Key Learnings from Malcolm McDonald's Address to the CIM Small Business Conference 22nd May 2015

How to develop a strategy to grow sales and profits  

Digital MarketingHere we look at one of the key speakers from the CIM conference, Professor Malcom McDonald and his talk on how to develop a strategy to grow sales and profits.  As always Malcolm is pragmatic, easy on the ear, and fond of debunking a few marketing myths here and there, including questioning the focus on digital marketing. 

Professor McDonald started his talk with this quote:

For many companies, the greatest threat is not being out of touch with digital developments, but losing sight of the fundamental needs of their consumers and the underlying long-term drivers of their business. (Forward 50. Nicola Kemp, Marketing, Nov. 2013, p.52)” 

Key to this talk was the importance of digital being part of the whole marketing strategy, not the be all and end all of itself.  We couldn’t agree more.  Traditional methods of marketing are still highly relevant.  But it does ma [read on]

What is Marketing Automation and What Are The Benefits?

SuccessMarketing automation is any software package or web development that allows an organisation to automate some or all of its online communications.  Usually these marketing communications are triggered by the action of a website visitor, for example a visit to a certain webpage or filling out a form.

If you think about Amazon, you'll quickly realise that marketing automation is not new.  For as long as we can remember Amazon and other big brands have been sending personalised, automated emails and delivering personalised web copy.  What is relatively new is the ability for smaller companies to target individuals with relevant, timed communications triggered by online consumer behaviour.  

So we can think of marketing automation in a number of ways. Firstly there is bespoke automation, the kind that big corporates will invest in, where the customer journey is carefully mapped out, and individual customers are treated as a market of one. Secondly there are all-in-o [read on]

Driving Small Business Growth - CIM Conference 22nd May

The Chartered Institute of Marketing have announced the line-up of speakers for their Small Business Marketing Conference on 22nd May. We're excited to be exhibiting at event and speaking to SMEs about how marketing automation can help grow their businesses online.

Last year Professor Malcolm McDonald gave a highly motivating speech, so it's great to see him on the agenda again.  Also of great interest will be the results of the CIM's small business survey, along with speakers on how to build a successful SME, exporting and social media.  The conference takes place at the University of Hertfordshire in Hatfield.  It's a great venue, and the food is usually pretty good too!

Speakers and programme:

09:30 Kelvin Golding Welcome
09:40 Professor Nigel Caulkin Professor Nigel Culkin, President of the Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship
10:10 Darrin C Lewis Growth initiatives and funding
10:25 Russ Nathan Serial Entrepreneur How to build a [read on]

Small Business Marketing Automation Trends Software Advice Research

Following on from our blog "Is Marketing Automation Relevant to SMEs in the UK?"  in the series on marketing automation for small businesses, we came across some recent research from marketing software research and review company Software Advice. This research shows that only 2% of SMEs have a marketing automation platform and 47% are still using manual methods.

Taken from a sample of 365 interactions with marketing automation purchasers, they analysed the top reasons why companies were evaluating marketing automation, as well as reasons for buying, and what those companies were currently using, across a variety of market sectors.  Bear in mind that this is a US company, so 60% of their clients are American, but outside of the US, they receive most of their queries from the UK and Australia.  So although these results might be more representative of  a more international base, US trends in business often wing their way across the atlantic to the UK. [read on]

Is Marketing Automation Relevant to SMEs in the UK?

TeamWe've been researching the adoption of marketing automation in SMEs.  Finding data is very hard, yet there is a clear feeling that adoption of automation is slow.  Recent research featured from Software Advice shows only 2% of SMEs have a marketing automation platform and 47% are still using manual methods.  And yet Econsultancy (2015) found that 88% of companies they surveyed were very clear or quite clear about the benefits of marketing automation including:

  • More relevant communication
  • Increased customer engagement
  • More timely communication
  • Opportunities for cross-sell and up-sell
  • Saving Time
  • Increased revenue.

So why are SMEs slow to jump on the marketing automation bandwagon?  Is it because they don’t understand the opportunity enough, or are vendors not meeting their needs?

We carried out in-depth interviews with SMEs in a variety of industries to find out what they thought about the marketing automation opportunity.  He [read on]

How Has Mobilegeddon Hit Your Website Traffic?

responsive websitesFrom 21st April, Google has expanded it's use of mobile friendliness as a ranking signal. This means that the more mobile-friendly your site is, the more likely it is to appear higher in the search engine rankings.

According to the BBC, SEO specialists are seeing this as the biggest change since the Panda update which saw top ranking websites on page one slip much further down the SERPs.

We've known for sometime that Smartphone penetration and visits to websites from Smartphones have been rapidly increasing. But does everyone need to worry about the latest Google update? Here we guide you through some key analytic stats you should be looking at to see how you've been affected.

How much of your traffic comes from mobile devices?

From Google's own advice to webmasters we read that the change will mainly affect searches from mobile devices. It isn't clear to what degree the same applies to those searching from a PC. You may therefore assume that if your organisati [read on]

Commsbox at CIM Small Business Marketing Conference 22nd May 2015

We're really pleased to announce that Commsbox will be at the Chartered Institute of Marketing Small Business Marketing Conference on 22nd May, taking place at the University of Hertfordshire. 

There will be an impressive list of expert speakers who specialise in SME marketing and will be guiding the audience on how to drive business growth.

At last year's event we were most impressed by Professor Malcolm McDonald, the marketing planning guru.  So it's great news that he is a keynote speaker again this year.  Speakers will be talking on topics including business development, digital marketing and exporting.  And there will be a chance to talk with marketing and business experts that will be exhibiting, including Commsbox. 

Of course it's a great place to network and meet up with peers over coffee and lunch which are included.  Being on a Friday it's a great time to do business and come away with some food for thought on how to move your marketing [read on]

Step by Step Inbound Marketing Success

Talk to many organisations about what they think constitutes digital marketing and a not uncommon response will be email campaigns. Email though is only a small, albeit vital, cog in something that should be a well thought out, well oiled lead generation and nurturing engine (I'm an engineer, I think in terms of engines!)

Face to face meeting

Contacts or 'leads' fuel your email marketing engine. If you don't feed your engine sufficient fuel then it will stall.

Let's take a step back from the email itself and look at the broader picture of how you can use email as part of a broader content marketing strategy to acquire, convert and nurture new leads.

Step 1: Build Relevancy to get Noticed

To get noticed above your competitors you need to build your digital reputation and reputation is built on knowledge. People need to know you are an expert or that 'go to' place for the product or service they are looking for.  Search engines are often the middle man here. Very few people do anything these da [read on]

How Ocado Markets to a Segment of One

According to Digital Marketing Magazine* a study by Teradata showed that 90% of marketers want to embrace one-to-one personalisation. In this opinion piece we take a look at how Ocado embed one to one personalisation into a typical customer journey. We followed the Ocado customer journey over a 13 week period from initial registration on their website, through placing an order and to ongoing customer engagement. Their customer engagement process is illustrated with examples of Ocado's search marketing, web content, social media sharing and email.

Ocado engagement email

We've analysed Ocado’s customer journey using the Smart Insights’ RACE Digital Marketing Planning Framework** 

  • Reach - reaching customers through inbound or outbound marketing activities
  • Act - the actions that visitors take when they arrive at a website
  • Convert - turning a visitor into a contact or customer
  • Engage - creating an ongoing conversation over the lifecyle of the customer

Today’s marketi [read on]

What's New in CommsBox Version 8?

I thought it about time to highlight some of the significant enhancements we've added in the latest release of CommsBox™. As always we've added in a lot of ideas we've had floating around for a while along with a number of new features that have been heavily influenced by market research we undertook last summer.

Responsive CommsBox version 8 on laptop and tabletSo, what's changed?

  1. Improved contact journey tracking and analytics
  2. Integration with third party web sites
  3. Improvements to the email marketing tools
  4. Major enhancements to the CMS to work with responsive content
  5. Redesigned template management opening the system to 3rd party designers

I'll take a look at each of these in turn.

Contact Journey Tracking

Previous versions of CommsBox have introduced our clients to a rich set of analytics allowing them to understand, rank and manage their contacts. With version 8 we've taken this further. If you're used to a standalone mailer you're probably also used to knowing who clicked on the links in your email. That's [read on]

Why use an 'integrated' marketing platform?

An integrated marketing platform eases data flows and facilitates new ways of looking at, analyising and acting on critical business information.

Responsive Websites Explained, Marketing Review interview with Peter Wilson

Peter Wilson discusses Responsive Web Design on Star Radio's Marketing Review programme and why it's a necessary requirement for effective marketing automation.

Enhancing Customer Lifetime Value through Automation

Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) predicts the nett profit attributable to each contact. See how Marketing automation can increase CLV through planned campaigns.

Top 5 Digital Marketing Trends for 2015

Extract from the Keynote talk by Caroline Wright on the Top 5 Digital Marketing Trends for 2015 at the Smart Digital Marketing for Growth Seminar October 2015

5 Steps to Convert Email Subscribers into Customers

A replay of the Commsbox and Brainstorm Digital webinar onthe 5 key Stages to convertemail subscribers into customers. Watch the webinar

Qualifying contacts through Lead Scoring

A robust lead scoring strategy can improve your sales process, delivering marketing qualified leads to your sales team

Smart Digital Marketing for Growth

Buyers are changing their behaviour, are you? Free half day seminar Grow your Business with Smart Digital Marketing, 15th October, Welwyn Garden City

How to give your website a responsive makeover in 24 hours

Upgrade a tired, old fashioned, dated web site into a fully responsive, refreshed design... in a day? Challenge accepted!

Building a new web site? Why beauty is only skin deep!

A web site should be a key element of any digital marketing strategy. Understand how the right technology can support your marketing activities.

CommsBox at the 9th Cambridge Digital Marketing Conference 9th July 2015

Commsbox will be speaking with digital marketers about marketing automation at the CIM 9th Cambridge Digital Marketing Conference at Duxford, 9th July

What is Marketing Automation and What Are The Benefits?

Marketing automation is any software package or web development that allows an organisation to automate some or all of its online communications.  

Driving Small Business Growth - CIM Conference 22nd May

The Chartered Institute of Marketing announce speakers for their East of England Small Business Marketing Conference 22nd May. Commsbox are exhibiting at event.

Small Business Marketing Automation Trends Software Advice Research

In our series on marketing automation for small businesses we report on recent research by Software Advice which showing trends digital marketing trends in SMEs

Is Marketing Automation Relevant to SMEs in the UK?

In preparation for the CIM Small Business Marketing Conference on 22nd May, Commbox presents marketing personas for SMEs using marketing automation.

How Has Mobilegeddon Hit Your Website Traffic?

From 21st April, Google has expanded it's use of mobile friendliness as a ranking signal. Commsbox looks at how you can see if you are affected.

Commsbox at CIM Small Business Marketing Conference 22nd May 2015

Commsbox is at the Chartered Institute of Marketing Small Business Marketing Conference, 22nd May, University of Hertfordshire. 

Step by Step Inbound Marketing Success

A well planned and executed inbound digital marketing strategy will help you engage your target audience. Here we take a look at how to get there!

How Ocado Markets to a Segment of One

A study by Teradata shows 90% of marketers want to embrace one-to-one personalisation. Here we analyse Ocado's ongoing, automated customer engagement process

What's New in CommsBox Version 8?

CommsBox Version 8 introduces enriched customer journey tracking, CMS support for responsive sites, enhanced email marketing tools and much more.

About Us

CommsBox was designed by YellowHawk Ltd in response to the needs of some rather large corporate and government clients. But then we realised we had something that small and medium sizes businesses could also use to fuel their growth.

It's really important that you know, like and trust the businesses you deal with. So we promise that you can always get to know us, and hopefully grow to like and trust us. We have an open door policy at our offices, and you can drop by any time (just drop us a line first – so we can get the kettle on!).

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