Tag Archives: PR

Welcome to Mark’s Mental Health Marathon and thanks for reading.

Welcome to Mark’s Mental Health Marathon and thanks for reading.

As many of you will already know, 2018 was a difficult year…a year in which I was told I might have three-years to live, followed by extensive diagnostic health checks, regular specialist consultant’s visits, cancelled operations, learning how to cope with insulin dependence and eventually a lung biopsy to confirmation a long-term inflammatory lung disease requiring ongoing steroids and, this year, powerful immuno-suppressants that are also used in chemotherapy treatments.  My mother’s untimely death hardly helped the year along!

This year I’ve been offered an opportunity of a lifetime – so, I’m undertaking a sponsored 80km trek to Angkor Wat in Cambodia to raise money for Mental Health UK, Lloyds Bank’s chosen charity. So, why would an insulin-dependent diabetic with only two thirds lung capacity want to take on such a physical challenge in oppressive heat of 35°c and saturating humidity of over 80%?

It’s all about saying ‘thank you’ to the community that supported me and kept me going through the ups and downs of 2018.  Of course, the support from friends and family is invaluable at times like these but I had more, much more. I experienced surprising and very welcome support from my networks of clients, colleagues, professional partners. People who would regularly pick up the phone or drop me an email and simply ask…‘I was just thinking of you, how are you doing?’…and still do!

So the challenge I’ve set myself is to pay-back to everyone who provided that invaluable support network. It’s my way of saying thank you to a fantastic business community.

I want to make a difference in 3 ways:-

  • I’d like the business community to be increasingly capable of supporting people experiencing mental health issues; by being more effective and efficient at spotting issues and hopefully preventing them from developing into something more serious.
  • I’d like everyone in my business community to be able to say ” Yes, I’ve got something out of this for myself, for my team and for my business”.
  • Raising £25,000 for a truly worthwhile and practical charity – Mental Health UK so that they can support many others going through difficult times with mental health issues.

So I invite you all to get involved with me. This might be by attending one of my fundraising events, being one of my corporate sponsors or by coming along to one of our mental health awareness seminars and hearing from expert speakers on mental health issues.

Look out for regular updates on these events as the year progresses, culminating in my trek to Cambodia as part of a team of 70 Lloyds bank staff during the rainy reason in October!

So, can I encourage you, please, to give generously to a cause that at some stage in our lives we all may need to rely on to support our family, friends, or even ourselves.

Whatever amount you might choose to donate, you have my heartfelt appreciation.  Donations can be made most easily through my Just Giving page or, if preferred, by cheque made payable to ‘LBG Charity of the Year’.

Please be kind enough to ‘like’ and ‘share’ my blog posts with your social media connections so we can spread the word. With your support, together, we can make a difference to our community.

With my personal thanks,


With thanks to Mark Smith our guest blogger this week. Aardvark Marketing Consultants are supporting Mark in his fundraising efforts.

Aardvark Marketing | Have you heard the one about the agency who…..

Have you heard the one about the agency who…..

Have you heard the one about the agency who…..

For many business managers, if you mention the words ‘marketing agency’ they’ll run a mile. We have a fearsome reputation akin to estate agents, investment bankers and salespeople. We’re expensive. We don’t generate leads. We beat unsuspecting business people into submission by using unfamiliar jargon about social media, google analytics, blogs, landing pages, automation, SEO etc. Sounds familiar?
At the same time, most busy business owners recognise that they don’t have the resources to run consistently good marketing activity. We may be well intentioned and start the new year with a plan and a resolution to turn over a new leaf but then reality takes over. We get bogged down with the daily challenges of delivering products or services to our customers. Occasionally we deal with an urgent and important sales lead and have a proposal or a tender to write, which always seems to take up far more of our time then we had bargained for. Then there are staff to deal with, IT issues, telephone calls and emails to answer, the VAT return to submit and before we know it the marketing activity has been moved back. Yet again.
Typically, it’s at this point, when the MD is at the end of his/her tether and cannot cope with time pressure any longer that an agency gets appointed to ‘take care of all that marketing stuff for me’. Initially it’s such a relief that they don’t have to deal with this that the monthly bill isn’t an issue. After all, we’ve done what our business mentor or coach has been urging us to do for ages – we’ve delegated it, saved ourselves a whole load of time and we’re proud of what we’ve achieved.
The agency come in with some attractive images for new websites, a re-branding, a beautiful sales presenter or a spreadsheet showing how many tweets they’ve sent out or how much they’ve spent on pay per click advertising and away they go. A few months later, when we’re sat in the management meeting looking at the sales pipeline figures or reviewing the year with our accountant, there can be a shock. We’ve not delegated our marketing activity so much as abdicated responsibility for it.
By not controlling the agenda for review meetings (or even having them regularly) with agencies we allow them to set their agenda in its place. Some marketing companies are quite happy to continue producing creative work without a proper brief or without rigorous measuring of results in place.
Sometimes when we start work with a new customer they express satisfaction with their agency. But not always. We’ve heard stories of agencies that have generated no new sales leads in 18 months. Website companies that quote £15,000 for an e-commerce website when a realistic price was under £5,000. ‘Lovely’ ladies who will manage your Twitter account for you for a few hundred pounds a month but who haven’t produced a single prospect after 12 months. How about an agency that charge you £60 per hour for a junior team member to produce a timesheet to justify their invoice?
Or the opposite can happen, when the activity appears to be very effective. For example, a new telemarketing company who have generated plenty of ‘leads’ but, after a very time-consuming process of writing a detailed proposal or going to a meeting with the prospect, they turn out to be prospects who haven’t a sufficient large budget to engage your services. A website company that tells you how much more traffic has gone to your website but neglect to inform you that the bounce rate for these visitors is over 90% because they are searching for the wrong keywords?
That’s where a part-time marketing director can help. Someone who is wholly ‘on your side’ when it comes to managing your agency. Someone who can set out the right strategy, prevent you wasting time and money on the wrong activities, negotiate a great deal from newspapers and magazines for PR and advertorial without resorting to expensive advertising. Someone who understands that your precious marketing budget needs to be invested properly to generate quality and well as quantity from your sales leads. Someone who can manage that creative agency to get the best from their talents.
If you’d like to have a confidential chat about how to get better results from managing your agency then call us on 0121 222 5743, or email us here.

Aardvark Marketing Consultants | free business support for Worcestershire businesses

Aardvark Marketing expand their PR services

Aardvark Marketing expand their PR services

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

Greater Birmingham Chambers news – marketing firm expands offering

Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber news – Aardvark Marketing Expand PR