…Marketing Director and scalable full-spectrum ‘virtual marketing agency/department’ services: Marketing, digital, strategy, design & branding, content and PR & Social Media.
copy & content, website, UX and eCommerce development, SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), digital advertising & PPC, email marketing, analytics & automation, business & product launches, events & exhibitions, Public Relations & Social Media Management, Video production.
…I’ve setup & divested a Tech specialist agency, been a Marketing Director and integrated closely with in-house teams. And I’ve done that for start-ups, SMEs and Enterprise clients.
Those wanting to transform and grow, or that simply want to sell more. Generally B2B focused Tech & Engineering startups and SMEs – £2m – £20m t/o or 10 – 200 staff.
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.
Many businesses don’t formalize their business plan. I can help. Creating a strategy – and a plan to deliver it – will determine, document and cost the entire journey.
As a experienced marketer, I can design & 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. With a costed plan, budget can be allocated, activities dynamically shaped to match cashflow need and success analyzed.
Most think of branding as a logo. But it isn’t. It’s so much more than that. Brand is the set of associations we make with a product or company – the logo its flag. Large, small, technical, friendly or whatever is right, but every business profits from building brand that represents it the way it needs 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.
All businesses require different branding characteristics, but the principle of being distinct about what your business stands for is always true. I can develop branding that will grow the perception & associations of your choice. And then exploit them to evolve a brand with real value that enhances performance.
In a ‘noisy’ world, where more information is consumed by smart-device than TV, companies still need to connect with their audience. And sell. The dynamic struggle to capture, communicate, compel and convert demands ‘digital’.
Any digital strategy is likely to incorporate: Website & UX (User Experience) Development and SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). Social Media, SoMed & PPC (Pay-Per-Click), Advertising, eCommerce and more. Targeting prospects, reaching them, building relationships and moving them along the sales funnel are part of what a good digital strategy will achieve. And as Digital is dynamically shaped and ‘spend’ capped – almost any size business can benefit.
But like all great marketing, Digital must start with strategy that supports Business objectives and integrates with the Marketing Plan. I can help.
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. Accurate delivery, consistent message, multiple touch-points
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.
It’s essential have engaging content available at the right stage of prospect’s research and to support campaigns. I’ve written & produced content: websites, videos and Brochures and etc. for large companies such as Panasonic, Sony, Ericsson, and SMEs such as AGD Systems and THEITSupplier. I’m used to communicating the complex, take a look in my Portfolio.
Content: White Papers, Case Studies, Brochures, Product Information, Technical Data Sheets, Reviews, Infographics, Sales Leaflets, Videos, eBooks, How-to-Guides, Market Research, Reports and Survey, Training Courses.
Many businesses don’t have the expertise or bandwidth in house to develop content, I can help cost-effectively to develop the strategy, produce the content and measure the outcomes.
Many smaller business don’t have a documented Business Plan, let alone a Marketing Plan. And lots of management teams are too head-down working hard ‘delivering’ to think about planning. 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 three 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.
With the ease of the internet, the web is the very first place prospects will look to research you and your competitors! Every business should have a well designed, search optimised website that has clear goals, great content and success measurement metrics built into it.
Goals, Positioning, Branding, Content, Engaging, SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), Links, Analytics, Social Media, Blog, Digital, PPC & SoMed Advertising, eCommerce
If you’re to spend money off the bottom line, let’s ensure you get a return on that investment. Site goals could be: Easy to find and supports business objectives; demonstrates you’re a real business doing what for whom; provide relevant information & content and generate respect. 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 ‘Tech’ experience was brought to bear on AGD Systems; fresh positioning, messaging and branding were delivered by a new responsive (works on PCs & Smart-Devices) website. The website is Search Engine optimised, supported by Social Media activity and part of AGD’s fully integrated marketing & digital strategy! The results? Five years of flat-lining performance turned into 20% growth within 18 months.
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 or complex – in language that connects, communicates and compels action.
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 those needing new content that delivers great return-on-investment – videos are winners. And we can deliver the entire process, from ideas, through script & storyboard to delivery.
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
Marketing Automation can make life easier and more effective. It’s a bit more than an email app and uses a 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 an effective marketing plan 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 a conversation on what will work best for you.
I provide seamless: Business Strategy, Marketing Strategy and Execution and services to SMEs with a turnover typically between £2m – £100m. stephenSMITH works with owners & senior management to assist with: strategic business planning & growth and sale/divestment preparation.
Stop Press Another stephenSMITH Client Acquired!
Construction industry supply chain compliance & PQQ information provider Builders Profile was successfully divested, to Fortius, at the beginning of March 2020. stephenSMITH provided the outsource Marketing Director services in support of building Builders Profile’ success over the past five years. Full Case Study to follow.
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!
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.
Some recent clients and projects showcasing: strategic marketing, marketing communications plans, branding, content & collateral and website production
Re-Position, Message and Branding January 2016 An exciting project for a client I've worked…
May/June 2015 Builder’s Profile is a cloud-based construction-industry focused compliance &…
Strategic marketing advice, branding, positioning, content and web design & initial…
Strategic Marketing Plan, Branding, Launch, Content and Website Position, message, Branding, Content,…
Strategic Marketing Plan, Branding, Content and Website This successful engagement delivered the…
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!
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
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)
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’.
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)
A year of driving AGD’s communications as outsource 'Head of Marketing’…
This business needed to explain its highly-effective low-cost/no-cost compliance & PQQ…
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This year has kicked off well with IT, CCTV and Mobile…
Kudos Public Relations Ltd now trades as stephenSMITH
Over the last three years Steve business advice and marketing expertise has helped us achieve an average of 31% growth year on year, with a peak figure of 43%. He’s also taken us from being effectively a small ‘start-up’ in the construction sector to a major player - 30% of UK construction companies with more than seven employees now use Builder’s Profile.
We had the best sales ever during the week of launching the new brand and achieved more in the two months Steve’s been onboard than we have in the last ten years!
…And the best sales month ever too!
Stephen brought his enthusiasm to AGD Systems as interim ‘Head of Marketing’ with a brief to “improve AGD’s communications”. Since he arrived, he’s architected and implemented a Strategic Marketing Plan that in short order was having a tangible effect. AGD’s markets have been segmented - and positioning, messaging & branding ‘re-energised’ and established. Processes for: website, sales & marketing campaigns, events & exhibitions, product launches and content & collateral - including manuals, and videos – have been developed. Stephen’s even appointed a new PR partner that’s delivering focused coverage in support of tactical activities.
The results? Marketing momentum is building, pipeline growing and sales measurable increasing. Pipeline value for our focus product set has grown 50% in the year Stephen has been with AGD and his marketing work has well and truly whetted customer appetite for new products. The business is in fact well on target to exceed its ‘ambitious’ growth target for the year .
Steve scoped the project quickly and painlessly and absolutely nailed the ‘new’ proposition. And positioning, messaging and branding. And words, Case Studies and videos. Everything in fact. This is why we work with Steve!
Steve’s interest in aviation – he’s a pilot, our business and in helping us succeed was obvious from day one. The new branding, we call it a logo, and the way our message and products now appear to our large commercial clients and on the eCommerce website he produced – just work!
I’ve known Steve for nearly twenty years now and this is the fifth or sixth project we’ve worked on together. I retained Steve as Marketing Director, he attended all management meetings and was totally responsible for the re-positioning, rebranding and marketing of the company. As part of the ABSNet team, Steve’s efforts helped double revenue and increased profitability by over 300% in the space of ten months. Business partners Cisco and Hitachi even said that ABSNet ‘now’ has the best marketing and demand generation engine in the country. Within two years we achieved the strategic objective of selling the business - to Capita for £ 13.6m.
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.
Dynax Systems Limited has used Kudos for its company re-branding and our extremely successful mobile connectivity campaign. We have already seen a revenue growth of over 60% during this financial period and we are now in a position to grow this even further over the coming year. The initial drivers for us using the team at Kudos were that they had a superior understanding of the IT marketplace. This means we could effectively use Kudos as an extension to our existing marketing capabilities with the confidence that they already understood our business and more importantly gave us an unbiased up-to-date view of our target markets.
On a personal note I have worked for three highly successful corporate focused IT companies over the past 11 years [Elcom], all of which have used Kudos to undertake their marketing strategy. Being in a sales environment means I am measured on success and results, Kudos seems to have always given me edge to achieve that, and I guess it’s no coincidence that all three companies became listed in the top 50 fastest growing businesses after employing Kudos. In essence success breeds success so I would totally recommend Kudos to any IT company who are serious about growth and results.
By understanding PGP’s technology and the sensitivities surrounding IT security companies’ clients and their implementations, the professionals at Kudos were able to deliver highly effective marketing and targeted PR that achieved excellent coverage in all the right places. And they accomplished this work from 3000 miles away!
I was asked if I would provide a testimonial recommending Kudos. Over the course of two fully integrated campaigns spanning several months each, Kudos assisted directly in significantly increasing Panasonic's market share within the notebook PC market and in achieving clear ownership of the ruggedised notebook PC segment with the launch of the ToughBook product range, and in winning the largest order for Notebooks in European history. In addition, over 80% of the following years sales came from the Kudos generated sales database. So, yes, I would.
Kudos was appointed because of their great experience and tremendous track record in our industry and because they’ve worked extremely successfully with Elcom in the past. Kudos’ task was primarily to create and implement company identity with new messaging and positioning statements and then to generate content for and produce all the various items of marketing collateral; Website, Brochures etc. that a ‘new’ company requires. The Kudos team are highly motivated, knowledgeable and keen, and delivered a service that has benefited Elcom and helped us all to exceed our targets.
Kudos’ strategic understanding of our business and ability to translate this into effective positioning, messaging and tactical marketing without doubt made a significant contribution to Elcom Group’s meteoric growth and subsequent profitable sale. I would recommend Kudos to any board which seeks success.
Many marketing and PR companies know which cool clothes to wear or which trendy bar to drink in, not many understand the need to close deals. Kudos is the only company I’ve ever worked with which practices ‘joined-up’ thinking to connect business, marketing, PR and sales. My task at Elcom was to grow revenue. At the point SCC Group acquired Elcom, sales were in excess of £400m – this could not have been done as quickly or cost effectively without Kudos
I was astonished how Kudos just grasped what we wanted to achieve with our new marketing material and then produced it: on time, on budget, fantastically written and with superb images and design.
Kudos first came to work for me at Panasonic on desktop scanners. Their direct mail campaign supported by co-ordinated telemarketing follow-up netted positive interest from over 80% of the target audience, by far the highest response rate that Panasonic UK had ever achieved! Their ability to take a product, understand the technology & market and deliver a cost effective campaign is remarkable. This is why Panasonic went on to select them to provide consultancy and marketing for; Scanners, NetFax, NetPrinters, Business Products, Notebook PC, Warranty Systems and AV Spares.
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