Manchester based Invoke Media have announced our intention to move our operations full-time to Preston, Lancashire after 4 years in the second city.

Invoke have always had strong links with Lancashire’s administrative capital with director Jack Barron originally being from the city, and a large number of clients being based in the Central Lancashire area.

Recent times have seen a close working partnership with The Cotton Court Group, who operate a diverse portfolio of businesses in the Lancashire area, including Cotton Court Business Centre in Preston City Centre.

Jack Barron, Director at Invoke Media says….

“It’s been a tough decision to move Invoke away from Manchester in many ways, but an easy one to make in others. It’s the right decision to make for the business and our clients right now. I’ve been spending a lot of time in Preston due to my involvement with Cotton Court, and feel that closening the relationship between the two businesses is the next logical step. To do that, I think we have to be physically close, even in the digital age”.

He continues…

“I’m originally from Preston and historically it’s been portrayed as a bit of a grim northern town with not much going on. After spending considerable time back here recently I’d argue with anyone who perpetuates that false image. The city has grown so much in the last few years and is going through some major developments & investment. I’d like for Invoke to be a part of that development from the early days and really commit to strengthening its position as a part of the powerhouse that is the north of England”.

Indeed, after suffering setbacks in recent history the city has seen a flurry of investment from local entrepreneurs, the council and key stakeholders. The city is making a real push to make itself more attractive to local talent and take its place alongside other regional powerhouses like Liverpool and Manchester.

Invoke intend to retain a presence in Manchester, it’s a city we love and have a strong connection to. However the development and investment in Preston, and close connection with The Cotton Court Group provides an opportunity to be a part of something great. As one of many high class marketing and media agencies in Manchester, there is little impact we can have on the positive development of the city, being at the forefront of Preston’s own revival and the growth of Central Lancashire is an opportunity just too good to miss.

The full switch is expected to take place by the end of July 2018.

virtual marketing services


If you currently don’t employ a marketing manager or director, there may be some confusion as to whether a virtual marketing manager or virtual marketing director would be best suited for your company. While there is certainly some crossover in the skills and attributes of each, there are few distinct difference which will impact on your decision.


What are Virtual Marketers?


Before we continue, let’s establish what exactly virtual marketers are.


There are no universal definitions for what virtual marketers are. For some they are just freelance marketers who operate completely online, providing specialist skills for an hourly rate. For others they are integral parts of a team, fulfilling the complete marketing function or slotting into an effective team of in-house marketers.


We at Invoke have come to define our own meaning of virtual marketing. We do not believe that an SME can be fully serviced from thousands of miles away without there being a breakdown in communication and a lapse in quality.


We’ve created virtual marketing positions that primarily operate using technology, but also have an in-house presence; creating a happy medium between an employee and online outsourcing.


The two positions that we’ve seen most demand for, are those of marketing director and marketing managers, so we’ve created our virtual marketing manager and virtual marketing director positions based on the feedback & advice of SME operators across the Northwest of England.

virtual marketing manager

The Virtual Marketing Manager


A virtual marketing manager is someone who would slot into your existing marketing team underneath a managing director, sales director or equivalent position. Their main role is ensuring the implementation of an existing marketing strategy, and keeping the team accountable and on track.

The effective virtual marketing manager will be experienced and use his or her skills to support and supplement the current marketing team. It might be that the marketing team is only small or is lacking key capabilities, in this instance the marketing manager would help plug that skills gap.


The main focus of a virtual marketing manager is ensure campaigns are delivered and delivered on-time. They have regular check-ins with the team and directors throughout the week, and provide a visible presence at monthly meetings.


virtual marketing director

The Virtual Marketing Director


The virtual marketing director differs slightly from the virtual marketing manager. They operate at a strategic level, devising and creating the plans that will drive the business forward. Their main role is to plan and monitor the implementation of a marketing strategy, ensuring that work is completed on-time and milestones are met.


The effective virtual marketing director will have worked in a marketing executive and managerial role at some point, drawing on his or her experience within the industry to understand the wide range of options available, and then make recommendations based upon it. They may get involved in the actual implementation of marketing if the necessary skills were not present in the team, but would generally act from a supervisory capacity, reporting back to the business directors directly.


The main focus of a virtual marketing director is to devise a strategy, create a plan on how to achieve it, and then ensure it is delivered to a high standard. They have regular check-ins with the marketing manager and team members, keeping them on-track and accountable, and report back to the directorship or board with any issues or progress. In addition to check-ins, they provide a visible presence on-site in the month to ensure progress is made.



Which is right for you?


Deciding on whether to hire a virtual marketing manager or virtual marketing director completely depends on the requirements or circumstances of your business. If you have an existing marketing director and strategy in place, it goes without saying that a virtual marketing manager will be the most suitable option. If however you don’t have marketing strategy in place, then there is no plan for a virtual marketing manager to work from and therefore a virtual marketing director would be more suitable.


We’ve created some quick fire questions to help you assess which assistance is best for you.


Marketing Strategy already in place or have Marketing Director?

Yes – Best Solution: Virtual Marketing Manager

No – Best Solution: Virtual Marketing Director


Does existing team need more hands-on supervision?

Yes – Best Solution: Virtual Marketing Manager

No – Best Solution: Virtual Marketing Director


Do you have a clear vision of your business marketing objectives and how to reach them?

Yes – Best Solution: Virtual Marketing Manager

No – Best Solution: Virtual Marketing Director


But what if you need both?


There’s nothing to say that you can’t hire both a virtual marketing manager, or virtual marketing director, or that it has to be two separate people. While the functions of the job are different, most effective marketing directors will have had marketing manager experience.


Invoke can provide a tailored solution that brings both of these roles together for a reduced and cost effective rate, supercharging your businesses marketing. Get in touch and ask us how…


Want to see more about virtual marketing services, what’s included and how much it costs? Click here.


So we know that you’re serious

The main and probably the most important reason we ask for you to commit to an initial 3 month agreement before moving onto a 30-day rolling agreement is to ensure you’re serious about the marketing of your business. We want to qualify the people we work with as being the right type of customer, the type that has a genuine desire for developing their business and is willing to make the necessary commitments to do so.

We’ve found that customers who aren’t willing to commit to an initial period aren’t the right type of customer for us. They’re either ‘budget dumping’ to satisfy their accountant or just trying lots of different things without any genuine committed plan of action.

We don’t have the time or energy to work with tyre kickers or time wasters. We want to work with driven & hungry future success stories that can grow alongside us. We want to work with businesses we can add value to, and can add value to our own. Is that you?


To achieve results

We’re good at what we do, but we aren’t magicians. The marketing of your business will be an ever-evolving process, the data we collect and report will need time to collect and the recommendations and advice we give will take time to implement.

In short, we just can’t get all of the information we need, provide the right advice and implement the plans we need to to get results in 1 month alone.

3 months gives us the right amount of time to get to know you and your business, your customers and industry, and give you the advice and tools you need to achieve your goals.

We don’t want people quitting after a month with a sour taste in their mouth because they haven’t had the results they were expecting. It’s bad for them, and bad for us.


The cost implications

Let’s be blunt. We’re in the business of making money. Whilst asking you to stay with us for 3 months is certainly one way of maximising profit from your business, it’s more to do with the cost implications of not doing so that influenced our decision.

Acquiring a new customer to replace an old one each month is expensive, it’s far easier (and cheaper) for us to retain existing customers than find new ones. Advertising, on-boarding and initial consultations are all costly both in time and money.

Another consideration is the cost of the services we include with our paid packages. Services like Search Engine Optimisation & optimising your social media channels cost us a considerable amount. In fact the initial optimising of your website for search engines costs nearly as much as your first full month. If you left at month 1 we’d be out of pocket, so we cover that cost and spread it throughout your monthly payments. We only start to turn a profit in month 3.


Your potential funding opportunities

The reason that’s probably sparked the most interest from you however, is the possibility of match funding.

We’ve developed relationships with providers of government and EU backed match funding. That means that you can regain 50% of your investment in marketing support back. Sounds good doesn’t it?

To do this you often have to outlay one lump sum rather than claim it back monthly. That means if you want to benefit from match funding you will have to pay for 3 months upfront, and then at the end of the 3 month period will receive 50% of the cost back.

If you’re in a position to do so, we’re open to extending the initial period of your marketing support to 6 months or longer so that you can benefit even more from match funding. Just let us know and we’ll try to accomodate you.

If you want to find out more about match funding, visit our match funding and finance page here…


marketing plan for small business

For entrepreneurs new to the world of marketing, common buzzwords and phrases surrounding themes such as social media, digital content or the dreaded search engine optimisation (SEO) may seem daunting. A clear and achievable marketing plan is absolutely vital to the success of a small business, however, and need not be complicated.

Whether you decide to hire marketing professionals or go it alone, the following tips highlight the importance of a small business marketing plan:

1. Good planning helps target customers and improve receptivity

One of the golden (and, sadly, overlooked) rules of successful marketing is to accurately define your target audience. Understanding the needs and desires of your target demographic will help you tremendously when you’re drawing up plans to market and advertise your services, as well as help you to pick and choose your marketing channels more wisely.

If you’re a company that markets products towards an older demographic, for example, it may be beneficial to avoid spending too much time on social media channels that they rarely use. If you’re hoping to appeal to a younger demographic, the opposite may be true.

2. Understanding the marketing landscape promises better returns and efficiency

Once you know who your audience is, it is important that you consider the various ways in which they can be reached. This could include:

• Content marketing (blog posts, podcasts, videos etc)

• Social media (networks such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn)

• Search engine marketing (understanding how to increase your visibility in search engines)

• Public relations (knowing how to generate good publicity around your brand)

• Advertising (including pay-per-click advertising on search engines)

As you can see, there is a lot that goes into a comprehensive marketing plan. However, it is not necessary to put the same amount of effort into every strategy. Understanding the various methods you can use to market you business, as well as planning out how much time you should spend on each, will optimise your marketing strategy considerably.

3. A plan is a tool with which to measure success

Strategies and itineraries rarely go to plan, but this does not have to be a bad thing. Setting out a plan allows you to measure what went well over a given period of time, as well as what did not go so well, and provides a wealth of information about how to improve your marketing strategy in the future.


Ideal Accounting Client, Accountant Marketing, Marketing for Accountancy

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