Tag Archives: Aardvark Marketing

Aardvark Marketing Consultants | Gill and Chris Hutchinson, directors at Aardvark Marketing

Aardvark Marketing win UK Trusted Marketing Advisors award

Aardvark Marketing win UK Trusted Marketing Advisors award

Aardvark Marketing are pleased to announce that they have been recognised for the sixth year running with a Technology Innovator Award as UK Trusted Marketing Advisers. These awards recognise companies that are helping – in whatever way they can – to deliver change through innovation, expertise and creativity.

Katherine Benton took a moment to discuss the success of those recognised in this year’s programme: “Now in its seventh year, the Technology Innovator Awards have only grown to encompass a plethora of businesses to showcase their individual achievements and successes in the technology sphere. Innovation is the true driver of the technological landscape. It’s through the efforts of companies both large and small that the business world can continue to grow, exceed expectations and, ultimately, evolve. It’s also true that the technology sector is a behemoth that never stops moving. If a company wants to excel, they need to be dynamic and adaptive, with one eye always cast to the future. Once again, I’d like to congratulate Aardvark Marketing on their success.”

Established to help companies get quantifiable results from carefully constructed marketing plans, as supposed to fluffy unaccountable marketing activities, Aardvark was founded by Chris Hutchinson in 2005. Having enjoyed success with some of the largest brand names in the country PepsiCo, Sharwoods and Bulmers, Chris wanted to turn his skills into a complete package to help other companies towards success. His wife Gill soon joined him, with her talents honed by Black & Decker and LRC (Marigold and Durex) and third sector organisations including the Red Cross and St Michael’s Hospice.

Aardvark Marketing Consultants | Gill and Chris Hutchinson, directors at Aardvark Marketing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chris and Gill enjoy becoming immersed in the commercial activities of their clients, however unusual, which range from IT and high tech manufacturing through to the creative arts. They believe that marketing programs should be designed to suit the needs of the individual company circumstances, so they never take a ‘one size fits all’ solution approach. They take the time to really understand the industry specific challenges and consequently ensure that the companies they work with have the tailored support that they need. This enables a high level of trust to be established between client and the Aardvark Marketing team.

Val Gardner, MD at Winster Hoses says “I started working with Aardvark in 2019. Chris and Gill have made sense of what I wanted to achieve and moved me forward with a sensible marketing strategy that works for me and my budget. A mix of traditional marketing techniques and digital has generated much needed awareness with existing and new customer interest leading to more profit. Their determination to make sure results are delivered on time and as expected is a breath of fresh air and takes away the worry. Although on paper a “third party supplier” Chris and Gill are firmly part of the Winster team and I cannot recommend their services enough and look forward to what else can be achieved.

For more information about Aardvark Marketing contact Gill on 01905 885 285 or email gill@aardvarkmarketing.co.uk

Aardvark Marketing Consultants | Trusted Marketing Advisors Technology Innovators award 2021

 

Aardvark Marketing Consultants | Pricing strategy

You paid how much for that makeover?

You paid how much for that makeover?

How much does a roll of wallpaper cost? No, it’s not a trick question. With so much debate in the media about the cost of redecorating a certain flat in London, I found my thoughts wandering to the subject of pricing strategy again.

Here at Aardvark, we talk about pricing to almost every client we have ever worked with and very often we’re trying to persuade them to increase prices. Or at least consider the possibility of changing their pricing structure.  However, I think a great many marketing professionals don’t get involved in pricing and this strikes me as very strange.

Price is one of the four “P”s, and in my view just as important as the other three.  I know there are many more “P”s now, not to mention collections of other terms beginning with other letters (we even talk about the two “C”s in success), but 35 years’ experience has shown me that the original four “P”s remain a great foundation for successful marketing.

If pricing isn’t right, it will dilute the impact of all the rest of your other marketing activity. It could even completely undermine it.  Too high and you’ll lose potential sales (now or in the future) and allow competitors to steal your customers.  Too low and you will most obviously leave money behind that you could have taken, but can also turn off customers or attract the wrong kind of customers in the first place. As a business owner, would you rather be a busy fool, sending our numerous quotes or proposals that don’t actually lead to good business or send a smaller number to better targeted prospects and convert a higher percentage of these? We worked with a local builder who achieved a better work life balance through this approach. Better targeted marketing and new messages enabled him to stop working every weekday evening. He no longer needed to go out on a site visit, measure up and then produce a detailed quote to homeowners who only wanted the cheapest option. He was able to switch his attention to fewer, ‘on-profile’ customers who appreciated the high quality of their work.

So how is pricing set in your business.  Is it a “cost plus” approach with a target profit margin?  Is it based on competitor analysis, aiming to maintain an agreed relativity to what the competition offer customers?  Or is it based on the perceived value of your products or services?

The value-based option is almost always preferable. It will encompass competitor-based pricing and if it means your margins are thin or even non-existent, then the business needs to re-examine its cost base.  And of course, the people in the business who know most about customer perceptions of value are the marketing team.  It’s our job to understand and represent the customer within the business, and that includes knowing what people are prepared to pay for our products and services.

Are we out there, talking to customers about value and how we compare to alternatives?  By “alternatives” I don’t just mean products and services like ours, but all the things customers could do instead of buying from us.

Or are we checking our competitors’ prices on the internet, and letting sales tell us the reason (excuse) they can’t hit targets is that the competition are so much cheaper than us?  Are we giving away price because margins are good so we can “afford” to discount?

Have you implemented a price increase recently?

And a final thought; if your suppliers are putting up prices more often that you are, something is probably going wrong!  If you’d like to understand how pricing strategy can improve both your business and your quality of life, why not email or pick up the phone to Gill or Chris at Aardvark?

Aardvark Marketing Consultants | Ready for the economic bounce back?

Ready for the economic bounce back?

Ready for the economic bounce back?

The UK economy is set to bounce back into growth, with an average of independent forecasts for the UK Government at 4.3% for 2021 and 5.8% for 2022.1 Whether we experience a fast or medium paced recovery, the message is clear, business activity is now set to recovery and growth in the next 2 years.

For many SME’s, this means they could be working at or near capacity in the near future, as areas of the economy that have been under COVID restrictions are allowed to open and the predicted consumer spending boom begins as people who have accumulated savings in liquid bank deposits during lockdown spend once more.2

During the ups and downs of the last year, the majority of Aardvark Marketing clients have continued their marketing even when times were tough. These businesses have either grown or are ready and waiting to take advantage of the easing of restrictions. If your business stopped marketing activity or reduced it drastically to survive the pandemic, now is the time to put plans in place or risk getting left behind your nimbler, better prepared competitors.

If you are planning to expand rapidly in the spring or summer this year, now is the best time to get activity plans in place. Aardvark Marketing can help with planning and implementing great marketing activity to get your business into a stronger competitive position in 2021. Whether you need someone you can trust to help you design the strategy and plan activities or you’d like us to do all your marketing activity as your outsourced marketing department, now is a good time to take the first step. Pick up the phone and talk to Gill or Chris on 01905 885 285 or email info@aardvarkmarketing to arrange a convenient time for a meeting.

Gill and Chris Hutchinson at Aardvark Marketing Consultants | Ready for the economic bounce back?

 

 

 

 

 

  1. HM Treasury Forecast for the UK Economy: a comparison of independent forecasts. ISBN: 978-1-911680-44-4 https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/
  2. Bank of England Monetary Policy Report February 2021
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 | 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 01905 885 285 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