Product focus

Q: Our product has been around for a number of years and we feel it's time to conduct some research into whether the public feels we are on a par with our competitors - and, if not, where it could be improved. Who would you recommend to organise this sort of research?

A: Companies can spend so much time concentrating solely on their rivals and what they are doing that they can sometimes forget that it pays to make sure their own product is innovative and up to date.

Conducting a focus group offers valuable insight and comments on your product, where you are going wrong and what you are doing right. You can then put this information to use to improve your product and service.

Get in touch with LMRMC on 020 7476 6075 or Millward Brown Ulster on 028 9023 1060.

Personal calls

Q: We will shortly be running a promotion that will use a telephone number in various publications. We want to monitor the success of this campaign, but collating a little more information than usual. This way, we might be able to target better in the future. Who can help us?

A: Often when consumers call a number as part of a promotion, they are asked how they heard about the deal or asked to quote a reference number mentioned in a publication.

This could soon be a thing of the past.

MediaHawk (0870 126 1703) provides a service that allows exactly this type of monitoring without asking the questions.

Its system accurately and efficiently monitors campaigns that use the telephone as the primary method of response by attaching a different non-geographic telephone number on to each piece of media. These show precise response rates for each ad, number of phone calls not answered or engaged and even caller demographics.

Clean house

Q: I have a number of large databases that I have tried to keep as up-to-date as possible, but inevitably there will have been some changes. Who can clean them up for me?

A: It will surprise you how often people move home or job, change telephone numbers and, of course, pass away. Make sure you are not sending unwanted mail by hiring a company such as Arden (01455 852 242).

Case work

Q: I'm looking to update our work portfolio. We are a marketing consultancy and I want a stylish case or folder in which to present our work at client meetings. Can you recommend a supplier or a company that could produce a custom-made portfolio for us?

A: It pays to approach a meeting well-prepared and this means paying attention to presentation. If you were to showcase all your work in an unsuitable way, it would not do it justice and it could make a poor impression.

By having a stylish case made, you are giving yourself the best possible chance of success. Then it's down to what you actually say and do at the presentation. Contact Action for Blind People on 020 7635 4923 or Imgen on 020 8887 0709.

Special site

Q: I need to source a venue for an event I am putting together. It is for a product launch and would need to be in London. I'd like people to leave with the feeling that they have had a special evening and not just gone through the standard product launch presentation. Where do you suggest?

A: You would do well to speak to Fabulous Media (020 7836 3000). It can find you the most appropriate venue for a memorable product launch.

- Sam Solley takes the hassle out of finding the right product or service - you ask the question, he'll provide the answer.


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