HAPPY BIRTHDAY INVOKE MEDIA: 6 YEARS OLD TODAY

Invoke Media: A Brief History

Today we are celebrating 6 years of Invoke Media…kind of. 

Much like the queen, we’ve actually got two birthdays. The day we started trading, and the day we became incorporated as a limited company, which as it happens was the 1st August 2013.

Our story has previously been untold, and to be honest there’s probably not that many people interested…but allow us to be self indulgent for a day. It is our birthday after all.

2009-2010: The Planning Years

The idea for the business came way back early in 2010, in a remote patrol base in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. An unusual starting for the business to say the least, but our director was serving and in his down time came up with the ideas and plans for the business & the events that it was to organise and market. 

Having been involved in the planning and promotion of events before and during his service, he made the decision to return to ‘civvy street’, attend university and concurrently set up business to organise and consult on events marketing. A prospectus was sent out and ideas for successful events to come were thrashed out in the sweltering heat of Southern Afghanistan.

2011 – 2013: The Early Years

The first 18 months were spent working closely with local licensed trade, UCLan Student’s Union and numerous small businesses in the Preston area. There were many successes, many more failures but things generally were going well.

It was on 1st August 2013 that the business was incorporated on the advice of our accountants (who we still work with to this day) Woodville Accountancy. Being a limited company gave us more legitimacy and our client base grew. Rebel Marketing & Promotions Ltd. was born.

Rebel Marketing (Invoke) organised, marketed & sold out many successful events. Including a 2000 capacity festival.

2013 – 2015: The Formative Years

Our client base diversified and we cut our teeth in new industries, with the business moving away from events and licensed trade (for the most part). We honed our skills in lead generation, paid social and PPC. Our reputation grew and after a successful consultancy project disaster struck!

Our director was headhunted by an agency in Manchester. He became a director in that business and for a short period, Rebel Marketing as it was then known, became dormant.

2015 – 2018: The Birth of Invoke Media

The current Invoke Media brand was born in Manchester, servicing clients in the city and across the North of England.

Whilst working in a busy Manchester agency was exciting, the clients considerably larger and well known, and the Manchester lifestyle extremely appealing; our director decided to return to his passion and reignite the entrepreneurial freedom of working for himself.

He left the agency and reactivated Rebel Marketing, with several key clients moving over to the business. 

Rebel Marketing was born in and branded for a different client base and in a different time, it was time for something new. So in 2015 Invoke Media was born.

Over the next 3 years the business went through highs and lows, expanding and contracting, moving with the market and developing its offering. 

Old skills were honed to perfection, new skills were learned and new strategies and tactics were innovated.

In this period over 6 million pounds of customer ad spend was spent, new industries explored and a solid reputation was developed.

2018 – 2019: The Return & Rapid Growth

Once again our director was offered a directorship in another business, a business centre located in Preston, his home town. Learning from the mistakes of previous years, the role was time limited and the focus was clear…Invoke was to be the priority.

In the immediate 6 months after taking up this role, something became clear…Preston had changed. 

The development and investment in the city was impressive, the attitudes & success of local businesses was positive and entrepreneurial spirit plentiful.

In summer of 2018 Invoke Media streamlined its operations, closed up shop in Manchester and moved to Cotton Court Business Centre in Preston. 

Becoming an active player in the local business landscape, expanding & developing networks and securing multiple key accounts, revenue has nearly quadrupled. A testament to the thriving business ecosystem, positive attitudes and support being provided in the Central Lancashire area.

The addition of hospitality and recruitment wings of the business is well underway after a series of high profile wins and successful campaigns. With the team growing and 2020 looking to be another record year for the business.

So today we celebrate 6 years of being a legal entity, highs, lows, successes & failures. We look forward to another 6 years of marketing excellence in a city that is going from strength to strength.

Invoke Media partners with local hospitality heavyweights

Invoke Media announces a major client win, securing the digital marketing contract for The San Marco Group of restaurants.

The family owned and operated group of Italian restaurants have a footprint across the Central Lancashire area, operating five highly successful established restaurants and bars.

Since late January, Invoke have been providing marketing consultancy services to the group and each establishment individually, as well as implementing a social media and email marketing strategy.

Understanding the importance of maintaining a clear & engaging online presence, the group approached Invoke to pitch a proposal for the future marketing of each restaurant and the group as a whole; with Invoke revelling at the opportunity to work with such a respected brand.

 

Invoke Media Director Jack Barron says…

“This is a great opportunity for both businesses. We’ve had some interesting discussions on how to progress the brand online and we’re excited at the results of those conversations.

The strategy is sound, aligned with the prestige of the San Marco brand and is aimed at engaging an already loyal customer base, as well as attracting new customers who haven’t had the pleasure of dining with them yet.

I have personally been eating at restaurants from across the group since I was knee-high, so I fully buy into what they stand for and am already a strong brand advocate. I’m also looking forward to passing off regular meals out as market research that’s for sure. I really didn’t need any more excuse to go to Angelo’s or Stratos after work.”

 

Invoke Media’s Jack Barron (left) and San Marco Director Carlo Bragagnini (right)

 

San Marco Director Carlo Bragagnini says…

“We’ve tried numerous approaches to our digital marketing over the years and understand the importance of not only maintaining our online presence, but driving forward with new tactics and techniques.

We’ve had some great success at doing this over the years but it’s hard work keeping on top of the latest developments and implementing them effectively. We felt that it was time to bring in the experts, and had contact with a number of marketing agencies.

Invoke came highly recommended by a number of close contacts and we felt that their proposal was by far the most aligned with where we want to be and the brand overall.”

The partnership comes amid a series of high profile local client wins for Invoke, having only moved their operation back to Preston from Manchester earlier on in 2018.

 

All online marketing for the group will now be managed by Invoke, with brands coming under their remit including:

The San Marco Group

Trattoria San Marco

Angelo’s

Pinocchio’s

The Italian Orchard

Stratos

Services Provided:

Marketing Consultancy

Paid Social Advertisements

Social Media Management

Email Marketing

 

Further Information

Invoke Media are a marketing consultancy based at Preston’s Cotton Court Business Centre, having moved from their Manchester base in 2018.

Specialising in consultative strategy and paid social advertisements, they service a range of local and national clients across both B2B and B2C markets.

 

Press Contact:

Jack Barron, Director

Email:

Jack@Invokemedia.co.uk

Telephone:

01772  921 109

What Marketing Teams Want From Their Leaders (Research Results)

Over the last 18 months we’ve been conducting research to support the development of an e-learning solution for in-house marketing teams. A large part of that research has involved speaking to marketing executives from across the North of England to ask their opinions, feelings and thoughts for the future.

Inevitably, the subject of marketing leadership (or lack of it) featured prominently. We decided to dive a little deeper into the topic and find out what in-house marketing teams want from their immediate leadership, the directors and senior managers that they report to.

The full research is due to be published alongside the launch of the e-learning platform, but I wanted to give you a sneak peak at some of the results in advance, in the hope that they can be used to effectively manage and lead your own team now.

There were a few common themes that ran through the research.

General Satisfaction

In general, people are satisfied or happy with their leadership but acknowledge room for improvement.

Marketers were asked to rate the leadership/management style of the person that they report to on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being extremely satisfied and 1 being completely dissatisfied.

The average score was 3.9, showing a general disposition towards being happy with how they’re managed.

Who They Report To

Those who reported to a marketing director were more satisfied than those who reported to a managing director or sales director.

Participants were asked about their general satisfaction at work and the performance of their leaders. They were also asked who their team reported to. We then used this data to assess if there was a correlation between the person they report to (and their role) and perceived performance and satisfaction.

The most satisfied marketers reported to a head of marketing, marketing director, digital marketing lead or senior marketing manager.

The least satisfied reported directly to the managing director or sales director, with reasons ranging from a lack of understanding of the marketing function, too much of a focus on sales (by sales directors) and being held back from trying new channels/tactics from lack of understanding.

Things They Liked About Their Leaders

The things their leaders did well were generally soft skills and qualitative.

Which areas do you think your leadership does well?

Positive Attitude 75.9%

Commitment 62.1%

Honesty 56.9%

Passion 62.1%

The Things That Need Improvement

Communication and time management were common themes throughout the research. Many of the qualitative exchanges revolved around clear communication, last minute or unrealistic deadlines and being incorrectly briefed.

Which areas could your leadership improve on?

Communication 37.9%
Time management 32.8%

Inspiring Others 29.3%

Creativity & Innovation 22.4%

Delegation 20.7%

My Thoughts

Whilst the research is ongoing I think it’s important to take a step back and look at the data so far to see if there are opportunities to explore other areas of emerging themes. So far it’s given us some lines of enquiry for further investigation.

It’s also massively important to realise that research alone doesn’t give a full picture. The most value has come from the qualitative exchanges between my team and in-house marketers and the open ended questions we’ve included in the research.

My experience of good leadership both in my prior line of work and in business has ultimately boiled down to a leader listening to, considering and engaging their team. That to me is one of the key differences between managing and leading a team to success.

This research has certainly given me some food for thought and there is obviously a clear demand for marketers to be led by someone who understands their job, communicates clearly and with commitment. I’m looking forward to publishing the full results in the near future!

Jack Barron

Managing DirectorInvoke Media

Group Marketing DirectorThe Cotton Court Group

virtual marketing director remote

Deciding whether to hire a virtual marketing director

Has your business got to the stage where it needs to hire a new marketing director?

 

If so then you’ve reached an important time in your businesses lifecycle, but there’s no need to dive straight into hiring a permanent member of senior management just yet. You’ve got options!

 

Of course hiring a dedicated on-site marketing director would be an ideal solution for many businesses, but it isn’t always necessary and there’s the obvious cost associated. The average UK marketing director salary sits at around £84,000, and when you take into consideration national insurance & pension contributions, sick days, holidays and perks you’re looking at well over £100,000.

 

Another option to consider is hiring a virtual or remote marketing director. While many of those on offer are completely remote from your business, Invoke Media have managed to strike a happy medium between the on-site and virtual solutions.

 

Our virtual marketing directors spend most of their time off-site, but on-hand to handle any queries and checking in with the team at various times through the week to ensure progress is being made. In addition they hold weekly skype team meetings and will be present on-site at least once per week.

 

Jack Barron, Invoke Media’s Managing Director and one of our Virtual Marketing Directors says:

 

“Our virtual marketing solution is a new take on two existing ideas. We understand the need for an on-site presence and regular contact with the team, but also acknowledge the cost benefits of the virtual solution. We were quite surprised not to find anyone on the market providing such an offering and jumped at the opportunity”.

 

The virtual marketing director from Invoke offers businesses who have the need for a marketing director to access the skills and experience provided by one, but also makes it accessible to those businesses who are not quite ready to pay for a new full-time director.

 

They offer flexibility and access to wider network of contacts, professionals and future customers. The real winning factor with a virtual marketing director however, low commitment needed by businesses.

 

“Businesses are initially committed to a three month agreement, but after that it turns to a 30 day rolling contract. This ensures that we don’t get any time wasters, our directors have enough time to plan and implement strategy, but most importantly our customers don’t feel as though they are trapped. Their new virtual director has to stay on top of their game month-to-month. There’s no room for complacency,” Barron says.

 

Another major advantage of a virtual marketing director is of course the cost. On average businesses can save over £76,000 by going virtual.

 

“By shifting the overheads to Invoke and keeping on-site hours, benefits, national insurance and pension contributions out of the picture, businesses can save a staggering amount. We’re living in the digital age where business need not be bound by geographical limitations. This allows us to burden the cost, but spread it amongst several clients. You’re receiving the same level of commitment, experience and skill for a quarter of the price. The difference between an in-house employee and virtual director is staggering. That money can either be kept within the business or reinvested into marketing spend,” Barron continues.


The decision on whether to hire a virtual marketing director versus an in-house employee is heavily dependent on your business circumstances, available budget and willingness to adopt new work practices. Hopefully this article has provided some further insight and helped you with your decision.

 

marketing plan for small business

The importance of a clear marketing plan for small businesses

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.

 

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Over 50% of Lancashire SME’s will fail within the first 5 years