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Gee Ranasinha
Marketer, speaker, author, lecturer. Champion of BS-free small business marketing. Once shook Steve Jobs’ hand. All-round nice bloke.

Most of my working day is spent talking with business owners or marketing managers.

Subjects can range anywhere from whether I think they should redesign their website to generate more traffic, to why their Facebook ads are underperforming.

But the single biggest inquiry we get as an agency is from owners of e-commerce sites. And, since it’s the most ubiquitous e-commerce platform around, that usually means Shopify.

Before we continue, a quick nod of appreciation to the other shopping platforms. Hi there BigCommerce, PrestaShop, Magento, plugins like WooCommerce, or site builders with e-commerce features such as SquareSpace. We love all…

In the old days, the role of marketing within an organization was more straightforward. Its confines were clearer too, especially against a backdrop of B2B sales. Today, truly effective marketing needs to expand into previously-restricted departments such as Sales, Support, IT, and even Finance. Marketing is no longer (just) about marketing.

Businesses continue to struggle to work out how and when to engage with customers in this new environment. Our personal, professional, and physical lives are overlapping in ways that no-one could have anticipated a few months ago. Companies, as well as entire industries, are having to transform their business…

Stylized illustration of people wearing COVID masks
Stylized illustration of people wearing COVID masks

None of us know what the next 12 months have in store in terms of social distancing, mask-wearing, or vaccines. Regardless of that, whatever you previously thought marketing was must now change.

Thirteen years ago, when we launched our agency, part of my time was spent convincing business owners of the importance of a marketing plan. At the time, many of them remained unconvinced. It wasn’t because they didn’t recognize its importance. They had decided it didn’t apply to themselves or their business.

Today, implementing marketing efforts as a systematic part of doing business is still — unfortunately — a…

It doesn’t matter whether you call it an RFP (Request For Proposal), RFQ (Request for Quotation), or RFI (Request For Information). Using a rigid, pre-determined checklist as the basis for selecting a marketing services provider is one of the worst things a business can do.

For many businesses, the process of selecting a supplier for a required product or service is determined by a formal selection process — an “RFP”.

Selecting a vendor by RFP would seem to make a lot of sense. You ensure each potential supplier answers the same questions. In return you get a clearer idea of…

Well, this is all pretty bonkers, isn’t it?

Like many people, the past weeks have seen my email inbox filled with heartfelt wishes for my continued good health and current working situation. Sometimes these wishes are extended to the immediate members of my family.

But these sentiments of concern and goodwill aren’t from friends, colleagues, or clients. They’re from companies. Companies that, in many cases, I don’t even know.

In the space of a few weeks, COVID-19 has turned the entire world upside down. As I write this, around 20% of the world’s population is under some kind of lockdown…

While social media continues to lose some of the sociability it once enjoyed, Google seems to be taking more and more search clicks away from businesses. What on earth is going on?

Back when social media channels started to gain traction with the general public (thereby putting them on the radar with marketers) their engagement promise was very different to the reality we have today.

For a business, social media channels seemed to offer a compelling proposition. A real time opportunity to spread ideas, promote interaction and conversation, increase visibility, raise customer service, and all the rest.

So what went…

One of the hardest things in business is to work out what price to charge for your product or service. This becomes even more of a headache if you’re selling a premium product.

Price your product too high and you risk losing sales to competitors offering something (at least in your customer’s eyes) seen as similar, but cheaper. On the other hand underpricing doesn’t just fix your product’s perceived value position at a lower level (making it nigh-on impossible to raise prices later). …

Woman looking pensively at a laptop computer considering whether her marketing is effective
Woman looking pensively at a laptop computer considering whether her marketing is effective

Recently I was discussing a potential marketing project with the CEO of an engineering company. He was looking for a marketing agency to help grow revenue for his business and develop a more scalable customer acquisition process for his company’s sales team.

I described our 4-stage process when onboarding any new client. Diagnosing the underlying issues, understanding the market space and competitive landscape, developing a strategy, then putting together a tactical plan to deliver on that strategy. Our process is nothing particularly revolutionary — most agencies follow a similar plan in order to deliver the expected sales results.

At the…

Sure, I get it. You’re an accomplished marketing ninja who knows their craft. For example, you understand the difference between marketing strategy and tactics, or price vs value.

You’ve done the heavy lifting to get to know your audience, buying drivers, communication channel preferences, customer service expectations, and all the rest. In fact, the very mention of me suggesting things could be better is little more than a big stab to your marketer ego.

But, hear me out.

The reason I stress the importance in understanding your audience is that too many business owners take this vital building block of…

As an agency, we’ve been doing this marketing malarkey for the best part of twelve years. Over that time I reckon we’ve seen just about every marketing mistake, screw-up, wrong assumption, or badly set up communication initiative.

Bad marketing doesn’t just cost you time, money, and effort. In the more extreme cases it can turn potential customers away from you.

Effective marketing is far more than just using such-and-such a tactic, channel, or content strategy. At its most fundamental marketing is about developing a clear position that sits in alignment with the expectations of your target audience group.

To help…

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