Friday, August 31, 2007

West side!

Marketing doesn’t always have to make you laugh, but it’s always nice when it does. My Gran usually says that the adverts are the best thing on the television, and there are definitely times that I’d be inclined to agree with her (and of course times, such as when some terrible debt advert, for example, comes on that I wouldn’t).

Two adverts that would certainly make me agree with her though, alas however, are not for the UK market, are Smirnoff’s Ice tea and Green tea spots. Thank goodness then for the wonder of the internet and Youtube. A take-off on the rap culture in America and the East Coast / West Coast rivalry that exists, the adverts turns the rivalry on its head and instead uses the rich kids from each coast to sing about their life on the not so mean streets.

Absolute classics.

And, the relevance to why it should make you love marketing? Well, there isn’t really one. Wanted a little bit of Friday fun and this provided it – that can be the reason for today! – Enjoy!

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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Blog Action Day

Hola todos, estoy espalda. A little browner than before, but just a little (I was spending half my time in a classroom after all – and it was also Feria time in Malaga...).

But now it’s back to business. And back specifically to the business of exactly why you should love marketing. Even more specifically today, why you should love this side of marketing - blogging. The reason? Well apart from the obvious, such as allowing you to keep up with the trends and news in your industry, giving you and/or your company a voice worldwide and being a great source for inspiration; it also allows for people to unite for a good cause – in this case, Blog Action Day.

And what exactly is Blog Action Day you may ask. Well... “On October 15th, bloggers around the web will unite to put a single important issue on everyone’s mind - the environment. Every blogger will post about the environment in their own way and relating to their own topic. Our aim is to get everyone talking towards a better future.”

Simple, easy to do, and hopefully it will be fairly effective. I think it’s an issue that everyone is interested and concerned about, and even if not, like to make rumblings as if they are so as to look PC. Regardless, with an initiative like this, it again brings the issue into the public eye – this time minus the carbon footprint of the celebrities using their private jets to fly from venue to venue.

I know of course that in the grand scheme of things one day is nothing; it takes a concerted effort all the time. However, it’s yet another platform to discuss the issue through. Also, it’s a chance for us to share any knowledge or opinions that we have through a medium where it can be viewed at any time and long after October 15th. The more we know about the issue and the more we learn about what we can do to combat it, the better – this is a perfect way to do it. Saying that, I’m not sure yet what I’ll be blogging about and whether I’ll be adding anything new, but that’s not the point, the point is to join in and draw attention.

I found out about the initiative through Nicola Davies, who in turn found out from Mashable. The website can be found here and signing up can be done here. I’m going to go and do it now. I hope all you other bloggers join me!

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Friday, August 17, 2007

Training your way to better marketing

A really great reason to love marketing is that it's not akin to brain surgery.

Sure, there's enough to know about to keep University lecturers in jobs. We're talking paradigms and models and theories which are overturned seemingly every fortnight with the newer, the more relevant and more innovative. Although in the grand scheme of things, the marketing which should matter to you, i.e. that which will make a big positive difference to the success of your business is very much something you can learn.

And we can teach you.

Not that I'd dare forget the brilliant creative people out there. Sure, great marketing also takes great talent, enthusiasm and commitment. The creative work we've showcased right here on this blog (and dare I say in AME Marketing's
portfolio) is testament to our wonderful, vibrant, effervescent industry. But saying, "Oh I have no talent or creativity! Marketing is not for me!" is not a very good excuse. At AME Marketing we don't believe that such qualities are innate. Your latent abilities can be brought out, nurtured and developed.

This year, AME Marketing will be delivering a series of marketing training workshops to teach you about marketing, in the areas we believe you'll receive most benefit. We're talking about building marketing strategies, researching your customers and obtaining valuable insights about them, promoting your web presence, communicating benefits to customers creatively and promoting your business in ways that don't require you to spend a huge advertising budget.

All the workshops are free to attend and will be taking place right here at AME Towers, aka our offices in Prestwick. You'll get to come along for a morning, see a marketing agency "in action", learn something useful for your business and leave with enough information to put what you've learned into practice.

Want to know some more about the workshops? Well, have a gander.

Workshop 1: ‘Copywriting Masterclass’ – Tuesday 4th September 2007
Want to multiply the selling power of your marketing communications? This enjoyable and interactive workshop will show you how to market your business the ‘write’ way!

Workshop 2: ‘A guide to Search Engine Optimisation’ – Tuesday 9th October 2007
Got a web site? Want to increase its ranking on search engines? We tell you everything you need to know. Receive a comprehensive report on your site, covering search engine and web site functionality!

Workshop 3: ‘Market research, do or die!?’ – Tuesday 20th November 2007
Want to know why research is essential for your business? We show you how to properly research your market with any budget, and what might happen if you don’t!

Workshop 4: ‘Strictly Come Marketing’ – Tuesday 5th February 2008
Discover how marketing is like any good dance routine! You can learn and master it in just ten steps!

Workshop 5: ‘Promotion, beyond advertising!’ – Tuesday 11th March 2008
Save your marketing budget by introducing yourself to the wider world of promotion! We show you the methods that will save you money and, ultimately, increase your chances of success!

Workshop 6: ‘All the signs tells us you need a marketing plan!’ – Tuesday 29th April 2008
Why is marketing planning so important? We show you how, with smart objectives and a clear set of marketing activities in place, your business can meet and even exceed its targets!

Attendance at the workshops is open to any shape or size of business, but places are limited. If you'd like to attend any of the events, all you have to do is call us on 01292 678920 to book your place.

So, just to remind you, reason 14 to fall in love with marketing is this one. Marketing has much to teach you and you can develop your skills and talents in the area with just a little time, effort and training. And the icing on the cake is that you'll use the skills and talents you've learned to make a real difference to the fortunes of your business.

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Friday, August 10, 2007

This Next

You ever feel like everyone else always finds really cool stuff and you never do? Or maybe you manage to find cool stuff through blogs, shops, wherever and want to share it with people but are not sure where? Well, thanks to Chroma who recommended the site, the answer lies in This Next, a site which shows product recommendations from consumers all over the world. They even have a map of the world where product recommendations pop up every few seconds.

For anyone who loves to shop or loves to keep up-to-date with the latest products, this site is fantastic. Whatever your interests, there are already a plethora of recommendations and inspiration for you. You can then build up your own page of recommendations which others of the same interests can view – and, even better – you can tell all of your friends to go and have a look when your birthday or Christmas is coming up. Bit late for my birthday this year as it’s only a few days away, but I’m sure I can fill it up nicely by Christmas time...

The only downside of course is that you may find something you love which is only available on the other side of the world. But, chances are someone else will have found something similar a bit closer to home.

Reason number 13 then (unlucky for some), and hardly a revelation – marketing can introduce you to new, fantastic products which you never knew you wanted but once seen, and subsequently bought, you find you cannot live without. And the fact that on this site the marketers are consumers instead of the marketing industry makes it even better – no marketer can deny the power of Word of Mouth. I wonder however, whether marketers will soon be jumping on the bandwagon and sponsoring people to talk about their products here as they have done in other spheres. And further, how much would it matter to those using the site?

Well, that’s me off on my holidays for two weeks and so I am leaving the blog in the capable hands of Graham. I’m away to Spain to do a language course for a couple of weeks in Malaga. No me falte demasiado!

Hasta Pronto!

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Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Judging a book by its cover

Reason to love marketing number 12: It can make the world a more beautiful place (or in this case, your coffee table or bookshelf at least).

Over at We Made This today I came across these beautiful new book covers from Gollancz, the science-fiction and fantasy division of Orion Books
, which the lovely people at WMT had found while in Foyles.

The new covers, produced in-house by Emma Wallace, were developed from the brief ‘do what you want, but bring them to a new audience.’ I think she’s certainly going to do that. It appears from the online forums that WMT had browsed that traditional fans of the books were not exactly over-enamoured at the new look. However, I would guess that these customers will still be buying the books, no matter what they look like. With the aim of attracting a new type of audience, these books should not only entice new audiences for the stories inside, but also for the book covers themselves. I don’t think I’m the only person who judges some books by their covers and who likes to have good-looking books in their collection (incidentally though, not to sound like too much of an airhead, I do buy most books for their content).

Regardless, compared to what had gone before (see below) the new covers are a complete departure and a fresh, exciting change.

All eight covers are devoid of any mention of the title, author or publisher on the front and each has a different feel due not only to the different graphics used, but also the difference in the finishes of each one. The remaining five of the series can be found below, although I doubt these pictures do the covers justice. All are available for purchase on Amazon and I would imagine, all good book shops.

They really are a truly beautiful series and visually, quite stunning. I wonder if this will be the way forward for book cover design?

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Thursday, August 02, 2007

Hostel in flat-pack

There are certain things you expect to find when you expect to find when you go to IKEA. Flat pack furniture is certainly one of them. Stuff for the kitchen, lighting, bedding, Swedish meatballs in their cafe, are all other elements you would also expect. A hostel when you haven’t been able to finish your shopping that night... Wait a minute.

Yup, that’s right, I found out through
Jaime Diskin’s blog this week that IKEA Oslo had opened a hostel in their branch. A trial for one week, the store in Norway set up the “alternative hostel” in one of their two warehouses between the 23rd and 27th of July. The ‘IKEA Hostel’ had the traditional set-up of dormitory-style beds as well as family rooms, a luxury suite where customers could enjoy breakfast in bed and the pièce de résistance – the bridal suite, complete with a round bed and a hanging chandelier. Best of all for the customers, it was all free and they also received dinner and breakfast free of charge in the usual IKEA canteen.

Unsurprisingly, the company received over 1,200 applications for this trial from people wanting to stay in the hostel. Apparently in Norway, shoppers see the IKEA shopping experience as the ultimate tourist attraction, with 900, 000 visit IKEA during the summer holidays in Norway. “It’s more than one of the biggest attractions in Norway, the Holmenskollen ski jump gets in one year” claims company spokesman Frode Ullebust. Impressive indeed.

But back to the hostel itself. Visitors were able to check in at 10pm and check-out was 11am, one hour after the shop itself opened, therefore guests could expect to be woken up by the shoppers should they have slept in. And when they were leaving, they were able to take their bedsheets home, bathrobes with the IKEA Hostel logo on and slippers “so they won’t get cold at night.”

On the surface the experiment seems to have been a great success, with shoppers from all over the world staying in the hostel over the week it was open. Many did not get much sleep however, electing instead to watch the night workers stack the shelves or do a bit of midnight shopping.

IKEA want to implement the idea in all of its stores to varying degrees and this experiment in July was the first test run. Kinks they wish to iron out before rolling the concept out to every store include the lighting in the showroom which never turns off completely and also the problem that much of the stocking of the store takes place around 4am. However, it seems that this last ‘problem’ was an attraction in itself for some visitors’ stays.

I for one would love a stay in one.

And the whole idea, according to spokesman Christen Roehnedak, came from the customers themselves.

And why is all this a reason to love marketing you ask? Well, build up a strong enough brand, it will in turn produce strong customer loyalty. Your customers will then stay true to your brand and be keen to try whatever new products or services you offer, no matter how left field they may seem. Especially if they, as in this case, have suggested the product themselves. So I guess I could also fit in one additional reason into this post, which will bring the total up to 11 so far - Client feedback can provide you with new ideas and opportunities you may never have thought of yourself. The publicity enjoyed by this venture wouldn’t be too bad either...

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