July 24, 2009

It is often said that it’s not what you know, but who you know that counts. The mathematics support this argument, but the dilemma is how to successfully leverage these contacts, avoiding appearing sleazy and manipulative.

A lesson to be learnt from the best connected individuals is that little of their networking activity is carried out with any specific business goal in mind. They concentrate their effort on people they most like and who seem to like them right back. But connecting is not enough; it is vital to determine how well your contacts understand what you do and then how inspired they might be to provide a referral.

The chances of receiving a referral are greatly increased if they understand your business, understand exactly how you help people and solve their problems and have a high degree of trust. Seasoned networkers mostly make introductions on the basis that everyone gains real benefits, including the prospect of receiving referrals in return.

And while networking is primarily a face-to-face activity, on-line tools can greatly accelerate the process. LinkedIn is probably the best tailored for this purpose. Expert networkers maintain that successful networking should be genuinely selfless and altruistic, always giving referrals without remembering your simple favour, and receiving them without forgetting their kind gift. And if you wish to know how they prepare, join our “Network for Success” seminar, which we run regularly.


PR for SME’s

July 17, 2009

There is one PR truth that SME’s seem to have casually ignored for years.  They believe that PR is simply media relations. 

Today, this isn’t true.  There are fewer journalists, fewer newspapers and fewer magazines.

More and more influence is being created directly with audiences through online discussions.  And for small and mid-sized businesses, this can have a huge commercial impact as PR is now more tangible, easier to understand and can create faster returns.

How can you achieve this?

• Create clear, short-term plans that include how you’ll assess ROI

• Use an online network to recruit ambassadors

• Be pragmatic and accessible

• Take small steps and measure returns regularly

• Itegrate PR with your marketing.

This approach will help you both measure results and win business!

Keep on Blogging

July 13, 2009

Research shows that 62% of us set up a blog to increase traffic to our websites and having done so, 70 per cent of us can’t find time to keep our blogs up to date!

The research went into more detail and found that only 29% are managing to populate their blogs between one and three times each month, with the remaining 71% admitting that their blogs have fallen by the wayside altogether.

So what can be done?

First, share the load. Get everyone within your organisation contributing towards content. You’ll get lots of tasty information and it will give readers a real flavour of your company culture.

Next, allocate time in your diary. Once you have the content, writing an entry takes just 15-30 minutes or so, be disciplined!

Finally, create a blogging calendar. Think about the coming months and identify interesting things you have going on – turn this into a brief schedule, it will keep you inspired and save time.

There you have it, three simple ways to keep your blog up to date and working hard for you.

Checks and Balances

July 2, 2009

In most walks of business life there’s a well-developed process of improvement and continual development, yet somehow this seems to be avoided by most of the marketing industry……

Medicine and medical best practice could not function without their in-built permanency of testing.  Likewise military activity revolves around weapons that are in continuous stages of development.  And mechanical engineering; power generation and the construction industry embrace measurement and performance.

Yet for all these standard procedures and processes from elsewhere, the marketing business still seems to find it difficult to operate this way.

The word that best describes the operation of the marketing business is perhaps scepticism, with phrases to avoid accountability such as:

“Marketing is just too complicated to measure” or “So much is outside our control”. Surely the only time these statements are true is if you have no desire to measure your marketing and for whatever reason want to avoid attributing results to your inputs.

Fifty years ago David Ogilvy, that great advertising man often called the father of advertising, talked about the necessity for advertising to embrace testing and development.  He would be appalled that after so many years those ethics still remain unknown to so many practitioners.

Marketing must embrace the continual improvement agenda.  Campaigns and plans must measure variations in input and not just a single fixed activity programme.  With fixed input you can’t develop let alone measure and attribute input to output.  Check out how much variation your agency built in to the latest plan.  If the answer is “Not much, if any” perhaps now is the time to review your processes and update them with checks and balances to ensure that your campaigns are more effective and can be developed for the future.