Archive for June, 2008

Karen Creed’s Ruff Guide – Its the Dogs Business

Nowadays pets are big business and pet owners are willing to lavish big money on their pets. I was delighted to hear this evening on the radio, friend, business personality and travel journalist, Karen Creed, talking about her latest project. Characteristically entitled the Ruff Guide, Karen has teamed up with Pedigree® to Publish a Guide to for Dog lovers to take weekend breaks and bring their beloved family member with them. It tells you where to go for great wakls and what pet friendly hotels Better still they are giving away the guide free of charge.

To get a free copy of the JointCare+ RUFF GUIDE, you can write to: Pedigree JointCare+ RUFF GUIDE, PO Box 7808, Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin or e-mail JointCare(at)

Congrats to Karen on her success and it got me thinking about how pet products has become such an emerging business, with massive potential. Take, under the leadership of entrepreneur Claire B (another entrepeneur who i have the privlidge of calling a friend), which in the past two years gained huge success and a loyal clientel. In a business where the customers are buying a product that must be filled with love, it’s not a business that you can throw money and make a success – i think you’ll all agree the labour of love shines through when you look at or visit their store.

Its a dogs life and its great to see some of their loving owners have their more than over due success.

Guinness Hit a Marketing Home Run

One company that has got its marketing bang on the money in the last few months is Guinness. The last two promotions i’ve been aware of have really demonstrating that whoever is now running the show knows the three elements that makes any marketing campaign.

1. Know your customer
2. Know your customers life time worth to the company.
3. Know your customers expectations of perception.

In Guinness’s case they had a particularly hard challenge, in my opinion, as they needed a perception re-adjustment to reposition the brand to a changing market place.

Several weeks ago Guinness hit their first home run by offering free branded poker kits. They made it simple to get and did complete risk reversal. They even beat customer expectations with a few free samples of their products, well timed apart, so that frequency was brought into effect. This way the brand was constantly in the homes of potential clients and when the poker kit was in use the brand was re-inforced with the product in a comfort situation – Their homes. Possibly the best product placement done in years.

Then the next phase of their marketing, this evening, in one of Dublins better bars i was impressed to see the Guiness promo team out in force, with another well thought out promotion. To create a habit you have to use repetition and with tonight starting off a three consecutive week promotion, where each week customers much buy a guinness (there by not devaluing the brand) to get a reward, which changes each week. This week they severed Gourmet burgers, with special guinness brand mustard. I think if you partake all three weeks you get a hoody; again re-enforcing the repetition to create a habit.

So i take my hat off to the Marketeers behind the concepts, its rare marketing guru’s get praise, usually they just get buckets of money.

Free Entrepreneur Downloadable Seminars

Probably the one of the two most benefical things I did when going through 3rd level education was to focus on learning everything I could about successful entrepreneurs (the other was becoming a lecturer for a year). One sure way to learn about business is to find out what makes great entrepreneurs great, then do that.

In UCD, NOVA bring in some big name entrepreneurs to talk to the business community and students. I remember sneaking off half way through lectures to make it to these talks, then do my best to hang around after words and try to have a two minute chat with each of them.

These Jems of lecturers / seminars are avaiable FREE online – its one of the most powerful uses of the internet in my opinion. The files are about 500mb so their very big and my hope is that should Nova get the traffic they deserve they will still be able to continue providing such a great service with the backing of the Enterprise boards.

Almost a year since it took place, this morning i listen/watched (for the second time) Stephen Flood, Managing Director, Gold Investments . If you take into consideration the current price of Gold (hint – its up roughly 42% since he advised to go into it!) and his economic forecast and insight. I think that alone should make you want to download these FREE seminars.

Irish Customers paying 31% more on branded goods

Reading the Irish Times article on how Irish customers spend 31% MORE on branded goods.

Prices have been adjusted for VAT and excise, so whats going? So who’s fault is it? Well actually its our own fault.

As the economy slows down in a natural re-adjustment of market dynamics, Irish customers are starting to think twice about just forking over their cash without shopping around. More and more people who see goods they like in retail stores turn to online providers to find the same items at what can often be a substancial discount.

While in Stephens Green the other day i noticed a greedy retailer that had a price tag 200% above the RRP of the Item in question. So should the Irish public cry foul? Well not really, market dynamics dictate that a retailer will sell an item at whatever price they can get. The Irish consumer needs to talk with their wallet. Make it hurt the retailers in their pockets. Shop around for bargains, choose items on specials, its something looks expensive look online and then buy it there. Better still, if you need it now go to the store manager and tell them you can get the same product online cheaper (so them a print out) and would they be willing to beat the price to get your business. Any store manager worth their salt would prefer a sale with a small profit margin over no sale and i’d go as far as saying a majority will give you a discount if pushed.

Problem is we, as a nation, need to grow some goolies and ask them for it.