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Stuart O'Brien

New GDPR legislation creates confusion within the marketing and advertising sector

A survey conducted by YouGov on behalf of law firm Irwin Mitchel has revealed serious confusion regarding General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) legislation within the marketing and advertising sector, less than a year before it comes into force.

GDPR is a regulation by which the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union and the European Commission intend to strengthen and unify data protection for anybody living within the EU.

Companies not upholding legislation could face fines of 20 million euros, or 4% of a company’s global revenue.

The survey of 187 marketing and advertising companies found that 70% of those polled admitted that they wouldn’t be certain of their ability to detect a data breach, while just 37% said they would be equipped to deal with a data breach within the required three day timescale.

Only 34% of advertising firms polled said that they were aware of the GDPR directive. 17% said that they would be forced out of business if they were subject to a fine.

“These results are concerning because with next May’s deadline fast-approaching and with so much at stake, our study reveals there’s a very real possibility that a large number of marketing and advertising firms will not be compliant in time,” Joanne Bone, partner and data protection expert at Irwin Mitchell told The Drum.

“Contrary to popular belief personal data is not just consumer information. It is hard to think of a business today that does not use personal data. Whether you have employee data, customer data or supplier data – if the data relates to an individual you will be caught by the new data protection laws.”

GUEST BLOG: Russell Pierpoint: Time to cash in on VR?

By Russell Pierpoint, managing director at Evolved Media Solutions

Virtual Reality (VR) is increasingly seen as the next technology disrupter in the retail world. It has the potential to completely revolutionise the sector, with the creation of unique virtual environments for each brand allowing for tailored shopping experiences.  However, although it has been trialed by some big companies, such as Samsung/AT&T and North Face, it has yet to create the hoped-for revolution.

There are many reasons why retailers remain hesitant to incorporate VR into their business model. Many find the complexity and speed of change in VR technology a challenge, combined with issues such as where VR fits into an organisation (Merchandising? Marketing? Design?). Furthermore, until retailers start experimenting with VR, it is difficult to ascertain effective content, appropriate tools, ROI and how VR processes should be integrated into workflows.  However, if brands wait for all the answers, they risk losing out to more enterprising retailers.

The case for VR in retail is compelling and is growing as consumers become increasingly knowledgeable about the supporting technology – with the launch of PlayStation VR at Christmas introducing more people than ever to the concept.  However, overall numbers are still relatively low. As a result, in 2017 retailers are more likely to create VR initiatives in-store via kiosks as a means to create a more immersive and personalised experience for customers as they physically shop, rather than for interaction at home.

This customised shopping experience is a great place to begin experimenting with the world of VR, offering retailers the opportunity to transform how people shop. After all, as more spend moves online, the role for retail outlets as a showroom and form of retail theatre is growing. If a consumer leaves the comfort of their own sofa, they want it to be worthwhile. VR can turn shopping into an exciting, engaging and memorable event – especially for big ticket items such as cars where VR allows customers to ‘try before they buy’ in a virtual world, or for more ‘visual’ retail sectors such as fashion or interiors. Imagine being able to choose the fabric, colour and design of your sofa by transporting it from the shop to your sitting room with the touch of a button. Or, enjoying a front row seat at the fashion show of your favourite clothes shop.

VR technology is continually improving, with the announcement of wireless connectors already this year, meaning less cables and more freedom of movement. In addition, there will be better hand control devices for more accurate movement tracking and device control.  As a result, retailers will be able to make the simulated world even more immersive for their customers.

However, VR should not just be seen as an exciting theatrical experience. It also has the potential to transform the effectiveness of customer research, allowing shops the opportunity to realistically test ideas and make mistakes in a virtual world. This is not only efficient and cost-effective for companies but it will also produce a better end result for the consumer. There is no doubt that virtual reality is changing the face of retail and, over the next year, the significant role it will play in the future success of the industry will become increasingly evident.

UK marketers feel added Brexit pressure

A study by media intelligence agency Meltwater has revealed that nearly three quarters of UK marketers feel they are under additional pressure since the Brexit vote.

Over 250 senior-level marketers were polled, with 72% saying that they now felt they were under additional pressure to gauge external factors which could potentially harm their business post Brexit.

56% said that they felt the extra pressure came from general uncertainty, 52% said budget restraints and 36% cited the prospect of planning campaigns in other markets.

Half of those polled admitted that “things sometimes get missed” and admitted that they took an ad-hoc approach to measurement.

39% admitted that they were unsure which media and sentiment measurement tools/solutions would be best for their business, as the choice was overwhelming.

Only 27% of those marketers polled said that they had absolute faith in their current methods of measuring external insight.

Gregg Hollister, area director at Meltwater, said: “At a time when the political climate is so uncertain, marketers clearly feel more under pressure than ever to keep a tight handle on any external factors which could impact their business.

“At any given time, developments in the news agenda or across social media, could present threats or opportunities to the marketing community, so it’s paramount they remain consistently immersed in their macro environment, and particularly their competitive landscape.”

Last remaining places for the eTailing Summit – Book today!

All of our original 60 delegate invitations for the eTailing Summit have now been confirmed, but don’t fret – We’ve managed to secure an additional 10 places. But be quick!

It all takes place on July 11th 2017 at the Hilton London Canary Wharf – REGISTER HERE FOR FREE.

You’ll be in the company of an A-Z of blue chip eCommerce companies heading to the event, which has been designed to help you source new suppliers, learn via our insightful seminars and network with other senior peers from across the UK. Companies represented include:

Accessorize AllSaints Amanda Wakeley Anthropologie Antler Celtic Football Club Charlotte Tilbury Dixons Carphone Drake’s Duke & Dexter Feelunique Fortnum & Mason Great Little Trading Co Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity HarrodsHobbycraft Holiday Taxis Horizon Discovery Hotel Chocolat huggle IKEA Karen Millen Kimberly Clark Little Black Dress Lombok Lyle & Scott Molton Brown Monocle Magazine Monsoon National Football Museum National Trust New Era Cap Olivia Burton Origins Perry Ellis Pizza Hut Rigby & Peller River Island Royal Caribbean International Samsung Signature Gifts Signet SkandiumSkinnydip London Tateossian Tchibo Coffee International Tech21 The Health Lottery The Snugg Thomas Cook TOWER London TransPennine Express Travis Perkins Turnbull & Asser Virgin Trains East Coast Westland Horticulture Wickes and Xercise4Less.

Need more convincing? Here’s what our former delegates have said about the event…

“It was an excellent way to discover some top notch suppliers. I made some very useful contacts and am highly likely to go on and do business with them. The seminars were informative and useful. Thank you very much” – Oliver Bonas

 “Very good event, promoting constructive conversations with relevant vendors” – Finery London

“The event was a perfect networking opportunity, not only with potential partners, but also with my peers – totally recommend this. The ‘speed dating’ meeting format was an excellent optimisation of time!” – Abbott

“I always find events with this format really useful, and contrary to belief, not at all pushy or salesy. The eTailing summit is no different, useful, great location and really well organised” – Safestore

To find out how you can join them, contact Katie Bullot on 01992 374049 or email

‘Trainspotting’ guide to Edinburgh created by Sony and 8MS

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has created The Alternative Guide to Edinburgh, ahead of the digital download of T2 Trainspotting.

Working with digital and content marketing company 8 Million Stories, The Alternative Guide to Edinburgh site takes users through key locations from the film, adapted to each of the key characters, including Renton, Begbie, Sick Boy and Spud.

The guide also contains bonus material and exclusive content, such as never-seen-before clips from the film and interviews with cast members.

“When it came to launching T2 Trainspotting, 8 Million Stories was the perfect fit,” said Neil Rodwell, Head of Product Marketing at Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

“We’d been admirers of 8MS and its work with brands in the entertainment industry, and were excited to see what it could do for us – and weren’t disappointed. The T2 Trainspotting Alternative Guide to Edinburgh perfectly encapsulates the humour and mood of the film, and celebrates the legacy of Trainspotting.”

Robin Richmond, Managing Director at 8MS, said: “T2 Trainspotting has such a unique style of dark humour and a melancholic tone that fans are passionate about, and we were determined to convey the essence of the film within this project. Both the Trainspotting films are very close to our hearts and The Alternative Guide to Edinburgh was such a fun project for the team to be part of.”

To view the guide, click here

Trolls force Walkers Crisps to axe social media campaign

A social media campaign by Walkers Crisps has been axed after being hijacked by trolls.

The #WalkersWave campaign encouraged consumers to tweet in a selfie picture to be in with a chance of winning UEFA Champion’s League final tickets, after which a video is created automatically on the Walkers Twitter feed showing Gary Lineker holding up the picture, while the individual does a Mexican wave.

However, instead of uploading selfies, people have been sending in pictures of notorious serial killers and sex offenders. Walkers have since deleted all videos and issued a statement which read: “We recognise people were offended by irresponsible and offensive posts by individuals, and we apologise. We are equally upset and have shut down all activity.”

In an interview with Marketing Week, Jo Allison, consumer behavioural analyst at Canvas8, said she thought that there wouldn’t be any long-term damage to the brand regarding the offensive videos.

“Many people actually enjoy it when brands make mistakes and there is certainly a lot of buzz online right now revelling in the failing of Walkers to see this coming,” commented Allison.

“It’s certainly highly embarrassing for those behind the campaign but it would be foolish to think this will do any long-term brand damage. The absurdity lies in the naivety of the brand and not any malicious intent from Walkers. Most people will recognise that.”

GUEST BLOG: STUART GALVIN: How marketers can reap the rewards of an effective seasonal shopping strategy

Stuart Galvin, business director, smp

From January Sales to Shrove Tuesday to Singles Day to Christmas, more than ever marketers are run ragged by a brimming calendar of seasonal shopping events and trends.

Some brands are avoiding the big events completely, some are creating their own, while others are getting in there earlier and earlier just to achieve cut-through. Christmas displays in August sound familiar?

Tools are being created, such as Google’s Marketer’s Almanac, to help marketers navigate this ever-changing landscape. The digital yearbook leverages data, insights and consumer trends around key dates to help marketers get ahead with their planning.

However, while these tools are useful, they are not the be-all and end-all. Marketers need to take stock – and take charge – of their seasonal strategies.

First and foremost, timing is everything. This might seem very basic, but it’s something marketers often forget as they rush to pip their competitors to the post. With each and every shopping event, marketers need to know their target audience, understand what will motivate them, and target them with the right message at exactly the right time. Does a shopper really want to be prompted to stock up on Easter goodies when they haven’t even made it into Lent?

As such, rather than jumping on the band wagon of every event and risking ostracising audiences, brands are becoming savvier with their seasonal strategies. Bigger brands like Amazon, for example, often perform well during hyped-up shopping phenomenon like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. In 2015, the e-tail giant experienced its best Black Friday sales to date; so, in 2016, it cleverly extended the sales period from a day to “Black Friday Week”, scooping up even more shopping activity.

But brands also need to think about context. Amazon and big, bold online shopping days make sense; but sometimes events just won’t work for certain brands. Asda, Ikea, Next and Homebase have all abstained from Black Friday. An Asda spokesperson said this was because its particular customers “wanted low prices throughout the festive season and not just for one day”. Its customers crave stability and strategy to help with their Christmas planning.

If the likes of Asda recognise some events simply aren’t right, no matter how economically prominent, smaller brands should take heed. Do they have the resources to take on certain events? Are sales and promotions competitively priced? Above all, what’s the point? Brands needs to ask what each shopping event would mean to its customers and their relationship with the brand. Consider the explicit Valentine’s Day cards pulled from the shelves of Paperchase this year. It was a step too far for the stationary stalwart.

That isn’t to say brands can’t have fun with seasonal shopping events. In fact, creativity should be encouraged, perhaps by exploring alternatives that fit better with the brand. In 2015, the Scottish Butcher held its biggest promotions in the run-up to Burns Night, while operating in-store tastings in Scottish branches of Tesco and Morrisons. The engagement was incredible, upping in-store sales by 40 per cent. Could this experiential approach be carried across borders, either by Scottish brands or non-natives, to surprise customers and generate buzz in other parts of the British Isles?

One of the biggest challenges in retail today is the explosion of channels through which people can shop, and through which brands can communicate with their customers. Physical retailers are often in the firing line, as ecommerce continues to grow at pace. However, seasonal shopping events are about capturing the spirit of the occasion, no matter the platform. Whether it’s Valentine’s rosy hues or the strawberries-and-cream Britishness of Wimbledon, the experience needs to be consistent and done with conviction.

The new shopping calendar can seem daunting to marketers, especially as retail becomes more global. Who knows where the next disruptive event might come from? No one knew, for example, that a Chinese celebration of singledom would, thanks to Alibaba, grow into the world’s biggest online shop-a-thon.

Rather than rolling out the same, timeworn strategies or getting blindsided by newcomers, now is the time to take stock. By assessing the landscape, cherry-picking events based on their value to both shoppers and for brand building, and planning accordingly, brands will ensure they play a more meaningful role for their customers, year in, year out.

Email marketing top of the ROI Charts

The 2017 Econsultancy/Adestra email Marketing Industry Census has revealed that email marketing is top of the ROI Charts for the third year in a row.

Based on a survey of over 1,200 marketers undertaken between February and March 2017, 73% of companies along with 76% of agency respondents rated it excellent or good.

Budget allocated, however, was only 15% of total marketing budget, with a feeling that the growing complexity of the digital marketing landscape still left many marketers confused as to how best allocate funds to create a more complete campaign.

Those marketers who are more tech savvy and able to master the data and successes within email marketing are set to gain business advantages over competitors over the next 12 month period.

“The results of this year’s Census show that marketers are struggling to see the bigger picture and stand by their choices,” explained Henry Hyder-Smith, Adestra CEO. “By getting the fundamentals working together – personalisation, automation, integration, optimisation – they can make the most of the technology available, offer their customers the experience they are looking for, and realise the benefits of becoming First-Person Marketers.”

Monica Savut, head of research services at Econsultancy, said: “Email continues to be one of the most effective marketing channels and it’s encouraging to see that marketers are looking beyond standalone campaigns by embracing marketing automation and personalisation. However, this year’s Census shows that marketers need to adopt a more rigorous approach, keeping a sharp focus on both technology and strategy while never losing sight of the customer.

“The rewards are there for the taking, but reaping maximum value is dependent on two key success factors: investment that is proportional to any potential returns and a comprehensive strategy that focuses on continuous measurement, testing and optimisation.”

The full report can be downloaded here:

2017 Email Marketing Industry Census

4 reasons you can’t miss the Print & Digital Innovations Summit

The Print & Digital Innovations Summit has evolved from the 10 year-old Print Services Summit, with the event having been repositioned in line with the requirements of print and marketing professionals in 2017.

But the format has remained the same – this one-day event will give you the opportunity to meet with new product, technology and solutions providers in a non-pressured environment. In addition, you’ll have the opportunity to attend seminars sessions hosted by industry thought-leaders. And we’ll even throw in lunch and refreshments, too.

It all takes place on 23rd November 2017 at the Intercontinental London – The O2.

And you won’t be disappointed, as our former delegates can testify…

“The event was beautifully put together, the suppliers were amazing and perfect for what I was looking for”

“A great event to meet new potential suppliers and network with other marketing professionals”
Coats plc

“It was the best networking event I have ever been to – very carefully planned according to my needs. I found more partners who I am sure I can work together with in the future”

“A very good event and I valued the opportunity to meet with a number of suppliers in one day”

To register or for more information, contact Kerry Naumburger on 01992 374099 /

UK’s love for cars tops social media posts

A report by social media analytics platform, Netbase, has revealed the UK’s love of luxury car brands.

The Brand Love List report looks at the brands consumers express the most love for in social media posts, with Jaguar, Land Rover, BMW 3 Series and Porsche 911 just some of the models that consumers are crazy about, with BMW, Audi and Porsche all featuring in the report’s top 10.

This is the second year that the report has been run. In the UK, Apple held onto the top spot, but showed that Google, in second place, was narrowing the gap which last year was 400,000, now down to 130,000 along with a lot of positive sentiment for Google Classroom. The remainder of the top five was unchanged with Lego in third with an abundance of shared excitement for themed Lego such as Lego Batman, Tesco in fourth with popular campaign hashtags including #triedforless and #bagsofhelp while BMW was ranked fifth.

The European Top Five brands differed only slightly from the UK with BMW taking fourth spot and consumer goods brand Adidas coming in at fifth place. The automotive sector once again proved popular with customers expressing much love, particularly in relation to the Porsche 911. While consumer goods brands including Gucci, Adidas, Lego and Christian Dior S.A. accounted for nearly 45% of the top loved brands, they only represented 21% of the mentions. Conversely, technology which was dominated by Apple and Google but also included SAP, Siemens and Dyson, represented 10% of the conversation they also represented over 55% of mentions.

While there’s much love for consumer goods brands, they still don’t even come close to the volume of technology conversation across Europe.

The data was gathered using NetBase’s social media analytics platform to surface the strongest, most positive consumer emotions towards brands from 2.4 million English language posts of earned mentions. Earned mentions mean those posts that were not posted by the brand itself, inclusive of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr and millions of other sources during the one-year period April 2016 to April 2017. It then identified the 25 UK brands that get the most love.

The European report used the same sources across the same period from 6.5 million English language posts of earned mentions in 50+ European countries and identified a list of the 50 most loved brands.

Commenting on the UK report Paige Leidig, Chief Marketing Officer, NetBase said: “What’s interesting about automotive is that brands represent 25% of the list but account for only 13% of the conversation suggesting that there is an opportunity for them to spread the love and engage more influencers in conversation.

“The dominance of technology in social conversation is no surprise but the fact that Apple and Google are so far out in front indicates that they have now become an everyday part of the English language.”