Maintaining business proactivity

Maintaining business proactivity

Maintaining business proactivity

By Philip Ingram MBE

Travel is being restricted, people are being told to work from home, meeting cancelled, companies are desperately trying to take business online and remote, events are cancelled or postponed. The great British wartime spirit is being displayed by most as the few riot over toilet rolls, panic buy on a first come first served basis, forget our elderly, our sick, it’s me first; but one thing will be at the back of everyone’s mind; “what next?”  This brings out the best in many if not most and the worst in some; a sad reflection on elements of our community. Businesses must be asking “how do I maintain my business proactivity?”

For businesses, many that can afford to are looking for ways to provide support to front line services. Only yesterday I was contacted by the investigation’s software company Altia-ABM asking for introductions to front line services who may benefit from their capabilities for free. We are seeing reports of major manufacturers like JCB and Dyson changing their production lines to make medical ventilators, we are hearing of distilleries switching to the production of alcohol-based hand gel (and not for internal use).

One thing is clear, the current COVID-19 pandemic is changing and will change the business landscape for some time to come if not make a permanent change. However, the first thing to recognise is that capabilities will still be needed, help provided, services delivered. The world is not stopping completely, so businesses that take a proactive approach are more likely to come out the other side of this crisis better than those that don’t. That is just simple logic.

So, what do I mean by a proactive approach in an environment with no meetings, increasingly restricted travel and no events? It is all about communicating, about informing, about contributing. It’s all about keeping a sense of perspective and as much of a sense of normality as possible. The crisis will pass, and a newer version of ‘normality’ will return so it is important that businesses don’t just disengage completely.

So how do you engage, what should you be doing?

First and foremost, inform, inform, inform. Keep your staff and customers up to date with what is happening. Ensure you have clear statements and contact details on the front of your websites if appropriate and in your telephone answering system.  You know who your main customers are, make sure you or your team are talking to them throughout this crisis.

Secondly, secure, secure, secure. Threats to your data, your IP are not going to go away and will likely increase over the crisis period. GDPR fines will not be waived for careless data breaches so ensure your working practices for remote working are as secure as your practices in the office.  Those that were a threat before COVID-19 hit are still a threat and will see this as an opportunity.  Be on the lookout for phishing, malware, ransomware and people exploiting online social engineering opportunities.

Thirdly, engage, engage, engage.  Don’t fall into the trap of isolating yourself, your business, your services. There are lots of ways to remain engaged. Talk to your suppliers and customers, keep them reassured. Publish articles, blogs, thought pieces, updates on your website and use email and social media to distribute them widely.  Engage on social media, a perfect way to keep your followers confident that all is as normal as it can be. Finally look for different opportunities to communicate. I am doing PODCASTS and will likely start restart VLOGS as well.  Webinars have long been an excellent way of delivering informed content and good debate.  The key to getting and maintaining your audience is to provide good informative content.

With all of the social media enabled communications means almost enabling the building of a virtual world, this is a perfect opportunity to stand out from the rest and show how progressive you can be making the transition back to proper normality that much easier. So, don’t sit and wat for something to happen, take the initiative and be proactive that is the key to standing out in this crisis.


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Fail to plan your marketing, plan to fail your investment

Fail to plan your marketing, plan to fail your investment


May, 2017




Fail to plan your marketing, plan to fail your investment

The first thing that must be defined in any plan before you even begin to think of allocating resources, is what is the effect you are trying to achieve? This sounds simple but is something that is worth spending a bit of time getting right as once this is defined then the activities, resources and budget needed to achieve that effect can be mapped. Achieving brand awareness in a new area is a different effect and will require different activities, to developing 500 leads.

Defining what you are trying to achieve will allow you to design your content output and then use the most effective platforms to get that message to where it needs to go.


Equally important are the indicators needed to check you are making progress with your marketing activities to achieve the effect you have defined. Indicators must be carefully thought through so that you don’t let your marketing team “kid you” that you are getting good return on investment (ROI). “I am frightened at the number of companies who still count stand footfall as their key ROI indicator.”

So, having made the decision to take a stand at a trade show I am sure you want to get maximum return for your investment. It is critical therefore, that you don’t see the trade show as an event that occurs between two dates at a specific place and rely on the audience drawn through the doors by the event organisers; hoping they will visit your stand and stop.

You must plan pre-event activities to draw people to your stand by stimulating their interest and then ensure a post-show series of activities to reinforce the message you gave to your visitors whilst informing those who didn’t make it, as to what they missed. Maxine Davenport, Head of Client Services at FortuneWest, gave me good advice and said how important it was to: “Be prepared, do as much as you can before the event including having at least your first round of communications ready to go as a follow up from meetings, even if it’s just a holding email.

Your pre-event activities should be aimed at creating a need in the targeted audiences to want to come and visit you at the event. Remember, event organisers want as much footfall as possible so there are many ways they can help you with this. The key to engaging with clients, current and future, is value adding content. The more you can give that informs, adds value or stimulates thought, the more likely they are to engage. According to a recent B2B Content Marketing Report produced by Holger Schulze, Group Founder B2B Technology Marketing Community on LinkedIn, the top content products for generating engagement are, “Case Studies followed by best practices, then “how to” guides and market trends. Less than 25% of people are interested in product related outputs and even fewer (17%) on competitive comparisons.

Schulze went on to say, “In addition to being the most effective content subject, case studies are also the most effective content marketing tactic. Blogging moves down to a close second and surprisingly, the number of marketers who mentioned social media as an effective marketing tactic drops significantly from 64 percent in our last survey to 36 percent this year.”


LinkedIn again tops the list of the most effective social media platforms to deliver content and engage audiences. This year, YouTube moves to second and Twitter moves down a rank to third.

Writing the content is one thing but seeking audience engagement is as critical and how it is posted out must be considered alongside what is to be posted. “LinkedIn again tops the list of the most effective social media platforms to deliver content and engage audiences. This year, YouTube moves to second and Twitter moves down a rank to third.” Confirmed Schultze.

You Tube is the second largest search engine, next to Google and is owned by Google. However, it coming as the second most effective social media platform emphasises the importance of video as a platform in your content marketing mix. Cisco quote that by 2017, 69% of all consumer internet traffic will be video. Its naturally engaging, if a picture paints 1000 words then one minute of video is worth 1.8 million according to Forrester’s research. Axonn Research found 7 in 10 people view brands in a more positive light after watching interesting video content from them.

With video, short targeted videos that can be easily distributed via LinkedIn or Twitter give an ideal way of reminding your show visitors of what they saw or informing those who didn’t make if of what they missed. However, you should remember to keep the content flowing after the event so customers come to you because they have built up a trust in your message. The worst thing you can do is pay a lot for a one-off video that you hope will generate traffic, it won’t. Always look at the statistics on a video providers you tube channel and if it is only in the hundreds of views after an event with thousands of visitors, then you need to find a better outlet.

Preparing the ground before an event will reap benefits at the event, and these must be exploited post event, otherwise you will have failed to plan your marketing so you should plan to fail your investment.

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