Category Archives: Uncategorized

Watford Workshop featured on Radio Verulam’s The Business

Watford Workshop logo

Over the last few months I’ve been doing some volunteering for Watford Workshop, helping them with some B2B Marketing activity.

The charity helps disabled and disadvantaged people to develop work skills and allows them have greater independence, become more integrated into the community and where possible move them onto mainstream employment.

To achieve this, Watford Workshop delivers comprehensive, high quality and competitively priced services to its commercial customers from their workshop on Century Retail Park.

The broader issue of disability in the workplace was covered by Radio Verulam’s Trevor Merriden in a recent episode of The Business. The programme features the work of the charity along with interviews with some of the staff, which you can hear again below:

If you would like to find out more about the types of services offered, take a look at www.watfordworkshop.co.uk or drop me a line.

2012 blog review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for my blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 2,300 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 4 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

I’m happy that this represents a c. 30% increase in views from 2011, especially as I didn’t write any new posts between June and December. In total, the site’s had over 4,200 views since mid 2010 when I first started blogging.

In 2013, I’m committing to publishing posts far more frequently than in 2012, so I hope you find them useful. I’d love to hear your feedback, so feel free to leave a comment on any post or drop me a line.

In the meantime, thanks for following my blog and I wish you and your loved ones a healthy, happy and successful 2013.

Sage: Trade Show Marketing how it should be done

I was at the Business Start-Up Show recently, a trade show with seminars and over 300 exhibitors targeting the small and start-up business market. I stopped by a number of stands that day, and although I was there as a ‘punter’, I couldn’t help but keep putting my B2B Marketing hat back on to critique their performance.

One business that stood out as the most impressive that day has to be Sage. As you’ll see below, from a delegate perspective they were excellent, but as a B2B Marketer myself, you could tell they had a clear and structured plan for engaging with their audience before, during and after the show:

Before:

I had pre-registered for the Business Planning Workshop that Sage were running as part of the extensive seminar programme. I was booked onto the 10.30am slot, on the first day of the show.

I got to Earls Court early, but had to take a phone call that I didn’t want to take in a queue of people, so was only able to join the substantial queue at 09.45, with doors opening at 10.00.

By about 10.15 it became clear that the queue wasn’t moving (except in length) and I was hoping that someone inside was listening when I tweeted:

Clearly, the marketing team at Sage were geared up for engaging with customers and prospects, and tweeted back, which started a conversation with the brand before I had even got into the building.

Fortunately, soon after, common sense prevailed and the organisers started letting pre-registered delegates through en masse without signing-in. I managed to get through to the Sage stand where I was met with a friendly smile and a member of staff that personally escorted me to the Business Planning Workshop, which was about to commence.

During:

The workshop was very useful, and with free planning software as a giveaway, I definitely wanted to find out more about what Sage offered as I had traditionally associated them with accounting software.

Their exhibition space was well laid out, open and inviting. There were well signposted zones for information on various product types, and I found the people friendly, knowledgeable and engaging.

Sage stand at Business Start Up 2011, Earls CourtSage stand at Business Start Up 2011, Earls Court (2)I received a demo on Sage Act! from a member of staff who was extremely patient as he ran through the demo and answered my questions.

It would have been the easiest thing in the world to push for a sale, after a 40 minute demo, but it felt to me like the strategy for the day was engagement and lead generation. I happily gave my contact details and agreed to receive a follow-up.

After visiting maybe a dozen or so other stands (and walking past all others), most appeared to lack any kind of clear strategy.

So impressed was I with my Sage experience, that on the way out, I tweeted the following, which was amplified across the business show audience by 6 retweets:

After:

A day or two later, I got a follow-up email from someone introducing themselves as my account manager, with their contact details should I have any other questions.

A couple of weeks on, I received the attached follow-up email to invite me to a webinar, the creative linking back to the exhibition and signposting a discount offer unique to attendees of the show.

Screen grab of Sage email follow-up, including show-specific discount offer

I signed up for the webinar, and had another demo today. For me, the picture is complete and I now have all the information I need and will be buying Sage Act! at some point soon.

Get a life! Why are you reviewing a trade show?!

All too often in my experience, exhibitions are criticised as a waste of money, time or both. From what I saw on the day, I’m sure for many exhibitors this was true.

However, as Sage have shown, the key to successful exhibition marketing is to have a strategy for engaging with your customers and prospects Before, During and After the show, exhibition or event.

Well done Sage, and thanks for supplying the photos of the exhibition stand and agreeing for their use in this post.

What do you think? Are you in sales or marketing and have any trade show marketing tips to share? How does your business maximise the return on investment from trade shows? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

High street music woes strike a chord

Buying music has changed so much since I was a lad. Growing up in 1980’s Nottingham involved a weekly pilgrimage to Selectadisc, where I’d buy the latest Rush or David Lee Roth album. As my tastes evolved, I’d pick up a second hand rarity or two such as the original 12″ single of The Sugarcubes’ “Birthday”.

Whatever came home with me on the bus in that distinctive bag was part of the experience of buying music that will never be the same again.

With news today (http://tinyurl.com/24chgjp) that HMV is closing 40 stores following a 13.6% slump in sales, the future of high street music retail still looks uncertain. Buyer behaviour has changed, even for ‘Digital Immigrants’ like me (see http://tinyurl.com/2g4ncz8). 

The world has changed and we can now, via an iPhone and an App called Red Laser, instantly scan the barcode whilst you’re in a store and find out how much the CD/DVD is retailing for on Amazon, Play and a number of other online stores. Whilst the high street presence may capture footfall, how much of the potential revenue ‘leaks’ to online sources? I fear that stores like HMV risk falling into the “Woolworths trap” of ‘doing lots, badly’, with an unclear value proposition of the kind that ultimately led to the demise of Woolies.

I hope HMV survives and thrives, but to do so, it must work out what it is trying to be, and to whom. It then needs to clearly communicate this value proposition. Is it a Games, DVD or Music Retailer? Is it a price discounter or a destination store for connoisseurs where you can get good advice on your product selection? Can it successfully continue to be all things to all men, women, boys and girls?

For many, the act of browsing and buying music as a physical product is still attractive. I miss Selectadisc.