Tag Archives: Aardvark Marketing Consultants

Aardvark Marketing Consultants | Guest blog Job seekers often receiving poor adviceudy, new dust cannon

Job seekers often receive poor advice

Job seekers often receive poor advice

Stuart Blake, an experienced career coach in the West Midlands believes many job seekers are not receiving good quality advice. This is especially true when it comes to preparing their CV’s. In the current UK economic climate, there are hundreds of people chasing each advertised role. The key difference between a successful job search and failure lies in helping people to really stand out in this crowded market. Because so many people are job searching right now, we would like to share his advice about CV preparation as our guest blogger.

Stuart Blake at Coach 1st has had years of experience working in recruitment and is now a qualified and trained career, executive and transformation coach. “The stark reality is that 95% of CV’s are binned in under 5 seconds, without being read to the end. It’s sad for those individuals but any CV that has errors, inaccuracies or does not flag to a potential employer the value they can bring to that organisation, is simply a waste of time and effort”.

Thousands of graduates or school leavers looking for their first, critical post on the career ladder are being simply being advised by careers departments up and down the country to ‘Google a CV template’ and fill it in. These students are being failed by the education system because these templates produce poor quality CV’s that do not sufficiently differentiate job seekers as individuals. Employers see hundreds of these ‘standard’ CV’s that tell them very little about each candidate. These are the CV’s that are destined to be filed in some CRM system rather than being read with interest by a recruiter or potential employer. To get an individual placed on the shortlist for interview the CV has to be in the top 5%. For the individual student concerned this is especially demotivating as application after application gets rejected, often without them understanding why that is happening.

Even people with many years of work experience have the same problem, especially when they decide to have a career change. These mature job seekers need to focus more on the transferable skills learned in one environment that will be valuable to an employer in a different sector. A CV with lengthy personal profiles and very little detail that will grab the attention of a future employer will also fail the 5 second attention span test.

So, how do you get your CV into the top 5% that are actually read from start to finish?  Stuart advises “try to put yourself in an employers’ shoes. What can you say about your successes and achievements in your life or work experience to date? Ask yourself, are these achievements verifiable and would they be really useful to a future employer? Above all, to be successful you must describe what makes you different from the hundreds of others who attended the same or similar school or university”.

If you need help in your job search and would welcome some professional advice call Coach1st on 03301 333 910 or email stuartb@coach1st.co.uk.

More about our guest blogger, Stuart Blake 

Stuart  is a member of the ICF and EMCC and has certificates in Career Coaching, Life Coaching and Executive Coaching.

He is an empathetic, motivational individual who supports businesses and individuals to be the best they can be in every way. In over 30 years in the business, Stuart has advised over 52,000 job seekers and written over 17,000 CV’s.

Aardvark Marketing Consultants | Guest blog Job seekers often receiving poor adviceudy, new dust cannon

 

 

 

 

 

Since 1986, Stuart has spent his career in the recruitment/employment sector, working both in the UK and Europe for some of leading staffing companies. As a Managing Director/ Chief Executive Officer he has led businesses successfully in the Private and Public sectors having created significant ROI along the way.

As well as coaching individuals, Stuart runs webinars  that help people improve their job search results and land their ideal job. To find out more visit coach1st.co.uk   or book  his next  Take Control of your Job Search webinars here.

Aardvark Marketing Consultants | BetaDen Cohort 3 showcase invitation

Invitation to Betaden showcase on 18th March

Invitation to Betaden showcase on 18th March

 

 

 

 

 

The eight entrepreneurs in  Cohort 3 finish their nine-month accelerator programme for early stage technology businesses. You’re invited to share their success at this virtual event on Thursday, 18th March. The founders are pitching  for a variety of support, including future investment,  industry customers and development opportunities. The live stream will showcase innovation in action through seven minute pitch decks followed by a live and interactive Q&A at the end of the presentations. You are cordially invited to take part, simply click on the link below to reserve your place.

Book your place here

The businesses taking part are offering exciting new solutions in the following specialisms: Blockchain, PropTech, Drone Technology, App Technologies, Health Tech, Fintech and Software debugging solutions.

Each business has has an exciting 9 months at BetaDen, developing their  products and services and making the most of new commercial opportunities. Their enormous progress is testament to all their hard work and commitment during a time of unprecedented business disruption.

BetaDen is based at Malvern Hills Science Park, Successful participants on the next cohort start in March and will enjoy a programme of support worth around £50,000 including 30 hours of access to Worcestershire’s 5G test bed.

Gill Hutchinson of Aardvark Marketing is the specialist Technology Marketing Mentor on the BetaDen program.

Aardvark Marketing Consultants | BetaDen cohort 3 showcase

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 | 5 marketing actions for business survival

5 marketing actions for business survival

5 marketing actions for business survival

There are daily changes to the way UK business works right now. Naturally, our first actions are to ensure all employees are safe and everyone in a non-essential role is working from home. Tough times mean a review of finances and likely cashflow, perhaps with some modelling of different scenarios. The knee jerk reaction for most businesses, certainly smaller businesses, is to immediately cut everything that’s seen as ‘non-essential’ which includes marketing or staff training budgets.

Immediate  changes

What is happening now is changing the way we work, and there may be some activity that is novel now but will become the new ‘normal’ in the future. People in crisis will seriously consider new ideas because necessity really is the mother of invention.  Many of us will change our behaviour and use our new freedom to reach out to new suppliers and sources of help. That will mean new opportunities for many businesses if they can start having the right conversations and making the right connections.

Lasting changes?

12 weeks is a game changer! Conventional wisdom tells us it takes a month to change a habit for good, so it’s dangerous to assume that these new practices will be put aside at the end of the crisis period and we’ll all go back to ‘business as usual’.

What can you do during the crisis?

Aardvark Marketing would like to share our 5-point process for analysing the state of your current and future marketing. Every business is different, so not all of this will apply to you, however having a checklist of actions you can take will get you thinking and acting in the best way to future-proof your business.

1.

  1. Trim

Make lists of your current expenditure – invoiced costs are easiest but consider also the time and employees dedicated to deliver all your marketing activity.

Sort the list into things that can safely stop with little immediate impact, for example, activity promoting an upcoming trade fair or conference, things that could continue in-house and things that require external expertise, for example SEO work or new content on your website.

Some activities can probably be scaled back to a ‘hold’ level delivering savings without undermining your business.

Aardvark Marketing Consultants | 5 marketing actions for business survival - innovate

2. Innovate

This one requires some thought. How can we deliver the same benefits for  customers with a different method of delivery?  Most obvious here are making use of new virtual meetings to replace the face to face meeting. For some this just makes more use of working practices they were already doing, for others it may be a steep learning curve to get everybody familiar with a new IT system. For some hospitality businesses, such as pubs or cafes, they may be able to supply a home delivery service for vulnerable people unable to get out and about as before.

If you cannot see a way to build you an immediate income stream from the innovation, then consider building community or prospective customer goodwill. Could you offer something to a charity or to essential workers to make their life easier and save them time or effort? If you can, this makes a good PR story for your business, which will pay a dividend in the future.For some, going back to a ‘barter system’ and trading our expertise with someone in another business could be a way to innovate and support each other.

Aardvark Marketing Consultants | 5 marketing actions for business survival - strengthen

3. Strengthen

If you work in a non-essential business, what you have right now is the gift of time. Time is a precious and finite commodity for most of us and we never seem to have enough of it. Why not use this time to think, to review and implement change away from the usual hectic day to day challenges you dealt with previously?

For many family businesses, this already happens when the ‘board meeting’ is the Sunday lunch discussion topic or the review time directors take when they are away from the business during the Christmas holiday.

Dust off your business plan and ask yourself if your current competitive advantage will continue to work in the future. What are your current strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats from your existing and new competitors? What is truly unique about your organisation and what do your existing customers truly value about your product or service? What will customers pay a premium for? Is your offering just a “me too” or is it better/different from others?

If there are real differences, does your marketing convey this to potential customers consistently and effectively?

This could be a great time to do some in-depth customer interviews to replace your day to day customer survey tick boxes.

Finally, in the strengthen section, we should consider our team. Can they use this time more productively by learning something new that will save us time or money in the future? A skills gap analysis could enable you to launch a new product or service or improve your existing systems and processes by building in-house expertise.

Aardvark Marketing Consultants | 5 marketing actions for business survival - prepare

4. Prepare

When the crisis eases and we try to get back to normal, how will you get your customers, sales and profits back to where they used to be (or even better)?  Now is the time to plan for different demand scenarios.  You may face floods of old customers wanting to purchase (have you got enough stock and capacity?).  Or you might be dealing with a shortage of money, lack of confidence and procrastination over key decisions which could leave your order book looking thin for many more months.

Think about these and any other possible scenarios, how you would quickly spot which one you are in and what you can do to turn around or make the most of the opportunities.  Good marketing will have a role to play, whatever your situation.  Most importantly, how will you know if it is working?

Aardvark Marketing Consultants | 5 marketing actions for business survival - track

5. Review and learn

As we sit in the middle of an unprecedented crisis, what can we learn from the experience about ourselves and our businesses?  How resilient are we to external shocks, the stuff we can’t control but can turn our world upside down.

If you haven’t done this before, now is the time to try some ‘what if…? exercises. Think about your current customers; what would happen if they suddenly stopped your contract, paid you on less favourable terms, demanded bigger discounts? How resilient is the business to an interruption in your supply chain, i.e. do you have a few key suppliers or have you the ability to switch between several for a vital component or service? Or, you might have a scale-up challenge if you suddenly needed to service ten businesses for every one you had previously and your capacity to deliver this number became squeezed. Would you have the additional expertise in-house, would you be able to quickly hire expertise to deliver this or is new recruitment of skilled employees your only option?

If cashflow can sometimes create pressure, are you setting aside a war chest? When business is good, do you still look to keep costs under control, or do you forget to review this? Do you keep some cash in a savings account for a rainy day?

Do you have good communication channels with your supply chain and your customer base? Sometimes this can involve regular contact with key people, for example if you have key account managers in place, for others this may mean mass communication via a website, social media or regular emails. Have you checked which mode of communication works best for them or do you just use what is convenient for you? When information needs to be circulated quickly and accurately, how do you achieve this?

Consider time limited offers to keep the cashflow healthier, but bear in mind these will only be effective if you have already got good communication channels in place.

 

Right now we have customers who are receiving new enquiries because they continued their marketing even when things got tough (remember Brexit everyone?) and some who are struggling with cashflow but want to keep some marketing in place.  They are ready to recover as quickly as possible after the crisis abates. Are you?

If you’d like a free and confidential conversation about your business challenges, we’re still here to help. Call 0121 222 5743 or email us and we’ll be in touch.

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

Why Digital Marketing never gets off the MD’s To Do list

Why Digital Marketing never gets off the MD’s To Do list

All MD’s know that an effective digital marketing funnel will generate more leads and more sales. Companies that invest in marketing funnels do better than those that don’t. If it was quick and easy to create, every company would have one. Why don’t they?  Here’s 6 reasons why accomplishing something so simple is difficult in practice.

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

 

 

 

 

 

Skill shortages

Many businesses don’t have any marketing expertise in their team. Staying up to date with the latest marketing trends isn’t easy as the landscape is constantly changing. This means companies either have to hire new staff who have got the relevant expertise ( and, if  the directors  don’t understand these skills themselves, how do they know who is a good hire?) or get training  for their existing team from a qualified, external expert.

Aardvark Marketing | Strategy versus tactics

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lack of clear strategy

Directors often confuse a sales funnel or process with a marketing funnel. A sales funnel starts when a salesperson first makes contact with a prospect, so by exchanging emails, talking on the phone or in person. It’s a process that has an identified point of contact with a prospect and works by developing mutual trust in an ever-closer relationship. The relationship usually has a series of easily identified milestones (KPI’s and stats) by which a sales director can monitor their team. A marketing funnel is softer, providing information to a prospect ‘doing their research’ and making a shortlist of suppliers with whom they will engage further. Marketers refer to ‘nurturing’ prospects through their online research as they move through a digital marketing funnel.

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

 

 

 

 

Poor or non-existent planning

In order to create an effective digital marketing funnel, you need first to understand marketing channels, content and customers. Channels are the places a prospect will look to find out information about your company, products or services, and they can include non-digital places as well as online resources. Typical digital channels include your website, social media activity, external industry websites, financial information and so on. The content a prospect will read or view will depend upon their own, personal preferences, so this may include recordings/podcasts and video as well as the more traditional website pages and blogs. Finally, you need an in depth understanding of why your good customers return to use your products and services, so that the messages they receive from the content will resonate with them. This will mean you can provide them with all the necessary information they seek to shortlist your company.

 

 

 

 

 

 

No process for creating quality content

Many businesses don’t have creative people in their teams, such as graphic designers, copywriters or website developers. If an eternal marketing agency is hired, there is often a poor brief given which means that the agency don’t produce the right content for your prospects to engage with. Quality content hasn’t only got to look pretty by being well branded, it has to engage your relevant audience.

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

 

 

 

 

Poor implementation & project management

Managing all those messages, channels and creating good content so that you have a coherent, consistent and continuous marketing presence is a skill in itself. If your team get overwhelmed by the many different tasks, often the wrong priorities are followed because people tend to stick to their skillsets and stay within their comfort zones It takes experience and skill to understand where limited resources should be deployed first to deliver the biggest bang for your buck.

 

 

 

 

 

Lack of measurement and data management

Just as a sales process will have key milestones that can be measured, so a good marketing funnel will have some points that can be monitored and measured. For digital marketing, Google Analytics is a good place to start. If you have a digital CRM with web tracking such as HubSpot you can access the data in your system as well. Monthly reporting of marketing KPI’s should be added to your management meeting  agenda, just as you would monitor management accounts for financial data.

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

 

 

 

 

 

Buyers and customers are increasingly fickle and shopping around for the best price is often  actively encouraged. Providing the right information through a good digital marketing funnel is increasingly important for the survival of a business. If you are finding any of the above challenges difficult, consider working with Aardvark Marketing. We can provide the expertise you need on an outsourced, affordable basis. Why not make a start by contacting us  or call 0121 222 5743 for a confidential discussion today?

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

Aardvark Marketing Consultants | Great blogs & vlogs win Aardvark Marketing UK Content Creator Award

Great blogs & vlogs win Aardvark Marketing UK Content Creator Award

Great blogs & vlogs win Aardvark Marketing UK Content Creator Award

Aardvark Marketing Consultants have been recognised by Corporate Vision Magazine for their contribution to the world of blogs and video blogs as great Content Creators 2019.

As we continue through the 21st century the trend of people turning to content creation as a means of making a living continues to grow. From YouTubers to Bloggers, companies and individuals are continuing to monetize their skills to make a successful living with some of the top content creators making over a million dollars year in year out.  CV Magazine are running this inaugural award programme to showcase those who go above and beyond in creating great content, from web designers, vloggers and bloggers to those creating images and videos for the web, the 2019 Content Creator Awards give credit where it is deserved.

Aardvark Marketing Consultants | Great blogs & vlogs win Aardvark Marketing UK Content Creator AwardFor the last nine years, co-directors at Aardvark Marketing, Gill and Chris Hutchinson have been regular bloggers. “We write about all aspects of marketing, sales and management” says Gill Hutchinson. “As technology has advanced, we’ve added webinars and video to our written blogs.” In 2018, Aardvark launched the Marketing Manager service and their experienced marketeers produce a range of regular blogs for clients.

“Consistency adding new content helps us drive more traffic to our clients websites in two ways.” says Gill “ Firstly, it improves the website rankings with search engines such as Google (SEO)  so more organic search traffic is generated and  secondly attracts more visitors coming via social media platforms when the blog content is shared. New software that automates social media scheduling means we are more efficient at delivering social coverage, which allows Aardvark to offer a very attractive, cost effective service.“ Outsourcing content creation and social media management has proved to be extremely popular and Aardvark are constantly adding to their list of clients using the service.

Aardvark Marketing Consultants | Contetn Cretator award 2019 - leading specialists in marketing automation solutionsDiscussing the success of their winners, Edward Faulkner, Awards Coordinator commented: “There are so many content creators who are influencing today’s modern business market, and I am proud to recognise them through this awards programme. It is with great pride that I congratulate my winners; here’s to more great content going forward!” read more about Corporate Vision magazine here.

If your business could benefit from having regular new content created, call Aardvark Marketing on 0121 222 5743 or contact us here.

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

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

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

Aardvark Marketing Consultants are again winners of a prestigious Technology Innovator award, this year for Best Social Media & Content Marketing Providers and the Excellence in Outsourced Marketing Solutions award. The company have been selected because of their consistent track record, delivering a superior marketing service that delights and retains long-term clients from start-ups and small business to international and high-grossing companies.

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

Aardvark’s client testimonials send a clear message that they provide a timely and knowledgeable service, which delivers significant results. Across the board, their customers attest to the company’s professionalism and expertise. The information gathered by the research team shows that Aardvark’s reputation has been consistent for many years as a long-successful marketing company providing strategic and technology-enabled solutions. Their services include marketing team training, sales generation and strategy evaluation.

In addition to their service, the marketing automation solutions provided by Aardvark Marketing substantially increase their clients’ marketing efficiency. Aardvark’s top performing companies utilise their automation solutions, and their client feedback continues to show the effectiveness of these services.

“For many businesses, having a continuous and consistent presence in their marketplace is a challenge” say Gill Hutchinson, Director at Aardvark Marketing “ because creating quality  content is  difficult and the world of marketing is constantly evolving making it hard to stay up to date with the latest software tools”.   The beauty of outsourcing marketing is that we take away the headache of creating that professional presence for your website, social media, PR, emails etc no matter how busy the business owner becomes. It’s cost effective too, because the business doesn’t have to hire, train and retain a permanent member of staff on the payroll.

 

Laura Hunter, Awards Co-ordinator at CV Magazine, commented “Now celebrating its fifth year, the Technology Innovator Awards return in 2019 to showcase the talented individuals, teams and firms that form the backbone of this dynamic industry. We aim to raise the profile of those who’s innovative thinking and commitment to technology make the industry what it is today. Technology is vital to everyday life therefore it has been a real pleasure to be able to showcase those dedicated to making innovations happen. I would like to congratulate my winners and wish them the best of luck going forward.”

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

Aardvark Marketing Consultants | I can say what I like...

I can say what I like…

I can say what I like…

I seem to hear this more and more often, usually by someone defending their right to communicate a point of view that a large number of people find offensive in some way.
This week I was talking to a business owner who found a 1-star review had been placed on a well-known platform. On closer examination, the person who placed the review (which also included a quite damning comment or two) had never been a customer or even a potential customer. The only contact between the reviewer and the business owner was when the business made a personal enquiry to a company where the ‘reviewer’ worked and then subsequently declined to deal with the company. It seems that the reviewer has acted purely out of a desire for revenge. When challenged, the reviewer’s response was effectively “well that’s what I think, and I’m entitled to free speech”
Also, this week, the Labour Party’s NEC agreed to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of anti-Semitism with an extra statement relating to free speech.
And every time there seems to be a case of Internet ‘trolling’ there seems to be a defence of the abusers along the grounds of freedom of speech. In the era of social media, it seems many people forget that what 20 years ago would have been a comment to a friend over coffee or a beer, is now published for anyone to read. Social media platforms continue to insist they are not media owners, but we all know that Facebook, Twitter and Google etc. are powerful media channels.

All this made me curious about what ‘Free Speech’ actually means from a legal perspective. According to Wikipedia (I know this isn’t necessarily accurate) the correct term is actually ‘freedom of expression’ and there are around 25 listed exceptions, which I assume means things you can’t say. These include abusive or insulting words, defamation and trade secrets.
It appears then that in the eyes of the law you can’t just say anything you want and claim the right to free speech.
When creating marketing communication, there are some core principles which build effectiveness:
Firstly, we need to be clear about what we are trying to achieve.
Then we think carefully about the target audience – who is going to receive the communication and what do we know about them, their beliefs and behaviours. How will this communication be received and what effect will it have on them?
We should spend time designing the message text and visual imagery – an effective message needs careful crafting, should be single-minded and expressed as simply as possible.
We also need to carefully select the medium – the medium and message need to work together, and the medium should have a good fit with the audience, not just readership, but the way in which it is consumed.
Finally, we should measure and learn – did the message get through and did it have the desired effect?

I can’t help but think that most instances of ‘free speech’ on social media that causes upset would benefit from taking the marketing approach. Thinking about who the message might reach (given the platform), and carefully considering the message, might just cause less offence.
But if you have an overwhelming urge to say something offensive, the pub might be a better place than Facebook or Twitter.

If your business could benefit from more effective communication, why not give us a call on 0121 222 5743 or contact us here

Happy marketing!

Aardvark Marketing Consultants | SaaS is a raw deal

SaaS is a raw deal

SaaS is a raw deal

Software as a service (SaaS) is here to stay. Suppliers have moved to a new model, the ‘pay as you go’ system. Those of us who remember the old-fashioned way to purchase IT, when you bought a disk with your program for a fixed, upfront price that you downloaded onto your computer, are increasingly seen as out of touch ‘dinosaurs’, whose ‘rose-tinted’ views are frequently dismissed as being hopelessly behind the times.

It’s easy to see why software providers have taken this route. From a service provider point of view the monthly subscription model practically guarantees a regular and more predictable cashflow into the business, with users paying each month rather than when they buy an upgrade. The monthly fees look manageable to a prospective customer, they don’t have to find the whole cost and pay for it upfront. No longer do you have to provide support for customers who don’t want to replace or upgrade their older systems, as upgrades are done for everyone, automatically. Because change is always disruptive, users will be reluctant to move to a competitor once they’ve made the switch to your software. Finally, our legislators sometimes play into their hands by insisting that we switch. Recent GDPR legislation and the UK’s forthcoming ‘Making Tax Digital’ requirements have allowed the industry, with its well-placed and influential lobbyists, insist that every business – no matter how large or small – comply with the same digital rules which are difficult or impossible to do without upgrading your IT software.

But is this a raw deal for the customer? Have we got SaaD (Software as a Disservice)?

It’s possible.

Here’s why

  • Pay as you go means you’re still locked into the product in precisely the same way as before because coming out still means moving data from one system to another. This means management time, effort and hassle to change systems. It’s still risky to switch provider.
  • Monthly fees can easily outstrip what you would have paid over the lifetime use of the product e.g. a £300 one-off price tag is the equivalent of just over a year at £22 per month subscription. Given that most purchased software would last a business more than 2 to 3 years before it needed upgrading, that’s an increased cost of £492 or over 2 ½ times the cost of buying outright.
  • Problems with products are not always dealt with by the supplier and can develop after the initial installation. If a business had a problem installing a new product this would result in a complaint and getting the issue fixed. With pay as you go, glitches are not always detected and resolved at the outset, leaving the customer with a product that doesn’t work and the unappealing prospect of trying to get through to a real person in the software company that has the knowledge to fix it. I personally abhor the practice many suppliers use of hiding their support contact phone number and instead keeping you waiting through their email ‘ticket’ systems. In practice, this means a user with a problem cannot fix it without delay and disruption to their working day, which has a negative effect on productivity. Often their website directs you to videos or ‘How to guides’ that don’t always, in practice, tell you enough detail to fix the problem yourself.
  • Often you are paying for functionality that you’ll never need or use rather than just buying the product that is right for your business. The same phenomenon happened with mobile phones, as the technologists driving the new product development added more and more functionality that wouldn’t, in practice, be used by most of their customers. Once you’ve bought SaaS you are constantly being bombarded with new upgrades, emails telling you about new functionality and getting confused as the dashboard and menus are changed without your prior notice or consent. This is rarely conducive to improving productivity and occasionally the company insists that your monthly fees go up to pay for something you never asked for in the first place! Conversely, larger organisations that may wish to have more customisation of their IT systems are often limited in their ability to do this.
  • Honesty regarding functionality of the software. Occasionally, in my experience, you contact a support line only to find that the software company knew there were issues with connectivity. For example, we use one of the best-known accountancy SaaS packages, but it has intermittent problems connecting to our bank feed. The company in question, when asked to help us deal with this, knew from the outset that there could be issues, but this wasn’t explained on their website before we went ahead and moved our systems over, nor was it picked up during our 2-week free trial period. Talking to the company concerned did not get a sympathetic response or a reduction of the fees we pay to use it, even though we are still unable to get this to work correctly several months later. Our previous system, which just lived on one PC, didn’t integrate with our bank account, but a monthly bank reconciliation was relatively quick and painless to perform.
  • Another reason to be wary of this way of doing business is data security. Your previous business server might have been old, and it may have been a little slower than you’d like, but access to it was restricted. With the new ‘cloud based’ servers a customer no longer controls the physical location or has complete control about whether the data can be accessed by a hacker. Remembering passwords has now become a full-time occupational hazard (here at Aardvark Marketing we even have specialist software that helps us deal with this) and if you forget to bring your mobile phone with you the 2-step security log in becomes not a safety feature but a barrier to legitimate entry. It’s all too easy to click to open a rogue email masquerading as an important upgrade from your banking software, your accountancy software, your email systems, your CRM etc. That means we all need ever more expensive IT back-up systems to take care of us. Our data, and our customers data, has become a little less secure because it’s all interconnected.
  • Finally, control. We’re now in the hands of our software suppliers as never before. If they go out of business because of mis-management or lose out to a more competitive product, we can potentially lose access to our precious data, systems and processes. Just like those customers who bought into Betamax (for better quality sound and vision) rather than VHS video, your software could be obsolete, and you’ll have to invest time, money and effort in replacing it with a different product. Recently, we had access to our cloud-based project management system blocked because of tightened cyber security measures added by our service office internet provider. Like the driver at the steering wheel of  a driverless car, we have no choice about these settings, someone external to our organisations is effectively imposing ‘controls’ on our behalf.

    Here at Aardvark Marketing we’re not luddites, we were early adopters of many of these new and exciting systems. We’ve won numerous awards for innovation and some of our own customers are building their business on the SaaS model. If I could wave a magic wand I’d like more thought from our software providers (large and small). Yes, the world is your oyster as far as breaking modern technology boundaries is concerned, but good marketing starts with really getting under the skin of your customers. There is a difference between customers who are huge fans of your software and those who merely bought it because it is the market leader or even because they were misled into believing it the latest silver bullet.

    If you’d like all your customers to be raving fans, why not talk to us on 0121 222 5743 or contact us here.

Aardvark Marketing Consultants | Double celebrations for Excellence in Innovation at Aardvark Marketing

Double celebrations for Excellence in Innovation at Aardvark Marketing

Double celebrations for Excellence in Innovation at Aardvark Marketing

Aardvark Marketing Consultants are celebrating winning two UK awards at this year’s Technology Innovators CV Magazine awards, building on their success in 2017 and 2016. Technology Innovators CV Magazine Awards have just announced the 2018 winners, with Aardvark Marketing receiving the Excellence in Marketing Management Services and the Social Media & Content Marketing Specialists. In previous years, they took home the Marketing Automation and Marketing for SME awards. The West Midlands based marketing firm specialises in providing outsourced marketing at a level and budget to suit, from their Marketing Manager package to part-time Marketing Director service.

Gill Hutchinson, director at Aardvark Marketing Consultants, says: “We’re pleased to have been recognised as innovators once again! We’ve worked hard over the past year to develop our Marketing Manager package, an affordable and flexible marketing solution for SME businesses.” Marketing Manager provides sales and marketing expertise with a first-class team as and when you need it. This results in more sales and increased profitability, without the risks and costs of employment. Aardvark have been selected in the current intake of the prestigious Nat West Business Accelerator programme, based at Brindley Place in Birmingham, to scale up the Marketing Manager business in the UK.

Gill developed the Marketing Manager package after receiving enquiries from companies who needed a knowledgeable and reliable firm to handle all their marketing. Aardvark’s project management brings an excellent structure to the marketing programs they develop for their customers, which has been rewarded with the Marketing Management Award. Aardvark spend time staying abreast of the latest developments in the world of social media, including researching platforms that enable their clients to use social in more cost-effective and efficient ways. Gill says, “We have a very experienced team at Aardvark, who bring their own strengths and market knowledge to every customer, giving us the resources to provide first-class support for an affordable and fixed monthly price tag.”

The Technology Innovator Awards are now in their third year and they showcase the talents that are present in this industry. Looking forward and striving to achieve excellence are attributes that the Technology Innovator Awards look for in their winners. Sophie Milner, Awards Coordinator commented: “The explosion of digital technology in the recent years has increased the need for technology products and services dramatically. Enterprises in every industry sector rely upon technology to facilitate their own growth, as such, opportunities for technology firms continue to expand considerably. It is my pleasure to congratulate the winners and wish them the best of luck for the future.”

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