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Editor's round-up: cakes, cash and a wordle

March 26, 2010 by Simon Wicks

It’s been a great week: fun, exciting and we’ve had the best traffic figures ever on the Marketing Donut. The most popular single item of the week was our case study of the online cupcake community, How we got together online to boost our cupcake business.This produced a fantastic response within the world of cupcake makers, who spent the whole week sharing the article and spreading the word about the Marketing Donut. I’d like one of these, thanks guys:

Cupcakes at Liana's Star Bakery

But probably our biggest draw overall this week was our extensive Budget coverage on Wednesday – and this is what made it such a busy and exciting week. I blogged live as the Chancellor read his speech, the team tweeted like crazy and we published a Budget round-up and the reaction from small businesses before the end of the day.

We were really pleased to be the only news organisation to spot the National Minimum Wage increase on Budget day itself. This wasn’t in the Chancellor’s speech, but buried deeply in the Budget Notes where it was spotted by one of our eagle-eyed editors. We called the Treasury, checked it out and slipped it into our coverage minutes before publication. Result.

The Budget also produced my favourite thing on the Marketing Donut this week – our James’s rapid response analysis of the Budget in words and pictures. Take a look; it made me smile.

Post-Budget, it was an early start on Thursday morning for a trip to our Bristol office where I delivered an editorial training and went to the Bristol Twestival in the evening. This fundraising networking event was kind of a who’s who on the Internet in Bristol, which is a real new media hub. It got a bit raucous and raised in the region of £4,000 for Concern Worldwide, who are no doubt very happy indeed. Good stuff.

Now it’s back to earth and the business of providing good marketing information to small businesses. We’ll be updating our favourite things with more books, videos and websites you should be reading, watching and visiting, Plus, we’ll have information on mobile phone apps, advice on closing a sale and tips for making your business stand out from the crowd.

Like Minds: What was your take-home message?

March 01, 2010 by James Ainsworth

Like Minds People-to-People was about making valuable and meaningful connections. The test now is the connections everyone makes in their sector — armed with the wisdom gained from attending the conference — be that in person or virtually.

We asked attendees to provide us with their take-home message from the keynotes, panel discussions and extensive networking that took place well into the night.

Take-home 1: Strategy's purpose is to enable execution. NOT the other way around. @chrisbrogan wisdom.

Take-home 2: Remove the "media" from Social Media. SM engineering for orgs isn't about media.

Take-home 3: Humanising corporate communications offers a wealth of operational and tactical advantages.

Bonus take-home: @chrisbrogan is every bit as smart as he claims not to be. Truly outstanding.



Take-home: Inspiration, reflection, motivation, acceleration, comprehension, lubrication and a lot of bloody good ideas.



Take-home: Content counts.



Take-home: This is a new medium not a new form of communication, Twitter is the tool, people power it. Authenticity beats brand veneer.



Take-home: Like Minds was jaw droppingly awesome, the creative mix was lovely magic!



Take-home: Inspiring, awesome event. All about the people as the title suggested :)



Take-home: Mine is never, ever take fashion tips from Americans - no matter how famous they are :) #likeminds



Take-home: How can you use available tools to make others feel special? That's a key question.



Take-home: Stimulating, thought provoking and professional. Unexpectedly good way to spend a Friday!


Please do add any further take-home comments below.

Sticking your brand together

February 24, 2010 by John Hayward

Once set, you’ll need to ensure all of the things you can influence are glued together and working toward that unique brand positioning. If you're spending money on marketing materials with different straplines, changeable designs, copy that sounds different or doesn't match up to what you stand for, or products that don't match your brand promise then it's wasting the full potential of your marketing investment.  People won’t recognise you, or understand what your brand is about.

Good strong brands do this well and are more stable because of it. Lets take Apple. They tirelessly work on creating innovative new products that work, that people love because of the way they work and because they are at the forefront of the latest technology. They just love making great stuff! So what do they do to back this up and support the positioning? Everything!

Their advertising, website and product brochures all fit together - you know it's Apple as soon as you see it. The products all look cool, even the accessories. Functionally people love to show the product off - look, it can do this! The shops, well they're cool too. And the people in them know their stuff, they help and reflect the brand. They run workshops in the shops on how to get the most out of the products, as well as the usual online support and video tutorials. You can even book time one on one with a ‘Genius' in their shops if you just want some help face-to-face. Everyone loves to show off the product because it's so good. It's just relentless pursuit of their brand positioning.

Apple have got their brand positioning and direction totally clear, and then they execute everything to support it ruthlessly and consistently. Take one area of the business and fail to deliver, or do something a bit different and things start to unravel. Done well, even knitting the simplest marketing activity together like a website, van, you and a business card, and you’ll see dividends.

John Hayward of Brand Glue

Surge in Digital Sponsorship

February 17, 2010 by Jackie Fast

Sponsorship, once a symbol of corporate excess, is now finding its place within the business world—especially in the digital sector, where sponsors know how to best maximise ROI from these channels.  By its nature sponsorship creates ideal digital marketing opportunities.  It has the flexibility to provide platforms for brands to create exclusive content and online experiences as well as being able to engage directly with their audience.

Marketers are desperately searching for new and economical avenues to create stronger relationships between their brands and target audiences. One avenue that’s resurgent is sponsorship, which is proving a powerful way to engage with consumers while cost-effectively growing the business at the same time – a win-win situation for all involved.

For example Silverpop, a U.S.-based organisation that provides worldwide Web-based solutions, signed up to exclusively sponsor the 2010 DMA Digital Tracking Study.  This partnership has provided Silverpop with a sought-after tool to reach out to the top marketing professionals in the UK, a market that they are developing.  Additionally, this has helped the DMA to provide the latest research to its members. 

Although partnerships are not a new theory, strategic business sponsorships can be new territory.  However, providing they fit, they can be immensely successful.  As digital marketers are usually first on the starting block I anticipate this trend will continue to grow across other sectors for those companies looking for more cost-effective and engaged marketing.

If you aren’t part of the digital sponsors who make up more than 50% of the total sponsors at the DMA, you might be wondering what you are missing.

Jackie Fast of Direct Marketing Association

How can creating an individual customer view add real value to your data?

February 10, 2010 by Phil Capper

Companies are generally very good at collecting customer data. They have processes and systems in place to record every touch point a customer has with them. Whether it be in-store, online, through an email or direct mail campaign or via telesales and telemarketing, behaviour is tracked from various sources and saved into various systems.
However, all too often this data is not integrated, it is stored in different locations or departments (web databases/offline databases/telesales databases etc) and is never consolidated into one central location. As a result companies fail to create an individual customer view and ultimately miss seeing the value of their data.
This is because segmented customer data can’t be analysed for trends or buying habits and opportunities to cross sell or up sell are missed. Most importantly, you cannot build a relationship with your customer without knowing everything about them.
By using an intelligent data management solution that will automatically pull customer data from your various sources into one central database, you can start to build an individual view of each customer, learn everything about them and begin to build valuable, meaningful relationships.
When you can see, on one simple interface who your customer is, their browsing and buying history, what messages they respond to, how they respond, at what time, what they like and don’t like you can communicate with them in a relevant and targeted way, learn about them and understand how they interact with you. By doing this you begin to add real value to your data.
The next step needs to be taken in data capture and individual customer views need to be created to ensure trends and behaviours aren’t missed or ignored and businesses can begin to learn about every aspect of their customer.

Phil Capper of Parker Sandford Ltd

Brand positioning

February 05, 2010 by John Hayward

People like to understand what they're buying into, and see if it fits their values and what they're all about. It could be quality, cool, innovation, value, leadership, surprise, luxury, expertise - the list could go on and for any one brand incorporate an appropriate combination of these.

That core brand promise and positioning sits at the heart of everything. We call it brand glue, and it drives many different business decisions and activities including your marketing. It knits everything together and is something that needs careful thought, so it reflects your brand truthfully and as far as possible is different from your competition.

Think BMW aligning behind a premium driving experience, Nike making sportswear for winners and Disney uniting behind a goal to provide happiness and magic. Things wouldn't be quite so effective or memorably unique if they positioned themselves to make expensive cars, colourful footwear and somewhere to take the kids with a good line in mouse hats.

Similarly, confused thinking and lack of clarity can reflect in a confused customer. Imagine if Tesco wanted to state they were the leading supermarket in the country, the best. Let's also add in great service and low prices. Ooo but lets not forget it's an innovative supermarket too for good measure, and the fact that they're pretty keen on the environment. Far easier to remember they want to do everything they can to help you with your shopping down to the tiniest little detail. Everything else is just features.

A well looked after brand will eventually become clearly understood and familiar, as well as something that customers are willing to spend their money on.  That’s good brand positioning.

John Hayward of Brand Glue

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