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Cheshire Marketing Consultancy Think Beyond First Birthday

28 October 2019

First birthday for Cheshire marketing consultants!

October 2019

Cheshire marketing consultancy first birthday

Cheshire marketing consultancy Think Beyond celebrated first birthday on 8th October 2019.

Firstly, the five-star rated consultancy is offering a free one-hour marketing review. The free consultation aims to uncover where you are, where you want to be and what will close the gap.

CIM Chartered Marketers offer marketing advice to Cheshire and beyond. We offer advice because our clients deserve to have qualified marketers protect their marketing investment.

The journey

Launched in October 2018, Think Beyond has national and international clients and was shortlisted for a “Start up of the Year award”.

A member of the Federation of Small Business (FSB), Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) and the Institute of Directors (IOD), Think Beyond continues to accelerate. Additionally, services now include marketing training workshops and marketing events.

Our founder, Mercè Cozens said, “Firstly, I would like to thank our amazing clients, trusted suppliers and referral partners.”

“Secondly, Think Beyond is founded on an ethos of partnership so we partner with you and your team. We work with businesses to deliver science-backed marketing with measured results.”

“Whatever industry you work in and if you have employees, take our challenge this October. As a result, let’s see how we can help you think differently.”

“Finally, I want to recognise my husband and business partner, Steven, without whom this amazing journey wouldn’t be possible.”

Call Think Beyond

To find out more about Think Beyond’s marketing services, call 01625 682110 or email hello@think-beyond.co.uk.

Finally, you can subscribe to our marketing blog here.

Think Beyond joins Institute of Directors (IOD)

28 October 2019

Institute of Directors (IOD) welcomes Think Beyond

Institute of Directors (IOD)

October 2019

Business, marketing and the IoD

Think Beyond has joined the Institute of Directors (IoD). As a result, we can access exclusive resources to develop, grow and support clients.

Mercè Cozens, our founder, said “Firstly, I am honoured to join the IoD. Think Beyond’s philosophy of partnership drives science-backed marketing with measurable results. This ethos resonates and I look forward to effecting change with the IoD.”

Claire Ebrey is IoD Regional Director for the North West and Isle of Man. Claire said, “It is my pleasure to welcome Mercè and Think Beyond to the IoD. I was struck by Mercè’s passion for marketing and desire to be an even better director. Ultimately, we will support her to connect, develop and influence.”

The Institute of Directors and Think Beyond

Founded in 1903, the IoD is a network of UK business leaders. They support members, encourage entrepreneurial activity and promote responsible business practices.

Think Beyond is a Cheshire marketing consultancy run by a Chartered Marketer, From Wilmslow and Alderley Edge, we offer marketing advice, health checks and lead generation through to training.

Additionally, we provide mentoring to marketers and women in business.

Call Think Beyond

Think Beyond improve your bottom line with expert marketing advice. Therefore, why not call now on 01625 682110 or email hello@think-beyond.co.uk to find out more?

Also, you can fill-in our contact form to book a free one-hour marketing review.

Similarly, check upcoming marketing events to meet us.

Finally, read our customer feedback here.

Articles

Account based marketing challenges A survival guide

02 December 2019

Account Based Marketing Challenges

December 2019

Account based marketing doesn’t have to be hard (if you know how)

Account based marketing (ABM) is making a name for itself – both in terms of the benefits it brings and its perceived complexity. With its roots in B2B and specifically the IT sector, account based marketing turns traditional lead generation on its head. Concerned with the few rather than the many, ABM treats each targeted account as a market of one. Able to increase average deal size and supercharge close rates by 67%, it’s easy to see why most industries are keen to ride the ABM wave. But like most new methodologies, account based marketing challenges are a source of unease for marketers, directors and investors alike.

That’s why today’s article is dedicated to overcoming the obstacles to ABM adoption and exploring how a marketing consultant can help manage this transition. Account based marketing doesn’t have to be hard, it should work hard for you.

Call 01625 682110 now to discuss your marketing needs.

For a recap on account based marketing, check out our Focus on series: ABM basics.

What are the common obstacles to account based marketing?

Let’s take a look at the top 3 account based marketing challenges and ways they can be overcome:

Obstacle: Lack of confidence

Solution: As account based marketing differs from traditional lead generation, reassuring directors and stakeholders is a must. Yes, your lead pool looks relatively dry but lower acquisition costs, higher conversion rates and larger ROI justify the approach. Getting support at C-suite level, such as through Marketing Director as a Service (MDaaS), can ensure your ABM plan is given the time it needs to deliver results.

Obstacle: Not knowing who to target or where

Solution: This is the biggest of all account based marketing challenges, the major hurdle to the finish line. If ABM is to work you must have a clear understanding of your targets, personas and the channels to reach them. When did you last conduct persona research? Do you know your customers pain points? Internal teams can become blinkered so consider a consultant to gain clear, data-driven and unbiased research. 

Obstacle: Lack of alignment

Solution: Account based marketing demands tight sales and marketing alignment if it is to deliver account specific and unified messaging. A CRM (customer relationship management) system aids data flow between departments but alignment should not stop there. Has your business developed shared KPIs? Does sales enablement content need updating or creating? This is where a consultant can add value, supporting in periods of transition plus advising on software integrations and automation tools.

Where to get help with your ABM strategy

A successful account based marketing approach is rooted in a clear strategy. It can be easy to spend time, money and resource or succumb to the appeal of ABM tech services. By partnering with a qualified marketing consultant, you ensure the correct strategy is in place.

Think Beyond’s chartered marketers help many UK businesses with account based marketing. From research to planning through to training, implementation, delivery and reporting, we offer you end to end marketing support. In short, Think Beyond is your marketing partner.

Contact the ABM experts today

To discuss your account based marketing strategy, call now on 01625 682110 or email hello@think-beyond.co.uk.

Also, you can book a free 1 hour marketing consultation by completing our online contact form.

Finally, explore our range of marketing consultancy services or find out what inspires us.

IT and Telecoms marketing Are you ready for 2020

25 November 2019

IT and Telecoms marketing

November 2019

Defining IT and Telecoms

First of all, IT and telecommunications is a fast evolving industry that demands agile marketing. As fixed line and ISDN make way for ethernet and cloud services, IT-Telecom convergence creates an opportunity for providers to become a single source solution across voice, data and internet. However, this opportunity comes with a heavy price that IT and Telecoms marketing must negotiate due to mounting competitive pressure.

What are the challenges facing IT-Telco firms?

Both new entrants and established firms in the IT-Telecoms sector are feeling the squeeze in ways such as:

1) market saturation

2) price pressure

3) loss of differentiation

4) commoditisation

Furthermore, add in a pinch of buyers that are more informed than ever and it’s easy to see the challenge. For tech and telecommunication companies to succeed in 2020, a clearly defined competitive marketing strategy is critical.

IT-Telecoms marketing: getting it right in 2020

Unsure where to start? Think Beyond has deep domain expertise in the crowded IT and Telecoms sector, having worked for some of the largest technology and telco providers in the UK. From our base in Cheshire, our CIM qualified consultants provide innovative, sector specific solutions to meet today’s challenges head on.

With technology no longer differentiating you, IT-Telecom companies must dig deep to communicate their difference, and ultimately, value to buyers.

Think Beyond can help you to communicate that difference by:

Research: Competitor benchmarking to determine what are the areas of overlap and what do you do differently at a service and product level.

Understanding: What are your top procurement channels, who is your ideal customer and what are your Key Performance Indicators?

Targeting: Analysis of your sales funnel and reverse sales funnel science to improve pipeline velocity and so homing in on market segments and secondary markets.

Planning: A marketing plan backed by marketing strategy that considers online and offline channels and clever marketing automations.

Implementation: Working with your team and our trusted partners to fulfil all elements of the agreed marketing plan.

Improving sales: Dedicated strategy and support for both desk-based and field teams so both are enabled.

Skills training: Equipping your team with the marketing and leadership skills they need to stand out and be the top talent.

Board-level support: Get a CMO at the fraction of the cost with our Marketing Director as a Service (MDaaS) to drive your marketing agenda where it matters.

IT and Telecoms marketing is constantly changing but we offer 360 marketing support to help you withstand global pressures.

Contact the IT and Telecoms marketing experts today

In summary, we have substantial expertise in IT and Telecoms so we are a great fit. In addition, prior board level roles and marketing success show the huge opportunity on offer.

So, are you ready to start your Think Beyond journey? Call 01625 682110 or email hello@think-beyond.co.uk to discuss your pain points with us.

Also, why not request a free one hour IT and telecoms marketing review by completing our quick contact form.

Finally, why not read our testimonials to hear what our clients have to say about working with us.

Alderley Edge Business Club - You are cordially invited

22 November 2019

Alderley Edge Business Club and Networking Group

November 2019

Successful start to business club lunch group

Think Beyond and Colony Networking yesterday launched a new quarterly business lunch club with The Alderley Edge Hotel & Restaurant. The new business club and networking group gives Alderley Edge and Cheshire businesses the chance to connect, grow and discuss latest issues over a healthy meal.

Yesterday’s inaugural meeting featured guest speaker Negin Karimi of Mosaic Digital Marketing focused on organic Instagram.

The first 2020 Alderley Edge business lunch club will take place on the 23rd January, with future dates to recur every fourth Thursday of the month each quarter.

90 minutes, 90 days, countless opportunities with Alderley Edge business club

Mercè Cozens, founder and MD of Think Beyond said, “I am delighted to help bring the business lunch club to Alderley Edge.”

“The concept is really simple – spend 90 minutes every 90 days building relationships with local businesses. You’ll hear inspiring business stories, share best practices and discuss what matters to you.”

“Thank you to Kirsty James of Colony Networking and John Scott at The Alderley Edge Hotel & Restaurant for making the club possible. It was a simple idea that Kirsty and John brought to life.”

“And thank you to everyone who attended our first event on Thursday, especially our guest speaker for great insights into organic Instagram marketing. I cannot wait to see what future groups bring.”

Kirsty James, owner of Colony Networking commented, “Networking over a healthy meal is a great way to fuel your body and mind. I look forward to welcoming businesses from Alderley Edge, Wilmslow, Stockport, Cheadle, Knutsford and South Manchester to the new lunch club.”

“Membership is completely flexible with single visit and annual membership options available.”

“We are always proud to support local businesses” added John, general manager at The Alderley Edge Hotel & Restaurant. “We strive to deliver great hospitality to all of our guests.”

For more information on the business lunch club and to book your spot click here.

Marketing consultancy Think Beyond

Think Beyond is a Cheshire based marketing consultancy agency with a singular aim: to accelerate your marketing potential. Our CIM qualified team work across the UK to research, plan and deliver bespoke marketing solutions.

Find out how we can support your growth by calling 01625 682110 or email hello@think-beyond.co.uk.

Also, you can book a free one hour marketing consultation by completing our online form.

Furthermore, why not take a look at our catalogue of marketing events or read our five star customer testimonials.

How to make the most of local search

18 November 2019

How to make the most of local search

November 2019

Why local SEM (Search Engine Marketing) matters

Whether you are a business with one site, two premises or multiple locations, make the most of local search engine marketing. Local SEM cannot (and should not) be ignored when it comes to creating your marketing strategy for 2020. And why? Because local SEM is key to both attracting custom and growing your business. According to the latest statistics, 46% of all searches on Google are seeking local information and a staggering 97% of search engine users searched online to find a local business.

With smartphone searches fuelling the boom in “near me” queries and 22% of all voice searches said to be local in nature, it seems clear that digital technology has only furthered the importance of local search.

That’s why the Chartered Marketers at Think Beyond have dedicated today’s “Focus On” series to getting to grips with what exactly local search engine marketing is and provide practical tips on how your business can increase visibility for relevant searches across Google, Bing and more.

Prefer to speak with a member of the Think Beyond team direct? Call 01625 682110 for a no obligation chat.

What is local search engine marketing?

Put simply, local search engine marketing is the practice of optimising your web presence to promote a physical location or locations. Local search marketing is all about geographic focus and helping your business to appear for relevant intent queries.

Wikipedia further adds, “Local SEO…is focused on optimising a business’ online presence so that its web pages will be displayed by search engines when users enter local searches for products or services.

Don’t confuse local SEM with organic SEO

It can be easy to confuse local search engine marketing with organic SEO (search engine optimisation). After all, many credit the Hummingbird algorithm update in 2013 as the birth of local SEM.

However, let’s be clear: a good local search marketing plan should consider employing a number of marketing techniques that stretch across the worlds of SEO, Pay Per Click (PPC) and online web hygiene.

Local search engine marketing tips

Wondering how you can drive relevant local traffic to your business? Check out our 5 handy tips for local SEM below.

Get an address

Many businesses make the mistake of not having a real location in the geographic area they wish to target, hampering local SEM from the get go.

Local PPC

Google Adwords and Bing Ads offer two of the quickest ways to climb the local SERPs (Search Engine Ranking Positions). Similarly, utilising location or affiliate location extensions allows you to display your physical location within your ad space.

A word of caution however – ensure that your PPC landing pages are performing. Are they content rich with the keywords you are bidding on to help create a high-quality score? Have you triple-checked pages for CRO (conversion rate optimisation) and UX (user experience)?

Online directories

Correctly list your business in leading directories such as Yahoo, Mapquest and more.

Technical SEO

Alongside producing quality localised content, you should conduct on page and offpage SEO work to bolster your local organic rankings.

Reviews

Positive online reviews increase trust and are a great form of user generated content to attract and retain custom. According to research, 72% of customers won’t take action until they have read reviews and 15% of users don’t trust businesses without reviews.

Getting help with local search marketing

With Black Friday closing in and the Christmas sales rush just behind, getting your local search marketing strategy right is business critical. Ensure you attract, convert and retain local intent searches that comprise nearly 50% of online search volume.

In today’s hyper-connected world, there are more opportunities than ever to get local to get ahead. Knowing how to manage and deliver an inclusive local SEM plan is where a marketing consultant can add value.

Think Beyond is a Cheshire marketing consultancy helping UK businesses to climb search rankings and connect with targeted users. Always working with and alongside existing teams, our CIM marketers research, plan and implement solutions to deliver results.

Contact the Chartered Marketers at Think Beyond today

To find out how Think Beyond can support your marketing and sales, call 01625 682110 or email hello@think-beyond.co.uk.

You may also wish to book a free one hour marketing review by completing our friendly contact form.

Never miss the latest marketing insights by subscribing to the Think Beyond blog.

The Wild West of Marketing Why your marketing expert should have marketing training

11 November 2019

The Wild West of Marketing

November 2019

The Wild West of Marketing

Firstly, marketing a service or product is no mean feat. Business owners, directors and teams spend time, money and resources hoping to get results in the wild west of marketing. Many sieve through online and offline channels panning for the gold of engaged prospects to find the nugget of “sales won.” Sadly, those prospectors may feel like they have walked into the Wild West of Marketing.

In these marketing plains, there are many a sharp shooter. Marketing agencies and bands of marketing ‘experts’ ride in on their trusty steeds to burst through your saloon (or meeting room) doors with promises of gold (returns) for a monthly fee.

Fit for purpose

In a recent survey, marketing agency efficacy was rated just 5.7 out of 10, where 10 denotes fit for purpose[1]. This is important because 74% of multinationals are reviewing their agency arrangements.

How can business owners and managers get the right external marketing support for their needs? Outsourcing to the wrong agency puts you in the 74% reviewing their contracts, potentially undoing your hard work and leading to business decline.

To help you spot the cowboys from the deputies, Think Beyond issued “wanted” signs for outlaw agencies in the wild west of marketing. Call 01625 682110 if you spot one of our most wanted.

3 signs you should review your marketing agency arrangement

Here are three tell-tale signs that your current marketing outsourcing needs revisiting:

Wanted: Ill-fitting marketing strategy or no strategy

Firstly, many agencies rely on their clients to distill their marketing strategy or adopt a “one size fits all” by recycling previous approaches. Both of these options are open to pitfalls. If an agency fails to understand the brief or opts for a pre-made solution, the result can be an ill-fitting marketing campaign that wastes budget and leads to ineligible contacts.

Your business is unique and your marketing agency’s plan should reflect this. Ask your agency how they intend to grow your business and demonstrate results. If you serve a local area and they suggest an inclusive SEO strategy to rank for generic terms across the UK with backlinks, run for the foothills. It sounds like they don’t understand you or your customer.

Wanted: No experimentation

Secondly, marketing is a science and as such is open to experimentation. Any good external marketing service should be testing and trying out different approaches to help maximise results.

Within the world of paid search, this could be creating campaign experiments to test bidding methods or landing page split tests in Google Ads. For Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), revisiting meta descriptions could help to boost rankings.

In summary, your agency should be doing it and reporting on it. Even an unsuccessful experiment should be reported on so that your agency can share the learning and as a result, move forward. The fear of failure should not stop the marketing experimentation train.

Wanted: Obscure data and ever-growing fees

Thirdly, today’s marketer must make sense of data from many touchpoints and translate it into business opportunities. Your agency support should be able to explain, in plain language, the data you need to make business decisions. Therefore, don’t be dazzled by complex terminology and fancy reports that offer little data insights.

Be wary of handing complete control to an external partner in terms of data, logins and reporting. Whilst it is tempting to let an outside source manage everything, in some instances we have heard of agencies holding companies to ransom if the relationship turns sour. Always ask for references and check out a company’s case studies.

Also, we have met companies who complain that new charges are often added to their monthly invoice for services outside of the agreed terms. The additional charges quickly add up and leave you with little control over your budget. Discuss every imaginable cost that may occur and be clear on your terms to keep those purse strings tight.

Marketing gold with a true marketing expert

If you are thinking of moving agency or hiring a marketing expert, examine they could compliment your in-house marketing capability. Specifically, a marketing consultant is a great place to start but make sure they are trained in marketing.

And why? Because a qualified consultant sees the bigger picture and partners with you to define, create and execute a marketing strategy that works for you. A consultant does not stop at the campaign or content frontier but considers all trails to get the best return on marketing spend. In summary, a consultant can help you get to the gold faster.

For example, a design agency may consider it “job done” to provide high quality graphics. However, the wrong messaging, circulation to the wrong channels or targeting segments that don’t matter to you may lead to fool’s gold.

Marketing consultants provide a strategic backbone based on:

  1. Business objectives
  2. PESTLE and SWOT analysis alongside a clear understanding of competitive position
  3. Identification of KPIs
  4. Breakdown of market segments and firmographic/buyer persona details
  5. Creation of key messaging

Ultimately, having a marketing expert on board may mean you can bring marketing activities in from the wilderness. This is a win-win for strategy and budget as the fee is outweighed by reduced costs of multiple marketing agencies. In Cheshire and the North West, agencies typically charge £24,000 per annum per service. These may include PPC, SEO, graphic design and affiliate marketing, which totals £96,000 per annum.

Beware: marketing strategy is not just liquor

When you run into some marketing bandits, how often do they use the term ‘marketing strategy’? As ubiquitous as liquor in the saloon, many people working in the wild west of marketing use ‘marketing strategy’ to sound more qualified in marketing. In reality, marketing strategy is the marketing logic by which a business unit achieves its’ marketing goals i.e. to achieve marketing growth.

The strategic goals of a business, aligned marketing goals and a marketing plan to achieve them are complex. A marketing strategy involves market research, value propositions, setting goals, defining strategies, marketing mix and a marketing plan to measure and evaluate. Writing content, designing a logo, making a video, building a website or posting to social media are just one activity laid out in your marketing plan. Beware, these are not a marketing strategy.

Reward: marketing strategies that work

Consequently, partnering with a marketing consultant can help send your business into orbit. A Think Beyond expert packs extra punch as you are guided by a Chartered Marketer. As one of 3,000 Chartered Marketers, we provide up-to-date marketing strategy support rooted in data science. Furthermore, our dedicated team execute the agreed strategy and provide in-house marketing training.

Contact Think Beyond today

Let Think Beyond protect you from the good, bad and ugly of the wild west of marketing. Call 01625 682110 or email hello@think-beyond.co.uk to speak with our CIM qualified marketing professionals.

Also, why not book a free one hour consultation by completing our 60-second contact form.

Finally, check out our range of marketing training workshops or read our latest case studies and testimonials.

Marketing Capability - Taking a look in the mirror

04 November 2019

Marketing Capability

November 2019

Reflect on your marketing capability

First of all, marketing transformation means many things. Saving time, saving money, increasing marketing effectiveness and return on investment. But what about the in-house expertise? Do you have enough people with the right skills? Do you manage your marketing for success? Read on to reflect on a few marketing stories that shine a light behind the scenes on marketing capability.

Marketing agencies in the spotlight

Agencies typically provide the following services according to Hubspot's marketing agency growth report:

  1. Website design and development
  2. Inbound marketing
  3. Design and branding
  4. Full service digital
  5. Content marketing
  6. SEO/SEM
  7. Social media marketing
  8. Advertising

Fewer provide marketing consultancy, marketing strategy & plans, sales enablement, sales funnels, lead nurturing & lead scoring, predictive marketing, neuromarketing or marketing training courses.

Even within the categories above, there are agencies specialising in different channels, software tools, paid and organic. Therefore, the marketing ecosystem could be sizeable and gets harder to manage as you increase the number.

If you would like to speak with an expert on marketing agency management, call 01625 682110 or e-mail hello@think-beyond.co.uk.

Some examples: marketing team structures

To further explore the variation in marketing capability, here are a few examples from our customers and prospects:

1. A B2B services firm with a single marketing executive and six marketing agencies

a) The in-house marketing executive has a marketing degree and manages the relationships, performance and spend with six agencies.
b) The business owners expect the marketing executive to lead on marketing strategy, develop marketing plans for different areas and manage the marketing budget.

2. A B2C ecommerce business with a single web developer and no marketing staff

a) The website was built in a non-standard software tool that limits the changes to the website developer and the website performance can be improved.
b) There is no in-house person to advise on marketing strategy and no budget until website sales fund future advertising, SEO/SEM and inbound marketing activities.

3. A B2B wholesaler with six marketing assistants, a marketing director and five marketing agencies

a) The in-house marketing assistants have no marketing degree and post to social media, send e-mails and attend trade events but do not interact with the five agencies.
b) The marketing director has no marketing qualification but manages the five marketing agencies. Additionally, they are the main point of contact for the sales team and manage all new products.

None of the above sound like the optimum solution. Roles that are too broad, staff needing training and unrealistic expectations, possibly due to a failure to explain the value added by marketing. Agencies need to work together in agile organisations so are you set up for success?

What is the optimum structure for marketing?

There is no set answer to this. The marketing ecosystem will be dictated by business goals translated into marketing goals and the marketing logic by which they will be achieved. Furthermore, the industry, market, marketing plan, customer personas, sales channels, propositions and business size all impact structure. Here are some common tips for a successful marketing capability:

Marketing degrees are a minimum but hiring a Chartered Marketer can help with your marketing strategy and direction. This ensures your ecosystem fits your strategy.

Outsourcing all marketing to agencies creates a tough role for the one or two remaining in-house staff who become co-ordinators. You may benefit from a consultant on the board.

A tall marketing structure with junior staff reporting to a marketing director reduces scope for career progression and coaching. Why not consider mentoring or training.

Many agencies can mean that the training needs of staff get overlooked as the agencies offer to fill all of your in-house gaps so consider investing in a training plan.

Agency staff can earn up to 30% more at client organisations (Hubspot) and this churn may impact in-house hiring. It may be time to review your marketing return on investment (MROI).

Marketing advice made easy

The CIM Chartered Marketers at Think Beyond are part of an elite group of just 3,000 worldwide. Our team can recommend ways to safeguard your marketing investment and ensure value for money marketing. We offer marketing advice to help our clients grow and we focus on measurable results. Based in Cheshire, our marketing consultants operate from Alderley Edge and Wilmslow. Also, our clients stretch across Manchester, Lancashire, Derbyshire, North West, London and beyond.

In summary, to speak to a marketing expert you can call 01625 682110 or e-mail hello@think-beyond.co.uk.

Additionally, request a free one-hour initial consultation and see how we can help by completing our quick contact form.

Finally, you can check our upcoming events, read our customer testimonials and follow our marketing insight blog.

Marketing Growth – Scream, if you want to grow faster

28 October 2019

Marketing Growth

October 2019

Marketing Growth Whitepaper

An expert analysis of the UK business landscape and opportunities for marketing growth. Learn how to increase your business growth with Think Beyond.

Chartered Marketer Merce Cozens

Chartered Marketer

Foreword

Thank you for taking your precious time to read our first whitepaper on marketing growth. The Think Beyond team and I are energised by our cause to illuminate marketing change. We help businesses to accelerate their potential with professional marketing advice. Built on an ethos of ethics and a philosophy of partnership, we are with you every step of the way.

Mercè Cozens

Founder and Managing Director

1. Introduction to marketing growth

Firstly, Think Beyond’s mission is “To partner with you to help your team think differently and accelerate your business potential through marketing”. Driven by a genuine passion to help others grow and with a proven track record in increasing revenue, Think Beyond works with businesses of all sizes and sectors. We created this whitepaper to delve deeper into why growth is important and how marketing growth can be achieved.

Think Beyond provides professional marketing advice with CIM Chartered Marketers. We are Cheshire marketing consultants based in Wilmslow and Alderley Edge. With business expertise in SME and ‘blue chip’, we have a broad perspective. We advise on marketing strategy, design bespoke solutions and measure the results of your investment. Inspired by philosopher Plato’s allegory of the cave, we aim to illuminate change and have a passion for learning that led us to offer training courses. Also, we recently turned one-year old and look forward to delivering more marketing growth to our clients.

Marketing growth services

Fig 1. How we accelerate your business

As a marketing consultancy, we have qualifications and expertise in marketing backed by a substantial network of trusted partners. These cover creative, digital marketing, data science, media and automation.

With clients from Cheshire to Barcelona, we are proud to help businesses and teams reach their potential. Our approach is called PSR, which stands for Philosophy, Science and ROI. We partner with you, leverage marketing science and data to give you results that can be measured.

2. The imperative of growth

What do all businesses want? Growth. A drive towards improvement and value add that inspires us.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), UK gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 0.3% in the three months to August 2019[1]. The imperative of growth and improved living standards as demanded by the electorate avoids political, economic and social unrest.

Research by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) found that despite a majority SME-driven business landscape, only a few are ‘high growth SMEs’ with above average growth rates[2].

What makes the difference between a moderate growth SME and a high growth SME?

1) Leadership articulating a purpose and vision

2) Formal management and governance structures

3) Developing the management team

4) Successful insights from data

5) Receptiveness to external advice to improve the business

When you consider that there were 5.7m SMEs (under 250 employees) at the end of 2018 comprising 99% of all UK businesses[3], the political, economic and social importance is clear. Of these businesses, 1.4m have employees and around 10% of these are in our region, the North West.

Business statistics ONS

Fig 2. Business statistics by region and county in the UK 2018

3. A marketing strategy for marketing growth

The father of marketing, Philip Kotler, defined marketing strategy as the marketing logic by which a business unit expects to achieve its marketing objectives.

If people don’t understand why you do what you do and you have not identified marketing activities for marketing growth, you may miss out on significant opportunities. Worse still, you invest your hard-earned money in the wrong places. Are you promoting products and/or services that your customers don’t need or failing to recognise a competitor doing it better? What if your growth rate lags behind competitors and the market? Are you communicating your differentiators?

As an entrepreneur, you may be no stranger to taking calculated business risks, but what if you didn’t have to with your marketing budget?

Marketing strategy model

Fig 3. Develop a marketing strategy and take the risk out of your marketing investment

The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) states that a marketing strategy provides a marketing department, and others within an organisation, with direction and focus. Planning is vital to the successful planning, implementation and management of all activities.

This sounds simple enough. Agree on an informed strategy, plan your activities, deploy them and evaluate success before going around the loop again. However, according to Forbes[4], nearly 50% of businesses don’t have a clearly defined digital strategy, potentially meaning that half of businesses don’t have a marketing strategy either. That’s where professional marketing advice from an expert on marketing strategy can help.

4. Un-Chartered territory – marketing ‘experts’

According to Marketing Quotes, there are 25,000 marketing companies in the UK, ranging from marketing agencies to full outsourced marketing businesses[5]. If we extrapolate the ONS statistics and assume 25% have employees, then there are c6,000 companies offering marketing services.

Prospects.ac.uk, the UK’s largest graduate careers website with over 2.3m monthly impressions, published in September 2018 that there are c153,000 people[6] employed in marketing and advertising. Furthermore, 70% are graduates, many of which lack experience in business.

The Chartered Institute of Marketing

The world’s leading marketing body (founded in 1911), CIM has 28,000 members worldwide of which just 3,000 are Chartered Marketers [7].

“Chartered Marketer status recognises those marketers achieving the highest level in our profession. It demonstrates commitment to keeping up-to-date and is awarded on a combination of experience and qualifications. In 1998, The Queen’s Privy Council granted us the authority to award Chartered Marketer status – the mark of an up-to-date, experienced and qualified marketing professional[8].”

Our founder, Mercè Cozens, is one of the 3,000 who have achieved the highest level in the profession and you can verify this with CIM via their Chartered Marketer Directory[9].

Assuming that two thirds of CIM members are in the UK, there are 2,000 Chartered Marketers within the 153,000 people in our industry, or just 1.3%. Considering that Chartered Marketers progress to Marketing Director, CMO or VP of Marketing in the private sector, few of those 2,000 are available.

Why do you need a Chartered Marketer? You can protect your marketing investment with expert advice and insight from 1 in every 100 marketing professionals.

Marketing growth expert

Hiring a Chartered Marketer with board experience is a sound investment

5. Where do I find more marketing growth?

We can all point to subjective macro-economic trends such as Brexit-uncertainty, individualism, micro-purchases, fast fashion, online shopping, electric cars, vegan diets etc. How many of us know where we stand in our industry, what our customers need, who we should target with what and when?

A marketing strategy and a winning strategic marketing plan are based on market research and data-driven insights. It may help to bring in third party advice to assist with this analysis to ensure quality. Well-known tools such as PESTLE and SWOT analysis help you understand your environment and competitive advantage. This enables you to build a value proposition that maximises return.

SWOT analysis

Fig 4a. SWOT analysis

PESTLE analysis

Fig 4b. PESTLE analysis

The Journal of Marketing found that having a marketing expert on your board added an average of 8% to revenue[10] versus boards without anybody from a marketing background. Think Beyond offers Marketing Director as a Service (MDaaS) to enhance your marketing and increase Marketing Return on Investment (MROI).

Is your business ready for a consultant to help accelerate your marketing growth? It can be a cost-effective investment without hiring a full-time senior marketer.

Marketing growth done right

There is no silver bullet to growth, a sure-fire quick win that negates the need for market research, planning and evaluation. In an ultra-competitive marketplace, do you have the digital marketing skills to stand out? Have you considered marketing automation to engage a larger audience without hiring more people? Are you spending a lot on Pay Per Click but not making more profit?

There is no simple answer but access to a Chartered Marketer with career expertise and clients in multiple industries, both B2B and B2C, gives you a framework to work within. We offer a marketing audit to assess your marketing performance. A marketing health check gives you a roadmap for marketing change you can deliver yourself or with our support. In summary, the choice is yours.

6. Why digital marketing is crucial

Given that 49% of businesses do not have a digital strategy, who is to say 50% are not losing out to their competitors who are digital marketing experts? There are multiple channels, approaches and skills needed with investment in people through to affiliate marketing, mobile app development, display advertising etc.

Even relatively simple channels such as YouTube need careful planning. Who are you trying to engage? What customer needs are you addressing? Is there demand for this content? Does the quality reflect well on the brand? Is the message and brand standing out? Are we tracking the results? How much time and cost am I putting into producing this content?

Generation Z and lighthouse customers

Early adopters and millennials may prefer voice search, which is a channel still in its infancy. As an SME, though you may use voice assistants every day e.g. Alexa, Google, Siri or Cortana, deploying it may be too complex and expensive if your customers don’t use it.

Search engines are almost a discipline all of their own. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) specialists usually have a relevant degree, knowledge of coding languages but may lack experience in marketing. A few have a Professional Certificate[11] in SEO and PPC from the Institute of Direct Marketing. An expert inbound marketing consultant can take some of the jargon out of digital marketing and help get you results, quickly.

A social media strategy requires plenty of content, engagement, effort and tracking. Adding digital shops, paid social media marketing ads and influencer marketing campaigns complicates things.

Digital marketing cloud

Fig 5. The digital marketing landscape requires an intricate strategy and careful investment

7. Increasing sales – sell more with marketing

If we remind ourselves of the definition of marketing strategy, it is the marketing logic for how we achieve our marketing objectives. There are many different types of business and a simple sales strategy might be:

• Owners with a strong network and generating leads within their social circle

• Sales teams searching for opportunities and converting them independently

• Businesses without any marketing relying on historic contract wins

• Good people and/or a great product/service that are growing in an expanding market

• Marketing teams that focus on brand/content/collateral creation (marcoms)

Each of these generic examples may be profitable businesses or exhibiting some growth every year. However, each of these examples may be sub-optimal. A limited network, a sales team cold calling new customers, not attracting new business, referrals and word of mouth growth or marketing not generating ROI.

Additionally, consider a fast-growing retail business with a large marketing function that spends heavily on customer acquisition via paid keyword searches. An over-resourced marketing team can almost be as damaging as an under-resourced team. Multiple marketing and digital agencies and burning through cash with Pay-Per-Click (PPC) is not uncommon.

High growth SMEs for a reason

A high-growth SME has more developed management and governance structures. They have processes to sign off marketing spend, review marketing KPIs and evaluate performance. Your profit could vanish without data and analytics to review marketing performance and financial control around marketing investment.

Forbes believes that every $1 spent on AdWords generates $2 in additional benefit[12]. This sounds great to most business owners but there is some debate as to what this really means. The 2:1 ratio generally refers to revenue and even Google’s own definition muddles the term ‘profit’ with incremental revenue.

Many marketers like PPC because it requires less time and effort than SEO. However, burning £10,000 per month cash and receiving £20,000 per month revenue might not stack up at a 30% margin. Properly planned and managed, PPC can complement SEO and a social media strategy but it is far from the only tool for lead generation, especially in B2B.

AdWords PPC

Fig 6. PPC is a quick win but is not a silver bullet

8. Marketing advice and sales and marketing alignment

External advice can keep you ahead of the competition or, at the very least, set you on the right course.

An expert marketing consultant can be cost-effective. If you were looking to recruit a head of marketing or marketing director on a permanent basis, it could cost six figures. A short project with a third party, professional marketing guidance or tailored training could all have lasting benefits long after the external advisor has moved on.

If your sales and marketing is out of alignment, you are missing opportunity. If marketing manages the external brand and sales don’t receive any marketing leads, an expert can help show both sides what good looks like and how to row in the same direction. This is also known as ‘Smarketing’.

Organisational goal number one

There is a wonderful quote from Marketo that states, “No matter how the CRM industry evolves, getting the sales and marketing teams to synergise is organisational goal number one[13].” When marketing and sales teams unite around a single revenue cycle, they dramatically improve MROI, sales productivity, and, most importantly, top-line growth.

According to SiriusDecisions, cross-functional alignment among sales, marketing, and product organisations can help companies achieve up to 19% faster revenue growth and 15% higher profitability[14].

Think Beyond knows sales enablement and the latest marketing techniques to get your teams performing better together and improve sales. Hubspot defines sales enablement as the technology, processes and content that empower sales teams to sell efficiently at a higher velocity[15].

Lead generation a win-win

Lead generation combined with lead scoring to supercharge sales, lead nurturing to increase lead quality and sales funnel optimisation work best with sales and marketing alignment. Imagine your marketing team feeding your sales team with leads that are already warm and qualified. It may only need a simple call to convert the lead to a sale. Account Based Marketing (ABM) increases sales productivity and earned commissions from higher deal values. Best of all, marketing can demonstrate its increased value add. In summary, a win-win scenario.

Sales funnel acceleration

Fig 7. Accelerate your sales funnel with lead generation, lead scoring and lead nurturing

9. Conclusion – Choose the right marketing expert

Is faster marketing growth as simple as screaming for an external advisor? It is one ingredient to accelerate your potential and could prove to be a smart, long-term investment in strategy and expertise.

Many small businesses are becoming more open to external advice, particularly from small consultancy firms, due to the cost and complexity of dealing with larger consultancy businesses.

Look for a Chartered Marketer

Finally, not all marketers are created equal. With only 1 in 100 marketing professionals in the UK being a Chartered Marketer, you know you are in good hands. An ethos based on ethics and a philosophy of partnership means we approach our business dealings from a position of integrity. In conclusion, we work with you and your teams for success.

CIM Chartered Marketer

Fig 8. Look for the Chartered Marketer logo as one of only 3,000 worldwide

For a free initial consultation and to see how a marketing expert can boost your marketing growth, contact us below or follow us online.

Website Think Beyond | Telephone 01625 682110 | Email hello@think-beyond.co.uk | Contact Us Form | LinkedIn page | Twitter page | Facebook page

Paid Social Media Advertising – how to boost Business Results

21 October 2019

Paid Social Media Advertising

October 2019

Paid social media advertising is the new organic: creating an evolved social media marketing strategy

B2B or B2C, companies from every sector are harnessing the power of social media to attract, engage, convert and retain custom. But have you considered paid social media advertising?

When it comes to measuring return on investment, it seems that organic social media content is not cutting it anymore. Yes, you can post on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn without charge but that “free” post is not free. It has already cost you and your business in terms of time (not to mention associated costs of travel, props, influencer or graphic design fees).

Organic is fading

The real kicker is yet to come. Fading organic reach means that there is no guarantee that your followers will even see the results of your labour let alone engage with it. According to the latest stats, fewer than 6% of page fans see organic posts from companies. In other words, for every 100 page followers, an organic post will reach, on average, five or less people.

Therefore, the question becomes how can you as a business owner, managing director or partner, reach the people who matter on social media channels in order to boost business performance and demonstrate ROI? The answer: by evolving your social media strategy to include paid social media advertising.

What is paid social?

Paid social are digital advertising options available on social media platforms that have a cost attached to them. From text ads to single image ads, carousel ad formats to inbox messages and sponsored content, there are many forms.

Similarly, like Google Adwords, paid social ads are normally charged on a cost per engagement basis and rates vary by platform, audience and targeting criteria.

Top audience selection criteria include:
● Demographic or firmographic targeting
● Interest targeting
● Remarketing lists
● Customer lookalike audiences

Got a question about your social media strategy? Speak with a member of the Think Beyond team direct by calling 01625 682110.

How to create a paid social media strategy that works for your business

An effective paid social strategy should combine business objectives with detailed research yet remain open to experimentation.

Objectives

Before parting with any of your marketing budget, you must first ask: what is the objective and how does this fit with the wider business goals as defined in the business plan?

Typical objectives for paid social ads include: brand awareness, increasing traffic, increasing engagement, lead generation and increasing sales. Defining your objective will directly impact what social platform/s you use and will determine what ad formats you choose.

For example, using spotlight ads to increase your followers on LinkedIn is great. However, if your business goal is to increase sales and revenue by channel, your campaigns are likely to fall short. A better investment would be to explore social commerce options such as the promotion option on Facebook or “shop now” on Instagram.

Research

Research and data analysis are key to identify the following. Firstly, your buyer personas based on demographic or firmographic profiling to inform social media audience targeting. Secondly, which social media channels your prospects can be found on and to consider for investment with paid ads.

Take time to understand who you are targeting and examine past performance: what social networks or campaigns worked well previously? Which haven’t? Furthermore, consider which platforms your competitors are actively bidding on. Make use of social media insight tools to further your research into audience selection and analysis.

Experimentation

No social media strategy would be complete without continual testing and refinement of ad format, copy and audience targeting. Your plan should be flexible and able to adapt to the rapidly evolving nature of social media advertising. In summary, lower performing campaigns with negative ROI should see investment moved elsewhere.

Why paid social pays: ROI and the growth of Social Commerce

Can paid social really fill the organic void? We are not advocating that you should abandon all hope and leave organic posting behind. A strategic social media plan that includes paid advertising options helps to zero in on buyers that matter to you across the sales cycle.

By examining audience selection, ad format choice, content selection and social network preference, businesses are able to make paid social work. It can even achieve a return on investment that rivals other marketing channels. Want to increase quality traffic to your website? Paid social can do that. Looking for more engagement such as likes and shares? Paid social can do that too. Need to increase your revenue? Yes, paid social can.

A tricky decision

According to recent research, social media messenger sales are outperforming the current ROI champion of email. Also, social commerce is said to be growing faster than its retail counterpart.

Influencers – the darlings of the social media world – may be able to generate up to 11 times more ROI than other advertising methods. Choosing between influencers such as bloggers, vloggers, micro-influencers, celebrities, activists and thought leaders requires careful planning and analysis. Not all influencers are created equal so parting with your hard-earned budget needs a granular approach to measuring marketing return.

Getting help with your paid social media planning

Is it time that you invested in paid social? Or do you need to revisit your current paid social media marketing strategy? Think Beyond is a Cheshire marketing management consultancy that offers advice across many areas of marketing. We can help you get to grips with social media marketing – both paid and organic. Our dedicated marketers work with businesses of all sizes to audit, research, plan and manage digital marketing strategies.

By choosing Think Beyond, you have a CIM qualified marketer on your side with access to latest industry insights and marketing training.

Start your Think Beyond journey today

Find out how Think Beyond can help to support your digital growth by getting in touch on 01625 682110 or email hello@think-beyond.co.uk.

Also, you can book a free one hour marketing strategy consultation by completing our 60-second contact form.

Finally, want to know more about what Think Beyond has to offer? Check out our full range of marketing support services or hear what our clients have to say about us.

Focus on series Account based marketing

14 October 2019

Account Based Marketing

October 2019

The rise of ABM

Account based marketing (ABM) is making waves in marketing. Specifically, 60% of B2B businesses report that they intend to increase their ABM budget next year.

Whether you have yet to adopt an ABM plan, have just dipped your toe into the ABM pool or are a seasoned professional, don’t get left behind. Think Beyond’s “Focus on series” gets to grips with the what, why and how behind effective account based marketing.

If you prefer to speak with a member of the Think Beyond team direct, call 01625 682110 now.

What exactly is account based marketing?

Account based marketing is a business strategy that funnels marketing resources towards specific target accounts. As the sniper elite of marketing strategies, ABM focuses on quality not quantity. ABM pushes selected accounts towards closed won via highly personalised messaging and customised nurture programmes to key stakeholders and prospects.

Furthermore, by treating your accounts as a market of one, it demands tight alignment between sales and marketing. The two teams must work together to firstly identify which accounts matter most to your business and secondly, to ensure that account messaging is unified across every touch point.

Is account based marketing just for B2B?

No – whilst there is no denying that account based marketing is suited to the multiple buyer profiles and long sales cycles common to B2B, ABM is gaining traction within B2C. Particularly, in areas of high ticket purchases such as car sales, housing and electronics.

Customer journeys are becoming more complex across the board, and unlike traditional lead generation, account based marketing goes beyond acquisition. The targeted nature of ABM lends itself to upsell and cross-sell and can enrich an existing inbound marketing strategy.

Why you can’t ignore ABM: The benefits of an account based marketing strategy

Here are 5 reasons why your business can’t afford to ignore ABM:

1. A high ROI

By strategically targeting key decision makers in accounts that represent the highest value, account based marketing offers a high return on investment. According to the Information Technology Services Marketing Association (ITSMA), 87% of marketers measuring ROI believe that ABM outperforms other marketing investments.

2. Increased deal size

A key benefit of adopting an account based marketing approach lies in increased deal size. SiriusDecision’s “2017 State of ABM Study Findings” reports that 91% of ABM marketers indicated a larger deal size and 25% stated that their deal size was over 50% larger.

3. Increase revenue with cross sell and up-sell

Winning new business with ABM doesn’t stop at initial prospecting. Therefore, apply account based marketing to existing clients to drive retention and revenue opportunities via cross-sell and upsell.

4. Greater sales and marketing alignment

Working closely together on selected accounts forces sales and marketing into close alignment. The benefits cannot be underestimated. With the efficiency savings of focusing on higher value leads, companies that adopt ABM and synch sales and marketing become 67% better at closing deals.

5. Personalised messaging

ABM solves the right time, right prospect, right message dilemma. Through personalised outreach and customised nurture messages, prospects are served appropriate content resulting in faster sales cycles. The messaging is tightly targeted to their specific needs and pain points without a spam email or cold call in sight.

How to implement account based marketing

First of all, developing an effective account based marketing strategy hinges upon successful alignment of sales and marketing. They must work together to define firmographics or buyer personas, identify target accounts and stakeholders, create campaigns and push optimal channels.

Secondly, a CRM system helps share data between departments and track interactions whilst shared KPIs measure impact and ROI.

In summary, integrating account based marketing with your marketing plan demands careful attention. ITSMA identifies 3 distinct ABM approaches: strategic, lite and programmatic, that serve ever increasing audience sizes. Terminus identifies a fourth option for account based marketing, which they name the “ABM bolt-on”, to reach audiences of any size.

Getting help with your ABM strategy

Find out what type of account based marketing you need and get advice to align sales and marketing by calling us. Think Beyond is a marketing consultancy based in Wilmslow and Alderley Edge in Cheshire. CIM qualified marketers partner with senior teams to plan, deliver and manage bespoke marketing solutions to grow sales and ROI. Similarly, we work with and alongside existing staff to accelerate your marketing potential.

Contact the ABM experts at Think Beyond

If you’d like to know how Think Beyond can help support your business growth, speak with a friendly member of the team today. Call 01625 682110 or email hello@think-beyond.co.uk.

Also, why not book a free 1 hour marketing consultation by submitting your details online.

Finally, keep up-to-date with the latest news by subscribing to our blog.

Cheshire Marketing Consultancy Think Beyond First Birthday

08 October 2019

Happy Birthday Think Beyond

October 2019

First birthday for Cheshire marketing consultants

Cheshire marketing consultancy Think Beyond celebrates first birthday on 8th October 2019.

Firstly, the five-star rated consultancy is offering a free one-hour marketing review. The free consultation aims to uncover where you are, where you want to be and what will close the gap.

CIM Chartered Marketers offer marketing advice to Cheshire and beyond. We offer advice because our clients deserve to have qualified marketers protect their marketing investment.

The journey

Launched in October 2018, Think Beyond has national and international clients and was shortlisted for a “Start up of the Year award”.

A member of the Federation of Small Business (FSB), Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) and the Institute of Directors (IOD), Think Beyond continues to accelerate. Additionally, services now include marketing training workshops and marketing events.

Our founder, Mercè Cozens said, “Firstly, I would like to thank our amazing clients, trusted suppliers and referral partners.”

“Secondly, Think Beyond is founded on an ethos of partnership so we partner with you and your team. We work with businesses to deliver science-backed marketing with measured results.”

“Whatever industry you work in and if you have employees, take our challenge this October. As a result, let’s see how we can help you think differently.”

“Finally, I want to recognise my husband and business partner, Steven, without whom this amazing journey wouldn’t be possible.”

Call Think Beyond

To find out more about Think Beyond’s marketing services, call 01625 682110 or email hello@think-beyond.co.uk.

Alternatively, book your free one-hour marketing review via our contact form.

Likewise, you can review our future events.

Finally, you can subscribe to our marketing blog here.

Neuroscience and branding

07 October 2019

Neuroscience and branding

October 2019

Neuroscience and branding

What makes an effective brand? Will advertising work? Neuroscience and branding (aka neurobranding) aim to find out.

The word ‘brand’ conjures up many images and emotions. Some whoop with delight at the sight of a famous fruit-shaped logo and the promise their products hold. Some groan with apathy at the idea that a brand has any value if they perceive advertising as annoying or intrusive.

Why is it then that a leading online company with a rather popular search engine has a brand value of nearly $168bn [1](and they are only second)? Why is the red and white logo of a famous soft-drink regularly cited as one of the most recognisable brands on the planet?

We have not mentioned the names of the three companies but we bet that you know who they are.

Why does your brand look the way it does?

Think about this question for a moment. If you work for the red and white logo beverage business, we are pretty sure you won’t know the answer. If you work for a small, owner-managed business, chances are that the logo is based on the inbuilt system 2 thinking preferences of the owner. A large business with a highly visible brand may refresh every 5-10 years so you could have sleepless nights about getting it wrong.

After all, your brand is often the main thing people recognise about your company. It can communicate what you do and why you do it. People often have an implicit trust of brands to which they are regularly exposed.

How important is a brand strategy?

Neuroscience (and branding) plays an increasingly important part in your brand strategy – both online and offline. For organisations with a significant brand value on their corporate balance sheet, there is a tangible financial risk to any action that impacts this value or undermines the brand equity built up over decades.

We like to think of ourselves as being developed creatures. However, evolution means that many of our reactions and instincts were cultivated over thousands of years. Primal instincts include (but are not limited to):

  • Hunter-gatherer tendency
  • Drive to the great outdoors
  • Fear of loss
  • Familiarity equals safety

All of these have implications for branding and advertising.

Neuroscience and branding implications

The hunter-gatherer tendency means that we continually assess our surroundings for threats, which is a primitive reaction to dangerous predators for survival. People tend to be driven to the great outdoors because we associate lush, rich countryside with a bounty of food important to survival. Fear of loss relates to a primitive fear of risk and people may cling onto things they don’t need to avoid this feeling. Familiarity means that if you have seen something more than once, you realise it is not a risk to you and are more likely to accept it.

If you would like to know more about how your brand plays a crucial role in your business’ evolution, contact our brand experts. Call 01625 682110 or e-mail us at hello@think-beyond.co.uk.

What makes for good branding and advertisement?

There are a number of things that generally boost your brand recognition amongst competitors.

Aesthetically pleasing

Simple geometric shapes and patterns are easier for the human brain to process. Heuristic thinking means that your brain takes shortcuts as often as it can to conserve energy, hence we have an in-built preference for anything that lightens the load. This can also mean a preference for beautifully simple, attractive and symmetrical faces in advertisements. The human brain finds it easier to process clean images and there is a slight preference for rounded shapes versus spikey or pointy.

Colours

Colours are important to identify brands and packaging. In short, they help you to stand out versus competitors.

Most people would associate a strong mint with a metallic green wrapper in the same way as someone else would see a bright yellow digger as a supplier of construction equipment. Strong colours make your brand and product quicker to identify against a sea of others on a B2C supermarket shelf, within a website product category or even at a trade show.

Clear fonts and text colours that stand out against the background make text easier to read and thus easier to recognise.

Positioning

The amount and position of images in an advertisement can impact the ease of recognition of your brand.
The brain’s image centre has a bias towards processing images on the left and text on the right (though left-handed people do not demonstrate this bias). This has implications for more technical advertising messaging such as B2B consultancy, manufacturing or technology. Multiple visual groups and images require extra energy to process so ‘clutter’ has a negative impact. A human face looking towards you has a greater emotional connection than one looking away from you.

Context

Human beings are generally empathic and demonstrate emotional responses to the emotions and situations of others. For example, a brightly-lit scene at a smiling family dinner is more likely to make the consumer feel happy and positive.

Simple shapes, bright colours and high-contrast text ease the burden of choice for the brain. This helps stimulate an energy-efficient, sub-conscious response amongst the cacophony of visual ‘noise’ in our environment. Repeated exposure to these simple shapes and colours breeds familiarity and the image becomes ‘safe’ in our visual processing.

How can I guarantee my brand recognition and advertising impact? Neuroscience and branding are a game-changer.

The CIM Chartered Marketers at Think Beyond advocate scientific methods to measure activities and marketing return on investment (MROI). Using neuroscience experiments in neuromarketing can boost your MROI by scientifically evaluating responses, gaze and physical cues when exposed to stimulus. Neuroscience and branding, or ‘neurobranding’, focuses on responses to brands.

Traditional methods of gauging reaction to branding and advertising involve focus groups, surveys and interviews but there remains potential for bias and error. Therefore, before jeopardising brand value and recognition or gambling significant marketing funds on an untested campaign, consider neuromarketing as a proven way to lower your marketing risk.

Contact Think Beyond today

Think Beyond is a Cheshire marketing management consultancy with a philosophy of change and measurable results. We operate in Wilmslow and Alderley Edge, with clients across the North West, from Manchester to Lancashire and beyond. You can request a free one-hour initial consultation by calling 01625 682110 or complete our easy contact from to request a call back.

Why not take a look at our customer testimonials or find out more via our marketing blog.

Institute of Directors (IOD) welcomes Think Beyond

02 October 2019

Institute of Directors

October 2019

Business, marketing and the IoD

Think Beyond has joined the Institute of Directors (IoD). As a result, we can access exclusive resources to develop, grow and support clients.

Mercè Cozens, our founder, said “Firstly, I am honoured to join the IoD. Think Beyond’s philosophy of partnership drives science-backed marketing with measurable results. This ethos resonates and I look forward to effecting change with the IoD.”

Claire Ebrey is IoD Regional Director for the North West and Isle of Man. Claire said, “It is my pleasure to welcome Mercè and Think Beyond to the IoD. I was struck by Mercè’s passion for marketing and desire to be an even better director. Ultimately, we will support her to connect, develop and influence.”

The Institute of Directors and Think Beyond

Founded in 1903, the IoD is a network of UK business leaders. They support members, encourage entrepreneurial activity and promote responsible business practices.

Think Beyond is a Cheshire marketing consultancy run by a Chartered Marketer, From Wilmslow and Alderley Edge, we offer marketing advice, health checks and lead generation through to training.

Additionally, we provide mentoring to marketers and women in business.

Call Think Beyond

Think Beyond improve your bottom line with expert marketing advice. Therefore, why not call now on 01625 682110 or email hello@think-beyond.co.uk to find out more?

Also, you can fill-in our contact form to book a free one-hour marketing review.

Similarly, check upcoming marketing events to meet us.

Finally, read our customer feedback here.

Marketing Trends 2020 What You Need to Know – Now

30 September 2019

Marketing Trends 2020

September 2019

Get your marketing strategy (and budget) ready for the year ahead with marketing trends 2020

Firstly. while 2020 may seem distant (after all, we still have Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the Christmas sales stretch), now is the time to start preparing. Marketing trends 2020 that will impact next year’s marketing strategy.

As a director, CMO or marketing manager, which trends will impact marketing performance in 2020? How should you adjust your budgets to get the most out of every campaign, channel or marketing action? To help you plan ahead, Think Beyond compiled seven marketing trends 2020 to watch out for. Our CIM qualified marketers distilled insights from across the worlds of content, digital and social.

Maybe need to talk marketing strategy with a member of the Think Beyond team? Call 01625 682110 for a no-obligation chat.

Seven marketing trends 2020

B2B or B2C, the following trends are predicted to impact the marketing landscape in 2020:

1. Data rules but personalisation is key

According to “The Path to 2020” report by the Economist Intelligence Unit, next year will see marketers use personalisation to drive engagement at scale. This means combining data-backed insights with a prospect’s contextual situation to deliver the right marketing content, at the right time and to the right prospect.

Focus on understanding the customer to deliver greater personalisation shows that the role of marketing is expanding to include customer service, retention and sales. In short, marketing “will own the end-to-end customer experience by 2020.” Prepare yourself, 2020 is going to be busy. Make the most of your data to create personalised customer experiences and consider investing in neuromarketing to boost your marketing ROI.

2. Get interactive with social and mobile

First of all, channels and devices that lend themselves to personalisation are tipped to grow in marketing popularity in 2020. Think social media, mobile devices and mobile apps. Gone are the days of advertising to the masses through tv or radio. 2020’s consumers prefer the small screen or no screen and will actively research their purchase options.

Assess how you will use social media channels in your marketing plan to enrich customer journeys. Additionally, ensure your website is optimised for mobile first. Finally, devote time to exploring how automation can help you engage with your audiences across devices.

3. Invest in Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) for position zero

Any digital marketing plan should include an element of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and this is no different in 2020.

What you should change, however, is how you optimise and structure your content because it helps position zero rankings. Business2community provides a clear example of a position zero result in action below:

SEO position zero

Certainly, revisit your content strategy and focus on FAQ copy to help search engines pick up featured snippets to be displayed as the top organic result. An SEO plan primed for position zero increases your chances of ranking twice so you appear in both featured snippets and in the search results, therefore giving your business two bites of the customer engagement cherry. With an estimated 61.8% of search results in Google currently zero-search results, is it time that you doubled down on your SEO?

4. Look who’s talking: maximise voice search potential

Voice search, whilst not new, is shaping up to have a significant impact upon how prospects search and interact with a brand.

Latest statistics show that 71% of mobile users aged 18-29 use the voice assistant on their smartphone and there are over 45m voice-assisted devices in use in the USA alone. Creating content to match conversational queries and updating your pay-per-click keyword selection to include such variants are just two ways to optimise for voice search. Consider also how your business could tap into branded skills for the likes of Alexa (think of Forbes “Quote of the Day”) and maximising the power of “near me” searches on mobile devices.

5. Technology is your friend: automate

We all need a little help from our friends and this extends to the world of marketing. Marketing automation technologies can engage and convert prospects 24/7.

The opportunities for automation are everywhere. From Google Ads smart bidding strategies to automated email campaigns and an ever-present social presence achieved via chatbots, AI has a lot to offer in 2020. How will your marketing budget reflect this?

Even B2B can reap the benefits of a 24/7 approach typically associated with B2C. Specifically, as the B2B buyer cycle and number of decision makers grows, clever marketing automations can nurture every lead at every touch point to reduce the time to sales won.

6. Content is not going anywhere

Content is tipped to remain firmly at the throne in 2020. Immersive mediums such as live video and Augmented Reality (AR) are set to soar in popularity.

Furthermore, if you are not already leveraging video marketing as part of your marketing strategy, start planning now. Research by Digital Marketing World suggests that live video will make up 13% of all internet traffic by 2021. Video is already prevalent across social media sources offering real-time engagement between brands and prospects. Similarly, consider how you could utilise AR to drive deeper product knowledge via product demos or trade show presentations. Adopt AR within your immersive content marketing plan and you can literally stand out away from the competition.

7. Growth of centres of influence and the “new native”

65% of multinational brands will increase their spend on Influencer marketing into 2020. An expansion of the centres of influence seems certain.

In what demand generation refers to as “democratised influence”, brands are expected to tap into more and more niche influencers. This includes employees, community members, customers and traditional influencers. Founded on a “new native” of transparency, this expansion appears particularly pertinent to B2B as a result of increasing B2B decision-makers. More influencers equals more chances to engage with different (and often disparate) decision-makers.

Take your marketing further with Think Beyond

Ready to create your marketing strategy for 2020? Which of the above seven marketing trends 2020 will make your cut and grab a slice of your new year budget? Do you even have a budget or are you working to a zero-based budgeting model?

Think Beyond is a Cheshire marketing management consultancy providing full marketing strategy support across the North West and beyond. We work with senior teams and business owners to deliver science backed marketing solutions with results that you, and the entire C-Suite, can measure. Through our six key services of business consultancy, marketing automation, digital strategy, improving sales, marketing workshops and inbound marketing, our aim remains unaltered. Think Beyond accelerates your marketing potential now, in 2020 and beyond.

Contact the Think Beyond marketers today

You can ensure you are not left behind due to upcoming marketing trends 2020. Call 01625 682110 or email hello@think-beyond.co.uk.

Also, you can book a free one-hour initial consultation by submitting your contact details online.

Finally, catch the latest news and updates by subscribing to our marketing insights blog.

2-month Challenge Get Black Friday fit and Cyber Monday motivated

27 September 2019

Black Friday

September 2019

When is Black Friday?

Black Friday is on Friday 29th November 2019 and is set to break records. This traditional American giveaway after Thanksgiving has firmly cemented itself into British shopping habits.

Why is Black Friday important to your business?

Back in 2015, the BBC reported that sales in Great Britain grew faster in November than in December for the first time. This is a key buying period, with the average consumer set to spend over £2,000 of their disposable income in the run up to Christmas. The question is no longer how much you sell in December but whether people will have enough money left after Black Friday for Christmas.

Who started Black Friday in the UK?

Amazon is widely credited for bringing this American extravaganza across the pond and cementing the event within the British buying psyche. High street names such as Currys, Argos, Boots, Tesco and Asda are avid promoters of Black Friday weekend. With deals often exceeding 50% off, there are bargains to be had and this draws in the crowds. Remember, the date is after pay day for most people, specifically, on or around the 25th day of each month.

Should B2B care about Black Friday deals?

Black Friday is not exclusive to B2C. More companies are offering Black Friday discounts to clients, whether they supply IT equipment, office furniture or SaaS subscriptions. The majority of companies have a year-end aligned to the end of the financial year (31st March) or the calendar year (31st December). The latter may buy ahead of year-end due to Christmas. In conclusion, Black Friday may be a good time to mop up budget.

How do I get help planning for Black Friday and Cyber Monday?

Think Beyond are experts in marketing strategy and planning. We can help you prepare programmes and activities to maximise your performance in this key period. You can contact the team for a no obligation discussion on 01625 682110 or e-mail hello@think-beyond.co.uk.

Can I learn from Prime Day?

According to The Drum, this 48-hour sale beat their own sales record for Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined. These ‘deal days’ can boost your trade and provide a ‘flywheel’ effect for future organic sales. In fact, total impressions were 80% higher than the trailing six-week average.

Amazon’s ‘Cyber Five’ event for 2019 covering Black Friday and Cyber Monday is expected to be the largest sales event of 2019. Remember that Amazon Business will also be involved, which may draw custom away from you if you don’t run your own deals.

What can I do to prepare for Black Friday sales?

Back in 2018, Forbes gave three tips to prepare. “Start preparing now to avoid common conundrums that trip up small businesses and prevent meticulous strategies from going as planned.”

Work with influencers

Remember that 92% of people trust peer recommendations and the ROI of influencer marketing is 11 times higher than other marketing methods. Maximise your own deal day.

Test your website

For many businesses, your website is your shopfront and it needs to perform. Make sure it doesn’t get overwhelmed and slow down or crash during your event. 46% of users don’t return to poorly performing websites and 44% of online shoppers will tell their friends about a bad experience online.

Expect the unexpected

Ensuring that your Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals deliver on both the top and bottom line is crucial. Planning your competitive strategy to get ahead will pay dividends. Also, make sure you have the planned all of the logistics.

Get marketing advice from an expert

The Chartered Marketers of Think Beyond have a philosophy of supporting change. If this is your first Black Friday and Cyber Monday or you didn’t plan for it in previous years, you have two months to prepare and change your approach. In summary, we focus on delivering measurable results with a positive marketing return on investment (MROI).

Based in Wilmslow and Alderley Edge, we offer marketing advice and operations support to Cheshire, Manchester and Lancashire. We have clients as far afield as London, Barcelona and Stockholm.

Take advantage of our free one-hour consultation and see how we can help you with your Black Friday marketing. Call us now on 01625 682110 or fill-in our quick contact form.

Finally, why not check out our customer testimonials or subscribe to our blog.

B2B Lead Generation Short Guide

23 September 2019

Lead Generation

September 2019

The what, why and how behind increasing your leads – and revenue

“Traditional demand generation .. just simply isn’t working,” writes Joe Hyland in The State of B2B Lead Generation 2019.

Gone is the belief that increasing leads will pave an inevitable path to sales and revenue. Today’s marketers must acknowledge that B2B buyers switch off to “automated spam”, become irritated by lax data cleansing and prefer to research their purchase options in private. Coupled with the new responsibilities imposed by GDPR and a seemingly ever-growing number of decision makers to satisfy, lead generation is one of the biggest challenges facing B2B marketing.

That’s why Think Beyond’s CIM backed marketers have put together the following B2B lead generation short guide. Let us take you through the what, why and how you can create a lead generation strategy that works for you, your team and your business’ bottom line.

Prefer to speak with a member of the Think Beyond team direct? Call 01625 682110 for a friendly, no obligation chat.

What is lead generation?

Lead generation (or lead gen for short) is the means by which a business generates interest in their products and/or services. Fuelled by top-of-the funnel marketing activities, lead generation’s aim is to initiate contact opportunities in order to collect prospect data and hopefully convert this data into sales won deals.

Driving traffic to your website via Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising – that’s lead generation; sharing blog posts on social media – that’s lead generation, exhibiting at a business expo – that’s lead generation too. The examples of lead generation abound and are not limited to a particular medium, channel or device.

Why you need to invest in a B2B lead gen strategy

The importance of lead generation lies in creating a strong sales and marketing pipeline.

A successful B2B lead generation approach will help you to not only attract leads but to attract the type of leads that matter most to your business, matching that all-important quality with quantity to deliver a premium ROI. Within competitive markets, such as technology, this could mean the difference between break-even, profit or exceeding targets.

Combining your lead generation efforts with an effective lead scoring strategy and a defined nurture programme can similarly accelerate your conversion rate and deliver real revenue results.

How can I drive more quality leads to my business?

If you want to increase your lead numbers, take a look at the following B2B lead generation best practices:

● Know your audience: Have you defined your buyer personas? Who is your ideal customer? Personalise your content to answer how your product or service answers a particular pain point for your audience.
● Make use of technology: Live chat and chatbots can help your business achieve 24/7 availability and capture leads no matter what time of day or night.
● Invest in CRM: Consolidate prospect data and automate your lead nurturing strategy across channels to achieve the right time, right content, right prospect mix.
● Examine the basics: Is your call to action prominent? Is your contact telephone number clearly displayed? A broken button on a lead generation form or a missing number can quickly spell disaster for your digital acquisition plans. Similarly, ensure that you have ample contact opportunities throughout your website such as pop-up windows or footer forms.
● Utilise lead magnets: Add data capture to downloadable content such as whitepapers, e-books and video.

Let Think Beyond help take your lead generation plans further

Estimates show that 50% of B2B marketers are set to increase their budgets for online lead generation over the next 12 months. This is despite only 47% of companies believing that they have a clear understanding of ROI based on sales data. Yes, less than half of businesses are able to articulate their marketing return on investment to demonstrate a lead’s worth.

At best this inability to calculate MROI could lead to inefficient spend, at worst it could set in motion a total budget cut.

Think Beyond is a marketing management consultancy that aims to offer a true marketing ROI – our Chartered Marketers help businesses across Cheshire, Manchester, the North West and beyond. Take control of your sales strategy and budget with science-backed marketing solutions that can be tracked and measured according to the metrics that matter to your business.

Always working with and alongside existing teams, Think Beyond provide full sales and marketing strategy support to maximise your conversion rate. Our range of services include: sales funnel identification and analysis, marketing training workshops, sales and marketing alignment, sales enablement and lead generation.

Contact Think Beyond today

Find out how Think Beyond can help support your business development by calling 01625 682110 or email hello@think-beyond.co.uk.

You can also request a free 1 hour marketing consultation by completing our friendly contact form.

Why not check out our range of marketing training workshops or read what our clients have to say about working with Think Beyond by viewing our testimonials.

Focus on Series Why your Business can’t Ignore Sales and Marketing Misalignment

16 September 2019

Sales and Marketing Funnel

September 2019

Sales and marketing – The ultimate power couple

Within the world of business, there’s one power couple that every company should aspire to emulate. This partnership has been proven to generate business results; supercharging growth rates and increasing revenue from marketing by up to 209%.This partnership even has its own moniker. This partnership is “Smarketing,” or sales and marketing alignment to use the full form.

Despite the advantages of this coupling, only 8% of businesses report having strong alignment between their sales and marketing departments. The economic impact of this misalignment is staggering. According to one study, a lack of alignment between sales and marketing costs businesses over a trillion dollars a year and is the overriding reason why an organisation’s annual revenue stagnates or falls into decline.

Smarketing: The evolution of sales and marketing alignment

Addressing sales and marketing misalignment requires focus at a strategic level and an understanding of today’s “customer is king” environment.

Sales reps have become somewhat side-lined owing to the digital boom as search engines and social selling fuel independent buyer research. Within the B2B sector, it is estimated that most buyers are already 57% through the buying process before meeting with a sales representative. By 2020, this number is set to increase to 80%.

The rise of the digitally-driven informed buyer has not only increased purchase cycles but weighted the sales and marketing funnel towards the latter. Charged with lead generation, lead scoring, lead nurturing and customer retention, marketing is increasingly encroaching upon sales territory. No longer siloed and separate entities, sales and marketing teams should be seen as a unified whole – the “Smarketing” department that works together to engage, inform, convert and retain custom.

Sales and Marketing Funnel

Sales and Marketing Funnel

Continue reading today’s “focus on series” to discover how you can integrate sales and marketing functions within your organisation and start using Think Beyond’s alignment best practices today.

If you’d prefer to speak with a member of the Think Beyond team direct, call 01625 682110 for a no obligation, confidential chat.

How to increase integration between your sales and marketing teams

Here’s four ways you can help court the relationship between sales and marketing in your business:

1. Knowing me, knowing you: Create buyer personas together

Understanding your ideal customer is crucial if your marketing team is to attract high quality leads for sales to convert.

By working together on creating a dynamic profile of your buyer personas, sales can help marketing to understand what audiences are most valuable to your business and provide insight into customer pain points. Accurate buyer personas are the cornerstone of your marketing plan, fuelling content production, channel preferences and more.

2. Increase visibility across touch points with CRM

Data, and the exchange of that data, is key to aligning sales and marketing departments. Invest in a CRM (customer relationship management) system to increase visibility throughout the customer journey and pave the way for account-based marketing (ABM).

Combined with marketing automation technology, an effective CRM system can streamline both your lead scoring and lead nurture programmes to turn your prospects into opportunities – process management at its best.

3. We’re all in this together, or, the importance of shared KPIs

Quantifying the value of marketing actions, or your marketing return on investment, is one of the biggest challenges facing marketing managers and CMOs. After all, how do you place a pound sign upon actions such as increased Twitter followers; how do you calculate and measure brand awareness?

Creating shared KPIs (key performance indicators) is crucial to align your sales and marketing teams and accurately gauge MROI. More than this, shared KPIs foster company-wide integration via the language of common metrics. Yes, sales and marketing may be a power couple but marketing and finance are BFF when shared metrics enter the business mix.

4. Reduce friction by unifying messaging

The evolution of Smarketing necessitates unified messaging. Incongruous sales and marketing messages such as differing product terminology and disjointed brand positioning all contribute towards an overall poor impression of a company.

In order to reduce customer friction, the language used in your marketing materials should firstly accurately reflect your proposition and secondly be reinforced by the sales department. Unified messaging sets the scene for sales enablement – equip your sales team with valuable content such as whitepapers, e-books and downloadable product guides to engage the buyer and funnel them closer to sales-won.

Adopting an ABM (account-based marketing) approach forces the issue of unified content further. By treating your accounts as markets of one, sales and marketing are thrown into sharp alignment to deliver personalised account-specific messaging. The result: ABM has been proven to increase sales win rates by 38%.

Which of the above sales and marketing alignment tips will you use in your business? Have you considered how a marketing consultant can help to integrate your teams and drive organisational success?

Partner with Think Beyond on your sales and marketing alignment

Think Beyond is a full-service marketing consultancy. From our base in Cheshire, Think Beyond’s CIM qualified consultants partner with senior management teams across the UK to deliver science-backed business solutions that get results.

Our consultants have a proven track record of managing periods of organisational change and can help to unify your sales and marketing functions through development of a defined marketing strategy that answers your business needs. Our range of services also includes marketing training workshops and Marketing Director as a Service (MDaaS) to support your team, your c-suite and ultimately your business to get on (a singular) track towards greater growth.

Get in touch with Think Beyond today

Find out how Think Beyond can help support your marketing goals by getting in touch with one of our friendly team members today. Call 01625 682110 or email hello@think-beyond.co.uk.

You can also complete our 60-second contact form to book a free one hour initial consultation.

Receive the latest news and marketing insights from Think Beyond and subscribe to our blog.

Marketing Transformation – Lean Marketing equals Strong Marketing

11 September 2019

September 2019

What is marketing transformation?

Marketing, like it or not, is a head office or administrative function. Like most jobs available today, marketing roles are susceptible to transformation, automation or outsourcing. If this sounds like the preserve of large corporations, you would be wrong. Companies of all sizes have opportunities to transform their marketing and transform their ROI. Read on to find out more.

Why do I need to transform? And what is the impact of digital transformation and marketing?

To answer the first question, most companies do not have a choice. Whether it be a move from offline marketing techniques to online, direct mail campaigns to e-mail, networks to social media groups or simply that the businesses have grown rapidly, marketing will go through a transformation of sorts.

For modern marketers, change is a fact of life and possibly more so for marketers than some other professionals as technological change sweeps across the profession and digital skills become more and more important owing to the digital transformation of marketing itself.

Staying agile within this environment requires marketing managers and business owners to develop a marketing strategy and marketing plan that are fluid and flexible yet researched, right on trend and robust.

Think Beyond is a marketing management consultancy operating from Wilmslow and Alderley Edge in Cheshire. We service clients across the North West and beyond. We specialise in marketing strategy to help businesses increase sales and marketing ROI and we even help you put that strategy into action. To speak to a Chartered Marketer at Think Beyond, call 01625 682110 for a no obligation, confidential discussion.

What types of transformation in marketing do I need to know about?

Broadly speaking, there are 8 main types of marketing transformation and they are as follows:

1. Rationalise websites and social channels

If a business has operated for a long time, it may have built up a number of websites, microsites, landing pages, domains and social channels. All of these carry cost and an administrative burden that may be reduced by consolidating or switching off redundant services. Even a website that you are not using may be incurring hosting charges.

2. Rationalise brands, businesses and companies

FMCG and Retail in particular can consist of many brands, business divisions or even legal entities. Logic may have dictated creation of new brands to target different segments or to differentiate from competitors. New ventures and product lines with little overlap to existing products may have been set up as new companies with new logos, imagery and brand guidelines. It may be that you have marketing agencies charging a flat fee per brand or business or different agencies are contracted with different companies in your group. It may be time to consolidate.

3. Rationalise marketing agencies

We all know that there is a marketing agency for everything. With the rise and rise of digital marketing, you may face a bewildering array of providers to deal with. Host website? Check. Build and manage website? Check. Graphic design? Check. Social channels? Check. The list goes on and seems endless. Imagine having multiple group companies and more than one agency supplying each type of service…

4. Rationalise brand building expenditure

Brand building can be an expensive business and a long term one at that. CEOs and CFOs may view expenditure as expendable due to the inability of measuring marketing ROI. Well-established brands may be able to increase effectiveness by switching from television advertising to YouTube, Instagram or Facebook videos for example. An eCommerce business sinking thousands into Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising may save money by investing in Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and personalising the customer journey for greater marketing ROI.

Direct mail campaigns can give way to e-mail campaigns or increasing social media followers. New and agile companies may skip traditional marketing methods entirely and go entirely digital, deploying Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), social channel posts and online content to build brand awareness and followers at low cost.

Zero-based budgeting (ZBB) may force marketing to justify their budgets or lose investment to other worthy projects across the organisation. Market and customer research and leveraging neuroscience in marketing so that neuromarketing can boost your advertising ROI.

5. Rationalise technologies

Marketing is a highly technical field with software required to perform all manner of tasks, possibly more than most head office functions. There are also a large number of portals, subscriptions and services that may be needed. Acrobat, Dreamweaver, SurveyMonkey, WordPress, Eloqua, Salesforce, Marketo, Google Drive, Dropbox, SEMRush, Optimizely, Hubspot, Tableau, MailChimp, Google Ads, CIM, IDM, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Shutterstock, Getty Images etc. There may be opportunities to consolidate or rationalise.

6. Increase marketing automation

For many, gone are the days where more marketing meant more manual effort, more printing and more people. There are, however, increasing demands on marketing in certain scenarios. For example, if a brand seeks to increase social engagement, publish more content or nurture more leads, would you expect to hire more staff?

Not necessarily, with software automation technologies available that can be programmed to post online, e-mail and tailor content to draw people in to become inquiries to prospects and eventually, customers. In the B2B world, proper management of the Sales Funnel with CRM can increase sales without increasing spend and lead scoring coupled with lead nurturing can focus effort on the most important leads.

Beyond the scaling of ‘volume’ activities, there exists artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and machine learning to further reduce and automate simple tasks. This frees up marketing to focus on higher value, results-driven strategies and allows more time to be spent influencing a customer-centric marketing strategy with personalised journeys.

7. Increase shared services

For many head office or administrative functions, the possibility of outsourcing is very real. Sometimes, this can be a business leveraging wage arbitrage by moving roles to a lower-cost jurisdiction. Often, a business may seek to place new or volume work with a specialist agency that has the scale to lower costs e.g. a large telemarketing agency or digital marketing developer. It is not unusual for B2B organisations to establish demand centres offshore that manage high volumes of requests for marketing materials, marketing campaigns or landing pages that can be processed at a lower cost per hour than recruiting more marketing executives.

8. Renegotiate marketing services

If anyone has spent considerable time with finance or procurement professionals, renegotiating contracts or inviting companies to tender every time a contract expires (e.g. annually) is standard fayre. A long-serving supplier may have failed to make internal efficiencies and deploy automations of their own, meaning costs are higher than new entrants or more digitally-savvy competitors. A supplier may have increased costs or is being paid a flat rate for some services that you are no longer using, meaning a renegotiation armed with that information or an invitation to tender on renewal allows an opportunity to right-size the service and cost.

How can I get help to transform my marketing?

Think Beyond are a marketing management consultancy offering a range of services from marketing plans to Marketing Director as a Service (MDaaS) through to marketing health checks and marketing agency management. We believe that marketing is a science, not an art and we recognise the importance of marketing transformation to ensure a lean and effective marketing function, which is a great start to ensuring marketing and finance are BFFs.

A Chartered Marketer or Marketing Director on your board can increase revenue by an average of 8% as well as help you deliver marketing transformation through efficiencies and marketing automation.

Contact the Think Beyond marketers today

If you would like to chat to a member of the Think Beyond team, you can reach us on 01625 682110, e-mail us at hello@think-beyond.co.uk or fill-in our simple contact form and we will get back to you.

You can view testimonials from our happy customers here.

Get Ahead and Stay Ahead The Importance of your Competitive Marketing Strategy

02 September 2019

September 2019

Why strategy matters to you

Any business owner, sales director or marketing manager inevitably wants the following – to increase profits and cement their brand’s position within the market.

Whilst an aggressive Pay Per Click (PPC) stance or targeted e-mail campaign may help to accomplish this in the short-term, a well-defined competitive marketing strategy is key to business survival; helping you to both get ahead and stay ahead of the competition within increasingly crowded markets.

But what exactly is a competitive strategy and how can your business create one? Continue reading to discover the answer to these two questions and more.

Can’t wait? If you’d like to discuss your marketing strategy with a member of the Think Beyond team, call 01625 682110 for a no obligation chat.

What types of competitive business strategies should you know?

Leading academic Michael Porter identified four competitive strategies:

  • Cost leadership – you become the lowest cost producer. Typically achieved through large scale production, high technology and bargaining power. Use where price matters.
  • Differentiation leadership – you develop competitive advantage through marketing your unique features and benefits, increasing customer perception of your added value. A successful differentiation strategy lowers price sensitivity and generates brand loyalty.
  • Cost focus – you target specific market segments and keep prices low for them. For example, a telecoms company may be the cheapest in London but not the whole UK.
  • Differentiation focus – you differentiated offerings to specific segments. This is a niche marketing strategy e.g. selling left-handed gadgets or over-pronation running shoes.

In summary, cost and differentiation provide the grounds for competitive advantage whilst focus determines the scale.

Competitive intelligence: how you can create a competitive marketing plan

As a long-term defensive plan aimed at generating you a superior ROI, a competitive marketing strategy is based on an in-depth analysis of your market, your competition and your customers.

It is here that the importance of your research as part of your wider marketing strategy cannot be stressed enough. Without a marketing strategy in place, your business is effectively grounded. Like a car with no fuel, your business may look fine, have all the necessary parts and even a few added extras, but you may find that it won’t get you to your destination.

Take time to examine your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses, find out what works for them and what doesn’t. Go further and conduct SWOT and PESTLE analysis to gain a keen understanding of the micro and macro environment in which your business operates. Where are your opportunities and challenges?

Deep-dive into your customer profiles and understand their pain points. Answer what particular problem does your product or service solve? How do you add value? Truly understand your value proposition and use this to your competitive advantage.

The economist, Theodore Levitt, argued that all of your goods and services can be differentiated and that “The way a company manages its marketing can become the most powerful form of differentiation.” Differentiation even exists “in the way in which a manager operates”; analysis of buyers can identify which of your segments are most price sensitive and which markets are most loyal so that you can target buyers where most of your profit is found.

Why you should Think Beyond for your competitive advantage

Think Beyond is a marketing management consultancy that delivers solutions to your marketing challenges and increase your return. From our offices in Cheshire, our CIM qualified marketers have helped senior teams across the North West to get to grips with all aspects of their competitive marketing strategy.

From research, training courses and marketing plans through to board level Marketing Director as a Service (MDaaS), Think Beyond works with you to implement an intelligent competitive strategy focused on generating superior returns for you.

You can benefit from a Think Beyond marketing expert today

Ready to stand out from the crowd? Call 01625 682110 to speak with a member of the Think Beyond team or e-mail hello@think-beyond.co.uk.

Alternatively, submit your contact details online to book a free one-hour initial consultation.

Find out what our clients have to say about working with us by checking out our five-star testimonials.

The importance of investing in marketing skills training

27 August 2019

August 2019

Why marketing training matters

The marketing landscape is constantly changing and with it is a demand for marketing teams to possess an ever-expanding skill set.

Today’s modern marketer must at once be data-driven, proficient in AI integrations and aware of the latest digital twists and turns whilst still having their foot in traditional marketing methodologies and soft skills such as leadership. Today’s marketer must also conduct themselves according to the ethical business obligations imposed by GDPR.

Perhaps not surprisingly, marketing spend on skills training has increased from 2.7% of total marketing budget to 3.9%. In monetary terms, $90 billion was spent on corporate training last year alone.

But as a director, CEO or owner, how can you ensure you get the most “bang for your buck,” and how do you quantify the return on skills training? Do you even have a training budget?

Can technology fill the skills gap?

With the growth of marketing technology and SaaS options, it can be tempting to believe that an off-the-shelf integration or even a customised programme could satisfy your business’ skills shortfall. Indeed, Chiefmartech.com reports that in the eight years from 2011 to 2019, the number of vendors offering marketing or marketing related software solutions has increased dramatically; rising from 150 providers to 7040.

But to solely invest in technology misses that marketing cannot, and should not, be reduced to a singular function. Marketing is as much about people and their skills.

Yes, upskilling and training your workforce takes considerably longer than an off-the-shelf or even customised data integration but that is precisely why senior management must plan their team’s development now with a clear framework against which to work.

Find out how Think Beyond can help support your team’s training needs and skills progression by calling 01625 682110 or emailing hello@think-beyond.co.uk for a no obligation discussion.

Developing skills within your marketing team

Any approach to upskilling your team’s continuous professional development must be multi-layered.

According to a recent study by the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM), senior marketing professionals lag significantly behind their young contemporaries in digital marketing areas such as PPC (Pay-Per-Click), SEO (search engine optimisation) and data analytics. The message is clear: upskilling is not just a junior’s game, it is diametric. Just as a good detective leaves no stone unturned, a good training programme must consider all team members, their skills and their shortages.

Bridging the gap: marketing training and ROI

Creating a marketing training plan that works must begin with a skills audit. This could take the form of a self-assessment, a formal skills review meeting with direct managers or a combination of both methodologies. The importance lies in identifying gaps and what skills are needed to fulfill your wider marketing goals as identified in your marketing strategy.

If your strategy is to increase website visits through targeted email marketing but your in-house team is struggling with the digital skills to realise this business goal, it’s time to ramp up your digital email skills rather than invest in leadership courses or sales enablement workshops.

Map out what training courses, seminars, workshops or mentor schemes are suitable for your team and commit to a calendar of events.

Committing to skills development also means to commit to articulating your marketing return on investment (MROI). Yet, according to a survey in Learning Analytics: Measurement Innovations to Support Employee Development this is measured in just 4% of cases. Investing in training requires often qualitative KPIs to be moulded with quantitative performance to determine upskilling impact to the C-Suite.

Think Beyond for marketing mentorship and skills training

Attracting and retaining top marketing talent is a business challenge. Currently, 23% of marketers identify “training our team” as a top marketing challenge, followed by “hiring top talent” at 22%. These numbers look set to only increase in a post-Brexit UK.

Think Beyond is a marketing management consultancy that partners with marketing teams across Cheshire, the North West and beyond to deliver bespoke marketing skills and leadership training workshops. Our CIM qualified marketers help businesses to upskill their workforce across areas such as marketing strategy, marketing plan creation, understanding social media and provide full leadership training support to aspiring or current managers. Our aim is to add value to your team and accelerate your marketing potential through effective marketing skills training that offers a quantifiable return.

From our base in Cheshire, Think Beyond also offers mentoring opportunities via CIM to help develop marketing talent, support women in business and give back to the community.

Contact the Think Beyond experts today

Find out how Think Beyond can partner with you by getting in touch with one of our Chartered Marketers today. We design bespoke training courses and deliver tailored workshops to small groups for the best experience for the trainees.

Call 01625 682110 to speak with a friendly member of the Think Beyond team or email hello@think-beyond.co.uk with your enquiry.

You may also wish to submit your contact details online to book a free one-hour marketing strategy review.

Find out what our clients have to say about working with us by viewing our five-star testimonials.

Go back to get forwards A Guide to Reverse Engineering your Sales Funnel

19 August 2019

Reverse sales funnel

August 2019

I got leads and they need multiplying

Leads – any business inevitably wants more and according to research by B2B Marketing and the Telemarketing Company, 59% of marketers receive “significant pressure” to generate more leads.

But what number of leads constitutes “good”; and how can senior management set the right goals and KPIs for their teams? The answer: reverse funnel science. So grab your lab coat and keep reading to discover the what, the why and how your business can benefit from taking a step back through your sales funnel to drive revenue forward.

Prefer to discuss your marketing strategy with a member of the Think Beyond team? Call 01625 682110 for a no obligation consultation.

What is a reverse sales funnel and why does it matter?

In its simplest form, a reverse sales funnel tells you what number of leads your business needs to generate at the top, middle and bottom of the sales marketing pipeline to reach revenue forecasts.

By forecasting required sales and marketing leads, a reverse sales funnel helps senior teams to set the right goals and KPIs for every stage in the sales process. More than this, a reverse funnel approach can quickly determine if your target market is too small or whether there are drop-offs in your sales cycle. In this sense, a reverse sales funnel should be seen as a strategic optimisation tool that ultimately serves to protect a company’s bottom line.

How to reverse engineer your sales marketing funnel

Reverse funnel science requires a business to have first identified their sales and marketing funnel.

The importance of an accurate sales funnel really cannot be stressed enough as it is from this schema that close ratios between pipeline stages can be calculated. Knowing what percentage of your leads convert and progress through enquiry, MQL, SQL, opportunity to sales won forms the basis of reverse engineering your sales funnel.

Take the following basic example: You are a B2B technology company with a SME proposition. Analysis of your SME sales marketing funnel reveals the below conversion ratios:

Enquiry – Marketing Qualified Lead = 50%
Marketing Qualified Lead – Sales Qualified Lead = 50%
Sales Qualified lead – opportunity = 20%
Opportunity – Sales won = 5%

If every sales won deal is worth £10,000, to generate revenue of £1 million, you would require 100 sales won deals annually. Working backwards through the conversion rates you can calculate that a total of 40,000 enquiries need to be generated if this target is to be met.

If 40,000 leads exceeds your target market, it’s time to explore secondary markets. However, be cautious with your approach as expanding your target market is not always the answer if your close ratio is too low. This is where partnering with a qualified consultant can add value. As an outside expert, a marketing consultant can help to identify gaps in your process and drive your sales forward.

Let Think Beyond help you get to grips with funnel science

Think Beyond is a Cheshire-based marketing management consultancy that serves the North West region and beyond. Our CIM qualified marketers partner with senior teams on every aspect of their sales strategy to create measured, managed business solutions that are rooted in marketing science.

From identifying your sales marketing funnel through to optimising your sales process; aligning your teams to providing marketing dashboards to track KPIs and bespoke training workshops, Think Beyond have a singular aim: to accelerate your sales performance.

Contact the Think Beyond marketers today

Find out how Think Beyond can help fuel your business growth by getting in touch today.

Call 01625 682110 to speak with one of our Chartered Marketers or email hello@think-beyond.co.uk with your enquiry.

You can also book a free one-hour initial consultation by submitting your contact details online.

Keep up-to-date with the latest news and developments from Think Beyond by subscribing to our blog.

Focus On Series - Is your Website Performing

12 August 2019

August 2019

Why website performance matters

A website is a crucial touch point on a prospect’s online journey. As a virtual shop window, a website must not only look visually engaging but be functional and responsive at all times and across all devices. Slow to load pages, broken links and poor mobile functionality can immediately turn a prospect from engaged to dismayed regardless of how many pretty graphics are on the page. And the stats speak for themselves – 46% of users don’t return to poorly performing websites; 44% of online shoppers will tell their friends about a bad experience online.

When you consider that a website feeds almost every aspect of a company’s digital strategy – providing landing pages for paid search campaigns, content for organic rankings and reinforcing your social voice, getting a website “right” is vital to support your wider marketing strategy and marketing plan.

How do you know if your website is performing?

In today’s dedicated “focus on series”, the Think Beyond digital specialists answer this by outlining five website key performance indicators that every business should be tracking. Our experts also share their tips for website performance optimisation to help you get digitally fit and make the most out of every web contact. Remember, your website is something you should continually revisit, refresh and optimise for technology changes, payment changes, GDPR and privacy, SEO algorithm changes and more.

If you’d prefer to discuss your online marketing plan with one of our Chartered Marketers call 01625 682110 for a friendly chat.

Take 5 web insights: How to measure and improve your site’s performance

Regardless of website build platform, Think Beyond recommend you take note of the following 5 performance metrics on your site:

1. Test your website’s speed

Speed really is of the essence when it comes to website performance. According to the latest research, 1 in 4 visitors would abandon a website if it takes more than 4 seconds to load.

Use a website speed test tool to determine how your site measures up and ensure that images are optimised. 301 redirects and 404 errors should also be cleared up to help drive performance.

2. How does it function on mobile?

We truly are in the age of mobile first. 40% of smartphone and tablet owners search for B2B products on those devices. Within the B2C arena, 50% of total e-commerce revenue comes from mobile devices.

Test and re-test your site’s mobile performance and utilise website analytics to identify any drop-off points specific to mobile that could indicate an issue with user flow and user experience. Does that button sit properly in mobile view? Does your text spill over the page?

3. Focus on bounce rate

Bounce rate is the cornerstone of website performance. A high bounce rate indicates that prospects are not engaging with your content and site.

Critically analyse your pages with tools such as heat mapping or leverage neuroscience techniques in neuromarketing to suggest design and/or content edits to maximise click-through and conversion rate (CRO). If you are investing a substantial amount of money in your website shop window or building a complex e-commerce platform, it would help to know that your investment will pay off and neuromarketing can help increase confidence in the ROI.

A rogue broad match keyword within one of your Pay Per Click (PPC) campaigns could quickly (and unintentionally) send your bounce rate soaring with no prospect of conversion. Similarly, keyword light copy constructed without Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) in mind can hinder your chances of ranking organically meaning that your website may never reach your target audiences.

4. Time on site matters too

If bounce rate is the cornerstone of website performance, time on site should be seen as a supporting crux, or prop at least. Whilst a “good” time on site will vary between sectors, industries and companies, average session duration across the board is 2 minutes and 17 seconds.

But be cautious not to take long time on site as a purely positive metric – yes, the more time a prospect spends on your site, the more content they consume and the more likely they are to convert. However, if you are getting good time on site but no conversions, it’s time to examine your conversion paths and get to grips with CRO (conversion rate optimisation).

5. Don’t ignore basket abandonment

According to the oracle known as Wikipedia, shopping basket abandonment averages 68% and it is claimed that the most optimised checkout process still has an abandonment rate of 20%. Not only should you measure and monitor this KPI, you should investigate the causes behind basket abandonment. Issues could range from the already mentioned website speed, coding issues, surprise charges, poor user experience during checkout, clunky payment processes, forgotten passwords or even just a long enough process to cause a customer to rethink their purchase.

Discover what metrics matter most to your business by checking out our guide to setting the right key performance indicators.

How Think Beyond can help grow your online presence

Think Beyond is a Cheshire marketing management consultancy that offers full digital strategy support to businesses across the North West and beyond. Our aim is to help accelerate your marketing potential, providing effective end-to-end demand generation and digital gains that examine not just website performance but user experience and data across all touch points both on and offline.

Guided by a philosophy of partnership, our marketing specialists always work with and alongside your existing team to deliver measured solutions that are rooted in marketing science. Our consultancy packages are completely tailored to your business needs and can range from a digital web refresh, content and social media marketing training for your staff through to ongoing Marketing Director support via our Marketing Director as a Service (MDaaS). With access to an extensive partner network of creative teams and digital experts within their field, Think Beyond will design and deliver an up-to-date online strategy that works for you, your business and offers a true ROI.

Contact the Think Beyond digital marketing experts

Want to know how Think Beyond can help support your marketing performance on and offline?

Get in touch with one of our friendly CIM qualified marketing consultants today. Call 01625 682110 or email hello@think-beyond.co.uk for a no obligation chat.

You may also wish to book a free one hour initial consultation by submitting your details online.

Why not check out our range of marketing training workshops or read what our clients have to say about working with us by viewing our case studies and testimonials.

Get on Board Why Marketing is Critical to your Business Success

05 August 2019

August 2019

What is your business growth strategy?

According to the Harvard Business Review, 46% of Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) are focused on commercial marketing such as advertising, digital content, social media and events. 31% focus on growth, innovating, understanding the customer, analysis and product design. The remaining 23% do both and own a P&L. They are focussed on the design and implementation of strategy and may be considered future CEO material.

A typical B2B business is usually sales or technical-led and these tend to have the commercially-focused CMOs; supporters that are not seen as critical to success. However, it gets worse. According to Marketing Week, CMO churn in the UK stands at 82% planning to leave their roles within 3 years and 41% within the next 12 months.

Why do marketers fail?

Marketing Week suggests that the inability to express results in terms of financial performance or frustration with the job (unappreciated or unable to change the organisation) are the primary reasons.

Marketing Return on Investment (MROI) is something we keep repeating, but it is crucial to be able to measure the value add from marketing, especially if you are seen as the commercially-focused set. The CEO and CFO may be disillusioned with the lack of measured results from their investment and the opportunities from sales and marketing alignment may fail to materialise.

Why you need a marketing expert on your board

Deloitte suggest that marketers need to be able to communicate across the organisation, “To make sure that a CMO has credibility, they have to be able to know how to talk to other members of the C-suite. CMOs must be comfortable talking to the CFO about P&L and to the CIO about technology needs.”

Think Beyond is a marketing management consultancy operating in Wilmslow and Alderley Edge in Cheshire. We partner with clients across the North West and beyond, helping you make sense of marketing, understanding the customer journey and leveraging data and insights for sales growth. We offer Marketing Director as a Service (MDaaS), a board-level chartered marketer that can help you set the direction for marketing and communicate across the C-suite. Your strategic partner.

If you would like to discuss your marketing strategy and you don’t have a CMO or marketing director, you can call us on 01625 682110 for a no obligation chat.

As a CEO or business owner, how should marketing work for you?

The Digital Marketing Institute suggest that 68% of senior people expect CMOs or marketing directors to be growth drivers; to be finance experts, technologists and understand how to connect with customers. Typically, the tenure of the top marketers is the lowest in the C-suite.

A startling 80% of CEOs have expressed dissatisfaction with their CMO, which is either an expectation gap or a measurement gap. The importance of marketing KPIs to evaluate success, measuring MROI to prove the value add from your marketing investment and leveraging data analytics to talk to the CEO and CFO/FD on their terms are all crucial skills of a modern marketer.

My marketing budget may be cut if I don’t support sales

Nothing frustrates a marketer more than being called the ‘colouring-in’ department or where you go for ‘pretty brochures’. Some organisations fail to realise the strategic gains that can be made – the customer insight, the product development, lead generation and increased sales that can come from positioning marketing at the heart of business strategy. Marketing is vastly different to 20 years ago, even 10 years ago.

Forbes state the following 5 trends shaping the marketing profession:

  1. Use the right data, at the right time, for the right purpose
  2. Focus content on customer experience and understand responses (neuroscience and neuromarketing)
  3. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning to predict next actions
  4. Personalise the customer journey, tell them a story, tailor it to their situation
  5. Display advertising is less effective but native, video and live content are growing

Why you can’t afford not to have Marketing Director as a Service (MDaaS)

Looking at the key trends from Forbes, is your business really geared up for the coming (and in some cases present) landscape? Data analytics, neuromarketing and neuroscience, AI, deep customer insight for personalisation and more dynamic, relevant content. Sounds like marketing really are becoming technologists. Can you afford to rely on word of mouth, referral marketing, a bland website, pay for a few keywords with your Pay Per Click (PPC) budget and a glossy brochure?

Think Beyond are your experts in marketing strategy

Think Beyond were borne out of a philosophy of partnership, driven by marketing as a science and focused on increasing marketing ROI, a model we call PSR (Philosophy, Science and ROI). Our CIM chartered marketers are experts in marketing plans, digital strategy, marketing automation, inbound marketing, improving sales and even deliver bespoke workshop training courses to your team to boost your in-house marketing skills.

If you would like a free one-hour initial consultation to see how you can benefit from a marketing director on your board, call 01625 682110 or complete our contact form to request a call back.

See what our happy customers think by visiting our testimonials page.

Neuroscience in Marketing – What Neuromarketing is and how it can Boost your Marketing ROI

29 July 2019

July 2019

What do neuroscience and marketing have in common?

A solid foundation for marketing success is to have a marketing strategy. This strategy is founded on a clear understanding of your value proposition (your differentiators) and your market, customers and competitors with the aim of aligning your marketing activity to what customers need.

Neuroscience contributes to marketing and is a fast-developing field looking at the function of the human brain and nervous system. It helps you understand how people think and react.

What is neuromarketing? Neuromarketing, sometimes called ‘consumer neuroscience’, studies the brain’s responses to advertising and branding, considering how to fine-tune those messages based on data and feedback.

According to the Harvard Business Review [1], “neuromarketing has been bolstered over the past five years by several ground-breaking studies that demonstrate its potential to create value for marketers”.

How your business can benefit from neuromarketing

Neuromarketing includes scientific, evidence-based study of physiological and neural signals via sensors to help gain a deeper insight into preferences and decisions, which can in turn influence advertising campaigns, products and services.

How do I use neuromarketing? The sensors used are EEG (electroencephalogram) on your head, eye tracking cameras and fingertip sensors for BVP (blood volume pulse – heart rate/tension) and GSR (galvanic skin response – skin conductance/sweat). These are used to monitor a person’s state during a human-computer interaction where they are exposed to stimuli.

Put simply, you can measure and record data on responses to your marketing activity, before you commit to the spend. Dramatically reduces the risk, doesn’t it? You can see how this kind of measure removes the ‘educated guesswork’ involved in predicting the response of prospective customers.

If you are as excited as we are about these innovations, why not call a Think Beyond marketing expert for a no obligation discussion on 01625 682110 or e-mail hello@think-beyond.co.uk.

Neuroscience is a game-changer in marketing campaigns

The initial scepticism around neuroscience marketing has long since subsided and as an increasing number of neuroscience PHDs leave university and move into the private sector, marketing is set to benefit.

Imagine launching a new product to market that your neuromarketing research suggests has a very high probability of a positive adoption rate, confident that you have understood customer preferences, what decision they are likely to make and how it will make them feel. You can literally see the reaction to your latest development before committing the resources to making it.

According to the Harvard Business Review, Google, Microsoft and Facebook all have some form of neuromarketing division, an in-house ‘neurocapability’. This may be too expensive for many but they also commented that “smaller companies can look to partner with specialist consulting firms”.

Is neuroscience market research replacing traditional surveys?

Traditional methods of gauging reaction to advertising and branding may involve focus groups, surveys, interviews and PR trends. The main problem with the traditional methods is the potential for bias and withholding the truth.

Take two examples. First, we all know that unconscious bias can affect our decisions and someone who has a preference for urban living might not give an appropriate response to a campaign to visit the great outdoors. Second, we know that some people may have motivations or a powerful compulsion to lie, such as someone responding to a product to help them quit smoking.

Before committing to spend your hard-earned money on marketing activity that may not yield the result you expect, why not take a further step and think how you would feel if you can fully trust the results of the neuromarketing research. Less bias and sensor responses that can see through the lies means a marketing investment with lower risk.

Why you need Think Beyond as your partner

The Chartered Marketers at Think Beyond understand how to create compelling messages and campaigns that bring a regular flow of leads to your business.

We can help you with traditional methods of customer feedback and have access to qualified experts in neuroscience to help further reduce the risk around your marketing investment.

Think Beyond is based in Wilmslow and Alderley Edge in Cheshire, serving a diverse range of clients with marketing and other advice across the North West and beyond. We partner with you to accelerate your business.

If you would like to request a free one-hour initial consultation to see how we can help your business grow sales and increase marketing ROI, call 01625 682110 or complete our contact form to request a call back.

See what our customers think by visiting our testimonials page.

 

No Marketing Budget for 2020 Why you Should be Planning for Zero-Based Budgeting

22 July 2019

July 2019

The importance of zero-based budgeting

Many people dread the annual budgeting cycle, crafting the annual operating plan (AOP) and designing programmes to spend the budget. But what if your budget was not guaranteed?

Zero-based budgeting (ZBB) is a method of budgeting which literally starts from zero. All expenditure has to be logged, justified and approved before boots hit the ground or e-mails fly.

Sounds easy, right? Well, not for all departments. If you are solely a cost centre with headcount, this might have minimal impact. If much of your budget is incremental to headcount, it might be quite a culture shock.

McKinsey [1], the global consulting and insight business, points out that a zero-based budget is much more than starting from zero. The cultural shift towards cost management means that unproductive cost or low marketing return on investment (MROI) are stripped out, leaving a leaner business with savings being taken to profit or invested in other areas (e.g. sales commission or new products) with higher returns.

What if you have no marketing budget or your marketing budget is cut?

Zero-based budgeting means it is a very real possibility for some marketing departments. Yes, you have your marketing team, but your spend has to be justified and every activity put through governance to seek approval. At best, this will slow down some marketing activity until marketers are familiar with the process. At worst, marketing campaigns and activity will grind to a halt because of a lack of data and an inability to demonstrate ROI.

Thinking about your marketing spend today, for how much of your expenditure can you reliably demonstrate return? Do you have experts in marketing science analysing data to produce KPIs, metrics and a marketing dashboard that you share with senior management? Can you articulate the ROI of each campaign to the CFO/FD, CEO or business owners? Can you link activities such as social media posts, e-mails and events to increased sales leads and conversion rate?

Why you need a marketing consultant focussed on ROI

Here at Think Beyond, the team of chartered marketers are focused on partnership, using the science of marketing to increase your marketing ROI. Operating in Wilmslow and Alderley Edge in Cheshire, Think Beyond work with business owners, CEOs and senior management teams to ensure marketing is at the heart of business strategy.

Want to feel the Think Beyond difference? Call us on 01625 682110 or e-mail hello@think-beyond.co.uk for a no obligation chat and see how we can justify your marketing spend.

The CFO won’t really take away our marketing budget, will they?

Yes, they will. Accenture’s whitepaper [2], Getting Ahead by Cutting Back, recommends building cost structures based on what is needed now, not looking back at what you had before.

The rationale for creating a zero-based budget is compelling. Here are some of the reasons it has gained increased traction in the last few years:

  • A volatile (Brexit?) and changing landscape (trade wars)
  • Reducing complexity
  • Defending from takeover threats
  • Re-investing proceeds from cost saving exercises
  • Detailed and transparent forecasts

ZBB is key to sustainable competitiveness and to embed cost savings for the long-term. With companies like McKinsey and Accenture driving adoption, departments like marketing may have to adapt quickly.

Is your marketing strategy and marketing goals aligned to business strategy?

Every business should have a marketing strategy, yet nearly one third of B2B businesses have no formal marketing plan and nearly one fifth believe their documented strategies are ineffective.

The marketing strategy is the marketing logic by which your marketing goals will be achieved. A fully-formed and properly conceived strategy will have a marketing plan that outlines the activities you will undertake, the cost and metrics used to evaluate their success. If you don’t have a marketing plan that works or do not have marketing at the boardroom table, the zero-based budgeting process could be a shock to marketing and have a detrimental effect on the organisation as a whole.

Think Beyond can get you ready for zero-based budgeting

The benefits of business consultation are well-documented and SMEs are reaching out to specialist consulting partners in greater numbers to find the expert support they need to accelerate their sales into orbit. We operate in Wilmslow and Alderley Edge in Cheshire with clients across the North West, including Lancashire, Merseyside, Yorkshire, Manchester, Derbyshire and beyond. Our chartered marketers work with business owners, CEOs and senior management teams including sales and marketing directors to help you get the most out of your marketing.

A Think Beyond marketing consultant can get your marketing working for you, cultivating your customer insight, increasing your sales and measuring your ROI.

For a free one-hour initial consultation with one of our experts on zero-based budgeting, marketing strategy and marketing budgets, call us on 01625 682110 or complete our easy contact form to request a call back.

You can read more about our insights on our blog or read our happy customer testimonials page.

3 Predictive Marketing Examples to Accelerate your Business Revenue

15 July 2019

July 2019

The B2B case for predictive technologies

The growth of digital channels has changed the B2B buyer journey. With more information available online for buyers to investigate and compare options, B2B marketers increasingly focus upon rewarding and personalised journeys for customer acquisition. What’s more, with up to 10 decision makers to satisfy, marketers must tailor their marketing programmes to reach a broader set of influencers earlier in the purchase cycle.

Predictive marketing technologies can forecast your prospect’s need before you are aware of it yourself, using data with AI and machine learning to predict search actions and alert you to potential demand so you can take the appropriate marketing or sales action. Yes, you can jump the queue with predictive marketing.

According to a study by Forrester, predictive marketing analytics can create the “deeper buyer insights” marketers need in today’s Big Data world. The Forrester study concludes that, “Predictive Marketers are 2.9x more likely to report revenue growth at rates higher than the industry average …and 1.8x more likely to consistently exceed goals when measuring the value their marketing organisations contribute to the business.”

The message seems clear: predictive marketing drives revenue.

If you are considering adopting predictive technologies or are evaluating your current use of Big Data, continue reading to discover 3 predictive marketing use cases that every B2B company should strongly consider.

If you’d rather discuss your predictive marketing strategy with a member of the Think Beyond team direct, call 01625 682110 for a no obligation chat.

Predictive analytics your B2B company needs

Ready to take your marketing performance further? Here are three ways to boost your business revenue with predictive marketing solutions:

● List expansion to determine who to target & prioritise

Predictive analytic tools can quickly determine which prospects represent the best fit for your business and help you allocate both marketing spend and your sales teams’ time accordingly.

Through analysis of historic firmographic factors such as company size, location and revenue, predictive algorithms can create target company lists that closely match past converting behaviours to ensure that your marketing budget is funnelled efficiently. As predictive marketing is based on intent, unlike remarketing, it allows you to reach out to prospects you didn’t even know you had.

Overlaying additional signals can help to keenly target prospects further via predictive lead scoring and allow your sales team to prioritise leads at every stage in the sales cycle.

● Personalised content & contact optimisation

As well as determining who to target and when, predictive marketing can tell you the “how.” In a move towards account-based marketing (ABM), predictive marketing tools deliver highly personalised content across channels and devices to optimise interaction.

Think of e-mail recommendations, web pop-ups and personalised calls to action that can be executed in near real-time or customised web views and sales call follow up that are delivered at key junctures. Models examine past behaviours as well as other indicators to predict both messaging and contact channel efficacy.

● Churn prediction

Predictive modelling can identify which prospects are most at risk of unsubscribing or not renewing a contract. More than this, the model can also go one step further and identify which of these “at risk” prospects are most likely to respond to special offer incentives.

The revenue benefits here are clear: acquiring a new customer can cost five times more than retaining an existing one, making it crucial that churn is minimised. Even a small reduction in churn can positively impact both revenue and acquisition costs.

Developing a predictive marketing approach with Think Beyond

What business doesn’t want to supercharge their revenue? But with so many predictive marketing tools and SaaS products available, how does a CEO, MD, Sales or Marketing Director implement a successful predictive marketing approach?

Here at Think Beyond, our CIM qualified consultants have helped senior teams across the UK access the revenue benefits of predictive technologies as part of our marketing strategy service.

Guided by a philosophy of partnership and a firm belief that marketing is a scientific pursuit at heart, Think Beyond’s specialist team can support your business to plan, implement and report on a bespoke predictive marketing solution. From accurate data collection and cleansing to thorough analysis of buyer cycles and software recommendations (such as SalesForce or Everstring), our expert marketers will utilise their deep domain expertise and knowledge of best practice to develop a predictive marketing strategy that works for your business and your bottom line.

Contact the Think Beyond marketing specialists today

Based in Wilmslow and Alderley Edge, Cheshire, Think Beyond has a singular aim: to accelerate your business potential.

Find out how our dedicated marketing strategists can support your business growth by calling 01625 682110 or email hello@think-beyond.co.uk.

To book a free one-hour initial consultation, simply fill out our friendly contact form.

Never miss out on the latest insights from Think Beyond by subscribing to our blog here.

Sales Funnel Short Guide The Why, What and How behind Optimising your Sales

08 July 2019

July 2019

Marketing sales funnels in the B2B sector

A well-defined sales funnel is the ace up your business sleeve. Key to helping you understand your customer journeys and optimise the sales process, your sales funnel is a vital strategic component that feeds both revenue and business efficacy.

Despite the above benefits, a staggering 68% of B2B enterprises have yet to identify their marketing sales funnel [1]. Yes, over two thirds of businesses are missing out on vital sales insights and opportunities, risking their bottom line.

That’s why the Think Beyond marketers have put together the following short guide outlining exactly what a sales funnel is and how your business can make the most out of this powerful tool.

If you’d prefer to discuss your sales strategy with a member of the Think Beyond team direct, call 01625 682110 for a friendly, no obligation chat.

What is a sales funnel and how does it work?

A sales funnel is a visual representation of the journey a prospect takes from first awareness of your brand towards purchase.

Resembling an inverted pyramid, sales funnels are frequently divided into three ever decreasing stages of top, middle and bottom with only the most engaged prospects moving to close:

● Top-of-the-funnel (ToFu): The awareness phase – prospects have identified a problem and are researching solutions. Sales efforts at this stage are centred around education and often include cold touches with material such as blog posts or infographics.
● Middle-of-the-funnel (MoFu): The qualifying stage – buyers are actively considering your solution and engage with sellers. Marketing material such as e-books or in-depth guides combined with sales demos and meetings help to qualify prospects and push them to convert.
● Bottom-of-the-funnel: (BoFu): Decision and close – your lead has made the decision to purchase. Sales teams produce proposals or terms of contracts backed up with content such as feature comparisons and product videos. Win rates can vary dramatically here depending upon how engaged a prospect is and external factors such as budgetary concerns.

A sales funnel allows you to strategically plan marketing and sales activities to direct and nurture prospects closer towards a buying decision with each stage containing more meaningful interactions than the last.

The importance of sales funnel management

The importance of a well-constructed sales funnel goes beyond planning activity – sales funnel analysis can reveal areas of leakage to protect that all important bottom line.

Do you know what your most profitable customer acquisition channel is? What is your MQL to SQL conversion rate? Why are you winning or losing deals?

By continually analysing your sales funnel for areas of drop-off and examining pipeline velocity you can take action to help prevent misalignment and ultimately, loss of revenue. In this sense, a marketing sales funnel is a work in progress; it is subject to constant tweaks and A/B testing as marketers seek to optimise interaction through the creation of new calls to action, landing pages, drip e-mail campaigns, nurture programmes and more.

Accurate data and tracking always remain a constant in your sales funnel. When you consider that the average B2B purchase cycle takes place over a number of months and involves multiple decision makers, an accurate, optimised sales funnel is essential to ensure that no opportunities are lost – your funnel is only ever as good as the data you put in.

CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems can take your funnel management one step further, providing both greater visibility across the prospect cycle as well as being able to automatically touch and nurture leads and prioritise based on lead scoring.

How Think Beyond can help improve your sales

Think Beyond is marketing management consultancy committed to helping businesses realise their sales potential. Guided by a philosophy of partnership and a data-driven approach to marketing, Think Beyond’s CIM qualified marketers work with and alongside senior management teams to develop bespoke sales solutions.

Based on data analysis and research, our dedicated consultants provide full sales strategy support. We can help you identify where your leads come from, create and optimise your sales funnel, provide tailored sales enablement workshops and help you understand customer life cycles and patterns of buying. Coupled with deep domain expertise in marketing automation and CRM, Think Beyond provides a holistic end-to-end improving sales service.

Contact the Think Beyond sales specialists today

To discover how we can work together on your revenue growth call 01625 682110 or e-mail hello@think-beyond.co.uk.

Alternatively, you can request a free one-hour initial consultation by completing our 60 second contact form.

Take a look at our company news to find out how we have already helped North West business take control of their sales strategy.

Business Decision Making for Success

01 July 2019

July 2019

Understanding how you make strategic decisions in Business

Whether you are a business owner, CEO or managing director, understanding what drives your decision making is critical. Without a framework or point of reference, how can you be fully confident you are making the best decision for the right reasons?

Think Beyond recently had the pleasure of meeting Dr Sherril Kennedy from Kennedy Business Solutions and undertook a Decision & Interaction Analysis (DIA). This analysis provides an insight into the way you approach a decision by identifying how you apportion your energy between various thinking processes.

As a marketing management consultancy based in Cheshire, Think Beyond has a particular interest in business and marketing strategy, creating marketing plans with goals, activities and KPIs to get the best return on investment (ROI) for your marketing budget. Understanding our approach to decisions helps us to understand how our clients make decisions with their marketing and lead generation.

Dr Kennedy states that “Our thinking pattern is unique to each individual. DIA highlights where we put the emphasis when making decisions, the impact this is likely to have and the extent to which we need to share our thinking. Feedback enables the individual to understand why they do what they do and equips them to modify their approach to achieve a different outcome. The Decision & Interaction Analysis is non-judgemental and provides a great insight in both a work or personal context”.

If you would like to know more about the Think Beyond approach to business change and growth strategies, you can arrange a one-hour free consultation by calling 01625 682110 or by completing our contact form to get in touch.

The stages of decision making

Every decision can be broken down as follows:

Researching – fact-finding, probing, problem-solving, assessing different ways of achieving the required outcome

Intending – resolve, building a case, weighing up options, evaluating

Committing – seizing the moment, getting it done, checking progress, learning lessons from the past.

Each of these stages is further divided to reveal the 12-stage model of decision making.

We found the most interesting aspect of the DIA to be the analysis of the likely impact of the emphasis you place at each stage of the decision process i.e. it demonstrates via a handy colour-coding where we over-emphasise some aspects of our decisions or pay little attention to a particular area. Whatever our individual focus, it will bring strengths to the process and highlight development needs.

You can read more about the decision making solutions on offer by visiting www.kennedy-gooding.com or by telephone on 01335 346 444.

A marketing consultancy with a difference

Here at Think Beyond, we have a distinctive approach inspired by philosophy, with a mission to deliver measurable, managed, value for money change that unleashes the science of marketing.

Marketing is a significant element of any business plan. Let one of our experts perform a marketing health check on your business to identify areas of improvement by e-mailing our friendly team at hello@think-beyond.co.uk. We offer Marketing Director as a Service (MDaaS) to give you regular business consultancy support and our 10-point marketing plans thoroughly deliver for our clients as you can see here in our five-star testimonials.

Make the right decision, choose Think Beyond

Like the amazing Dr Sherril Kennedy, we believe in understanding the needs and motivators of our clients, seeking to partner with clients to accelerate their marketing potential.

It isn’t all about marketing agencies – find someone who can navigate the complexities of marketing, break through the jargon, focuses on what is best for your business, maximises ROI and ultimately, improves sales through effective techniques including lead scoring and lead nurturing campaigns.

Contact the Think Beyond marketers

Based in Alderley Edge and Wilmslow, Cheshire, our CIM Chartered Marketers are available to support you with your marketing strategy – marketing consultants backed by a partner network of capabilities delivering websites through to content plans, campaign management, automation and sales enablement support. Remember only half [1] of businesses have a digital strategy in place…don’t get left behind, call us now for your free consultation on 01625 682110.

How to create a winning strategic marketing plan

24 June 2019

June 2019

The planning gap

Every business needs a strategic marketing plan. Acting as the connective tissue between wider business aims and marketing actions, a clearly defined marketing plan answers how your business is to execute and achieve set goals.

However, with nearly a third (32%) of B2B companies reporting to have no formal marketing plan [1] and 19% of businesses with documented strategies believing that they are ineffective [2], how can your business create a winning marketing plan?

In order to answer this question, Think Beyond share their tips for overcoming obstacles in the marketing planning process below and outline what it means to partner with one of our Chartered Marketers on your marketing strategy.

If you’d like to speak with a member of the Think Beyond team direct, call 01625 682110 for a no obligation chat.

Removing obstacles to the marketing planning process

Marketing plans matter yet even those companies who invest in planning risk devaluing their work if they stumble at any of the following hurdles…

Hurdle: Disconnect between marketing and other departments

Marketing should never be viewed in isolation. Rather, marketing activity should weave and connect with other departments, always supporting business goals as identified in your business plan. Share your marketing plan with your team to create buy-in from other departments and gain support from C-Suite executives.

Alignment between marketing and financial teams is vital if your organisation is to realise the long-term strategic value of marketing.

Hurdle: Reactionary and unplanned

During periods of rapid growth, it is tempting to react and favour an unplanned marketing approach.

However, even fast-moving environments require, and will benefit from, taking a strategic approach to marketing planning. A documented plan can help to focus efforts and provides clear KPIs against which to accurately measure marketing effectiveness.

Hurdle: Expertise

Strategic marketing plans require time, effort and dedication. From researching your business environment through SWOT and PESTLE analysis to identifying your buyer personas and strategizing your segments and marketing channels, a comprehensive marketing plan is a considerable piece of work.

Hiring external help such as a marketing consultant can help to bridge any skills gap and bring both a fresh perspective and unbiased data readings to the task. In our experience, internal teams are often too close to the task in hand to be able to gain objective insights.

Hurdle: Treating marketing planning as a one-off task

Your plan is written so it’s job done? No – strategic marketing planning is a process that necessitates plans must be continually reviewed and changes actioned. Buyer personas change as do marketing trends – it’s imperative that your plan is flexible and able to accommodate new insights and capitalise on opportunities.

Planning for success: Strategic marketing plans with Think Beyond

Think Beyond is a marketing management consultancy operating in Alderley Edge and Wilmslow in Cheshire. Our experienced marketeers are on hand to help you take control of your marketing strategy: from auditing your past performance to gaining actionable data; helping your team grow with bespoke business training to developing a marketing plan that works for you and even providing board-level marketing support with our Marketing Director as a Service (MDaaS), Think Beyond has a singular aim: to accelerate your business potential.

Our expert team is guided by the PSR model, defined below as:
P – Philosophy; always working in partnership with you and your senior team to bring about positive change.
S – Science; as firm believers that marketing is a science, not an art, Think Beyond offer data-driven solutions that represent the latest in marketing innovations.
R – ROI; producing measurable results to track your return.

If you’d like to find out how we could work together on your success, call 01625 682110 or email hello@think-beyond.co.uk.

You may also wish to book a free one-hour initial consultation by completing our quick contact form.

Discover all of Think Beyond’s business support services by clicking here.

You Better Shape Up 6 Marketing KPIs every B2B Company Needs

17 June 2019

June 2019

What are marketing KPIs and why do they matter?

Marketing KPIs or marketing key performance indicators are essential, strategic tools that track marketing investment.

Made up of metrics and measures, marketing KPIs add value to the numbers generated to tell you how close (or how far away) from your wider business goals as defined in your business plan you really are. In this sense, marketing KPIs are comparable to a guide or compass, helping your company to stay on course and aiding the decision-making process.

Choosing the right KPIs for your marketing campaigns is therefore vital; track the wrong KPIs or get lost in metrics and your business is likely to spend both time and money planning, implementing and analysing a marketing activity that will not deliver results.

To help you navigate the tide of marketing KPIs, Think Beyond’s expert marketeers have put together their 6 essential marketing KPIs for B2B business growth below.

If you’d like to discuss your marketing strategy with a member of the Think Beyond team, call 01625 682110 for a no obligation consultation.

B2B marketing performance indicator essentials

1. Sales revenue

Money matters – do you know how much revenue your marketing campaigns have generated? Being able to track revenue across your inbound and outbound marketing is the first step towards determining marketing efficacy. No business owner or director wants to spend money on a campaign that doesn’t have a clear revenue value.

2. Website traffic to lead ratio

Capturing usable leads is essential. Your business could spend vital time and budget on paid ads, SEO and content production to drive visitors to your site but if these visitors do not convert to leads then you must address your landing page(s). Although website traffic to lead ratio will vary by industry, a rate below 2-4% is indicative that it’s time to make CRO (conversion rate optimisation) a business priority.

3. Cost per lead

By dividing the cost of generating leads by total leads acquired, your business can quickly determine which marketing channels and campaigns offer the most cost-effective return in terms of generating new leads. This marketing KPI should never be overlooked: a high cost per lead could quickly become dangerous to your company’s financial health. Furthermore, a high cost per lead and low traffic to lead ratio could spell disaster.

4. Customer lifetime value

How do your customers contribute to your profitability? Track your prospects from first interaction to determine which marketing channels, campaigns, content and lead nurture strategies work to create the most valuable prospects for your business. Use these insights as a planning tool for your future marketing to positively impact both acquisition costs and customer retention figures.

5. Inbound marketing ROI

Whereas sales revenue indicates that marketing is generating cash flow; inbound marketing ROI (MROI) determines how effective your campaigns are. By analysing which individual strategies offer the best return, your business can quickly identify where additional investment would be beneficial and where budgets need to be adjusted.

6. MQL to SQL ratio

The ratio between MQL (marketing qualified leads) and SQL (sales qualified leads) is arguably one of the best ways to determine lead quality. Calculated by dividing the total number of sales qualified leads by the number of marketing qualified leads in a given period, a high MQL to SQL ratio indicates that your marketing team is able to screen leads and attract your ideal customer to produce a quality pipeline.

What metrics matter to your business?

The above “super 6” marketing performance indicators represent the tip of the KPI iceberg.

There are many more performance indicators that your business could track, and arguably, should track. The typically long purchase cycle in the B2B sector dictates that time could also be devoted to indicators such as lead to MQL rate and quote to close rate. Similarly, with multiple decision makers and an increased focus on social proof with the B2B sector, social media KPIs are often added into the mix.

How then should a business decide which KPIs matter?

Choosing the right performance indicators for your business must first start with accurate data. How do you track customer interactions? Have you identified your sales funnel? What do customer journeys look like? Without this groundwork in place, determining KPIs such as customer lifetime value is impossible.

The right KPIs for your business must also relate to your wider business goals. All too often, senior teams conflate measures with KPIs and get lost in vanity metrics. For example, measures such as the number of social media followers or page views may offer positive reporting but should not be confused as KPIs as they don’t impact upon business aims or provide strategic, decision making insights.

How a consultant can help take your marketing performance further

Partnering with a business consultant is one way to ensure that the KPIs you have in place are what matter most to your business. As industry experts with knowledge of best practice, a consultant can help you to get to grips with your data, your strategy and your marketing performance.

Think Beyond is a Cheshire-based marketing management consultancy operating in Alderley Edge and Wilmslow. Our range of strategy services includes the delivery of marketing KPI dashboards, creating a singular location to monitor marketing activities across digital, paid and online channels. Coupled with our key insights and recommendations, our marketing dashboards aid business leaders in making data-based decisions to move both their marketing and their profits forward.

To find out what working with Think Beyond could mean for your business, call 01625 682110 or email hello@think-beyond.co.uk to book a free one-hour consultation.

You may also wish to book a marketing health check by submitting your contact details here.

Go beyond results and discover what our satisfied clients have to say by viewing our testimonials.

 

Why hire a CIM Chartered Marketer Choosing a marketing professional for your B2B business

10 June 2019

June 2019

Marketing is the engine room of any business; delivering leads, converting prospects and driving revenue. With over two thirds of B2B businesses currently outsourcing some or all of their marketing requirements, hiring the right digital, inbound, social or strategic professional is vital if you want to fuel your business fire.

Partnering with a Chartered Marketer offers several distinct business advantages. As highly skilled professionals committed to best practice and innovation, CIM qualified individuals can take your business further. Faster.

If you are considering hiring a marketing professional, evaluating agencies or looking at existing outsourcing relationships, read below to find out exactly what a Chartered Marketer is and how your business can benefit from employing a CIM qualified expert such as Think Beyond founder, Mercè Cozens.

If you’d like to speak with a Chartered Marketer direct, call Think Beyond 01625 682110 for a no obligation chat.

What is a Chartered Marketer?

As defined by the Chartered Institute of Marketing, Chartered Marketer status “recognises those marketers achieving the highest level in our [the marketing] profession.”

Achieved via a combination of experience and qualifications, the award is the “mark of an up-to-date, experienced and qualified marketing professional.”

Worldwide, there are currently 3,000 individuals with Chartered Marketer status.

The advantages of partnering with a CIM accredited professional

With real-life, hands on experience in their trade and always up-to-date knowledge of marketing trends, Chartered Marketers can offer your business a clear competitive advantage.

Yes, a degree graduate may be educated to a comparable level but to be a Chartered Marketer means to keep up to date with the latest marketing innovations. Assessment for the CIM qualification depends upon constant CPD (continuous professional development) ensuring that an individual is always aware of industry trends.

This commitment to innovation can prove vital in certain fields such as digital marketing where the pace of change is rapid.

CIM qualified marketing consultants can also provide vital strategic support to a business that cannot be found by outsourcing marketing tasks to a specialist agency alone. Whilst employing an SEO (search engine optimisation), PPC (pay per click) or social marketing agency may satisfy that those tasks are “done”, if there is no clear focus linking this activity to your wider business goals, the results are likely to fall short and could ultimately prove costly in terms of both revenue and time. With the average cost of retaining a marketing agency in Cheshire ranging between £1,200 – £5000 a month, annually this could add up to a £60,000 investment.

By first partnering with a marketing consultant, businesses can avoid unnecessary economic leakage. A qualified consultant will work with your senior team to audit your current performance and develop a comprehensive marketing strategy that offers the best ROI.

The strategic insights generated by a consultant may even determine that marketing requirements can be fulfilled by restructuring internal teams or via automated technologies at a lower cost than outsourcing to an agency on a retainer basis.

How the chartered marketers at Think Beyond can help you

With more and more businesses choosing to outsource their marketing requirements, the question becomes, “Who to hire?”. The list of candidates can seem daunting with agencies, graduates and freelancers all vying for the same position or contract.

Why hire a Chartered Marketer? Perhaps the best answer is can you afford not to? Chartered Marketers are highly skilled and experienced professionals with their finger firmly on the marketing pulse. Able to also strategically support your business, working with a CIM qualified marketing consultant can go beyond mere fulfillment of a specific task or function. This is marketing outsourcing that delivers real, workable business insights that help to protect your bottom line.

At Think Beyond, our qualified consultants and Chartered Marketers deliver bespoke marketing solutions to businesses in the North West and throughout the UK. Always working with and alongside your team, Think Beyond have a simple aim: to accelerate your business potential.

To discuss how we can work together on your business growth, call 01625 682110 or email hello@think-beyond.co.uk.

You can also book a free one hour initial consultation with a Think Beyond strategist by submitting your contact details online.

Full details of the range of Think Beyond services can be found by clicking here.

Are You Buying your Marketing Success Why a Digital Strategy should go Beyond Keywords and Clicks

31 May 2019

May 28, 2019

The case for personalised customer journeys

Pay Per Click advertising (PPC) is widely recognised as one of the fastest ways in which to grow your business’ online presence. Able to generate instant leads and propel your brand up search engine rankings, it is perhaps no surprise that 45% of small businesses are already utilising PPC as part of their digital marketing mix.

However, recent research shows that we are becoming increasingly frustrated with ad experiences, citing: “intrusive placements, annoying formats and simply too many messages” as major pain points. The result – year on year growth in ad blockers.

In today’s advertising climate, we don’t just want personalised, relevant messaging – we demand it. The challenge for marketing departments thus becomes how to create rewarding and individual customer journeys that are delivered authentically and across digital mediums.

Below, the Think Beyond experts explore how you can personalise your online marketing to implement a strategy that goes beyond keyword selection and pays in terms of revenue.

If you’d like to discuss your digital plan with a member of the Think Beyond team, call 01625 682110 to book a marketing health check.

How to create rewarding online experiences

Personalisation has come a long way since inserting a name field within an email campaign. Today, data fuels full and rewarding online experiences, allowing businesses to address each prospect as an individual and make them feel valued at every touch point.

Accurate buyer personas, segmentation and custom audiences can help to achieve this but for a true one-to-one feel, predictive technologies offer messaging at a granular level.

AI machine learning algorithms create customised online experiences with tailored calls to actions, product recommendations and more. Moreover, big data machines can customise content across channels and devices in real-time – sending emails after key page views or SMS push notifications when a prospect is near a physical location to align the marketing triad of right message to the right person at the right time. The revenue benefits of this approach seem clear: personalisation can lift revenues by 5-15% and increase marketing spend efficiency by 10-30%.

Getting personal also means to get native and build trust with your prospects. Stark figures show that 92% of people trust peer recommendations over other forms of advertising when making a purchasing decision.

Utilise user generated content and consider partnering with high authority influencers to humanise your digital experience and create trusted, native content placements. On and offline referral schemes can also tap into this element of trust and have been proven to increase revenues, boosting customer lifetime value by up to 16%.

The digital jump into personalisation: what’s stopping you?

Creating the integrated, personalised journeys that we expect can seem like a daunting prospect with many brands failing to tailor engagements beyond basic forms of personalisation.

As a study by Econsultancy suggests, the issue is often one of priority and maturity with many companies still to do the “groundwork” in terms of audience and data management before a scalable, effective personalisation programme can be put into action.

For industries that have traditionally been slow to adapt to digital marketing such as law, engineering, manufacturing and health and pharma this issue can be especially marked, necessitating an immediate review of data management systems. Within Cheshire and the wider North-West of England, the above mentioned industries represent some of the largest employers in the area.

How a consultant can help you make the most of your digital opportunity – now

In today’s hyperconnected world, business success lies beyond the click of PPC keywords alone and can be found in personalised, purposeful customer journeys.

In many respects, personalisation goes beyond account based marketing (ABM); it is the alignment of your prospect with your marketing and with your brand.

With many businesses yet to adopt a personalisation strategy, the time to get personal to get ahead is now. Indeed, research by Frost and Sullivan predicts that customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator by as early as 2020, creating a small window of opportunity and a deadline by which to get your digital marketing on track.

Partnering with a business consultant can help to close the gap between you and your opportunity – fast. From analysing your past prospect data to implementing tailored marketing solutions and reporting on what good looks like, a consultant will work with you and your team to get the most out of your digital strategy.

Think Beyond is a marketing management consultancy operating in Alderley Edge and Wilmslow in Cheshire with deep domain expertise in CRM (customer relationship management), marketing automation and a proven track record in delivering end-to-end engagement with target audiences.

For a no obligation chat with a member of the Think Beyond digital team call 01625 682110 or complete a contact form to request a call back.