Marketing Support for companies

Marketing Support for organisations of all sizes.

We like to think we can help with most business objectives, just a few of the areas of marketing support we specialise in include the following:

Content marketing strategy
Small agency consultancy support
Market research – surveys, questionnaires, focus groups Subscriptions and distribution
E-marketing campaigns
Loyalty marketing/membership marketing
E-commerce setup and management
Storytelling
Editorial content
Copywriting
Press releases
Readability/tone of voice
Creativity
Creative design
Typesetting
Picture research
Publishing
Contract Publishing – B2B and consumer
Print and publication management – full service offering (inserts, magazines, brochures, catalogues)
Project/account management
New business development/strategy
Commercial consultancy – advertising sales support/setup/management Subscriptions management
Distribution management/targeted placement
Search engine optimisation
Social media strategy
Digital magazines
Websites
Website hosting
Email campaigns

This list isn’t exhaustive but covers the type of work we do. For costs and more information on marketing support in-house or offsite please contact info@magnificentstuff.net or call Steve on 07723 024865

Presentation HELL – Tips to help with Presentations

Tips to help with Presentations

Do you get nervous presenting? Do you spend the entire time whilst waiting to perform panicking, sweating, shallow and fast paced breathing or practising your speech over and over in your head? Either way you’re barely listening to anything else going on around you, everything is focused on you – trying to keep you calm, focused, and minimising the pressure you’re placing on yourself to perform.

I’m this person, I’m entirely terrified of standing up and having no clarity, complimented by a lack of incoherent thoughts and being unable to translate anything into grown-up speech and worse still, boring everyone and having no hope of holding the crowd.

I should be excellent in my position and with my background, And surely, with all the sales courses, pitches, self-help and training I’ve had I should be on the TED talk stage!

I thought it fitting to share some of the more realistic and productive tips to help with presentations I’ve been given over the years to see if it can help you more than it has me!

  • Have an elevator pitch at the ready – and have it very well-practiced (an elevator pitch is a short, sharp couple of sentences that explain why people should do business with you (derived from ‘if you were in a lift with Richard Branson / A.N.Other business mogul, what would you tell them about your business/you?’)

Tips to help with Presentations

  • Always have the first sentence of your presentation ready and prepared. If you get up and go blank this first sentence will really help get you back on track.
  • There is a lot to be said for breathing… It’s entirely underrated and we make so little effort with it when we really should be doing it properly. Every course and training session I’ve been on focuses on the breathing. Slow, deep inhale, so your chest puffs out a bit and being conscious of your breathing really helps calm your body down physically so can rid you of the sweaty palms, twitchy hands, dry mouth and anxious heart pounding in your head thing you may have going on. If you need help count to 10 on each breath in and then again on out.
  • Silence is golden. Don’t be afraid to stop, pause and collect your thoughts at the end of a paragraph during your presentation. This not only refocuses you but re-engages the audience and gives them a moment to digest what you’ve just said.

Tips to help with Presentations

  • Nice knickers and shaved legs… Or clean pants and a good wash if you’re a guy. Being presentable not only makes people warm to you and not focus on your negatives (and as much as any trainer has told me this isn’t what people do, I know it’s a lie – we’ve all silently critiqued the poor bastard standing presenting to us instead of hanging on every word he utters!) it subconsciously makes you feel better and more confident, even if you don’t realise it! So, having a new top on or polishing your shoes, whatever you need to do, do it is and as much of it as you can do to ensure your are perfectly groomed and presentable!
  • SMILE! People want to like you, and on the whole they are really interested to hear what you’ve got to say. Smiling not only makes a connection between you and your audience it will also help relax your face and in turn your mood. Smiling is so underrated in our opinion.

Tips to help with Presentations

  • Watch the big politicians and public speakers. Loads of them hold their hands together or press their fingertips together, this focuses your energy and helps curb the shakes and sweats

hands together

  • Practice. Practice. Know your shit. If you know your subject matter you can wing any presentation or talk…

Failing all of these tips I’ve been crippled with nerves during one presentation before and found myself in the loo downing a miniature gin before going on… It didn’t touch the sides, I still cried after it and I still flunked the presentation, but the gin helped me laugh about it after… a long time after!

 

bombay sapphire gin

 

 

 

 

 

Planning a Marketing Strategy – 5 Questions You Need to Ask

Are you writing your business plan, ramping up your marketing or evaluating your business as it stands today? There are many ways to define your proposition and to go on and sell your business by communicating your offering effectively. You need to be planning a marketing strategy. Fundamentally, everything boils down to a few key questions you can ask yourself about your business. If you’re a sole trader… it makes things a lot easier to sit down and talk this through with a friend or mentor.

 

1)What Does Your Company/Product Stand For? Why should customers choose you?

This isn’t as tricky as it sounds… It’s basically the single most compelling or different thing about what you’re offering. You need to have a USP or Unique Selling Point to stand out from the crowd and to ensure customers choose you over the competition. This shouldn’t take you long and may even come from the initial reasons you went into business. Did you build the foundations of your company on being especially green, cool, charitable, Scandinavian, economical or ethical? Whether your widget is only produced with recycled items or your service offering is based on value and quality it’s great to define this and use it to help promote your offering. It will help you define your USP, help in planning a marketing strategy and set you apart from your competitors

2) Who are you targeting? Who is your ideal customer?

Whether it’s stay at home mum’s in Essex or ABC1 males, teens with Nokia phones or unemployed women in their 20’s its imperative to understand who your customer base is or will be. If you already know who is buying from you it’s worth revisiting and looking at who else you may be able to target too.

Pen portraits are basically a picture of someone – anyone, who looks as though they could be your customer. What’s great about them is that they really help you define your communications.Presently I am working on a new app which helps stay-at-home parents and carers plan their day around feeding, washing loads, school runs and general chores. So I have created 2 pen portraits of my customer base to help pinpoint my marketing plans.

Pen portraits, father with daughters

Dave is a stay-at-home dad, his wife, Grace, works in the city and Dave has 2 girls,

Polly is 1 and Maisie is 5. Everyday Dave is tasked with a list of to do’s emailed over by Grace from her commute. Everything from picking up some more milk to collecting a passport renewal form from the post office to ordering some new school shorts online or hoovering and changing all of the beds. Dave reads the Guardian and is constantly scrolling through Twitter and Facebook.

Pen portraits carer & grandmother

Ann is a grandmother to Bertie, Bobby and Oliver. Ann’s daughter and son in law both work and so Ann has to care for her elderly mother between school runs and the 3 boys. Ann is an active member of the WI, an occasional facebook user and likes spending time with family, especially her husband.

Whatever your product or service you need to research and understand your end user, whether it is another business or a consumer, by learning as much about them as you can you can tailor your approach and target your comms to reach this audience.

3) Who is your competition and what are they doing?

Without it consuming your existence its really important to monitor your key competitors. Look at what other products/services they’re offering and where and how they promote them. By monitoring the activity going on around you it is possible to see what works and what doesn’t work, as a consumer. It can also be quite inspiring and help give you some pretty good ideas for your own activity. Do avoid publically criticising the competition though, it will only reflect poorly on you!

4) How do you meet your prospective customers needs?

If you’re a plumber you can fix taps, boilers and install bathrooms. It’s a really good idea to define your services and to list everything you can do/offer – how about guaranteeing your work for 12 months to help reassure your customers and offer some added value? Or if you, like us, work in marketing, we have a vast list of the services we offer on our website but also as a rate card to help us cost a project. We identified a need for an ‘out of office hours service’ allowing our client base to work on their business when they’re not working in it, making the marketing functionality more accessible to them. Think about your client base and what they need. Then add what you can reasonably do and make profit on.

5) What Do You Say? How Do You Say It? What’s your look and what are the messages you’re communicating?

Global clients pay £000s to have an agency define their brand for them. They establish a tone of voice, use of language, do’s and don’ts, logo design (with strict rules for how and where the logo can be used), a strapline that summarises the brand proposition and imagery that represents the brand and is described as ‘on brand’. Whether you only speak in the 3rd person, your brand has a female voice, is irreverent or straight talking it’s really beneficial to establish your style, especially if you’re using social media (as you should be of course). This helps determine the type and style of content you curate through your chosen channels and the messages you communicate to your audience.

 

Once you’ve answered these 5 questions you will have a much clearer picture of how to be planning a marketing strategy. If you struggled answering these questions or would like help answering them then please get in touch as we would love to help you.

www.magnificentstuff.net
e: steve@magnificentstuff.net or call Steve on 07723024865.

Mike’s Den – Search for Support

proud supporter of MIKE'S DEN-2

Mike’s Den

The registered charity Mike’s Den, is a community based social club encouraging people of all abilities to come together on equal terms based in Potter Street, Harlow.

Mike's Den

The charity was founded by Harlow resident Neil Crouch who has run the club for several years on a shoestring – with the help of his family and a few dedicated volunteers who selflessly give their time. The club aims to give members of all abilities a few hours of fun per week. This might include Disco’s, Zumba Classes, Bingo, Quiz nights, Pool and much more. Neil also takes the group on subsidised theatre and panto trips and small breaks away to the coast when funds allow.

In it’s present form however, Mike’s Den is in rather dire need of funding. Income is currently limited to the occasional donation and to the £3 per week ‘subs’ paid by the members for use of the facilities. At Magnificent Stuff we feel that this is a wonderful (if neglected) local charity and that Neil, his team of volunteers and the members they support deserve a little more, even if it’s a just few bob to fix the pool table, buy a new Bingo set or some extra stock for the Tuck Shop.

With that in mind we have put together this unapologetically blatant request for support from all our friends who have local businesses in Harlow, Sawbridgeworth and West Essex. If you lovely, generous people can spare a donation, anything from as little as £5 per month, we’d be eternally grateful. In return, you not only get the (enormously heart-warming) satisfaction of knowing that you’re doing something truly generous for the local community, but you get to put this….

proud supporter of MIKE'S DEN-2
lovely logo on your website/creds/paperwork. Your own logo will also appear on Mike’s Den’s website, our monthly newsletter and any promotional literature (flyers, ads, brochures etc). How good is that?

It really is a wonderful little charity which would be hugely grateful for even the smallest assistance.

So, if you are interested in sponsoring Mike’s Den, or would like to come for a look round/visit on one of the Wednesday evenings please contact Steve at info@magnificentstuff.net or on 07723 024865, or you could PM the club via Facebook.

Thanks for reading.

Steve.

Promotional Offer – Professional Marketing Support

Professional Marketing Support.

You may be spending loads on marketing your business already or you may be considering advertising and are not sure of where to invest. Magnificent Stuff are running a limited promotion giving local businesses access to jargon-free, professional marketing support with London agency expertise – helping you to attract more customers for minimum costs.

professional marketing support

You know that you need to market your business, knowing how to is a different matter entirely. Let Magnificent Stuff take that burden off your shoulders so you can get on with what you do best.

As a business owner you should be able to focus on what you’re good at – using your skills and acumen to work in, develop and refine your business product or service. At Magnificent Stuff we pride ourselves on being good at what we do too – we let your prospective customers know that you’re there, leaving you to focus on your day job.

That said we also realize that proving a Return On Investment, (that your marketing is actually working) can be difficult, especially with regards to marketing, and that’s where our Promotional Offer comes in.

We will sit down with you, formally or informally and discuss the objectives of your company – where you are, where you’d like to be (in three months, six months or five years), your visibility and your target market – and will put together a digital and hard copy of a mini marketing plan that will produce results for you. This strategy will be tailored specifically to your company and designed to maximize exposure – and hence sales in your chosen marketplace and will cost only £60.

If you like us, and want some ongoing assistance from us we will give 50% of the offer fee back to you. If you want to manage the plan yourself, that’s ok too, because we’d have worked on it together you will be able to confidently look after the marketing for your business knowing you’re reaching the right people in the right places.

So whether its social media, advertising, directory listings, market research, emails, blogs or brochures Magnificent Stuff are on hand to work one-to-one with you whether you’re a plumber, a solicitor, a dog groomer or an accountant.

For more details please contact Steve or Emma at info@magnificentstuff.net, by phone on 0772302485 or you can tweet us @magnificentstuf.

 

Magnificent Stuff are affiliate members of the Chartered Institute of Marketing and have nearly 50 years industry experience.

Taking the Jargon out of Marketing

For a long time now I have been attending networking events and seminars and meeting numerous small, medium and large business owners in formal and informal settings. When asked, as one always is, ‘What does your company do, exactly?’ I had a stock phrase: “I represent a company called ‘Magnificent Stuff’ and we’re content marketeers.”

Good, eh? Sounds professional and has the added bonus of actually being the truth, which helps.

Trouble is that no-one had the faintest idea what I was talking about. To anyone outside of our industry it’s meaningless jargon. Eyes glaze over.

So now I have a new line “I represent a company called ‘Magnificent Stuff’ and we get you more exposure, more contacts, more leads, more sales and – bottom line – more money’. Full stop. Period.

The business owners I meet have skills that people want, they have training, they have ideas and they have great products that they’ve developed and believe in. That said, and let’s be frank – you could have the best product in England, a World-changing product, but if no-one knows it’s there why bother at all?

These business owners are good at their jobs, they’ve all has success to a lesser or greater extent and they should be working hard in their business to make it progress. We’re good at what we do too and that is using marketing to tell the whole damn World if necessary that these businesses and products exist.

No jargon.

Visit us here – Magnificent Stuff

6 things highly productive people do everyday

I’ve been trawling the internet looking for something that actually grabs my diminishing attention span, and I came across this little gem.

Its short, sweet and smart, and I especially like it because I truly think the mood you start your day in, before you get out of bed sets a tone for the whole day, and setting goals or a plan the day before is an excellent idea!

Happy reading…

http://www.businessinsider.com/6-things-the-most-productive-people-do-every-day-2014-6

 

6 things highly productive people do
6 things highly productive people do

 

Effective Content – 11 Tips for Creating Stickier Content

 

The use of effective content has become increasingly important – here are a few tips to help you achieve better search engine optimisation (SEO).

effective content

  1. Use smart headlines you can grab attention – remember, short, succinct and interesting.
  2. Commit to a content plan/calendar to keep content regular and varied – we can help you with this!
  3. Use real stories about real people to create unique and engaging content – if something has made you laugh, cry, feel inspired or provoked a reaction in you it’s worth sharing… so long as it sits comfortably with your brand and enhances the customer experience.
  4. Sense check: is your content worth sharing? Would your reader see value in forwarding it on?
  5. Make sure your content answers the kind of questions being asked on Google or other search engines. If your content resolves someone’s quandary then it’s beneficial, useful and shareable.
  6. Sense check: why should your reader care about your content… What value does it offer them? Is it teaching them something, amusing them, giving them something or adding value to their life?
  7. Tap into your organization for customer-relevant content marketing ideas. Case studies or anecdotes, documented real-life situations are far more interesting, especially if you can solve a problem/answer a question.
  8. Repurposing existing content to make it suitable/fitting for the audience is   important and cost/time efficiency, but remember, Not all content is transferable between mediums. Is your advertising copy really suitable to tweet without a rewrite?
  9. Don’t forget to include a relevant call to action, encouraging readers to do something as a result of reading the post, feature, piece. You could also use a tracking code to better understand where people are coming from and what works well for you.

Finally,

  1. Think about catering for your audiences needs, and who your audience is. On Facebook we have a very local audience, predominantly small business owners, on Twitter our followers have a strong US bias.

At Magnificent Stuff we pride ourselves on working with our clients to understand their audiences and deliver effective and brand appropriate marketing communications. If you’d like a free, no obligation chat about your comms. Please contact us at info@magnificentstuff.net or tweet us @magnificentstuf (yes, there is only 1 ‘f’ at the end!)

 

 

Magnificent Stuff – What We Do

“What is it you do, exactly?” Over the last week we’ve been asked this question a number of times so it is clearly necessary to write a post explaining. I think the smartest and most concise summary would be in ‘elevator pitch’ style. So here we go…

MAGNIFICENT STUFF is a marketing consultancy with a focus on customer retention, loyalty and acquisition.

In a nutshell, we help you acquire and keep customers. We cover all aspects of marketing from research and planning through to evaluation and strategy. Anything an in-house marketing team takes care of we can manage. Basically, we’re offering small businesses and enterprises a marketing department on a consultancy basis. We work with clients who want to grow their customer base, promote their product/service and drive sales. We are NOT social media strategists, nor web designers, design agency or advertising agency. We do help clients with their social media, websites and advertising and we also work collaboratively with these specialists if it is necessary to meet a client’s brief. Our experience lies in branded content, editorial and account/project management. We have worked with some of the Worlds biggest brands. To give you an idea of the scope of work we do,

  • We are currently working on developing a publishing programme to generate sales in the South-west,
  • Supporting a creative supplier to the arts industry with marketing expertise,
  • Writing editorial style copy for a publication to promote a number of very different businesses,
  • Managing the social media accounts of two sole traders,
  • Writing/selling a sponsorship package for a large charity event.

So, in layman’s terms, we are developing the strategy and setup of a profitable magazine, working as marketing department and project management consultancy to an art installation supplier, writing specialised ad copy to generate revenue, running the social media marketing for clients and putting together a sponsorship package to sell. Hopefully this explains things a bit, but if you’re still unsure please fire any questions to info@magnificentstuff.net and we’d be delighted to help.   If you’d like to tap into some of our skills then please don’t hesitate to contact us too. We start with a free, no obligation, meeting, where we’ll learn about your business and understand your needs to identify what (and if) we can help with.

contact us

Marketing – Why I Love What I Do

Back in the mid-90’s I was choosing options post A-Levels. My first and only choice since I was 5 was to follow in my hero’s footsteps (my father) and join the Met Police.

After a series of very sincere heart-to-hearts with my dear Dad on his hands and knees, begging me to keep safe and get a career in anything else in the world other than policing, I eventually agreed to go to Uni first. In that way, I thought,  I could become a police officer with a chance of accelerated promotion and be given more opportunity!

Looking at university courses, few options appealed to me. I’d never really been particularly good in any subject and the 2 years of A-Levels had dragged. The subjects I’d chosen had been the best of a very dry choice. The door-to-door canvassing role I’d held for 3 years with Zenith Windows meant that I’d experienced marketing at grass roots level. It intrigued me and I was actually quite good at it!

I had a very strong network of home friends, a boyfriend, 2 jobs and I was exceptionally close to my family. After reviewing the UCAS brochure at length my mind was made up. It was extremely important to me to do something I had at least some interest in, so I decided I’d stay in London, commute to Uni and attend the London College of Printing and Distributive Trades to study for their brand new BA Hons in marketing and advertising course.


LCC_building

Uni was fun, not the same fun as other friends had experienced (we had no Freshers events as such and we visited the student bar once in 3 years!) It was different here, my classmates we’re made up of a number of foreign and mature students. The rest of us had 2 or 3 jobs, lived at,or near, home and we holidayed, lunched and partied with our friends who we’re all in full time employment. We all had a decent wedge of disposable income and on the whole we only had a few days of lectures each week. We lived the good life!

I thank Uni mostly for the life experience but also for allowing me to meet two amazingly special friends. Barry, Liz and I had a blast. We’d go to Elephant & Castle’s finest restaurant for lunch. We’d share homework and chat on the phone for hours. We’d write papers for each other and cover for each other when one of us had a work/home life commitment and couldn’t make it in to a lecture. I still to this day love Liz and Barry very dearly and will always want them in my life.

I was always one to have lots of jobs and, temping as a receptionist for Britvic, I met a guy called Ashley, who’s wealthy uncle owned a media planning agency. After a very relaxed interview I found myself working as a trainee planner/buyer for the mid-sized agency in the West End during the holidays.

I totally loved it there. The people we’re great, the clients exciting and the long leisurely lunches on a Friday, free flowing hospitality, booze, parties and freebies were mind blowing. I was paid a decent salary for a ‘workie’ and I learnt loads about the industry. I also got myself a market-research telephone role in the evenings and signed up to a mystery shopping agency.

These experiences confirmed to me that I didn’t need to rush into the police force so soon, I was still young! I decided that I wanted to be a creative, I wanted to write and produce tv commercials. The fact that I wasn’t much cop at writing and I had no video production experience didn’t phase me at all, that was my ultimate goal, I’d watched ‘Bewitched’ religiously and I wanted to work where Darren worked, for an agency like Larry’s. In the meantime I would look for a full time media role to get some more experience under my belt and regular funds coming in.

I signed up with a number of agencies including one called Regan & Dean, who got me an interview at a contract publishing agency called Redwood Publishing in Trafalgar Square. This wasn’t ideal for me, it was an editorial role on global magazine project for Volvo cars. I couldn’t have been more disappointed to have been offered the role but I decided it was a stepping stone. Seeing as I wasn’t even getting near to an interview with a creative Ad agency this would do for now!

Ten years later I eventually decided to do some travelling and I left Redwood. During my time there I’d learnt the fundamentals of CRM. I’d learnt and loved client servicing (done the proper way). I’d been mentored by some incredibly inspirational people and I’d listened, learned and understood the rationale and marketing plans for some of the worlds biggest brands. I’d help devise solutions with almost unachievable schedules to meet objectives on time and I’d made some of the best friends you could ask for.

What Redwood first taught me, subsequent roles and experience have built on and although I’m sure I learnt lots at uni, it was only when out in the big wide world and working on live and real accounts I have really grown to love what I do, and that’s even without the boozy lunches and parties, which have been in rapid decline over the years and are almost non existent these days!

What I love most is the problem solving. The importance of the planning, insight and evaluation it takes to create a workable solution for a client.

No one can underestimate the power of taking a watertight brief, or if you’re given a brief, the importance of questioning it and running through it with a fine tooth-comb.

When you understand a clients objective, dilemma or concern you can begin to resolve it, meeting their goals effectively.

Marketing is exciting, rewarding and is always evolving.

It never gets boring, and although there are peaks and troughs in budget allocated to marketing spend across the board, if you work hard to prove return to a client they’ll see value in your efforts and continue to invest.

And that is why I love what I do – the people, the problem solving, the excitement, the client liaison and generating the return. That is why we started www.magnificentstuff.net.

Why I LOVE what I do