IPA Release Results of its 3rd TouchPoint Survey

The IPA (Institute of Practitioners in Advertising) released the results today of its third TouchPoints Survey which collected data on how 6050 UK adults spend their time and what role media play in their lives.  Carried out by Ipsos Media CT on IPA’s behalf, this “week in the life of” a typical Brit is a thorough investigation – the 6050 individuals had to complete substantial questionnaires and e-diaries, the data from which was collated every 30 minutes for a week! Making it “the first, consumer-centric, multi-media study available to all”

As well as the details and sheer quantity of data that was collected in late 2009/early 2010, this survey’s other key value is in providing trend/comparative data to monitor changes since it was first completed in 2006.  Below are are its main findings (click on this link to access the full data on the IPA website) – percentages refer to amount of time or usage in a week:

  • Communicating with others: People are spending less time talking face-to-face than previously but it is still the dominant way to communicate (81% of time in 2006 down to 75% in 2010); 57% of adults use a mobile phone, typically using 11% of their communication time to do so, whilst texting & picture messaging is up to 4%. Time spent writing on paper has dropped to just 1% in total.
  • What we watch: TV still dominates with an average of 3.7 hours watched a day (and a weekly reach of 98%) with the internet only taking up an average of 1.8 hours a day/75% reach (although this is a 38% increase since 2006 up from 1.3 hours which is driven mainly through the use of social networking). The BBC is dominant as the supplier of media, reaching 98% of all UK adults via TV, radio, online & magazine channels.
  • The internet: 75% use the internet (up from 53% in 2008), with slightly more men than women using it, but a large majority of usage being London/ South East based. Emailing takes 20% share of internet activity whilst social networking has risen to 11% (just under 40% of adults use social networking for at least an hour a week ). Time spent accessing media online is growing exponentially – radio/podcasts up 166% and TV up 216% from previous surveys. 16% of adults use mobile phones to access the internet.
  • Social media: vast majority of users are 15-24 year olds but in total 37% of adults use social media. 35% of adults use Facebook (compared to 79% of 15-24s!) whereas only 4% of adults use Twitter and only 1.4% used Linkedin.
  • Life-style: the recession had a clear effect with 33% of respondents agreeing they work longer hours, with 44% feeling more stressed. 54% said they had “tightened their belts significantly” with 72% preferring to save up for something expensive rather than put it on their credit card.

We hope you can use this summary to help you target your marketing and sales activities in 2010. If you would like to know more about how market research benefits your business, contact us for a discussion or alternatively, we can introduce you to our specialist Market Research partner who can devise specific research for your business.

SMEs increase their Marketing Spend in 2010

Today’s Dangerous Marketing Blog article highlights the latest survey to come out on how SMEs are spending their marketing budgets in 2010 – concluding that SMEs are using more marketing channels more frequently and increasing their marketing spend accordingly to accelerate their growth out of the recession.

Full article available here. Alternatively, if you would like to explore how Pragmatic Performance Group’s Interim Marketing Managers could give your SME the boost it needs to beat the competition, contact us now for an initial consultation free of charge.

Entrepreneurs Bootcamp Graduate wins another Hollywood Accolade

Hot on the heels on one Entrepreneurs Bootcamp graduate’s award winning exploits follows a second one!  MD of SketchWork Productions, Justin Heasman’s special effects prowess on indy film ‘Burn’ has helped the film get an Honorable Narrative Award in the Los Angeles Movie Awards.

See our Bootcamp News Blog for more details.

Entrepreneurs Bootcamp Graduate wins Microsoft National Competition!

Here at PPG Ltd, we are delighted to see one of our Entrepreneurs Bootcamp graduates add to his pile of awards by winning yet another entrepreneurs’ competition! Nick Palfrey, MD of MooFu Ltd, has won the Creativity Explorer prize awarded by Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 8 Life Academy. Nick impressed the panel of judges, lead by Professor Robert Winston to win a substantial pot of cash to enable him to promote his new product LEVROS.

See our Bootcamp News Blog for more details.

IoD Comments on the Emergency Budget

The Institute of Director’s Chief Economist Graeme Leach describes today’s Emergency Budget as a “welcome dose of common sense” and congratulates the chancellor for a “bold and decisive” Budget.  Read more about this and our summary of the changes affecting business in our article IoD believes Emergency Budget is “right medicine for the economy” on our Leadership & Strategy Development blog.

Late Payments Still a Problem for SMEs

Research by the Royal Bank of Scotland & Natwest has been widely reported today that 71% of SMEs had to cope with late payments in the last year, totalling over £60bn in unpaid bills (of which c. £15bn was overdue by more than 120 days). In parallel, the FSB stated that nearly 4000 businesses closed in 2008 due to invoices not getting paid on time.

Peter Ibbetson (Head of Small Business Banking at RBS) commented in the BBC website article “Bad debts and late payment of invoices are endemic problems for UK businesses. What’s concerning is that so few are making use of services from their bank to help alleviate the problem.”. He recognised that a key problem for small businesses is that they simply do not have the resources to focus on debt collection.

However Stephen Alambritis of the FSB countered in the same article that the banks are helping the problem at the moment: “It’s a huge problem for small businesses. When a small firm is paid late, it’s forced to go to the bank and with the banks being a bit tetchy at the moment, it’s a difficult position. Banks are not loaning and giving overdrafts which means small firms feel like banks themselves. Large firms are improving their cash flow on the back of smaller suppliers.”

In earlier research in February 2010, the FSB had also pointed the finger at the public sector for being the worst offenders, with one in three payments being made late.  In the FSB/ICM research, businesses were asked whether they received payment from different types of organisations early, late or on time. Broken down by sector, whilst the figures for ‘late payment’ for the Private Sector were 34% and the Education Sector 22%, the Public Sector made up the rest (listed in ascending order: Police/fire 18%; Devolved Government 23%; Olympics 2012 25%; Local authorities 25%; NHS 29%; Government agencies 30%; EU institutions 30% and UK Central Government 31%).

This reluctance to pay on time caused 41% of small businesses to resort to using personal savings; 43% being reliant on overdrafts and 21% using a personal credit card to stay afloat. The feedback implied that this self-reliance was forced on them as they met with more refusal than support from the banks.

In their rbs_liquidity_magazine_issue5 the RBS offers a number of ways for businesses to look after their cash flow and keep their liquidity safe.  As business owners we all know that cash-flow is king, and as we all work through the recovered from the recession, there is still a lot to do to sort out payment processes to smaller businesses. At PPG Ltd, we always recommend to our clients that they pay on time (or even early!) to encourage a good relationship with suppliers that can provide a life-saver is tough times. When was the last time you reviewed your payment processes to your suppliers? If you would like an objective view on how you can get yourself into a more secure cash-flow position, contact us for a free of charge review.

Launch of TWBC Premier Business Club in Plymouth

The Women’s Business Club (TWBC) helps and supports women at all stages of their business or careers, to move forward and grow.   Led by founder and MD Kelly Stevens, who is passionate about supporting women in business and encouraging entrepreneurship, the TWBC enables business women to learn from each other, promote their businesses, find inspiration and make important business contacts.  TWBC members are a supportive community of women in business from all over the UK , who have vision for their businesses and careers, and work to encourage and support each other.

PPG Events are delighted to announce that our Marketing Director, Sue Windley, has been selected as the host for the new TWBC Premier Business Club in Plymouth to complement the recently set up clubs in Exeter and Truro.  The TWBC Premier Business Clubs aren’t just another networking group, but a hub where women can focus on collaboration and peer group support to develop their business relationships faster and add more value to their membership.

The Premier Clubs are for business founders, freelancers and professional women at management level within larger companies – ambitious women with the long term vision for their business careers who understand the immense benefit gained by working cooperatively.

Premier Club members meet once a month over a working lunch to work closely together to pool resources and share experience, contacts and expertise. Memberships at each club are capped to ensure each club remains small enough to facilitate a highly charged collaborative environment.

The TWBC Premier Business Club has its first meeting on Wednesday 17th March 2010 at noon at Duke of Cornwall Hotel, Millbay Road, Plymouth, PL1 3LG.  You are welcome to come along as a guest or member, but booking is essential to ensure a space.  Click on the TWBC Plymouth link to see the upcoming meeting dates and book your place with one click!

New pot of funding for SMALL Businesses in Devon & Cornwall available in March 2010.

As an approved supplier for Business Link in Devon & Cornwall, we are always looking out for funding to help our clients – and here is the latest pot to be made available.  It is the TRAIN TO GAIN (TTG) Leadership & Management Advisory Service (LMAS) funding that is aimed at BUSINESS OWNERS & DIRECTORS, which has been around for a while but usually only available to organisations with 10-249 employees.   But in March 2010, a limited pot of funds will be made available to SMALL BUSINESSES with 1 – 9 employees.  As it is limited, it is available on a first-come, first served basis.

The funding available is UP TO £1000 and consists of 2 parts:

  • £500 grant that covers the cost of delivery of a training programme/event ie the business can claim up to £500 back
  • £500 matched funding, where an equal amount of funding is matched against what the business pays for the training.

Therefore if the business claims the full amount, it means you can access £1,500 worth of training for the cost of £500.  You have a wide choice for the type of training or development that is eligible for the funding, including accredited management qualifications, day courses, coaching & mentoring support etc.  For example, you may want to know more about using Social Media or learn about what different aspects of Marketing would be right for your business.  What is NOT covered is any mandatory/statutory training (such as Health and Safety), any technical training that you need to do your job (eg if you run a web development company, you could not claim for update training) or assessment costs for accreditation such as ISO or IiP.

Of course there will be some paperwork to do, but at PPG we usually are able to do this on your behalf – and the TTG support team will help you with the rest! Other considerations you will need to be aware of:

  • The TTG funding ONLY covers the actual cost of delivery – it does not cover VAT or additional expenses such as subsidence and travel – these are payable by the business.
  • To claim both/either the grant &/or the matched funding, you will have had to pay for the training before making your funding claim as you will need proof of payment, so you will need to pay out money first.  However the funding claim process is pretty straightforward and TTG will try to get the funding back to you as soon as possible (typically a couple of weeks).
  • You need to claim the funding claim within 90 days of the start date of any training and development as any claims after the 90 days cannot be guaranteed to be refunded.

Most importantly, this funding is only available during March 2010 with a limited number of applications available, so it will be provided on a first come, first served basis.  Contact Us at PPG if you want to know more specific information regarding your own business and how we can help you access this pot of gold!

FSB Devon Business Awards 2010

The Federation of Small Business in Devon have just launched their 3rd Annual Business Awards with categories that cover Best New Business, Service Excellence, Environmental Responsibility, Training and Development, IT in Business, Enterprise & Endeavour, Best Young Entrepreneur and Employee of the Year.

The Awards are open to any business based in Devon.  Application Forms can be downloaded from the category links on the FSB Devon website.

Closing date for entries is 19th March 2010 and the short lists will be announced on 19th April 2010.

Go on – be brave.  You know your business deserves it!

Cornwall Business Awards 2010

The Cornwall Business Awards 2010 are calling for applications to be put in for their various categories in prepartion for the awards ceremony on 20 May 2010 at St Mellion International Resort.

Organised and presented by the Cornwall Development Company in partnership with SWRDA and Business Link, there are a wide range of categories including awards for the best Young Enterprise, Young Business Person, Social Enterprise, Business Improvement through People, Best Use of Technology and Best Diversification.  All category winners then get put forward for the overall Winner of Winners Award for Business.

Closing date for entries is midnight on 14th March 2010.  All businesses based in Cornwall are eligible to apply – click here for the Entry Page on the Cornwall Business Awards website.