Tuesday, 31 January 2012

How Much Does Website Design Cost? Marketing Quotes Explores Website Design Prices

Website Design Prices
With in excess of 20,000 website designers around the UK, finding the right one is hard, each one offering different website packages at different prices.

Marketing Quotes commented "There are two things that effect the cost of a website; one is the type of website needed and the other is the website design agency that is doing the work. We always advise arranging a meeting, as you never know from the designers website what they are really like, it could be a student working from home".

As most UK businesses are being careful at the moment with their marketing spend (due to the economic downturn), a good understanding is needed about the kind of websites there are available and what they should be paying for their website.

Marketing Quotes added "Website designers understand the costs involved however everyone else just does not know the costs involved with website design work, what websites are needed for their business or the kind of designer to choose."

Websites generally come in three different kinds:

1 Template Websites - Quite basic websites that only have a few pages. These can cost around £500 to get set up.
2 Brochure Websites - These are more professional looking sites and can include CMS systems (custom managed systems - that allow the owners to update and modify the content). These can cost around £2,000 to get set up.
3 Ecommerce Websites - These are websites that take payments online (such as online shops etc.) and can cost around £10,000 to get set up.

For any business considering getting a website set up, the first thing is to understand the different types of websites and choose the right one. For smaller businesses it is wise to either get a free website set up or a basic site designed (until funding allows for a more professional one); the danger is overstretching or paying to much for something basic.

Marketing Quotes added "One thing businesses forget is that website designers are privately owned companies that need to make profit (to pay for holiday's, houses, cars etc.) and that the price does not reflect the design. Two website designers could design the same website but offer website design prices that are thousands of pounds apart."

With so many website designers around the UK (from students working from home up to top website designers in London that work with global firms) selecting the right sized agency is important. If the business is quite small, then a designer that is also small and local should be good to talk to; if the business is global, then a design agency that has the experience of designing global sites is probably best to talk to.

Marketing Quotes has  put together a few website design tips that may be helpful for anyone considering getting a website designed and was unsure how to select the right designer:

1 Have a look at local designers, a meeting is always good to discuss plans and objectives.
2 Choose a designer that has designed similar sites for businesses in your industry.
3 Shop around, comparing prices is normal these days to ensure you do not over pay someone

A website is a businesses 'shop window' and does need to be given care and attention in order to project the best possible image of that business (whether it is well established or a startup).


Marketing Quotes is a marketing resource website helping UK businesses to find local marketing companies that have experience in their industry. The site covers all areas of marketing, from direct marketing services such as telemarketing, media and SEO services from PR agencies and business development and improvement.

Marketing Quotes is a free UK resource committed to helping companies save money and find cost effective marketing partners to help build and develop their companies.

For more information visit www.marketingquotes.co.uk

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A Business Problem Shared is a Business Problem Halved

Announcing the itSMF UK’s Proactive Problem Management Seminar taking place on 8th February at Chelsea Football Club, West London.
itSMF UK, the UK’s largest service management user group boasting over 12,000 members, announced today its new series of UK seminars running throughout 2012 on various service management topics such as change, configuration and release management, service catalogues and service portfolios, business continuity and major incident management and problem management.

The first event of the year is the Proactive Problem Management seminar which is taking place on 8th February at the renowned home of Chelsea Football Club, Stamford Bridge in West London from 9.00 to 16.00.

The event is being sponsored by Kepner Tregoe, a multinational management consulting and training services company that helps organisations implement their strategies by embedding problem-solving, decision-making and project management methods. Key speakers on the day include: Vawns Guest from Pink Elephant, John Griffiths from FoxIT, David D’Agostino from Service-Now, Mike Evans from ITS and Rich Starkey from Oasis Healthcare.

The seminar aims to help service and problem managers gain a better understanding of what problem management is really all about. It is targeted at problem managers who want to improve their approach and understanding of problem management by adopting a more proactive focus in order to deliver more successful outcomes.

Those who attend will learn how to achieve value and reduce costs using problem management, as well as gaining a better understanding around how to make time for problem management, which is a key issue for many IT departments. Participants will also gain insight into the key interfaces between the incident, problem and change management processes. In addition, they will learn the benefits and reasons for closing the loop on the lifecycle of a reported incident, the identified problem, the known error and workaround, and the change or release to fix the problem permanently.

Dr. Don Page, CEO of the Marval Group and chair of the itSMF UK events committee, commented on the event: “The fact is, with the current rate of change and our reliance on information technology, our job is getting harder, seconds of downtime can have major impact on customer confidence, our credibility, our financial futures.

"We need to raise our game, our processes, analysis skills and attitude towards problem management. However to get there we need to invest both time and resource, the very things that problem managers and technical specialists have little of.

"This seminar pulls together a great range of experienced and thought provoking presenters who will help to unlock these precious resources. I can’t wait.”

For more information about the itSMF UK seminar series, or if you are interested in attending, please contact Teresa Corre at the itSMF UK office on 0118 918 6500 or events@itsmf.co.uk.

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Monday, 30 January 2012

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Sunday, 29 January 2012

PHG adds some Punch to its PR effort

Performance Horizon Group (PHG), a leading provider of performance marketing technology, has appointed Punch Communications to handle its national, trade-specific and online PR.

Established in May 2010, PHG is the latest venture of Malcolm Cowley and Paul Fellows, co-founders of global affiliate network buy.at which was sold to AOL in 2008 for $125m. A high-tech start-up from North East England, over the past year it has expanded its operations to London and New York and brought to market its ExactView technology: a global platform for tracking, reporting, managing and optimising performance partner relationships in affiliate marketing and lead generation, regardless of channel or device.

Since its appointment, leading SEO agency Punch has been responsible for building awareness of the brand and ExactView, sharing corporate news announcements including PHG’s second round of venture capital funding from DN Capital and Greycroft, and raising the profile of senior personnel within the company. Working closely with the team, Punch is also assisting with the delivery of relevant award, events and speaker submissions.

Malcolm Cowley, CEO of PHG, said: "We wanted to appoint a PR agency which not only has a good understanding of the sector in which we operate but one that is also creative and has excellent media and blogger contacts. Punch has not only demonstrated that it understands our core business proposition but that the team is enthused to meet our company vision.”

Georgina Dunkley, account director at Punch Communications, added: "The growth of PHG over the past few years has been phenomenal and we are thrilled to be appointed by the brand as it embarks on an action-packed 2012 including the growth of its operations in the UK and US.”

As one of the UK’s foremost social media agencies, Punch Communications also handles PR and SEO services for its clients. For further information visit www.punchcomms.com.

Integreon Opens Onshore LPO Delivery Centre in Bristol

The Industry’s First Centre of its Kind Addresses the Growing Demand for Onshore Legal Document Review, Contract Management and M&A Due Diligence Services

Integreon, the largest global provider of integrated legal, research and business solutions, today announced the official opening of its legal process outsourcing (LPO) onshore UK delivery centre. The facility in Bristol, which Integreon believes is the first of its kind in the UK, will provide Integreon’s clients with a full suite of LPO services, including document review, contract management, merger and acquisition (M&A) due diligence and compliance support – all with the rigorous processes and proven, high-quality standards for which Integreon is known. With its Bristol delivery centre, Integreon is the only major LPO provider that can offer UK clients both onshore and offshore LPO support.

“As the delivery of legal services evolves, it’s clear that most law firms and corporate counsel require a mix of onshore and offshore support”, said Janet Taylor-Hall, Global Head of Legal Process Outsourcing at Integreon.

"Although cost is clearly a significant driver in determining the choice of location, there are many other forces at play, including ethical and legislative restrictions, complexity of the task at hand, familiarity with a client’s particular legal system, amount and type of communication required, project duration, client comfort with a location, time zone preference and language skills. Some outsourced services are best delivered from an onshore facility.”

The Bristol facility will provide Integreon’s law firm and corporate clients with the support services they need to help reduce costs and more easily scale their operations from a location that meets UK Data Protection Act requirements and provides UK clients with an alternative to offshoring.

The legal support professionals at Integreon’s Bristol delivery centre include lawyers and paralegals with expertise in a wide range of disciplines, including banking, M&A, litigation and commercial property. Employees at the new Bristol centre will also provide services in multiple languages, including Chinese, French, German, Hindi, Japanese, Korean, Spanish and Turkish.

“The passage of the Legal Services Act signalled the start of a new era in the delivery of legal services here in the UK”, added Taylor-Hall. “Our corporate legal department and law firm clients will increasingly be asked to function with efficiency and a focus on bottom-line results. Our new centre in Bristol marks yet another way we are addressing this new paradigm and providing our clients with the resources they need to achieve even greater success.”

Integreon’s LPO Services
Integreon’s LPO teams offer services for global corporations and law firms – ranging from large-scale document review for litigation and government investigations, to contract and lease management, M&A due diligence, and compliance support services. Integreon’s LPO services are based on best-practice processes, including intelligent workflow, quality control, onsite management and supervision, and regular communication with counsel and clients. Integreon’s LPO services can also be provided onsite for clients as the need arises. For more information about the LPO services, please visit: http://www.integreon.com/solutions/legal-solutions.html.

In addition to providing LPO services, Integreon also provides business support services – including human resources and financial services – from its Bristol facility. For more information about Integreon’s business solutions, please visit: http://www.integreon.com/solutions/business-solutions.html.

With the addition of its Bristol facility, Integreon offers its clients unparalleled onshore and offshore flexibility from 15 locations around the globe.

Integreon is the largest and highest-impact provider of integrated legal, research and business support solutions to corporations and law firms. It is a trusted partner to 9 of the top 10 global law firms, the top 10 investment banks, and 17 of the top 50 global brands, enabling these organizations to improve profitability and freeing their leaders to focus on business growth. With 2,000 associates operating from 17 offices across North America, Europe, Asia and Africa, Integreon works collaboratively with its clients to address their specific support needs, including legal process outsourcing and e-discovery/disclosure, market and competitive intelligence, due diligence and other business services. For more information about Integreon’s full range of solutions, please visit www.integreon.com.

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Thursday, 26 January 2012

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Supreme Finance increases lending budget for commercial loans

Supreme Finance & Bridging Loans A successful bridging finance company, Supreme Finance has announced that it will be extending their lending limit to £5 million per borrower. This increases the amount of opportunities available for the commercial borrower drastically. 
The specialist bridging lender has secured a separate funding line with Blue water Corporation which offers an initial facility of £50 million pounds which will grow over the course of the next 12 months to £100M.

As bridging loans become increasingly popular in this modern age of recession, Supreme are once again leading the way for others to follow suit. Unlike brokers, Supreme Finance only lend money which is their own, making them one of the largest and reputable principal lenders in the nation.

The loans available for commercial borrowers and developers are ideal for an individual or company whom wishes to purchase property to sell or rent out at an auction. Such terms of auction finance involve a staggering 24 hour decision time, with the money being transferred at 48 hours.

Other benefits of attaining property finance from Supreme Finance are that this process is a very quick and easy one. They give people and companies a like the potential to become cash buyers with the financial backing and support necessary.

This becomes the ideal short-term solution to funding projects such as refurbishments and enhancements and provides borrowers with quick decisions and timely payments. As this is much faster than mortgage lenders, Supreme Finance are demonstrating why obtaining a bridging loan is a much more viable option for many.

The increased lending limit gives property developers an extended amount of commercial finance, (helping them to secure large property portfolio’s) aiding them in the implementation of large scale housing, such as a block of flats or apartments.

The standard of excellence that is set by Supreme Finance is renowned across the UK and parts of Europe. This organisation of expert investors has been assisting the build and restoration of many homes, in Great Britain and have been driven towards a goal of changing the financial and property market to be adaptable around this modern day. Few principle lenders have as much understanding with their clients as Supreme Finance, which is why they are continuously seeking to create innovative methods of aiding developments and the financial budget.

The darkened days of the recession has forced bankers to refuse the financial aid that so many companies need, and this has created a flux in the development market. Without Supreme Finance, many enhancement projects would become moribund and dwindle until the idea is merely a dream. Fortunately, Supreme has been established and are currently leading the way for other lenders to follow suit. The increasingly high lending limit has brought with it a surge of development projects and hope for people and companies that they may not otherwise have had.

Supreme Finance Ltd
58 Swan Street
M4 5JU
t: +44 (0) 161 834 2288
 f: +44 (0) 161 832 6067
e: enquiries@supreme-finance.com|

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Monday, 23 January 2012

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Sunday, 22 January 2012

Feel ripped-off by your business gas provider? Energy Advice Line saves customer thousands on incorrect bills

BUSINESS energy users who believe they have been overcharged or issued incorrect bills by their supplier are urged to contact the Energy Advice Line for free help.

A leading price comparison and switching service for businesses in the UK confirmed the findings of a report revealing that thousands of consumers could be missing out on refunds or compensation because of billing mistakes by suppliers.

The report by consumer organisation Which? showed that the ‘big six’ energy firms received over four million complaints from customers last year. The most common problems were mistakes on bills and inaccurate meter readings.

It suggested because many customers failed to pursue their complaints, they were losing out on up to £4 million in compensation.

Julian Morgan, the managing director of the Energy Advice Line, the UK’s leading price comparison and switching service for business, said business electricity and business gas customers were in the same position as domestic consumers when it came to billing mistakes.

“Business energy supply companies make mistakes, we know that for a fact, and sometimes these issues go unresolved for so long that customers just get worn down and give up,” Mr Morgan said.

“We help our customers who are switching suppliers resolve these issues by taking them up directly with the utility companies on their behalf. Sometimes because they have dragged on for so long these problems can be difficult to unravel, so having experts on board can help enormously.”

Sally Atherall had given up hope of resolving a dispute with British Gas until she called the Energy Advice Line. One year after she had sold her dog kenneling business, British Gas had sent her a final business energy bill demanding £3,260.

Sally knew the bill was wrong and spent many fruitless, stressful and tearful weeks trying to convince the supplier they had made a mistake. But her complaints were rejected and British Gas insisted that she had to pay. Sally said they began “pestering” her for the money so much that was too stressed to answer the telephone.

As a last resort, she contacted the Energy Advice Line for help.

“I began to feel helpless, hopeless, tearful and alone,” Sally said. “Fighting against British Gas was useless on my own. I decided to ring the Energy Advice Line one day to try to gather more evidence, as they had arranged my electricity supply for several years.

“What a relief. I told them my story and they offered not only to help me, but to take the case on for me and deal with British Gas on my behalf. They even took time to ring me back to check I was OK as I had sounded upset.

“Eventually, the complaint was brought to the director of customer services for British Gas. They still insisted that I owed them the money and sent me a CD of the voice recordings made when I had telephone them with meter readings in the past.

“A copy of the CD was also sent to the Energy Advice Line. On playing it, they realised that British Gas had used the wrong 'start' reads to create my bill. I do owe British Gas a small amount of extra money but nowhere near £3,260.

“British Gas doesn’t care about their customers and have no idea of the heartache they cause when they get it wrong and refuse to listen. Even now, they have not offered one word of apology.”

The Energy Advice Line has also urged business energy users to check their bills to ensure they are being charged the correct level of VAT.

The VAT on electricity and gas for business energy consumers is normally charged at the standard rate of 20% (correct as at 4 January 2011). However, some firms that meet so-called de minimis requirements are entitled to pay VAT at a rate of only 5%.

To meet the criteria for this lower rate, a business must use no more than 33 kWh per day on average for business electricity and/or less than an average of 5 therms or 145 kWh per day for business gas.

Firms that believe they have been paying too much VAT, or have other billing issues, should contact the Energy Advice Line on 0800 915 1800 or visit www.energyadviceline.org.uk

The Energy Advice Line, an impartial online business electricity and business gas price comparison service run by business energy experts for business energy customers, dedicated exclusively to the needs of small and medium-sized businesses in the UK. Realising that small and medium sized business electricity and gas consumers want product choice, EAL has developed an online price comparison and switching service exclusively dedicated to their needs. Visit http://www.energyadviceline.org.uk/ for more details.

(EDITOR: Beat 'rip-off' Britain. Get the Energy Advice Line on your side!)

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

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Speedy screed replacement in Sainsbury’s

Fast drying screed laid at supermarketWhen the storage area on the first floor at the Lewes Road shopping centre in Brighton required a new floor topping, the main Contractor (The RG Group) called upon the services of specialist contractor Cemplas Waterproofing and Concrete Repairs Ltd, to provide a new floor surface suitable for pedestrian and pallet-truck traffic. 
Cemplas had previously worked for the RG Group laying over 7000m2 of Ronacrete’s Ronafix Screed Mix A at the old Barkers store in Kensington, so they were familiar with both Cemplas and the Ronacrete screeding range. Ronafix Mix A screed is a polymer modified thin bonded levelling screed, which can be laid from 10 to 50mm thick. The strength gain of Ronafix Mix A meant traffic could be permitted after just 24 hours, fitting in with Sainsbury’s operational needs. The Ronafix Mix A screed was pumped directly to the store room, reducing down time and disruption to a minimum.

The existing floor was prepared with a Von Arx planing machine, providing a clean textured surface that was ready for treatment. The floor was then primed and Ronafix Mix A screed was pumped into the storage area in a single operation. The screed was levelled, compacted and trowel finished to provide a new hard wearing storage area floor with minimal disruption to Sainsbury’s staff and customers.


Babco moves to fully integrated EDI with Wesupply

Wesupply™, a leading provider of outsourced business-to-business integration services, today announced that Babco (UK) Ltd., an importer of beers, ciders and spirits, has signed an agreement for Wesupply’s fully managed EDI solution, OneTime®.

EDI is not a new concept for Babco, in fact the company has been utilising numerous web browser interfaces to trade with five of the company’s key customers –leading UK grocery retailers. However, the company wanted to reduce the workload of their staff by consolidating all of their electronic trading on to one platform, which could be integrated with their back office system and third party warehouse.

Babco will utilise Wesupply’s OneTime solution for the real-time exchange of orders and invoices with its customers.

“A key factor in choosing Wesupply as our EDI provider was the company’s ability to undertake the full on-boarding of our customer base – both now and in the future” said Tony Ould, Finance and Logistics Director at Babco UK Ltd. “It was also important that the solution could be integrated with our SAGE Line 50 ERP system”.

“Babco has a clear understanding of the benefits that can be achieved from centralising and outsourcing their electronic trading to a SaaS provider” says Ben Holmes, Sales Executive at Wesupply. “We look forward to reducing Babco’s day-to-day involvement in EDI, enabling the company to free up internal resources and streamline their trading processes”.

Wesupply provides a fully managed and outsourced electronic business-to-business integration service, using a unique approach that maximises supply chain collaboration between independent organisations. This approach has consistently helped our customers secure tangible operational cost savings along with improved customer service, since the business was founded in 1999. Companies across all industries, including Retail, CPG, Energy and Manufacturing rely on Wesupply to manage business-critical information flows for their extended supply chain processes.

Visit Wesupply’s website at www.wesupply.com

Babco (UK) Ltd was set up in October 1999 and began importing various beers and ciders as well as spirits to sell into the UK market. Since then Babco (UK) Ltd has been involved in importing Savanna Cider from South Africa.

Babco have also, more recently set up a specialised distribution company called the Mainsail Trading Company. Through Mainsail a number of brands have been designed and created ready for market and are stocked by Tesco, The Co-operative and Makro stores nationwide.

Babco (UK) Ltd is based in Gravesend, Kent, and with many years experience in the industry is always looking at new trends and opportunities.

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Tuesday, 17 January 2012

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Brands undertaking market research reap rewards through customer loyalty, finds market leader Cint

62% of consumers are more likely to purchase a product if their opinion has been sought by the brand
Nine in ten prefer to undertake market research via new technology
Consumers believe the retail sector would benefit the most from consumer insight

A survey out today from global provider of smart solutions for gaining market insight, Cint, finds that brands investing in market research will reap rewards, with almost two-thirds (62%) of those surveyed stating they were more likely to purchase a brand’s product if they were asked their opinion in a study.

While companies are currently looking to reduce spend during the current economic crisis, this survey highlights the importance of customer insight, as over half (56%) of the 1,200 consumers polled felt more loyal to a brand if it takes the time to find out their opinion.

This global survey of consumers provides an unparalleled insight for the marketing community, of what people really think about market research, and what motivates them to impart their valued opinion. This extensive piece of market intelligence polled consumers to ascertain whether market research influenced their attitude towards a brand / company and their preferences regarding survey completion and incentives.

The majority of those surveyed – an even split of men and women – were confident about brands’ motives for carrying out market insight, with 69% believing brands act on the market research results they achieve. In addition, 77% of consumers felt that brands listen more to what consumers want now than they did ten years ago. This was attributed to a number of factors, primarily increased market competition, the economic climate, and a decrease in customer loyalty towards particular brands.

In terms of methodology, new technology was by far the most popular means of undertaking market research, with over 91% stating their preference as ‘smartphone’, ‘web’ and ‘SMS’. Only 4% of those surveyed would choose to undertake market research by mail as their first choice, and just 1% would like to be surveyed over the telephone.

Bo Mattsson, Chief Executive, Cint, comments: “Market research is an extremely useful tool for agencies and brands to ascertain opinions of their products and services. The industry has embraced new technology, which this survey proves to be invaluable, as respondents opt primarily for online surveys or smartphone applications with which to give their opinion.

"This survey shows that it is as valid a tool as it has ever been, and investing in consumer insight can reap significant rewards in terms of brand loyalty. We would advise any company looking to reduce marketing spend during the current difficult economic climate to continue to invest in market insight, as understanding the needs and preferences of your target market is essential in remaining competitive and successful.”

Other findings include:

When asked what made them more inclined to carry out market research for a brand, the overwhelming majority (55%) stated that money was the most desired incentive, followed by free products (34%) and vouchers (6%).

When quizzed on which sector respondents’ believed would benefit most from undertaking consumer insight, retail companies came out top with 41%, followed by banking (14%), travel (11%) and mobile technology (11%).

Time invested in market research
The majority (40%) of those surveyed stated that they would only spend one to five minutes responding to a survey, and 30% were happy to spend six to ten minutes of their time completing a survey. 13% would be happy to spend over twenty minutes undertaking research.

The survey of 1,193 consumers worldwide was carried out by Cint to mark the company’s rebrand. Cint provides SaaS solutions and market research tools for market research agencies, media and PR agencies as well as partner programmes enabling businesses to monetise website traffic and undertake DIY research.

Cint empowers access to opinions by innovating the way market insight is gathered. Reach over 7 million people in 50 countries, all recruited through 500 different panel owners like publishers, local media outlets, market research agencies and non-profits. Cint’s exchange platform, OpinionHUB, the fully transparent insight marketplace, brings together questions and answers from all around the world.

Cint is headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden and has offices in major cities across Europe, North America and Asia-Pacific.

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Monday, 16 January 2012

The UK's new purpose built customs clearance facility now open at Stop24 Folkestone Services, Junction 1 M20

A brand new customs clearance facility site and lorry park has launched at Stop24 Folkestone Services. Conveniently located 5 minutes drive from the Euro Tunnel and 15 minutes from the Port of Dover at Junction 11 on the M20, the UK’s first purpose built custom clearance facility provides clients with a quick and professional clearance service.

The brand new, modern facility has been designed to ensure drivers have easier access than Dover for parking and examination, whilst incurring no parking costs during custom clearance.

Two of the UK’s most prominent customs clearance agents Channel Ports and Harbour Shipping are using the Stop24 Folkestone facility to provide drivers with even greater efficiency, security and value.

On arrival at the new facility with 24/7 fuel services, drivers will enjoy a variety of food and retail options available until mid evenings including Haldanes convenience store & coffee shop, KFC, Wimpey, Just Spuds, WH Smith and Julian Graves. There are sandwiches, snacks and drinks available all through the night.

A multitude of facilities have been developed at the site to provide drivers with the perfect place to relax, refuel and refresh from their journey:

• A modern and comfortable, full service rest stop for Euro Tunnel & Dover, open 24/7 365 days a week year
• A time saving, consistent customs clearance service with direct control by one of the on-site agents, no third party involvement to deal with such as the FSA at Dover.
• Secure compound with parking for 82 vehicles and refrigerated parking
• Competitive lorry parking costs and no parking costs while under customs clearance
• Automatic number plate recognition with CCTV and 24 hour patrols
• Modern European & Continental style toilet facilities, both male and female washrooms with large shower rooms in the main building
• Dedicated drivers rest room with Sky Sports HD and free internet terminals and free wifi access
• Great value meal voucher options and discounts for account holders

Stop24 Regional Manager, Adrian Schofield says: “We identified a niche in the market for an alternative customs clearance facility to Dover in a brand new purpose built facility."


Premier Inn boosts employment and local economy in Dartford

Premier Inn has announced that its new hotel and restaurant development in Dartford has brought a total of 45 new jobs to the local area. The new Beefeater Grill restaurant, named The Beacon, and Premier Inn hotel are located in The Bridge Development on Halcrow Avenue and have injected a total investment of £6.6 million into the local economy.

The new site has incorporated a number of key green initiatives. Efficient under floor heating has been incorporated in The Beacon to avoid the need for radiators; grey water has been utilised for toilet flushing facilities; LED lighting has been fitted in the reception and restaurant reducing electricity consumption and energy efficient kitchens have been installed in the restaurant.

The Beacon Beefeater Grill, as named by Paul Greenstreet of Northfleet, offers a warm, family-friendly restaurant environment with excellent value meal deals. The new Daytime Value Menu will feature main meals including generous portions of fish and chips, sausage and mash and chili con carne. A personalised steak experience also allows guests to create their own unique flavour sensation, with a range of delicious flavoured butters and seasonings including garlic and pepper, BBQ or, for an extra kick, the chili explosion.

The adjoining Premier Inn hotel in Dartford features 60 bedrooms, catering for up to two adults and two children (aged 15 and under). Each room includes an en-suite bathroom with shower and bath; a comfortable king-size bed; remote control TV with Freeview; tea and coffee making facilities and a spacious desk area with internet access. More information can be found at www.premierinn.com.

Free Gifts With Wear Your Logo!

January is normally a time when businesses and organisations explore new ways to make themselves stand out in the year ahead. Embroidery Workshop, based in Lancing, provide a number of offers and packages for workwear, including polo shirts, sweatshirts and fleeces, with your logo or text.

Wearing your logo is a great way to promote your business, club, community, organisation and give more awareness to what you do and where you come from, your website and how people can get hold of you. This all helps to give that personal professional image and pride in your organisation.

All the personalisation is carried out in-house, which ensures that only the best quality is provided to help you look your best for your customised outfits. They also provide a wide range of colours and sizes, from kids to adults.

Julian Hendy, Director of the Embroidery Workshop said, "With this being an Olympic year, we are looking for more companies, organisations and clubs wearing their logos with pride."

During the winter months, all orders placed on their website will receive a free complimentary knitted hat embroidered with your logo or text. Also, delivery is free of charge on all orders over £100.

For more information and to place an order please check out their new website www.wearyourlogo.co.uk or call Wear Your Logo on 01903 766228. You can join them on Facebook and Twitter, too!

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Corruption: Questions shareholders should be asking at the AGM to protect their investment

News that The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) won a civil recovery order against the principal investor of a company that had admitted corruption last week should come as a major wake-up call to investors and shareholders, says business risk experts Interchange – www.interchange-solutions.co.uk

The shareholder is now required to pay back dividends gained as a result of corruption in Iraq bridge-building contracts. The SFO took action in the High Court, which subsequently led to an order for the company, Mabey Engineering (Holdings) Ltd, to pay over £130,000 in recognition of sums it received through share dividends derived from contracts won through unlawful conduct.

“This is a very significant move by the SFO which should finally start to have investors asking searching questions of the companies in which they are investing or have already invested,” says John Burbidge-Kind, CEO of Interchange.

“This is the first time that the SFO has attempted to recover the proceeds of crime by targeting dividends paid in the UK. It sets an enormous precedent for investors and is even being reported that such action could hit pension funds if applied to listed businesses.”

“Shareholders and investors in companies are obliged to satisfy themselves with the business practices of the companies they invest in,” said Richard Alderman, Director of the SFO. “The SFO intends to use the civil recovery process to pursue investors who have benefited from illegal activity. Where issues arise, we will be much less sympathetic to institutional investors whose due diligence has clearly been lax in this respect.”

This action by the SFO follows recent reports that the Government plans to make shareholder remuneration votes mandatory in an attempt to curb excessive executive pay. “We may be seeing a very different relationship developing between company boards and their investors,” says John Burbidge-King.

For shareholders now concerned about their investment portfolios, Interchange has collated just a few questions that they might be asking of a company board at this year’s AGM:

• Has the company conducted a formal risk assessment of both the impact of bribery and the Bribery Act 2010, and what measures has it taken to mitigate that risk?

• Is the Audit Committee, or any other appropriate board committee, briefed? And does it understand the nature of the risks? Have members been trained to ask the right questions of the executive directors and management?

• Exactly who in the company has taken on the responsibility for ensuring compliance with the Bribery Act?

• Are you aware of any bribery or corruption that has taken place in the business in the past three years?

• Have any of the directors or agents in the business been involved in bribery in the past?

• Does the company engage with agents overseas, and if so how sure are you that they are not involved in bribery?

• Does the company have adequate procedures in place to prevent bribery as set out in the Ministry of Justice Guidance, and by now if not why not?

• Are there formal policies in areas such as Gifts and Hospitality and proper records kept?

• Is the company prepared for an external investigation by the Serious Fraud Office that will include all financial records including records and authorities for the payment of all agents and those “associated persons” acting on behalf of the company?

• Will the company’s insurers cover the costs of an investigation, and in the worst case the defence?

“The AGM represents a prime opportunity for stakeholders in the business to ask direct, face to face questions of the directors responsible for governing the company,” adds John Burbidge-King.

“The act of bribery and corruption itself is damaging enough if found guilty by the authorities, but the worst case scenarios demonstrate that the financial fallout goes a long way beyond direct penalties and will impact on the share price; honest investors dislike dodgy dealings and companies that do not hold up to scrutiny often find their share prices in free fall as a result.”

Canadian-British billionaire Victor Dahdaleh will today appear before a court in connection with fraud allegedly perpetrated against Aluminium Bahrain B.S.C., also known as Alba. The state-owned aluminium smelter claims that Dahdaleh and others bribed senior officials to overpay for millions of tons of raw material.

Formed in 2006, Interchange has an internationally experienced team of hands-on risk experts, all from a corporate background, operating exclusively in the field of mitigating bribery, corruption fraud and reputational risk.

Their sole focus is to help companies and organisations of all sizes and across all sectors underpin their reputation and enhance their business value by taking practical steps towards bribery risk mitigation while continuing to grow their business.

They work with customers across the world to understand and assess the specific risks they face and then help them to develop, implement and embed effective mitigation policies and processes into their business strategy.

They achieve this through a range of services and products, including executive education and briefings, risk based audits, training, policy, implementation process and documentation, and integrity due diligence of representatives and business partners, tailored to fit within your governance and risk management operating model.

Britain’s Project Management Community to meet at London, Olympia

Project managers from across the country are set to meet at London, Olympia on 21st and 22nd March 2012.

They will be visiting Project Challenge Spring Show, which this year takes place in the newly constructed West Hall at Olympia. This event is a ‘must attend’ for anyone interested in the latest technology and services to support effective project management. Leading suppliers will showcase the best products, services, software, training and consulting. Additionally, 40 free seminar presentations will run throughout both days of the show, delivered from open zones within the exhibition hall.

“It’s going to be another a big year for Projects in the UK” saysa event director Richard White. “Getting things done on time and on budget has never been more important”.

He continues. “The Olympic games will surely be the most high profile, but there are significant projects being implemented this year in the construction, technology, transport and healthcare sectors which are seriously impressive.”

Richard is upbeat about the role project managers can have in helping to turn around the fortunes of British industry. “As we enter a year which for many will have business challenges, there is one thing that I am very certain about. Effective project management and the skills required for successful project delivery will be a key requirement for every organisation across all industry sectors.

"Project Challenge is the perfect destination for anyone involved in managing projects, however big or small. It’s your chance to get new ideas, update your skills and knowledge and road test the latest systems.”

Entry to Project Challenge Spring Show is free to all attendees. Further information and online registration is available at www.projchallenge.com.

The New Year Brings New Work for Umbrella Company Contractors

The start of 2012 brings some great news for contractors with the publication of The Recruitment and Employment Confederation's Report on jobs in the UK in December, say Tarpon.

The umbrella company sector in the UK is celebrating after recent industry research revealed that contractors could soon see an increase in demand for their services. The news, revealed in The Recruitment and Employment Confederation's (REC) Report in Jobs for December 2011 revealed a fall in the amount of permanent appointments that month. This information comes less than a month after the umbrella company Tarpon predicted that 2012 would be a very positive year for those in the umbrella company industry.

A spokesperson for Tarpon comments: “In December 2011, we announced that we believe that the new year would bring in a lot more opportunities for umbrella companies and their contractors, because of the addition of an extra £1 billion injection in the Regional Growth Fund (RGF), and so the REC's report is really a fantastic indicator for both umbrella companies and contractors over the next 12 months.”

According to the REC, temporary billings also fell slightly last month, marking the first time they have decreased since July 2009. This news, combined with the decline in the number of permanent appointments falling in December 2011, and the recent announcement by the Royal Bank of Scotland that revealed that the Scottish business also grew in December, means that employers will be relying on umbrella company contractors and their services over the coming months.

The spokesperson for Tarpon continues: “Obviously, as an umbrella company the news that there has been increased growth in certain business sectors and therefore, the possibility of increased demand for our services is really fantastic to hear, especially at the beginning of the new year. While we did say that we believed that 2012 would be the year that more businesses and individuals would look to umbrella companies and their contractors for reliable, high-value and excellent service, it's still an absolute delight to see that our prediction appears to be coming true that at the very beginning of the new year.”

Tarpon is an umbrella company specialising in contractor tax efficiency, enabling contractors to maximise their income and streamline their admin.

Website: www.tarpon-uk.com

The Crocodile wins global EMC account

EMC Corporation, the world’s leading information management company, has appointed independent London agency The Crocodile to lead global campaign development in IT Transformation and Big Data, following an international five-way pitch.

The Crocodile has been an EMC roster agency for some years, participating in project-based campaigns at global, EMEA and UK level. The pitch, which took place in late December, has coincided with the creation by EMC of a new internal campaign team with a brief to drive EMC growth in the rapidly developing ‘IT as a service’ market. The win hands The Crocodile a key strategic agency role working alongside campaign teams in Boston and London.

EMC’s pitch brief required a fully integrated results-based approach using digital, social, email and direct mail to drive leads through to sales qualification via an internal CRM platform. Additionally, participating agencies were required to demonstrate clear understanding and experience of the global technology market and the dynamics of both direct and indirect sales channels.

“Working with EMC plays to our core strengths as an agency,” explains Adam Wooff, founding partner and managing director of The Crocodile. “We bring informed strategic focus and cut-through creativity to the table, along with a clear perspective on the mix of activities that will genuinely impact the buying behaviour of EMC’s customers and prospects. These days there’s simply no room for tokenistic marketing – anything we do has to prove relevance, tie in to sales activity and make a measurable contribution.”

Chris Blaik, who is a senior director, Global Campaigns at EMC commented, “The Crocodile has a proven track record in not just building world class, award winning campaigns but an ability to truly understand the go-to-market priorities of our business and channel, crucial to driving value in today’s end to end environment”

The Crocodile is a full service integrated marketing agency with a focus on influencing buying behaviour and generating qualified opportunities. Our approach is based on the insight that the best B2B marketing strategies no longer stop at the door of the sales department. We think marketing works best when it shares the commercial objectives of the business and is able to make a measurable contribution.

The Crocodile works with clients across a wide range of markets, including IT and technology, finance, business and retail services, food and drink, telecoms, engineering and automotive. Established in 1990, the company is based in Hoxton Square, Central London, has 25 full-time staff and is independently owned and operated. For more information visit: www.thecroc.com

EMC Corporation is a global leader in enabling businesses and service providers to transform their operations and deliver IT as a service. Fundamental to this transformation is cloud computing. Through innovative products and services, EMC accelerates the journey to cloud computing, helping IT departments to store, manage, protect and analyze their most valuable asset — information — in a more agile, trusted and cost-efficient way. Additional information about EMC can be found at www.EMC.com.

Brands Invest in Facebook Advertising with New Budgets and Focus on Fan Acquisition; Mobile Search Spend up Significantly

Data Based on Efficient Frontier’s Q4 2011 Digital Marketing Report

Brands are continuing to invest in Facebook advertising and focusing on fan acquisition. Spend in social media advertising is now additive to existing budgets rather than subtracting from other digital media channels, demonstrating the growing investment in the medium. Brands continued to acquire Facebook fans at 9% per month. Facebook spend share reached 2.7% of total online advertising spend in Q4 2011 and is expected to increase fan base by 2x by the end of 2012.

Search spend increased significantly in Q4 of 2011, bolstered by aggressive spending by retailers. Overall, search spend grew 14% Year over Year (YoY) in the United States, while retail specifically grew by 18% YoY and 40% Quarter over Quarter (QoQ), indicating that search is still the primary driver of digital marketing spend. While Q4 search spend increased significantly, Cost Per Clicks (CPCs) decreased 5% due to a rise in mobile advertising, where clicks are less expensive. Meanwhile, improvements in more efficient ad delivery by search engines resulted in higher click-through rates, and mobile spend became 7-8% of search spend compared to 2% a year ago.

This is according to Efficient Frontier, a leading performance marketing company managing more than $1.5 billion in marketing spend annually on behalf of advertisers worldwide, and its subsidiary Context Optional, one of the leading providers of social marketing management for global brands and agencies. In November 2011, Adobe Systems Incorporated announced it had entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Efficient Frontier, in a transaction expected to close in the first quarter of Adobe’s 2012 fiscal year.

“Facebook continues to be where marketers are placing new bets by adding advertising spend with a focus on fan acquisition,” said David Karnstedt, President and CEO, Efficient Frontier. “Mobile search advertising is also an area of significant investment, growing to 7-8% from 2% a year ago. We should expect both channels to grow significantly in 2012.”

Additional Report Highlights

GOOGLE MAINTAINS 80% SPEND SHARE in Q4. Yahoo/Bing clicks yielded 14% more revenue per click (RPC) than Google while also having 9% more Return on Investment (ROI) than Google. Yet Google increased click share by 2.5% YoY indicating the necessity for volume and reach from advertisers, primarily retailers, in Q4.

MOBILE SPEND specifically tablets, is becoming increasingly important for marketers as tablets account for 50% of mobile search spend and 50% of click share.

DISPLAY SPEND remains flat QoQ. However, Google’s Doubleclick increases exchange display market share by 19% YoY. Due to both inventory constraints and shifting strategies by Yahoo for their Right Media Exchange, Google extended significant share gains in biddable display.

EUROPEAN MARKETS showed strong growth in search spend YoY. France increased search spend 70% YoY and Germany 47% YoY indicating heavier investments into online advertising in 2011. The UK has been leading the online marketing industry in Europe and continues to increase search spend 19% YoY.

Outlook for Q1 2012
FACEBOOK SPEND will reach 5% of all online advertising spend by the end of 2012. As marketers improve their ability to acquire and engage Facebook fans, brands will continue to pump incremental spend into Facebook.

MOBILE SEARCH SPEND will make up 16-22% of all paid clicks by the end of 2012. As more mobile devices with full Internet browsing capabilities enter the market, mobile experiences become more robust. This is driving a shift of consumer usage from desktops to mobile devices, ultimately causing mobile advertising to become a key focus for marketers in 2012.

SEARCH SPEND will increase 15-20% in 2012 in the United States. Similar growth is expected internationally, however, the macro economic conditions in Europe may significantly affect this growth.

SEARCH CPCS will further decrease by 4%. The increase of mobile advertising and mobile search spend will contribute to this reduction. Search engine innovations by Google to provide more effective ad delivery will also continue to decrease CPCs.

YAHOO/BING will continue to pursue more ad inventory. Although Yahoo/Bing clicks continue to have better RPC (Return-Per-Click) and ROI, the search engine still needs to increase reach to improve market share. Advertisers are eager to take full advantage of the higher performance Yahoo/Bing provides, but are still looking to do so at scale.

DEVELOPMENTS IN OTHER SOCIAL PLATFORMS such as Google+ and LinkedIn will have a positive impact on social spend and the growth of this competitive space. However, Facebook will still remain the dominant social network and social publishers for advertisers in 2012.

Research Methodology
This analysis was completed based on data from Efficient Frontier search engine marketing customers and the resulting Efficient Frontier Customer Index. The Efficient Frontier Customer Index represents a subset of Efficient Frontier clients who have spend data for six consecutive quarters or more whose resulting SEM metrics are then normalized to average industry category contributions established by multiple third party data providers.

The Efficient Frontier Customer Index consists of a fixed sample of large scale U.S. search engine advertisers across multiple sectors, including finance, travel, retail and automotive. The Efficient Frontier Customer Index sheds light on trends in search engine spending and performance on a year-over-year (YoY) and quarter-over-quarter (QoQ) basis.

Our analysis of Facebook performance was based on data from both the Efficient Frontier and Context Optional platforms. A client index representing over 15 advertisers and 20 million fans from a multitude of verticals including retail, entertainment, CPG and Finance was built from a subset of advertisers, brands and fans managed through the platforms. Advertiser and user behavior was then analyzed for three quarters beginning Q4 2010.

To download the full report, visit: http://news.efrontier.com/DigitalPerformanceMarketingReportQ...

Efficient Frontier is a leader in online digital marketing, managing search marketing, display and social media campaigns for advertisers and agencies around the world. Efficient Frontier currently manages over $1.5 billion in annual digital marketing spend on behalf of its clients globally.

In May 2011, Efficient Frontier acquired Context Optional, the leading provider of social marketing management solutions for global brands on the leading social networks, including Facebook and Twitter.

Context Optional’s Social Marketing Suite enables global enterprises to build, manage and measure their brand presence, and engage their fans to increase mindshare, word of mouth, customer loyalty and website traffic. Together, Efficient Frontier and Context Optional offer a complete solution for brands to acquire, activate and drive value from fans on Facebook and Twitter.

Efficient Frontier is headquartered in Sunnyvale, California, with offices in New York, Chicago the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and India, and technology licensing partnerships in Japan, Hong Kong and Australia. Context Optional is headquartered in San Francisco. Efficient Frontier is a privately held company with funding from Redpoint Ventures and Cambrian Ventures. For more information on Efficient Frontier, visit http://www.efrontier.com and for Context Optional visit http://www.contextoptional.com.

Which? finds huge variations in financial adviser fees

Which? has found huge variations in Independent Financial Adviser (IFA) fees across the UK, with one quoting £2,450 more than the cheapest alternative to transfer money into a stakeholder pension.

The consumer champion asked 200 IFAs to give quotes for different services and found large regional variations in the fees. Although the average fee quoted to transfer a £10, 680 investment into a stocks and share Isa was £356, one adviser in the south-east quoted £2,500. Two IFAs in the south-west and the east of England quoted £106.

Meanwhile, an IFA in the north-west quoted nearly £2,000 more to arrange a protection policy for a 30 year old female than an adviser in Scotland quoted to do the same job. The average fee Which? were quoted by IFAs in this case was only £596.

Currently there is no approved list of ‘typical’ charges for IFAs’ fees, meaning people will find it difficult to know whether an IFA's fees are reasonable. Which? wants IFAs to be forced to publish a rate guide on their website, so that people can make an informed decision about which IFA to choose and what is a reasonable amount to pay.

Which? believes that consumers should go to an IFA rather than approaching their bank for advice, and has produced a list of key questions that people should ask in order to help them choose an IFA that offers a fair price and good service.

Which? chief executive, Peter Vicary-Smith says: “Financial advisers should be much more transparent in their pricing, providing details of all their charges upfront. At present it's very difficult for customers to know how much they're going to be charged, and what is reasonable.

"IFAs should clearly display their fees online and if they don’t the regulator should step in to make this happen.”
New regulations which will be introduced at the end of 2012, will make paying for financial advice fairer and clearer. They will ban advisers from receiving commission for new investment advice. This should mean that advisers are more likely to recommend the best course of action for the consumer rather than the one which pays the adviser the most commission.

FACTFILE:The full article ‘Counting the Cost’ appears in the February 2012 issue of Which? Money magazine. For further information, a copy of the full article, or an interview, please contact Natalie Hagan. For more information about Which? Money please visit www.which.co.uk/money

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Thursday, 12 January 2012

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SugarCRM Targets UK Education Market with Green Inc

SugarCRM, the world’s fastest-growing Customer Relationship Management (CRM) company, today announced that Green Inc (EU) Limited, a U.K. business consultancy specialising in the education sector, has joined the SugarCRM Open + Partner Program.

Green Inc Limited specialises in enabling both the education sector and businesses to improve their performance. Its customer base is predominantly in the education sector including higher education institutions, training providers and colleges of further education. The company will deploy SugarCRM’s solutions to provide a proven and cost-effective way for universities and colleges to manage their sales and marketing processes, enhance important relationships with business customers, and add value to every client interaction.

"The education sector has its own specific requirements and its marketing and sales initiatives have to reflect these unique demands,” explains Bryan Davis, Managing Director of Green Inc. “SugarCRM provides a very flexible and cost-effective solution enabling universities and colleges to easily manage their business contacts, sales opportunities, and increased uptake of courses. This is why we chose SugarCRM solution over other providers.”

SugarCRM solutions are customisable to meet unique business needs. In the case of the education sector, both business-to-business customers and student recruitment will benefit from an effective CRM approach.

“Universities and colleges are experiencing increased pressure to gain and retain students, while cutting costs and to generate more income from their business customers as government funding is reduced,” says Davis. “SugarCRM provides a proven solution for our university and college clients to have much greater control over their marketing and business development effectiveness. As a result, this will improve their ability to recruit students to join courses while keeping the costs of implementing the solution low.”

"SugarCRM is well suited to the UK education sector, even more so since the cut in budgets and the introduction of University fees. It is all the more essential for Universities to engage and retain students, perform business development with alumni while at the same time keeping costs low,” explains Tom Schuster, General Manager EMEA at SugarCRM. “Together with Green Inc we provide a cost-effective and customisable solution to a sector that is under increasing pressure to perform more effectively with less budget.”


SugarCRM makes CRM simple. As the world's fastest growing customer relationship management (CRM) company, SugarCRM applications have been downloaded more than ten million times and currently serve over 850,000 end users in 80 languages. Over 7,000 customers have chosen SugarCRM's On-Site and Cloud Computing services over proprietary alternatives. SugarCRM has been recognized for its customer success and product innovation by CRM Magazine, InfoWorld, Customer Interaction Solutions and Intelligent Enterprise.
For more information, call 01223 597848, email contact@sugarcrm.com, or visit http://www.sugarcrm.com.

Green Inc (EU) Limited have been successfully providing consultancy services to HE and FE clients since 2010, including change management processes, sales and marketing process development, integrated CRM systems development, lead generation, and E-learning.

In response to the serious financial challenges facing the Education Sector, Green Inc are using their deep understanding of education to help clients deal with the challenges.

Through Green Inc’s CRM consultancy services, one major University client’s Workforce Development team has generated an increase of 300% in sales leads, a much greater awareness of the University’s commercial portfolio, a significantly increased revenue potential, and at the same time has reduced the administrative burden by approximately 90%.

For more information, visit www.green-inc.eu

Commercial Printers Thinking Green

Graphics and Print, an award winning commercial printers, based in Telford, Shropshire, are very conscious of environmental issues associated with the print industry, and are therefore proud to confirm certification to the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) and the PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of the Forest Certification) schemes. This means that all of the paper they use comes from recycled stock and/or well-managed sources that can be traced, something which is becoming more and more important to customers why rely on print.

In addition to the FSC and PEFC certifications, Graphics and Print also adopted a number of other initiatives, to maintain their focus on helping the environment. They manufacture from chemical-free printing plates by means of alcohol-free printing presses that use vegetable based inks, they offer soft proofing and FTP uploading of files to reduce materials and resources, recommend that at the end of their life all products can be recycled at their customers’ discretions and carry out duty of care visits with all their major suppliers to assess their environmental practices.

Managing Director Martin Kells, explains the companies’ commitment to thinking greener: “We are fully aware of the perception that the general public have towards commercial printers and so we set up a company commitment to address a number of these concerns. We continuously improve our environmental performance and integrate recognised environmental management best practice into all of our business operations as well as actively measure and take action to reduce the carbon footprint of our business activities.

"We proactively manage waste generated from our business operations according to the principles of reduction, re-use and recycling. We ensure environmental, including climate change, criteria are taken into account in the procurement of goods and services and maintain our certification to ISO 14001 through rigorous monitoring and review of our performance.

"To ensure we meet these commitments, we regularly review environmental policies and performance, and allocate resources for their effective direction and implementation. We set and monitor key objectives and targets for managing our environmental performance at least annually. We always communicate the importance of environmental issues to our colleagues and customers and we find that customers are really responsive to our suggestions and recommendations.”

In addition, Graphics and Print ensure that all hazardous waste is collected by a registered waste carrier in compliance with Hazardous Waste Regulations (2005), and over 90% is recycled. All Aluminium is recycled, from printing plates to drinks cans, along with paper waste from production and most office paper waste.

Graphics and Print provide an end-to-end service, when it comes to commercial printing services. They have four experienced Customer Relationship Managers who are only too willing to meet with customers to discuss their needs and explore the most appropriate environmentally friendly options available.

Igentics, the full service digital marketing agency, make the move to Cambridge

Igentics LtdIgentics, the full service digital agency has moved to their brand new offices in central Cambridge.
Igentics was formed in 2001 and until recently have been based in Saffron Walden. However, having recently won several new long-term contracts and having taken on new staff members the need for larger and more central premises became apparent.

The new offices are in Tenison Road, just off Mill Road and 5 minutes from the station bringing Igentics right to the heart of the city with excellent transport links. Managing Director, David Donnan commented: “We are delighted to have made the move into Cambridge which is an important part of our growth strategy for the Company, and the timing was perfect as our customer base has expanded so positively during 2011. We look forward to becoming part of the Cambridge business community and are really enjoying getting to know our local neighbours and environment.”

Igentics brings to clients a wide variety of digital services, all of which focus on developing creative and innovative campaigns that really deliver. Whether clients are looking at purely developing their current website or looking at a much larger campaign including a new website build, SEO strategy development and social media solutions to reach their own customers, Igentics are in the perfect position to help. Current clients include Cambridge University Press, Norgren, Jessops, Marley Eternit, Britvic and the University of Cambridge.

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FreeAgent Alerts tool puts accountants out in front

Online accounting pioneers FreeAgent, www.freeagent.com, has launched a new Alerts tool that will enable  accountants to automatically track their clients’ finances and highlight, in real-time, areas of opportunity or of concern.

FreeAgent Alerts allows accountants to set-up customised alerts to monitor their clients’ account activity for transactions and entries that may warrant closer examination. By using Alerts, accountants will also be able to take a more proactive approach in helping their clients keep on top of their finances, and ensure that potential issues are spotted and acted on sooner rather than later.

The new feature is available exclusively through the accountant’s existing dashboard - which presents an at-a-glance view of all of their clients on the FreeAgent platform and a portal to drill into the specifics of any one of their accounts.

Because FreeAgent is entirely online and has been seamlessly integrated into the IRIS accounts production solution, it also provides better accessibility for users and a significant reduction in time spent on manual or paper based processes.

FreeAgent believes that Alerts is a major breakthrough in cloud accounting and a first for the industry. Ed Molyneux, CEO and co-founder of FreeAgent, explained: “Alerts will enable accountants to immediately focus on advising and providing insight to their clients, rather than having to spend a lot of time doing more manual monitoring. It puts them on the front foot and helps them to be more proactive in advising their clients.”

FreeAgent collaborated with a number of accountants and accounting firms on the development of Alerts including Freelance World, which provides a full range of accountancy services to small businesses across the UK.

Alasdair McGill, Managing Director of Freelance World, said: “Online accountancy has revolutionised the way accountants work with their clients and FreeAgent’s latest Alerts tool goes even further to help us keep on top of our clients’ accounts. Alerts will give us the ability to monitor our clients' accounts on a daily basis, giving them peace of mind that we're watching the numbers. I’d like to congratulate FreeAgent on how far they’ve come over the last year to give us a great all-round product that will help us to do a better job for our clients.”

FreeAgent is available to accountancy practices throughout the UK via the company’s close partnership with IRIS Accountancy Solutions where FreeAgent powers the IRIS OpenBooks solution, a key component of the OpenApps suite. With the company’s clear insight and knowledge of the accountancy marketplace, IRIS was involved throughout the planning and development process of Alerts.

Commenting on the latest initiative, Phill Robinson, Chief Executive of IRIS Accountancy Solutions said: “Accountants are always looking at ways in which they can add value to their clients and stand out from the competition. IRIS OpenBooks already enables them to get a real-time picture of what their clients are doing 24x7; this new development means that they can now add even more value by stopping problems before they escalate. It gives accountants a real opportunity to support small businesses beyond basic bookkeeping and give them the support and guidance they need in this challenging economy.”

Energy Advice Line urges business energy user to lock in price cuts now

The Energy Advice Line has urged business energy users to act immediately to secure cheaper business energy prices as the major suppliers scramble to cut their tariffs.

Julian Morgan, managing director of the Energy Advice Line, the UK’s leading price comparison and switching service for business, said firms whose fixed contracts were about to expire, or those on variable-price deals, should move quickly.

Although wholesale energy prices had fallen over the past two months, the market remained volatile and the view of many industry experts was that prices would rise again, Mr Morgan said.

“Firms with fixed-price business electricity and commercial gas contracts should waste no time in checking when their deals expire, and move quickly to lock in some of the lower prices being announced today by some of the commercial gas suppliers,” Mr Morgan said.

“If businesses are on variable-price deals which can be cancelled with 28 days’ notices we strongly advise them to shop around and compare prices and lock in a fixed-price deal.

“Prices may be falling now, but the trend is for prices to go up.”

SSE (formerly Scottish & Southern Energy), British Gas and EDF Energy have all announced cuts in their electricity or gas prices.

SSE has reduced its gas prices by an average 4.5% from March 26. It is keeping its electricity prices unchanged. EDF has announced a 5% cut in gas prices from next month. British Gas, which supplies gas to half the UK market’s 20 million customers, announced it would cut electricity prices by 5% effective immediately.

Although the price changes apply specifically to domestic customers the changes will flow through to business electricity and business gas customers once their existing contracts have expired.

The cuts have caused confusion among consumers because the large suppliers have not applied price cuts across the board.

Mr Morgan pointed out that wholesale energy prices had in fact been falling before Christmas with some suppliers reducing their business electricity and/or business gas prices. The Energy Advice Line had been alerting customers to these deals as soon as they were available, he said.

“It’s a complicated and volatile market at the moment and things are moving quickly - that’s why it’s very useful for businesses to seek impartial expert advice about what to do.” Mr Morgan said.

He pointed out that business energy users should take heed of the warning by British Gas that the long-term trend for wholesale energy prices “continued to be upward”.

The cuts announced by suppliers this week will not compensate domestic or commercial energy users for price rises of up to 19% announced in the summer.

The Energy Advice Line is the UK’s only impartial business energy price comparison and switching service exclusively for business. It has campaigned for utility companies to change their business energy contracts and billing arrangements to make it easier for firms to switch suppliers to get the best business electricity and business gas deals.

For further information visit www.energyadviceline.org.uk


The Energy Advice Line, an impartial online business electricity and business gas price comparison service run by business energy experts for business energy customers, dedicated exclusively to the needs of small and medium-sized businesses in the UK. Realising that small and medium sized business electricity and gas consumers want product choice, EAL has developed an online price comparison and switching service exclusively dedicated to their needs. Visit energyadviceline for more details.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Expert speakers announced for national workplace mediation summit

• Biggest shakeup of dispute resolution in 20 years to be discussed at exclusive workplace mediation summit organised by The TCM Group

• Employment relations experts provide overview of Government proposals for improving workplace dispute resolution and mediation.

• London Chamber of Commerce and Industry to host inaugural national mediation summit with speakers from UK Government, CIPD, BT, Boyes Turner and The TCM Group

On the 19th of January, The TCM Group in partnership with the London Chamber of Commerce will be hosting a free 'Breakfast Briefing Seminar' on the Government’s response to the ‘Resolving workplace disputes’ consultation.

The Government’s response to the recent dispute resolution consultation states that mediation should become a preferred mechanism for organizations to resolve disputes without the needs to go to court :

“Our vision is for an employment dispute resolution system that promotes the use of early dispute resolution as a means of dealing with workplace problems. The consultation Resolving Workplace Disputes set out our ideas, which focused on the need to tackle problems early, before they got to the tribunal stage.”

Confirmed speakers at the national mediation summit to be held on the 19th of January 2012 include:

• Gail Davies from the Department for Business Innovation and Skills
• Mike Emmott from CIPD
• Helen Goss and Michael Farrier from Boyes Turner
• Mediation expert David Liddle from The TCM Group
• Caroline Waters, Director of People and Policy at BT

The Government response to the consultation is part of the Employment Law Review instigated by the Coalition. On the 30th of November the Coalition Government announced one of the most radical shake-ups of employment law in twenty years.

The Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development (CIPD) have identified significant advantages to UK companies who use mediation. Reduced stress and increased performance were two areas identified in a recent CIPD report into mediation and dispute resolution.

David Liddle, Founder of The TCM Group and President of the Professional Mediators Association believes that this event reflects a major milestone in the development of effective dispute resolution for UK organisations. He stated today that:

“It is clear from the proposals that the Government supports mediation and will encourage companies to deploy mediation in order to resolve disputes without the need for legal remedies. I welcome this exciting development and I look forward to working with officials from the Government alongside other key partners to help foster a culture of early resolution and mediation as an alternative to costly and stressful employment tribunals.“

Event details:

• Venue: London Chamber of Commerce & Industry
• Date: Thursday, 19th of January 2012
• Time: 08:30am (Registration ) - 11:30 am (End)
• Cost: Free: Coffee – Tea & Breakfast included
• How to book: To reserve a place please click here

Landlord Action Comment On New Law To Make Sub-Letting Council Houses A Criminal Offence

Paul Shamplina, founder of Landlord Action, a company specialising in tenant eviction, comments on the latest Government proposal to make sub-letting council houses a criminal offence, with offenders facing up to two years in prison.

Paul comments, "This is an extremely positive step in combating long-term abuse of the social housing system. There have been a growing number of tenants acting as landlords by sub-letting their council properties for their own financial gain and this is to the detriment of thousands of other vulnerable people. In the past, we have experienced "landlords" seeking our assistance to evict their tenant, only to find out that the property is not in fact theirs and the end tenant is not actually aware the property is being illegally sub-let.

"There is a severe shortage of social housing in this country but if enforcement is carried out as a result of this law change, then hopefully this will go some way to freeing up council properties for those who are truly in need. Of course, councils being made aware of such cases and having the ability to throw resources at the investigation process in order to enforce this law will be key to combating the issue.

"Hopefully, imprisonment of up to two years as well as a hefty fine will act as a deterrent to those greedy "wannabe landlords" who continue to flout the system."