Tag Archives: Chris Hutchinson

Aardvark Marketing | Does your marketing need to shift it's focus?

Does your marketing need to shift its focus?

Does your marketing need to shift its focus?

As we approach the end of another very challenging year, many businesses will be engaged in planning for 2022.  Marketers will be looking forward to 2022, setting new targets, building plans and setting up projects.  Of course, this activity always involves some reviewing of current and recent performance, and what is going on in our marketplace.

After nearly two years of very different circumstances, I think it’s a really good time to look a bit more carefully at what has happened.  Are we all really reverting back to pre-Covid “normality” or has the world changed?

If, like me you conclude that some of the changes to our behaviours and values that have emerged during the pandemic are not simply going to fade away, but have become part of the way we are now, then we need to consider what implications this has for marketing?

It has been said that the 1950s triggered the boom in consumer marketing when supply began to exceed demand for consumer goods.  Faced with surplus goods and services, brand owners needed to convince consumers to buy more and to buy their brand.  The practice of marketing and the investment in marketing activity grew exponentially over the following decades in a bid to convince consumers to buy named brands, or even adopt completely new products and services.

However, in the last 2 years, many of my clients have found significant challenges in other areas.  Supply of materials has been a consistent issue for many businesses; whether due to Brexit complications, shipping costs, availability of HGV drivers, shortage of computer chips, supplier shutdowns due to power rationing, reduced working due to Covid or a myriad of other reasons.

Another growing trend has been the difficulty in recruiting new people and holding on to current staff.  Recruiters are consistently reporting a shortage of candidates and suddenly there are regular references to “The Great Resignation”.  A recent study by MetLife showed that over half of employees are considering leaving their job in the next 18 months

If these changes turn out to be more than a temporary change, then what does this mean for marketing?

If supply and demand are moving back towards an equilibrium, it sends prices upwards which may help profits, but what else changes?  How much should we invest in driving demand that we may then struggle to fulfil? Could it be that we can be more choosy about our customers – who’s business do we really want?  Or do we need to focus more of our marketing efforts on the supply side of business?

Call us on 01905 885 285  or email us  if you’d like to re-assess what really matters with marketing.

Happy 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 | 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 | 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 01905 885 285 , email us  or send us an enquiry .

Happy Marketing,in 2020!


Aardvark Marketing Consultants | How full is your stress bucket?

How full is your ‘stress bucket’?

How full is your ‘stress bucket’?

I had the good fortune to attend a “Mental health in the workplace” seminar earlier this week.  Of the many interesting facts and ideas shared with the audience, one particularly resonated with me.  The speakers from Mental Health UK talked about the concept of a stress bucket.  You can find more information on their website  but here is my take on the idea.

Aardvark Marketing Consultants | How full is your stress bucket?The ‘stress bucket’ has a number of feeds (rain clouds in the diagram) which are the things that cause us stress.  They could be work related, but also from our personal lives, health or even wider factors that we can’t necessarily control but increase our stress level.  At the bottom of the bucket are outlets (I think of them as taps), which we use to reduce our stress.  Examples could be exercise, socialising or listening to music.  Over time our stress levels go up and down depending on the flow of stress into our bucket and how much stress we release through our taps.

There were three key observations which I took away from the seminar and I want to use in my work and home life:

Firstly, everyone has a different size stress bucket. Some people have buckets the size of a skip, while for others it’s more like a thimble.  That’s just the way it is, we can’t change it.  In practice it means some people have more capacity for additional stress before they need to open their taps, while others have a limited capacity and need to keep opening taps.  The flip side is also true; those with a smaller bucket can de-stress faster.  We need to be sensitive to those around us and recognise how big their bucket is and do what we can to accommodate this and support them in managing their stress bucket.

Thinking about the stress bucket and how it works made me realise that as my stress bucket fills up, I tend to self-sabotage.  I tell myself that I don’t have the time to do the things that are my ‘taps’ – exercise, read, meet up with friends … Not only does this prevent the release of stress, the fact that I know I should be doing these things adds more stress!

Related to this is the harsh reality that it’s almost impossible to help someone else with their stress levels, or in any other way if our own stress bucket is full.  Managing our own stress bucket, opening our taps gives us capacity to help others and also sets a positive example to everyone around us.  Taking time out to get back in balance when we need it isn’t selfish; it’s the first step to helping the colleagues, friends and family we want to support.

If this is a subject that interests you or you want to learn more about mental health in the workplace, there are two more seminars in October and November, click here to find out more.



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 01905 885 285 or contact us here.

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 01905 885 285 for a free and confidential chat?

Happy marketing,


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For a free and confidential consultation about how Aardvark Marketing can help your business call us today on 01905 885 285 or contact us here

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

Aardvark Marketing Consultants | In a race to the bottom who loses?

In a race to the bottom who loses?

In a race to the bottom who loses?

I had the unhappy task today of attending the funeral of my uncle. He died a couple of weeks ago aged 89 and packed a lot into those 89 years. One of the comments made about him was about his attitude to work-life balance.

Now, bear in mind that he retired in the mid-1980s and I’m not sure the phrase had been christened at that point, but he did have a firm view on how he allocated his time and energy between work and family. He was scarily intelligent (he was disappointed if it took more than 10 minutes to complete the Daily Telegraph crossword) and was employed in a senior role in a major insurance company, based in the city of London. He never once missed breakfast with his family, was always home for evening meal with them and “never did one minute of overtime, never took a work call out of hours and took two holidays every year where work was never considered.”

Of course, it’s easy to say that was a different time, before email, mobiles phones, the Internet etc. etc.

But all those things were supposed to make life better for us.

And yet this afternoon, I sat with the rest of the congregation during the service and talked to them afterwards and heard great story after story about my uncle in his work, the time he gave to good causes and how much he put in to being a husband, dad and grandfather. I wondered if any of the technological ‘advances’ of the last 30 years would have made him more admired, better remembered or more loved. I don’t think so.

As with most ‘advances’ there are choices about how they are employed, and we are complicit in those choices. If the digital age just means we all work longer, are more stressed, and don’t give our full attention to those who matter most when they need it, just to avoid being left behind, but don’t gain any meaningful advantage then what’s the point? It’s like discounting – driven by fear of missing out, but the only measurable result is reduced profit.

I would love to think that when it’s my turn (hopefully not for a long time) those who attend my funeral would say as many nice things about me as I heard said this afternoon, but I I know the work-life balance stories won’t be as glowing and that doesn’t feel good.


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 01905 885 285 or email us here.