Strategy Plus

The Big Peg community is home to the fantastic Strategy Plus, one of the Midlands leading digital marketing agencies. We really enjoyed catching up with them and finding out a bit more about their business

We would love you to tell us about your business?

Strategy Plus is a small and perfectly formed Digital Marketing Agency established way back in 1997 by Marketing Consultant Keith Ricardo. Keith, or Ricardo as he liked to be called (I wonder why), envisioned massive potential in the internet; thus took a young web developer under his wing named Cris (who is still with the business today, operating from a separate office in Bucharest).

Keith's son and Marketing Graduate, Daniel, joined the Agency in 2001 and took over the running of the business in 2012. This change has been instrumental in evolving the Agency from a Web Design & SEO business, into a complete holistic Digital Marketing Agency for SMEs.

How do you build a successful customer base?

Daniel prides the business on it's strong Marketing roots and the understanding of SME’s need for real ROI. Whether it's a Social Media post, Video or Website Content, Strategy Plus understand that we only succeed by growing others.

When we started in the 2000s, we won customers by the good old-fashioned cold call. Fast forwarding a decade later, Inbound Marketing became our focus; thankfully we haven't made a cold call in nearly nine years!

Inbound Marketing has 5 clear steps to success:
Research
Create
Engage
Convert
Grow

What has been your favourite highlight to date?

It’s hard to pinpoint a specific moment or event, but the gradual development of the network we’ve built with local businesses, chemistry within our office, and skills we are continuously improving produce prolific instances of communal good faith, hilarity and success.

Do you have any predictions on trends?

We predict that AI will affect our industry eventually; as data becomes more accessible and advertising becomes more targeted, our industry will encounter challenges as well as experience benefits. There will be many changes in the future of Digital Marketing, but if you stick with the 5 steps of Inbound Marketing, you will be ok. Do remember though, platforms such as Facebook and Instagram will always expect to get paid by you at some point, we would always recommend that businesses be prepared to have some budget for paid advertising.

If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?

For those starting out in business, we would say don't be afraid to continually try new things. Not everything will work, but you won’t find out what will without trial & error. Very little comes easy in life, so be patient.

For Digital Marketing particularly, there’s of course SEO, Web Design, PPC, Social Media, Email/Video Marketing and more fields of expertise (which will only increase in the future as technology develops), but we would recommend that you study marketing initially. When the service you provide is Return On Investment, it’s paramount that you understand the process of sales.

What is your biggest challenge?

Our biggest challenge is being hard-nosed business people, we don't like issuing contracts and invoices, which are pretty important in business. If you don't like doing it, outsource to someone who does.

Digital Marketing is a challenging area for many reasons:

We stick to our guns. We don't tie people into fixed term contracts and never get involved in 'black hat' techniques, whether it's for SEO or Social Media.

Why did you choose The Big Peg for office?

We chose The Big Peg originally because it was in the heart of the Jewellery Quarter, and having previously been in the Aston Science park, we were desperate for somewhere with lots of like-minded businesses with a bit of energy to the area. Since then we have seen so many more benefits, we have been able to move offices as the size of the team changed and gained lots of new customers and contacts. We've been here since 2006 and can happily see us here for another decade.

What do you like about being based in the Jewellery Quarter?

Aside from the bustling lifestyle, traditional ambience and variety of small businesses to network with, we love the Jewellery Quarter so much we created and still run a website for the area, along with lots of its social media.

Where would you recommend for lunch?

We couldn't possibly recommend just one place for food, but there are over 15 places available for discount with our JQ Card. As we’ve had a member of our team leave and another arrive recently, we’ve treated ourselves to lunch at both The Rose Villa Tavern and The Red Lion.

To find out more about Strategy Plus and how they can help your business visit their website.

 

Narce Media

We were delighted to have the fantastic Narce Media join our vibrant and growing community at The Big Peg, earlier in the year.

Formed by Aston University graduates Connor Watt and Joseph Housley last year, Narce Media is a video production specialist with its focus on highly ambitious B2B organisations. After winning seed funding from a Santander funded pitching competition, they finally had something to get the ball rolling – not a lot, but it was a key step to fulfilling their lifetime ambition of owning a business. They were fast tracked onto the BSEEN incubator and the growth has continued.

We caught up with Connor, to find out more about their business

Tell us more about Narce Media, what do you do?

We attempted the impossible – starting a business with zero money. A year ago, we were two poor students on an extremely tight budget and had degree final year exams fast approaching. With the conclusion of university, we decided that this was the time to take action on our long-standing dream to start a business – Narce Media.

The overwhelming rise of digital media is here to stay, and with it comes a generation who spend significantly more time online which has undeniably changed the way we consume video. This radical shift gives you the immense opportunity to reach more people than ever before. Narce Media is a team who have been engrossed throughout the birth of the digital revolution, who deeply understand the value new media channels can bring and the ins and outs of producing a successful video. We love working with ambitious companies from all sectors who are driven to go on and achieve great things and we know video plays a huge part in that potential.

What projects did you have in the pipeline, can you tell us?

We have a few very exciting project currently cooking. One which stands out is TEDx. We are huge fans of TED and are currently working closely with the TEDx team to produce a range of promotional content leading up to the event as well as filming the event itself which will be published to over 18million people via their online channels.

If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?

The hard part is done, you've taken that leap and started. You don’t have to have the final idea, a new idea or come up with the next Facebook or Amazon. People find it very easy to talk themselves out of getting a business going because it feels overwhelming and difficult. The truth is, starting a business isn’t a big difficult task, it’s doing lots of little tasks consistently. There is a great Ted Talk (funnily enough) from Stephen Duneier which I highly recommend everyone watch. He speaks of how an artist’s final masterpiece is an accumulation of millions of tiny shades of grey and in order to get the end result, you need to be patient and shade a tiny piece of grey every day. Work hard, be consistent and understand that things won’t happen overnight, but if you keep shading a little bit at a time, you’ll soon end up with a masterpiece.

What has been your favourite highlight to date?

Our favourite highlight is seeing the impact our videos have on our client’s success. It's hard to pick out one in particular, but, the satisfaction in knowing something you've worked hard to piece together through understanding their business and brand and seeing the results is a feeling which cannot be matched.

Do you have any predictions on trends in your industry?

I feel that video will only get more and more crucial to organisations. The way we consume content is very different to how it was a few years ago. People do not want to read white papers, instead, they want to be fed the content in an easily digestible manner. Personalised, targeted video is starting to feature more and more and I think that trend will grow in the next coming year.

Why did you choose The Big Peg for office?

When deciding on office space, we searched across Birmingham and after visiting The Big Peg we knew this place was the right one. It's in a fantastic location and everyone from the receptionist to the buildings team made us feel extremely welcomed and was passionate in wanting us there. The whole process was extremely smooth and offered us next to complete flexibility to manipulate our space.

What do you like about being based in the Jewellery Quarter?

The Jewellery Quarter is a hive of excitement. There is everything you could possibly need from meeting locations, businesses to collaborate with, transport links and of course plenty of places to grab a beer.

After work drinks and dinner. Any recommendations?

For a more chilled occasion, the button factory or villa rose tavern however if you want something where you can get dancing then St Paul's Square. Andersons is great for food, also situated in St Paul's Square.

What would you say to anyone considering moving the Jewellery Quarter?

Definitely shortlist it!

To find out more about Narce Media and how they can help your business visit their website