Tag Archives: Aardvark Marketing

Aardvark Marketing Consultants | detail of the Red Bull signed shirt

Win a signed Red Bull Formula One shirt!

Win a signed Red Bull Formula One shirt!

The Worcester Foodbank needs you

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

Aardvark Marketing Consultants | detail of the Red Bull signed shirt

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

You’ve got to be in it to win it!

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

Aardvark Marekting Consultants | The road to recovery

The road to recovery

The road to recovery

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gill Hutchinson from Aardvark Marketing appointed BetaDen Mentor

Gill Hutchinson from Aardvark Marketing appointed BetaDen Mentor

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

Aardvark Marketing | Gill Hutchinson from Aardvark Marketing appointed BetaDen Mentor

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

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

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

Aardvark Marketing Consultants | We've left teh EU - now get ready fro importing and exporting

We’ve left the EU – now get ready for importing and exporting

We’ve left the EU – now get ready for importing and exporting

Worcestershire business owners can access free advice to help them prepare to leave the EU. Business owners need to know and plan for changes that will happen to the way they do business at the end of the transition period on 31st December 2020. Businesses can book a free individual appointment in February or March 2020 with a specialist advisor from Aardvark Marketing Consultants on https://brexitready.me/

Henrietta Brealey, director of policy and strategic relationships at Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce, said: “Negotiations on the future UK-EU relationship are only just beginning and we’re already seeing what’s set to be a major sticking point come to the fore – regulatory divergence. Many businesses want to see as frictionless trade as possible. However comprehensive any final trade deal is, it will be a trade deal – not membership of the EU. As a result, it is important for businesses to remain vigilant as the way they do business with the EU is going to change.”

The most recent survey of West Midlands businesses revealed that 40% of local firms export goods and 27% export services to the EU. 47% import goods from the EU. These individual coaching sessions are designed to make sure each business owner is fully aware of the changes and how they can affect their business so they can plan accordingly.

Kevin Aisbitt, Growth Hub Manager for Worcestershire Business Central, said: “It is paramount for us to support local businesses through the practicalities of the UK leaving the European Union. I urge all businesses to attend to ensure that their business is prepared for any eventuality of Brexit.”

If your business could benefit act now and book your appointment on https://brexitready.me/  . Please share this link with other businesses on your social networks

 

This program is sponsored by Worcestershire Business Central and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Aardvark Marketing Consultants | Marketing 2020 style - keep it simple!

Marketing 2020 style – keep it simple!

Marketing 2020 style – keep it simple!

As we approach the beginning of a new decade, many people will be reflecting on the last 10 years and speculating what the 2020s will bring.  In terms of marketing, I think we can be fairly confident that there will be further advances in technology, and more fragmentation of media, making it yet more complicated to reach target audiences with the “right message at the right time”.

Aardvark Marketing Consultants | 2020's will see more fragmentation of media channelsIn recent years, the growth in numbers and sophistication of CRM systems, Marketing Automation software, Social Media platforms, click funnels, re-marketing, etc. have provided a dazzling array of tools for marketers, but also increasing pressure to adopt the latest advances, with all the associated time and financial investment required to execute them properly.

My question to business owners is “do you need them yet?”.

Or are there more conventional (old fashioned) activities that can still deliver the results you need in a simpler way?

In the last quarter of 2019, we have created a programme of simple SMS promotions for one of our clients.  We identified that many of their customers while happy with the service purchased were not repeat purchasing, so we send a promotional offer to customers whose last purchase was between 2 and 12 months ago.  We could undoubtedly run more sophisticated offers, more tailored to their previous purchases, we could set up follow up communications based on responses and we could probably tie in at least 3 social media platforms.

Is it working?  In a word, yes!  We began with a small test and have then gradually increased the scale of the activity targeting a bigger pool of customers each time.  We have also tried different promotional offers.  Across all the promotions run so far we have seen an average return of £7 of gross profit for every £1 of spend and sales from the last promotion were worth 9% of total revenue during the promotional period.

Aardvark Marekting Consultants | SMS delivers £7 gross profit for every £1 spentTo return to the earlier point, we could have set out to do something more leading edge, with bigger potential returns.  But we were able to implement this activity quickly, test it on a small scale (the first promotion cost around £250) and if we want to go for something more complex we can do it while the current promotions are running and use the profits they are generating to pay for the IT, training and other upfront costs.

Alternatively, we might just keep going, keeping it simple.  They won’t win any marketing awards or get lots of great PR, but the bank balance looks great!

If you would like some simple, practical advice to improve the marketing of your business in 2020, give us a call on 0121 222 5743 , email us  or send us an enquiry .

Happy Marketing,in 2020!

Chris

Aardvark Marketing Consultants | ‘Global Trading Readiness sessions’. Image by Arek Socha from Pixabay

Book your free ‘Global Trading Readiness session’

Book your free ‘Global Trading Readiness session’

Worcestershire Business Central have commissioned some Private industry specialists to provide individual company Brexit readiness sessions to ensure Worcestershire businesses are ready for future exports and imports from Europe.  These are honest, no nonsense sessions to give you the clarity you need to start or continue trade whatever happens after the  UK leaves the EU and at the end of the transition period to 31st December 2020.

But there is a bonus…  they will also help you to trade not just in Europe but Worldwide!  If you already trade internationally and want to exchange ideas, or perhaps you receive enquiries that you don’t know how to handle, it’s worth scheduling an hour in your diary for a free meeting.

Many business managers and owners have put off reviewing their systems and processes so far, perhaps waiting for more clarity about what the new trade conditions will be or thinking that their courier or freight forwarder will take care of everything on their behalf. There are things that can be reviewed and put into place right now, making sure your business is in good shape to take advantage of new opportunities and to manage smoothly any changes. The  advisors will help each business owner look at the different scenarios to do with changes in duties, tariffs, VAT etc which will affect cashflow and profit margins and is relevant for any business who has either customers or suppliers based in the EU or international customer and suppliers outside the EU.

The advisors will cover the arrangements in place to get ready if you have EU employees or plan to recruit staff from the EU in future.

The program of support ends in March, so don’t delay – arrange your meeting  with Gill, Steve, Sue or Kevin at a convenient time for you at www.brexitready.me. 

Aardvark Marketing Consultanst | advisor team fro Brexit readiness

 

 

 

 

 

 

This program is sponsored by Worcestershire Business Central and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Aardvark Marketing Consultants | It's easy to confuse our 'rational' brains

It’s easy to confuse our ‘rational’ brains

It’s easy to confuse our ‘rational’ brains

I spent a few hours today testing a virtual reality (VR) experience that has been built for one of our clients for a major trade show this summer by a specialist company in Birmingham. The project is highly confidential at the moment, but if you would like to know more, please contact me.

Prior to this project, I was aware of VR, but had never had the opportunity to try it.  The experience has been a complete revelation to me.  I think I’m quite a rational person, but when the VR goggles and headphones go on, it’s amazing how fast my brain ‘forgot’ the reality that I was stood in an open plan office and completely accepted the VR environment that had been created by the technical wizards.  Even the ‘computer game’ graphics didn’t confuse my brain.  Within seconds, it felt really real.  If you haven’t ever tried VR, do give it a go.

Aardvark Marketing Consultants | Virtual reality - if you haven't tried it, give it a go

 

 

 

 

 

Perhaps inevitably, it got me thinking again about how marketing communication works.  How many times have you heard someone say (or maybe said yourself) “I’m not influenced by advertising”?  Most of us like to think of ourselves as rational beings impervious to flashy advertising campaigns and sales promotions and yet the evidence suggests otherwise.

Don’t believe me?  OK, here’s a challenge.  Open your food cupboards, your garage, your loft or garden shed and look at all the things you have bought but not eaten or used.  Evolution moves slowly and we are still ‘hard-wired’ to consume in times of plenty, ready for the periods of shortage that lie ahead.

Emotional marketing messages trigger that ‘want’ overriding the rational assessment of ‘need’, planting the seed of desire in our brains.  Often we then try to rationalise our desire initially to ourselves and then if necessary others. From the person who bought a big powerful 4×4 car because of the “excellent driving position” to the grocery shopper who came home with 3 packets of chocolate biscuits because “they were on ‘3 for 2’ and I won’t eat them any faster” we are all doing it, often subconsciously.

I you’re in business, have a look at your own marketing messages – are they tapping into the emotional appeal of your products and services or are they full of rational features?  If it’s the latter, you’re probably missing out. If that looks too difficult to do alone, why not give us a call on 0121 222 5743 for a free and confidential chat?

Happy marketing,

Chris.

Aardvark Marketing Consultants | Join us at the Birmingham Chamber STEM Expo

Say hello to us at the Birmingham Chamber STEM Expo on 8th February 2019

Say hello to us at the Birmingham Chamber STEM Expo on 8th February 2019

Venue: Millennium Point, Curzon Street, Birmingham B4 7XG

Time:  10.30 – 3pm

Say hello to Aardvark Marketing at the STEM Expo, for businesses who are focused on Science, Technology, Engineering and/or Maths related areas.

This forms part of a series of events aimed to expand and improve the capacity of STEM businesses in the Greater Birmingham region.

It’s a unique opportunity to get your name out there – both within the business community and the wider public – to grow your network, attract new talent and expand your business.

If you’re new to Chamber events, the Team will be on hand to introduce you to delegates and make you feel welcome. Just come and see us on the day and we’ll be happy to point you in the right direction!

About Aardvark Marketing

Unlike most marketing agencies, Aardvark work as outsourced marketing specialists, so you have access to skilled sales and marketing expertise, as and when you need it.

This results in more customersmore sales and most importantly, more profit, without the need to employ a full-time member of staff.

In 2018 we were voted Best UK company for Excellence in Marketing Management Services and the Best UK Social Media & Content Marketing Specialists.

Over 200 organisations have benefited from Aardvark’s advice, they range from start-up ventures to international companies with multi-million pound turnovers.

 

 

 

 

Expo visitor offer – Visit our stand and get one-month free  marketing support. 

If you would like more details, please email events@birmingham-chamber.com

It’s free to attend as a delegate, book your place here.

 

Aardvark Marketing Consultants | Gill Hutchinson is a Worcestershire Talking Head for Headturner Search

Gill Hutchinson is a “Worcestershire Talking Head” for Headturner Search

Gill Hutchinson is a “Worcestershire Talking Head” for Headturner Search

I was asked recently  by Aimee Farley-Higgs at Headturner Search to take part in their Worcestershire Talking Heads. They ask people in the local business community to share some of their background, achievements and motivator /demotivators.

Here’s mine:

  • How did you get into this industry?

Definitely not by design! I have a science degree, so initially thought I would go on to a masters in genetics and cell biology, only to find this probably meant moving to the US when I was engaged to be married. I worked for 2 years as a chartered accountant to learn more about business and enjoyed the practical, management accounts side but later realised that stocks and share options bored me to tears. So I was lucky to get a position at Black & Decker in their European headquarters, initially doing market research and pan-European marketing activity (remember all those multi-lingual instruction leaflets, anyone?) and then moving into other brand marketing positions in jewellery and in health and beauty.

It’s a great feeling to walk into a prestigious store like Harrods, Selfridges or your local supermarket and see your own advertising or promotions at work! I learned a lot about good marketing practices – being responsible for sales and profits and getting other people in agencies or in your own company to do things under your direction when they don’t report to you. Not many women in their twenties can spend such large budgets and be held accountable for them.

  • What do you enjoy most about being in the business?

I love the variety that comes from advising many different business owners and the freedom to choose who you want to work with. Recent work with the Worcestershire Business Accelerator as a core advisor and with the Changing Futures Fund for Worcestershire charities meant meeting many more local organisations and delivering changes in a brief period. It’s challenging but very rewarding. The best days are those when you can celebrate a successful outcome for a customer, perhaps when they gain a new key customer or do well at a trade fair or get a PR article placed in an influential publication.

  • What top 3 words/ phrases describe you best?

Independent, confident, integrity

  • What would you say would be your biggest achievement to date?

Being recognised for our contribution to our industry. Aardvark Marketing have won 4 Technology Innovator awards in the 3 last years for Best SME Marketing company, Best Marketing Automation, Excellence in Marketing Management Services and the Social Media & Content Marketing Specialists. These awards from the international Technology Innovators CV Magazine show that it’s possible for a small business to make an impact.

  • What is your weakness?

I find it very difficult to say ‘no’ and give more free coaching sessions to charities and start-up business owners than is good for my own business! Right now, I’m mentoring in the Birmingham Accelerator Hub, I’m on the Policy committee at the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and the Reducing the Cost of Doing Business committee at the Hereford & Worcestershire Chamber.

  • What motivates you?

At work, the thanks of my customers and learning new skills. Tom Stanhope at VideoTrack is helping me add vlogging to my regular blogs (you can see my efforts on LinkedIn or on our YouTube channel). Otherwise I’m a home loving girl who enjoys a good laugh at a family meal or a quiet afternoon with a book, a glass of wine and some sunshine in the garden.

  • What de-motivates?

That’s easy – IT!  There are always new advances in technology in the marketing world and I’m bombarded by companies trying to sell me their own new software. It’s easy for a business owner to buy a new system, much harder for them to realise the benefits when they have several systems that don’t necessarily talk to each other, making it hard to work out what the return on investment is. I spend hours trying to get hold of technical support people and understand how I can fix problems on behalf of my customers. Oh, and please don’t mention the words’ ‘GDPR’ or ‘Making Tax Digital’ to me unless you’re feeling brave!

  • Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I’m not much good at crystal ball gazing but I hope I’ll still be enjoying working for Aardvark Marketing and managing a larger team.

  • What is the best USP about your current business?

We are outsourced sales and marketing specialists who work as an integral part of each senior management team. Unlike most marketing agencies, who concentrate their expertise on one aspect of marketing, we’re like an independent financial advisor – able to recommend strategies and activities that will deliver the best return for our customers regardless of whether this is digital wizardry, digital advertising or good quality PR, direct mail or trade fairs.

  • What is your favourite local restaurant and shop?

For a coffee and cake in town, Mac and Jacs deli on Friar Street, for Friday night fish & chips, the Crispy Cod in Barbourne and for a family meal, Wildwood in the Crowngate where you can enjoy some people watching as you eat. Favourite shops are always bookshops!

 

You can read all the other Worcestershire’s Talking Heads here https://www.headturnersearch.co.uk/blog/

Aardvark Marketing Consultants | Do what you say

Do what you say

Do what you say

My last blog started with a discussion of IT malfunctions and it might have made me sound like a cross between a technophobe and a grumpy old man, but I hope I’m neither.  I like innovation and I think I’m relatively quick to adopt new technology.  What I don’t like is broken promises and unfortunately IT, both hardware and software seem to be an area where they are far too plentiful.

Marketing is all about promises.  Virtually all marketing communication makes promises to the person receiving it, whether it’s a promotional offer, a new product announcement, advertising, exhibition stands or even a business card.  Sometimes the offer is very explicit for example product performance or service claims. In other instances, it’s more subtle, or just implied.  But if you subscribe to the view (which I do) that all marketing should be aiming to change what someone thinks or what they do, then there must be a promise in there somewhere – the ‘quid pro quo’.

Outside of the world of work and specifically marketing, I have always believed that promises are sacrosanct.  If I promise to do something, I will do everything I possibly can to keep that promise.  To me, it’s an issue of trust.  Promises kept will earn more trust in the future, a promise broken may be the last chance we get with that person.  How many promises do you expect a politician to keep?

In business and marketing, I think it’s the same.  When we make a promise, a customer trusts us to deliver and we need to respect that trust and do everything possible to deliver on our promise.  When someone puts their trust in you, they are taking a risk and you have the power to look after them and reward them or let them down and expose them to the consequences.

Have a look at your own business, and your marketing communications – what promises do you make to existing and new customers?  Are you confident you can deliver on them all, or are one or two stretching your capabilities?  Maybe it’s something you would like to be able to do, but it’s not very easy to make it happen every time.  Perhaps you make a promise so you look better (or at least as good) as the competition?  You could even ask some of your customers how they think you deliver on your promises.

If there is a gap between what you promise and what you can guarantee to deliver, something needs to change – capability improvement or watering down the promise.  In the end, customers will find you out and, when they get the chance, move their business elsewhere.

If you’d like a confidential discussion about your business promises, why not give us a call on 0121 222 5743 or email us here.

Chris