Category Archives: Stephen Rhodes

Heartfelt thanks to all our clients, suppliers and associates.

JBMG_5500aBy Jeff Bowmanstephen2

The Marketing Pad Inc. takes home the Platinum!

We are honoured to have been voted the Platinum Award Winners in The Brampton Business Times Reader’s Choice Awards for 2013 in the categories of “Advertising and Marketing”, as well as “Communications and Public Relations” and “Web Design”.bbt_platinum_13-001

We also won Gold in “Graphics” and Silver in “Corporate Training and Development”.

We would like to thank all our clients and suppliers for their support over the past years!

Please read the story on The Marketing Pad at this link.

Brampton Business Times  (Right hand side of page)

The Marketing Pad is very much padding it s CV with more wins in our Top Performers online survey.

With a platinum win in Advertising & Marketing, another in Communications Sales & Service, a gold in Graphics, and another platinum in Web Design, this service provider to the business community is indeed on a roll ….


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Filed under advertising, Communications, Jeff Bowman, Marketing, Stephen Rhodes, Strategic Planning, Training and Development

Newspapers still work because people still read them

By Stephen Rhodes

I am planning a series on media use, both old and new, because we seem to get a disproportionate number of clients coming to us looking to leap into Social Media. Not that social media is bad, but leaping is if you are unsure about what lies below.

The first is about traditional media and in particular newspapers. I have some experience in the area, spending about 30 years as a reporter editor and publisher. Newspapers have fallen on hard times as other media have emerged…magazines, radio, television, online and  social media.

Last year the Toronto Star reported “newspapers are proving so resilient that the term ‘dying newspaper industry’ will be retired in the next year or two.” Remember the predictions about radio’s demise in the 50s – more on that in a future post.

“Newspapers are still profitable, even in the midst of the most punishing ad drought in memory. Readership is at record levels, despite price hikes imposed by publishers. And web interlopers haven’t laid a glove on the industry’s status as society’s dominant news-gatherer.”

Canadian papers  survived “2009’s stomach-churning plunge in advertising revenues” and “appear poised for a bright future” despite anaemic ad revenue growth and the loss of classified.

Readership of Canada’s 95 dailies has increased, with people spending more time reading print editions than they do accessing online versions.

The report concludes that the growing flood of information available on the web “is a boon to traditional newspapers”. Why? Because “they alone have the expertise to quickly collect and verify staggering amounts of data and present it in reader-friendly formats.”

2010 Readership Highlights

47% of adults 18+ read a daily newspaper on the average weekday
73% of adults 18+ read a printed daily newspaper in the past week
22% of adults 18+ read a daily newspaper online in the past week
78% of adults 18+ read either a printed or online edition of a daily newspaper in the past week

Almost 8 out of 10 adults living in markets where daily newspapers are available read either a printed edition or visited a newspaper website each week. Migration to newspaper websites continues, but the printed edition remains the most popular way to read a newspaper. Across all markets 73% read a printed edition of a daily newspaper each week and 71% of readers read only the printed edition.

2010 Study readership results show that 15 million (78% reach) adults read a daily newspaper or visited a newspaper website each week up from 14.7 million in 2009. Newspapers continue to demonstrate their value to Canadians every day. The numbers are a couple of years old, but if you look at the four year trend, it’s positive.

So, newspapers still command readership and that’s good news for someone still trying to reach customers. Coming next – Radio.

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Filed under advertising, Communications, Media, Stephen Rhodes

Spring bulbs can still flower

By Stephen Rhodes

Jeff’s scavenger hunt got me thinking about spring, and the seasonal reboot that tales place once the sun stays in place for any length of time.

By now, you know if your marketing plan is working. Are you happy with the results? If you are, great, keep it up. If not, you need to take a look at the key metrics that you use to measure success. It’s only the second quarter and there is plenty of time to change the trend line.

First, examine your expectations. Were they realistic? Have market conditions put your plan in jeopardy? Has your competitors stepped up their game? Have your customers responded favourably to changes you may have introduced – price increase, new products, improved customer service?

Failure in business often comes from a dogged persistence to stick to a plan that isn’t working. Smart business people are adaptable and open to change.

Smart business people also have their finger on the pulse of their business and have a set of indicators that help them measure success. You need to understand and monitor the metrics that are important to your business.

If one of your goals is to develop new customers and your marketing tools are not getting your message to the people you want to reach, change the tools.

Talk to your customers. Sometimes we get so caught up in the advances of marketing through media darlings like Facebook and Twitter that we forget the old-fashioned telephone can put us in touch with a customer instantly.

There is no shame in adjusting your goals midstream.

If your goal is to drive the top line, revenue, and you have invested heavily to do that, you need to look at what’s working and what isn’t and refocus the investment. If the goal is to protect the bottom line, then you might have to adjust expenses. Hopefully, in any kind of investment in your business, you provided for a reasonable length of time to allow for growth, part of your strategic approach to building your business.

The point here is that there is lots of time to adjust your plan. With a little care and attention, the bulbs you plant this spring will still flower.

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Filed under Communications, Customer Service, Managing, Marketing, Networking, Sales, social capital, Stephen Rhodes, Sustainability

Gift cards are life savers

By Stephen Rhodes

Got that thousand yard Christmas stare;  the vacant look on your face as you stand dead centre in the aisle of your local shopping centre, at least until someone elbows you out of the way?

Christmas shopping can be a terrifying experience.  And as I get older, buying for older friends – many of whom have a houseful of stuff just waiting to be de-cluttered – is even scarier. They have spent a lifetime collecting stuff they don’t need. Daunting.

Enter the gift card. What a marketing phenomenon! Maybe it is not as esthetically pleasing as the big box under the tree but surely more practical.  It gives Christmas Eve shopping a whole new meaning and I don’t even have to go to the retailer whose card I want to purchase, because some marketing genius has placed oodles of these things on racks in convenient retail outlets like Shoppers Drug Mart and Canadian Tire. Even better, I can buy a gift card online and email it to the intended recipient as a simple bar code.

I know, I know, I sound like the Grinch. Hi, Merry Christmas. Check you inbox for your gift. And if you don’t like the card, you can swap it for another. Ho Ho Ho.

Speaking of the Grinch, a consumer watchdog is advising against giving gift cards this holiday season, saying they often go unused and put restrictions on recipients. “Actually, if you see a gift card hanging on the wall, you should run in the opposite direction,” said Bruce Cran, president of the Consumers’ Association of Canada.

Surveys show 86 per cent of people like giving gift cards, but only 40 per cent of people like receiving them. He says 40 per cent of gift cards never get used even though there are companies that will convert your gift card to cash. What a boost for the economy.

Gift cards are a $6 billion a year industry in Canada. I don’t think they are going anywhere soon, and for me it makes buying a gift for that impossible to buy for person easy smeasy.

View our Winter Newsletter.

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Filed under Marketing, Stephen Rhodes

Building Business The Mike Holmes Way

By Jeff Bowman

I have said over and over again that trust is the glue that binds business relationships. The overarching goal of any business activity whether it be sales, marketing or networking is to develop a level of trust with your client base and prospects. Stephen Rhodes wrote an excellent piece on trust earlier this year and reinforces the link between trust and business growth.

I read an article this weekend that really drove home the message. It appeared in the Costco magazine and was entitled Holmes is where the hearth is. The article talks about the empire Mike Holmes has built on one simple premise, trust. His blunt forthright attitude and his blue-collar approach to business development through understanding customer needs and delivering top-notch quality has made him the second most trusted person in Canada according to a 2010 poll. Yes, he is more trusted than Peter Mansbridge, and sits behind only David Suzuki.  Not bad for a guy who comes from an industry (contracting) which was ranked in the same poll as the 4th least trusted profession. Holmes himself is quoted as saying “This is the easiest business I know of where people can get screwed legally.”

I had the pleasure of meeting Mike Holmes a few years back when we where keynote speakers at the Construction Safety Association’s Annual Conference in Toronto. He is extremely passionate about the construction trade and gets visibly angry (I wouldn’t want to get this guy upset) when recounting stories about families who have lost thousands to crooked or inept contractors. He has spent many years correcting mistakes and building an aura of trust. Although you may know him from television, he also has 4 books, a complete line of merchandise, and a charitable foundation that works to raise the profile of trades and encourage  kids to enter the profession.

Holmes has 5 simple rules for any person looking to hire a professional contractor and these rules can easily be applied to any business model, whether it be B2B or B2C.

They are as follows:

  1. Slow Down
  2. Educate yourself
  3. Hire the right contractor
  4. Get a permit
  5. Stay involved in the project.

Applied to businesses, they could be interpreted:

  1. Take the time to understand the client’s real needs
  2. Know what the your limitations are in responding to clients needs
  3. Align yourself with the right business associates and contacts in the industry
  4. Provide written documents outlining the services you sell, do what you say you will do.
  5. Ensure that the client has input at various milestones in the work you do.

When you follow the Holmes guidelines, you will most certainly develop trust and build long-lasting relationships.  This guy doesn’t just know how to build homes, he has clearly demonstrated his ability to build a business, a model that we could all follow!

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Filed under B2B, Customer Service, Jeff Bowman, Marketing, Networking, Sales, Stephen Rhodes