'Back to Basics - now that's got a good ring to it.'

Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of training a group of business people at the British Library in London.  It was my very first Ultimate Marketing on a Shoestring workshop.  Although it touched on social media and whether the attending businesses should be getting stuck in, or simply exploring it with a considered view, the purpose of the workshop was to ensure that the attendees were focusing on being brilliant at the basics.

What do I mean by this?

The basics …

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Listening to Marc Bolland, I said. BOLLAND!

I was listening to Marc Bolland, Chief Executive of M&S a couple of days ago explaining the reasons behind M&S’s sales growth.   Apparently, M&S shoppers are trading up – moving to the next price point on a wide range of goods.  But what I really took away from Marc’s explanation was a fantastic quote which inspired me to write this blog.

He said… “if you want to buy once, you have to buy well.”  And boy did that get me thinking.  Because we all like a …

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'So, tell me just a little bit more about your buying habits .... and nobody gets hurt!

Why You Must Get up Close to the Heart Beat of Your Prospects…

A few days ago I found myself in a motor home park in Eastbourne, interviewing motor home owners to find out their thoughts on air suspension.  Now I grant you it’s not a very sexy subject, but for a motor home owner the mere thought of air suspension is enough to whip them into a positive frenzy.  Eight hours later and after interviewing …

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'Where's my Battenberg?!'

A few weeks ago, I was with a client who orders a very nice buffet lunch each time I visit; a much welcomed refreshment break in an otherwise fast-paced day. On this occasion, at the appointed time the caterer arrived with platters of freshly made goodies.  That is, all except for one important platter – the home-made cakes were missing!

The caterer told us in a very matter of fact way that he had forgotten to bring the home-made cakes.  He then went on to explain that we were the …

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'Right, now to unleash my brilliant plan .....'

It’s often when your back is against the wall that your Eureka moments occur. It may be that you’ve been digging deep to find a solution to a long standing business problem or, have been searching for inspiration to launch a new product or service but until those grey clouds blotted out the sun, you were struggling for the answer.

That’s not to say you’re not capable of great ideas in the good times too; it’s just that when the money is rolling in and …

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'I say, what's a gorgeous creature like you doing in a place like this?'

Charm.  It’s the missing ingredient in so many sales communications.  Sales letters, e-mails, websites, flyers; you name it they are all waiting to be liberally dosed with charm.

We are all so busy nowadays aren’t we? Sending e-mails that are abbreviated to the point that they render the message insipid and characterless.  And what about Twitter? We let our impetuous nature get the better of us, cramming text talk into 140 characters because we can’t be bothered to spend …

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'Change the record, mate.'

You know those tedious few minutes just before your plane takes off and you’re (hopefully) heading towards a week or two of sunburn and siestas?  Yes, I’m talking about those ubiquitous safety instructions from the cabin crew. We’re told to stop what we are doing and to give them our full attention as they painstakingly explain what we must do (apart from descend into hysteria) in the event of the plane dropping from the skies.  Well, I do confess that most of the time I switch off whilst …

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'Dear Sir, Just a quick letter to let you know that nobody writes letters any more!'

I received an invitation to a networking event a couple of weeks ago.  The highlight of the event was an author promoting his latest book with the compelling message that traditional marketing is dead.  The invitation went on to extol the virtues of the online universe in an evangelical and uncompromising manner.  Apparently, if we are not all downing our traditional marketing tools – you know, those that may have generated us …

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'Hey boss, somebody calling themselves a customer says they're looking for something called service'

“We’re no worse than any of the major retailers on the high street.”

This was the jaw dropping response from the Managing Director of the fashion chain Pilot to Channel 4′s fashion guru Mary Portas after being shown secretly filmed footage of his staff in one of his stores doing anything but delivering great customer service.  Had it been revealed by an ordinary consultant, I’m sure he would have defended the indefensible and …

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'And our toast is made in the shape of a spaceship!'

A recent stay at a bed and breakfast inspired this particular blog.

My husband books a bed-and-breakfast online.  It’s at the higher end of the pricing bracket for bed-and-breakfast establishments in this particular neck of the woods, so he is reasonably confident with his choice.

We pull up outside a very modest looking semi detached house and the owner, brimming with enthusiasm, shows us to our room.  As she is lavishing praise on the filtered water in the fridge, …

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