browsing or through a digital community. If you are not visible to them through any of these online options, you will lose out to competitors that are.

You might well think that you haven’t the time or the budget to undertake smarter marketing. There is a solution to this. You always have the option of employing an external resource (us for instance) to augment your capabilities on an as-needed basis. Partnership with an external resource will allow you to focus on the fundamentals of building a great business in the knowledge that you are being smart about your marketing.

To summarise, here are some of my tips on marketing:


  • Although marketing channels can change– principles don’t.
  • Every business needs a marketing plan – including a plan to listen.
  • Marketing is about selling – good marketing cannot sell a bad product.
  • Your brand identity won’t last forever – make people feel for your brand.
  • A relationship is about being relevant – customers don’t care about your business.


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