Posted by: Jo Duxbury | 30 July 2011

Customer service 101 for car dealers

Anyone who’s following me on Twitter is probably bored witless with my ongoing search for a new car. Two years ago (I know… I am not an impulse buyer) I started looking into upgrading my trusty Golf. After a ton of research (thank you Google) and viewing loads of YouTube reviews, I shortlisted a few models. The Twittersphere has been really useful – how else would I get near-instant helpful advice from the editor of CAR Magazine and other in-the-know petrol heads? I so appreciate their assistance.

I thought that deciding on a model would be the hard part, and actually buying one would be fun. Wrong. Read More…

Posted by: Jo Duxbury | 26 June 2011

It’s nice to be quoted

I was quoted in two articles recently which was rather nice:

Spicing up the marketing mix – which is all about how social media is adding a new flavour to traditional marketing channels, and is finally being taken seriously. I weigh in on what makes for an effective company page on Facebook.

Digital marketing: Get the push vs pull balance right. This is about how, when you’re marketing online, you can’t rely on people coming to your website or other online property – you need to set up channels that will push content out to your audience. (Think how when you ‘like’ a brand on Facebook, they send content through to your news feed.)

Thank you to Lezette at IT Web and Vanessa at TwoKats for African Business Review for the mentions 🙂


Posted by: Jo Duxbury | 17 February 2011

Social media and manners: Mutually exclusive?

I’ve got to get something off my chest. Frankly, rather than writing a blog post, I’d prefer to poke a few people in the eye. And I don’t mean a virtual, Facebook-style poke. Let me explain…

Please note that this is my personal (OK, professional, but in my own capacity) blog and what I say in this post is purely my own opinion and has absolutely nothing to do with Habari.

I spent this morning at the Habari/ADvantage Facebook Connects event in Sandton. Because Peppermint Source does a lot of content strategy and management work for Domino, Habari’s freshly minted (see what I did there?) social media division, they asked me if I’d speak about content strat on Domino’s behalf. Which I agreed to quite readily, although had second thoughts when I saw who else would be speaking – two people with impressive titles from Facebook as well as senior people from respected local agencies. Eek. Anyway, turns out my four solid days of preparation and two run-throughs paid off and my presentation was pretty well received and generated some potential work (and a new fan/stalker). Excellent.

What got on my nerves though was some of the tweets that were flapping around during the session. Read More…

Posted by: Jo Duxbury | 3 November 2010

Plagiarism – second time around

I had an email from a contact today alerting me to the dodgy activities of an outsourced marketing consultant in Jo’burg who is passing off other people’s content as her own – and fraudulently claiming accreditations and membership of associations that are simply untrue. My contact wanted to verify if indeed this person is a member of Freelancentral (she isn’t). I went to take a quick look at this person’s website and surprise, surprise, she has stolen content from me too. Read More…

Posted by: Jo Duxbury | 15 August 2010

The no. 1 marketing mistake mid-sized companies make

Whew – tons of work with some exciting clients has meant my blogging has taken a back seat for the last few months. There are some exciting things happening over at Peppermint Source – all will be revealed soon.

I did manage to write up a column for IT Web last month. It presents the main mistake I see the companies I consult to and their contemporaries making, when it comes to their marketing.

Check out the article here and do let me know if you agree.

Posted by: Jo Duxbury | 12 March 2010

Don’t skimp on marketing strategy

The second in my ‘Marketing 101’ series of articles for IT Web was published last week, and in it, I talk about the importance of having a solid marketing strategy in place before a company starts on any of their actual marketing deliverables.

So often I see clients who are just keen to get going on their new website, or a flyer, or to book exhibition space at a product expo. My job is to rein them in a little (without damping their enthusiasm!) and get them to assess what their messages are, who they should be reaching and how best they can do it. Sometimes this means that a website or expo stand isn’t the most appropriate vehicle, nor will it give them the best ROI.

Getting going on marketing projects without a strategy in place is like putting the cart before the horse. In the long run, a good strategy will save you time, effort and money. And remember, a strategy isn’t a document you write once, agree to and then file it away, never to be seen again. It should be reviewed at least quarterly, and when significant changes occur in your business or marketplace.

Fail to plan and you plan to fail.

Posted by: Jo Duxbury | 1 March 2010

How much would you give away for free?

I’ve recently attend several meetings with various new client prospects. It’s got me thinking: how many meetings or how many hours should a consultant offer for free, before charging a client for his/her time?

Doctors, lawyers, accountants and other professionals probably never see a client without billing for their time. So why should clients expect marketing consultants to offer up freebies?

Where does business development end and giving away ideas for nothing begin? In the preliminary meetings I attend, I try not to give away any ideas (it’s dangerous without having a solid brief anyway – I could be off base and then look like I don’t know what I’m talking about). Rather, those initial  meetings need to be about gathering information so I can put accurate quotes together.

I’ve been good previously about not actually meeting with clients until I have a signed estimate and deposit in the bank. I’m happy to chat on the phone and yes, there are sometimes exceptions. But lately, I seem to be spending a lot of time in my car, driving to meetings with clients who never end up converting to paying customers.

Perhaps my initial screening process is flawed and I should talk about money up front. If the client baulks at say the price of the marketing healthcheck that we offer over at Peppermint Source, they are probably not the right type of client for me.

How do you screen potential clients? And at what point do you start charging for your time? Please do share your thoughts on this in the comments below – from either a consultant’s or client’s perspective.

Posted by: Jo Duxbury | 1 February 2010

Peppermint Source has launched!

Whew – it’s been a busy couple of weeks but I’m proud to announce that Freelancentral’s spin-off, Peppermint Source, has now launched officially.

Check it out here: (where you’ll see the logo is less lime green… not sure why WordPress is making it look that way!).

Basically, Peppermint Source is a full-service outsourced marketing solution. It’s perfect for companies who don’t have the time, skills or staff to handle their marketing in-house – but who also aren’t sure how to work with freelancers, or perhaps don’t have enough going on to warrant using an agency.

We start with a marketing ‘healthcheck’ – a day-long workshop where we go through your company’s current marketing activity, target market, services and offering, USPs, value-adds, etc. Then we go away and process it all, finally drawing up a practical marketing strategy and implementation plan. Clients can then choose to use Peppermint Source to roll it out, do it themselves, or hire freelancers.

The best bit is that for implementation, we can draw on our pool of over 4,500 freelancers on Freelancentral – cherry-picking the perfect creatives for your projects.

We’ve already had several great enquiries from a number of companies in both South Africa and the UK (of course the Rand makes outsourcing marketing to South Africa very affordable!) so here’s to a great year 🙂

Posted by: Jo Duxbury | 7 January 2010

The mystery of the ‘vegetarian milk’ solved!

Last March I blogged about a baffling icon on my favourite pot of Woolworths’ yoghurt that said ‘vegetarian milk’. At last the mystery is solved! Read More…

Posted by: Jo Duxbury | 23 December 2009

UPDATED: Which of these logos works best?

I’ve been working with Molo for several months now to define their marketing strategy – and now we’re starting to implement it. The first step is to update their logo and corporate identity. And they’d like to do a little market research on the options we’ve come up with for them.

So… please take a look at the logos below and let me know:

  • What type of company you think each logo represents? (industry/type of work)
  • What brand values you think each logo portrays? (adjectives to describe the business – e.g. honest, forward-thinking, conservative, etc.)

Any other feedback is welcomed too! Thanks very much. Read More…

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