Policies – Just don’t drop the ball!

We live and work in an age where the freedoms you may have once had in building your business have become increasingly tied to regulations and legislation and they permeate every discipline. Most are robust and are designed to leave no room for manoeuvre, whilst others may allow a difference of interpretation that doesn’t immediately lead to a financial penalty. Either the difficulty you have is that the policies you produce on the back of these should be clear and unambiguous and act to position the relationships with your stakeholders, be they customers or employees. Yet despite this (obvious) understanding, mistakes seem to be made from the very largest of organisations to the very smallest. A few months ago, the … Read More >

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“Experts built the Titanic didn’t they?”

Astronomer or Astronaut - who has the most experience in space

Over the last twenty-four months there’s been a lot of dialogue and feverish activity in some quarters surrounding the introduction of the new European data protection regulations (known as GDPR), the aim of which is the safeguarding of personal data in a business context. During this time, I’ve come across a variety of business responses that follow several marketing models, from those who rapidly adopt anything and everything that’s new to support their business positioning, through to those who significantly lag behind. I’ve spoken with a Chairman who believes it’ll be nothing more than a damp squib, likening it to Y2K, other large operators that ignored it until the last two months prior to introduction, some who have copied Privacy … Read More >

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To Charge or Not to Charge?

20th century social thinker & philanthropist

We live and work in an age where competition for market space has never been greater, so whether you’re selling coffee or cars it’s inevitable that most businesses feel compelled to provide schemes such as, ‘try before you buy’, ‘buy now pay later’ and ‘interest free’ offers. These schemes may be particularly relevant if you are trying to leverage your product amongst a wider group of consumers (such as those mentioned), but I’ve begun to notice that these initiatives are becoming more prevalent in the area of consulting too, and not just amongst the new entrants desperate for a piece of the sector. I accept that any business regardless of size may want to do adopt a range of initiatives … Read More >

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The Research That’s Generally Overlooked by B2B SME’s (your competitor’s customers)

Ask most consumers to tell you what they know about market research and they’ll invariably recall one of the many questionnaires they’ve received into their email account or smart phone after a recent shopping experience. Ask the same of the SME business-to-business environment and we often see an identical response, that of a business owner who cites a personal consumer experience. So why would a business owner not reference a business example as his/her first thought, and what does this tell us? Here’s four learnt conclusions; – Members of the SME business community rely instead on turnover and profitability figures believing these to be the only valid indicator for current (& potential) success. SME businesses who have used off-the-shelf tools … Read More >

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GDPR ‘Traffic Lighting’ – A Business Differentiator for the Consent Process

  We spend the vast majority of our time supporting SME businesses who rely on us to provide them with recommendations, observations and thoughts on how to continue building their businesses and their brands. One of the most significant subjects has been the new GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) and in particular the matter of consent. In January 2017, we ‘kicked’ this subject around for a good couple of months whilst we assessed (as best as we could at that time) how much needed to be done to remain compliant. It soon became clear that these firms could choose to follow hundreds if not thousands of other firms and do nothing (believing they were already compliant), or to take the … Read More >

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Marketer vs Marketing Leader!

We’ve been in a situation in marketing for a long time now where most people’s understanding of marketing is at the most basic level, so basic in fact that thousands upon thousands of firms who recruit ‘marketers’ tend to do so to fulfil a simple communications exercise with external stakeholders. Consequently marketing is seen as being a task that truly anyone in an organisation can fulfil and consequently they prefer to leave it to others. However, professional marketing is for me one of the single most important tasks within any organisation and it’s only right to explore why I believe this to be the case. According to “The 12 Powers of a Marketing Leader” by Thomas Barta and Patrick Barwise, … Read More >

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Just Good Old Fashioned Customer Service

Balanced Scorecard

Businesses, particularly those in very competitive industries will often be encouraged to focus on the elements of marketing’s 7P’s model in order to stand out from the crowd. These 7 P’s are: Product, Price, Place, Promotion, People, Process and Physical Evidence; but each of these can be very complex areas that require a lot of examination and subsequent investment. Just twelve months on from the purchase of my wife’s German car we’ve returned it to the main agent for its first service. It was bought from a very large brand whose franchise is owned by a long-standing British firm which can easily ‘tick the boxes’ on five of our seven P’s. But the problems we have encountered with the remaining … Read More >

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Shared objectives require defining for success

I’ve been running my consultancy for many years now, 14 to be precise and during this time we’ve been lucky enough to work with many wonderful people. I used to think that this was just good luck on our part until recently when I started to question this element we refer to as ‘luck’. In fact I recall one business owner saying to me during a car journey that “the harder he worked, the luckier he seemed to get”. I hadn’t heard this before and so it struck me as being very insightful. But since that time I’ve thought about this even further. Take for example my comment about being ‘lucky enough’ to work with many wonderful people which really … Read More >

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It’s time to treat your data much more seriously

New UK data privacy rules - GDPR

In October I wrote a blog about the introduction of new data regulations that will come into force for UK and EU businesses on the 25th May 2018. If you’ve not read it and you don’t know what this is all about, I’d recommend that you do as it should help to reassure you what needs to be done to limit your risk as a business and as a company director/data controller. It will also help you appreciate the associated risks of buying in any consumer data, namely fines imposed of up to 20 million Euros.  I for one am personally delighted to see the new regulations coming into force, but I can also see that it will be quite … Read More >

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GDPR – Ignorance is no defence

If you’ve heard about this and are already preparing your business congratulations, if not then you really need to be aware of the changes coming our way that will most likely affect all businesses in the UK in 2018. So what is GDPR? It stands for ‘General Data Protection Regulation’ and it is designed to bring all European countries into line on matters of personal and commercial data protection enforcing such policies on all member states (surprisingly not all have robust policies). Of course it’s long overdue bearing in mind how much has changed with managing personal data since the Data Protection Act of 1998 was brought into being in the UK. Many consumers are in the dark about how … Read More >

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