Author Archives: Gill Hutchinson

Aardvark Marketing Consultants | Merry Christmas from the Aardvarks

Merry Christmas from the Aardvarks

Merry Christmas from the Aardvarks

Phew – what a year!

In extraordinary times we have been very grateful for the continued support from our clients, suppliers, referrers and wider business network – thank you everyone! On a personal note, I’ve loved helping people unfamiliar with online meetings to get connected and virtual meetings with colleagues, friends and neighbours have been a great way to connect and support each other through this tough year.

New clients this year have included those in Worcestershire’s IT and Tech accelerator, Betaden. We’ve been privileged once again to be recognised as UK’s Best Outsourced Marketing  Company winning a Technology Innovator award for the fifth consecutive year.

We’ve continued to support our chosen charity, the Worcester Foodbank, and I know many of you enjoyed the Business Community Carols from All Saints which supported this essential local service.

Next year will continue to bring fresh challenges for businesses of all shapes and sizes, so please get in touch for a free initial consultation if you are contemplating changing course and would appreciate our advice.

Wishing you all a safe and happy Christmas and a successful New Year 2021,

Gill and Chris Hutchinson
Aardvark Marketing Consultants | Merry Christmas from the Aardvarks

Aardvark Marketing Consultants | Invitation from Rev Rich Johnson to the Business Community carols 2020

Your invitation to the Business Community Carols 2020

Your invitation to the Business Community Carols 2020

Last year over 150 of the local business community came together to enjoy great hospitality and carols at All Saints Church in the heart of Worcester.

This year, we’d like to bring people together again, just in a different format! We’ll be live streaming from All Saints on YouTube at 6pm on Tuesday, 15th December. So we warmly invite you to join us this year from the comfort of your own home or office, crack open some mulled wine or prosecco and sing along to traditional carols (the words will be on the screen!). There will be some light hearted fun with sketches provided by local businesses, a Christmas auction and the winner of the Christmas Quiz will be announced. Here’s a taster from Rev Rich Johnson:

Aardvark Marketing Consultants | Invitation from Rev Rich Johnson to the Business Community carols 2020

 

 

 

 

We’ll need to provide you with a specific YouTube link a few days before the 15th so if you’d like to join us email mark.smith5@lloydsbanking.com and we’ll make sure your place is booked!

You’ll be able to download the order of service from the All Saints website soon.

Mindful of the growing needs of those less fortunate in our community at a really important time of year, any donations from this event will be supporting the  Worcester Foodbank.

We’d like to spread a message of hope and happiness at this festive time of year, so please feel welcome to share this message within your organisation and with your wider business connections.

 

Aardvark Marketing Consultants | Steatite joins BetaDen as industry partner

Steatite joins BetaDen as an industry expertise partner

Steatite joins BetaDen as an industry expertise partner

Steatite is delighted to announce that it is to work with Worcestershire’s commercial technology accelerator, BetaDen as an industry expertise partner for its fourth cohort of business.

BetaDen is based at Malvern Hills Science Park, midway between Steatite’s computing and communications facilities. Cohort 4 is a nine-month accelerator programme for early stage technology businesses. Successful participants will have access to a programme of support worth around £50,000 including 30 hours of access to Worcestershire’s 5G test bed. The application process is now open and the programme will begin in March 2021.

As a global provider of cutting-edge bespoke technology within the computing, communications and power sectors, Steatite has invaluable expertise and will be providing mentoring support to the cohort 4 members for the duration of the programme. The company is particularly looking forward to helping drive forward emerging technology with a particular focus on edge AI systems, remote monitoring and sensing, image processing, robotic automation, and self-organising sensor networks.

Matthew Richards, Managing Director of Steatite comments: “BetaDen has supported 22 early stage technology businesses to date, helping to develop successful routes to market, creating new jobs, and securing hundreds of thousands of pounds of investment. As BetaDen enters its 3rd year, we are proud to be offering our support and experience as an industry expertise partner for the upcoming cohort 4 programme. The objectives of BetaDen, Steatite, and no doubt the successful cohort 4 participants are aligned. New tech ideas today are tomorrow’s SMEs.”

Linda Smith, founder and CEO of BetaDen, said: “In Steatite, we’re delighted to welcome an industry partner who can offer cohort members the benefit of their unrivalled experience and connections in the field of high-value add manufacturing, in particular computing, secure communication systems and antennas. With our focus on 5G, Industry 4.0, Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things and Robotics for applications across a range of industrial supply chain markets for Cohort 4, Steatite’s expertise will be invaluable to Cohort members looking to develop their technologies in these areas.”

Aardvark Marketing Consultants | Betaden Cohort 4 applications now open!

Companies interested in applying for BetaDen cohort 4 can visit www.beta-den.co/apply-now/ and most submit their application by Friday 18 December. Short-listed applicants will be invited to interview in early 2021, with successful applicants joining BetaDen in March 2021.

Gill Hutchinson of Aardvark Marketing is the Technology Marketing mentor at Betaden

Aardvark Marketing Consultants | Betaden Cohort 4 applications now open!

Applications for BetaDen Cohort 4 are now open

Applications for BetaDen Cohort 4 are now open

BetaDen – Worcestershire’s commercial technology accelerator based at Malvern Hills Science Park – has opened applications for its fourth cohort of businesses.

Early-stage technology businesses joining the nine-month accelerator in March 2021 will have access to a refreshed programme of support worth around £50,000, including 30 hours access to Worcestershire’s 5G test bed and guidance from industry partner Steatite, part of Solid State Plc. Cohort 4 members will also benefit from a £10,000 proof of concept grant, mentoring from BetaDen’s handpicked team of commercial and technology experts and office space in Malvern Hills Science Park site.

Linda Smith, founder and CEO of BetaDen, said: “BetaDen recently celebrated its second birthday and, to date, has supported 22 early stage technology businesses, helping them develop successful routes to market, secure hundreds of thousands of pounds of investment and create news jobs in that time. “Building on that experience, we have honed the programme for Cohort 4, focusing even more on our unique access to Worcestershire’s 5G test bed and making ever greater use of our industry networks. In Steatite, we’re delighted to welcome an industry partner who can offer cohort members the benefit of their unrivalled experience and connections in the field of high-value add manufacturing, in particular computing, secure communication systems and antennas. Its expertise will be invaluable to Cohort members looking to develop their technologies in these areas.”

BetaDen is unique in the technology sector, both in terms of the value of the support package it provides and the fact that cohort businesses do not need to surrender equity in their businesses to access this accelerator. As well as providing support to early-stage businesses, it also creates opportunities for established businesses to develop technology-based ideas within the accelerator, effectively supporting in-house R&D activity.

Linda continued: “As we open applications for cohort 4, we are focusing our attention on companies developing new and emerging technologies in key areas: 5G, Industry 4.0, Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things and Robotics for emerging applications across a wide range of industrial supply chain market places.”

 

Aardvark Marketing Consultants | Betaden Cohort 4 applications now open!

 

 

 

 

Companies interested in applying can visit www.beta-den.com for further information and must submit their application by Friday 18 December. Short-listed applicants will be invited to interview with our advisory board in early 2021, with successful applicants joining Cohort 4 in March 2021.”

Gill Hutchinson of Aardvark Marketing is the Technology Marketing mentor at Betaden

Aardvark Marketing Consultants |

Worcestershire grant to support green economy

Worcestershire grant to support green economy

Aardvark Marketing Consultants | Worcestershire grant to support green economy

 

 

Could your business diversify, innovate or develop a new low carbon product or service?

With the Covid-19 pandemic we are seeing a call to reset the new ‘normal’ to be greener and embrace a low carbon future.  This will require all of us to change our habits, what and how we buy, how we use energy, making more informed decisions along with many other aspects of our lives as well.  This change creates an opportunity for existing and new small and medium sized (SME) businesses to look at diversifying or building their portfolio of products and services to capture part of this market opportunity.

To support SME businesses in Worcestershire the County Council are running 2 free assessment programs which could lead onto 40% contribution capital grant of up to £100,000.  These 2 programs are: Renewable energy generation and Low Carbon Innovation projects with funding coming through the European Regional Development Fund.

The Low Carbon Innovation grant provides 12 hours of tailored advice from either Simon Maycock or Ewan Bent to your business.  Simon and Ewan are experienced business leaders coming from the energy and low carbon market.  The guidance and advice they have and are providing has been invaluable to business owners in helping them shape their ideas and moving them significantly closer to commercialising their concepts.  So much so that many of the businesses helped have requested continued support.

To find out more about the grant, the support programme and how to apply, read more here

In our 5 steps to business survival guide, we refer to innovation and strengthening your competitive advantage. This support program may be the perfect vehicle to help you develop a new product or service.

Aardvark Marketing Consultants | Worcestershire grant to support green economy - ERDF logo

Aardvark Marketing Consultants | Technology Innovator awards 2020- Best Outsourced Marketing

Aardvark outsourced marketing service win Technology Innovator award for 5th consecutive year

Aardvark outsourced marketing service win Technology Innovator award for 5th consecutive year

Aardvark Marketing Consultants | Technology Innovator awards 2020- Best Outsourced MarketingThe team at Aardvark Marketing have again been recognised for their contribution to the UK marketing industry as outsourced marketing experts. The 2020 Technology Innovator Awards returns for its fifth year, allowing Corporate Vision magazine to reward those talented and dedicated individuals and firms working in this demanding sector for their innovation and excellence in their business practice, as well as their outstanding overall performance.

With all the current economic uncertainty, outsourcing your marketing can be a smart business move” says Gill Hutchinson, Director at Aardvark Marketing. “Our skilled marketers provide a highly effective service for a fraction of the hassle and cost of hiring employees and with maximum flexibility for your business. We have been able to support our customers through the ups and downs of their economic activity in this very difficult year, keeping their customers informed and making sure they are ready to take full advantage of opportunities that arise as we get closer to business as usual.”

According to TechTarget, companies choose outsourcing to lower costs, improve efficiencies and gain speed. Because the third-party provider focuses on that particular task, it is able to do it better, faster and cheaper than the hiring company could. This means they can focus their resources more specifically on their own core competencies, thereby helping them gain competitive advantages in the market. Three other reasons for outsourcing are because they’re unable to hire in-house employees with the specialised skills and experience needed or this allows them to shift regulatory requirements to the third-part provider or to enable them to innovate their systems and processes.

Laura Hunter, awards manager at Corporate Vision says “Our 2020 Technology Innovator Awards are based solely on merit, rather than the number of votes received. We reward businesses based on their excellence in their industry, the quality of their products and their dedication to service.”

If you’d like to know more about how outsourced marketing could provide your business with the competitive advantage it needs, please contact Gill Hutchinson at Aardvark Marketing on 0121 222 5743 or email us here.

Aardvark Marketing Consultants | detail of the Red Bull signed shirt

Win a signed Red Bull Formula One shirt!

Win a signed Red Bull Formula One shirt!

The Worcester Foodbank needs you

Foodbanks across the UK have experienced a huge growth in demand. They provide essential support  to families in serious need of practical help. Foodbanks support families with more than just food parcels and can signpost to a wide variety of support services including Mental Health.

Gill and Chris at Aardvark Marketing are supporting Mark Smith and the Commercial Team at Lloyds Bank, raising money for the local Worcester Foodbank. We’re asking clients and professional contacts to join in a bit of fun  –  a prize draw to win a fabulous signed Red Bull Formula One shirt. This shirt was kindly donated by County Building Supplies and has been signed by drivers Max Verstappen and Pierre Gasly, Team Principle Christian Horner and Chief Technical Officer Adrian Newey.

Aardvark Marketing Consultants | Image of a Signed Red Bull Formula One shirt

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whilst the prize draw is free to enter, it’s  our intention to team up with our charitable trust, Lloyds Bank Foundation, who we will ask to double any donations that entrants make to the Worcester Foodbank.

To enter and to make a voluntary donation (suggested amount of at least £10), please:-

  1. Donate to Worcester Foodbank here
  2. Kindly send a copy of your receipt  to info@aardvarkmarketing.co.uk  (only this receipt will enable Lloyds Bank Foundation to double your donation).

Aardvark Marketing Consultants | detail of the Red Bull signed shirt

 

 

 

 

 

 

The closing date for the draw is 5pm on Friday 31st July and we’ll be asking Gary Woodman, Chief Executive of the Worcester Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) to draw the winning entry.  With their permission, we’ll publish the winner’s name and their company on LinkedIn by Tuesday 4th August.

You’ve got to be in it to win it!

Thanks in advance for your generous support for this essential charity.

Aardvark Marekting Consultants | The road to recovery

The road to recovery

The road to recovery

How hackneyed the term ‘new normal’ sounds. Yet it is ill-defined.  The economic picture has never been so mixed. Some sectors in healthcare or food & drink are booming, our hospitality industry is in lockdown / survival mode and other business sectors are somewhere on the spectrum in between. Many do not yet have a confirmed date for re-opening, so the ‘new normal’ isn’t yet established. As we emerge from hibernation, most of us are unsure about the future.

If your business is getting started again, there will be many things to think about. Cashflow, grants or loans, staffing and furlough, risk assessments, signage etc may be top of the list. Successful marketing is the only activity that will bring in vital cash. Is it on your to do list?

Marketing was probably the first thing you cut when lockdown started. Those businesses that were able to retrench and reduce marketing activity to keep a presence in their marketplace, will now be better placed to take advantage of the opening process. If you gave up marketing activity altogether, you may well be behind those competitors that had the resources to keep going. Whatever your history, now is the time to review future marketing.

The challenge is balance. How to achieve balance between the need to bring in new business without breaking the bank in the process?  What environmental changes have happened over the lockdown period? Will the increased use of technology make a difference? Will there be legal challenges in terms of keeping everyone Covid-secure? Are your existing or new consumers going to be nervous about spending on your products or services at the same level as they did before?  Lack of business confidence and tight cashflow in your customers’ business could leave your order book looking thinner for several more months. Or it may be that demand is going to be exceptionally high and this may present challenges of shortages of stock or capacity.

Whatever your precise situation, good marketing and clear communication will help you make the most of any opportunities that present themselves. Measuring results quickly will be key to good decision-making. Priorities and the balance of activities may need to change but will only be effective if you’ve already got good communication channels in place. Whilst hoping for a smooth road to recovery, my guess is that there will be bumps ahead for many businesses.

The marketing specialists at Aardvark have a limited number of free hourly sessions when we can discuss your plans and ‘sense check’ them with you. If you would like to take advantage of one of these review sessions and get ahead of your competitors,  call Gill on 07790 341 239 to get your date in the diary.

Not opening just yet? Read our 5 marketing actions for business survival here

Aardvark Marketing Consultants | Gill Hutchinson from Aardvark Marketing appointed BetaDen Mentor

Gill Hutchinson from Aardvark Marketing appointed BetaDen Mentor

Gill Hutchinson from Aardvark Marketing appointed BetaDen Mentor

The third cohort are being welcomed into Worcestershire’s specialist Technology business accelerator, BetaDen, based at the Malvern Hills Science Park. Amongst the new mentors appointed will be Gill Hutchinson of Aardvark Marketing. Her brief is to provide support as a Technology Marketing specialist.

Aardvark Marketing | Gill Hutchinson from Aardvark Marketing appointed BetaDen Mentor

 

 

 

 

 

Gill has wide experience of working with tech start-ups having recently clocked up 3 years coaching in the Nat West Entrepreneur Accelerator in Birmingham. In Worcestershire she has coached and mentored entrepreneurs on the Women2Web and the Worcestershire Accelerator programs and  many businesses through the Manufacturing Growth and Growth Accelerator schemes.

“I’m very much looking forward to working with these exciting new entrepreneurs, which are a mixture of small technology and start-up businesses” says Gill.  “The products and services are all developing exciting new uses of Artificial Intelligence and innovative software applications, which mean a variety of marketing challenges to be overcome for them to be successful”.

BetaDen applicants must get through a rigorous selection process to attain a place on the 9-month program, with over 100 entries made for this intake of just 8 coveted places. Linda Smith, Founder and CEO of BetaDen said: “We were thrilled with the quality and aspiration of applicants that applied to join our third Cohort program. It was clear when sifting through the applications that Worcestershire’s network is fast becoming a hotbed for emerging technology talent.”

Aardvark Marketing Consultants Ltd | Gill Hutchinson from Aardvark Marketing appointed BetaDen Mentor

 

 

 

 

The arrangements at BetaDen have had to undergo some alterations to make the site Covid-19 secure, however the start of the program hasn’t been delayed and both businesses and mentors are keen to get started.

If your business could benefit from specialist marketing support call Aardvark Marketing on 0121 222 5743 or contact us .

Members of the Diamond Branded team

Why are promotional products vital to any marketing strategy?

Why are promotional products vital to any marketing strategy?

Promotional Products are seen to be a little like an old marketing tool. Used to get sales and clients by leaving gifts or to be handed out at trade shows. Promotional products are still a vital strategic  promotional marketing tool  to be used in a marketing campaign. In the age of the internet and technology, standing out above your competitors is even more important than before. Anyone can google a company and order from the first company on the list, but if you want good customer retention then an effective promotional product sat on the desk will do more than just a google search.

What do Diamond Branded do?

Diamond Branded are a promotional products company who help with effective strategic promotional marketing. They pride themselves on their customer service and care to ensure their clients are getting high quality promotional products that are used to help increase brand awareness and customer loyalty. They have over a hundred suppliers they can use and are not tied to any particular product partner. Ensuring you get the best price and the best quality.

How can promotional products help you stay fresh in your client’s mind and make more sales?

Clients are not always ready to buy, it could be the new budget has been signed off, or just down to timing. Sometimes it is just getting in front of the right people at the right time. You can’t always plan when that time might be but you can remind them of your business passively through promotional products. The Bamboo 5W Wireless Charger is a great example of a promotional product that sits on your clients desk all day everyday, and it is made from eco friendly materials. Bamboo grows quickly and takes up less space than standard wood from trees so it has a lower footprint.

How can SMEs benefit from eco friendly promotional products?

Promotional products do not need to be expensive, when using promotional products it is always important to understand your audience and cater your promotional products to them. With sustainability being an important corporate message to a lot of consumers nowadays, it is also important to consider using eco friendly alternatives as a staple of your promotional products marketing strategy. Eco friendly promotional products are more important to our world than just the brand’s image. It is thinking about the Earth and how we need to get carbon emissions down.

How can you tell if a promotional product is eco friendly?

There are a lot of products and services that claim to be eco friendly, and promotional products are no exception. It is important to ask the right questions when looking into eco friendly promotional product alternatives. You need to find out why a particular product is better for the environment. Such as if the promotional product is made from recycled materials, you need to establish what materials are used, and can they be recycled again. If you have a wooden promotional product, you want to make sure it is sustainably harvested, you may even want it to be FSC wood.

 

Our guest blog comes form Diamond Branded, a promotional products company based in Bromsgrove. Their small personable team offer a friendly service with free artwork and design. Diamond  has built a loyal and tight customer base by offering good quality, affordable promotional items, and very competitive pricing.