The Objective Of Your Marketing

What’s the objective of your marketing?

I would assume it’s to win and retain new customers.

There are a number of steps which need to be gone through before someone decides to become a customer.

I’m talking about the “Know, Like, Trust” process.

To this end I send out an email to my database every week.

Last week one of my list unsubscribed.

She sent me quite an angry email explaining why:

“I generally have found them thought provoking and interesting reading, but the crossover with your political agenda is not conducive to a light hearted informative newsletter/marketing message. To say the least it becomes confusing as to what the objective of your marketing actually is!”

I replied to her explaining that I look at what’s happening in the world and in my life for inspiration each week, that I have absolutely no political agenda and that I deliberately express opinions in order to show a bit of my personality to help the know and like parts of the process.

Her reply was:

“Of course you look for inspiration from what is happening around you, current affairs etc, but perhaps you don’t realise that your political leanings (bias?) shine through for all to see.”

My reply was that I have never endorsed any particular parties or put forward my own political views.

She had obviously made certain assumptions about my political affiliations and decided she doesn’t like them.

But they are just that – assumptions not facts.

I could have pointed out that coming to conclusions without substantiating facts is very dangerous.

But life’s too short.

I went on to explain the thought process behind my approach.

This is where know, like, trust comes in and it’s the marketer’s job to achieve this.

By revealing aspects of my personality through my opinions and humour I enable people to get to know me a bit.

Whether they like what they find out about me or not is outside of my control.

But that’s my aim.

Another objective of your marketing I expect is to attract like-minded people and repel the others.

They’re never going to become clients or advocates so don’t worry about them.

For this reason I don’t worry about unsubscribes and nor should you.

The last item – trust – I try to engender by:

  1. Providing good, real world advice that everyone can use
  2. By being reliable and turning up in their inboxes every Wednesday morning.

So my advice to you is to avoid being vanilla in your marketing.

Have the courage to be outspoken.

Some people will be repelled but others will love it and be drawn to you.

These are the people you should focus on as they may well become your clients.

So if the objective of your marketing is to win and retain new customers, I’d love to help.


Marketing your business

Classic Marketing Mistakes

Theresa May has been guilty of some classic marketing mistakes recently.

I’m referring to her trip around the country trying to sell her Brexit deal to the people.

I really wouldn’t suggest that you get her to do your marketing as I see two classic mistakes in what she’s doing.

  1. The wrong target audience

She’s trying to sell her deal to the general populace.

I don’t really understand what she hopes to gain from this.

The audience she has to convince are her fellow MPs.

On December 11th the Commons will vote on the deal and will probably throw it out.

She’s like a business owner who’s targeting the wrong group of customers.

Marketing is all about the 3Ms – market, message, medium and unfortunately she’s talking to the wrong market.

It doesn’t matter how good what you’re (or she) is saying, if you’re saying it to the wrong people, you’re not going to get the result you’re looking for.

This means her road trip is unlikely to influence the chances of getting it through the Commons.

The only other thought is that she’s canvassing early for a second referendum – now there’s a thought.

So that’s the first of her classic marketing mistakes.

  1. An unattractive proposition

The second and more fundamental mistake is that what she’s trying to sell (her proposition)  isn’t attractive enough for MPs to buy.

Now I know I go on about this a lot but if your proposition – what you offer to your prospective clients, isn’t appealing enough and doesn’t set you apart from your competitors, then you’re going to struggle to persuade new customers.

I think May’s got a real problem here.

More than anything her problem is in communication.

How many people really understand the backstop and its implications.

It’s exactly the same for you in your business.

If prospects don’t understand exactly what you do, the problems in their lives that you solve and how you will benefit them, then they’re very unlikely to do business with you.

Your proposition has to be crystal clear.

Your audience must understand what you do and how you will make their lives better.

So if you’re determined to avoid these classic marketing mistakes, among others, simply email me on mikejennings@marketingsurrey.co.uk or call me on 01483 200387.


The Right Kind Of Marketing For A Small Business

Nothing highlights the difference between small business marketing and corporate marketing more than the annual John Lewis Christmas ad.

This has become an annual phenomenon.

All the other retailers release their ads but we all wait for John Lewis’s.

In case by any chance you haven’t seen this year’s, here it is:


So is it any good?

Firstly, stylistically it’s quite a departure from their normal approach.

Apparently they spent around £7million on it.

Elton John doesn’t come cheap.

By using Elton they’re buying into a national treasure – his songs are parts of all our backstories.

While their ads normally pull at our heartstrings, this one leverages existing emotions around the central character.

Because next years’ tour is his last ever and the upcoming biopic, he’s currently super high profile.

So instead of the ad creating the emotional pull, they’re piggybacking on our connection with the man.

You could say this is a bit of a cop out.

But when you’ve got 7 million quid you can do what you like.

What they have done is tell a story – showing us his development from little boy to elder statesman.

By telling stories you engage your audience on an emotional level and draw them into your narrative.

That and the sign off line “Some gifts are more than just a gift” embed both emotional and intellectual hooks into us.

So what can we learn from this?

The answer is just about nothing.

No that’s not true.

The story telling aspect is really important.

Introduce stories into your small business marketing and you too will engage your audience in a way no other approach does.

Apart from that you should avoid this type of brand marketing like the plague.

This ad says nothing overtly about the business, about what it will do for it’s customers and the reasons we should be shopping there.

As small business owners we should all be focussing on direct response marketing.

Your job isn’t to build brand awareness.

Your job is to generate sales, hard cash in the till today.

Brand awareness advertising will take years and loads of money to do that.

If you’re doing any Christmas marketing, you should include:

  • A powerful headline to grab eyeballs
  • The benefits your product/service will deliver
  • A special offer with a short cut-off date
  • A call to action telling people what to do now
  • A variety of contact options

If you need any help with any aspect of your small business marketing, just give me a shout on mikejennings@marketingsurrey.co.uk  or call me on 01483 200387.

The best way to sell

The Best Way To Sell

What is the best way to sell?

Once you’ve learnt the best way to sell, business becomes so much easier.

The sad truth is that most people are rubbish at sales.


Because they’re selling.

While most people love to buy they hate being overtly sold to.

Traditionally selling is all about overcoming objections, pushing people into corners and then closing the deal.

Instead of wooing them it’s more like beating them up.

This kind of selling is a tough job which is why most people are rubbish at it.

Now you may very well have excellent products which will do a great job for me but because I feel I’m being manipulated, that the salesman isn’t thinking about me and my needs, but thinking about his month end figures, I react negatively and become very unlikely to buy.

Just like people react in a relationship when their wants are ignored.

The top sales people don’t sell – they woo their customers by building relationships and satisfying their every need.

Does it satisfy my desires?

Now if you’re going to buy something, you’re going to want to know how the product satisfies your desires.

  • What does it do?
  • What benefits does it deliver to you?
  • What problems in your life does it solve?
  • What guarantees does it come with?
  • Can you trial it in advance?
  • How can I get hold of it?
  • Do other users recommend it – what social proof is there?

You need to market your products to your prospective buyers so that it satisfies their every need.

You need to use the basic principles of marketing:

  • Identify your ideal customer
  • Craft sweet nothings for each of your target groups so that your messages are totally relevant to them?
  • Know where your potential dates hang out? Only when you know where these people spend their time can you decide which methods of communication to use.

I go through this process with my clients to ensure that their marketing hits the spot.

The upshot will be that you no longer have to hard sell your prospects as you will have created the environment in which they become putty in your hands.

So to discover the best way to sell and become a sales Casanova, get in touch by emailing me on mikejennings@marketingsurrey.co.uk , by calling me on 01483 200387.



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Traditional And Digital Marketing

It’s great in my job when traditional and digital marketing work together.

I went to see the most niche business you can imagine the other day.

They’re a start-up hiring out gowns for student graduation ceremonies.

Certain elements of their marketing are very straight forward.

Their target audience couldn’t be any more clearly defined –  students graduating in about a month’s time.

The message is also simple – they’re about 30% cheaper than the only significant player in the market, who historically have had a virtual monopoly.

So far so easy.

It’s when you come to communication channels that things become more interesting.

The 200 year old market leader is deep in bed with all the universities who endorse them as their approved supplier and tell all the students to get their gowns from them.

So the marketing for the guys I was talking to has two very specific objectives.

  1. Generate awareness that they exist and that their gowns are massively cheaper than the existing supplier and so drive the students to their website.
  2. The website needs to convert visitors into customers.

So what channels should they be using to drive them to the website?

Well obviously 20 year olds spend all their lives on line especially on social media.

So that seems a no brainer.

But which platforms?

We know Facebook’s has reduced the reach for organic posts through the algorithm changes earlier this year.

Additionally for 20 year olds Facebook  is no longer as cool as it once was.

But Facebook posting, especially in groups should still be part of the mix as should Facebook advertising.

But Instagram is the cool platform of choice for kids this age.

What about Google – both the organic listings and Google Ads.?

Will kids search gown suppliers when the university tells them where to get their gown from?

The Keyword tool will give us an idea of search volumes.

But this will be an area where we’re likely to try it and see.

At this stage you can’t know what the result will be.

So what else should they do?

Although we’re talking to such a digital audience, interestingly we’ll need to revert to traditional channels.

We’ll need to make traditional and digital marketing channels work together.

Bill boards and posters around the campuses will be perfectly targeted and have space to communicate the key messages.

Likewise handing out flyers – hardly cutting edge but absolutely appropriate.

Whether we can get a bit clever and find audiences of exclusively final year students I don’t know yet.

And student ambassadors – individuals who are incentivised to generate word of mouth referrals and bring people into the brand one at a time.

In a world fixated on digital marketing it’s kind of refreshing to make old style traditional and digital marketing channels work together for such a digitally orientated audience.

So if you’ve got a marketing challenge that you need resolving give me a shout on mikejennings@marketingsurrey.co.uk , call me on 01483 200387.

The Importance of Marketing Regularly

The importance of marketing regularly cannot be overstressed.


Because a major problem that small businesses suffer from is that nobody knows they exist.

If every company in your target audience within a thirty mile radius knew about your business and how you could help them, do you think you would do more business?

Of course – loads more but becoming known is not an easy job.

You can’t just communicate once or twice and leave it at that.

To become well known you need to market regularly to your audience over an extended period of time.

It’s a marathon not a sprint.

Your prospects have to get to know you over time.

They have to go through the “know, like, trust” process.

Think about it.

Would you do business with an organisation you don’t know anything about?

Is what they’re offering something you’re interested in?

Are their values the same as yours?

Do you like them, do you think you could work with them?

And crucially, do you trust them?

Have you got confidence in what they’re saying?

Unless you can say yes to all these points, you’re probably not going to work with them.

Of course none of this happens overnight.

You have to be in it for the long haul and commit to marketing regularly to them.

It’s estimated that you have to have upwards of 11 contacts before the average person will make a decision.

I also suggest that you mix up the marketing channels you use.

Different people will respond differently to different approaches.

So instead of only using one approach, consider:

  • Email
  • Direct mail
  • Video
  • Google Ads
  • Facebook Ads
  • Google My Business
  • Remarketing
  • Social media

But if you stick at it and market regularly to your audience you will get the results you’re looking for.

I communicate with my audience every Wednesday and I have been for the last 5 years.

That’s a hell of a lot of contact points.

So if you’re still at the starting line of your own personal marathon but are determined that your business is going to win the race with your competitors and your committed to marketing regularly, get in touch on mikejennings@marketingsurrey.co.uk  or call me on 01483 200387.







Re-Building Your Brand

How do you go about re-building your brand, if for some reason it’s become tired or tarnished?

The example I’m going to use is the England football team and what happened at the World Cup last summer.

The England football brand has suffered badly over the years due to poor performances and badly behaved players and supporters.

The public fell out of love with brand England.

While the Premiership has thrived, England have struggled.

This resulted in much less media coverage and a lack of companies wanting to sponsor the brand.

But what happened in the summer turned that around.

Why was it different this time?

Because the team under promised and over delivered.

Scarred by previous experiences, this time we had no expectations.

The result was that they exceeded our expectations so making the whole experience so much more positive.

If building or re-building your brand you should follow this approach with your business.

If you promise the world you will probably win plenty of customers.

But if you then under deliver and  disappoint your customers you can be sure that the relationship will be very short.

Even worse than that will be your word of mouth publicity.

These disappointed customers will tell their friends how your business failed to deliver on your overinflated promise.

How much better to make a realistic promise and then delight your customers by exceeding their expectations.

The result will be loyal customers who love your business and glowing referrals to friends and associates.

The England team also scored off the field as well as on it.

They managed to rebuild the connection with the fans and with the country.

The manager, Gareth Southgate and the captain, Harry Kane achieved this by the way they presented themselves.

They’re both polite, well mannered and clean cut.

A million miles away from the image some of our other footballing “heroes” have presented us with.

This resonated with middle England, who were able to identify more comfortably with them and  rebuilt brand “Engerland”.

Another lesson for business.

Businesses need to ensure that all aspects of their brand are aligned with the values and tastes of their customers and target audience.

In this way they can forge intellectual and emotional bonds with their customers thereby tying them in long term.

If you need help re-building your brand and ensuring your business builds these bonds with your customers, get in touch on mikejennings@marketingsurrey.co.uk, call me on 01483 200387.


A Marketing Masterclass

I received a marketing masterclass  the other day.

A flyer came through the door that ticked so many marketing boxes that I wanted to share it.

It was from a company called The Eve Mattress and guess what – they sell mattresses.

So what made it a marketing masterclass?

  1. Clear design

The design and text of the flyer were pretty minimal which ensured that the key messages had real prominence.

Powerful offer

The primary message was £120 off – with prices starting from £349.

Everyone likes a deal and a promotional offer always significantly increases response rates.

Time limited

They put a time limit on the offer which again increases response rates. If an offer is open ended then people feel no pressure to take action.

Free trial

The key thing with a mattress is that it should be comfortable.

While you can bounce around on it in a showroom, you never really know if your back is going to like it until you’ve slept on it for 8 hours.

So these people are offering a 100 night free trial.

For those people who are undecided, because they’ve got a dodgy back, this would give them the confidence to give it a go.

If they don’t like it they can always send it back.

Free delivery and free returns

They even make it really easy and free to send it back.

Super simple sales process

They understand that we want everything to be super simple.

It’s a 3 step process:

  1. Visit us online and select the foam mattress
  2. Choose a size and add to cart
  3. Apply the code overleaf for £120 off

And that’s it – it really couldn’t be any simpler but in case you still want to get in touch the phone number (0800 of course) and email address are prominently featured.

Carefully crafted text

The text has been skilfully honed – there are no extraneous padding words.

They talk about next generation memory foam …… the perfect amount of bounce and support…….. resulting in a cool and tranquil night’s sleep.

And when you go to the website, the messages, creative style and tone of voice are all consistent and aligned.

It really is a marketing masterclass.

The other point is they’re being brave. I always encourage clients to introduce a free trial or guarantee and regularly hear that it’s too risky.

These guys have done their sums. If they were to find that it’s uneconomic, they can always stop offering the free trial.

If I was in the market for a new mattress I would definitely be persuaded.

If you need someone who can put together great marketing like this in order to make the buying process so easy, get in touch on mikejennings@marketingsurrey.co.uk  or call me on 014183 200387


Your Customer Proposition

Your customer proposition is one of the key determinants of your business success.

Last Friday I was working with a Client who has a couple of businesses.

I have already done the website for one of his businesses and am now starting on the second.

The first part of the process is to develop the customer proposition.

Unless what your business actually offers customers – the proposition, is attractive enough, you’re not going to win new customers.

The Areas To Consider

There are about 10 different areas in your customer proposition to consider.

One of the most important is what are the stereotypical issues that people hate about your industry.

If you identify these and make sure you don’t make these mistakes, then in effect you overcome people’s objections before they’ve even raised them.

In this way you can differentiate your business from your competitors and make yourself the obvious choice.

When explaining the process to clients, I always use builders as the example.

Having had a bad experience several years ago with a builder, I speak from personal experience.

My client last Friday was a builder so I thought it would be easy.

My contention is that people hate it:

  • When the building work runs significantly overtime
  • When the builders don’t turn up when they should
  • When the costs exceed the estimate
  • When the site is left in a mess
  • When the blokes are scruffy and rude
  • When the neighbours are disturbed by the work

These were all issues that we were faced with and hated.

However my client didn’t agree with any of the points and didn’t believe they were important.

I tried to persuade him that householders really do care about these issues and that they would be more likely to choose a builder who had re-assured them on these points.

To be honest it all became a little bit awkward and we had to agree to disagree.

His website will lack some key selling messages because of this.

Why Us?

It also means that we probably won’t have a “Why Us” page.

The “Why Us” page is one of the most important on the site.

This is where you highlight all the ways in which you offer more than your competitors.

Without it his website will be less effective and less likely to turn visitors into enquirers.

I strongly suggest you analyse your sector and identify the equivalent of the issues above.

Then  ensure that you’re not doing the same.

Get your customer proposition right and you will differentiate yourselves and go a long way to making you the obvious choice.

If you want to create a killer customer proposition get in touch on mikejennings@marketingsurrey.co.uk , call me on 01483 200387


Write Headlines That Demand Attention

The ability to write headlines that demand attention and make readers take action, is a key marketing skill.

I came back from holiday recently.

You know what it’s like when you’ve been away – your email inbox is full of absolute crap.

I had best part of 1000 emails and it took me most of the day to get through them.

The fact is that I just deleted the vast majority of them.

I opened a few and I mean a few because they were either from clients or suppliers or because they stuck out somehow.

As the majority were marketing emails, they failed at the first key job of marketing – getting their target’s attention.

How do we do that?

If it’s an email it has to be the subject line but if it’s a website, an advert or a flyer it would be the headline.

So the next question is how do you write headlines or subject lines that demand attention and action.

Basically there are  three main ways:By offering your audience a rosier, better future.By talking about a problem they suffer from and offering a solution

  1. By offering your audience a rosier, better future
  2. By talking about a problem they suffer from and offering a solution
  3. By evoking their curiosity

When crafting your headline you have to consider who you’re trying to attract.

A great way to target them is via a pre head.

So if I said: “Attention All Cake Bakers”, the chances are that that very particular demographic’s attention will have been well and truly grabbed.

I could then follow that up with any one of the three different headline approaches:

“How to quickly and easily make your cakes lighter and more delicious”


“Are your cake bases too dense and heavy? Here’s a simple trick to make them more delicious and keep your family coming back for more”

Or even

“The secret all home bakers need to know”.

Now if any of the recipients of the communication weren’t cake bakers then they probably wouldn’t be interested.

That’s fine because they wouldn’t be in my target audience and what I’m selling wouldn’t be of interest to them.

But assuming they are bakers there’s a good chance I’ll have got their attention and that they would read my content.

If more of the people who emailed me while I was away had known how to write headlines, I would have been more motivated to read what they sent me and they might have made more sales.

So give it a go.

If you need help with writing headlines that will get your marketing read or any other marketing issues, give me a shout on mikejennings@marketingsurrey.co.uk  or call me on 01483 200387.