This afternoon I have been helping to pack batches of chocolate for postal delivery to customers in their homes. The direct sales side of our family chocolate business is growing and, before long, fulfilment will need to be outsourced. For now though, the process is for us to receive orders via the website, print out invoices, stick labels onto postal bags, pack the chocolate and take all the bags to the local post office.
I like to read the address labels and think about Mrs Stewart from Newcastle upon Tyne and Mr Killman from Newquay – people living hundreds of miles apart with a common liking for dark chocolate – or maybe they are buying gifts with Mothers’ Day and Easter approaching. I like to make sure the pack is on brand by sourcing black postal bags and I take pride in putting the labels on straight.
As a marketing practitioner in my “day job”, I was rarely involved in the nuts and bolts of clients’ businesses, other than as elements of costs of sales, and I now find it refreshing to take part in the process of getting product from A to B.
Small business can be very satisfying because it’s easy to see that the effort you put in brings a result, usually with immediate effect. We issue sales emails – we get orders – and we can affect the frequency and size of orders by using promotions. Not an exact science but certainly more so than some of the large, multi-disciplinary, cross-media campaigns that large companies tend to run, particularly in the B2C arena.
Whilst all elements of the marketing mix are, or have been involved in our chocolate’s journey to market, from branding to pack design, to costing, to launch, to PR, to advertising, etc, etc, it is on a comparatively small scale which makes it manageable and extremely satisfying. The model we have built is scalable and relatively low risk.
Please let me know if I can help you with branding or route-to-market issues. And, in the meantime, please feel free to use discount code* BD1603 at the checkout on the online shop for a third off our rather lovely chocolate. http://www.beyonddark.co.uk
(And whilst you are on the website, have a look at how we established the world’s first measure of pleasure which won us a spot on the Alan Titchmarsh show. You can also visit this story directly at http://www.measureofpleasure.co.uk)
*offer is limited to current stocks and may be withdrawn without notice.
This morning it was broadcast that there is a shortage of teachers – this was put down to the demands of OFSTED. If teachers forgot about the scoring system and focused instead on doing the best for pupils, good and excellent results would occur anyway, argued the presenter. But it cannot be denied that pressure is brought to bear on public sector employees to tick the right boxes, sometimes to the detriment of those who should benefit from the service.
Half an hour ago I called a government advice line in response to news about an export initiative I’d read about in LinkedIn. To be sure the person I spoke to was very helpful but all he was equipped to do was take my details including age, disabled status and ethnic background then refer me to another number. I called the other number to be greeted by a mono-tonal voicemail asking me to call back as the lines were all busy.
Am I being unrealistic to say, let’s focus on delivering help and achieving results first, then look at the stats later? There seem to be more people spending time gathering and analysing data than actually doing something meaningful. In these cash poor times, entrepreneurs and small business owners need all the help they can get and form filling is just another disincentive.
By the way, the people manning advice lines are never up to date with business news. They need to be.
Would you like to try our chocolate, Beyond Dark Moments of Pleasure? Send me your email address and I’ll forward a voucher code for half price via http://www.beyonddark.co.uk. We are celebrating 5 years of being stocked by supermarkets and health stores this year. Online sales are also increasing steadily with a high level of repeat orders. We’ve been voted Gold winner in the Healthy Food and Drink Awards by readers of health and fitness magazines. I must admit that, before we launched the brand I had doubts about marketing the health credentials – surely the truly health conscious would go for an apple instead of chocolate, no matter how good the chocolate was? I was pleased to be wrong about this. Even the most stringent healthy eaters enjoy a treat and, by keeping packs of Beyond Dark in the cupboard, desk or car, they avoid snacking on high fat, high sugar alternatives.
We want to spread the word about our brand and your help would be much appreciated. Those of you who know the story may remember that it all started as a way of experiencing the route to market of a consumer brand for ourselves. By doing this we have gained invaluable insights that we use to help our clients.
So, if you have yet to try Beyond Dark, or even if you already buy it, contact me for a voucher and let us know what you think. Send your email address to email@example.com or call 07801251767. We will not share data with third parties but may send information about future offers to you, unless of course you choose to opt out.