I picked out the last two episodes of The Apprentice on the BBC IPlayer last night with Sir Alan Sugar eventually opting to invest £250,000 in Mark Wright whose business plan was to set up a digital marketing agency.
The declared USP of Climb Online , which I think is a pretty apt domain name, and registered way back in June 2014 as www.climb-online.co.uk and .com is regular monthly client visits and no contracts tying you in.
It is not a unique USP, but one which clearly recognises that for the development and implementation of a successful SEO strategy it is essential to establish and maintain good regular client / agency communications.
A dedicated in-house resource for a company to manage their marketing is a great asset, but a role that for many small to medium businesses is part and parcel of sales, operations or one which is a secondary “add on” role encroaching on an individuals primary responsibilities.
Understanding a business is the first priority
In this event the option to outsource is a sound one as having an external agency working with an in-house co-ordinator brings a different perspective with more impartial objectivity and industry know-how and experience, which when combined with regular meetings with a structured agenda pays dividends.
It enhances the knowledge of opportunities to the client and a deeper understanding of the business profile to the marketing agency resulting in an effective ongoing and agile marketing strategy.
Benchmarked SEO Results
It's a win win, the agency is equipped with information to utilise and the company is well and accurately represented with a shared goal orientated agenda.
On face value, bearing in mind that we only see a fraction of the many hours of filming edited down to entertain us for an hours viewing, it might be that Mark Wright's Climb Online Digital Marketing Agency did not offer the most lucrative return on the on the £250,000 investment in the oft mentioned saturated market.
Was Bianca Miller just unlucky?
I must admit that I anticipated a win for Bianca Miller, despite the fact that the start up costs would be rapidly swallowed, because as Nick Hewer, who retired at the end of this series, highlighted; it was a good concept and if he (Sir Alan) ramped up production in volume, dropped the price and marketed it correctly he would make a fortune.
Then again the question which is so often asked in Dragons Den but was not perhaps addressed here is what is stopping the existing hosiery manufactureres from adopting exactly the same format.
The question is what will give the best return on Sir Alan Sugar's investment.
Time will tell no doubt and I am sure that in the meantime Bianca Miller will be attracting some enquiries.
I half expected Sir Alan to take on both, but there are probably rules preventing this and in the eleventh series, apparently in production already, it would not be deemed appropriate to have more than one winner.