Indie Interview: Wise Bird Marketing
On the Independent Oxford blog today, Sascha from new indie Wise Bird Marketing, shares her thoughts on the importance of independent businesses, her tips for indie marketing, and her favourite Oxfordshire indies!
Read on >>
Tell us about yourselves and why you decided to set up your own business.
Jo and I are both experienced marketers and have worked with some of the UK’s most well-known brands including M&S, Tesco, BBC and BT – Jo in publishing and me in ad agencies. We met while working for the women’s lifestyle platform Muddy Stilettos, Jo was the commercial director and I was marketing director.
During this time we were working closely with independent businesses across Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire. We saw first-hand just how passionate and dedicated they are, and just how many aspects there are to running your own business, and that this often leaves little time to focus on marketing with all the areas it covers and the expertise required.
It was because of this that Jo and I decided to set up Wise Bird Marketing – we’ve designed everything around the needs of small indie businesses – taking into account what they need most from their marketing, cutting out all the jargon and creating a range of affordable marketing packages they can choose, alongside advice and recommendations on their marketing strategy and planning.
Why do you think independent businesses are important?
We don’t think there’s ever been a time when independent businesses have been more important, particularly after Covid struck and we went through the lockdowns of 2020/21. Despite the huge challenges, independent businesses basically kept everything going, quickly adapting and innovating in response to customer needs. Indie businesses are vital for the local economy and local communities. They are the life blood of villages, towns and city neighbourhoods and play a big part in people’s decision to live or move to a particular area. Their role is becoming even more significant with the growing imperative we all face to deal with climate change and the need to adapt our consumer choices and ways of living.
What are your top 5 marketing tips for small businesses?
- Have a very clear understanding and expression of what it is you offer and what makes your business different; What is your purpose? How does your business and product enrich, enhance or make people’s lives easier? If you aren’t able to articulate this, it’s unlikely your customers will understand why they should buy from you.
- Create a strong brand image, including your logo, tone of voice and personality. This will help you stand out and will act as a shorthand for you customers to understand who you are, what you do and to recognise and remember you.
- Make the most of the free channels available to you as a small business such as Facebook, Instagram and Google My Business. Get to grips with how they work and keep on top of the constant innovations.
- Don’t rely entirely on third party platforms. Develop your own channels and own your data i.e. your website and customer information.
- Keep in touch with your customers; keep thinking about what it is they are looking for, how you can incentivise purchase and reward loyalty – it’s much more cost effective to have loyal customers that return than to continually having to find news ones.
With Christmas just around the corner, what should small businesses be focusing on now?
After last Christmas with all the restrictions of lockdown, Christmas 2021 will be even more significant for families this year. Following our 5 marketing tips will be crucial. Make sure you have a clear idea of your Christmas offering – prepare your social campaign with great images and photography, think about headline offers and incentives. Check your website is up to date and communicates this, and that visitors to your site can easily navigate and purchase your products and services. Be ready to communicate your Christmas offering from the end of October (if not sooner depending on the sector you operate in).
What new trends are you excited about in the marketing world?
The continued growth of localism is very exciting and a massive opportunity for independent businesses – it’s disrupting retail and changing the way people consume products and engage with brands.
The changing landscape when it comes to privacy and data sharing is likely to challenge all businesses – for example the new Apple privacy regulation have put Facebook in a flurry as they struggle to track response rates from iPhone users (this is about to affect email open rates too).
However we think this is going to shake up the way things are done and will force a change in the kind of relationships businesses nurture with their customers – trust, authenticity and regular contact will be vital. This is also why developing your own channels and owning your customer data (aka first party data) is so important for independent businesses.
What are you looking forward to most about being part of the indie community in Oxfordshire?
Jo and I are really looking forward to getting to know even more independent businesses in Oxfordshire and helping them communicate the brilliant products and services they provide in the most effective way. Oxfordshire is a beacon of creativity and innovation and our aim is to help independent business get their message out there.
Which are your favourite indies in Oxfordshire?
Ah so many – we’re spoilt for choice, and new indies are popping up all the time – it’s so exciting. The ones that have really made an impact and are just so impressive include Five Little Pigs a brilliant neighbourhood restaurant and bar in Wallingford – sustainability is high on their list for their seasonal menu and Chef Aimee is often found foraging in the local countryside!
Also the amazing Cheese Shed, part of the Nettlebed Creamery – when you have a herd of dairy cows producing organic milk, if you’re savvy, you start a creamery to make cheese and then you open a café & shop for walkers, cyclists and families to eat and buy your wonderful cheese – obvs!
Then there’s PYO Dahlia farm, Dahlia Beach, based at Millets Farm in South Oxfordshire; Owner Andie’s wedding video company ground to a halt overnight during covid, so she turned to her passion for growing dahlia’s and the rest is history – including how she took Chelsea Flower show by storm in September!
Finally a big shout out to all the amazing pubs who have kept their heads above water despite everything that has been thrown at them over the last couple of years – including CAMRA’s pub of the season The Crown in South Moreton a small community-owned, locally run pub that goes the extra mile to support of local producers and appeal to locals and visitors alike.
If you’d like more marketing tips and advice, get in touch with Sascha to find out how Wise Bird Marketing can help your business. Sascha will also be joining me for an Indie Oxford Members’ Group Facebook Live on Tuesday 26th October at 10 am to chat more about her 5 top tips, giving you some practical advice, and making the most of the localism trend. If you’d like to find out more about becoming an Indie Oxford member, email me at email@example.com.