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Jack Wynn

RadiumOne scoops top spot in 2016 IPA Online Media Owner survey…

RadiumOne has taken the lead position in the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising‘s (IPA) 2016 Online Media Owner survey, with 88 per cent of respondents either agreeing or strongly agreeing that their overall experience dealing with the company is of a good standard.

Leading the ‘Grand Prix’ category regarding agencies’ overall experience of dealing with media owners, the data-driven marketing agency is one of the seven companies to achieve a score of 80 per cent or more alongside Captify, Collective, Dennis Publishing, Inskin Media, Quantcast and Unruly. 

RadiumOne also achieved scores in excess of 90 per cent in the ‘Understanding of Own Products’ and ‘Ease of Contact’ categories; and 80 per cent across ‘Agency/ Owner Partnership’, ‘Overall Experience’, ‘Dispute Resolution’ and ‘Understanding of Client Strategies/ Objectives’. 

Nigel Gwilliam, consultant head of Media and Emerging Technology at IPA, said: “The purpose of this survey is to highlight to our agencies which online media owners are providing the best levels of service. Having swept the board at this year’s Media Owner Awards and in this autumn survey, it is clear that RadiumOne are the exemplars in this space.”

In addition, Spotify has taken leadership of ‘Online Pure Plays’ with a score of 75.7 per cent and Dennis Publishing with a score of 81.5 per cent leading ‘Crossover Media’.

Download the full survey here

Forum Insight: 10 ways to succeed at networking events…

Walking into an event room full of people you don’t know can be a scary experience. However, there are proven ways to conquer this fear and make networking an enjoyable and a useful process to do business. Here, we share 10 of the best practices to eradicate those networking nerves.

  1. Plan ahead: Try to obtain the attendee list in advance and highlight the people you would like to meet. On arrival, contact the event organiser and say who you are trying to connect with. If they get the chance, an introduction between yourself and the other party will be made upon arrival. It might also be beneficial to go to the registration area to ask if one of your selected visitors has arrived.
  1. Get there early: If you are one of the first to arrive, it is much easier to strike up a conversation with a small group of people.
  1. Most people are in the same position: If you do not know anyone else attending, it’s good to prepare a few opening questions: ‘Any particular presentation you’re looking forward to hearing today?’; ‘What brought you to this event?’
  1. Join a group: Approaching a group of attendees already in full conversation is a daunting prospect. So be bold, confident, and simply ask: “May I join the conversation? I’ve just arrived and I’m keen to learn what’s going on.”
  1. Build interesting conversation: Ask topical and relevant questions to the specific event. Be a good listener and don’t dominate the conversation with your own stories and business ideas.
  1. Be helpful: Share your knowledge of the industry, your contacts and sources of information. If people perceive you as an experienced and knowledgeable professional, they will want to keep in contact and maintain a relationship.
  1. Use your business card as a tactical weapon: I have a friend who renovates old wooden floors, so his business card is made of a thin piece of wood and has proven to be a guaranteed conversation starter. Be imaginative with the design and the job title displayed. Anything that says ‘sales’ or ‘business development’ could cause people to fear a sales pitch is on the way. So try and think of a job title that encourages a productive conversation.
  1. Receiving business cards: Be sure to make notes on the back to remind you of the conversation and the person. This could become much use in future interactions.
  1. Following up: If you engaged in constructive conversation with an attendee and have agreed to follow up after the event, then set a preferred method of contact and make sure to do so promptly.
  1. What not to do: Sales pitches, even if you’re asked ‘what does your company do’, keep your answer to a very brief explanation. Don’t ‘work the room’ rushing from group to group as this is not the way to form business relationships. It’s better to have had four good conversations than a dozen meaningless chats.

 

Words by Paul Rowney, director at Forum Events Ltd.

Chatbots and VR to take over brand interactions by 2020…

Research by Oracle suggests the relationship between customers and brands is set to undergo a “technological revolution” which will cause the number of human-to-human interactions to fall.

A total of 800 senior marketing and sales professionals across EMEA were polled for the ‘Can Virtual Experiences Replace Reality?’ report and found 78 per cent of brands expect to provide customer experiences through virtual reality in the next four years. Meanwhile, 80 per cent expect to serve customers through chatbots. 

Despite brands willing to embrace new technologies for the customer journey, many are struggling to make use of the valuable customer and prospect data, with 60 per cent not currently including social or CRM data in their customer analytics.

42 per cent already collect a great deal of data from multiple sources, but are unable to extract customer insights from it; and 41 per cent agree smarter analysis of customer data will have the biggest impact on the experience they deliver to their customers.

Daryn Mason, senior director, CX Applications at Oracle said: “While virtual reality may be seen as a passing craze by some, the commitment of some of the world’s biggest companies to develop VR products for consumers suggests otherwise.  Brands will always look to experiment with new technologies as they try to find ways of delivering innovative and memorable experiences for their customers.

“Brands are at a crossroads. There’s an early-mover advantage to experimenting and launching innovative services while others wait and see, but they need to walk before they can run.”

The report indicates brands are looking to implement innovative technologies that allow their customers to continue interacting with brands on their own terms. 80 per cent of brands will be using chatbots for customer interactions by 2020; 78 per cent of brands expect to be using VR for CX by the same year; and 48 per cent have implemented automation technologies in sales, marketing and customer service.

Mason adds: “The reality is that many brands are still unable to get a complete view of each individual customer so the immediate priority needs to be to organise and get value from the data they already have.  Customers will value a quick, helpful, personalised interaction regardless of how it’s delivered so there’s hope for us humans yet.”

Access the full report here

Guest Blog, Tariq Khan: Ensure your marketing technology investment doesn’t go down the drain…

Take a look at the marketing technology landscape at the end of 2012, and compare it to now. What you’re seeing is a tenfold increase in marketing tech vendors in around three-and-a-half years, and the rate is growing aggressively.

How does this make you feel? Is it scary because of the potential expense and business case preparation; not to mention the complex challenges associated with managing the implementation of these systems? Or is it an exciting opportunity to use technology to compete and create more engaging experiences than any of your competitors?

In many cases there will be an equal measure of trepidation and excitement for the future. The chances are, to some degree, you are already on the journey. It’s no secret the marketing landscape is changing rapidly and with it a requirement to think in a new way. According to recent research from executive search firm Russell Reynolds, the first half of 2016 saw the highest turnover of CMOs since 2012, thanks to the rapidly evolving skill-set necessary to be successful in this new data-led era.

So what’s the best way to approach this hypermarket of marketing technology where new aisles and products are constantly being introduced and evolved? More importantly, once you have committed, how do you ensure you get the maximum value out of the technology decisions you’ve made?

The biggest pitfall we see time and again is that the technology hasn’t quite managed to unlock that beautiful strategic vision, and as such real-world ROI hasn’t quite lived up to the promise. According to a report conducted last year by Oracle Marketing Cloud, a staggering 92 per cent of respondents believe their marketing technology investments have not been well-implemented.

Buying the tech will only get you so far. Marketing technology vendors will promise “out of the box” solutions that will transform your business overnight. But simply building a tool will not solve the problems: only people can solve problems. The better people understand the tools, the better equipped you are for success.

That’s why an effective change management strategy is just as important as your choice of technology. Whilst partners can certainly help, the leadership needed to bring this change management strategy about can only come from within the organisation. 

Change, at its core, is a people process, and people are hardwired to resist adopting new mind-sets, practices, and behaviours. To achieve and sustain the transformational change that marketing technology brings about, companies must commit significant resources to ensuring they embed new processes and behaviours at every level.

Here are five practical tips to think about before, during and after a marketing technology implementation:

  1. Don’t underestimate the degree of organisational and operational change needed: Are your individuals and teams knowledgeable and empowered enough to be truly agile? Ensure everyone involved has KPIs that are oriented around serving customers and getting ROI from the investment.
  1. Ensure there is an emotional case for change: Many leaders are great at building the rational case for change, but they are less adept at appealing to people’s emotional core. Yet the employees’ emotions are where the momentum for real transformation ultimately lies. Communication is key here; try creating an on-going email campaign, videos and e-learning modules that help highlight the benefits to all levels.
  1. Carefully budget: If you’ve got a million to invest in marketing technology, spend half of this on training your team properly and on partnerships that put experienced experts in both technology and process alongside your team after go-live. Set sensible targets around when ROI will kick in; it won’t happen instantly.
  1. Aim to implement a significantly less sophisticated product at the start and build up: You learned to drive in the family run-around, not an F1 sports car. Phased releases of software that limits the complexity your team needs to manage will lead to a deeper adoption more quickly. Make sure you’re working with a technology partner who is comfortable with an agile methodology that facilitates this.
  1. Incentivise your marketers to “own” and accelerate the change: Provide a safe environment to push the new technology to its limits. It takes innovation, curiosity and a lot of trial and error to maximise the value of any new marketing technology.

As the marketing technology landscape continues to grow, it is tempting to think the new product on the market will prove paramount to unlocking your competitive advantage. Whilst this can be the case, it’s worth remembering that the machinery will never live up to its potential without the right people operating it. As such, marketers need take advantage of this period of change as an opportunity to break down traditional structures within their business and attain the organisational agility needed to stay ahead of their competitors. 

 

Tariq has 16 years’ of digital management experience working at the Financial Times, LBi & TMW before joining Navigate Unlimited as a consultant. A keen advocate of agile ways of working, Tariq’s delivery experience has seen him successfully lead and consult on hundreds of projects and programmes for high profile clients including BBC, Deutsche Bank, HM Treasury, Nissan, Guardian and Unilever.

Industry Spotlight – Digital vs Traditional: What works best for you?

Print circulation numbers are down. On-demand and streaming services – sans un-skippable ads – are on the up. So what’s a marketer to do? Ditch the dinosaur channels and throw the entire budget at Larry, Sergey, Zuck and their contemporaries? Targeting, re-targeting and the ‘viral’ promise are all reasons to believe digital and social now reign supreme for the modern marketer, but in this we neglect to acknowledge the in real life (IRL) experiences and halting moments that also drive word of mouth and brand consideration – online or otherwise. So before you do throw everything at the digital plan, please ponder the following…

Magic in the mundane

If you haven’t heard the term ‘mindfulness’ this year then you’ve probably been living underneath the proverbial rock (and who would blame you in these turbulent times). It’s a reaction to our age of hedonism and the breakneck speed at which we’ve been living our lives, and like most trends, this desire to slow down and simplify is being reflected in publishing and advertising. In April this year, Ronseal decided to take a risk with a live TV spot which offered Channel 4’s Gogglebox audience three minutes of the unthinkable – watching actual fence paint dry. It was an inspired and effective product demonstration that earned them a trending spot on social media.

Stop the press

The digital evolution of the print industry is representative of the consumer’s move to more accessible, tailored and instant news without the barrage of irrelevant print ads. Despite the declining print figures, some brands still have the foresight to take advantage of reactive placements in bulk circulations, which often hit a captive, educated audience of commuters who will be reading cover to cover. Norwegian struck an extremely timely note in September this year following the news of Brad and Angelina’s break up, with a stark but cuttingly comic ad promoting their LA price promotion. The result: a viral campaign that puts it firmly in the hall of fame with Oreo’s ‘dunk in the dark’.

The great outdoors

Out-of-home and experiential marketing are truly challenging media. Bus wraps are hardly remarkable and being chased by a sampler at Waterloo while you try to catch your train isn’t entirely conducive to positive brand perception. The Economist challenges that notion. The publisher is infamous for its minimalist and innovative OOH creative, but it turned its hand to an unsettling on-the-ground activation in 2015 which was rebooted in the US this year. ‘High-protein’ is the new “on trend” claim for the food industry, and The Economists’ ice cream samplers achieved theirs by adding insects, the new proposed solution for the global food crisis which it covered in a ‘future of food’ feature. The campaign generated significant online press coverage and was branded ‘eye-catching genius’ by Business Insider.

The learning? Search for new value in formats that have become hackneyed and contrived. Opportunities to reach a cynical populace using these traditional methods still remain and can be extremely successful for the creative and confident marketer. Whether you’re aiming for ‘disrupt’ ‘be bold’ or ‘surprise and delight’ don’t miss the simple proposition with cut-through messaging that’s right in front of you.

Words by Nicholas Gill, founder and strategy partner at Team Eleven

Guest Blog, Catherine Spencer: The real problem with content marketing…

‘Content’ as a word has seemingly got itself a bad name and it’s starting to cause a real problem for our industry – or so a number of recent articles would have it. It is a vague term that’s entered our marketing lexicon but, love it or hate it, it’s here to stay. Content marketing itself is not the problem, it’s the fact that most content has little to no impact on its target audience and really, it’s helping no one. We just get overwhelmed with clutter.

Take a look at any major UK company’s blog and you’ll see that most of the “content” they’re churning out doesn’t do the following:

  • Teach visitors something new or useful;
  • Give away handy resources for free (such as templates, cheat sheets and how-to-guides);
  • Inspire their visitors;
  • Clearly and concisely answer the question implied by the title.

The ‘Definition Problem’

One of the quirks of this industry is that we love coming up with complicated or vague words to describe what we do – and often they stick a little too strongly.

Remember when “selfie” became the Oxford Dictionary word of 2013 and we collectively went mad over how our country was going to the dogs? Well the unfortunate bystanders in the marketing industry mightn’t like it, but new words like “native advertising” and “content marketing” have quickly become the new normal.

Just by looking at Google search trends, it is clear that ‘content marketing’ has become widely accepted within the industry above ‘marketing communications’ since 2004.

 

equimedia-image-1

The ‘Practicality Problem’

While it is agreed that “content marketing” fits under the definition of “marketing communications”, referring to web content as “Marketing Communications” is tricky when working day-to-day in the ad industry. Actually, content marketing is just a small part of the overall marketing communications strategy.

When you’re working for global brands, you’ll find referring to a blog post as “marketing communications” will create more confusion than it’s worth. Confusion costs time and money in our industry and it goes back to the definitions problem – you might not like it, but the easiest way to be on the same page is to use the same language.

The ‘Content Problem’

Whilst most content indeed fails, it doesn’t mean content marketing itself is the problem. It means the people who’ve made the content maybe.

We’re not here to defend crappy content. But content marketing done right has tremendous value, there’s a reason it’s so big! It just needs to be matched with relevance.

To succeed with content, marketers need to develop content around a brilliant idea, focus on overwhelming the target audience with value, amplify the message by sharing the content with the right people, and finally ask for (and listen to) audience feedback.

Are we using the wrong word to describe content marketing? Maybe.

But let’s not forget the bigger picture: we should be focusing on value, not semantics. Whatever the buzzword might be that describes how we’re doing it, we really just need to get on and do it.

 

Catherine is a senior content, PR & social executive at equimedia. She joined equimedia in 2015, previously having worked in-house for a large charity. Today, Catherine manages marketing campaigns for a number of our large charity clients, as well as retail and insurance, from planning and production right through to delivery.

Industry Spotlight: The new rules of shopper marketing engagement…

Today’s marketplace is a networked dialogue of information sharing between businesses and consumers. The more effectively information is shared across these functions, the better the relationship between all of the members. While consumers are increasingly comfortable with marketers using their personal data for targeted advertising that is relevant to them, marketers are still struggling to deliver the timely, personal customer experience that consumers are longing for.

According to Bazaarvoice and CMO Council’s Shopper Marketing: The New Rules of Engagement survey, marketers across brands and retailers are guilty of continually missing out on opportunities to influence and engage buyers as they shop. This awareness is positive, but what exactly are the most common mistakes marketers continue to make as they attempt to provide a more bespoke customer experience?

While 90 per cent of marketers say that access to real-time customer sentiment and shopping behavior is critical, less than 10 per cent are able to tie their content efforts directly to customer shopping behaviour. Furthermore, data strategies are often short-sighted, with 83 per cent of marketers admitting that they are unable to see beyond their own brand properties. This limited access to first-party customer data across the broader retail ecosystem, means nearly half questioned the accuracy of the customer data they were actually working with.

Conversely, 47 per cent  of consumers point to reviews, social media posts and past purchases as the best places for marketers to gather insights about them, indicating the value of identifying and reaching in-market shoppers based on their consumer-generated content (CGC) and shopping behaviour. In fact, consumers trust peer-to-peer opinions three times more than brand content, highlighting the clear opportunities when investing in a CGC strategy.

Marketers need to not only ask themselves if they have the right content to appeal to consumers along the various stages of the buying journey, but also which components are required to create successful customer engagement too.

Shop Direct, the UK multi-brand retailer ran 100 AB testing experiments in one month, comparing different versions of the website to see which one performed better. As part of this, they removed 50 per cent of reviews from their website, which impacted conversion globally by 1.7 per cent, showcasing the importance of online reviews.

The most powerful multi-channel marketing strategies are geared towards understanding the customers’ needs and building loyalty through effective customer communications, regardless of the business size. As expectations increase, customers are increasingly showing that if they are not being engaged, on either a practical or emotional level, then they are much more inclined to take their purchase elsewhere – a trend that businesses simply cannot afford to ignore.

The right content can take various forms, depending on audience preferences, and a Bazaarvoice study, looking at high street stalwart, John Lewis, confirmed the significance of displaying visual content on a retailer website; with 25 real shoppers looking at product images before any other content on the product page.

John Lewis recognised the value of visual association and transformed consumers into brand ambassadors with its #MyShoeStory campaign. By curating Instagram pictures of customers modelling their new shoes and then pushing these across into a variety of other social channels, John Lewis not only used CGC, providing its customers with inspiration, but also created further customer engagement too. This is a great example of how marketers can maximise engagement and build customer advocacy through the integration of CGC into a creative and thoughtful social campaign.

It’s only through listening to the individual preferences of consumers, analysing data on a case-by-case basis and considering each opinion as valuable stakeholder feedback that brands and retailers alike, can increase positive feedback, foster loyalty and retention, and crucially, increase sales figures.

Words by Prelini Udayan-Chiechi, VP Marketing EMEA at Bazaarvoice

Forum Insight: Savvy SEO tips for start-ups that won’t break the bank…

With 50 per cent of new businesses failing within five years, recent research has revealed that many small businesses are missing out on opportunities to market online due to a lack of digital knowledge.

The research from 123 Reg found that 73 per cent said they did not advertise online and 42 per cent reported having no digital presence. SEO and other terminology also stumped 48 per cent of business owners surveyed, and only 53 per cent said their websites were easily readable via a mobile device.

“Being digitally savvy is especially important for start-ups. It can be the difference between your business being seen in the right places by the right people, and even small changes can have a huge impact,” comments Alex Minchin, founder and director of SEO agency Zest Digital.

Here, Alex shares three instantly achievable tips for small businesses looking to get started with SEO:

  1. Sign up to Google Analytics and Google Search Console and add the necessary code to your website: These are two free tools that will enable you to measure performance, even if you don’t understand it all immediately. You cannot improve something that you’re not measuring, and these tools will measure things such as; the number of visitors landing on your website, the best performing content, keywords driving traffic, any broken links or pages, and the links from other websites that are pointing back to your website.
  2. Start local: Most searches in the micro and small business world include local modifiers such as your city or county, e.g. “Plumbers in Croydon”. An easy way to start to build some gravitas towards your website is to feature on business directories. This creates ‘citations’ (mentions) of your business name and confirms your address and other details, in addition to pointing a link back to your website. It’s crucial to make sure your information is kept consistent, so finalise your details and use the same information as a template for all directories. These things will help to increase the strength and trust of your website. Just be sure to focus on reputable directories such as Touch Local, 192, Freeindex, and Opendi for example.
  3. Focus on the real basics and design each META title and description for each of the key pages on your website as a minimum: The title tag and descriptor underneath the search result is considered as a ranking factor by Google, and can positively influence your rankings for a particular keyword. Your title should include your keyword and brand name as a minimum, but try to be as creative as possible with the character limit (55 is the defacto) that you have available.  In the META description, it’s more important to include your value proposition and key information, for example “free delivery on all orders”, or “free quotation”. Remember, you’re trying to stand out to win a greater share of the clicks against the other websites competing for the same keyword so details and USPs are key.

“It’s widely reported that somewhere around 90 per cent of all purchasing decisions begin with a search engine and a search query. SEO can therefore play a huge part in the marketing strategy of a small business.

Alex continues. “Sharing your expertise through content and delivering value to your target market is the name of the game, and it’s a playground that, whilst dominated by some larger brands, isn’t policed by them. It’s entirely possible for a small business to compete and win on this channel, and doesn’t have to involve a huge cost in doing so.”

Gender inequality experienced by nearly half of female marketers…

The Marketing Society Scotland has found that almost half (48 per cent) of female marketers in the country have experienced gender inequality in the workplace during their careers, compared to just 16 per cent of their male counterparts.

TheMind the Gap‘ project indicates unfair treatment to be a major concern, with 53 per cent of females and 79 per cent of male marketers agreeing with the statement that both are treated equally in the workplace. In addition, just 29 per cent of females believe they are equally paid to their male colleagues, compared with 59 per cent of males.  

Helen Campbell, chair of the Marketing Society Scotland and head of global brand and marketing communications at VisitScotland, said: “The Inspiring Women initiative is borne out of a recognition that as a marketing community we must work harder to ensure greater equality in the workplace, at all levels.

“Where there is inequality we need to understand why and most importantly take proactive steps to address it. Now is the time to work smarter and harder to build a more balanced marketing community and culture.” 

Furthermore, nine percent of females and 29 per cent of males think that both genders are equally represented at all levels in marketing and agency jobs in Scotland. 

Scotland is reported to have the worst gender pay gap in the UK and, of the Scottish based companies in the FTSE 100, only 25 per cent of board positions are held by females. 

 
Learn more about ‘Mind the Gap‘ here 

Hootsuite highlights social media significance across the customer journey…

Companies that are not investing in their social media strategies may risk losing touch with their customers and being outdone by competitors, a new Hootsuite survey has discovered.

Surveying 2,048 adults in the US and 1,029 adults in the UK, 48 per cent of Americans have interacted with companies or institutions on at least one of their social media accounts, and 41 per cent say it is important for companies they engage with to have a strong social media presence.

In regards to UK consumers, 40 per cent of agree it is either ‘somewhat’ or ‘very important’ for a company to have a significant social media presence, and more than one in three (34 per cent) would rather engage with a brand or company on social media than visit a physical location. 

Penny Wilson, chief marketing officer at Hootsuite, said: “This research underscores the pervasiveness of social media and the massive opportunities available for organisations that use social to engage with their customers. 

“Today, social plays a key role in determining and influencing customers’ attitudes, motivations and behaviours. Now, more than ever, there’s an opportunity to tap into social and connect with customers when, where and how they want, helping to maximise sales.”

US and UK respondents also find customer service via social media has made it easier to get questions and concerns resolved, with 59 per cent in the US and 56 per cent in the UK, respectively.

Read Hootsuite’s 8 Social Media Tips for the Retail Industry here