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Our South Yorkshire Masterclass this week was held at a new location for us The Source in Sheffield and it proved to be a great place. The two panel members were Neil Conlon a Director of Conlon Construction and Jonathan Straight founder and former CEO of Straight PLC and now of Planet Straight. Straight PLC supplied waste recycling bins to local authorities and various gardening products such as water butts. Conlon Construction are based in the North West and are major contractors to local authorities.

Developing a marketing strategy

Conlon Construction do not have a set marketing budget and in fact spend very little on marketing. This is because their main target market is public sector bodies especially local authorities and being on approved tendering lists is all important. Straight PLC had 4-5% of turnover as a rough marketing budget. It is vital to have some form of measurement for whatever marketing you do even if it’s only column issues following a press release.

It can take a long time for some forms of marketing to achieve results.

Converting Sales from Social Media

Try to set your business up as a thought leader in your field on Twitter. You must send out messages constantly and consistently. Jonathan had started receiving tweets from a shoe company he had never heard of and last week, 12 months and a tweet every week later, he bought a pair of shoes from them.

Your staff need to be active as well but you must make sure their messages are consistent with what you are doing.

Paid for social media. Paid followers on twitter are not good “Bots” follow people who in turn follow back; it is more effective and engaging

Instagram – great for videos etc, more for B to C and for millennials

Interlink different social media platforms.

Outsourcing PR

If you are just writing a couple of press releases a month you can probably do this yourself.If you outsource it, you need to have monthly meetings to check everything they do. Most want a monthly retainer; make sure the people you meet are the ones who will do the work.


Always say why you want to be linked.


Brands are vital. Your company name is often your brand name and everything that goes round it is important.