The next piece of the puzzle

B2B 2018

If you recall my post from last week, you’ll know that we’re exhibiting at the B2B Exhibition at Carrow Road in October.

We’ve got a lot of work to do to get ready for the expo, and I realised that it might actually be quite useful to share the process we go through to prepare for an exhibition – all with the aim of helping YOU to exhibit more successfully.

If you missed last week’s email, we focused on outlining your exhibition objectives, so if you want to read that one, you can click HERE and read it now.

This week, I wanted to talk about the next piece of the puzzle: the stand type.

Before you decide the composition of your stand, it’s important to understand exactly how much space you’ve got – it’s no good deciding on a stand when you simply don’t have the space for it.

Once you’ve worked out the space, it’s all about maximising it.

Are you going for a simple roller banner either side of a table, or perhaps a full on pop-up or fabric display? Does your display include any screens or tablets that need to be incorporated into the stand? Have you considered how you’re going to display your leaflets and brochures – do you have a literature stand? – do you need to source one?

Obviously the more branding you’ve got on display, the more eye-catching your stand will be, but at the same time, there is such a thing as “too much”.

I always find it useful to sketch out what the stand will look like – you can’t create it in all its splendour, but drawing it out allows you to see whether it’ll look too crowded or cluttered.

Remember, if you’ve gone for a specific theme, then it’s vital that that theme runs through the whole stand – it’s no good having elements that just don’t fit with each other, as that can actually take away from your brand.

If you’re stuck on which type of banner stand to get, or the composition of your stand, just send me an email to paul@expertprintmanagement.co.uk and we can talk it through.

The countdown begins

B2B 2018

You might be wondering what I mean by countdown.

But don’t worry, I’m not going to suddenly start spouting about Ch*****as – you’ll get enough of that when you start seeing mince pieces in Sainsburys in the next three weeks.

Instead, I’m talking about an entirely different, and much more personal countdown, which is the five-week countdown to the B2B Exhibition at Carrow Road on October 11th.

We’re exhibiting this year, and I’m really looking forward to it, but I’ve got A LOT to get done first.

You see, having done a fair few exhibitions and events over the years, and assisted numerous clients with their preparation, I know how crucial it is to prepare properly.

It’s a cliché, but when it comes to exhibitions and events, failing to prepare truly is preparing to fail.

And – on October 11th – I don’t want to fail.

Which means I need to put the prep time in.

And as I sat down with a blank piece of paper to start planning what we were going to do for the expo, I had a realisation that it might actually be pretty useful for me to share some of my thinking with you.

So that’s exactly what I’m going to do be doing over the next few weeks – as we go through our preparation, I’ll be sharing the process we’re going through and why – I hope you’ll find it useful for your own exhibition efforts.

And first up, I want to talk about the first thing you put on your blank piece of paper, and really, it’s about asking two fundamental questions:

Why are we doing this exhibition?

What are we trying to achieve?

Are you looking to sell directly from the stand? Do you want to talk to a handful of people? Or are you looking to build your list?

The answers to those questions will inform everything else you do, but the reason so many businesses get it wrong is that there’s simply not enough clarity around their overall strategy.

If you’re not sure what your strategy should be, just give me a shout and we can chat it through, and stay tuned for next week’s article!

By the way, I actually wrote a piece a while back on how to avoid wasting thousands of pounds at exhibitions.  If you fancy a read, click HERE.

Off the water and all at sea

Storm 250

As I sat down on my desk on the Tuesday of this week, I had a feeling that brought me back to my childhood.

That ‘back to school’ feeling.

I’ve had the most fabulous summer, with more time on the water than I can remember for a while, but when I returned to the office after the bank holiday weekend, it definitely felt like summer was nearly over.

If you remember that feeling of going back to school in September, you’ll have half an idea of what my first half an hour back in the office was like.

As a kid, you’ve spent six weeks playing outside, and when you try to hold a pencil again, you can’t even write within the lines.

Thankfully it wasn’t quite that bad, but I certainly had that feeling of feeling a little bit ‘at sea’ and being a little out of practice and a little unsure about what I should start with first.

Thankfully after a morning of slight confusion, I’m back on it, and I spent an hour or so yesterday afternoon planning out my marketing campaigns for the rest of the year.

September is a fabulous time to hit the ground running and ensure that the rest of the year is as fruitful and successful as possible, but it’s only possible to do that when you do what I did: unfog the muddled head and get absolute clarity on the activity you need to do to reach your goals.

So: what offline marketing are you going to be doing in between now and Christmas, and how can we help you to get it done, getting you more leads and customers in the process?

If you’d like to chat some ideas through, give us a call on 01603 334390

The most common name in the UK

The most common name in the UK

This week, I stumbled across a video.

It was a by a guy called Thom Smith, and the message is pretty important, so I thought I’d share it with you today.

(In case you hadn’t guessed, ‘Smith’ is the most common surname in the UK, but the message in the video is anything but common.)

Click HERE to watch the video now.

Amongst other things, one of the points that Thom makes in the video is that there can sometimes be a perception that ‘print is dead’.

Publications like the Yellow Pages have fallen by the wayside, with their last editions published this year, looking far more like a pamphlet than an encyclopaedia, and this gradual shift away from advertising in directories has got a lot of people thinking that print no longer works.

But if you watch the video, what you’ll find is that print DOES still work, you’ve just got be a little smarter in how you use it.

Watch the video to find out how to make print work better for you.

And if you want to talk about how regular print campaigns can get you in front of the right people, build your brand awareness and make you more sales, hit reply and we can arrange to have a chat!

No rest for the wicked

As you know, I was busy with Wroxham Week last week, but my busyness has shown zero signs of abating now that’s all out of the way.

In addition to the full-time work that is Expert Print Management, Karen and I are also in the process of moving house (fingers crossed we’ll have completed by the time you read this).

And it’s not a simple move. (I’m starting to realise that they barely ever are.)

The house we’re buying needs quite a bit of work before we’re even able to move into it, which means that I feel i’m constantly on the phone.

Either it’s the solicitor, wanting a new form or something or other.

Or it’s the agent, giving me updates on where the seller’s at.

Or it’s the contractors, asking for dates and times, confirming costs and a whole bunch of other stuff.

This moving seems like a full-time job in itself, and managing every single element is as tiring as it is stressful.

In short, it’s rather like managing your own print.

Liaising with the designers, talking to printers, getting quotes and specifications, dealing with delays, complaining when things don’t go right, and starting the whole process again when you decide you can’t rely on your printer anymore, buying and managing your own print can be pretty painful.

And it’s that exact pain that we remove, because we do the WHOLE thing for you.

Rather than talking to every man and his dog about your project, you just drop us an email or give us a call and we sort it out for you – working with you to achieve your deadlines.

You get the gist: we exist to take ALL the stress out of your print buying process.

Now, if only something like that existed for house moves and renovation…

No handbook

I’ve been pretty preoccupied this last week, which is why I’ve only just posted this blog.

I haven’t been twiddling my thumbs though – I’ve been super busy with Wroxham Week – a fantastic sailing event organised by Norfolk Broads Yacht Club at Wroxham Broad.

It’s been all go, and we’ve had a fabulous time.

But it hasn’t been super easy – there’s been lots of learning on the fly.

You see, I’ve just recently been asked to stand-in as Rear Commodore of the club, and I’ll be honest, that’s pushed me way out of my comfort zone. But one week on, with the support of a great bunch of people, I’m beginning to feel a lot more comfortable about things.

And that’s my little point for today really: sometimes we need to push ourselves out of our comfort zone, there’s no step-by-step guide, no ABC to follow, no handbook.

A bit like being a business owner.

It’s just you and your instinct.

Sure, we can prepare, and yes, we should ensure that our preparation is adequate.

But with most things in life, you truly learn by doing.

You’ll make mistakes, you’ll get things wrong, but you’ll learn from it all; the good and the bad.

So many businesses are paralysed into inactivity by fear, but that paralysis won’t get you from A to B quickly.

I encourage you, wherever you’re at in your business: just give it a go.

Even if it goes wrong, even if a campaign flops, you’ll learn something from it, and be better next time.

By the way. If you’re ever in the area and would like to find out more about Norfolk Broads Yacht Club, just drop me an email and I’ll happily show you around!

Boardrooms and flip flops

Well, this heatwave just keeps going on and on, doesn’t it?

Just to be clear, I’m definitely not complaining!

When it’s this hot though, business does change a little bit.

Everyone’s much happier, and meetings tend to get conducted in shorts and flip flops rather than starched shirts and ties.

And after getting over the shock of seeing your client in a pair of shorts, you quickly get used to it – it becomes normal.

Informality has gradually been drifting out of the business world for a while now anyway, with the tie no longer the staple it once was, but the interesting thing is that the move to informality hasn’t affected the way a lot of businesses market themselves.

Lots of businesses still project a stuffy, corporate image, using ‘proper’ language and starting emails with ‘Dear Sir/Madam’.

But when you look at the truly innovative companies – Google and Apple for example – what’s clear is that they’ve deliberately done things differently.

They’re cheeky and informal in the way they communicate with their customers and prospects, and the result is that their audience feels closer to them as a result.

Whatever you’re selling, it’s worth remembering that people generally don’t live their entire lives in corporate formality – they’ve got kids and houses and pets and hopes and dreams, and if you can use your marketing to connect with them on that level, you’ve got more chance of building a strong relationship that benefits you both.

So, next time you’re putting together a piece of marketing, remember the summer of shorts and flip flops and lose some formality.

No longer prohibitive

No longer prohibitive

We were doing some clearing out at home the other day, when Karen came across this:

No longer prohibitive

The quote stems from the days when she was working for a large marketing agency in Norwich – one of their clients needed to produce some leaflets, so she reached out to one of the established printers of the time and asked for a price.

And as you can hopefully see, 5,000 leaflets came out at £405.

Anyway, when Karen passed me the quote the other day, I made that whistling noise that people make when something is really expensive, like they can’t quite imagine how their credit card is going to cope with a purchase.

You see, 31 years later, I’d be able to fulfil that exact same job for around £255.

That’s 37% cheaper, 31 years later.

Now, I won’t get into the pricing policy of Essex Telegraph Press in Colchester, but what I will say is that this shows that print is no longer prohibitive.

For several years, many businesses viewed print as a luxury, which they couldn’t afford.

But thanks to technology, print has become far more affordable, which means your next direct mail campaign or leafleting initiative gives you much more chance of delivering a return on investment.

Is it perhaps a good time for you to reconsider print as part of your marketing mix?

Oh – and just to be clear, I don’t think the guys at the Essex Telegraph Press were greedy, I promise – printing in 1987 was just far more expensive!

Overdelivering

Overdelivering - England

I’m guessing there were some glum faces in your office yesterday?

Mine too.

The pain of England getting knocked out of a tournament is unlike pretty much anything else, and this pain feels especially bad given that the path to World Cup glory did seem to open up in a seriously surprising way.

However, I know that when the dust settles, I’ll look back on this tournament with fond memories.

The penalty shootout curse is off our backs.

We’ve won a knockout game (two in fact!) for the first time in 12 years.

We’ve got a young, hungry squad, a bright manager and plenty of time to develop, grow and improve.

It’s important to bear in mind that if someone had offered us a semi-final at the start of the tournament, we’d have bitten their hand off.

What we received was way more than what we’d expected. England well and truly overdelivered for us this summer.

And happily, that’s been the case at Expert Print Management this year too.

If you buy a decent amount of print, then you’ll know its not unknown for a print job to end up being delayed, and that can cause a lot of frustration for the person buying the print, who needs it to further their own aims.

Some delays are unforeseen, and you can’t do anything about them, but it doesn’t make them any less frustrating.

That’s why I’m proud to report that when we ran our report at the end of June, every single one of our orders over the last 3 months has been delivered on-time – or early!

I don’t want to blow my own trumpet here, but in the world of print, that’s pretty special.

We won’t rest on our laurels now though – my new aim is to make that six months, then nine months, and then a year.

You get my drift. We’ll continue to strive for perfection, and we’ll continue to get better, just like Southgate’s England.

If you fancy experiencing what striving for perfection in print looks like, just drop us an email at hello@expertprintmanagement.co.uk.

Not that sort of penalty

Not that sort of penalty

You’re probably thinking that this article might have something to do with England’s dramatic penalty shootout win on Tuesday (it’s coming home!).

But it isn’t.

However, it IS about another sort of penalty – the kind that can change behaviour for the better.

This week, the BBC website ran a story about how the University of Winchester managed to reduce their disposable coffee cup usage by 34,000 in just one year, and it was all fuelled by a subtle change in their pricing, rather than some other revolutionary incentive.

For several years, the university had been offering a 25p discount if you brought your own cup – the same incentive Starbucks have been using for a while.

And it worked okay.  But it didn’t reduce the single coffee cup usage enough.

So, after some thought, they changed things around, by reducing the price of the cost of a coffee by 25p, and introducing a 25p penalty if you didn’t bring your own cup.

Nothing really changed – your cost of a coffee would be the same before and after, but psychologically, the idea of penalty was sufficiently unattractive enough to change behaviour.

And in just one year, usage went down by 34,000.

It’s a super smart strategy, and it highlights the power that pricing can have on consumer behaviour – is there anything you can take from it and use in your business?

If you fancy reducing your coffee cup wastage, why not grab some of your own branded coffee cups?  Click HERE to check out our range now.