Marketing Leaders Masterclass Launches in Leeds

I’m delighted to announce that some of the UK’s biggest brands and industry leaders will be taking part in next month’s Marketing Leaders Masterclass, which takes place at Elmwood’s Leeds office on Tuesday 21st April 2015.

The masterclass in association with Network Marketing (Headline Sponsor) will provide delegates with a unique integrated marketing experience, as five industry experts share their latest thinking across a number of hot topics including digital, consumer insight, social media, PR and creative.


  • Ian Lloyd, Director of Digital Operations at WMG
  • Simon Preece, Director of Effectiveness & Sarah Dear, Managing Director at Elmwood
  • Laurra Davis, Creative Director at Brilliant Social Media
  • Duncan McCallum, Founding Partner at McCallum Layton
  • Stuart Bruce, International PR Advisor at Stuart Bruce Associates

Delegates include:

  • Head of Insight & Reporting, Asda
  • Consumer Media Relations Manager, Asda
  • Customer Experience Development Manager, Sky Bet
  • Senior Marketing Manager (Convenience), Morrisons Supermarkets
  • Senior Marketing Manager (Planning), Morrisons Supermarkets
  • PR Manager, Morrisons Supermarkets
  • Head of Community & Social Media Marketing, Premier Farnell
  • Market & Consumer Insight Manager, JD Williams
  • Head of Brand (UK & International), Quorn Foods
  • Head of Digital Marketing, Victoria Plumb
  • SEO Manager, Victoria Plumb
  • Head of Customer Planning, Insight & Development, Wilko
  • Digital Marketing Campaign Manager, Provident
  • Head of Marketing, WageDayAdvance
  • Customer Engagement & Retention Manager, WageDayAdvance
  • Brand & Marketing Manager, JCT600
  • Research Manager, Shop Direct
  • Director, instantprint
  • Associate Director (Retail Marketing), Jones Lang LaSalle
  • Chair, Mid Yorkshire Branch, Chartered Institute of Marketing
  • Director of Marketing, University of Bradford
  • Professor of Marketing, University of Liverpool
  • Head of Marketing, University of Leeds
  • Publisher – Prolific North

Click here to confirm your interest in attending the Marketing Leaders Masterclass



One question to always ask yourself during a negotiation

We do it everyday in our personal lives – don’t we? We are in the supermarket doing ‘The Big Shop’ when we are suddenly faced with a number of exciting promotional offers as we walk down our favourite aisle. So many choices, but which brand do we buy this week?

As much as I love shopping, I don’t want to stand in the cereal aisle for any longer than I have to, so a decision is made and I go with the store’s own brand of Fruit & Fibre.

As a marketer who may be responsible for spending your organisation’s budget, you have many important decisions to make, as it’s your job to deliver a strategy that will help  your business ‘defend and grow’ the client base, turnover, market share and industry reputation.

Upon embarking my agency-side marketing career back in 2005, I found it confusing when faced with so many different media options for raising the brand profile and generating leads. To me, there appeared to be too many industry events and awards – all claiming to deliver something uniquely different. In truth – not many actually did. The only difference was the huge price that the account manager was demanding for my agency to come on board.

Today, things have not changed that much in terms of the options that are available, however, my greater experience and understanding of my market has equipped me with the tools to quickly assess the value of any proposition being sold to me.

Ask yourself – why should I pay more than I have to? In reality, you don’t and should never, as long as you can benchmark the opportunity cost during a negotiation.

In 2013, I decided to invest in an event that was £60k less than a competitor was paying for a similar event. The decision-making process was very simple, because I knew what I wanted to achieve and how this event could deliver what I wanted. It was nice to save my agency a lot of money, however, I was simply doing my job and my experience and assessment of the opportunity cost meant that I could free the marketing budget up for other things. The event delivered!

If you can continue to develop your marketing radar to the point where you know the right price to pay for a service, based on the ‘Opportunity Cost’ – your ability to negotiate becomes a lot easier.

Why passion is everything when negotiating

We all know that in life and at work, being passionate about what you do makes a big difference. It not only enables you to enjoy what you are doing, but it also radiates to those around you and can sometimes inspire – if channeled in the right way.

In the build-up to my negotiation training workshop, I wanted to touch on its importance as a key ingredient when trying to reach a desired outcome with suppliers, as it may help you achieve a better result.

To be a truly effective negotiator, you must harness your passion with your in-depth market knowledge and ability to communicate with people, as without this spark – people may not be as responsive to your demands.

I remember travelling to London a few years back to meet a supplier to discuss an event sponsorship package and was immediately lethargic and negative upon meeting him – why? Well, I can honestly say that this person did not have a passion for what they were selling and it made me feel uncomfortable during the chat.

I am  not saying that you should jump through hoops and sing from the rooftops, just enjoy what you do and this will make any negotiation more fun, productive and fruitful.

On the other side of the coin, there are many people I have had the pleasure to negotiate with and I must admit their integrity and enthusiasm made the difference in agreeing a mutually attractive sponsorship.

It’s not too late to register for my workshop, so I hope to see you there!

The importance of reputation when negotiating

The ability to negotiate effectively depends on many core ingredients, however, one of the most important is your reputation and how you are perceived by your suppliers and peers.

What does this mean?

It is very important that when developing relationships with your key contacts and suppliers, you do not breach their trust. A good negotiator is not someone who gets a fantastic deal once, but someone who through their ability to develop honest and sound relationships can deliver the maximum benefit for their organisations on a consistent basis.

If you have managed to agree a package with your supplier, always deliver what you promised, as this failure will come back to haunt you in the future, as reputation is everything.

I always enter a negotiation with a clear understanding of what I want and what I will be happy to agree to, and will always deliver on my end.

If you become known as someone that can’t be trusted or who always fails to deliver on a promise – you will find it impossible to succeed at anything.

If you would like to further develop your negotiation skills, I will be running a training workshop in Leeds on Tuesday 24th February – get in touch if you are interested.

Why every marketer needs to be a good negotiator

As a soccer mad Tottenham fan, transfer deadline day is a special time of the year – when I am truly gripped to my TV until midnight.

It’s that time of the year when every football fan stays up late to find out which superstar their manager has signed and also what big signings have been made by the competition.

We all know that some managers are special at this time of the year because of their ability to negotiate a great deal,  and a skill which just might make the difference in what position they occupy at the end of the season.

As a marketer of 15-years it made me reflect on one of the most important skills a marketer must possess and continually refine – the ability to negotiate.

A marketer who is strong in this area will not just help boost the effectiveness of their organisation’s marketing output but also make substantial savings in the process – something every CEO loves!

I have had the pleasure of working for some amazing companies and people in my career and yet I have rarely come across a marketer who feels comfortable or enjoys the challenge in being able to negotiate a fantastic deal for the brand they represent.

I must admit, I personally find it one of the most enjoyable parts of the job, as it provides a real opportunity to put your ability, career experience and people skills to the ultimate test.

On Tuesday 24th February, I will be running a negotiation training workshop in order to share my experience and provide a series of practical tips that will help marketers deliver more for less.

Hope to see you there!

What They Don’t Teach You At Business School

With over 400,000 fresh UK graduates every year, the competition for jobs is at an all-time high (with on average 70 candidates applying for every role advertised).

The success of TV shows such as The Apprentice, provides for many, their first real insight into how the world of business operates.This blog will look at 5 simple strategies that you won’t learn at business school and is based on my own personal experiences of working as a marketer in retail, fmcg, electronics, technology, professional services and market research.

Be yourself…
What makes us all different is our unique personality, attitude and character – therefore always be true to yourself and be comfortable about who you are. The success of your career will not just hinge on your ability and experience, but will be strongly influenced by your personal uniqueness. People tend to warm more to those that they can trust and feel comfortable around and dislike those who come across as false and insincere – so always be yourself, and be approachable.

Get Enthused…
No matter what you do in life, you will never succeed unless you have bags of enthusiasm. Too many people do a job, but fail to inspire those around them. The best career advice that I was given was: “Do something you love and something that you are good at”. If you generate natural enthusiasm for what you are doing – you will not just benefit from doing something you love, it will also spread around your team.

Develop Thick Skin…

Going into a career in business/marketing is not for the faint hearted. What they don’t prepare you for at business school is how to deal with the many different personalities that we will meet. Never let the opinions, feelings, attitudes and actions of those around you, deter you from achieving your personal career plan. You will not be everyone’s cup of tea (all of the time), and whilst it is important to be friendly – stay focused on the task/challenge at hand and do your best (that’s all you can do)!

Embrace Criticism…
No-one likes to be told they are doing something wrong – however, my advice is always embrace criticism as an opportunity to improve (don’t take it as a personal insult). We learn from mistakes, not always from success. It is ok to make mistakes, just don’t keep making the same ones.

Operate With Integrity/Humility…
The most impressive people I have ever come across in my own marketing career have been those individuals who have great integrity and humility. Remember that today’s marketing exec, could be tomorrow’s director – so always stay grounded and treat people with respect (trying to do the right thing).

If we look at the last 6 winners of the Apprentice, they all clearly displayed a set of simple virtues that were applied with successful results. Working hard, being smart and having the ability to be decisive is simply not enough!

Digital Word Of Mouth Marketing: Social Bookmarking

A Guide To Social Media Marketing For SMEs (Part 4)

Social Bookmarking sites provide a fantastic viral marketing weapon and like traditional word of mouth – plays an instrumental role in marketing effectiveness.

So far in my Guide To Social Media Marketing For SMEs, we have touched on the practical applications and benefits of using Twitter, LinkedIn and blogs – In this post, we will briefly look at some of the social bookmarking sites that you should be using as part of your integrated social media strategy.

Spreading the word…
Social bookmarks provide a fantastic route to market for your business and should be used to promote your brand communications, thought leadership articles and special reports in addition to any other information that you feel is quite useful to share. The way in which we communicate and share knowledge really has evolved over the last 5 years and social bookmarking sites have played a key role in how we now do things.

Blast from the past…
I remember in the old days (a few years back), when you had a feature report that was published online – basic practice would have included: getting the report on your website, adding it to your email signature and using it as a special feature in your client newsletter. However today, we live in a world where information can be global within minutes – creating an enormous opportunity for how we share knowledge/communications.

The benefits of bookmarking…

Social bookmarking sites should not just be viewed as a handy little tool for allowing you to manage your own information online, but should be embraced as a powerful media weapon that can play a major part in your social media strategy. In many ways social bookmarking sites operate like a marketing distribution channel for your business and like any distribution partner – you need to select the most relevant partner/s that will provide you with the greatest market reach for what you provide.

Add the WOW factor…
Remember, developing/selecting the content that you wish to promote and identifying the most effective channel for sharing this content is just the starting point – you must invest time/resource into how the end product will look (so that your content has the WOW factor) and will stand out. If you don’t already have an in-house creative/multimedia designer, then it is a good idea to look at getting support in this area as presenting reports etc using audio/visual effects can make a massive difference!

Key players…

For the purpose of this blog post , I have not included Twitter, LinkedIn and Blogging sites below as we have already covered these in detail in parts 1-3 of my guide to social media marketing (and we already know that we should be using them as part of our marketing strategy). The below are some of the most popular bookmarking/information share sites:


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