Author: Paul Asensio

With fifteen years experience in brand, digital strategy, production and emarketing Paul Asensio has worked with a number of major national and international brands.

Web Design Hartlepool

So is it web design, web agency or web development in Hartlepool? Is it marketing agency, advertising agency or ad agency in Hartlepool? Is it media planning, media buying or a list of services like email advertising, banner advertising, social media or Google search… in Hartlepool (of course)… or Middlesbrough… Sunderland, Newcastle. Aaargghhh!

When deciding what tags or keywords to use for your product or service it can be a minefield. Sorry… correction… it’s always a minefield.

Of course not all companies have a digital strategy or digital specialist on hand, and of course there’s always a fear of who to trust and the unlikelihood of getting some simple free advice that’s worth much (see what I did there?) So you sit down, come up with a couple of dozen keywords and the job is done. Of course the job isn’t done. Here are some free pointers (worth lots):

1. You know your products and services inside out. You’re also fluent in industry speak. Remember to think outside the box (or bubble) and connect with what Joe Blogs would search for. Chances are it isn’t what you think they would search for.
2. Don’t trust your new intern because he/she/it uses Facebook and is below the age of 22 and therefore must be qualified.
3. Use the array of Google keyword tools available at the click of a button. They’re not the most precise but give an indication and supply some extra ideas and insight.
4. Remember your SEO strategy will be different to your Adwords strategy.
5. Keywords will guide your content strategy so make it relevant.
6. Some people do offer some free advice. Call 01429 870934 or email


Happy Birthday You Complete Freak

Happy Birthday to my dog. Lola you are 1 today. As I look back over the last year I have to admit we’ve had our ups and downs. Probably more “downs” since you seem to have swallowed a sofa magnet, but I’m human enough to admit you’ve been a friend… not exactly the best friend I was led to believe you would be… more the type of friend who eats your food, leaves the occasional foul smell and forces you to go out when you really can’t be bothered.


I remember that first day when we went to collect you. I recognised you immediately from the photo I’d been sent by text. You were a tiny scrap, had a splodge of white on that hooter thing you have on the front of your face, had stupid long ears but more importantly huge puppy dog eyes. You were slightly more ginger than I had expected, but I’m not racist and I took you into my heart and home. I do however hope the £300 you cost to buy was invested in an upgrade with the emphasis on megapixels and not the call plan.
I understand from your personality type you “thrive on attention”. That said it would be great if we could work on the “neediness” in year 2. Some “me” time would be good and a bit of distance from time to time would be useful – especially on the stairs, in the bathroom, and at the dinner table. I also understand you’re “willing to try new things” but that habit you’ve developed with your own poo and more recently other dogs’ poos really has to stop. Your “good appetite” wasn’t I’m sure meant to include that new indoor plant I bought, the lamp cord which thankfully wasn’t live and Oliver’s Iron Man. You are a proper Cocker though, well more of a Sprocker, but we can’t be sure as your mother looked like she was a bit of a fox and by all accounts, if your father is who they think he was, he was a proper son of a bitch.
The last year certainly hasn’t been a bore. It’s been full of exciting times! Running on to the main road was one of them, me chasing you chasing football players was another and falling into that river… well enough said.
When I asked you how you wanted to celebrate your special day you just looked up at me and offered no suggestions, so I have tried to make it as restful and as stress-free as possible. I haven’t hoovered, I’ve let you indulge in a bit of the bottom warmth you seem to so enjoy when I get up from the armchair, I’ve covered your ears from the sounds of the “puppy killers” you are so fearful of (dustmen), and I’ve eased off on the “treats for tricks only” rule. Oh and by the way “play dead” shouldn’t involve tail wagging.
Lola you have a life expectancy of between 12 and 15 years. This may sound a tad melancholy but what’s worse is that this can be shortened… lamp cords, main roads, unsupervised chocolate bars and frankly behaviour dependent. In a strange sort of a way I look forward to more of the same. Happy birthday Lola you complete freak.

A happy and blessed new year!

As 2011 draws to a close and a shiny new year looms, like many this evening I will be looking back on the highs and lows of what has gone before and hoping that 2012 is kind to me and mine.

Looking back it was another good year. When things seemed to take a turn for the worse they in fact brought blessings and new opportunities. When one door was closed others were opened.

Over the years this pattern has repeated itself time and again. My mother has always said, “What’s for you won’t pass you by” and I have to say there is a great deal of comfort to be had in this piece of wisdom. It brings a confidence that no matter what lies in wait around the corner I will be able to cope with the challenges as indeed they were always meant to be.

So far they have been changers to a brighter tomorrow. All I can ask is that they continue to be just that.

Have a very happy and blessed new year!

The customer is always right?

You know the old adage “the customer is always right”… right? Wrong!

Worst still is if the customer thinks he is always right.. or is treated as if he is always right. Right? Right.

You see, so many customers and suppliers (and I too sometimes find myself in customer mode and at other times in supplier mode)  fail to value their relationship enough.  It is one of convenience.  I thankfully have clients who appreciate they don’t know it all. They also appreciate the fact that I don’t know it all. They know this because I tell them… and because sometimes its obvious.  But like in all relationships there is give and take, more experience in a certain area on one side and more experience on another. The point is that our business relationship is improved and optimised by the fact that both parties bring their expertise to the table and work together to reach consensus… a road map. There is trust.

Therein lies success.  The antithesis to this success? The kowtowing to the customer which leads to a dismantling of commitment, vision, creativity and proactivity within the supplier agency. Something which starts at the top and rots away at an agency and those who work on the account. It gets to a point where account managers daren’t move… and trust me… they make the day to day decisions on your account.  Not the boss!

If you recognise a lack of these things in your business relationship question its structure. Are you too dominant? Or does your supplier force this upon you and hide behind it (much safer that way isn’t it?).

I have always thought that a good litmus test is to observe whether your agency head would take your side or the side of their own account manager working on your account (this obviously doesn’t include sexual flirting with you partner on IM, selling your trade secrets to competitiors or bad body odour).  If they always take your side then you need to question how committed they are to a mutually respectful relationship.  How much they value the staff they put on your account (today and in the past). How committed are they in ensuring an environment of vision, creativity and proactivity around your account?

Next time demand from your agency that you are treated as if you’re not always right. Right? Right.


A vet or doctor? A builder or architect?

There are lots of SME business owners and marketing heads out there who know their limitations when it comes to the development of an online marketing strategy. I think it’s good to know your limitations… although you should be careful it doesn’t lead to inertia and paralysis through fear of the unknown.

There is also a larger number who brazen it out, especially marketing heads from an offline or PR background who believe that:

1. Simply applying old world tried and tested principles to new world methods is enough.
2. They should continue in an offline bubble, hoping the nasty online stuff remains a fad. “When PR became mainstream everybody got really excited, but it soon settled into the mix”. The same will happen with digital.
3. The burden of responsibility (most often self-inflicted) to know everything in my field (every aspect of my business or every aspect of my marketing discipline) is such that I’ll make it up as I go along, or transform my image into a converted digital guru.

I was reading an article recently about the struggle in parts of Africa against HIV Aids and how the situation is exacerbated by ignorance, a lack or willingness to understand and a lack of organised and effective education. I don’t mean to flippantly relate my point to a world killer, but the article went on to discuss how some sufferers seek the “help” of witch doctors, others from vets, and the better informed/luckier from qualified doctors and nurses. Obviously witch doctors are at worse charlatans, and at best misguided in their own belief system. They peddle ignorance. Vets, although in a directly related industry, are just not qualified for the job. I think most of us, given the choice, would opt for the qualified doctor or nurse.

Let me develop another analogy to further tunnel down and dissect the difference between a doctor and a nurse (although I’m sure we all know what we’d prefer). The point I would like to make though is that they are qualified in the same area but in different disciplines. They have different functions and do different jobs.

I’ve never been lucky (or unlucky) enough to build my own house, but I know there are a number of options open to me.

1. Build one yourself. Just think of the challenge of a whole new expertise and trade. The experience and expertise of professionals crammed into 6 months. 2 years. 5 years. Hmm…
2. Get your neighbour’s nephew to build you one. “He’s good at that sort of thing” (if it wasn’t so pathetic it would be laughable). Even if his only qualification is that he knows more than you it is surely a good start. Hmm…
3. Get a builder. The builder will do the job for you and he’ll make a decent job. He wont have developed a strategy (thats not his job – he builds). It won’t have been properly planned, the lay out won’t be to your complete satisfaction and it might not get approval, buy you can make do. Right? Hmm…
4. Hire an architect and do the job properly. There will be a strategy and plan in place. He can advise on best practice, cost effectiveness and who is needed to do the job properly. He will also ensure legal compliance. Jobs a good ‘un!

When approaching the whole online thing (and we’re not just talking websites), what kind of business professional do you wish to be? Who should you be approaching?

If I needed medical attention I would go to a qualified doctor. If I wanted a house building I would go to an architect. If i wanted to know how I should approach digital, and what I should do to ensure an ROI on my investment, I would go to genuine online specialists who deal with digital strategies.

Another blog post

For a number of weeks now I’ve been trying to decide what to write about for my next blog post. At one point I had three ideas swirling around in my head. I just couldn’t choose. The swirl swirled so long that the ideas themselves slowed and turned stagnant.

The ideas haven’t yet been replaced.

I have a block. My juices aren’t flowing. The river’s turned to jelly. The trinitrotoluene is on the damp side. The beaver’s ran out of wood. You get my drift?

The strange thing is that my usual source for my usual ramblings (ie life) has never been busier.

The first stage of our latest site Asensio digital marketing agency has gone live. The requirements for digital marketing in Teesside, Durham, Newcastle and the Universe have never been stronger. We’ve been busy with website design and development, and there’s enough being done on the social media, mobile and search engine optimisation front too. Certainly on the SEO front! Then there’s the new bathroom I’ve just finished over the August bank holiday weekend, the children’s last week of the Summer holidays and nursing my brave Mrs as she recuperates from the curious incident of the garden fire-pit in the nighttime.

I’m sure it won’t be too long until an idea lodges itself where it should. I’m sure another blog post is just around the corner. In fact, wait a minute… well what do you know? How do I manage it?