Thursday 30 January 2014

Marketing Method Matters (2) The pros and cons of marketing

Welcome to the second installment of our series on marketing methods. In the last post, we identified why businesses should use marketing strategies and even named a few of them.

When you choose to employ a marketing method, you need to ensure that it embodies the AIDA principles, so will look at that before going on to explore some passive marketing techniques in detail.

Attention: The first step must be to grab the attention of your potential client or customer.
Interest:Once you have their interest, keep them looking at your brand.
Desire:  Make them want your service or product over similar ones.
Action: Close the sale, provide the best product, with the best customer service.

So whether you are sending bulk emails, cold calling, blogging or making a T.V advert, ensuring it adheres to these principles will greatly affect the success of your campaign.

Let's look at the pros and cons of using warm and cold calling as a  marketing strategy:


·       Cold calling can annoy the person or company that you are calling, meaning that you are already starting with a disadvantage. It's also easy for the potential client to hang up on  you.
·       It can be expensive, either you have to take the time to do it yourself, which takes you away from the other practicalities of your business, or  you have  to employ someone to do it for you.
·       Research shows that the success rate of even getting an appointment to discuss your product or service is low, let alone making that all important sale.
·       If you are using a warm calling method, where you have a lead that has been generated by your website or customer query it can be time sensitive, if you do not contact them quickly they may have have taken their money to another business.
·       Actually speaking to the decision maker in a business can be difficult. 


·       You can pre-select who you attempt to contact. This makes it more likely that when you do speak with someone they will be interested on what you  have to say, even more so with warm calling.
·       You are being proactive instead of waiting for your clients to come knocking on your door.
·       As long as your potential client has a phone, you can attempt to make contact, regardless of their location in relation to you.

This type of marketing strategy is better suited to some businesses than others, and all businesses should use multiple techniques. We will look at more marketing methods next time.

All of us at Blue Box hope that you enjoy reading our blog.  Should you need help with implementing your marketing strategies, don't hesitate to contact us by phone at 084 3289 3288 or by email at

Learn more about Blue Box and the services we provide at 

See you at the next installment

Thursday 16 January 2014

Marketing Method Matters (1) Strategies for Continued Growth

Welcome to  the first post in our mini series about marketing. This post will explain why every business should be investing time, and sometimes even money in an effective marketing strategy. By the end of this post, you will also be able to identify some mainstream strategies, the remaining posts in the series will develop your understanding of these strategies.

Whatever your business is about, whatever your sector, whether you work on business to business, retail or service basis your client or customer base needs to know, not only that you exist, but that you are the best at what you do.

This is where marketing strategies come in. Even if you already  have more business than you can poke a stick at, you still need to be looking for your next new client, because your current clients may not be clients in the future because of any one of a whole multitude of reasons, and they will then need to be replaced.

Basically, a good marketing strategy will:

1.    Build  brand awareness. Even if a potential client does not need your service or product now, they may do in the future, you want to be the first company that they think of when they do.
2.    Build relationships with new and existing clients. Clients new and existing want to feel appreciated. Even a vague sense of familiarity breeds confidence in your company.
3.    Increase the sales of your product or service, which in turn boosts your profits. Everybody wants to make at least enough money to have a good life and has hopes for an early retirement!

So, what types of marketing strategies are out there. They will initially fall into two broad categories;  Active and Passive marketing;

Active marketing techniques mean just that. You are making a concerted effort to encourage people to buy in to whatever it is you are selling. Common examples include T.V, radio, telemarketing, (whether they are warm or cold calls.) Direct email campaigns, where you email the same email to a number of recipients, and leafleting.

Passive marketing is more about raising brand awareness. With these techniques, you are often playing the long game as you build relationships, communicate with your clients, provide the highest level of customer service, consider the placement of your business in directories, (traditional or online) and your ranking on Google. Common examples of passive marketing include, search engine optimisation, blogging, public relations, article submissions, (again either online or in newspapers and magazines) and writing white papers.

All at Blue Box Consultancy hope that you have enjoyed reading this post. Should it have raised any questions for  you, please feel free to contact us by phone at 084 3289 3288 or by email at 

See you at the next post which will cover some active marketing techniques in more detail.

Learn more about Blue Box, our people and the work that we do at 

Monday 6 January 2014

New Year, new resolutions - same great people and service!

January is well underway, but it is not too late to adopt some last-minute resolutions.  As is custom at the beginning of each year business owners across the world will make resolutions (some of which will be adopted, some of which will go by the wayside) to improve themselves as well as their organisations. 
It is in this spirit that, here at Blue Box, we would share with you some of our resolutions for 2014.  All of these are designed to move our business forward and some are more challenging than others.
Join us throughout the year to see how we are getting along with implementing these.
See below our 10 New Years Resolutions for 2014;
1. Make the most of what we have got

We are going to get the best out of the technology that we deploy both in our office and with our customers.  We will use technology to save us and our customers time, money and effort.  We will be developing our mobile side too – as the majority of the business world works at least some of the time on mobile devices, we will update and improve our systems to ensure that we do too.  We will not be defeated by technology in 2014!
2.  We will become (even more) organised
We are all guilty of leaving things until the last minute, but this year we are going to be well organised.  This will include keeping an organised inbox, automating the majority of our accounting processes and then cleaning up our business contacts database (so they are complete and organised and accessible – see point 1, above).  Never again will we be burning the midnight oil to meet a deadline that we have known about for ages!
 3. Get closer to customers
 As we head into 2014, one of our key resolutions is to continue innovating the ways in which we engage with our customers. We view our customers in terms of relationships, not transactions, so it is critical that we are delivering value to them in every interaction, before and after the sale. We will use social media to help us to create and manage our online communities and strengthen our relationships (so be warned!).  Find us on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook
4. Make customer service a priority

It's a fact: customer service can make or break your relationship with current and even future customers (see our previous blog article about poor customer service). Looking ahead to 2014, customer service should be a priority for every small business. We see small businesses taking advantage of the cloud to work smarter and make customers happier.  A recent survey showed that over 25% of small business owners would rather go to the dentist than pick up the phone and speak to a customer!  We will continue to promote customer service as a differentiator in our industry and we will champion the cause (so, again, be warned)
5. Focus our marketing efforts

In 2014, we plan to grow spending on marketing along with revenue. In the age of digital marketing, everything is now measurable, and marketing is more accountable than ever.  We will learn from any mistakes that we have made in the past and focus on what we know is successful.  We will look to develop all potential sales and marketing efforts in order to build a sustainable sales pipeline which will be maintained throughout the year.  We will not be scared to admit when something has not worked – instead we will move on – stronger for the experience.
6. Revamp social media strategy
 We (kind of) embraced social media more than ever in 2013 – we even included it in our sales and marketing strategy.  In 2014 we will take this further by embracing other social media platforms and ensuring that we get the very best return on our investment.
7. Be SEO- and data-savvy

In late 2013, Google began blocking keyword referral data in Google Analytics. Before, you used to be able to see which keywords users entered to bring them to your site and how many visitors came from each keyword.
As identity theft and cybersecurity dominate the headlines, this is Google's way of making sure consumers feel safe using Google products and platforms.
In 2014 we will use SEO to better understand our target markets and our customers target markets in order to create a better customer experience
8. Perform a security audit

We have been fortunate to have never had our security compromised, but if we did we are sure that we could contain and manage the situation.  This year we will test our plans and audit our processesto ensure that our confidence is not misguided!
 9. Delegate
We, like many others, are a small business where everyone pitches in and does what they can to serve our customers in the best way that we can.  We are probably all guilty of believing that it is easier to do something ourselves rather than delegating it to someone who has a more appropriate skill-set.  In 2014 we will challenge ourselves to ensure that each task is being carried out by the right person for the job – and if it is not, then it will be delegated!
10. Become (more) LEAN

We may be coming out of a recession – and we are still here, but we need to become a consultant to ourselves and learn to take our own medicine!  This means that we need to look at all of our internal processes and reduce any inefficiencies and remove any waste – helping us to become (an even better) lean, mean, customer driven machine!
All in all, we predict that 2014 will be an excellent year for business that will see us helping new and old customers alike – defining new levels of customer engagement and satisfaction
If you would like some help to implement your New Years Resolutions (or even if you wuld like some help defining what your resolutions should be) then don’t hesitate to contact us on 084 3289 3288 or by email at

We look forward to speaking to you soon

Friday 3 January 2014

Are we becoming de-sensitized to poor customer service?

You would think that in-line with rising expectations, our intolerance of poor service would also increase – however, on the face of it, this does not seem to be the case.

As a nation we seem to be loathe to complain or make a fuss when we receive poor service and some service providers are taking advantage of this and using it as an excuse to deliver a below par customer experience.

I was encouraged recently when judging the North East Contact Centre Awards by the high levels of service that were being demonstrated by those who entered – however, these are organisations at the peak of their game – those who are not (and don’t care enough about Customer Service) probably wouldn’t enter the awards anyway

So, how can you measure how effectively you deliver Customer Service?  See below 10 top tips for being at the top of your game (and always on your customers Christmas card list);

  1. ·    Ensure that you have a customer service strategy that details WHO, WHAT, WHERE and HOW you will deliver your service
  2. ·     Ensure that your strategy is shared with every member of your team and that they live and breathe it. 
  3. ·       Hire your staff for their ATTITUDE.  You can train staff to carry out almost any task, but if they are not naturally customer-focussed then everything else will be lost
  4. ·      Set the right KPI’s – if you measure the things that are unimportant then your organisation will naturally focus on the things that are unimportant.
  5. ·     Being better only than the worst is not good enough – strive for better for your customers and your business
  6. ·     If you fail to deliver an exceptional service, then customer decisions will be based purely upon PRICE – and you don’t want to go there
  7. ·     Take complaints seriously – investigate thoroughly and admit when something has gone wrong.  Keep in touch with your customer throughout the lifetime of a complaint and let them know what you are doing
  8. ·        Speak to your customers on a regular basis – not as a means to sell, but just to check how they are – no news is NOT good news – if your customer is not speaking to you, then chances are that they are speaking to your competition
  9. ·      Ask your staff what customers are telling them about the service your provide and what is important to them – and then act upon it
  10. ·         Ask your customers directly what they would like you to do better – and act upon it

Customers are hard to win and easy to lose – so make sure that you do everything in your power to please them, wow them, and keep them satisfied – it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money (in fact, in most cases it will cost you less money than it would to win a new customer)

We hope that you have enjoyed this article and that you have found it both interesting and useful.

If you want nay help in developing a strategy for keeping your customers happy, then please get in touch by telephone on 084 3289 3288 or by email at

Learn more about Blue Box at  

We look forward to hearing from you soon