Field Notes

Tips, guides and articles on marketing, sales and operations to help you grow your business

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“Black Box Thinking” by Matthew Syed (book review)

A colleague recommended I read “Black Box Thinking” by Matthew Syed. Not quite knowing what to expect, I did. And what a powerful message. A message about the value of learning from mistakes, and the critical importance of maintaining an organisational culture that welcomes the opportunity to learn from failure rather than punishing it. The title comes from the key example of the benefits of this approach. As you can

Data Protection that children would understand

Despite the publicity, there still seems to be mystique and misunderstanding about the Data Protection rules (GDPR) yet the principles are very simple. So simple in fact that you could explain them to a child. The original terminology can be off-putting but let’s see through that to the seven key principles in Article 5 of the GDPR which guide data protection: If you borrow toys (personal information) you must play

Happy GDPR Christmas Nonsense

I am sure you have come across some daft ways of making life difficult, attributed to GDPR. Here are a collection of some bonkers Christmas-related GDPR challenges and the facts behind them. You can’t contact parents to tell them what stall they will be running at the school Xmas Fayre because you don’t have their express consent  Churches cannot ask for Christmas prayers for named parishioners who are ill or

The next bigger thing (than the technology)

I was flattered to be included in the list of “Thought Leaders” at the IoT-Build (Internet of Things) Conference this week, and invited to join the panel to discuss skills and training needs for the workplace. Chaired by Matt Hatton of Gartner, we had an interesting and wide-ranging discussion on the changing skills required, which in turn is impacted by our education system, social and business cultures and even politics.

How to interact with your website visitors like a pro…

A Chat feature on your website can increase engagement particularly at that vital point when visitors are about to place an order or take further action. It also makes your business appear sophisticated, professional and well-established. You might have thought that having a Chat feature for website visitors is only for brands with big budgets and thousands of visitors. Not so. There are a number of Chat applications that can

Can I send an email without consent?

The G-word isn’t history yet, and there still seems to be confusion about whether you can send marketing emails to people. In fact it is not GDPR that covers this, but the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR) which has been around since 2003 – last updated in 2018. The ICO have a helpful checklist on what can and can’t be done here:  , and plenty of helpful guidance on PECR

DIY Marketing Video Tip #2: How long is long enough?

I attended the excellent London Hubspot User Group today, and at least half of the entire event was about video in marketing. The huge growth of video was predicted two years ago, but the actual adoption figures exceed all expectations. It is a really, really big deal for all marketers – and any other business communication for that matter. One of the questions that came from the floor was “How can

DIY Marketing Video Tip #1: Rule of Thirds

I’m sure that if you are a photographer or art student you will know this, but it is easy to forget why it was discovered and why it can make a difference to your videos too. When I was in art class aged…10 I think, I remember my art teacher drawing a straight line down the centre of a sheet of paper. He said “How can we make this more

Hope for the best, plan for the worst and expect to be surprised

This title is two quotes combined – from authors Denis Waitley and Lee Child. It neatly encapsulates a “light-bulb” moment I had during an excellent briefing on Business Risk, delivered by Nick Moon of Applied Resilience. I know this is not as exciting as sales and  marketing, but if we are to run a successful and sustainable business we need to make sure we can weather any storms that come

How to spot a marketing dinosaur

We recently hosted a seminar at techUK presented by Grant Leboff of “Sticky Marketing” fame, and it was a revelation. Grant has the ability to put into words the things you might have been secretly wondering about, and he is not afraid to challenge conventional thinking. Here in a nutshell is his challenge to the “Four P Marketing Mix”: Product, Promotion, Price and Place. These were introduced in the early