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October 2016

Guest Blog, James O’Day: Travel marketers are missing out on the mobile revolution…

Mobile is changing the way we travel. It’s how many of us research and decide where to go, when to go and what to do when we’ve arrived. However, the travel industry hasn’t yet fully caught up with the mobile revolution. This is a missed opportunity.

More than ever, mobile is defining consumer behaviour in the industry: 60 per cent of research on destinations and more than a third of all bookings are made on smartphones, while 90 per cent of in-trip information is accessed via mobile devices.

Increasingly, travellers are looking for the feeling of a bespoke, tailored experience, whether they’ve booked through a big tour operator or are travelling independently. Mobile is key to this experience because they want relevant, accessible, shareable content on the go. Many traditional publishers have failed to adapt their content to take advantage of this opportunity. The big crowd-wisdom sites, such as TripAdvisor, have plugged the gap, but they are not trusted and faked reviews are still perceived as a problem.

How do marketers take advantage of this?

Travel companies have not appreciated the opportunity to produce great content that travellers can use on the go. As a marketer, providing this content gives you the chance to talk directly to your customers in your own language yet few operators have effective content strategies in place.

The opportunity is open to companies big and small. It is equally true of boutique hotels, which could help their guests get the most out of the surrounding area by providing mobile-friendly,  personalised recommendations for pubs and restaurants, or cruise liners, which could give customers tailored guides to Caribbean islands depending on their personal tastes.

Some companies neglect content creation altogether, while too many others use ‘flat’ content – information hosted on an external site or webpage. In today’s mobile world that’s no longer good enough. First, it’s a missed opportunity for direct customer engagement. Secondly, as travellers, we don’t want to be directed to external sites for information, we expect a more convenient, easy-to-access, immediate experience.

Two years ago, I set up Pearlshare with my co-founders Michael Liebreich and Oliver Brooks; it is a digital platform where anyone – companies, friends and like-minded travellers – can build and share guides to their favourite places and attractions. These pearls of travel wisdom can be shared via any messaging app or social network and also embedded into third-party websites. Personal recommendations carry five times as much weight as paid advertising or paid-for posts.

The Airbnb revolution has accelerated this trend; guests want to ‘live like a local’ and good hosts help them do this by giving the inside track about the hidden gems around them. Not only are they providing an accessible guide to the best their locality can offer, they are also taking the opportunity to open up a direct dialogue between host and guest.

Now we are helping marketers adopt this authentic approach on their own sites. Customers want advice they feel they can trust and that’s relevant to them and their interests. Pearlshare’s guides can be embedded in holiday companies’ own digital platforms. They can be shared with customers before, during and after they have travelled, creating the sense of a shared journey. Customers can contribute their own ‘pearls’, posting recommendations and photos, which turns the process into a dialogue rather than a monologue and helps build communities with shared interests.

Independence and individuality are prized more than ever before by discerning travellers. Travel marketers who can create a simple, informative platform to communicate with the communities they are trying to reach will stay ahead of their competitors. Mobile is the gateway to achieving this.

 

James O’Day is COO of Pearlshare, which he co-founded in 2014 with Michael Liebreich and Oliver Brooks. Prior to launching Pearlshare, a digital platform accessible through www.pearlshare.com or a downloadable app, he was a project leader in the London office of Boston Consulting Group.

Industry Spotlight: Mobile – is your strategy reaping the benefits?

Mobile isn’t just the latest craze.  Mobile can’t even be called a recent trend.  It isn’t just the future, it is the now and here to stay.

We’re addicted to our phones – just look at the number of people sitting in restaurants flicking through social media rather than having a face-to-face conversation with their dinner companion(s).  We order food via our phones; we even date via our phones.  There’s an app for everything.  Mobile is constantly developing and finding new ways to integrate into our lives that little bit further – if it’s not part of your marketing strategy, you’re already way behind…

You may not be on mobile but your customers are

We wake up in the morning and the first thing we do is reach for our phones.  The Deloitte 2016 UK Mobile Consumer Survey found that almost half of 18-24 year olds check their mobile even during the night.

How many times have you browsed on your phone while on the train?  While you walk home?  While you’re watching TV? If you’re not tapping (or swiping) into the potential mobile marketing has for engaging with your customers, then your competition has a clear advantage on your offering…

Still not sold on the idea of mobile marketing?

I receive an email on my phone advertising a shoe sale and click the perfectly crafted trackable URL.  Website doesn’t load within a couple of seconds?  Goodbye!  Now, on to the next email; speed is crucial to using mobile data on the go.

Your website’s too small to read on my 4.7 inch screen?  Forget it.  Will I go back and check out the website when I’m on my desktop?  Maybe – but chances are I’ll find what I’m looking for quicker elsewhere via my smartphone.

Say a potential job candidate works long hours; has a hectic home life; and gets half an hour to themselves each day – if they’re lucky.  They’re looking for opportunities to advance their career.  Your website SEO is excellent.  They find the ideal job opening.  They click apply.

Suddenly they’re confronted with a long application form, which they grudgingly complete.

Then they’re asked to attach a CV.  Their CV isn’t stored on their mobile.  They have it on Dropbox, OneDrive and Google Docs but none of those are integrated with your website.  There’s not even an option to send their LinkedIn profile.

They give up, close their browser and end up not applying.

Want consumer engagement?

Mobile marketing is one of the best platforms for consumer engagement. How many times have you liked an incredible holiday destination on Instagram; pinned a delicious looking recipe on Pinterest; or checked into a bar on Facebook?  If your customers aren’t engaging with you via mobile, chances are they’re engaging with your competitor.

We tweet companies our complaints rather than contacting them directly.  We’re concise, quicker and don’t want to wait for more than a couple of hours to receive a response.

Everything is in the public domain.  And if you’re not monitoring what’s being said, if you’re not replying fast enough, if you’re not putting out your own content, then you don’t have control of your brand’s story online.

What’s the difference between desktop and mobile content?

Simple, mobile is shorter, sharper and punchier.  Mobile gets to the point quicker and readers don’t have time to search for what they’re looking for within a sea of text – they want it to jump out. They want easy to read content with short paragraphs and sentences. Crisp, clear language is key.

Know what you need and what’s a waste of your resources

The more you know about your audience – what they’re looking for and where they are – the simpler it becomes to implement a mobile marketing strategy that delivers return on investment (ROI).

Test your emails on mobile.  Can you see the full subject line?  Does the design work for all screen sizes?  Are your links easy to click?  Test your website on multiple mobile devices too.  What needs optimising for mobile?  Maybe a faster load time is needed; or a larger font; more spacing; bigger buttons; and simpler navigation?

Does your content need cleaning up and breaking down?  Is it time for a complete rewrite?

What content do you have that lends itself to social?  What social sites are your customers using? 

 

Words by Jennifer Wright, head of Group Marketing at BlueSky PR

Attending the Marketing Business Forum? Here are our top tips for industry networking!

If you’re coming to the next Marketing Business Forum (or if you’ve been to one before) you’ll know just how many opportunities there are to network with your industry peers.

The networking areas are where, as industry suppliers or buyers, you can follow up on conversations you’ve had during the one-to-one meetings that form the core of the event.

Or, you know, talk about the football.

Either way, business is more often than not about building relationships. We create networking environments that are informal and free of any pressure.

To help you get the most out of these opportunities, we’ve pulled together a few top tips for becoming the consummate networker:

Always be yourself: You’re among friends at the Marketing Business Forum, so there’s no need to feel nervous about walking into a big room of people. Our staff will be on hand to help with introductions and grease those social wheels (do come and say ‘hello’!).

Have a think about what you want to achieve: Who’s in the room? Is there anyone you met earlier in the day that you’d like to follow up with? Whether you’re a supplier or a buyer, you’ve come to the Marketing Business Forum with some specific goals in mind – the networking periods are a chance to help solidify those new partnerships.

Be curious: The Marketing Business Forum seminars are a great place for developing your industry knowledge and learning new skills. And they always create points of discussion. So why not see what everyone else thought of the talks, or swap some ideas on the latest technological developments and trends in the industry? And if you’re new to the industry, there will be seasoned veterans ready and willing to impart their wisdom!

Don’t forget your business cards! You didn’t think we could get through a whole article about networking without mentioning business cards, did you? It’s an old chestnut, but one worth re-roasting. This author has forgotten his cards more times than he cares to remember – it happens. Always keep a few spread between your wallet/purse, pockets and bag – then you’ll be able to produce one when you most need it. But don’t blanket bomb – just because you have 100 cards to give out, it doesn’t mean you have to!

Always follow up: You’ve given your cards out, but hopefully you’ve picked some up too! So make sure that when you get back to the office you log into LinkedIn or fire off some emails to your new contacts while everything’s still fresh in the mind.

Follow the above tips and you won’t go far wrong. Just don’t spend too long in the bar!

 

For more information on the Marketing Business Forum, call Carlos Dieguez on
01992 374091 or email c.dieguez@forumevents.co.uk

Or visit www.marketingbusinessforum.co.uk

Millennials likely to ‘show dump’ content if too difficult to access…

The global leader in entertainment technology and audience insights, TiVo, has released the findings of its ‘2016 TiVo consumer survey’, concentrating on the behaviour of millennials and how the demographic interacts with video content, products and services in compared to other generations.

TiVo found that millennial and Generation Z (those born between the mid-1990s and early 2000s) viewers are more than likely to ‘give up’ on shows they previously enjoyed when they become too difficult to access; either finding the content trapped behind paywalls or spread across a variety of entertainment sources.

Regarding the search for content, analysis discovered millennials consume up to six hours per day of video; in addition to spending an estimated 32 minutes searching for content to watch.

In contrast to other generations, millennials are most comfortable with video entertainment services and devices, likely driven by their desire to stay at the forefront of the newest content. 91 per cent pay for at least one subscription streaming service, and 73 per cent have streaming video devices at home.

Vice president of strategy and strategic research at TiVo, Paul Stathacopoulos commented: “The media industry is facing a perfect storm with increased choice and access to content, at the cost of massive fragmentation and frustrated consumers.

“The coveted millennial demographic is in the eye of this storm, consuming the most content across the most services and platforms. However, members of this generation have short attention spans, and they are the most likely to ‘show dump’ when access to content becomes challenging. These are cautionary signs for content owners who rely on loyalty and continued engagement to rationalise and realise returns on their investments in creative properties.”

Primarily based on the attitudes of US millennials, TiVo researchers carried out an online survey of 5,500 pay-TV and OTT subscribers across seven countries, conducted 2,500 interviews in the US and an additional 500 interviews each in the UK, India, Japan, Germany, France and China.

 

Download the survey infographic and generational chart here

Marketers and customers still not fully aware of data laws…

According to the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM)’s ‘Whose data is it anyway?’ report – which analysed the responses of 2,500 customers and marketers to gain further knowledge of how personal data is managed – almost one half of marketers (41 per cent) do not understand the laws surrounding use of customer data.

A startling 92 per cent of customer respondents admitted they are not fully aware of how companies are using their personal information; and marketers are commonly misusing this data. 68 per cent openly confessed to protecting their own data as if it was a customer’s due to the widely-known possibility of it being stored or used incorrectly.

View the ‘Whose data is it anyway?’ report here

Measurement budgets ‘critical’ to senior level content marketers…

A new study conducted by the Content Marketing Association (CMA) has determined that measurement continues to be seen as a critical factor as dedicated spend is set to grow over the next 12 months.

Measurement is considered to be ‘very important’ to a content marketing strategy by 73 per cent of senior level marketers; with half of marketers currently spending 6-15 per cent of their content marketing budget on. Almost half of respondents (45 per cent) are planning to increase their measurement budgets within the next year, and 56 per cent have ‘automatically’ offered it as part of their strategy.

In addition, the research indicates a high demand to ‘expand the boundaries’ of content marketing measurement, with 68 per cent claiming marketers should seek to measure emotional engagement.

Managing director at the CMA, Claire Hill, said: “Measurement is central to the content marketing industry and this research proves how critical it is to senior marketers. It is great to see the industry joining together to address the key challenges, growing budgets to stay at the forefront of measurement and ROI.”

The Measuring Effectiveness Report, was conducted with senior level marketers, including the CMA membership of over 40 companies, plus brands such as British Gas, Sainsbury’s Bank and Barclays UK. It is the fourth report in a series consisting:Video Engagement Industry Report, ‘The Role of Social in Content Marketing and Content Marketing and Data Intelligence.

 

Download the full report here

Data leading marketers to feel ‘overwhelmed’ and ‘distracted’, new report claims…

A survey of 151 UK-based senior marketers commissioned by the Callcredit Information Group has revealed that almost three quarters (72 per cent) believe data is negatively affecting the creative aspects of their role; with 69 per cent branding data as a ‘distraction’ from core marketing duties.

The Data Dilemma’ study found data to be a ‘valuable asset’ for 70 per cent of respondents, but the medium is not being fully exploited within their organisations. This corresponds to the fact that only 29 per cent believe they hold the appropriate skills to analyse data effectively – prompting 44 per cent to claim they are planning on investing in further training over the next two years.

Download a full copy of ‘The Data Dilemma’ here

Guest Blog, Gregory Gazagne: Appy Shoppers – creating the desired in-app experience…

Take a look at your phone’s home screen. There’s a strong chance that at least one of the apps you’re looking at exists primarily to help you buy things.

If you’re a loyalty card customer, it’s likely you have the corresponding retailers’ app installed, like Boots or Tesco. Whereas, if you fall into the ‘millennial’ category then you probably have something like Etsy or Deliveroo; Net-a-Porter for the fashionistas; eBay for the bargain-hunters. Nowadays, when it comes to the retail industry, the old adage ‘there’s an app for that’ rings truer than ever.

Consumers are becoming increasingly fond of making purchases through mobile apps. In the first half of 2016, according to Criteo’s latest Mobile Commerce Report, retailers with a sophisticated mobile app presence saw up to 54 per cent of their mobile transactions generated in-app; an increase from 47 per cent in 2015.

As well as being three times more likely to buy something through a mobile app than mobile web, consumers also spend more this way: this quarter saw mobile apps generate higher order values than desktop and mobile web; with an average of $127 spent in-app versus $100 on desktop and $91 on mobile web.

To stay in line with increasing consumer demand, top retailers are building savvy, intuitive and useful shopping apps that give consumers a seamless way to buy on mobile devices.

But, of course, rolling out a successful mobile commerce app isn’t as straightforward as it sounds, with retailers facing two major obstacles to driving in-app sales: usability, and adoption.

Usability

It might sound obvious, but the most successful mobile apps are the ones that prioritise user experience above all else. People need to enjoy using the app if they’re going to keep coming back to it.

Capabilities like home screen presence, instant loading, offline content, push notifications, personalisation and access to native functionality make the mobile shopping experience richer and more immersive for consumers.

Brands that can deliver this feature-rich environment and create a unified, consistent and relevant experience for shoppers, regardless of device, will succeed in driving retention and conversion rates.

Adoption

The explosive growth in mobile app usage has created a hugely competitive marketplace, with a staggering 2.2 million apps now available in leading app stores. In this environment, retailers face a difficult challenge as they battle their market competitors as well as other apps for user attention.

As a retailer, it’s no use having a fantastic mobile app if people aren’t downloading and using it. But with so many apps to choose from, how do retailers ensure that once their app makes it onto devices, it doesn’t become unused and forgotten?

App advertising is one route that is being explored to bring users back to an app to browse and purchase. Inspiring interaction along the entire path to purchase with relevant, personalised content, app advertising targets shoppers with mobile ads showcasing products relevant to their interests and recent browsing activity.

With this approach, we’ve found that once engaged, shoppers are 30 per cent more likely return and shop within the app – without further encouragement.

Mobile apps do require significant investment to get it just right, and indeed to make it onto consumer’s smartphone screens at all. But, as our research indicates, not only do consumers want to buy through mobile apps, they’re willing to spend more than they would through other channels.

In conclusion, this means that in the world of mobile commerce, apps are rapidly moving from being a ‘nice-to-have’ to a business-critical method. Therefore, retailers need to move quickly, or risk losing out.

 

Gregory Gazagne joined Criteo in January 2010 as sales vice president in charge of international development. His success in opening 12 new markets in only 12 months saw him appointed managing director for France, southern Europe and Latin America in January 2011. Grégory went on to hold the role of managing director for Europe from January 2013 to December 2014, and is currently managing director for EMEA.

Industry Spotlight: Engaging with customers in a mobile gaming society…

In the world of mobile gaming, customer engagement is defined in different ways: it is an effect, a reaction, a connection, a response and/or an experience of customers with one another and with a company or a brand. With the ever-increasing popularity of mobile and social technology, today’s consumers live in an ‘always connected’ state. This level of instant interaction and a more demanding consumer means that, as marketers, we have had to reconsider the engagement and connection with our customers.

At tombola, we encourage our customers to engage with our brand via our social media channels and live-help service. We believe that real-time feedback and social media engagement gives us the opportunity to interact with our players, providing them with a much more personalised experience and it helps ensure they get a positive representation of our brand. We also encourage our customers to engage with each other through the chat feature, as we feel it adds genuine value to their experience and adds to the sense of community that is at heart of the tombola brand.

Since the launch of our app in 2013, we have seen growth in players accessing tombola through mobile devices. The general shift in the gaming market towards mobile platforms caused us to take a more extensive outlook at our customers’ journey, to keep us at the forefront of the industry. For tombola users, we aim to create an app experience that is compelling and fun. For this reason, we now design our games as mobile first. We believe this helps to engage and retain our brand’s audience and is compliant with the expectations of a mobile-savvy consumer who is constantly confronted by well-crafted interactive experiences.

We believe that mobile marketing is a necessary platform for consumer engagement and loyalty. As marketers face more competition than ever before, our users are becoming increasingly demanding of high-quality experiences, which we can successfully deliver on mobile platforms. The first game we developed intentionally for mobile use, Pulse, still remains one of our players’ favourites today. We attribute this to the fact that our games are fun, which is essential to audience engagement. This element of gaming helps to intertwine the marketing and entertainment niches, creating a more transparent experience for customers, which in turn helps us generate brand loyalty. We expect mobile platforms to continue to grow and develop and to be used more and more for gaming purposes, and it’s our challenge to grow with the platform.

 

Find out more about tombola here

 

Forum Insight: Business-proof your company and personal social media…

Of course, garnering a substantial social media following is important to all industry professionals and companies as a whole; however, a select few are still not implementing the basics to optimising their social presence. More than likely, your profiles will be the first thing new users look at to find out more information, and often dictate how your business, and you as an individual, appear in search results. 

Here, we breakdown the essential elements to maximising the potential of your social accounts, and why this is important for generating new business and creating a lasting impression…

 

  1. clear job title: How many times have you searched for someone’s profile, only to find the individual considers themselves to be a sales manager, commercial development director, project coordinator, and all of the above? May sound simple, but you’ll be surprised by the number of job titles people list as their current employment; therefore, to make life easier for all parties involved, just stick to one! Short, concise descriptions of your role within a company instead of laying out extensive, essay-style paragraphs will also help users and clients to stay engaged.
     
  2. Keep updating your accounts: Posting daily, or even multiple times a day, is crucial to sustaining a loyal following as well as how others will perceive both your company and your role. Granted – it’s tough work keeping on top of an average of four social accounts, nevertheless, as multiple marketing industry reports suggest, consistent use of social media can boost a company’s site SEO and allows instant communication with your clients. To share out the workload, why not create a weekly schedule where every member of your marketing team is responsible for a particular day of the week. 
     
  3. Select a professional image: I’m sure you’ve all heard this before, but your choice of profile image for both a personal and business account greatly impacts a client’s perception of you; and, with my recent experience of following up with leads after a networking event, some are still choosing to ignore this basic component. Don’t just leave it as a generic grey box; and definitely don’t upload a picture of you and your friends on a night out along the Magaluf strip – for a business, a logo image will allow clients to instantly find you among the other accounts with a similar name. For personal, stick with a simple yet professional, smiley and welcoming headshot.  
     
  4. Include ALL direct contact information: Don’t forget to include information on how people can get in touch with you. Include your preferred contact methods, such as phone, Skype, email, website,  The inclusion of both a professional and personal blog presents itself as a way of existing and potential clients to learn more about you. 
  1. Recommendations: If a social platform provides the opportunity (particularly LinkedIn) it’s a good idea to take full advantage of their ‘Recommendations’ feature. Don’t feel embarrassed to ask a bunch of your loyal clients and even some colleagues to write short recommendation paragraphs for you – but expect to give a little guidance on what they need to write, and be open to doing the same for them. 
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