Don’t Make These Marketing Mistakes in 2016


Phoenix Premier Acquisitions believes that for a firm to avoid similar blunders of some of the world’s largest brands, it is important for a company to heavily research and ensure accountability to the brand’s message and any ambassadors it utilises. Brands that get their marketing campaigns right can expect a huge impact on long-term sales and acquisitions and can be the difference between an average year and a record breaking year.

On the flip side it is crucial to understand the implications and cost of a huge PR blunder and the lasting effects on a brand image and the consumer trust levels.  Phoenix Premier Acquisitions shares the year’s biggest PR Blunders:

1. Volkswagen Dieselgate – By abusing the consumers trust with profit in mind, VW have indefinitely placed their image under scrutiny.  The firm in September admitted to installing software to skew results that gauged a vehicle’s emission.  The discrepancy impacted almost 500,000 cars, and VW is still doing damage control in what has been dubbed one of the biggest auto industry scandals ever.

2. Subway: Worst spokesman fail ever? –  By offering his success story to the Subway brand it offered validation to the firm’s promise of delivering fast food that doesn’t impact the health conscious.  However, Jared Fogle drew attention to his personal life and his ability to be a positive ambassador for any brand when he was charged (and recently convicted) with possession of child pornography. Further damage to the brand comes from a franchise, claiming to have given the firm a heads up on Fogles’ personal social failings, so this will be a tough one for Subway to recover from.

3. Insider trading, daily fantasy sports style – By taking their brand down the route of disguising their gambling model it placed the firm under legal scrutiny.  However, what was more damaging to the brand was when it was exposed that a DraftKings employee won $350,000 playing on FanDuel. The sites have suspended such cross-pollination. The platforms have also been finding themselves restricted or banned in a growing number of states.  This could spell the end of the firm due to an untrustworthy brand image.

Phoenix Premier Acquisitions is a sales and event marketing firm based in Southampton. The firm specialises in creating, implementing and managing a range of engaging event marketing campaigns for some of the UK’s leading brands. Through specialised events and promotions the firm interact with customers one-on-one, taking the time to learn about each customer’s needs and values. This then allows the firm to deliver a highly personalised service, which drives customer loyalty and helps their clients to receive a high return on investment. The firm attribute their success to their strong brand, by offering a great service to customers, maintaining an exceptional customer experience whilst guaranteeing results. This is what sets the firm apart from its competitors.

Access to Funding up for the Small Business Sector


The small business sector is ending the year on a strong note with access to capital at its highest level since 2012, according to the latest results from Dun & Bradstreet and Pepperdine University’s Private Capital Access quarterly report. However, the report also shows the demand for funding by the small business sector is down.  The findings illustrate the hopeful attitudes but guarded practices at work in the small business economy.

The study segmented results for those businesses with less than $5 million in revenue (small) and those with $5-100 million (mid-sized). It found mid-sized businesses have also seen a downward trend in demand for capital for 2015.  

Both small and mid-sized business owners are optimistic about their own business’ health and growth for the next year.  More than three quarters (80%) of small and mid-sized businesses expect 2016 to be better than the previous year, with 87% of businesses confident that their enterprise will grow in 2016. Nearly three quarters (72%) of small and mid-sized businesses expect to increase revenue in 2016 by an average of 10%.  

“Across the entire year of 2015, we’ve seen significant economic progress for small businesses.  Access to capital has increased, hiring is up and confidence is high,” said Jeff Stibel, Vice Chairman of Dun & Bradstreet.  “The momentum coming from small businesses will create stability in our overall economy and will continue to help reduce unemployment throughout 2016.”

Although the small business sector is optimistic about their own success, small businesses continue to have lingering concerns about the state of the overall economy. More than half (56%) of small businesses believe the current economic environment is restricting their businesses’ growth opportunities compared to just a quarter (25%) of mid-sized businesses.  Forty-nine percent (49%) of small businesses indicated the current business financial environment is also restricting their ability to hire, compared to 22% of mid-sized businesses.

The small businesses in the survey have maintained an upward trend in accessing capital over the year, with a 5% increase in successful bank loan financing (35% financing success rate for Q4), in addition to an increase in access from alternative business financing options including: business credit cards (60% success rate), merchant cash advance (31% success rate), and business online marketplace lenders (26% success rate).

Mid-sized businesses, however, are seeing decreases in both demand for capital (-3.8% change since Q3) and bank loan access (73% success rate, a 17% decrease since Q3).

“Mid-sized businesses struggled with demand more than their small counterparts for the first time in quite a while, which is concerning,” said Dr. Craig R. Everett, Director of the Pepperdine Private Capital Markets Project. “Since a growing small business quickly becomes a medium-sized business, I consider medium-sized businesses the true bellwether of growth in our economy.  With demand for capital taking a hit for these mid-sized businesses, the overall business growth outlook seems very soft.  These businesses are saying that they are optimistic about growth, but they do not appear to be making actual plans to grow. We will watch this carefully in early 2016.”

Hiring Challenges

Domestic economic uncertainty is a key reason that small (20%) and mid-sized (28%) businesses attribute for their inability to hire. Hiring is likely to increase, however, as 57% of all small businesses and 56% of mid-sized businesses said they plan to add between 1-10 employees in the next six months.  Forty percent (40%) of mid-sized businesses believe that hiring qualified employees in 2016 will be the most significant challenge for their business in the upcoming year.

Dun & Bradstreet and Pepperdine University’s Private Capital Access (PCA) report also examined the regional breakdown of small and mid-sized business hiring.  Among businesses in larger U.S. states, several indicated plans to hire in the upcoming year above the national average of 62%:

·         Florida (69%)

·         Georgia (68%)

·         Illinois (68%)

·         Massachusetts (67%)

·         New York (67%)

·         California (65%)

·         Texas (64%)

·         Pennsylvania (63%)

The Q4 2015 Index report was derived from 2,773 completed responses collected from November 2nd – November 20th, 2015.

Worldpay Business Finance Helps Britain’s Small Businesses


Britain’s small businesses will be able to fund their growth through a new financing scheme launched by Worldpay, in partnership with Liberis, the UK’s leading provider of cash advances to small businesses.

Worldpay Business Finance will offer Britain’s small businesses the ability to take an unsecured cash advance based on their future credit and debit card sales, providing a flexible way for this key part of the UK economy to grow and succeed.

Payments by the customer are made on the basis of a pre-agreed percentage of the business’ card transactions, so business owners only pay when they are earning and don’t face the stress of having to meet a regular monthly payment if business is quiet.

The flexible cash advance includes no fixed term and unlike traditional “loans” from banks and credit card companies, business owners will not face fines for failing to make a payment. Furthermore, if the advance takes longer to pay off, the originally agreed payment cost remains the same.

Worldpay’s move into alternative finance comes as small business owners continue to face significant obstacles in funding their growth. Research shows that 50% of loan applications from first time SME borrowers are rejected.

Dave Hobday, UK Managing Director Worldpay, said: “We’ve been concerned that the lack of affordable funding available to Britain’s SMEs is stopping great businesses from growing and thriving. Unlike traditional loans, the flexibility of Worldpay Business Finance means that payments can be structured in a way that better suits the models of small businesses”.

“We work with around 280,000 small businesses in the UK and they make up a large proportion of our customers, so we want to help them flourish. By letting companies access cash relating to their future earnings, we are giving them the chance to grow in line with their ambition and potential.”

Rob Straathof, Managing Director Liberis UK, said: “We’re excited to be partnering with Worldpay to expand flexible funding to even more small businesses across the UK. We understand how hard small businesses work and how important a fairly-priced and flexible credit solution is to help companies grow. Our flexible payment system means repayments are relative to income and there are no hidden fees or charges.”

Independent jeweller Martin Purdy, is one Worldpay customer who found that a cash advance was the best way for him to continue to grow his business, Purdy’s of Brighton.

“I get offered beautiful pieces of pre-owned jewellery valued at a few pounds to many thousands almost on a daily basis so I need available cash.  I can’t afford to miss an opportunity.  Sellers are paid immediately, but it can take weeks for the item to sell, so I need funding that suits my cash flow”.

“Worldpay’s new business finance really appealed to me because I only pay it back when I make a sale through my Worldpay card machine.  So if business is slow, I don’t have to find a chunk of money for repayments.  The process was simple and quick and I received the funding within a week. The funding has enabled me to differentiate my offer from other jewellers in the town by stocking unique and rare pre-owned jewellery.  It’s been a huge benefit to the business.”

It’s 2015. Do You Know Where Your Apps Are?


Are businesses more likely to deploy communications workloads in the cloud or on premises? What percentage of IT decision-makers choose co-location as the primary deployment option for streaming media?

Do private clouds, on-premises or in the cloud hold sway for sensitive finance applications? This analysis, based on the 2015 Frost & Sullivan User Survey of US-based IT decision-makers, shows how organizations are deploying workloads across an extensive range of cloud and premises based deployment models. We look at the most common applications per deployment model. In addition, via a series of detailed charts, we provide a close look at how businesses are actually deploying common business workloads. In future editions of our annual survey, we will track the changes in how decision-makers characterize their primary model for each application, thus providing better understanding of the pace of cloud migration, as well as the ultimate composition of the enterprise hybrid cloud. This report will be useful to providers of infrastructure services, platforms, and equipment, which are interested in tracking how their customers use their infrastructure products. It will also be useful to software providers that are interested in tracking the evolution of software consumption models. 

As the cloud market matures, businesses are no longer considering whether to utilize the cloud, but how and when. Trending data shows that businesses continue to deploy more applications and workloads into the cloud. It also shows that businesses continue to invest in their private data centers, with the intention of creating a hybrid environment. But which apps are remaining on premises? Are they there by default, or by choice? Which are being deployed in the cloud? After years of dabbling in the cloud, have businesses identified the ideal environment for each application or are they still trying out various models? Interestingly, cloud and data center service providers have little visibility into the enterprise applications being run from their facilities. Providers of infrastructure services know how much capacity their enterprise customers are using (processor, memory, and network), as well as the quantity of Virtual Machines or containers or cloud “instances” deployed on their infrastructure.

However, providers generally have no direct knowledge of the type of workload contained within. Such information would be useful to the providers. Better intelligence on the migration timeframes and patterns, as well as an understanding of which apps have found their “home” in a deployment model, would help IT infrastructure and service providers hone their services and marketing messages. In our sixth annual Frost & Sullivan cloud user survey, we set out to better understand exactly how businesses are using the various IT environments. While our past surveys have asked which apps have been deployed in the cloud, this year we got more specific, asking respondents to identify their primary environment or deployment model for common business applications. This will enable us to minimize statistical noise from “dabbling,” and to track migration over time.

Content Marketing the Next Generation Marketing Platform for Apartment Communities


365 Connect, a leading provider of award-winning marketing, leasing, and resident technology platforms for the multifamily housing industry, announced today the release of its latest white paper on the utilization of content marketing in the multifamily housing industry. The white paper, Content Marketing – The Next Generation Marketing Platform for Apartment Communities, brings into focus alternative marketing methods that are emerging across a wide range of verticals, including multifamily housing communities.

“Content marketing is an innovative marketing concept that involves the creation and sharing of relevant information that is focused on communicating effectively with customers and prospects, “said 365 Connect Founder and CEO, Kerry W. Kirby.

“The idea is to create content that will educate your target audience and allow apartment communities to stand out among their competitors.”

365 Connect’s white paper reveals in-depth research related to the structuring and distribution of content as a relevant source of information for the surrounding community.

“As content marketing is inherently local in nature, and nothing is more local than where you live, the white paper establishes the endless benefits of content marketing for apartment communities to engage both prospects and residents,” stated Kirby.

Today’s consumer prefers to get information about a company from content rather than through advertising, the white paper articulates. However, time spent with digital media on mobile has almost doubled in the past year, making the distribution channels as important as the content created.

“With today’s consumers making traditional marketing methods irrelevant, content marketing has emerged as the new strategy for creating inbound traffic and leads, which are being used by marketing experts worldwide,” expressed Kirby.

According to the Content Marketing Institute, 90% of marketing firms utilize content marketing to increase lead flow.

“As we continue to look at innovative methods to drive prospect traffic, engage residents, and reduce marketing spend, content marketing has emerged as a method to touch multiple distribution channels that remain relevant throughout the entire resident lifecycle,” explained Kirby.

“Through focusing on our methodology of community advocacy, we have seen that hyper-local content creates high quality SEO, online authority, and establishes a strong media presence.”

The white paper analyses data points of user behaviour, distribution channels, and search engine benefits. The research clearly establishes that apartment communities adopting a consistent content marketing strategy, can cross market to both future and existing residents. The analysis highlights the endless benefits of content marketing: it places an apartment community in a better position to be found online, motivates the reader to connect with the community, while enhancing branding efforts.

“For years, our company has been creating content marketing for our clients, which saves a considerable amount of time and money by connecting prospects and existing residents with where they live. Our platform integrates community blogs with social media and is optimized for mobile distribution. We have a considerable amount of performance data we wanted to bring to focus and are thrilled that this white paper provides the necessary information to the industry as to how critical content marketing is to an apartment community’s success,” Kirby commented.

The assemblage and publication of this white paper demonstrates 365 Connect’s commitment to deliver educational information to the multifamily industry. 365 Connect is proud to release this industry-wide white paper, establishing that content marketing is the next frontier for cross marketing to both future and existing residents.

Alpha Gamma Solutions Believes the Government Could Work Better with SMEs


Alpha Gamma Solutions a direct marketing specialist looks at where they feel the government are failing SME’s in the UK.

The economy relies on the success of SME’s, they are the difference between a strong or weak economy.  Bringing innovation, adding to national income, inspiring social change and assisting community development are to name a few reasons why the government need to lend a hand to businesses looking to develop and enhance the economy. Alpha Gamma Solutions believe that it is crucial for business success, that the government offer support to assist success.

Governmental support will determine the success rate of businesses in the UK, when advice and guidance is readily available to SME’s it allows better informed choices to be made. By understanding the implications on the economy if SME’s were to dissolve or reduce rate of growth it could cause the economy to regress and dip again.  With the economy moving from strength to strength the new start-ups will create exciting new employment opportunities for individuals who may not be employable by larger organisations, and therefore creating more options for potential employees to select and making the jobseeker market more competitive.

Also when consumers patronize local small businesses, each person is essentially giving money back to his local community. A thriving local business will generate high levels of revenue, which means that the business will pay higher taxes, including local taxes. This money is then used for local police and fire departments as well as schools.  With this in mind it is noted that new start-ups should be supported by the government and the consumer as it will create a more diverse Britain.