Shortlisted for the prestigious title of Marketer of the Year in the 2017 CIM Northern Awards

Our Director Dawn McGruer MCIM FRSA MIoD has made it through the awards selection process and has been nominated as a Finalist in the CIM Northern Awards 2017 for ‘Marketer of The Year’ which is another outstanding achievement she can celebrate in 2017.

Our Head Trainer & Founder – Dawn McGruer FRSA MCIM MIoD

Dawn has a wealth of knowledge from digital tools to proven strategies and has worked both with clients and delegates over 17 years to assist in getting the best return on investment from their marketing efforts.

There are Six marketers shortlisted for CIM Northern Awards 

  • Four Yorkshire marketers shortlisted for the CIM Northern Awards
  • Two North West marketers shortlisted for the CIM Northern Awards 

Dawn is one of six marketers who have been shortlisted for the prestigious title of Marketer of the Year in the 2017 CIM Northern Awards, sponsored by The Marketing Trust.

The CIM Northern Awards, now in its third year, celebrates the insight, creativity and success of the Northern marketing industry, the outstanding campaigns and the talent from across the region. There are 17 award categories, 13 of which are open to entries, and the evening event will once again be hosted by TV’s Andy Crane.

Diane Earles, Network Manager for CIM, said “The shortlist is an impressive who’s who of the marketing talent in the North of England.”

The shortlist is as follows:

  1. Phil Batty, Director of Public Engagement and Legacy at Hull UK City of Culture 2017
  2. Nigel Hunter, Marketing & Customer Director at
  3. Richard Kenyon, Director of Marketing and Communications at Everton Football Club
  4. Theresa Lindsay, Head of Corporate Marketing at Hitachi
  5. Chris Cotterill, Head of Marketing at Plusnet
  6. Dawn McGruer, Founder of Business Consort

The winner will be announced by judge, Steve Antoniewicz, Managing Director of Recommended Agency Register, at the awards ceremony in Manchester on Thursday 09 November.

Full details of the shortlist and the event are available at


10 reasons you need a digital marketing strategy in 2018

Digital Marketing Strategy and why you need it

Digital Marketing Strategy often evokes a feeling of dread when I say it on our courses but my mission in business is to make digital marketing strategy simple – easy to follow and to get marketers to see the value – don’t get me wrong many already do but those tasked with digital planning may not always have come from a background or had professional training on the ‘art of digital plan writing’ which can make it feel quite overwhelming.

I’m not sure even the marketers who are qualified in the ‘art of digital strategy writing’ wake up and relish the thought on embarking on this arduous task but the benefits far outweigh the process.

digital marketing strategy

One of the main issues I see with clients digital marketing is that there is a distinct lack of strategy – the largest proportion, approaching half of businesses (49%) are doing digital marketing, but with no strategy…

Most small businesses focus on increasing revenue (72%), but they also see a great value in establishing new customer relationships (60%), and marketing and advertising (46%). (Business Insider 2017)

Benefits of Digital Marketing Strategy

  1. You have a clear view of the opposition – you can see where your competitors market online and what share they are claiming of traffic
  2. You identify some quick win opportunities to position yourself online
  3. You have a focus that can be broken down in to monthly and ultimately daily tasks
  4. You have a clear grasp of your consumer behaviour
  5. You’ve worked out what yo want to achieve & how to measure it – Businesses with a digital strategy often see far better results through that fact that they monitor and then draw insights from a campaign – real time and make improvements to their approach and see an on-going incremental uplift in leads and conversion

I am often asked what is the most important aspect of digital marketing – what should my digital marketing priorities be?

The honest answer is everything people avoid doing because this has the biggest opportunity to be snapped up- so one clear example is Blogging which is a great task to build into your week – I recommend a 3 times a week because we know as practitioners this is what is takes to stave off competition and also dominate the search results. It also will reap you about 44% more traffic too – not much can beat that return on investment in marketing.

I can assure you though that everyone says – ‘I will work up to that’ or ‘I don’t fancy that’ so they move onto the easier tasks and a common mistake is PPC adverts for a quick win.

The issue with adverts is though you are just renting that position in Google an article is there for life and will stay on the web forever – Oh and most people skip ads to click the first ‘organic’ result (unpaid) and that sweeps up about half of the search traffic for that term – so I know where I would prefer our business be positioned.

So why invest in Digital?

  • 82% of prospects can be reached via social media (InsideView)
  • Over 70% of B2B decision makers use social media to help them decide (Dell)
  • Digital Marketing spend is forecast to reach £240 billion pounds worldwide by 2020 (Forrester)

Why invest in digital marketing training?

Professionally trained marketers can achieve:

  • 44% increase in web traffic through effective blogging and content marketing
  • 60% increase in web sales conversion with a responsive and high converting website
  • 40% increase in sales leads, through improved management and digital lead funnels

Assuming they have a clear strategy in place.

Then consider that the average salary of a Digital Marketer is £37,500 then review the facts about recruiting a new team member and look at that against the cost of training someone in your organisation.

  • New hire productivity <100% for first 5-6 months
  • First 3 months productivity < 50%. This can be a significant drain on your financial resources
  • Eric Koester of MyHighTechStart-Up est. costs of new employee is approximately one and half to three times the cost of their annual wage.
  • So, hiring a new Digital Marketing Specialist could be as high as £112,500
  • Training a member of your current workforce is a significantly lower cost with professional qualifications costing a little over £1,000 – I know I can teach course delegates how to audit and plan and how to actually write a digital marketing strategy in a matter of 2-Day fast track course so I know what option I would go for as a business owner and a marketer.

FREE CIM Digital Event in Manchester

FREE Dynamic Digital Marketing Event

Sponsored by The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CPD Eligible)

Network with like-minded marketing professionals (refreshments included) followed by 60 minute seminar & interactive questions & more networking

Places Limited – Book FREE Tickets Now!

In the ever evolving world of Digital – Dynamic Digital Marketing will keep ahead of your competitors. FREE Seminar & Networking

Topics Covered;

  • Top 10 factors affecting Google ranking
  • What works best in Digital Marketing?
  • Developing Digital Assets for Data
  • Using Consumer Behaviour for Advantage
  • 7 Major Digital Marketing Trends For 2018
  • The Speed of Feed, Social Media Marketing
  • Content Marketing that Converts

FREE EVENT– Tuesday 28th November 6-8pm (Refreshments Included) @ GRINDSMITH – DEANSGATE, MANCHESTER

Speaker: Dawn McGruer MCIM FRSA: Founder of Business Consort – Digital Academy – 17 years digital experience: Consultant, Writer, Digital Practitioner, Speaker & CIM Tutor

Book FREE Tickets Now!

Social Intelligence Drives Intelligent Social

Our Founder & Head Trainer – Dawn McGruer shares her thoughts on social intelligence.

With over 17 years’ experience in the industry, founder of, and head trainer at Business Consort, Dawn McGruer is passionate about helping businesses to bridge the digital skills gap and runs courses in SEO, social media, email marketing, digital marketing and analytics. Business Consort is accredited by the Chartered Institute of Marketing and the Digital Marketing Institute.

Creating a marketing strategy that adds clear value to a business’ growth and development is essential, but, while this notion may seem obvious, marketers of even the highest calibre often struggle to build a fully-rounded, integrated plan tailored to their audiences’ needs.

Before sitting down to compile a strategy, we must consider who the customer is, what their behaviours are and, what trends we can spot across audience groups. This is where social intelligence (SI) comes into play, and is a hugely required skill among digital marketers.

Social listening allows us to collect data about behaviour, trends and patterns so we can market more effectively Firstly, digital marketers need to be switched on to what’s going on around them and in the wider industry – trends and tools are constantly evolving, but it’s important to be able to cut through the noise and listen to what’s relevant to you and your business.

Social listening allows us to collect data about behaviour, trends and patterns so we can market more effectively. This will of course help us to create engaging content to boost brand awareness, but it also means that with the help of social intelligence tools like TalkWalker, we can track online conversations and what appeals to individuals.

This allows us to listen to – and even get involved with – relevant chat, among both industry peers and would-be customers. It also allows us to monitor for any potential crises and nip such problems in the bud.

What’s Everyone Else Up To?

Ensuring we’re listening to what our competitors are doing is an integral part of any marketing strategy. Before creating any piece of content, work on finding out what similar content is already out there , noting what topics work well, what tones of voice hit the spot with audiences and even what time of day a piece should be posted to drive the most engagement.

Looking at what competitors are doing allows us to tap into new audiences and influencers, learning what’s of interest to them and, importantly, how and where they’re consuming media.

When it comes to influencers, businesses can no longer afford to ignore their impact on both existing and potential customers. In short, an influencer is an expert or enthusiast who has built a strong following within their field, whether that’s fashion, cooking or music – the list is endless. At the very least, brands should make a concerted effort to research who the main players are in their sector and find out what they’re talking about and who engages with them.

Once you have a list, it’s then time to think about what value they could bring to your business – it could be as simple as getting involved and offering opinion on the subject at hand, or perhaps striking up a conversation about a recent blog they’ve written or relevant industry news. It may be that you later discuss formal partnerships that could require more budget and strategic thinking.

It’s Not What You Say; It’s How You Say It…

Gaining insight into what format readers – or viewers – engage with the most will allow you to appeal to more people and provide them with the information in the most easily digestible way. For instance, listicle-style articles may be appropriate for time-poor readers, while a short vlog with subtitles may work better for others.

Once we know which platforms our audiences are likely to be on and how they prefer to get their information, remarketing can then be worked into a strategy. We can use software like MailChimp to devise a set of automation tools that will trigger an email based on a goal or action of an online prospect; for example, a business can build remarketing lists by posting video content on Facebook and then targeting those who engaged with or watched that content.

While social intelligence can undoubtedly improve the overall marketing cycle and related areas, such as product development and customer experience, it’s also key for optimising the customer journey to drive reach, lead generation and conversion through targeted marketing.

An understanding of SI tools is also vital when carrying out a competitor analysis and creating bespoke algorithms to create the best possible customer experience. Marketing a service or product without social intelligence would result in an ineffective, costly campaign that lacks audience insight and brand perception.

Once an element of SI is put into place, marketers are able to plan and develop strategies based on real-time insight and trends, therefore boosting return on investment and contributing to that all-important bottom line.

Please share your views below 🙂

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Mi PA Case Study

Mi PA –  Providing tailor made virtual receptionist service to business

Emma Mills, Founder of Mi PA, enlisted the expertise of Business Consort to boost her team’s social media skills

Training/qualifications undertaken:

3-Day Ultimate Social Media Marketing

Organisation requirements/objectives:

We wanted to get up to speed with the best social media, techniques and best practice and develop our social media strategy to enhance engagement and network size for our own brand awareness but also as a managed service for clients.

MIPA and Business Consort Case Study

Challenges faced prior to training:

Developing professional social media graphics in-house to react to dynamic needs of our clients social media communications. Growing our network and post, YouTube channel and blog engagement.

Training outcome/results:

The training has given us the ability to create an array of social media creative such as blog content, infographics videos, animations, graphics, images and banners.

Are there any areas of marketing you still feel your business could improve upon?

Social Media changes almost daily so keeping up to speed with consumer behaviour is vital so we use Business Consort’s free digital expert club to keep on top of latest tips, techniques and trends to aid our social media marketing.


Shell Case Study

Shell International Petroleum Ltd – Shell Bitumen

Construction Sector

Emma Mallinson, Global Marketing Product & Solutions Manager at Shell Petroleum Ltd, enlisted the expertise of Business Consort to boost her team’s digital marketing skills

Training/qualifications undertaken:

2-Day Fast Track Digital Marketing

Organisation requirements/objectives:

We wanted to get up to speed with the latest tools, techniques and best practice in B2B activity and hone our digital communication skills to help support our business objectives.

Challenges faced prior to training:

It was becoming extremely time-consuming to manage social media posting, as we didn’t have sufficient knowledge of various tools. We were also unsure about the appropriate metrics to use and how to develop a strategy to integrate digital.

Training outcome/results:

The training has given us the ability to lead discussions with our global digital teams within the organisation to request the appropriate support to get channels up and running. It’s also given us the know-how on building digital such skills into our communications strategy and reaching the right people.

I learnt a lot about the importance of website optimisation and, as a result, we are re-developing our global content. Again, as a result of gaining the knowledge, I was able to communicate with our experts about what improvements needed to be made.

Are there any areas of marketing you still feel your business could improve upon?

We’d like to further boost our skills around using social media as a marketing tool – it’s an ever-changing part of marketing, so it’s essential that our fingers are firmly on the pulse when it comes to updates and new platforms.

Do you outsource any marketing requirements? If so, why?

We outsource brand and communications; campaign creation; content creation; and PR. We’ve chosen to do this purely for the level of expertise that outside agencies can offer.

MTIS Case Study

MTIS-Ltd – Holiday Scheduler

HR software solution specialists

Since 2003 MTIS has been providing companies with easy to use Microsoft Office based products for common business tasks.

By offering solutions based on software that customers are already using, MTIS is able to provide high powered, multi-featured products for low prices. Holiday Scheduler is an off the shelf solution for tracking staff absence.

Mike Taylor – Director

 “The Business Consort Advanced Digital Marketing Course was brilliant.  Dawn McGruer is a master of the topic and delivers the course at great pace. There is an enormous content and it will take some time to absorb the information. Applying just 10% of what we were told will bring gains. I would thoroughly recommend this course to anyone or any company.”

Training/qualifications undertaken:

Advanced Digital Marketing

Organisation requirements/objectives:

While most of our new business came via search engine advertising, I felt the need for a better understanding of how an integrated digital approach could improve our visibility. Combining parallel activities on social media together with an optimised website seemed to be a practical way forward.

Challenges faced prior to training:

Although we were pulling in a sustainable level of business, we were struggling to reach a wider audience and were unable to target specific prospects effectively. We wanted get the message out far and wide about what we offer and how our services can benefit businesses, with a particular focus on HR professionals.

Training outcome/results:

The training has equipped me with the skills to market the business across social media platforms, paying particular attention to the power of advertising on platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn. It’s given me the hunger to learn more and build on what Business Consort had taught me.

Are there any areas of marketing you still feel your business could improve upon?

Marketing is a real learning curve and I believe it’s all about trialing different tools to figure out what works best for your business. For instance, I wouldn’t prioritise email marketing, but I would look into the value of SEO and what it can do when executed properly.


Why Your Employees Need A Digital Marketing Diploma

Digital marketing incorporates some of the best ways to target and engage your audience. There are many different aspects to digital marketing; social media being one of the most important with users spending up to four hours daily on various platforms. However, there are also other digital marketing activities and elements to consider and the all important question – who manages your digital marketing endeavours.

Digital marketing is not an easy process. For every success story there is also a failure; these can cost businesses significantly.

Those companies who have a qualified digital marketing team are finding their online marketing activities highly successful and are achieving a high return on their investment. Getting the best digital marketing team does take time and each business needs a different digital marketing strategy. Employing someone new to manage your endeavours may provide benefits in the long term but it will take time for the results to be seen.

A more cost effective method could be to train a member of your current team in the principles and implementation of digital marketing. There are several benefits for this compared to hiring new employees. Here are some of the benefits you can expect for training your current employees as to hiring in someone new.

Cost Effectiveness

The average salary of a Digital Marketing Specialist is £37,500. If you were to hire in someone new for the company you can expect that their productivity would be less than 100% for the first 5-6 months. According to research, for the first three months their productivity could be less than 50%. This can be a significant drain on your financial resources.

Eric Koester of MyHighTechStart-Up estimates that the total costs of hiring a new employee is approximately one and half to three times the cost of their annual wage. Therefore, hiring a new Digital Marketing Specialist could be as high as £112,500.

Training a member of your current workforce is a significantly lower cost with diplomas costing less than £1,000. You’ll also benefit from your staff member having more productivity because they don’t have to go through the on-boarding process a new employee has to. However, there will be some productivity loss as they develop and get used to their new responsibilities.

You’ll also have a limited long term rise in costs; even if you offer your existing employee a pay rise.

Content Is Instantly In The Brand’s Voice

It takes time for a new employee to gain an understanding and appreciation for your brand’s voice. When they start working within your company it is likely the content they develop will lack the experience to portray your brand’s identity.

On the other hand; those who have been with your business for a long time understand the business’ personality intimately. Therefore, they are able to maintain the relationship with your audience better by producing a consistent brand message. This will build trust between you and your audience which is very important in digital marketing for processing new leads and converting them into paying customers.

Current Employees Know What Makes Your Customers Tick

Some of the most profitable online marketing avenues are blogs, social media and email. Creating content for these avenues is very easy; creating content your audience will want to engage with is very difficult.

Whatever method you use to attract your target audience you are likely to rely on keywords and terms. To get the terms right you are going to need to know what your audience are actively searching for.

The majority of internet users don’t search for products directly but rather solutions to problems they are experiencing. For instance: how to fill in a tax form, how to employ a new member of staff, etc. To get the most out of your digital marketing, you need to identify and create content to match this.

A new employee might not have worked in your industry before and therefore will have little understanding about the current needs or problems your customers experience. A new employee would need time to get to know your audience, in order to create the ideal content.

In contrast, an existing employee has interacted with your customers for a long time. Through previous contact, your current staff members will know exactly what the common questions your core audience ask and they are likely to know how to solve them. They can put this to good use in their content and create material which is more tempting for your target audience and yield better results.

Improves Staff Morale

Improving staff morale is beneficial for retention and productivity. One of the best ways of achieving this is to offer your staff opportunities for skill development. The fourth most desired skill in 2013 was digital and online marketing.

Giving your employees these skills will increase their morale, giving you higher productivity and decreasing the likelihood they will leave your organisation.

Digital Marketing Improves Soft Skills

There are many different skills required for digital marketing; not all of these are exclusive to the marketing. Training your staff in this discipline allows you give them a new responsibility and improve their proficiency in other areas of your business.

Here is a list of some of the key soft skills your staff can improve in when they have taken a course in digital marketing:

Communication skills are one of the key requirements employers look for in their staff. Digital marketing is all about delivering the right message to your key audience. By learning the skills and process to talk to your customers, they are also learning the skills to develop better communications with your management team and their peers. Better communications will lead to less confusion and errors being made. This will create a business which is more cost effective.

Writing and editing skills are not often thought of as being a core skill, but more jobs in the current market require staff to complete at least some paperwork. When mistakes are made on paperwork it can be costly for your business. An example of this would the inaccuracies of measurements on the paperwork which cost a French rail network £12.1 billion. An important aspect of digital marketing is ensuring that marketing materials released are free from errors. Digital marketing is another method to train your staff in getting their written work accurate. It can also improve the speed in which they are able to write and edit.

Budgeting is an important skill for any member of your team. Most forms of digital marketing require strong budgeting skills. Pay-per-click is one digital marketing avenue requiring budgeting skills. Daily budget needs to be set and distributed to return the most effective results. If they can learn the necessary skills during their digital marketing diploma they can then employ these in other areas of your business. This will help cut costs and give you better profit margins.

Time management is always difficult; however an individual who manages digital marketing needs to be aware of exactly how long they have to spend on each task. Spending too much time on one task (i.e. social media) is very easy but can be very inefficient and drive costs up. Staff properly trained can learn how to manage their time more effectively and increase their productivity. This can then be implemented in other areas of your business. A more productive workforce will return higher revenues and better profits.

Resourcefulness and creativity are skills required for successful digital marketing. They can also support other business activities. There will be times in your business when you have problems you’ve not experienced before. Traditional and normal crisis management solution might not be able to solve the problem. Having someone who is creative and resourceful can aid your business’ management team to develop solutions for your problems.


Digital marketing is one of the most effective ways for your business to acquire new customers and generate leads and sales. However, it is not an easy process and you need a fully qualified team in order to gain substantial returns on your investment.

Hiring a new employee might seem like a good option but they are likely to cost your business significantly in the hiring process and during their on-boarding process. There would also be concerns they would not be able to match your brand’s voice quick enough and as they continue to create your brand content; your audience may look elsewhere.

However, training your staff to manage your digital marketing activities can be highly successful and not just for your marketing efforts. They can instantly give you a return, speak in your brand’s voice and know exactly what your customers are looking for. They’ll also be more willing to stay with your brand and have a higher productivity as you show your commitment to their professional development.

Finally, the skills that they will learn during a digital marketing diploma can be transferred to other areas of the business. This will make your business sleeker; save you money and improve your profits.

Download a copy of the Diploma in Digital Marketing syllabus or read more about how your business could benefit from enhancing  your teams digital skills through studying a professional marketing qualifications such as the Diploma in Digital Marketing which is accredited by The Chartered Institute of Marketing.

Feel free to air your views and join the discussion below.

Meet our Trainer Dawn McGruer – Greater Manchester Business Week Interview

See latest interview with Greater Manchester Business Week

Course Trainer Dawn McGruer MCIM FRSA MIoD

Business Consort welcome their 20,000th student this month

Options for those not going to University

Not going to Uni?

It is A level results day and some are celebrating some are going through clearing but some of you may not be going to University by choice or perhaps you didn’t get onto the course or into the Uni you wanted – You may be at your wits end and thinking that all is lost but we’ve got some amazing news as there is another option – and a great one at that!

Get ahead in your career & get an apprenticeship

We have two people who can vouch for that our very own apprentices who have joined our vibrant digital training company as Sales, Support & Marketing Executives – They are doing a Digital Marketing Apprenticeship and not only are they learning through college release days but they are learning on the job and getting paid for it.

Amy Follos – Sales, Support & Marketing Executive

 Lauren May – Sales, Support & Marketing Executive

They have secured great jobs, with fast track learning with a digital business – so that is the CV, work experience and qualification sorted and at the end of an apprenticeship scheme after 12-15 months they have the ability to get permanent roles and a pay rise.

If that isn’t sounding tempting enough then perhaps this will get you excited about apprenticeships – you can choose your passion from an array of apprentice schemes and the organisation such as QA who we recruited our apprentices through plus they will help you develop all the life skills needed to land that perfect job – from interviewing to writing your CV. You wont be racking up any debt because as if the fact you earn a wage your training is also subsidised by the government – so not cost to you at all!

Find the right employer and learn far more that the apprentice syllabus covers because you will be getting real world business experience and you will learn about the industry you work in to – It is a great way to find out what makes you tick and where you want to take your career. Also we often here that students feel that if academia is not their strongest area then digital marketing encompasses media – One of our apprentices favours the digital marketing strategic side and the other graduated from college with a media qualification so is helping us with video, photo and design with in our agency.

Another popular option is to fast track digital skills by doing a degree level digital marketing qualification – from as little as £99 to sign-up it’s another brilliant way to ensure you are getting ahead your career – learn more

Most Popular Options

Professional Diploma in Digital Marketing (Level 5)
Accredited By The Digital Marketing Institute
Study Online or attend 2-Day FAST TRACK Course in London or Manchester

Diploma in Digital Marketing
(Level 4)
Accredited By The Chartered Institute of Marketing
Study ONLINE or attend 2-Day FAST TRACK Course in London or Manchester
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