Tag Archives: Aardvark Marketing Consultants Ltd

Aardvark Marketing Consultants Ltd | Merry Christmas from the Aardvarks!

Merry Christmas from the Aardvark Burrow

Merry Christmas from the Aardvark Burrow

We would like to wish all our customers, suppliers, referrers and business friends a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous and successful New Year 2020!

2019 has been another memorable year for Aardvark Marketing. We’ve started working with some fantastic new customers as well as celebrating some long-standing partnerships. We’ve been winners of more Technology Innovator awards for Social Media and Outsourced Marketing Solutions in June, as well as winning an inaugural Content Creator award in July. We won a Midlands Enterprise award in September and there is a further award in the pipeline for the end of the year.

Aardvark Marketing Consultants | Aardvark Marketing win prestigious Technology Innovator award for 4th year running

 

 

 

 

 

We continue to support ambitious business owners with The Manufacturing Growth Programme and through the Worcestershire Accelerator programme, which ended in June but which we hope to see back in 2020.

Many of you have also followed and generously supported Mark Smith of Lloyds Bank with his campaign to raise over £26,000 for Mental Health UK. A big thank you to anyone who contributed by coming along to a seminar, attended the fundraising events or just liked and shared our social media posts.  We are delighted that Mark hit his fundraising target. Marks Mental Health Marathon has contributed to many companies making real changes in the workplace and, on a personal note, I would like to thank all those corporate sponsors who agreed to an interview with me – I enjoyed every one!  The final event of the year was a candlelit Carol service at All Saints in Worcester, and it was lovely to talk to so many supporters and to support the causes of Mental Health and the Worcester Foodbank.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aardvark Marketing Consultants Ltd | Proud to sponsor Marks Mental Health Marathon

 

 

Merry Christmas!

Gill and Chris

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Aardvark Marketing Consultants | Meet co-sponsor of Marks Mental Health Marathon Rev Dr Rich Johnson

How can I serve? Meet co-sponsor Rev Dr Rich Johnson

How can I serve? Meet co-sponsor Rev Dr Rich Johnson

The Rev Dr Rich Johnson talks about modern ministry and mental health

Aardvark Marketing Consultants | Meet co-sponsor of Marks Mental Health Marathon Rev Dr Rich Johnson

 

 

 

 

 

The parish of All Saints at the heart of Worcester city is one of the oldest in the city.  It now uses two buildings. St Helen’s, a 15th century church building occupies a site used for worship since Roman times. You may have seen the scaffold wrap artwork on the High Street earlier this year, part of a Heritage Lottery Fund project that enabled much needed stonework repairs to be made. All Saints on Deansway is the historic parish church built into the city walls in Norman times.  Worship services are now held in both buildings. Although the buildings are steeped in history, there is absolutely nothing old fashioned about this very modern pastoral team with it’s drive and enthusiasm for creating social support in the community.

The church is now one of the largest in the Diocese of Worcester, not only with many adults, but welcoming students, teenagers and children into the community. After the second world war many of the houses in the parish were demolished, scattering the previous community of dockers and porcelain workers and their families, so the congregation fell. Today the church, with its own distinctive style of less formal, contemporary worship, has gone from strength to strength.

Rich brings his own leadership style to his role, heading up a team of “brilliant” and committed individuals, whether they are volunteers or staff. He describes his methods as “equip, envision, empower and release”.  He’s currently supporting Mark Smith of Lloyds Bank to give back to the business community as well as raising money for Mental Health UK. Mark has set himself a target for fundraising but also important to him is that business leaders and managers in his area know more about Mental Health issues and have some clear guidance to follow if necessary. It was at one of these seminars for business that I met Rich, who had come to both learn more from the speakers and to support Mark and his project. The seminars address practical steps such as how to spot potential problems in their own teams and how to provide the right supportive working environment to minimise the impact on that individual, their colleagues and their families.

By supporting others, All Saints seeks to serve the Worcester community in so many ways. A key question Rich asks when evaluating how the church is developing is “If we shut down overnight, would the city miss us?”.   Increasingly, the answer is yes.  Rich and his team work with people who have the vision, commitment and passion to succeed and help them with practical support to get projects started and developed. In this way the church set up and now runs the Worcester Foodbank, Worcester Street Pastors, supports homeless people, those fostering and adopting, schools, colleges and individual students with mental health resilience courses. The Foodbank even provides necessities such as school shoes and toys for birthdays and at Christmas to children whose families would otherwise genuinely struggle to get by.

The list of organisations where Rich and his team are known and respected is large and includes the County Council, local schools, Worcester Community Trust, Worcester BID, local business leaders, local MP’s, local police etc. By building networks across these organisations, the church is collaborating with others to help achieve something that is both worthwhile and makes a real difference to local people. Rich sees his role as a trusted partner not only to listen and participate but also to challenge. He talks to me about Desmond Tutu, who said “There comes a point where we need to stop just pulling people out of the river. We need to go upstream and find out why they’re falling in.” Because the Church is uniquely placed to talk with all these organisations, it’s able to bring its in-depth, local knowledge of the causes of the issues that adversely affect individuals and their families in modern life. This understanding allows them to ask the ‘awkward’ or ‘brave’ questions of politicians and civic authorities so that their decision making is better informed.

For so many people in need of social support networks, poor mental health is a common denominator. Rich works hard to listen and understand why so many people, not just our students, teenagers and young people are struggling. It’s clear that social media and the pressure of growing up in the public eye has much to answer for. Rich talks about digital addiction, hyperconsumerism, eating disorders, self-harming issues, anxiety and depression and believes it’s this central issue of defining our identity and who we are for ourselves that is important. We almost need to learn to define ourselves and our worth in society without constant reference to how we appear to others online. He plays a very active role in listening to youngsters, works closely with local schools, colleges and universities and some of his team actively provide support and counselling to help youngsters understand themselves better and be comfortable with their identity.

Striking the right balance between being helpful and being a prophetic challenge can be difficult and it’s possible for the public, outside the church, to dismiss the role of a church because it is often perceived as judgemental or interfering. Rich believes that to help someone you need to be there in the same room and to accept that no-one person or organisation will have all the answers. Their role is to offer some solutions, invite people in and become a part of the answer. For example, by listening to many young people who come to an individual drop in, he can give anonymous feedback to a school leader about issues that could be part of their Personal, Health and Social education (PSE) syllabus. Young people are therefore getting a chance to explore and learn about something that has affected or will affect them or their peers, so they are better prepared for the future. The team also talk to parents, for example by providing workshops helping parents understand how to help their kids navigate the digital world safely or attending a parents evening at a school. It’s exploring and implementing these very practical steps that have transformed this ministry.

“The first step to helping is to be empathetic” says Rich.” Everyone has experienced times when they are stressed, anxious or are feeling low in themselves. It’s when people are put in situations, often beyond their control, that cause a change from occasional worries into something more chronic and serious that they need more specialised help”. Many in society have lost the traditional family support networks, so the Church’s pastoral team need to be listening and thinking, ‘what can we do differently that will improve matters?’ because we are all in this together. By doing this humbly and consistently, over time, we build the credibility and permission to get involved.

This team certainly make a difference to Worcester and their work never stands still. After discussion with Mark Smith, he will be extending a very warm welcome to the business community with a special Carol service on 10th December at 6 o clock in All Saints – we hope to see many readers of this blog join us then.

Aardvark Marketing Consultants | Marks Mental health Marathon - Rev Dr Rich Johnson talks about the mental health seminar

 

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Aardvark Marketing Consultants | Why Digital Marketing never gets off the MD’s To Do list - expertise

Aardvark Marketing experts win UK’s Outstanding Marketing Award in Global TMT Awards 2018

Aardvark Marketing experts win UK’s Outstanding Marketing Award in Global TMT Awards 2018

Aardvark Marketing was created to help SMEs achieve better results from their marketing activities. The firm has just won the 2018 TMT Global Excellence Awards as the ‘Most Outstanding Marketing Consultancy in the UK’. This success follows hard on the heels of CV Technology Magazine 2018 awards for social media & content marketing and marketing excellence making 2018 the company’s most successful year to date.

Gill Hutchinson, Director at Aardvark Marketing says “At Aardvark we firmly believe good marketing starts in the boardroom, adding value to a company’s bottom line. It’s the reason we emphasise strategy as well as tactics to our customers.” In this digital age, some businesses have learned to adapt to the ever-changing dynamics of their industries, capitalising on the advantages that technology, social media and online advertising offers. Others, especially SMEs, need a helping hand to navigate the potential pitfalls and perks of the often-challenging marketing arena. Gill continues, “Aardvark’s leadership team have both UK and International marketing backgrounds in brand marketing and trade marketing, and we get great results for our customers by applying the proven principles of good marketing used in big business into smaller organisations. We’re sticklers for setting the right strategic direction, planning, measurement and review. This means our customers achieve and sustain great results.”

Aardvark approach their services from a perspective that, whilst perhaps unusual, makes sense for their market. Namely, they see themselves as providers of outsourced marketing services. Gill explains, “It is much more cost-effective than a full-time hire for our customers.” Aardvark provide expert services when their client’s need it most, without the commitment and costs of an in-house team.

Aardvark Marketing Consultants Ltd | Most Outsatdning Marketing Consultancy 2018Laura Brookes, editor at TMT Magazine said “TMT Magazine wanted to take the time to acknowledge those companies and individuals who went above and beyond in their respected industries. As such, the 2018 Global TMT Awards have been designed to celebrate the visionaries, whose innovative ways have helped them climb the ladder of outstanding success. Each winner is chosen based solely upon merit and merit alone. Once we closed the voting form, our in-house research team were set to work, leaving no stone unturned as they analyse the past 12-months of each nominee to ensure our prestigious accolades only go to the most deserving.”

For a free and confidential consultation about how Aardvark Marketing can help your business call us today on 0121 222 5743 or contact us here

You can read the full TMT article about Aardvark Marketing here.

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Aardvark Marketing Consultants Ltd | If a picture paints a thousand words

If a picture paints a thousand words …

If a picture paints a thousand words …

Aardvark Marketing Consultants | If a picture paints 1,000 words

… then these photos will save you reading to the end!

On the left is a photo I took with my iPhone.  On the right is the same subject photographed by Bjorn Ewers, a professional photographer based in Berlin.  I think my photo is OK, but his definitely has more ‘wow’.

This week I have been in Germany with Bjorn at three photo shoots for one of my clients.  Monday and Wednesday were spent in their factories and Thursday in the studio.  It’s an expensive exercise for the client, a great deal of consideration was given to the decision and a lot of time has been spent planning the three days with the factories and the photographer to get the best possible result.

The previous week my daughter who is a musician had some photos taken at a local studio for her website and the photographer produced some great images that will really enhance the web pages.

I have already seen some of the unedited shots from this week and they are fantastic.  A good photographer can look at something we see every day and know that with the right lighting, angles and zoom it can look really special.

Great pictures have the power to grab our attention, engage us, make us curious and in a world where there is so much fighting for the attention of the people we want to reach this is a vitally important tool.

It can be tempting to buy a low-cost library image or take out your smartphone and snap away, and there are occasions when this is completely justified.  But when you need an image to stand out from the crowd, communicate more powerfully than words alone can manage, and stand the test of time, it’s well worth talking to a professional.

Chris

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Aardvark Marketing Consultants | Tipe for a strong pricing strategy

Top tips for a strong pricing strategy

Top tips for a strong pricing strategy

Pricing strategy is undoubtedly the Cinderella of the marketing toolkit. Whilst managers get excited about developing new products or services, and everyone in the company has a view about promotions and new advertising, no-one but your accountant will get out of bed to talk about pricing.

Yet it is an integral part of how your brand, products and services are perceived by customers. We judge a product by its price tag without conscious thought, as though it’s been hard wired into our brains at birth. Take the example of supermarket own label products, where a 3-product approach introduced initially by Tesco has been much imitated by the rest. A Tesco Finest biscuit is the one you’d put in front of your mother in law for Sunday tea, the everyday one is OK for weekday consumption but for feeding hungry hordes of kids after school we’re quite happy to reach for the Value packet. The look, feel and taste of the product matches our expectations because the price tells us everything we need to know about the quality.
As many businesses are being hit by the weakness of the pound, it’s tempting to ask customers to pay more for the same, or even, as in the example of Toblerone and many other of our favourite chocolate brands, pay more for a smaller size product. Because pricing has strategic implications for our business, we need to give this some thought and proceed with care when changing prices.

So, what are the options? Firstly, there isn’t always a direct correlation between price and cost. In the luxury world of designer fashion, the price of producing the goods bears no resemblance to the price ticket. In fact, what makes luxury brands so desirable is the scarcity of supply and their exclusive nature. Secondly, at the other end of the scale, you can opt out of considering price at all and use a simple cost plus margin formula which used to the staple model for a sensible business plan. You can tweak this slightly by looking at critical price points for specific routes to market, for example, suppliers to Poundland produce different sizes to those sold through other retailers.

If you’re not in either of those camps, you need to look at what your competition is doing because price and perceived value are so closely linked in the mind of the customer. If a customer cannot perceive any difference between your product and a competitor they will revert to buying solely on price. Your product is a commodity in their eyes. Sadly, this often leads to repeated discounting and sometimes and a ’race to the bottom’ between companies desperate to keep their market share. No one wins. So discounting should be a last resort and used sparingly. Instead, spend some time thinking about your competitive advantage(s) in your market. Focus on offering better value for customers and differentiating your products and services. Customers will pay more if they believe the difference is worth it, so concentrate on what really makes you different. Do your reality checks by asking your customers and prospective customers what they think. Are there ways you can add value for a customer that don’t incur additional cost for your business? Are there ways that you can cut costs that wouldn’t have an impact on the customer because these features are not valued. Are there more efficient ways to deliver your products or quicker and easier ways to purchase? Is it good after sales care that matters or a longer guarantee?

Whatever you decide, changing your pricing should be infrequent if you wish to maintain the image and prestige of your brand name. Brands and companies that are consistent and transparent in their marketing strategies are trusted. Those that chop and change quickly lose that trust. It could be worthwhile in the long run taking a small hit to your margins when your costs go up if your competition are constantly changing their approach and thus confusing their customers. Dare I mention that if you’re going to market your brand as ‘strong and stable’, changing your approach will damage your reputation, perhaps irretrievably.

If you’d like a helping hand to get your prices right, contact us on 0121 222 5743

Gill

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Aardvark Marketing Consultants | free business support for Worcestershire businesses

Aardvark Marketing expand their PR services

Aardvark Marketing expand their PR services

Aardvark Marketing Consultants Ltd, voted the Best SME Marketing Company in the West Midlands 2016, are expanding their offering to include PR support as a stand-alone service. Over the past 5 years, Aardvark Marketing have delivered successful PR campaigns on behalf of 44 organisations including companies, charities, CIC’s and LLP’s and are now offering more companies the benefit of a professional and affordable PR service.
Gill Hutchinson, Co-Director of Aardvark Marketing, understands the value of promoting a company using PR, blogging and social media. “For most business owners, getting a great return on marketing investment is a key concern. On a limited budget, implementing an effective PR strategy can deliver a powerful return. However, having in-house expertise to find the time to research and write good stories and reach the right journalists in your industry, sector or geographical target area is a challenge. With our new monthly service, we take care of all these issues for you”.
Aardvark Marketing continue to invest in new technology to help their clients stay ahead of their competitors. The addition of an advanced database with access to 30,000 journalists makes it faster and much more efficient to reach the right publications and contacts who are interested their success stories.
PR stories can be used to greater effect by co-ordinating PR with blogging and social media activity. Aardvark are experienced in helping companies leverage their good news stories as part of their overall marketing strategy.
To celebrate the launch of Aardvark PR, we are offering 7 months PR support for the price of 6 until 30th January 2017. Call 0121 222 5743 or email us  for a free and confidential initial discussion.

Greater Birmingham Chambers news – marketing firm expands offering

Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber news – Aardvark Marketing Expand PR

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Aardvark Marketing | Best SME Marekting Company in the West Midlands

We’ve been voted Best SME Marketing Company in the West Midlands!

We’ve been voted Best SME Marketing Company in the West Midlands!

As winners of the Corporate Vision Magazines Technology Innovator Award, Aardvark Marketing Consultants Ltd have been recognised as leaders in the West Midlands for Marketing. Almost every aspect of the way we do business has been influenced by recent technological advances. In the field of sales and marketing, these new advances include social media, marketing automation, web tracking and ever more sophisticated CRM and lead scoring systems and processes.
Gill Hutchinson, Co-Director of Aardvark Marketing believes the reason behind Aardvark’s success has been their ability to give customers an edge over their competitors. “As a company we invest heavily in our staff and in new systems and processes. We ‘ve consistently spent over 10% of turnover on innovation, systems and processes. Our broad experience, coupled with knowledge of tried and tested techniques, mean our customers trust us to give them open, honest and impartial advice in the ever-changing world of digital marketing. We make this work to best effect by mixing it with traditional marketing techniques so our customers get the best possible return on their marketing investment. The constant evolution and change in marketing is confusing to business owners with no prior sales and marketing experience; we help them devise and implement marketing that generates good quality sales -ready leads with measurable results”.

“Typically, companies that approach us require a mixture of long term and short term success strategies” says Chris Hutchinson, Co-director at Aardvark. Our thorough diagnostic, or ‘Marketing MOT’, helps our new customers to focus on realistic short term wins whilst starting work on long-term strategies to ensure sustainable success. Usually we work with them over a long period of time, making sure new marketing systems are fully embedded into the culture and systems of our customers. Collaborative working, with customers having access to our shared cloud project management solution ensures everyone has full visibility and accountability for the progress of each project we manage. We use regular face to face meetings to build great working partnerships and deliver tailored training and development”.

Keeping abreast of new developments can be a challenge for SME’s. “Aardvark is an SME company and we’ve always relied ourselves on outsourced specialist advisors when we need to make significant changes in our business, for example in restructuring our IT systems or using new project management tools” said Gill. “It’s a model we know works for small and medium sized companies and we’re happy to provide the outsourced specialist help that many business owners need, including the very latest technological advances.”

Laura Hunter, Awards Co-ordinator at CV Magazine, commented: “This awards programme turns the spotlight on the very best that the technology sector has to offer. It is a true honour to be able to reward the hard work and dedication of all of our deserving winners, and I would like to wish them the best of luck in the future.”
For a free and confidential consultation about how Aardvark Marketing can help your business call us today on 0121 222 5743.

Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber news/aardvark-marketing-voted-best-sme-marketing-company

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