Marketing + business development
for the creative industries
Creative SMEs all struggle with the same problem: the desire to grow, develop and raise their profile but they lack the knowledge, funds and time to do so. If any of the below apply to you then you've come to the right place.
“Time is short and money precious. I know we need to pay attention to marketing & business development but we're too busy with the revenue-bringing client work.” >
As frequently/infrequently as you'd like, we'll progress your marketing & business development, meanwhile understanding your business & being part of the team.
“I’d like to employ marketing expertise, but I cannot commit to the overheads – interns and graduates are too inexperienced.” >
Having an experienced marketer/business developer in, only when you need, offers huge time and cost efficiencies compared with a salaried junior with little industry/business knowledge.
“I’m sure we’re capable of carrying out marketing & business development ourselves, but where do we begin and are there processes we should follow?” >
Often all you need is setting up – a little training in what you need to be doing, when, where, why and how. We can provide the ‘toolkit’ for marketing
“We’re doing okay, money’s coming in…but what could we achieve with a bit of rigour behind our marketing & business development?” >
If you want rigour, there are processes that exist. Often, without external influence, marketing is constantly pushed to the bottom of the priority pile. It's surprising how much is achieved when paying for help.
“We have a small client base but it’d be great to know who else might want what we offer & how I reach those people/businesses.” >
The chances are, we’ve reached those people/businesses before and we’d love to help get you there. From competitor & market analysis to communicating with the right audiences, we can sort you out.
Below is a non-exhaustive list of the things we can do to help you progress your marketing and business development.
Marketing & business development strategy >
Helping you understand how to take what
you offer to market in the right way for your creative product/service & business.
Marketing systems/New Business processes >
Case studies, pipelines, PR, schedules, site content management and much more; the whole kit and caboodle, and, most importantly, keeping it updated.
Pitch & proposal writing >
Taking the tedious task of proposal writing right out of your hands. Yes, this includes the dreaded RFI/RFP. There's more creative time straight away.
Collateral creation >
Anything you use to present your business: brochures, credentials, site copy, new business campaign materials, newsletters etc.
Events planning, content creation & execution >
Invitations to invitees, content to consumption; creating something your clients/prospects will remember – without any stress/time on your behalf.
Competitor benchmarking & market analysis >
Time consuming, but essential you know who you’re working with and against – be that your clients or
How frequently? >
We can work with you as little or often as you like, be that one day a week, days a month or on a project-by-project basis. If you don't need the help, we won't come in.
You get the same person, everytime, who’ll really get to know your business, and its workings.
We can invoice weekly, monthly or project at a time – according to the number of days worked with you. Costs - venue hire, printing or CRM software – will be covered by you, so there’s no mark-up there.
Preferably, it's best to be right in the middle of your business; but if you don’t have the desk space, working remotely is easy. Similarly, out and about with you if you want company to a meeting is a nice change.
How often are you asked to spend this or that on advertising in various printed/online publications? Case studies, profiles, bios with links to your site, banners, full pages for the price of quarter pages, a listing, paid for editorial, and exhibition space. You name it, those sneaky ad sales people push it.
When it comes to being approached to pay for advertising - it's time to get cynical and scrutinize every fine detail. I'll explain through various experiences I've had - but it's no secret - I'm not a huge fan. A basic underlining principle would be: If you don't ask, you don't get.
An ad in publication 'X'
Firstly - have you, or your clients, ever heard of publication 'X' prior to the phone call? Is it a publication that you and your competitors read - a very industry focused publication - or do potential clients read it? You read Design Week, they read The Grocer - for example. Check out the publication's readership/subscribers; the job titles, the companies.
The only caveat is in attracting creative talent to your business/gaining peer props - exposure in Design Week is great for this purpose but usually only if the work speaks for itself rather than paying for its inclusion, or a straightforward ad.
Sometimes, publications will run annual additional magazine specialising in one topic/area that is sent out to existing subscribers with their usual lot. Ascertain it's not the first they've run - that it's tried and tested and people read it. One publication asked me to spend nearly £3k on a feature publication that was going out to an audience they'd never spoken to before/didn't really have a great database for. My budget for their experiment? No thank you.
The next thing would be where the advert is going to be placed. Right-hand-side is generally more expensive due to where the eye falls; left-hand-side is seen as the back of another right-hand page. Negotiate appropriately. Who else is advertising in this issue/feature - again what would be the point if there is 10 other competitors advertising? Leave them to fight for the attention. Listings are slightly different - there's always the argument of being there to be seen amongst the others - in which case check if you really would be left out.
People like to click things that interest them. Online advertising should always, always provide you with the opportunity to link back to your own site (the most complete advert for your organisation). If they don't offer a link to your site, forget it.
If you're including a piece within a newsletter mailshot - shoot for the contact list. Sometimes they will give it to you in a bid to sell you the space. It may be an old list but clean it yourself with some LinkedIn detective work and you'll be good to add it to your own contact database. Post newsletter mailout, the publication should be able to send you the details of how many click-throughs your article received. Study this to work out your ad's effectiveness and the worth of future spend.
Whatever price they give you, negotiate. Often they'll ask for your budget. Always start low as chances are they will meet you halfway, or below, depending on how close the deadline for publishing is. If you advertise in the printed publication you should get, at the very least, a small ad online at a discounted cost. At best, you will get the same advert placed online for a limited time included within the cost.
I'm really, very dubious about exhibiting at trade shows. My experience is that it's a hall of suppliers/sales people all selling to each other - and nobody's buying. If you do want to exhibit, check the space you're buying is near well-trafficked areas of the exhibition - entrances, the break-out area etc. If they try to sell you a particular space and tell you it's a good one - don't take their word for it - ask for a plan which labels entrances/exists and facilities.
My experience of leaving it to the last minute to book space works in favour of a cheaper rate - of course there's always room for one more paying customer.
Make sure you're collecting data from those you speak to - and that there's a reason to speak to you. A bowl of Murray Mints and some free, branded Bic biros is not a reason to speak to you. Try and get some airtime thrown in with your expensive exhibition space i.e. holding a workshop or seminar on your area of expertise.
And please, if you do exhibit, get the delegate list or at least a list of those who registered interest in your area of fortitude.
The last thing I will say on the matter is don't do paid for advertising at all if you think it will lead to even one caller saying 'I saw your ad, please can I spend loads with you'. Go in with a profile-raising objective, anything in addition is a bonus. If you are expecting a return in the form of a new client, I'd suggest other ways of spending the money. Think what you could do with a grand, hey?