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Author: Jackie Cook

unLTD Business feature: Celebrating 10 years in business

South Yorkshire based businesses CQ Strategic Marketing, Agemaspark and Airmaster are all celebrating milestone anniversaries this year at 10 years, 20 years and 30 years respectively. They took part in a roundtable to discuss how doing business has changed during that time.

The panel was Chaired by Caroline Broad of Clarion Solicitors.

Jackie Cook, managing director at CQ Strategic Marketing specialises in marketing services for manufacturing SMEs without their own in-house marketing team. Since starting out as a sole trader in 2012, Jackie has witnessed many changes in the industry and more recently created the Equality in STEM network to encourage greater diversity in the industry.


Manufacturing has always been at the heart of my profession, even back to the days where I worked as a secretary. After a few years, I had the opportunity to join the marketing department and the company supported me through gaining marketing qualifications before later joining an international engineering company. From this, I noticed that many engineering SMEs didn’t have access to an in-house marketing team, so the idea for CQ Strategic Marketing was born and now we work with businesses across South Yorkshire, and Europe!, to essentially become their marketing team. I love the diversity of what we do, every day is different.


We work with a very diverse mix of clients, and I love finding out more about what they do and how things are made – especially when we get to visit the factories and become immersed in the processes. My clients are based internationally, so advances in technology facilitate those relationships.

When I first started out in marketing, we were sat stuffing piles of paper into envelopes and doing everything manually, whereas everything now is done digitally. It’s been a very welcome change, as clients are keen to know how their marketing is working and more specifically, which parts are most successful. We can provide so much data to the clients now – details of traffic on their websites, open rates of emails which helps us to be far more strategic than 20 years ago.


We are working with clients on promoting their apprenticeships and training programmes as we know there is a skills shortage, so we need to work on enticing people into the industry and helping them to grow within it. Social media is also key in this day and age to promote the business and the sector – gone are the days of the mailer where you never knew if anyone actually read it or if it went in the bin! Working with trade associations is another way we can promote the sector as a whole, as well as our own business.


I’ve set up a network called Equality in STEM. We’ve started running columns in unLTD magazine (strategically chosen as it goes out to a range of businesses in South Yorkshire, not just engineering companies) showcasing female role models in the industry. In the industry, we recognise issues with diversity and skills shortages, but we must get the word out to parents, teachers and others out in the community in the hope of moving practices forward in the future. There’s lots of different options for career paths, and we need a shift in perception that engineering doesn’t have to be a man’s profession. We need to remove any barriers and restrictions to the industry for it to be for all.


I think technology will continue to change as much as, if not more, than it has in my last 20 years in the industry. The ways we communicate will be changing, and we’re moving to an era where we need to market to all of the stakeholders, so the marketing emphasis is shifted to include the supply chain from an environmental perspective and the attraction of future skills as well as feeding the business development/sales funnel.

To read the full article in October’s unLTD Business magazine please visit: 

To watch the video of the discussion, please visit:

CQ celebrates 10 years in business!

10 years in business!
Wow! We are delighted to be celebrating 10 years in business, it was this day in 2012 that Jackie Cook left employment to start what has become CQ Strategic Marketing.
Jackie said “I started off as a sole trader whilst I could see if it could work. 18 months later, after an introduction from a mutual friend, I met up with the lovely Gaynor Carr at Café Massarella in Meadowhall where we came up with the ‘CQ Strategic Marketing’ branding. Little did we know that would be the start of a great working relationship, I can’t imagine CQ without Gaynor now, thank you for all you do, graphic designer, friend, sounding board… we recently went for lunch where it all started to celebrate our 10 years in business.”
“Around 8 years ago we met Peter and Ash from Spotlight Studios through a mutual client, which was the start of another great partnership becoming an integral part of our team, they have worked with us on most of our clients’ developing websites, digital animation videos, SEO and PPC campaigns. We share the same values and approach to clients, prioritising their needs above our own.
“I set out to support SME manufacturers without in-house marketing teams, we have worked with companies from Norfolk to Leeds, we still work with one of our first retainer clients and have recently helped them develop a marketing strategy and communications plan including, new branding, website, marketing materials, selecting various business exhibitions for them to launch their new business. Along the way we have added marketing training and coaching with our separate brand CQ Marketing Academy where we train your in house team to run some of your marketing or we provide marketing strategy and planning for senior management teams.”
We are currently working with manufacturers based across South Yorkshire trading nationally, as well as a couple of manufacturing trade associations including one based in The Netherlands. A recent addition to our client base is a specialist recruitment consultancy looking after recruitment of design engineers for technology and engineering businesses.
The spin out of my 18 years of work in engineering and manufacturing is my passion project, Equality in STEM in partnership with Spotlight Studios who share our passion for inspiring, developing and supporting more diversity in the STEM sectors.”
A massive thank you to our clients, suppliers and business network and we look forward to many more years!
#10yearsinbusiness #businessbirthday

Jackie Cook joins Women’s Engineering Society Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Group

CQ Strategic Marketing, Managing Director, Jackie Cook has become a Fellow of the Women’s Engineering Society.

Jackie has joined the newly formed Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Special Interest Group.

Jackie who is studying for a Diversity and Inclusion Certificate from AIHR has teamed up with Spotlight Studios to set up Equality in STEM

The CQ marketing cycle – Step 2 – Marketing Strategy

Step 2 in our weekly series on The CQ marketing cycle is to create a marketing strategy. So, what do we mean when we say that:
– Branding – logo a visual identity to help you stand out, make you recognisable and appeal to your potential customers
– Audience – who is your customer going to be? what do they look like? describe them to me. Is it another Business or an Individual? Where are they based? Gender? Age? Type of business – are they in a particular sector or industry or at a particular growth stage? Individual interested in hobbies? etc
– Segmenting your market – once you know who your customers are, will you have different products/services for different customers? a range of complementary products/services? maybe at different price levels? or offering different advantages? Which segments of your market are more profitable?
– Route to market – how will you sell to your customers? direct? online? through a distributor or agent? is it a retail business? are you providing a service?
– Competitors – who are they? what is there route to market? pricing position? quality of their service? do you want to be a market leader?
– Positioning – how do you want to be seen by your customers and potential customers? Are you going to be high quality, high price? Low price? Where will you be based, what perception does that create? What level of customer service will your provide?
– Message – What product or service are your offering? What problem are you solving for the customer? Why should they buy from you over the competition?
For more on how we help with Segmentation, Targetting and Positioning please click here

The CQ marketing cycle – Step 1 – Understand your market

As part of a new weekly series looking at The CQ Cycle, we will be talking you through some of the steps we use with our clients.
Step 1: Understand your market – Identify and understand your business objectives:
Before we can start working on a marketing and sales strategy and plan, we need to understand your overall business objectives.
– Are you looking for growth in existing markets?
– Are the owners looking to sell within a certain timeframe?
– Are you looking at expanding geographically?
– Are some of your products or services more profitable than others?
– How competitive is your market place?
– Is there increasing or decreasing demand for what you do?
– Are you developing new products or services?
And many more questions that will influence how we pick where to communicate and what your message should be.
Find out more about our marketing strategy services here

New combined sales and marketing service for SME’s

Sheffield based businesses CQ Strategic Marketing and AT Management Solutions are teaming up to launch a new combined sales and marketing service for SME’s and have already won their first contract for an international manufacturer.

Jackie Cook from CQ Strategic Marketing has worked in marketing for 20 years, with 15 years in the manufacturing sector. Angela Taylor from AT Management Solutions has worked in sales and manufacturing for 25 years. They recognised a need to combine their experience to help SME businesses that may not have their own in-house sales or marketing resource. CQ Strategic Marketing work with a number of associates to provide clients with a complete marketing service including marketing strategy, planning and ongoing management with an experienced team of professionals in graphic design, web design, hosting and maintenance, digital integration of IT, SEO & PPC, social media management, digital animation, video production and PR. The addition of a sales professional will provide a more comprehensive service for the full business development pipeline. AT Management Solutions provide sales strategy, management, training, risk and forecasting analysis and business development.

Jackie said “I have worked with many companies where we put in the marketing strategy and activity which generates sales leads for the business but there is a gap then in terms of following up that lead, the development of a long-term potential customer relationship, managing getting on framework agreements or getting on preferred supplier lists. I see this association with Angela as meaning we can help our clients maximise the return they get on their investment in their marketing.”

Angela said “My experience shows that an excellent personal understanding of each client needs is critical for long term mutually beneficial business. This understanding supports the generation of new business and winning more opportunities, developing relationships, and developing key accounts. There is a symbiotic relationship between sales and marketing – a dual aspect approach, enhances growth potential and presence versus your competitors. Being at the forefront of your clients’ or target clients’ mind through a multi-channel promotion represents best practice.  I see this collaboration as providing a complete customer centric approach.”


To launch this new service Jackie and Angela will be presenting a FREE webinar ‘Connect to Thrive – Courting the Customer’ for Barnsley & Rotherham Chamber of Commerce on Thursday 5th November at 10am till 11am.  To book your place, please visit the Barnsley & Rotherham Chamber website:

Jackie Cook becomes mentor on Barnsley and Rotherham Chamber Scheme

CQ Strategic Marketing, Managing Director, Jackie Cook has signed up to become a Mentor as part of the Member Mentoring Programme for Barnsley & Rotherham Chamber.
Jackie said “I have 20 years of marketing experience and have run my own business for over 8 years now. I am delighted to be able to offer this advice and support to other businesses in the South Yorkshire area, particularly during this challenging time for all businesses at the moment.”

Are you looking for guidance from an industry leader? Do you lack particular knowledge gaps in your business strategy? Our “Member Mentoring Programme” aims to promote the industry leaders from within the Barnsley & Rotherham Chamber network to help mentor business individuals in their expert field.    

We understand the pressures the recent pandemic has put on many businesses within our region, in response the Member Mentoring Programme aims to introduce key industry leaders with businesses throughout our region to help guide you though the revival phase of your recovery.

Mentors will help your business by establishing areas which can be improved and help advise you on the processes you can implement. Each Mentor has specialty skills which you can find by browsing through the categories below. They will offer you impartial advice and guidance based on the problems which your business is facing.

A Mentee can request a maximum of 2 hours of mentoring per session from any of the Mentors listed below, the Mentor can accept or reject any mentoring request depending on their own commitments to fulfill the mentoring request.

All Mentoring provided is free for the Mentee, this is a fantastic opportunity to gain guidance from an industry leader from the Barnsley & Rotherham Chamber network.

For more information about the mentor scheme please click here

Need to move your business online?

Do you provide face-to-face training, seminars or networking events?

Are you wondering how you are going to keep an income stream with the country on self isolation or home working for the next few months?

Our team of marketing, design, branding, web, digital, animation, IT and video experts can help you.

We have experience of teaching and delivering training so can help you break things down into engaging sessions.

We can help move your face-to-face training, seminars and networking online!

What we can provide?

  • website design, hosting and maintenance
  • learning management system
  • online payment to release content
  • branding for your new online material
  • developing your content for online learning
  • training you to use your new system
  • marketing support to promote your new online programmes

We want to help your business survive during the coronavirus restrictions. At this difficult and challenging time for all businesses, we would like to offer this service at a vastly reduced rate and are only seeking to cover costs.

We can work with you to turn things around quickly to get your online delivery up and running.

Jackie Cook, Managing Director, CQ Strategic Marketing said “We are in unprecedented times and we want to help other businesses stay in business. Please don’t be put off by perceived costs, just give us a call and have a chat and we can see how we can help.”

Call us on 0114 399 1600 to discuss your requirements, and let’s work together to support your business!

Business continuity planning must be the topic of the day!

As a marketer we are continually looking at our (and those of our clients) target market to adapt the products and services we offer. At a time when the world we operate in is constantly changing communication will be key to keeping employees, customers, potential customers and stakeholders informed.

With many business owners looking at how to keep their business running with potentially staff out of the business, travel restrictions, tradeshows and many networking events being postponed businesses will need to increasingly look at digital marketing as a means of keeping communication channels open.

Some of the things that businesses are having to consider at the moment, include:

  • Establishing remote access to files and systems
  • Ensuring phone lines can be answered remotely or diverted
  • Keeping communication lines between internal teams
  • Communicating changes in how they will be delivering their product or service to their customers
  • Managing crisis communications with the media
  • Moving to online product ordering or service delivery
  • Access to supply chains – movement of goods and availability of service delivery providers

We are already talking to our clients about plans to keep communicating with their internal teams and their external markets including key messages, social media activity, email campaigns, moving their IT to the cloud with remote access, diverting telephone lines, developing online shops or service provision.

If you need to discuss your marketing strategy, planning, communications and digital solutions give us a call, we would be happy to help.

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