Who am I?

A business-focused marketing professional. I take enterprise level best-practise marketing techniques and pragmatically apply them to small and medium size budgets. My differentiator is hands-on-I-can-actually-do-it expertise, evidenced by a successful track record. What I do helps clients to sell and grow.

What can I do for you?

…everything a Marketing Director, Manager or Department can do. And more. But on demand and with no HR commitment, cost or risk. I offer unbiased professional ‘perspective’ and advice on what you want to do. Then, go on to provide time for projects that you perhaps don’t have the in-house skills, capacity or appetite for, such as a new website or rebranding.

Go-to-market strategy & management, position, message and brand, copy & content production, content marketing strategy, planning and management, website & eCommerce development, Search Engine Optimisation, digital techniques, email marketing, analytics & Automation, business & product launches, events & exhibitions, Public Relations & Social Media Management, Video production.

My experience?

…I’ve run my own £1m agency, been a Marketing Director and an outsource resource, so I’m probably more experienced than someone you might employ. This means I’m used to working with in-house teams, ‘hitting the ground running’ and having to deliver. And I’ve done that for big names: Pansonic, Sony, Ericsson, and small companies whose ambitions generally exceed budget.

Access Control, Aerospace, Audio-visual, Aviation, Building & Construction, Cathodic Protection, Defence, Electronics, Electronic signage, Engineering, Hosting, Industrial, Manufacturing, Marine Information Systems, Maritime Technology, Motorcycles, Physical Security, Precision Engineering, Radio: WiFi, GSM, COFDM, RF, SCADA, tin-cans-with-string. Ship Building & Services, Sub-Sea Technology, sailing-yachts. Information Technology: Anti-Virus & Malware, Business Continuity, Business Process Services, Channel, Connectivity, Disaster Recovery, Encryption, Governance, Risk & Compliance, Hardware, Help-desk, Hosting, Information Security, Infrastructure, Managed & Cloud Services, NetFax, Networking, Penetration Testing, Print, SaaS, Services, Software, Solutions, Storage, Support, Telecoms, Unified Communications.

Who do I work with?

…generally B2B focused small & medium sized enterprises – £1m – £10m t/o or ten to one hundred staff – that want help aligning marketing with business objectives. Or they might just want some copy or content written. All of my clients want to ‘sell more stuff’ – which could mean products, services or even the business itself.

Go-to-market strategy, business-setup, UK & EU representation, facilitation, mentoring. Position, message and brand, copy & content production, content marketing strategy, information memorandum development, Mergers & Acquisition, Divestment, Integration, planning and management, web, digital & SEO, Analytics & Automation, business & product launches, events & exhibitions, Public Relations & Social Media Management.

Sector focus?

IT & Telecoms, Technology & Engineering, Professional Services, and Building & Construction. My clients often have products or services that are difficult to understand, hard to communicate, and an audience thats difficult to reach. These are specialist areas for me.

  • IT, Infrastructure and Structured Cabling

  • Engineering, Industrial and Electronics

  • Telecoms, Communications and Connectivity

  • Managed Services, Cloud and UC

  • Information Security and Risk

  • Physical Security, Access Control and Logical/Physical Integration

  • Business and Managed Services & Solutions

  • Aerospace and Marine

Marketing & Business Services

I develop strategies that make sense and plans that extract the maximum from the minimum. I deliver: business sense, branding, copy & content - including print & videos, websites, outbound-campaigns and PR & Social Media. And if you don't know where to start, begin with a low-cost/high-value 'Scoping Project' to crystallise thoughts and document objectives.

Marketing Planning – define how, what, when and how much.

Develop plans that support your business objectives and connect ambitions to activities with responsible business budgets.

Plan to succeed

Many businesses don’t formalize their business plan, which is fine, if, like a good navigator, you know where you are and where you want to get to. When you know those two points, a plan built of: strategy, website, content, activities, schedule and budget – determines, documents and costs the marketing ‘navigation’.

As an outside marketer with a lot of experience, I can design and deliver a plan that you may not have the time, expertise or resources to manage yourself. And I can do it quickly with the staff you do have, training and managing them for as long as you want. With a properly costed plan, budget can be allocated, success analyzed and activities dynamically shaped to match cashflow needs.

Start with a Scoping Project – thats the easy way to engage!

Knowing where to start is the problem. ‘We’re head-down working and just don’t have the time or marketing expertise in-house. Or a business plan to begin with.’

A simple ‘contained’ scoping project – easy!

Many smaller business don’t have a documented Business Plan, let alone a Marketing Plan. And lots of management teams have been head-down working hard concentrating on surviving for the past few years. So an outside perspective can really help with the ‘we’re here, we want to get there, measure the gap – and build plan to bridge it’ exercise.

Business objectives: establish goals, change, grow, sell-more-profitable-stuff, diversify, expand/simplify services, establish group, re-structure, re-position, rebrand, acquire, merge, define succession plan, divest. Leave early on Fridays.

My two day scoping projects are straight-forward and used to identify the key issues of concern at an early stage of the marketing planning process. I sit down with you and your management team to facilitate and document your businesses key objectives – with which I synchronise my marketing recommendations: simple-SWOT, required activities & components, suggested budgets, time and resources for example.

Branding & Identity – so much more than a logo.

Understand your business & products, write succinct positioning and strategy to re-energize your identity and develop it into a valuable brand.

No, it’s really not a logo!

Most think of branding as their logo, and how it’s applied to websites and business cards. But a brand isn’t a logo, its so much more than that. A brand is the set of associations we make with a product or company – the logo is its flag. Big, small, technical, friendly, capable, trustworthy, exciting, reliable, or whichever values are right. Any business profits from building a brand that represents it the way wants to be perceived.

In 2007 the well-respected Interbrand agency valued the Coca-Cola brand at $65.3bn – about half the company’s market value! So brands have a tangible value and are how your prospects, customers, peers and even suitors might recognize and understand you.

Different sized businesses, organisations and markets require different branding characteristics, but the basic principle of being distinct about what your business stands for is always true. I can design and develop branding that will grow the perception & associations of your choice. And then control and exploit these associations to evolve a brand with tangible value that aids business performance.

Website Development – part of the sales process.

Produce dynamic & responsive brand building websites that acquire, engage and convert visitors into customers.

But it’s only an online brochure isn’t it?

Websites used to be straightforward. Where visitors came if they already knew you – and could actually find you. But, with ease of the internet, the web is the very first place prospects will look to research you and your competitors! This means even small businesses should have well designed, search optimised websites that have clear goals, great content and success measurement metrics built into them.

Goals, Positioning, Branding, Content, Engaging, SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), Links, Analytics, Social Media, Blog, Digital, Advertising, eCommerce

Goals?

Well, if you’re to spend money off the bottom line, lets ensure you get a return on that investment. Site goals could be: Easy to find and supports business objectives; demonstrate you’re a real business doing what for whom; provide relevant information & content about your business and generate respect from your visitors. Clearly explain your services & products to engage prospects into the buying process. Sell your products or services online.

For the internationally successful aircraft engineering company Andair I produced new branding and a highly cost-effective eCommerce website that has increased sales, reduced workload and streamlined manufacturing processes.

My specialist IT experience was brought to bear on M2 Computing; fresh positioning, messaging and branding were delivered by a new fully responsive (works on PCs and iDevices) website designed and written ‘here’, and coded in India. The website is spreading the ‘Cloud’ services message strongly and M2 Computing is growing fast!

Websites don’t necessarily need to be big or expensive but they do need to have management buy-in, budget and attention paid to them; I can help you with all of these aspects.

Copy Writing – that would be the ‘words’ then.

Write copy that communicates clearly – because remember, its not what you say, its what’s understood that’s important.

Copywrite in-house?

Not many businesses have a copywriter in-house. The ability to develop ‘apps’, engineer widgets or ‘structure’ cabling – doesn’t mean that person has the skills to write effective copy about them. Which is where I come in.

Communication doesn’t occur until understanding has happened. So use simple words that the reader will know when trying to communicate the complex. Write in a tone, language and style that will engage the listener. Describe what is relevant to the audience, not the creator, engineer or ego.

I’ve written copy, content and proposals for small businesses that you haven’t heard of and large ones that you have, such as Panasonic and Sony. I’ve composed content for IT, Tech and Engineering businesses, which is a specialty of mine, and for services, solutions and security companies. All clients need me to understand and communicate their proposition – interesting, complex or dull – in language that connects to and engages with their audience.

White Board Videos – capture attention, compel viewing and convert customers.

Capture attention and compel viewing with a white board video – because folk want to see and hear the story told.

  • Capture Google, the world’s 1st largest search engine. Optimized video stands a 53X greater chance of ranking on the first results page than any textual page.

  • Compel Widely published award-winning professor of psychology Dr Richard Wiseman, says [white board] videos gain and hold attention ‘Simply because people are more engaged in the process’.

  • Convert 70 percent of marketing professionals report that video converts better than any other medium. www.marketingprofs.com

  • Deliver As part of am integrated multi-platform campaign for Panasonic my video helped: triple sales, win sector dominance and deliver sales – 85% of the following year’s came from this campaign.

So for businesses looking for new dynamic content delivery mechanisms that deliver great return-on-investment – white board videos are winners. And we can deliver the entire process, from ideas, through script & storyboard to delivery.

Content Marketing – prepare the pipeline!

Develop the strategies, content, processes and reporting to ensure your proposition gets to the audience at the right stage of the research & buying cycle. And at the proper place in the pipeline!

Content Marketing?

Buyers have always wanted ‘content’ (brochures and Data Sheets etc.). But now that it’s so easy to access information over the Web, that’s where folk go to find it. Some pundits say those researching products & services consume many pieces of content before engaging with a sales team.

Content: White Papers, Case Studies, Brochures, Product Information, Technical Data Sheets, Reviews, Infographics, Sales Leaflets, Videos, eBooks, How-to-Guides, Market Research, Reports and Surveys.

So it’s your job to have the appropriate engaging content available at the right stage of prospect’s research and to support campaigns. This way, it’s easier for prospects to find out and read good things about you than the competition. Simple!

Small and Medium size businesses may not have the resource or time available in house to design and develop content marketing strategies. Using an expert external resource such as myself is a good solution. I can cost-effectively develop the strategy, produce the content and measure the outcomes.

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Digital & Multi-platform Marketing – repetition makes reputation.

I’ll just say that again. Effectively integrate digital marketing tools & channels with ‘traditional’ methods & collateral to engage your audience.

Digital Marketing

Digital marketing is simply using online and electronic tools and channels to connect and engage with your audience: web, email, micro-sites, iDevices & Smartphones, web-advertising, Google pay-per-click, video, apps, Social Media etc. The great thing about digital marketing is that so much of it can be measured.

Panasonic campaign tripled sales, achieved sector domination and won the four largest Notebook PC orders in European history! It also went onto deliver 85% of the following years sales and to motivate Sony to ask me to launch VAIO into the business market.

Multi-platform Marketing

As you probably know, multi-platform marketing is ‘merely’ the synergistic integration of multiple elements into a strategy: email, direct mail, web-microsites, Public relations, Advertising, video, tele-marketing, webinars, Social Media and so forth.

Strategy

I’ve developed many multi-platform campaigns, including those for the launch of Panasonic’s Ruggedised Toughbook and Sony’s VAIO PC’s. Great thing about multi-platform marketing is that it really can scale in size, reach and budget. Because digital is so dynamic, I work with some great partners to deliver and synchronise with the marketing plan.

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Business development campaigns – sell some stuff?

Develop targeted campaigns that generate awareness, build brand and deliver qualified sales prospects.

Acquire, engage and convert

My Business Development and Lead Generation Campaigns use multi-platform marketing techniques that seek to ‘acquire, engage and convert’.

ABSNet/Cisco JMF funded Launch Campaign resulted in identified pipeline of £2.61m

ABS’s 3-2-1 Blast Off marketing campaign funded via the Cisco Joint Marketing Fund is one of the most complete, integrated campaigns I have seen to date in my nine years at Cisco. The program, which consists of many of the elements from the marketing mix including a full reporting mechanism, is already proving to drive incremental business for both parties involved.

Neil Bernstein, Cisco Business Development Manager Sales/Channel

 

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Marketing Automation – part of the sales process?

Create a strategy that integrates tactical activities to drive sales by automating marketing processes.

Plan, integrate, automate

I love things that make life easier and more effective – and Marketing Automation can do just that. It’s a bit more than an emailing application and uses an ‘App’ or web-platform to automate some of the marketing processes: Act-On, Marketo, Eloqua, Hubspot, Salesforce-Pardot and MailChimp are all Marketing Automation platforms. So how does it work?

If a ‘visitor’ to ‘our’ website responds to a ‘call-to-action’, asking for ‘Content’ – a Case Study, Data Sheet, or ‘Idiots Guide to…’, the platform sends it, having first collected contact details. Automatically and with no marketing person involved!

Now the platform knows who’s ‘visited’, they become a ‘lead’ that we can ‘score’ – and ‘nurture’. The more visits they make and actions they take, the higher their lead-score. A high score might trigger another process, such as sending information or getting a Marketing or Sales person to call. Automatically.

However, for Marketing Automation to be effective, strong business and marketing foundations must be in place. Its no good automating anything without: management buy-in, a realistic budget, effective branding & messaging, a great website and documented strategies, content, processes and reporting in place. And patience, as it will take time to work.

Marketing Automation is right for many, but smaller businesses in particular may struggle with: budget, resources and expertise – and require help from someone such as myself. Please give me a call for an helpful conversation on what will work best for you.

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Public relations & social media.

Combine Social Media: LinkedIn, Twitter and Pinterest into the public relations mix to communicate and raise awareness with your audience.

Public Relations – the power of the press?

I’m a huge believer in the power of public relations when used as part of a smart marketing strategy. People really are more likely to buy from companies they’ve heard of; advertising for example. And even more likely to buy from companies they’ve heard good things about; in the media. PR seeks to get this positive coverage.

PR should be closely synchronized with your marketing communications plan and can utilize and recycle content for maximum cost-effectiveness. PR execs should be proactive with publications ‘what do you need, a bylined article for a forward feature?’. React quickly to requests for comment and contribution, and Press Releases only issued when there’s something really interesting to say. Obvious really.

Social Media – The Emperors New Clothes?

To some, Social Media really is the Emperor’s New Clothes, in fact a recent Gallup Survey* found: 94% of those interviewed, used social media “To connect with friends and family”, and of those, 62% said it had “no influence at all” on buying decisions. And “of the consumers who reported “liking” or following a company, 34% still said that social media had no influence on their purchasing behavior…”.

Sadly, Gallup concludes, “Social media are not the powerful and persuasive marketing force many companies hoped they would be.”

So where does that leave small and medium sized businesses with Social Media? Probably, that Social Media should primarily be used as a PR conduit and blogging tool, saving precious marketing budget for activities that connect directly to and engage with prospective customers.

*From: “State of the American Consumer: Insights for Business Leaders”. www.Gallup.com June 2014.

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Mergers & Acquisitions, or Divestment – is it time to sell the company?

Get the most for your business by using professional sale preparation help. Speak in the language your suitors use, get noticed, show your success and how easy you’ll be to integrate.

Divestment – make some noise!

The right marketing activities to sell products or services really need to be enhanced when it comes time to sell your business if you want to get the most for it. For example, does your ‘brand’ really have value, or is it just a logo that undervalues the business. Does the website speak in the language that a potential suitor will recognise, do you look successful by proudly showing off your customers? Does your business ‘feel’ professional to the acquisitive and knowledgable? And does it show it can scale and integrate?

The owners of ABSNet wanted to sell so I was brought in by the specialist CEO managing the divestment to help prepare the business for sale. I directed the re-positioning, rebranding and marketing of the company, increasing profitable turnover by over 50% to £18m in the space of only ten months. Business partners Cisco and Hitachi both delivered unsolicited testimonials stating that ABSNet ‘now’ has the best marketing and demand generation engine in the country. The owner’s objective of divestment was successfully achieved  in under two years – to Capita for £ 13.6m!

Considered, pragmatic and cost effective sale preparation for any businesses – large or small – is crucial to achieving the best price for your business.

Mergers & Acquisitions – acquire capability or merge for synergy and scale?

I work with experienced business ‘partners’, the Starr Consultancy, to provide seamless: Business Strategy, Marketing Strategy & Execution and Corporate Financial services to SMEs with a turnover typically between £2m – £100m. stephenSMITH and the Starr Consultancy work with owners & senior management to assist with: strategic business planning & growth, acquisitions & mergers, partnering and sale/divestment preparation.

At AMA/Lantec/Elcom/SCC/ElcomIT I provided board level consultancy to five successive owners delivering: marketing strategy, branding, acquisition integration and tactical marketing services. My contribution is show cased by the growth Elcom UK had achieved when it was acquired by SCC – its turnover had accelerated from £2m to in excess of £400m in less than nine years.

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Portfolio

Some recent clients and projects showcasing: strategic marketing, marketing communications plans, branding, content & collateral and website production

THE IT Supplier new positioning, branding, content and website

January 2016 An exciting project for a client I've worked with many times. THE…

Builder’s Profile – advise, plan, position, rebrand and website

May/June 2015 Builder’s Profile is a cloud-based construction-industry focused compliance &…

Tecton – eBrochure content creation & production

eBrochure content creation & production and brand enhancement. [caption]Tecton company brochure[/caption]…

Podium Partners – go-to-‘market’, branding, content and website

Strategic marketing advice, branding, positioning, content and web design & initial…

Andair – branding, content & eCommerce website

Branding and eCommerce website Andair designs, engineers and manufactures precision aircraft…

M2 Computing – marketing, branding & website

Developed strategic marketing and communications plans and designed new branding, content…

Invictis – go-to-market, branding, marcoms plan, launch and execution

Strategic Marketing Plan, Branding, Launch, Content and Website Position, message, Branding, Content,…

Overtis – refocus from solution to product

New Collateral and Website A change in management focus from 'services' to…

Video Portfolio

Why a Video? Well, its harder than ever to get through to your audience - an IBM Buyer Preference Study revealed that ‘…cold calling does not work 97% of the time’. Add to this the preference to ‘view & listen’ - the National Center for Biotechnology Information said 'the average attention span dropped by about a third from 2000 to 2015'. Video seems to be an answer for connection and engagement.

With video, 'prospects’ can view when they want and without having to talk to a sales guy, so they're in control which they like. Video captures attention and compels viewing because folk want to see and hear the story told. When the ‘ACME Anvil’ hits Wile E. Coyote as the sound & word ‘CRASH!’ impact - you want to look at it don’t you? By keeping viewer’s focused on continually changing images, they keep paying attention!

Capture

Google, the world’s 1st largest search engine. Optimized video stands a 53X greater chance of ranking on the first results page than any textual page.
Video in an email can boost open rates by 20 percent and increase click-through rates by 200 to 300 percent. www.forbes.com

Compel

59 percent of viewers will watch a video that is less than one-minute to completion. (Wistia)
The average online use spends 88 percent more time on a website with a video (Mist Media)

Engage

Widely published professor of psychology Dr Richard Wiseman, says [white board] videos gain and hold attention ‘Simply because people are more engaged in the process’.

Convert

70 percent of marketing professionals report that video converts better than any other medium. www.marketingprofs.com
Video on landing pages can increase conversions by 80 percent. www.Unbounce.com
64 percent of consumers are more likely to buy a product after watching a video about it. (comScore)
There’s also evidence when live-human-video competes with white-board-video, the latter performs better. Researchers found viewers who had seen whiteboard video performed better in 4 out of 5 memory tests. That whiteboard was 3 times more likely to be shared, and was over twice as likely to be recommended. So for businesses looking for new dynamic content delivery mechanisms that deliver great ROI – white board videos can be a fantastic solution. And as experienced marketers, we can deliver fun creative that makes business sense. We’ll write the script, produce the storyboard and deliver the video in-brand ready for your website, presentation or campaign.

Kaspersky – profile building campaign video

Enterprise security business Kaspersky saw one of my videos and recognised…

Builder’s Profile – brand refresh and explainer video

This business needed to explain its highly-effective low-cost/no-cost compliance & PQQ…

THE IT Supplier – repositioning the business

This video was conceived as part of the repositioning project, and…

Blog

Thoughts, insights and news on the latest developments in marketing for business

Content delivery using compelling whiteboard video

WINCHESTER January 2016 Increasing demand for dynamic content has been driven by…

Builder’s Profile to build profile with stephenSMITH

WINCHESTER, Hampshire June 2015 Builder's Profile choses stephenSMITH to build profile and accelerate…

National electronics engineering business chooses stephenSMITH

WINCHESTER, Hampshire June 2015 National electronics engineering business chooses stephenSMITH to provide strategic marketing…

Specialist IT Procurement Business selects stephenSMITH

WINCHESTER, Hampshire May 2015 Southern UK based specialist IT Procurement business selects…

stephenSMITH & Starr Consultancy to ‘partner’ with SME business, marketing, M & A, divestment and finance services

WINCHESTER, Hampshire, March 24 2015 stephenSMITH and Starr Consultancy today announce…

Content Marketing Strategy and Marketing Automation – Magic Bullets?

This year has kicked off well with IT, CCTV and Mobile…

Want to sell? Start with a Marketing Plan!

Without exception, every company I’ve ever worked with has expressed the…

Contact

Stephen Smith - SME Marketing Professional

Stephen Smith

  • steve@stephensmith.biz
  • 01962 863466 or 07831 819332

  • Home Office Winchester Hampshire. Kudos Public Relations Ltd t/a stephenSMITH & Kudoscoms Reg No 3850246 Reg Office 4 Cedar Park, Cobham Road, Ferndown Industrial Estate, Wimborne, Dorset, BH21 7SF, United Kingdom. VAT Registration No. 904 1543 55