The Rural Reach Simple 7!

The challenge of rural marketing is different from that of marketing to urban consumers. Here Blade Creative outlines 7 simple considerations that an owner or marketer of a rural business should consider:

  1. Intra community influences are relatively more important than inter-community ones.
    Being geographically scattered, rural communities are relatively detached from the mainstream population. But they are significantly more close-knit, with relationships largely within the community rather than without. This makes intra community communications rather critical.
    Generating positive Word of Mouth, particularly from local sources of authority, is as critical as mass media advertising. It is therefore important for marketers to understand rural hierarchies and tap into local opinion leaders to help brand adoption and diffusion within a rural community. Winning over key opinion leaders is key to penetration in rural communities. 
  2. Scarcity of media bandwidth. But abundance of attention.
    The key challenge for marketers in rural markets is reach rather than attention. Unlike urban consumers who are exposed to a proliferation of media channels but suffer from an attention deficit, the key issue in communicating to rural audiences is media access.
    Though penetration of TV is increasing (and urban targeted communication spills over to rural consumers) there are few exclusive rural channels of any significance in most markets.
    However, on the plus side, once they are reached, rural consumers are more receptive to advertising than their urban counterparts. 
  3. Slow to adopt brands. Slow to give them up.
    Being relatively closed societies, rural consumers are slower to adopt new brands and categories than their urban counterparts. Generating trial becomes more difficult than gaining loyalty – whereas in the more mature urban markets retention is a bigger issue.
    Marketers therefore have to front-load their investment, and probably plan for longer lead times before their investment yields returns. However, the higher level of loyalty that can be expected (as rural consumers are slower in giving up brands once they have adopted them) helps justify the initial brand investment. Newer brands will need a lot more on-the-ground effort to convince rural consumers to try them as mass media input alone is seldom enough to get consumers to try.
  4. Expenses are year long; income is seasonal.
    A unique feature of the rural market is the seasonality of demand. Rural incomes tend to be skewed towards a couple of months in the year during tourism or agricultural seasons. Thus demand (particularly for high value items) is highly seasonal and concentrated on one or two points during the year. It is therefore important that marketers focus their marketing activities during times in which incomes peak rather than distribute them over the year, as they would do in urban markets.
  5. Information hungry; but entertainment starved.
    Rural communities have limited entertainment options, which makes it easier for marketing communications to generate higher levels of involvement by making their communications more entertaining. Packaging brand information in a very entertaining manner not only makes the communication more involving, but can also — if well designed — can improve understanding and absorption of key brand information.
  6. Higher receptivity to advertising, with lower persuasion.
    Rural consumers are more readily persuaded by marketing that touches them directly, such as personal experience, seeing others using it, or live demonstrations of the brand in action.
    It is important for mass media to be complemented by Below The Line advertising  activities aimed at real life demonstrations of the brand in action. Retailer education also plays an important role as the retailer in rural markets is not just a distribution node, but also a communication channel. With the right training and incentives retailers can help endorse the brand, educated or even demonstrate to consumers on its benefits.
  7. Commercially profitable; and socially acceptable.
    Commercial enterprises should be cautious of being seen to be too aggressive when dealing with rural consumers, or they could potentially face a backlash. Rural consumers are seen by the non-commercial world as being more gullible and therefore in need of protection. So building the rural marketing thrust around a social platform helps make it more acceptable to stakeholders. The key is to ensure the brand’s commercial agenda is aligned with a broader social one.
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H2H Marketing and What it Means for Your Brand

H2H is an emerging concept that seems to be taking the world by storm, simultaneously questioning the long-accepted differences between B2B and B2C communications.

Although at surface level the differences between the B2B and B2C buying journeys seem irreconcilable, what many marketers are beginning to acknowledge now is the shared nexus between these two spheres – namely the connection between human to human. Consider this: the power of human emotion may actually be the strongest weapon in the marketing arsenal. It doesn’t take more than a look at the onslaught of competition in a fragmented marketplace to realize the importance of slicing through the noise with a brand that is not only meaningful, but also memorable. As Beth Comstock, CMO of General Electric says, ‘good marketing is the same at the end of the day – we’re all about people. B2B does not mean boring to boring.’

When it comes to sales, studies show that ‘having consumer relevance gives B2B brands a 10% increased chance of being in a business decision-maker’s consideration set.’1 This number only stands to grow as self-guided internet research continues to exert a prodigious amount of influence on the final buying decision. In addition, a recent report by Google measured that 60% of B2B buyers go to social communities to find out what they need to know about business products.2 Whether engaging a consumer in their personal or professional space, the ultimate objective behind any communications strategy needs to be the evocation of a trusting relationship.

And so, as firms begin to turn their attention towards communities rather than companies, and educating rather than selling, we will undoubtedly see the emergence of the indomitable H2H organization – a brand whose inherent mission is to enhance the lives of their customers, and for whom the classification of their offering is nothing but a cover.

Performance Training Ltd – Case Study

Performance Training Ltd

THE BUSINESS

Performance training is a leading South West, Health and Fitness industry course provider. Established in 2007, by Managing Director Ashley Hough, who has over 10 years industry experience, both as a personal trainer and qualified lecturer.

The business has gone from strength to strength and now provides a wide range of industry recognised qualifications nationally, aligned to CYQ standards for the health and fitness industry, such as Level 2 Gym Instructor and Level 3 Personal Trainer.

Performance Training set themselves apart from other training providers by not only delivering industry qualifications, but guiding all their students step by step through the process of how to start your own business in the health and Fitness industry. Offering support and advise on a range of topics, such as, How to become self-employed or register a limited organisation, how to market your business, continual development and an insight into their own personal challenges and results.

For more information visit:www.performancefq.com

THE CASE

Performance Training’s old website had been in existence since early 2010 but had never been able to achieve any significant ranking in popular search engines, or drive web traffic. This meant as a result it did not generate Performance Training any additional revenue.

Managing Director of Performance Training, Ashley Hough commented “After two years passed, we could not attribute a single new client to the money and effort that had spent on the website and we were at a loss of how to rectify the situation.”

BEFORE…..

PTFQ_before

AFTER…..

PTFQ_after

THE SOLUTION

Blade Creative was originally recruited to assist Performance Training in formulating a comprehensive search engine marketing strategy that would increase qualified website traffic, search engine referrals and customer acquisition. In essence, making their website do what all websites should be built to do – increase sales by bringing in new clients and strengthen existing client relationships.

Blade Creative spent a lot of time understanding the business, observing and evaluating the current websites activity and functionality. This included tracking pages viewed and gaining an insight into existing students feedback and recommendations.

Following this analysis, it became clear that the problem not only lied within search engines rankings, but in Performance Trainings brand awareness within its market as a whole. Further discussions were ventured into, whereby a full creation of a new brand identity, digital awareness campaign, and integrated marketing plan was agreed upon.

To accomplish the role out of this Performance Training instructed Blade Creative to act as their outsourced marketing department, operating as a flexible and cost effective resource for all future marketing needs.

THE DELIVERY

  • Creation of a new brand identity to raise national awareness
  • The Training Room – an Internal social blog network and downloadable resource library used by the company for quick knowledge share and student engagement
  • Social Platforms and rich content creation with training video integration
  • Mobile site for an ever increasing audience
  • Suite of offline traditional print stationary and advertisement materials for exhibitions and ongoing initiatives

THE VERDICT

Blade Creative Ltd

“Blade worked closely with the team at Performance Training to advise on best practice strategies to articulate their value proposition and design a fresh and engaging website, that will not only offer prospective students information on course syllabuses, but also become a hub of resources for students throughout their entire journey of becoming a fully qualified fitness instructor or personal trainer”.

Alex Jenkins, Director at Blade Creative

CLIENT TESTIMONIAL

Performance Training Ltd

“Blade Creative are a highly professional and knowledgable company who I would definitely recommend to others.

I was after not only a website that looked great but also a website that was highly optimised and effective in terms of search engine ranking. Blade Creative built me a website higher than my expectations, a site that looked great and would do the job in allowing others to find my company online.

I was impressed with their positive attitude, quick response times with efficiency to keep to deadlines and especially their creativity in site and logo design, giving me a complete rebranding overhaul . I am extremely happy with my new website, and I look forward to working with them in the future as my site continues to evolve using their expertise.”

Ashley Hough, Director at Performance Training

Benefits of outsourcing your marketing

In today’s business environment many small businesses or SMEs face the same challenge everyday… Too much to do and not enough time to fit it all in!

The marketing manager or company owner may do a fantastic job in branding and advertising the business, but does not have the time to stay up to date with modern marketing technologies and / or tactics, nor have the budget to justify another head count to do so.

We all know how important it is to drive more traffic to our websites, improve our presence on social media and track and measure our online activity to improve results and generate ROI – but how to learn, implement and manage these modern marketing tactics is often the question…

By outsourcing your marketing, it gives your business the opportunity to explore alternative marketing strategies and strengthen and develop tactics already in place. A consultant would work alongside you and your business to provide the skills, project management and expert advise needed to meet your marketing objectives and free up your time to focus on other business functions, resting safe in the knowledge that your marketing is being run to budget and schedule.

Benefits of outsourced marketing:

  • Leverage a team of marketing professionals for the price of one
  • Maximise marketing return on investment (ROI)
  • Stay up to date with the latest marketing tactics and technology
  • Improve and internal marketing and sales processes and communication
  • Have your own team of specialists available when you need them: social, search, PR, writing, blog, design and analytics
  • Pay for only what you need (PAYG)
  • Single point of contact for all your marketing
  • Free up your time to focus on running your business
  • Gain an external viewpoint on your industry

Blade Creative provides very practical and focused business growth and marketing consultancy services tailored to the specific needs of your business.

A dedicated marketing consultant would be placed by secondment into your organisation as a flexible, cost effective alternative to in-house marketing personnel, completely aligned to your business requirements.

Furthermore, your consultant will be able to keep you up to date with the new industry marketing tools available and test marketing activities within Blade’s new Marketing TestLAB – allowing you to develop and trail different marketing activities or annual campaigns to fine tune them and maximise return on investment before launching.

If you’d like to learn more about outsourced marketing, book in a free 1 hour audit with Blade Creative, who will work with your businesses key stakeholders, review documentation, look for improvements and provide a brief report detailing next steps.

Video Production Intern Opportunity

A VideoProduction Intern opportunity has become available at Blade Creative,for a capable individual who is looking to gain experience in producing video and motion graphics.

You will be working both on and offline producing illustrations, motion graphics and interactive presentations for the Blade Creative’s website, assisting in planning, design and formatting.

Suitable candidates will have the following:

  • Educated in media, film, IT or art related course
  • Experienced inAdobe Flash, After Effects, Illustrator, 3D Graphics
  • Knowledge and understanding of new media
  • Ability to research projects throughly and meet deadlines
  • Confident, professional manner

All relevant expenses and travel will be paid.

If you are interested in applying for this position, please email a copy of your CV to: info@bladecreative.co.uk

Click here http://www.bladecreative.co.uk/Careers for more information.

Win £125 of Google AdWords

Win £125 of Google AdWords

To celebrate the launch of our new website we are offering you and your business the chance to WIN £125 of Google AdWords vouchers – Simply like our Facebook page and/or follow us on Twitter or Google+  to be entered into the April prize draw.

New Client Onboard

Local Contract Cleaning has recruited Blade Creative to develop and fully manage their marketing objectives. The key aim for LCC in light of their recent re-brand, is to attract new clients by articulating their value proposition and crafting together several ‘offers’ supported by a measurable cost benefit analysis and traditional print collateral. Due to the current size of LCC, they have opted for our ‘Pick n Mix’ service, which gives them flexibility in achieving their goals.Image