Tuesday, 28 October 2008

How will you survive or thrive in the recession?

The latest blog comes from another member of The Marketing Eye team, Sharon Wilding.

It seems that everyone, including the Prime Minister, now agrees that the UK is in recession, so we can stop saying ‘what if’. The question now is how much it will affect you and your business.

There’s no denying that some people will have a really tough time, but remember it is not inevitable that you should be one of them. This was the message that came out strongly from a telephone seminar I attended this week.

Chris Cardell describes himself as ‘a world leader in advanced thinking’ and the seminar was entitled ‘Seven Essential Strategies to Survive and Thrive During a Recession’. Chris offers marketing advice and guidance using a style with a strong American influence. This can get a bit grating, but basically he seems to make his money by talking a lot of common sense about marketing.

His number one message for surviving a recession was ‘Beware the scarcity mindset’. This means that you should not get carried away by all the talk of doom and gloom, because belief changes actions. If you think negatively, you become similarly negative in your approach. This is not merely advocating a ‘Pollyanna’ view, suggesting that positive thinking alone will make things work out right, but realising that 80% of people/businesses are NOT going to lose their jobs or fail. There are still markets out there made up of people who need things and who can be persuaded to spend their money with you.

You may not be surprised to hear that in his remaining 6 points his advice was, in various ways, to ‘become great at marketing’: not by spending large amounts on media necessarily, but by having a great strategy for attracting people who are interested in what you have to offer., A useful statistic quoted by Cardell was that it takes 7 contacts to turn interest into a sale. This means making sure you use all available means to generate those interactions: build a database, communicate regularly online and via email, and give information freely.

And finally, you must ‘wow them’ with how you deliver, making sure everything you do, you do to the best of your ability. And that you are delighting your customers in the process. That is the way to survive and thrive in the recession.

So, now is not the time to hold back. Work out what being ‘great at marketing’ means for your business!

Sunday, 26 October 2008


Technorati is the leading blog search engine and said to be the mecca of all bloggers. In the interests of exploring every frontier for our clients, we've decided to give it a go ourselves.

The problem is, we've signed up, only to be told that we are not members of our own blog!

Claiming our blog will establish that we are its owners and allow us to use Technorati services to increase the blog’s visibility. Amongst other things we can:

  1. Include a blog description on our Blog's page at http://technorati.com/blogs/www.themarketingeye.blogspot.com

  2. Have our blog listed in the Blog Directory and Blog Search

  3. Use and install Technorati Widgets such as "Favorite Me"

All of this seems worth having, so why are we made to stand waiting outside the door?

There looks to be an alternative way of manually claiming the blog, which requires us to post some code. Well, here it is:
Technorati Profile

Makes no sense to us either. Let's see what happens.

Update: it worked!

Friday, 24 October 2008


We have a number of clients that trade internationally and we are, of course, all interested in what is likely to happen in the UK. We helped our clients, Creaseys, organise an event with Barclays this week and the speaker from Barclays Capital got out his crystal ball for us. To compare the predictions with the forecasts of National Australia Bank, which we reported in our doom and bloom post a couple of weeks ago, is interesting.

Barclays Capital is forecasting a 0.5% cut in interest rates by the end of the year and a low of 3% in 2009. The year end prediction is 3.50%.

Barclays' record with forecasts is pretty good, but before we all rush down to William Hill with the pension fund, it's worth noting that Lloyds TSB is forecasting 4.50%, HSBC 3.50% and others, such as JP Morgan and Deutsche Bank, are saying 2.5% by the end of 2009. Make of that what you will.

A $:£ exchange rate of 1.77 in 6 months time and 1.79 in 12 months appeared from the mist of the Barclays' crystal ball, as did a euro exchange rate of 1.27 and 1.30 respectively. NAB were more pessimistic about sterling against the dollar and forecast 1.66-1.60 in 6 months time (but, that was two weeks ago!).

Don't rely on anything and don't be dragged down by what you read and hear is our attitude. We are currently involved in some very exciting projects, we're regularly talking to new clients and Jo is in Dubai at the moment exploring opportunities for us down there. You don't know if you don't ask and you don't find anything if you don't look.

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Welcome to Bryony!

The Marketing Eye is pleased to welcome Bryony Saunders to the team.

Bryony has been appointed as a full-time Marketing Executive and will support Neil and Jo with the management of key accounts as well as keeping a number of aspects of our marketing moving forward. Yes, even The Marketing Eye suffers from 'cobblers' children syndrome' sometimes!

We know that Bryony will prove to be very popular with our clients and will add a delightul sparkle to the office too. Her favourite phrase 'Oh wizard' is already entering the lexicon of the studio!

Before joining The Marketing Eye, Bryony worked in a number of agencies and travelled widely. She has also set up a successful jewellery design business.

We look forward to introducing Bryony to new clients and old.

Friday, 17 October 2008

Sussex Enterprise Conference

The Sussex Enterprise Annual Conference was held in Brighton this week. 2 years ago we were a fledgling business and Sussex Enterprise had the inspired idea of creating a small business area at its conference offering stand spaces at £100 a time. We exhibited, picked up a few good leads (one very good) and returned home happy bunnies. Sadly, the idea hasn't been repeated since. 'Why not?' we ask.

So what of this year's exhibition? Perhaps it's a sign of the times, but it all looked a little under-invested to us, from the general decor to the stands.

James Caan was good value and we bumped into a few old friends, which saved the day.

The jury is still out at Eye HQ on the value we get from our membership of Sussex Enterprise. We are told that 'you get out what you put in,' which clearly indicates that £280 a year is not seen as enough. What do you think? If anybody feels they've cracked it and are getting a good return on their fees, please comment here. Don't keep the secret all to yourself.

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Designed to Care

Our client, Designed to Care, launched this week.

Designed to Care, the brainchild of Keith and Natalie Burrows, designs and retails clothing that is specially fabricated for people with limited mobility or who are in need of assistance with dressing.

Natalie identified the gap in the market when her elderly grandmother was in care. Maintaining dignity while dressing was extremely difficult to do with conventional clothing and while Natalie was able to find some suppliers of adapted clothing in the US, the alternatives in the UK where drab and few.

Designed to Care has been established with a mission to provide a range of attractive, well made clothing that makes dressing easier for the individual, their relatives and their carers.

The Marketing Eye was commissioned to develop the corporate identity for Designed to Care and create the first set of marketing materials. We have also been on hand to advise on launch marketing. Keith and Natalie have used their own IT skills to develop the website, using open source e-commerce software. You can see the results at

The launch campaign involves outbound telemarketing and brochure distribution to nursing homes and care homes around the UK. This is coupled with press releases in collaboration with Age Concern, the charity to which 5% of all sales are being donated.

The world might find itself in an uncertain place at the present time, but no matter what happens, one thing is guaranteed: we are all getting older every day. Sadly, the prevelance of delibitating conditions such as Alzheimers and Parkinsons Disease also seems to be on the increase. To identify an under-served niche market with significant growth potential sounds like smart thinking and we will be watching progress with interest.

Please visit the website and spread the word if you have relatives in need of assistance with their dressing or know of others in a similar position.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Doom and Bloom

Yesterday, we were at an economic briefing given by Tom Vosa, Head of Market Economics UK at National Australia Bank. His commentary was both enlightening and thought provoking.

Just in case anybody is in any doubt, those of us in the UK, Europe and the US are heading for a full-on technical recession. According to Tom, the underlying growth of the Chinese, Russian and Indian economies means that the global economy is still in reasonably good shape, but there is little dispute that we must become accustomed to a trading environment that many of us will not have experienced in business before.

Next year is likely to be rough. Tom forecasts negative growth in the first two quarters before the first signs of recovery in the second half of the year. Year on year growth of 0.6%; a 4% fall in consumer spending; a $/£ exchange rate of 1.60; a 30% fall in house prices and oil bottoming at $80 a barrel are all on the menu for us to digest.

Real consumer spending power has already fallen by 1% due to the increase in fuel and energy prices and is set to fall by a further 3% next year in direct correlation with the fall in house prices. The retail, leisure and tourism industries will undoubtedly be worse hit by us feeling that we have less disposable income.

For those of us living and running businesses in the South East there are some glimmers of hope. Good levels of equity exist in house prices and the labour market is strong. The wave of job losses is expected to be largely absorbed by the migrant worker population and businesses on the whole are in a good cash position. We can also rely on government spending, particularly on infrastructure, to underpin the economy.

Tom described now as 'the end of the beginning' of the credit crunch and expects the MPC to bring the base rate steadily down to 4% by February next year. The frustration for most of us is that, while interest rates on deposits will be reduced immediately, borrowing costs are likely to remain unchanged as the banks seek to increase their lending margins to recover their losses.

So what exactly can we do about it? After all, we are individually powerless to influence the actions of the banks and not many of us have the option of switching our business to the Middle & Far Eastern markets.

There is a lot of debate at the moment about whether consumers will return en-mass to the large and trusted brands. After all, brands like Northern Rock and XL set out to kick sand in the face of the dominant players, but it is ultimately the established brands that have endured.

Our view is that it will be the businesses with reliable brand promises that will survive and ultimately benefit, regardless of their size. In times of uncertainty, consumers seek the reassurance of brands they can trust and a small business has more opportunity to present its trust credentials than a large business. The failure of Lehman's and XL graphically illustrates that we have no idea what is going on behind the scenes in large corporations.

Trust can be a more powerful motivator than price, even in a recession. Zoom and XL have proved a painful sojourn for those seeking a bargain.

Trust is gained by acting and delivering with integrity. Businesses that focus their marketing efforts on demonstrating transparency and giving outstanding customer service will win trust and maximise new and repeat business. Get closer to your best customers; make sure you have terms of business in place, have the courage to say 'no' to customers that abuse your trust in them and maintain your marketing effort to maximise brand recognition and affinity and you will be doing all you can. Nothing is guaranteed, but this seems to us the best way to bloom in the gloom.

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Congratulations Ultissimo!

Congratulation to our clients Ultissimo who have just won the 5 star award for 'Best redevelopment Italy 2008' for their property development at Rancale in northern Umbria. The European Property Awards are run by CNBC in conjunction with the Daily Mail and are a prestigious accolade in the industry.

We can testify from first-hand experience that the design and standard of craftsmanship at Rancale is absolutely first rate. The development now goes on to compete in the international awards in Florida. We will all have our fingers crossed for the team!

As the Ultissimo success proves, awards are an excellent component of any marketing strategy. The submission process can sometimes be lengthy, but the rewards are well worth it if you win. Not only do they provide a great platform for PR, but they also offer another reason for customers to choose one business over another. We understand the celebrations went on long into the night, proving that winning awards gives a great boost to morale as well!