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When your customers are ‘it’, make bloomin’ sure that they find you!

The ‘Hide and Seek World Championship’ is a real thing, you know. Named after the Italian for ‘hide-and-seek’ – nascondino – the event is held annually in the ghost town of Consonno in Italy (a story in itself). The current champion, BTW, is a team from Marseille. Little explanation of the rules is needed here – hiders and a seeker (‘it’) Academic articles and opinion pieces talk about the value of games like hide-and-seek in child psychological and cognitive development. About how on one hand, the hider learns how to be autonomous, okay ‘on their own’ as it were… but with the reassurance of being ‘discovered by someone who’s looking, someone who really wants to find us.’ To quote pediatrician and psychoanalyst, D. W. Winnicott, “It is a joy to be hidden but disaster not to be found.” In this short article we look at the latter in the context of what it means to be in business in the second decade of the 21st century...…

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Freefalling: The Problem with 'Free'

We all like something for nothing. But haven’t we all heard the adage – attributed to Napoleon Hill – that there is no such thing? The problem with ‘free’ is, well, that it’s rarely truly free. Why? Because there is no value in free. This is known as the Common Law of Business Balance, often articulated in this quote attributed to 19th-century writer, art critic and social thinker, John Ruskin: It’s unwise to pay too much, but it’s worse to pay too little. When you pay too much, you lose a little money — that is all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do. The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot – it can’t be done. If ever we need a neat demonstration of this in the world of marketing, we only need to look to Facebook’s organic reach stats...…

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Just watch where content marketing is going...

Because of what I do, I read so much about what’s happening – and what’s about to happen – in the world of digital marketing. Day and daily, a steady flow of marketing, advertising, digital marketing and social media industry information and trends floods into my in-box: of course, much of it content marketing itself. I love words and I read as many of them as I possibly can, but there are only so many hours in the day… I need to know these things, but I need to be able to understand, digest and remember what’s being said quickly and easily… because there’ll be more stuff coming down the line tomorrow! I also need to be able to communicate any important insights and findings to some very busy people who also need to know: my clients and my social media community who have connected with me because of how I can sometimes make life a little easier for them.…

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The Community and Voluntary Sector – A Digital Skills [Training] Gap

Digital marketing training, support and capability building for the private sector is generally widely accessible, but - unfortunately - is not quite so prevalent for the third sector. Perhaps, the well documented gap in digital skills within the community and voluntary organisations is directly proportionate to the gap in digital skills training available to the sector...…

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Food and drink for thought for Northern Ireland Year of Food and Drink

Just over 10 years ago I was very fortunate to dine in one of Florence’s best and most popular restaurants. It was a wonderfully unusual experience — it was late evening and we ate in an unlit courtyard, which made it difficult to see what we were actually eating. I guess, not surprisingly, that that very sensation probably heightened the senses of taste and smell. Anyway, the food was both simple and simply delicious. To this day — over a decade later — I can still easily evoke the taste. I had a seafood dish, the star(s) of which were the fattest, juiciest langoustines, or Dublin Bay Prawns. Why is this important...?…

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The Cobbler’s Children Have New Shoes…

You probably know the little story about the cobbler who was so busy making and repairing shoes for his customers that he didn’t have time to make sure that his own children had decent shoes on their feet. We’ve all come across someone with Cobbler’s Children Syndrome… … the hairdresser with an awful haircut. …the builder whose house looks like it might fall down. …the marketing consultant with a rubbish website… Okay, it’s time for me to admit it: I’ve been something of a cobbler for the better part of four years now.…