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WHERE WILL COMPETITORS BE SPENDING THEIR MARKETING BUDGETS IN 2018?

It’s a competitive world out there with ambitious businesses each seeking a secret recipe for a successful ‘marketing mix’ to help them win business and out compete competitors.  So, to help those who may be a little lost or unsure, we thought it would be useful to share what our clients are doing and the marketing trends that are proving popular in 2018.

 

The first question is typically, how much should I spend?  Research suggests that since the 2009 financial dip, companies have been steadily increasing their marketing spend and this looks set to increase again in 2018.

 

As a gauge of how much to spend, marketing budgets are often compared to an organisation’s total budget, with smaller firms typically spending a little more to steal a march on their more established rivals. Depending on the service or product provided, the percentages can vary with businesses selling products to consumers typically spending on average 13.4%, compared to 10.4% for businesses selling products to other businesses.  Across all industries, companies were found to be spending 11.4% of their available budgets on marketing.

 

Now that budgets have been determined, where should the monies be spent?  Forrester Research predicts that in 2018, the average firm is expected to allocate 41% of their marketing budget to online activities with this rate is expected to grow to 45% by 2020.

 

Ensuring that businesses achieve a good search engine ranking will capture the largest single share of online spend with online display adverts taking the second largest share.  The spend on social media will continue to grow at nearly 20% each year until 2021, reflecting the changes in Facebook’s algorithms and the likely impact on other platforms.

 

When choosing which social channel to spend with, much would depend on who you are looking to target and what content you have to share.  As always, good content will remain king but Facebook is expected to remain number one on spend, with 90% of social media users utilizing the platform.  Instagram will continue to grow, from a 32% penetration to 47% by 2020.  The other channels, namely Pinterest and Twitter, will continue to have relatively low penetration, peeking around 33% of users by 2020.

 

The research also highlights that in 2018, at least half of all respondents planned to increase spending on social media marketing, content marketing, video and online lead generation principally at the expense of traditional TV and radio advertising.

 

Despite all the figures on advertising spend, whether your customers, suppliers, employees and regulators chose to buy your product or service, or to even be associated with your brand / business, will continue to depend on your reputation and how you’re perceived against your competitors.  Having PR support remains a critical, and affordable, way to build your reputation, credibility and to differentiate yourself from competitors.

 

A PR or communications team is also well placed to act as a central hub to marketing activities, bringing consistency to marketing communications and operating at the centre of the strategy due to their unique ability to manage the messages across the marketing platforms.  Let’s also not forget what I feel is the key ingredient – having clear objectives, a desired outcome and the right team in place to deliver.

 

It’s clear that a diverse range of ingredients is needed to achieve the right mix.  The good news is that market confidence remains high and evidence suggests that businesses who invest in their marketing will be best placed to reap the benefits of their efforts, particularly in the context of a growing economy in 2018.

 

 

 

Fake News – Can It Be Avoided?

In a world of “he said she said” debates across social media and “click bait” news articles, it’s difficult to know what’s real and what isn’t….

 

Although fake news is not a new concept, it’s now moving up the real news agenda with the help of social media – allowing a story to spread like wildfire within a matter of minutes.  People often say they find out the latest via their trending list on their Twitter page before they’ve even switched on the TV.  We can’t deny that it’s pretty impressive having access to world news at the touch of a button but you can also run into some Chinese whispers along the way.

 

Fake news takes many forms which is why it’s so difficult to monitor.  It ranges from pop-up websites, nation state-sponsored misinformation, social media and parody publications, such as The Daily Mash – well-established before fake news even became an issue.  But following Trump’s move into the Oval Office, the talk of fake news has been widely popular, especially as it’s so regularly used by Trump himself. The word is also set to be added to the next print edition of Collins Dictionary as it’s recently been dubbed as ‘Word of the Year’ – who’d have thought?

 

With the aim of cracking down on fake news sites, internet giants, Google have implemented a “Fact Check” feature for Google News and Google Search, enabling publishers to show a “Fact Check’ tag in their stories.  Google’s criteria separates the type of content pushed out online, distinguishing between fact and fiction, an all-important mission by todays’ standards.  If the criteria aren’t met, Google will simply take the site off Google News and or, it won’t be rewarded with a “Fact Check” tab.

 

If you’re unsure of the legitimacy of a story, the first port of call would be to go to ‘The Source’.  We handle social media on a daily basis and know what to look out for when collating news stories.  Before passing on a story, we make sure to read beyond the headlines and check that ‘The Source’ always backs the claim.

 

Get in touch with our team today to find out how we can assist you in developing your online presence (fake news free)!

 

 

Store Dubbed Mini IKEA Arrives in Chester to Record-Breaking Queues

Interiors fans, brace yourselves… Last week we helped Danish brand, Søstrene Grene, open their Chester store in the Grosvenor Shopping Centre. The homewares brand is famed for its huge product range; from quirky kitchen accessories and sumptuous soft furnishings to stylish ceramics at affordable prices.

Approached by Søstrene for our extensive experience in the retail sector, knowledge of the region (and perhaps for our penchant for everything Scandi), we held an exclusive VIP launch event on Thursday, 19th October, followed by an official public opening on Friday, 20th.

Only the second store in the country, there is little or no knowledge of the brand in the UK and so we were tasked with not only increasing brand awareness regionally, but we also introduced national press to the cult-homewares business.

Our launch campaign included working closely with the Danish team to compile social media content, as well as securing press coverage in local and regional press, which resulted in Søstrene Grene featuring in a huge variety of regional publications.   We also worked with a local radio station to increase brand awareness and drive traffic to the VIP and official openings.

Over 100 people attended the VIP launch event, including regional press and bloggers, as well as a wide demographic of guests, who all enjoyed fizz and canapes from local bar and restaurant, The Botanist whilst browsing the store.

For the public launch the following day, there were hundreds of eager shoppers wanting to get in on the action, with queues through Grosvenor Shopping Centre and into the street, which hasn’t been seen in the centre for many years.

For more information on launch events or introducing brands into the UK, please get in touch on 01829 720789 or email info@thesourcepartnership.com.

Awards Season

It’s that time of the year again where, if we’re not drafting award entries, we’re getting all dressed up, attending ceremonies and watching our clients win some amazing awards!

On Friday, 6th October we attended The Cheshire Business Awards at the very beautiful Chester Cathedral.  The awards welcomed some of the most respected businesses in the region, demonstrating the exceptionally high level of quality competition that Cheshire boasts. We’re extremely proud to say that The Ice Cream Farm scooped the Innovation & Enterprise Award for their continuous development of the tourist attraction and success of their wholesale brand.

The Chester Grosvenor beat off competition from the likes of Chester Zoo to win the coveted, Employer of the Year award for their fantastic employee initiatives and dedication to their team’s development. Needless to say, our table had a great night!

We waited with bated breath earlier in the week as the shortlist for the Marketing Cheshire Awards were released and we’re very proud to say that out of seven entries submitted for four clients, all seven were successful! We’d like to wish The Ice Cream Farm, The Chester Grosvenor, Freedome and Comberemere Abbey the very best of luck. The Source is also up for an award- Best Tourism Marketing Project for our safety campaign with Freedome, so fingers crossed!

WHAT’S BETTER ATTITUDE OR APTITUDE?

Last week I was lucky enough to be invited along to hear ‘The world’s greatest living explorer’, Sir Ranulph Fiennes, speak about his expedition to circumnavigate the globe from pole to pole through the world’s vertical axis.  A truly inspirational man who not only knows a thing or two about exploring, but about picking the right team to succeed.

 

When asked, ‘How did he pick the right people to deliver on his record breaking ambitions?’  it was assumed that he’d go for proven polar explorers, super-fit and mentally tough athletes or expert navigators with a degree in engineering, dentistry and extreme survival.

 

In-fact, from the 800 applications who were willing to work for nothing and with no guarantee for success, he opted for a beer salesman and a butcher.  Neither had any exploration experience, let alone experience of working in some of the harshest climates in the world.

 

The reason behind his thinking was; “You can teach skills but you can’t teach character”.  He picked a team he could work with, trust to get the job done and most importantly had self-motivation to succeed.

 

Here, sitting in the comfort of my own desk, it made me look to see if there are any comparisons or lessons that can be learnt in our own business.  The reality is that there are huge similarities.

 

In the world of PR, communications and consultancy – people buy people.  The work we do is not an exact science but one that is based around people and that continues to evolve and progress.  The best people are those that are natural communicators, adaptable and that build trusted relationships with clients, along with having a common goal and a positive attitude in achieving it.

 

We’re proud of our client retention rates and the results we consistently deliver.  This, in my view, is down to the team and their positive ‘can do’ approach when undertaking the great work that they do.  So, for me it’s attitude over aptitude every day, even if we’re not working in total darkness and at minus -85°F.