Tag Archives: USP

Why entering awards is good for business

I went to a FSB Business Awards ‘meet the judges’ event on behalf of a client a few months ago …and ended up entering the awards myself! Why?

The benefits of actually winning an award are pretty obvious, and I have to admit that my eyes were definitely on the prize, as I visualised  myself at a glittering ceremony with the champagne flowing! However, as I began  to put my submission together, I realised the  inherent value of simply going through the entry process. 

To enter a business award you will probably be asked in-depth questions about your business plan, customers, products, marketing methods and financial success; giving you the opportunity to cast a critical eye over your own plans. How often do you give yourself ‘permission’ to spend time simply thinking about your business?

In my view, even if you don’t make it to the shortlist, entering an award is time well spent. If however, your business is chosen as a finalist, here are some of the benefits you will enjoy given a little effort and a good publicity plan:

  • Having your business reviewed by an independent panel of judges adds credibility which in turn helps to cement relationships with existing customers and build alliances with new ones
  • Being a finalist gives your business a point of difference
  • You can use the award to raise awareness of your business with your target market
  • Being a finalist is great for staff morale as well as your own motivation.

Competitions like the FSB Business Awards are obviously designed to give small business a platform on which to promote themselves, so why not make the most of them?

PS. I’m delighted that I’ve been shortlisted in two categories and, if nothing else, have an excuse to buy a new outfit for the Gala Dinner next month!

The spirit of Christmas marketing

My Christmas shopping this year has been characterised by the daily knock of the postman bringing a steady stream of brown parcels. 90% of them have something in common; the name emblazoned on the side of the box. To me it says good value and great service – you know who I’m talking about, my beloved Amazon.

As if I needed another reason to love the familiar Amazon brown boxes, one has come along this week in the shape of a parcel from…well lets just say…another company. It was a large box, totally incapable of being hidden, with a rather helpful picture and the name of the product on the outside. ‘Have I spoilt the surprise?’ asked the courier – too right you have!

I know that it’s entirely practical to have the product description on the outside of the box plus it makes great marketing sense to have your brand visible to potential customers at every available moment. I also appreciate that it would add considerable cost for additional packaging to disguise the product within. In fact, operationally, I can’t think of one good reason why you would not want a product picture and desciption on the outside of the box. From a customer service perspective though, I can think of many.

Understanding everything about your customer, including how and why they purchase your products, is a crucial part of your marketing. It’s hard to cover every eventuality, but if you can stand out from the crowd by thinking through the detail of your processes and making them as customer friendly as possible, you will surely find a loyal base of repeat customers who love to buy from you.

What are your customers really buying from you?

Back to school and it seemed like one of the top outings this summer was a trip to London including, almost without exception, a visit to Hamleys. It may be every child’s dream to visit  the world’s largest toy store, but I had no idea that Hamleys was quite such an established part of the tourist trail. Their Regents Street store boasts a massive 5 million visitors per year.

I took a look at Hamleys website as I was intrigued to see how the company  positions itself. I was surprised to see that the main focus is still on selling toys. Yes, they have a ‘What’s On’ section which shows all the events they are running in store, but it wasn’t particularly prominent. It seems to me that if  your USP is your in-store experience why not tell potential customers about it?

The same principle applies to any business be they selling to consumers or in the B2B arena . Time spent understanding exactly what your customers are buying from you and why is extremely valuable. It will help you find your USP, position yourself in the market and will help you generate more relevant marketing messages.

We are all guilty of getting too close to our own products and forgetting to see things from a customer’s point of view. So why not step away from your computer and spend some time thinking about what your customers are really buying from you?