05/03/2020

Learn a thing or two from the greatest business pitches of all time.

Peter Marsh of ABM, advertising extraordinaire and business pitch master, was known for his surprising presentation skills.

Learn a thing or two from the greatest business pitches of all time...


The pitch. That compelling moment in time. The pitch is the 100 metre sprint that stands between you and your business securing that deal. The art of the pitch is truly the art of persuasion and the number of ways we can go about this is infinite.

The components of a really unforgettable pitch appear straightforward: be clear, be authentic, be memorable. But to execute a pitch so audacious that it goes down in business folklore takes something special…

The year is 1977.

The setting is Allen Brady & Marsh’s (ABM) advertising agency.

ABM are the mavericks of the advertising world, headed by the charismatic directors, Rod Allen and Peter Marsh.

Marsh, or ‘Mr Showbiz’ as he was known, had the reputation of being a flamboyant performer who liked to surprise his clients mid-pitch, often with a musical number. With a background of performing on the stage, Marsh made sure his pitches would always stand out.

The office of ABM is the stage to one of the most theatrical pitches in business history. The key players are ABM and Saatchi & Saatchi. At stake is a significant deal with British Rail. Saatchi & Saatchi are the heavyweight champions of advertising; ABM are the wildcards.

When British Rail’s team, headed by chairman Sir Peter Parker, enter the office of ABM their first impression is of disarray. The advertising agency is off-putting to say the least: overflowing ash trays, filthy coffee mugs, newspapers strewn on the floor. They are greeted by a surly receptionist who files her nails and refuses to look up and greet them before she has finished the page of her magazine.

‘How long do we have to wait?’

‘Dunno,’ she replies.

The British Rail team are kept waiting a full 20 minutes, all the time being wholly ignored by the receptionist and passing advertising staff. Just as they are about to leave in disgust, a door opens and the director of ABM, Peter Marsh, and his advertising team finally reveal themselves.

“You’ve just experienced how the public perceive British Rail,” Marsh says, to surprised faces. “Now let’s see what we can do to put that right.”

Marsh and his team then launch into their pitch, outlining their plans to overhaul public opinion of British Rail.

They are hired on the spot.

Marsh’s theatricality was certainly his trademark, as displayed in another of his famous pitches in 1981. The battle for the Woolworths account was a high-stakes deal at which Marsh threw the full weight of his flamboyance.

For this pitch, Marsh took his clients to a theatre he had booked out for the day and performed a musical number that would become one of the most instantly recognisable jingles of the decade: ‘That’s the wonder of Woollies.’ Taking off his outer dinner jacket to reveal a sparkly suit beneath, Marsh intended his pitch to symbolise Woolworths discarding their old self to reveal their new, shiny future.

Appreciative of the show, Woolworths assigned them the deal.

By 1982, ABM were one of the top 5 advertising agencies in Britain.


As far as our business pitches go, we’ve never tried anything as bold as these approaches before!

Let us know what you think of Peter Marsh and his legendary pitches.

Would they win you over?


Let me know at jess@22group.co.uk

Jess Cawdron

Copywriting & Marketing

0161 672 7822

25/02/2020

22 tips for writing web content

Web content.

Just words on a screen?

Creating engaging web content is actually a challenge within itself.

On the web, we don’t read – we scan. We read only an average of 20% of a webpage and spend approximately 5 seconds before moving on. This means content must be instantly arresting and instantly attention-grabbing.

Web content is completely different from other writing styles.

Here are the best tips and tricks we've found for writing your web content...

1. As you’re writing for scanners, your layout is key.

Signpost effectively: use clear headlines and sub-headings to direct your reader. Your writing is like a path you want your reader to follow you down. Keep it clear, inviting and easy to navigate.

2. Consider white space.

Breaking up your writing into digestible chunks. This keeps your reader’s eye moving down the page, scrolling.

3. Punctuate with multi-media.

Images are essential to how approachable a page appears. They can also work hand-in-hand with your written content.

4. Hook your reader with the most important message first.

Remember - you are writing for a scanner, not a reader!

Try the inverted pyramid style. This is top-loading your content with the most important information first. A reader should be immediately hooked when they visit your page. Consider using a sub-level page for instances where you have a great deal of detail that you want to expand on.

5. Consider the listicle and bullet-pointed style.

Listicles have been done to death, but there is a reason they are so popular. Their titles inform us directly about their content and their linear progression is pleasing to a scroller or a scanner.

6. Keep paragraphs short.

A block of text may appear impenetrable and easy to scroll past. Shorter paragraphs, however, punctuated by blank space look far more inviting. They are also more navigation-friendly for those readers on smart phones.

7. Pull quotes can look appealing and break up text.

8. Write in a direct style.

The pronouns ‘you’ and ‘we’ will jump off the page to the reader and establish familiarity.

9. Adopt an active voice.

The active voice tends to be more direct, succinct and easy to digest than the passive.

10. Avoid run-on, or fragmented, sentences.

If in doubt, split up a longer sentence into two short ones to be more reader-friendly.

11. Get rid of jargon and insider phrasing.

Don't alienate your readers with niche and complex language.

12. Use specifics and data.

Numerical information stands out in a chunk of text and adds legitimacy to your page. It also supplies key information quickly to the reader who is hurriedly trying to check your credentials.

13. Keep key terms consistent across your site.

For example, don’t chop and change between ‘web design’ or ‘web development’ – pick one and stick to it. This consistency is vital to those SEO-boosting keywords.

14. Use analytics and metrics to assess the habits of your reader.

Know why your reader has visited your page. Bear in mind the tasks they will want to complete  on your website (e.g. make a booking, make a purchase, find information) and signpost accordingly.

15. Use internal linking to boost your SEO.

Avoid links that travel back to big pages that are easy to navigate to, such as the home page. Instead, link to pages that are deep in the network of your site and harder to find manually.

16. Know the difference between keywords and carewords.

Carewords are the words and phrases your reader will be scanning for once they reach your page, to confirm they have clicked to the right place. Carewords help your reader complete their intended task.

For example, a reader who has clicked on a page to book a holiday may scan for words such as ‘bookings,’ ‘prices’ or ‘rooms.’ Carewords need to be simple, clear and informative.

17. Find your voice.

The voice on your website needs to complement your brand and business. Ideally, your content should sound just like it is being spoken by yourself or one of your team members.

18. Align all content with your brand values.

Read here to discover why having clear and established brand values is invaluable to your brand and business.

19. Consistency is key.

For your formatting to look sharp and professional, maintain a consistent style. For your voice to resonate across your entire website, maintain a consistent tone.

20. Ensure your content is in fitting with your overall marketing strategy.

If you are engaged in a lively, attention-grabbing marketing campaign, your web copy needs to match this with the same energy.

21. Edit carefully and thoughtfully.

A great way to do this is to read your work aloud.

Are there any phrases which ‘catch’? Ideally, your writing should sound natural and authentic, like spoken language.

22. Include call to actions to finish off sections of writing and encourage a response from your reader.


We appreciate that words aren’t everyone’s speciality. Carefully crafting web content can eat into important time and energy.

So, let us take some of that pressure off your hands.

The content marketing packages we offer…

  • Your brand story – compelling narrative copy that encapsulates what makes your brand unique
  • Your brand values – powerful copy to define to keystones of your brand
  • Bespoke content for your website
  • Snappy and engaging copy for all your marketing campaigns
  • Quality blog posts and article

To discuss a content strategy, email jess@22group.co.uk

Jess Cawdron

Copywriting & Marketing

0161 672 7822

18/02/2020

PHP Developer role

We’re looking for a talented PHP Developer to work on innovative projects for a wide range of clients at our agency based in the Northern quarter, Manchester. We’re a friendly, forward thinking team who value innovation and provide an open forum for ideas and ways to improve.

We specialise in bespoke website builds for our clients and their critical business systems. You’ll be a key member of our development team and play a crucial role in the development of our new company products. 

The right candidate will care about quality, be a self-starter and have a real passion for development and progressing their skillset.

Experience:

— Object Oriented Application Design

— MVC framework experience - Laravel / Zend / CakePHP or similar

— Wordpress plugin development

— MySQL

— Caching (e.g. Redis, Nginx)

— Version control (Git)

— Property feeds

— Linux server administration (Debian / Ubuntu)

Nice to haves:

— HTML5

— XHTML

— CSS2/3

— Javascript / AJAX

— Node.js

Responsibilities:

— Development of back-end systems for a range of websites 

— Development of company products

— Perform coding to written technical specifications

— Investigate, analyse and document reported bugs

— Perform maintenance development and correction of identified bugs

— Create and document test plans, implement and manage unit tests and scripts

— Communicate regularly with project managers to provide understanding of technical requirements, processes and dependencies

Benefits:

— 25 days holiday

— Friendly and supportive team

— Christmas / summer party

— As much coffee as you can handle

— Friday beers

— Flexible lunch and regular breaks

— No dress code

— Yearly appraisal and pay review

— Convenient central Manchester office location [Post the COVID-19 crisis]

What to send us

— Your contact details

— A bit about you and what you’re passionate about 

— Your experience

— Examples of projects utilising the required skills

— Your reasons for wanting to work for 22 Group

Thanks and good luck!

Email us now

17/02/2020

Our values: the heart of 22

Maybe it’s our Manchester roots that make 22 Group friendly, straight-talking, and confident. We're committed to our responsibility to deliver incredible results, with heart.

There’s more to crafting an effective and distinct brand than a knock-out logo or a sleek website. Whilst important, these more tangible aspects of brand identity work best when combined with what already exists at the beating heart of any solid brand: its values.

Strong marketing is built upon clear brand values. Integrating the message of a company into its marketing increases engagement with customers who admire and align with these ideals.

Showing what the company stands for - its personality, so to speak - resonates with people and reaps results.

For example, think of brands like IKEA who celebrate simplicity and are known for their minimalist style and easy to build products. There’s Spotify’s playful spirit, easily pinpointed in their 'Listen Like You Used To’ adverts. Or Dr Martens, who recently captured both their long-standing rebellious image and product durability in the ‘Tough As You’ campaign. Good branding also has a ripple-like effect, sticking with customers and helping to build brand reputation.

Essentially: think of your values as your brand DNA.

Brand values show your ‘true north’ (no geographical bias intended) as they act as an orientating guide for both your clients and colleagues. They define the business. The blueprint the business. They also show us here at 22 Group what each individual client strives towards and what, together, we’ll focus on conveying.

Distinguishing the message of a company goes a long way. And, whilst it’s important for us to be attuned to the brand values of our clients, we also realise it’s probably important to outline the 22 Group team’s shared ethos — so you know exactly who you’re taking the dive with. Of course, communicating these values is also key so prospective clients can clearly identify connecting strands between our brand and theirs.

So, we’ll go first ... Here’s what our brand stands for:

Friendliness.

A cornerstone of our company’s culture, we put this shared value into practice daily. Cultivating positive and long-standing working relationships amongst ourselves and with our clients is genuinely important to us. It’s all about being our best selves and bringing out the best in each other.

Straight talking.

Honesty and authenticity sets us apart. In a world inundated with options, decisions and choices to be made, it’s nice to know who you can rely on to get the job done. We won’t set unrealistic goals or mess around with your expectations. Building open and honest relationships is always our aim.

Confident.

We believe in ourselves - and you should too. Our passion for each aspect of what we do shines through into our work and you can trust us to give it our all. We recognise our capabilities and are comfortable to try new things in order to make the most of our talents.

Committed.

We take pride in what we do. Loyal and long-standing client relationships are just as important to us as project details. Each and every one of us is dedicated and genuinely invested in our work - and to upholding our brand values.

If it sounds as though we’re kindred spirits, or you’d like to make your brand stand out in a crowd, get in touch with our team: jess@22group.co.uk 

07/02/2020

Weaponise your copy now

Harness the power of copy - the neglected marketing force you never knew you needed.

If you’ve never considered the importance of copy before, it may well be the hidden pain point your business doesn’t know it has.

What exactly is copy?

Isn’t copy just words on a page?

If this is your first thought, you are most probably underestimating a vital component of your business’ branding.

Copy is content, but the intentions of good copy extend much further than merely ‘filling a page.’ A good business is a business which understands the marketable potential of every word that is associated with their brand. A good business understands that all copy becomes an opportunity to shape and curate brand identity.

Copy may take the form of web content, blogs or articles, campaign content or event materials. Each piece of copy should be subtly reinforcing your company’s mission statement. Think of copy as a call to action – a siren call, even. Good copy reinforces engagement; great copy has the potential to be the unifying voice of your business.

First impressions are everything

Imagine this scenario. You are approached by a salesman. He is wearing a stained suit, battered shoes and has a clammy handshake. Instead of direct eye contact, he avoids your eye and mumbles towards the ground. Does this sound like the best first impression? Decidedly, no. Many businesses pride themselves on their excellent websites, innovative branding and enthusiastic demeanour in person, but utterly disregard the state of their copy.

This can be an overlook with potentially disastrous repercussions. Copy may well be the first port of call your customers have with your business and brand. Now imagine your copy is in the same state as the salesman: shabby, unconfident, utterly off-putting. Is this the first impression you want your brand to make?

Good copy enhances the first experience your customers have with your brand. And quality copy can be weaponised as a powerful marketing tool. We may take words for granted as we encounter them so often, but the emotional sway they deliver can be potent. As the human voice of your business, copy had the ability to travel where design and branding cannot reach.

Interested? We can help

Here at 22 Group, we appreciate that producing good writing may eat into your valuable time. That’s why we offer a new in-house copywriting service for all your content requirements.

Harness the marketing force your business doesn’t know that it needs. Contact me to discuss a fresh and exciting content strategy now: jess@22group.co.uk

15/03/2019

Try talking to everyone

Who can buy your product?

I’m guessing there’s more than one answer to that question, and it’s the same for our business.

We do websites and digital marketing, so – in theory – pretty much any business that needs a website and some marketing could be our customer.

And because any business could be our potential customer, it’s tempting to try and create a message that resonates with – well – any business.

But here’s the problem: when you try talking to everyone, you end up talking to no one.

Instead, your message comes across as general and bland, and it’s ineffective as a result.

What’s the solution?

It’s simple: choose a specific target market and talk directly to them.

Make your website address their specific pains.

Showcase testimonials from people similar to them.

Drive specific, targeted traffic rather than general traffic.

Tell stories that resonate with your exact prospect.

Just to be clear: this doesn’t mean you have to work with one target market for the rest of your days; it just means you have to work a bit harder, with specific messages for specific groups.

Our business is a great example. 22 Group is our umbrella brand, but our two sub-brands PropertyStream and FinanceStream allow us to target our message and our marketing to clearly defined groups of people, and get us better returns from our marketing spend as a result.

If you want to talk to your audience more effectively than you do right now, let’s talk.

Robin

06/02/2019

Buzz phrase but for good reason

No doubt you’ve heard every man and his dog banging on about the importance of “online presence” and how businesses that are serious about success in 2019 need to have one.

They’re not wrong. Having an “online presence” is important.

But unfortunately, most people who tell you that you need an online presence don’t give you anything more tangible than that.

So, today, I thought I’d just be really clear about exactly what your online presence needs to look like in 2019, and how you can create yours:

Your website

Obvious, right? Facebook, Twitter and Instagram may be responsible for a lot of web traffic, but if you’re going to be successful online this year, you’ll still need a website.

What should be on it?

Well, your contact details are a must, as well as the geographical areas you work in and the properties you sell, as well as the ethos behind the business.

Customer testimonials should also be included, to ensure that any prospects know that you’re trustworthy.

SEO

Once you’ve got your website, you need some visitors! Most people looking for most things will hop onto Google, and that’s also the case in the world of estate agency.

The process of optimising your site is called “search engine optimisation”, and in layman’s terms, it’s about creating content that Google likes, bumping you up their rankings as a result.

Social Media

Social media will play a vital role in you getting found online, and as an estate agent, it’s vital you have a presence and that you engage with people who talk to you online.

A lot of companies have found that focusing on social media can help you get in touch with your customers in a more personal and direct way, allowing your enquiries to be dealt with much more quickly and effectively.

When you map out your social media strategy, it’s vital to consider how you’d like to “sound” – each brand will have a tone of voice, and it’s important to know how you want to come across to your prospective customer – this will inform the things you say and the words you use.

We won’t pretend that this is the whole list of everything you need to do to build your online presence, but it’s a good place to start – get a website, get people to it and get people talking on social.

If you need help with any of it, just give me a shout. robin@22group.co.uk

Speak soon

Robin

25/01/2019

Does your brand have the ‘WOW’ factor?

Create an unforgettable brand that gets results.

Ambitious companies know that their brand is their most valuable asset but whereas you may review your website on an annual basis, your brand sometimes gets put to the bottom of the list. How often do you talk to your management team and partners about how current and relevant your brand is? What is says about your company and if it speaks directly to your target audiences. As we all know business is fast-paced, more than ever it needs to adapt and a strong brand should do that too.

Here’s a several elements of strong branding you should be considering to get that all important WOW factor and ensure you stand out.

The branding wheel - This format captures the concept of your brand, the emotional heart and essence of your brand and how audiences respond to and engage with it. Brands that appeal to customers on an emotional level attract more loyalty and longevity.

Integrating your message across multiple platforms - Is your brand consistent across all platforms and marketing channels? Audiences need to see a strong brand identity reinforced with the same logo, colours and messages so they are easily recognisable.

Creating a strong logo and brand identity
Your logo is your brands personality, it should visually sum what you’re about and what you’re trying to say. Combine this with a short, snappy strap line and you a brand that’s ready for action!

11/01/2019

Top 5 marketing predictions for 2019!

22’s Marketing Manager David reveals his predictions for what’s going to be big in the marketing world this year.

The year of the brochure
Print is not dead! You have read our recent email campaign informing you that printed literature such as brochures will be a huge part of B2B marketing this year. A well thought out brochure reinforces your brand identity and gives customers and prospects something ‘tangible’ to hold onto in the digital age. This helps create a more personalised feel and can ensure your offer is remembered amongst all the email marketing and Facebook ad campaigns. Ambitious companies combine these with their targeted digital marketing to get the best results.

Video will be big!
Use of social platforms continued to rise over 2016 and that’s likely to increase with integrated video marketing taking more of a front seat. Developments such as the ‘Facebook Live’ has offered that immediate real-time experience that clever companies are mixing in with social campaigns. Customers require attention right now and as such we will see ‘live chat’ become more mainstream across all sectors. Watch out for the term ‘immersive marketing’ (meaning bringing the consumer into the experience via video).

Social gets analytical
Social media marketing is still huge in many industries, however, marketing experts across the board believe that this year it’s due to get more detailed and granular with integrated CRM options and better reporting. Social platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have dominated previously due to their potential for cleverly crafted ‘reach’ campaigns, in 2017 though we could see Instagram and Snapchat increase in B2C marketing as they leverage their remarketing offers.

Things get personal!
‘Big data’ has been a big thing for a while with it used globally for everything from the US presidential elections to the restructuring of frontline NHS services. In the case of the elections Team Trump was able to ascertain where the impact was the greatest to predict where to advertise to floating voters and monitor early voter demographics to see where disenfranchised rural and minority voters were less active and focus campaigns on higher voter turnout demographics). Big data may have been an ongoing trend but we are only really starting to see its full potential and so many in the marketing world think 2019 will be the year it increases personalisation. Big corporates such as Amazon and Netflix are already demonstrating the benefits of personalisation to increase customer experience and I can see some of the smaller but equally as ambitious brands start to go this way.

Augmented reality goes big
It goes without saying one of the biggest marketing successes of 2018 was Pokemon Go. Adult humans running around to obscure places on the hunt for Pokemon may have annoyed some of us but at $10m in revenue per day at its height it undoubtedly made the grade for ‘campaign success’. Following on from this I can envisage companies more actively using AR games, apps and experiences to engage consumers in a simulated version of reality. As the real world becomes ever more connected and digital with the increase of the ‘internet of things’ I see this becoming more and more popular.

Join me at the end of the year when I review how these predictions fared in the world of commerce and what failed to make the marketing grade!

23/12/2018

Our team is growing….meet David Christian-Woodruff!

2018 was a busy year for 22, with quick growth we went from 8 to 12 members of staff. As we continue to take on such a wide range of clients across varied sectors we’ve been refining our processes and tightening our procedures to offer our clients the very best experience. As part of that we’ve employed a new Project Manager, David Christian-Woodruff to help everything run smoothly.

We talk to David about his experience and what he’ll be doing in his exciting new role!

Q1. Tell us a bit about your background?

A: I was born in London, before living in Belgium for 15 years from the age of 3, where I attended a Francophone school and learnt to speak French. I then moved to an international school. I returned to UK to study at De Montfort University in Leicester to study Graphic Design. For the last 6 years, I’ve been working at a digital agency starting as a designer, then moving to team leader and finally digital producer role (which is similar to project manager).

Q2. What made you want to work at 22 Group?

A: On meeting the team initially, it was the ethos, vision and team togetherness that convinced me that this was the place for me! I wanted somewhere I could go and get stuck in, not only to use my experience to manage projects but to be able to help the business in a fundamental way moving forward. Having had experience working with many projects at once, it was an exciting prospect to work at a company where I could streamline processes and take on both the PM and a more analytical role.

Q3. What does the role of PM involve and how can you help clients?

A: From my perspective, being a PM is all about being there for the client, liaising with the team to ensure that from the very beginning, all parties know what needs to be done and by what date. My aim will be to keep clients informed throughout, suggesting new ideas and helping their business and brand push forward in an ever-changing climate.

Q4. So, you're new to Manchester what do you think of it so far?

A: It's brilliant! Coming from Leicester to Manchester is a BIG change, but there is so much more to do and see and it’s a great, cultural city! Having only been here a short time, I know I will still be things I will be discovering for some time yet.

Q5. What do you get up to outside of work?

A: I like being active so going to the gym, playing football, tennis or any sport is high on the agenda. Apart from that, I love to explore and try new things! The nightlife in Manchester will also certainly be a massive bonus now I've moved up here!

Manchester

+44 (0) 161 672 7822
enquiries@22group.co.uk

26 Dale Street, Manchester, M1 1FY
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