TMT Q4 2018

42 TMT MAGAZINE / Q4 2018 , AardvarkMarketing Consultants Ltd was created, primarily, to help SMEs in theWest Midlands to achieve better results from their marketing activities. In September, the firmwas recognised in the 2018 TMT Global Excellence Awards as the ‘Most OutstandingMarketing Consultancy in the UK’. Naturally, we were eager to speak to one of Aardvark’s Directors, Gill Hutchinson, to find out more about their unique approach to their work. Expert Marketing Services for Those That Need It Most Technology has provided a wealth of opportunities for businesses to connect directly to their target market, in ways that have previously been thought of as impossible. In this digital age, some businesses have learned to adapt to the ever-changing dynamics of their industries, capitalising on the advantages that technology, social media and online advertising offers. Others, especially SMEs, need a helping hand to navigate the potential pitfalls and perks of the often- challenging marketing arena. Aardvark approach their services from a perspective that, whilst perhaps unusual, makes sense for their market. Namely, they see themselves as providers of outsourced marketing services, as Gill explains, “It is much more cost-effective than a full-time hire for our customers.” More simply, Aardvark provide expert services when their clients need it most, without the commitment and costs of an in-house team. Gill continues, “Aardvark’s leadership team have both a domestic and International marketing background in brand marketing and trade marketing, and we get great results for our customers by applying the proven principles of good marketing used in big business to smaller organisations. We’re sticklers for setting the right strategic direction, planning, measurement and review. This means our customers achieve and sustain great results.” Aardvark’s success has hinged on their ability to take on the bulk of their client’s marketing needs, in the absence of an in- house and dedicated marketing department. They act as partners to their clients, helping them to achieve growth and improve their bottom line. “The reason our customers love us is that we take away the marketing headache. Most of our customers provide great products and services but they don’t have the in-house resources and knowledge to best capitalise on it. Unlike most marketing agencies, Aardvark pride ourselves on being independent of any one marketing ‘solution’. We help our customers sell more and achieve better profit margins, but we don’t implement the same activities for every customer.” “For some, their online presence is most important, for others, the use of PR and content marketing is the best way forward. We design and implement highly targeted B2B Sales Generator programmes which find and nurture new prospects for companies which have a complex sale, particularly effective in engineering, IT and manufacturing sectors. We have found that many agencies have specialties which can steer their customers towards certain activities; we try to put what’s best for our customers business at the heart of our advice. As a consequence of our simple, effective and impartial advice, business owners have real peace of mind and the freedom to focus on other areas of their business.” The conversation soon turns to the challenges that both Aardvark and the marketing industry as a whole are facing in the coming months. Chief among them is Brexit, and the uncertainty it has created on the global business landscape. “Business owners are finding it hard to plan with any certainty and exchange rate fluctuations are creating challenges with costs and pricing decisions. We see that there is a risk of a similar situation to the credit crisis in 2008/9 – a ‘trickle-down effect’ from large companies through their supply chain – principally of fragile confidence and cashflow issues.” 1810TM03 “In the marketing world, we see the major challenges coming from the rapid changes in technology, such as automation of processes, cybersecurity, managing data and the increased lack of trust in IT software and social media platforms generally. For most of our customers, all these present issues around costs and around juggling finite resources, which mean the business cannot always remain totally focussed on achieving their growth ambitions. Hiring us to help them balance some of these complex issues, allows managers to focus more on delivering great products and services to their customers.” Finally, Gill comments on the importance of building robust brands in this potentially volatile climate, alongside the growing role of marketing in securing enduring business success: “Paradoxically, this is the time when building trust in brands has never been more important, so we see don’t see the role of marketing and clear communication with stakeholders and customers being diminished any time soon. The big winners in the last decade are the companies that continued to invest in effective marketing activity, giving them a significant advantage over competitors that slashed budgets.”