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See testimonials from users of The Care Marketing Toolkit

Choice Support (Learning disabilities)

“Straight Up Marketing helped us to develop our first marketing strategy and to recruit two new roles into Choice Support. Following an in-depth analysis of our organisation Nicki pulled together a cohesive strategy that both the senior management team and board were very pleased with.

As part of this project Nicki provided us with a detailed step-by-step implementation plan which showed us which things we needed to do in which order and which roles should be responsible for which actions. She also provided specific insight into developments we should make on our website and with our sales process.

I was impressed with Nicki’s knowledge of our sector of the social care market. Nicki brought skills and expertise that we did not possess and by focusing our efforts on the things that are most likely to work her input will ultimately save us time and money.”

Steven Rose, Chief Executive

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Phoenix Futures (Drug, alcohol and substance misuse)

“As an HR Director with new found responsibility for marketing I was struggling to pull together a marketing strategy. With the deadline looming for me to present to the board I contacted Straight Up Marketing.

Nicki Wakefield helped us to look at what was and wasn't working and to pull together our disparate thinking into a clear strategy that was subsequently approved by the executive management team and the board. Nicki also helped us to clarify our requirements for restructuring our marketing team and recruiting a head of marketing. In addition she helped us to map out a toolkit to ensure our staff based all over the country are equiped to effectively market the organisation.

Using her experience of working with organisations facing similar challenges to us, within a week, Nicki effectively helped us to move the organisation forward by 18 months. I would have no hesitation in using Straight Up Marketing's services in the future or in recommending their services to other organisations."

Paula Logan, Director of Resourcses

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Carewatch Bromley (Older people - home care)

“I commissioned Nicki to carry out a review of our marketing activity in May 2011. This was followed up by some mystery shopping amongst our key competitors and some training for our administrative staff and supervisors on how to handle enquiries and assessments.

The review showed me how I could spend our limited marketing budget much more effectively and how we could improve the sales process to convert more web visitors and telephone enquirers into paying customers. It also highlighted the key messages we should promote on our website, in our literature, when dealing with telephone enquiries and at assessments.

All in all I feel confident that our marketing is more effective and that I have the tools in place to test new things and identify quickly whether they are working.”

David Armstrong, Director

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Dimensions (Learning disabilities)

"The government’s personalisation agenda has meant that we now have to handle enquiries direct from the public which was new to our organisation.

We had already purchased a Customer Relationship Management system and we brought in Nicki to help us manage the customer experience including the data requirements and sales process.

Nicki helped us to split the project into manageable chunks looking at where we direct our calls and emails; what data we need to capture against each enquiry to ensure robust reporting, data integrity and linkages with other systems; how we manage ownership of enquiries; and how we develop our processes and systems to maximise conversion.

This was a complex project involving extremely busy heads of departments across a number of business functions. Nicki helped us to focus on the important issues and kept us on track through the project in a step-by-step process, highlighting a number of important things that we may never have considered. Her knowledge of CRM systems, call centres and the sales process in similar environments coupled with her general marketing experience was invaluable.

Nicki was easy to work with and managed the project in a professional manner."

Jeff Palmer, Director of Business Development

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Heritage Care (Older people, Learning disabilities, Mental health)

"Heritage Care provides community based services for older people, people with a learning disability and mental health support needs.  The Personalisation agenda has led us to look at how we sell our services to those with a direct payment or personal budget.

Straight Up Marketing carried out a review of our internal operations focusing on marketing, communications and the customer journey. This was followed up with some external research looking at the sort of services people look for from providers. 

Nicki recommended an overall approach which is flexible enough to work for the different parts of our organisation. She also provided a number of useful tips on how we manage our brand and the balance between national and local marketing. Nicki helped us look at how we can fill beds in our residential care homes and how we can raise awareness of our services and attract customers in other parts of the organisation. 

Nicki’s input into this project has been very useful to us and helped us to define our overall organisation’s strategy and requirements for a new senior post focussing on income generation."

Stephen Lenton, HR Director

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Real Life Options (Learning disabilities)

"Nicki is a pleasure to work with. She carried out an objective review of Real Life Options' marketing in 2010, based on interviews with internal and external stakeholders. We asked Nicki to give us an honest, warts and all view; and she had the courage and the experience to stick to the brief, producing a report that was very useful to us.

Through her knowledge of the social care sector, expertise in marketing and understanding of the wider business processes, Nicki was able to quickly identify the key areas where we needed to focus attention. We now have a much clearer idea of our marketing strengths and weaknesses. Nicki was able to offer many practical suggestions as to how we might reorganise working methods to improve overall effectiveness; and her recommendations are informing our business plans."

Dave Rawnsley, Head of Marketing and Development

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The Avenues Trust (Learning disabilities, older people, mental health)

"Nicki quickly developed an understanding of what we were trying to achieve and produced a range of options and suggestions that we could work with successfully. I found Nicki to be personable, an expert in what she does and good value for money".

Jo Land, HR Director

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BUPA Wellness (Private healthcare)

"Nicki Wakefield was without doubt the best marketing manager that I ever recruited to work for me during my 30 years with BUPA.

Her initial role was to look after direct marketing aimed at the consumer market. She tackled this so well that after a year I reshuffled the department to enable her to take on the corporate market as well. For this she recruited a new team and scored highly in team building and motivation at her annual appraisals.

She could be both strategic and tactical, planning and implementing marketing programmes to acquire and retain corporate clients, eligible employees and personal customers for a new division (BUPA Wellness) with approximately 20 service lines.

I can remember that this included developing a new website, boosting traffic and online revenue, significantly improving cost effectiveness of the direct marketing campaigns, developing new tracking systems and supporting the sales teams. Her work was invariably on time and on budget.

Relatively small budgets for this new division meant that we could not afford direct marketing or advertising agencies, and we had to be more self-sufficient. Nicki's skills enabled us to plan our own campaigns and write most of our own copy, briefing literature or web designers as required. She was particularly good at analysing problems and finding innovative solutions to deliver results.

Nicki was a pleasure to work with, committed and tenacious, and always willing to get stuck in. I'm sure she would be an enormous asset to any team."

Peter Smythe, Head of Marketing

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Local Government Employers (Public sector)

"Nicki carried out a business and market review for our consultancy division in 2008/9 and provided us with a detailed action plan, much of which our newly appointed communications manager was able to implement.

Although she didn’t have experience of our industry, Nicki seemed to know what questions to ask and quickly grasped what our organisation was about.

By looking at the wider market Nicki provided an objective analysis of our strengths and weaknesses compared to our competitors and identified some competitors that we were not aware of. She helped us to look at our offering and marketing as potential customers would do and made some useful suggestions as to how we could develop our services and proposition.

Previously we had focused our marketing efforts on new prospects that were unaware of our services. Nicki identified a number of opportunities internally that we could tap into including piggy backing on existing communications being carried out by other parts of the organisation and improving the cross-selling our services through our website and staff working in other parts of the organisation.

Nicki forced us to think about where we wanted to take our consultancy division and provided insightful recommendations drawn from her experience in the commercial world. She made us look at things in a different way and this has enabled us to use grow our business without spending a lot of money.

I very much enjoyed working with Nicki and hope to do so again in the future."

Adam Barker, Head of Consultancy

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Bigmouthmedia (Online marketing)

“Nicki has a knack for getting the best out of her teams by facilitating collaborative meetings that are solution focused, by providing strong project management and by empowering employees. By leveraging her analytical skills she has the ability to pinpoint problems, quickly narrow down options and make concise and correct decisions.

I had the pleasure of working with Nicki for over a year whilst she was at MWB Business Exchange and found her straightforward communication style refreshing and very productive. In my opinion Nicki’s key strengths lie in her forward thinking nature and her holistic understanding of both online and offline and how they can create synergies. I very much hope to work with Nicki again.”

Rob McNair, Senior Search Manager at Bigmouthmedia

Thera (Learning Disabilities)

"Thera has traditionally not actively marketed itself - relying on word of mouth and its reputation to grow and support more people. Given the move to personal budgets, we realised that we needed to do more to promote our organisation to a wider audience of potential new customers We had developed a marketing sub-group which had come up with a list of ways we might promote ourselves, but we needed help! We attended a seminar and were so please to hear Nicki Wakefield talking about social care and marketing in the same breath.

Nicki worked with us over a period of a year and helped us to develop our marketing strategy and did some more detailed work around helping us to implement this. She helped us to link this to a review of our operational roles and our IT strategy and think about how we can track results.

Nicki convinced us that we needed to change the role of marketing within the organisation and needed additional dedicated marketing resource. She helped us to define the requirements and recruit the right person for this new role.

As a charity we were concerned about not being seen to “waste” money on marketing. We were pleasantly surprised that the approach that was recommended required a relatively small investment – one that was much smaller than we had envisaged.

Having spent the past year working with Nicki I feel I have gone on a personal learning curve and now feel I have the confidence and knowledge to lead the marketing team and ensure that as an organisation we get the most out of what has become a vital area for us."

Jenny Garrigan, Director of Quality & Performance, Thera Trust


See testimonials from users of The Care Marketing Toolkit

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Do you think we might be able to help your organisation? Please get in touch for a no obligation discussion.


  • ..."Nicki made us look at things in a different way and this has enabled us to grow our business without spending a lot of money"

    Adam Barker, Local Government Employers (Public sector)

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