When I published the recap of day 1 on Monday night, I promised myself that I would do the same each day of this week. Clearly, I failed to deliver on that as it’s now Thursday and I’m only just getting round to writing an update. Back off! I’ve been busy. Read on for thoughts on working dans la maison, the complexity of marketing for business owners, Black Friday and more.

Marketing is bamboozling

During the course of this week, I’ve had over ten discussions with business owners, and the overriding theme is that marketing creates more headaches than most other areas of running a company. A huge proportion of that pain is caused by marketers.

Bloody marketers. I’ll clear that up – bad marketers. Those who bombard businesses with offers of help with SEO, email, social etc etc etc. The poor business owners don’t know where to start. The best approach is to forget about the delivery, tactics and even the strategy and start by nailing down the one thing that should guide all of that – who and what the market is. Build it up from there. That doesn’t just apply to startups, but even mature businesses often wallow in the marketing mire for years before realising they could be making so much more of it. The only way to kill complexity is with simplicity.

My new office is off the hook!

As a consultant with no team (and no plans to hire one), I don’t need to be shelling out for an office; it just doesn’t make business sense and the leaner I am, the more benefits I can pass on to my clients’ price-wise. Luckily, within our recently acquired house in Queensferry there is an actual room that is designed to be an office and that’s exactly what I’ve built it to be. Within it, there’s a ball pit, slide, two sleep pods, a massage room, ping-pong, sauna and a quinoa cafe. I jest. As you can see below, it’s very simple. It’s all I need.

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Working side-by-side with clients

I want to be working very closely with my clients where possible, so much of consulting success comes down to having a very strong relationship with the businesses you’re helping. Yes, that can be created remotely, but face-to-face will always win. For example, I spent the majority of yesterday at an ecommerce client’s office, we had some planning around Black Friday, Christmas and the New year period to finalise. This all means that I’ll often be away from my office, so paying for space just isn’t sensible.

Black Friday

Sick of hearing about it? We’re given access to retail sales and promotions year-round now and the fever that surrounds Black Friday is one that many businesses fret over – what can we sell for cheap, how do we get it out there etc? The fact is that unless you’re a retail powerhouse, you’re unlikely to see huge benefit from it. Black Friday started to emerge in the UK in 2012, with 2014 appearing to be its peak in terms of interest based on the Google Trends data below:

We decided to ignore it

My client is early in the business’s journey and while it has made a very promising start, it’s still a small fish in a big pond. A huge chunk of the early success has come from social media advertising, with customers being created at a very nice CPA (cost per acquisition) to date. Getting involved in the Black Friday marketing madness on social (and beyond) was only going to lead to inflated costs and a struggle to be heard above the associated noise. The budget saved will be far more effectively deployed post event.

Goodbye for now…

I’m off to recalibrate the lasertag in the office. A day of wonderful new business meetings awaits tomorrow…

Read the updates to my diary here.

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