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Thursday, 31 January 2013

Goodbye Blackberry Way?


The new Blackberry 10 device. Will you buy it? Photograph: Reuters/Shannon Stapleton

Personalising Without Getting Too Personal


Personalised Marketing; a piece of cake

These days, consumers expect marketing offers to be targeted to their needs and preferences. If I like to sail, send me sailing coupons, not golf coupons. If I’m single, send me promotions on vacation trips to Italy or the Caribbean, not Disney World.

Personalization is a powerful way to gain long-term loyalty from customers who appreciate that you are sending them offers for products and services they actually want and need. But there are some warning stories out there, too. Take a hard-learned lesson from Target.

Newly expecting mums are loyal shoppers and voluminous buyers. Getting a foothold early is highly profitable and retailers know it.
That’s why Target has been scouring the information gathered from its credit card holders to figure out how to predict whether a woman is expecting, based on her purchasing patterns. Using what a woman buys and when, Target has been able to assign “pregnancy scores” (likelihood of pregnancy) and send suspected mothers-to-be direct mail pieces with coupons for products appropriate to the estimated stage of their pregnancies.

This is a great idea . . . except that some women may not want their pregnancies exposed. In one case, a teenager’s father became irate when his daughter started receiving offers for nappies and maternity clothing. He called his local Target store, furious. What were they trying to do? Promote teen pregnancy? But he was forced to apologize when he discovered that his daughter was expecting. The story blew up in the business publications—including Forbes, where it got 26,000+ Tweets and 28,000+ Facebook likes.

So while Target has continued its scoring for likely new mothers, it has made its approach more subtle.

The moral of the story is, most customers want their offers to be personalized, but it’s best to be careful how you present them. After all, to quote an old adage, just because you can doesn’t mean you should.
So how do you personalize an offer when the product could be sensitive?

First is timing. A well-timed offer (such as a mortgage refinance offer timed to land just before a mortgage holder’s interest rate goes up) can be even more powerful than personalizing the text. Second is a more subtle use of context. Target changed its targeting to blend baby products in with other more generic products to avoid the appearance of profiling, even though it was.

When you’re personalizing, think about what you can learn from your customers that will help you create and time offers in a way that is most relevant to them. But also think about how you present the information. How you “serve it up” can be as important to your success as the offer that you actually make.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

The Apprentice


This blog is here to share information that might be useful to businesses - and SMEs in particular  - so I hope you might be interested in this item. 
The sixth annual National Apprenticeship Week will take place from 11-15 March this year. The Week, is designed to celebrate Apprenticeships and the positive impact they have on individuals, businesses and the economy.
National Apprenticeship Week can only be successful with the support of a wide range of partners and we would like to encourage as many organisations and individuals as possible to get involved.

The NationalApprenticeship Week toolkit is a great starting point if you want to take part in National Apprenticeship Week 2013. It should give you some ideas and inspiration for events and activities that you could organise and promote as part of the week. 

There are also more resources available in The Hub.

Irongate Customers Organise Themselves With These


Monday, 28 January 2013

Work is a Pain...

             ... if you Suffer from Neck Strain, Back Strain or Wrist Tension


Thursday, 24 January 2013

Product News and More from 3M



Data Protection Act Worries?


All companies have confidential data – financial, employee records and customer records but how does your business currently dispose of those confidential documents?
We offer a variety of safe and cost-effective services to securely dispose of your confidential documents, ensuring your business is compliant with the Data Protection Act and doesn’t have the hassle of internal shredding. Your documents are destroyed at a secure shredding facility and almost all of the paper is recycled into new products, closing the loop and helping to minimise environmental impacts.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Keeping Great Customers On Board


You’ve sent out a terrific marketing campaign. You’ve received a superb response. You’ve converted prospects to buyers. Now what?
“What do you mean?” you ask.
After all, you got the sale. Customers love you. As long as you continue to provide good products, reasonable prices, and great customer service, they’ll stay your customers as long as you don’t mess things up.

That might sound reasonable, but in today’s competitive world, it doesn’t work that way. You’ve worked hard to get that customer, but just like any relationship, you have to put in effort to make it last.

Think about your car. You can’t just fill it with gas once a week and expect to keep it for 100,000 miles. You need to change the oil. Do routine maintenance. Otherwise, you’ll seize the engine or have to dump in thousands of dollars to fix problems that could have been prevented. Likewise, customers need attention and care if you want to keep them over the long haul. We might call this “customer after-care.”

This is one of the areas where 1:1print communications can make a huge difference. There are some simple ways to keep customers happy, keep them engaged, and retain them over the long term.

Here are some ideas.

  Customer newsletters. Tell customer stories. Talk about new products. Provide insight they wouldn’t otherwise have access to. Speak to them by name and customize the content to be more relevant to their individual needs.
•  Customer satisfaction surveys. Ask them how you are doing. It’s a great way to let people know you value their business. Use personalized URLs to make this easy and append the data back into your marketing database automatically.
   Personalized notes and cards. Do you know your customers’ birthdays? How about the date they first became customers? Send them personalized notes and cards as a way to let them know you care.
  Tips & tricks postcards. Once in a while, offer some free advice. If you’re a landscaping company, you might suggest the easiest care perennials for the upcoming season. If you’re a real estate office, you might suggest the best neutral colors for resale.
  Coupons & freebies. Send a coupon for a discount or a freebie “just because.” It continually re-engages your customers and helps them see the value in their relationship with you.
Client retention is critical to yourbottom-line success. Be a company that does this well, and you’ll reap the benefits of great brand recognition and long-term customer relationships.


Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Thawing Snow Means Risk of Flooding.

   Could you use some of these?

Moving Beyond Personalised Marketing

The icing on the cake.


Personalisation increasingly has become a fundamental part of today’s marketing landscape. One of the secrets to 1:1 marketing success, however, is not to rely on personalisation alone to achieve your goal.

What this means is that personalisation gets you in the door. It grabs attention. In the eyes of the recipient, it marks the communication as relevant or interesting. But there are many things that can occur between the time the mailer catches someone’s eye and the time that person responds.

If you look through a series of case studies on 1:1 print marketing, whether using personalised URLs (PURLs) or other forms of personalisation, marketers with the highest response rates tend not to rely on variable fields alone to motivate recipients to action. There is always some other element present that synergies with the variable information to make it happen.

Common Response Boosters
Let’s look at some of the most common, industry-wide techniques that marketers combine with personalisation to maximise response rates.

Targeted audience
High response rates are most often the result of having a highly targeted audience that, by virtue of demographics or psychographics, is more likely than average to respond. A home furnishings company, for example, might target first-time home owners. A lawn care company might send specials on lawn care kits to existing customers who recently purchased a high volume of grass seed.

Use of unusual design elements 
Personalisation can have a powerful impact, but only if people see it. To attract recipients’ attention in the first place, marketers often start with unusual design elements, such as oversized postcards, clear envelopes or lumpy mail.

Utilisation of multiple media
Effective campaigns use multiple media to reinforce the message and remind people to respond. The use of personalized follow-up e-mails is a common technique.

High value incentive
This technique is common in applications using PURL campaigns, especially campaigns for lead generation or information gathering, such as customer feedback or prospect surveys. To motivate recipients to respond, marketers might offer a gift or monetary incentive, such as a restaurant gift card or entry into a sweepstakes.

Pick Your Team
Personalisation is a powerful tool, but it’s not a magic wand. Just as we don’t expect athletes to carry their team to glory all by themselves, you should'n’t expect personalisation to carry the load alone, either. Like all marketing elements, personalisation works best when it is part of a collective effort.

HP Toner Cash Back Scheme Extended



Sunday, 20 January 2013

De-Freeze Your Assets Now!

Keep Your Wheels Moving. Large range of janitorial products delivered next working day with your stationery.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Irongate Sponsors Shivnarine Chanderpaul

Shivnarine Chanderpaul

Marketing Derby Bondholder, Irongate Group is thrilled to be sponsoring the current number two Test batsman in the world, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, following the announcement of his two-year contract with Derbyshire County Cricket Club.

Managing Director for Irongate Group, Adam Noble said “as a Derby based company, I am really delighted to be showing our support for our local county cricket club and also to be associated with this international sport.  Chanderpaul is a first class cricketer and this fits with our culture for being a first class provider of business services in the UK”.


      

Thursday, 17 January 2013

How Much Do You Know About the UK Promotional Merchandise Industry?



Well, almost anything can be branded with a company’s name or logo and used for promotion. Common items include t-shirts, caps, key chains, posterspens, mugs, or mouse pads. The largest product category for promotional products is wearable items, which make up more than 30% of the total. Eco-friendly promotional products such as those created from recycled materials and bamboo, a renewable resource, are also experiencing a significant surge in popularity.
Most promotional items are relatively small and inexpensive, but can range to higher-end items; for example celebrities at film festivals and award shows are often given expensive promotional items such as expensive perfumesleather goods, and electronics items
Brand awareness is the most common use for promotional items. Other objectives that marketers use promotional items to facilitate include employee relations and events, trade show traffic-building, public relations, new customer generation, dealer and distributor programs, new product introductions, employee service awards, not-for-profit programs, internal incentive programs, safety education, customer referrals, and marketing research.
Collecting certain types of promotional items is also a popular hobby. In particular, branded antique point of sale items that convey a sense of nostalgia are popular with collectors and are a substantial component to the antique industry.
Promotional merchandise is rarely bought directly by corporate companies from the actual manufacturers of the promotional products. A manufacturer's expertise lies in the physical production of the products, but getting a product in front of potential customers is a completely different skill set and a complex process.
Within the UK & Ireland promotional merchandise industry a comprehensive network of promotional merchandise distributor companies exist. A promotional merchandise distributor is defined as a company who "has a dedicated focus to the sale of promotional merchandise to end users". (An 'end user' is a corporate company or organisation that purchases promotional merchandise for their own use.) These distributor companies have the expertise to not only take the product to market, but are also to provide the expert support required. 
The unique aspect of promotional merchandise is that on most occasions the product is printed with the logo, or brand, of a corporate organisation. The actual manufacturers rarely have the set up to actually print the item. Promotional merchandise distributor companies are expert in artwork and printing processes. In addition to this the promotional merchandise distributors also provide full support in processing orders, artwork, proofing, progress chasing & delivery of promotional products from multiple manufacturing sources.

Warning that 15cm of snow will hit Derbyshire tomorrow


Alert for fellow Derbyshire businesses, courtesy of This Is Derbyshire
AUTHORITIES are confident they are ready to cope with heavy snow expected to hit Derbyshire tomorrow.  Weather experts are expecting up to 15cm to fall throughout the day, with temperatures remaining below zero C. And while the heaviest snow will fall throughout tomorrow, further flurries could be seen throughout Saturday as well.
East Midlands Airport has volunteers on hand to help clear pathways around the site, while schools around the city are drawing up "snow plans" to try to remain open.
Both da Vinci Community College and Noel Baker School, in Derby, have vowed to do so.
A Derby Telegraph online poll revealed that a majority felt schools were too quick to close after snow fell on Sunday night.
And Derby County was today in discussions to finalise plans to try and make sure Saturday's home match against Nottingham Forest goes ahead.
Derby City Council was last night gritting main roads throughout the night and was set to give pedestrian areas in the city centre a fresh coating of salt at 8am this morning, while the county council was due to cover major routes twice last night and secondary routes once this morning, with both authorities planning further gritting tonight.
Last year, about 15cm of snow fell across Derbyshire at the beginning of February, causing East Midlands Airport to close for eight hours, bus companies to cancel popular services and the RAC to experience a boost of 50% in the number of call-outs it might normally expect.
A Met Office spokesman said: "There is potential for a lot of disruption on Friday and we are advising people to check their local forecasts."
He said there was a possibility a very slight amount of snow may fall today.
Mark Cottingham, head teacher at da Vinci Community College, said a snow plan was in place and that parents would be alerted by text message to keep them aware.
He said: "If it snows on Friday we will make our decision at or just after 6am, as usual.
"We do, however, have two GCSE exams taking place and, no matter what happens, they will go ahead.
"It may be that we do not have enough staff to open the school fully but there will certainly be enough staff available to ensure that pupils who are taking those exams are still able to come to the school and do so."
At Noel Baker, head teacher Mal Kerr said the school fully intended to open tomorrow.
He said: "The process begins the day before with making the site as safe as possible and then we all watch the weather carefully – usually from 4am to try to work out the risk factors."
Support group Community Action Derby is also offering grants of up to £500 to voluntary groups who want to clear snow in their neighbourhood, or help vulnerable people in bad weather by arranging transport to lunch clubs or collect supplies for them.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

What's Your Print-to-Mobile Strategy?


In today’s world of print marketing, multi-channel communications are a critical component of success. Taking your marketing message across multiple channels helps you cut through the marketing clutter in your customers’ lives and reinforce your message over time. If you aren’t already, it’s time to pay attention to mobile.

Let’s look at some recent data that shows just how important mobile has become in the lives of even print-loving consumers.

·  Smartphones are in the hands of 53% of U.S. mobile phone owners. (Pew Internet & American Life Project November 2012)

·  One-third of adults are now mobile-only. They have no landline in      their homes at all. (National Health CDC/NCHS National Health Survey 2011)

· Nearly two-thirds (61%) of consumers access the Internet via smartphone. (Accenture 2012)

· 51.1% of mobile users check their email using only a mobile device, 45.3% say they conduct mobile-only Internet searches, and 42.3% connect with friends on Facebook without ever using a PC or laptop. (Prosper Mobile Insights 2012)

· Four out of five smartphone owners use their phones to shop. (comScore MobiLens 2012)

If you are not integrating mobile into your overall print marketing strategy, it’s time to start. How can you begin to do that in a way that isn’t overwhelming?
The fastest and easiest way to integrate mobile into your print marketing is to use QR Codes. Adding these wildly popular mobile barcodes to your postcards, direct mail, marketing collateral, point-of-sale, and other print marketing materials allows you to offer instant access to online video, coupons, Web pages, and other mobile-web-driven content.
What’s so powerful about QR Codes is that they allow viewers to respond to your call to action immediately by scanning the code with the camera on their phone. Once they do, they are taken immediately to the mobile Internet, where they can access any range of content. It’s no wonder that more than 20% of U.S. consumers and more than 50% of smartphone owners are scanning these codes (comScore MobiLens 2012).
Here are some other things QR Codes can do:
·   Launch pre-populated emails
·   Add phone numbers and other contact information into mobile address books
·    Add scheduled events into phone calendars
Today’s consumers live on their mobile phones. It’s important to add mobile calls to action to your printed pieces, and QR Codes are the easiest way to do that. If you are looking for ideas for incorporating QR Codes into your print marketing, give us a call. Or email marketing@irongatedigital.co.uk You might be amazed by what QR Codes can do.  

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Are You Sitting Comfortably?

Maybe not. 




Working in an office typically involves spending a great deal of time sitting— a position that adds stress to the structures in the spine and can lead to back problems and muscle pains. Irongate offers a free no obligation service where one of our furniture specialists can visit your premises, look at your current seating, check for risk factors such as awkward postures and give advice on the best type of chair for you. And they can teach you how to adjust and use your chair correctly. Plus, we have a range of chairs available for you to try out to ensure you’re 100% happy before you buy.  Please email interiors@irongate.group.co.uk  and say Watch With Mother sent you.

Simon Clark - Furniture Sales Manager


Social Media Isn't Engaging

People talk about "engagement" being the biggest differentiator between traditional and "inbound" marketing. I am not alone in being unconvinced about the engagement aspect. From my experience any meaningful or significant  engagement quickly moves from the open social media environment to 1-2-1 personal correspondence and private "engagement".  Engagement for me is "a meaningful and mutually beneficial collaboration". Difficult to have on Twitter or Facebook. We're here to sell stuff :-)  Maybe I have a lot to learn?  Of course I do.  It's early days. But please CLICK HERE and check out this infographic.


Monday, 14 January 2013

Fast Growing Risk For Businesses


Spice Up Your Direct Mail


Are you looking for ways to spice up your direct mail campaigns? Even if your response rates remain high, are you looking to freshen things up a little? Here are a few ways you can update your direct mailings and give them new appeal.

1. Update the package.
Are you using the same envelopes you have for years? If so, try something different. Change the colour. Change the size. Add a personalized teaser on the front (John, check this out!). If you are selling high-value products or services, consider really shaking things up with dimensional mail or novelty envelopes that look like UPS packages or USPS Priority Mail.

2. Tweak your text.
Still using the same marketing text from last year? Try another direction. If youve been using a dry, informational style, insert some humor.  If youve been sending short, punchy one-liners, try adding more informational text.

3. Freshen up the images.
How long have you been using that same picture of your headquarters? Is your headshot in the lower right-hand corner 10 years old? Have a photographer take a new company photo. Upload a current headshot with a fabulous smile. Or maybe you just want some new images as backgrounds or illustration. Todays selection of royalty-free imagery is professional, full of variety, and inexpensive. Try something new and see what happens!

4. Add a new variable.
If you are personalizing your mailings, why not add a new variable? If youve been personalizing by name and gender, add age bracket or income. This gives you a whole new way to relate to customers and increase the relevance of the message. Dont have the data? Adding variables can be as easy as a simple data append. You give us the names, we order the data. Its that simple.

5. Try a new offer.
What incentive have you been using to get people to respond? 15% discount? If so, try 10% or 25%. Go crazy and try BOGOF. How are you encouraging people to log into their personalized URLs? Entrance into a sweepstakes for a gift card? Try a set of concert tickets instead.

Experiment with new approaches and see what works. Mixing things up also tells people you are a progressive company, always growing and looking to improve. So get creative. Step outside the box and see what happens

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

New 2013 Business Supplies Catalogue


... a reminder for our Customers

Our new look 2013 Business Supplies catalogue is now available and our account customers will automatically receive their copy in January. It contains around 10,000 of our most popular products as well as lots of fantastic new products to make your life easier in the office. We’ve redesigned the catalogue too to make it even easier for you to find what you’re looking for. Email us at ask@irongategroup.co.uk for your copy.

Thinking About Setting up a Home Office?

Monday, 7 January 2013

Irongate Group, Derby UK, is Hiring


Irongate Group is the largest independent office services provider in the midlands with a turnover exceeding £17 million. Our head office is based in Derby and we have a regional office in Birmingham.
We employ over 90 employees and we recognise that our success depends on our people. We are always interested in recruiting new talent into a variety of jobs. We look for talented and driven individuals who are team players and looking to progress in their chosen field.

Current Vacancies
Do you have recent Internal Sales/Telesales experience and want to progress, or are you a highly self-motivated hard working individual who wants to get into the dynamic and challenging world of Telesales?
We are looking for an Internal Account Manager/Telesales to take over and grow an established territory. You will spend 2 hours a day cold calling – the rest of your time will be spent servicing and developing your customers.

We offer a competitive salary and will provide all the relevant training required. If you think you’re the passionate driving force we need, please request an electronic application form and further details by emailing: swilson@irongategroup.co.uk

We are always keen to hear from driven and passionate individuals who have previously worked in Sales, or who wish to commence an exciting and challenging career in Sales.  If you think that you are the motivated driving force that we need then please forward your current CV with a covering letter to Sarah Wilson – HR Manager at: swilson@irongategroup.co.uk  CLOSING DATE FRIDAY 1 FEBRUARY 2013.






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