Posts By :

Stuart O'Brien

Digital Marketing Briefing

Welcome to the new-look Digital Marketing Briefing

We’re delighted to introduce the Digital Marketing Briefing (formerly eConnect for Marketing) – your one-stop source of digital marketing & print industry news, in-depth analysis, events and jobs.

The Digital Marketing Briefing is brought to you by Forum Events, the company behind the enormously popular Print & Digital Innovations Summit and Digital Marketing Solutions Summit – two highly-focused events that bring marketing professionals and key industry solution providers together for one-to-one business meetings, interactive seminars and valuable networking opportunities.

We’ll be delivering the latest news and topical discussion from across the marketing and print sectors, directly to the people who matter – through this new-look online portal and a fortnightly email newsletter to 14,800 subscribers.

Our readership includes senior buyers and caters for all sectors, including Heads of Marketing, Marketing Directors, Heads of Marketing & Communications, Marketing Managers, Heads of eCommerce, MDs, Heads of Digital and many more, plus the countless suppliers who provide the sector with essential products and services.

For all Digital Marketing Briefing editorial enquiries, contact Darrell Carter on 07967 947 076 or email

For all advertising enquiries, please contact Sam Walker on 01992 374 054 or email

Head & Shoulders muscles in on Tough Mudder

Proctor & Gamble owned shampoo brand Head & Shoulders has announced a sponsorship deal with endurance event Tough Mudder to become the official hair care partner for the 2017 season.

Both brands will work together to create a mini-series based on facing challenges with confidence.

Head & Shoulders will also have a presence at each of the Tough Mudder events, with showers offering Head & Shoulders to participants on completion of the race.

Speaking to The Drum, Proctor & Gamble hair care brand manager, Jo Vaughan said: “We see Head & Shoulders’ partnership with Tough Mudder as the perfect platform to engage with bold and brave consumers, in an environment which truly embodies overcoming and facing challenges.

“This campaign will enable us to take consumer engagement to the next level through the partnership and the digital activation that we have planned to support it.”

Tough Mudder’s senior vice president of partnership marketing, Donna Goldsmith, added: “We are excited to enhance the on-site experience for participants by providing the Head & Shoulders Men Ultra products at our rinse stations, allowing Mudders to rinse away the mud from the day while leaving the event with a new sense of personal accomplishment and confidence.”

‘Selfie generation’ drives £1bn UK cosmetics market

Figures released by US market research company IRI has found that the so-called ‘selfie generation’ is helping to drive up sales of cosmetics, as the trend for thicker brows and contouring continues – with a market in the UK now close to £1 billion.

According to the IRI figures, cosmetics is now the top-performing category within UK Health & Beauty, worth £893m (52 w/e 18 March 2017) – up £55m over the previous 12 months and a £100m increase since 2015.

The figures also found a surge in contouring products where both value and volume sales increased dramatically, attributed to the popularity of selfies from social media stars such as Kim Kardashian and Kyle Jenner, plus an increase in YouTube tutorials. Value sales of bronzers rose to £43m, up from £23m the previous year. Concealers also saw a boost, with sales of £52m, up from £42m.

Eyebrow grooming and the trend for thicker, darker eyebrows – largely driven by models such as Cara Delevigne – has seen eyebrow products become a multi-million pound market, now worth £42 m in value sales, up £10m over the previous year. More than 9m units of eyebrow products were sold in just 12 months (52 w/e 18 March 2017).

“Consumers are heavily influenced by social media and by their peers, and this has led them to be more experimental in their choices and prepared to try new things with cosmetics,” said Chloe Humphreys-Page, Retail Insight Director at IRI. “The result is that there is a lot more new product development among brands in this space, for both female and increasingly male cosmetics, leading to a wider and often more interesting choice of items within stores and online.

“The impact of the so-called ‘selfie generation’ – where people are spending disproportionately long periods of time studying their faces and making sure they are camera-ready – is not just driving sales for certain cosmetics, but also boosting demand for ancillary products, like eyebrow kits, sponges, pencils and brushes.”

IRI is predicting the trend for thicker eyebrows to continue in 2017, along with the addition of bleached brows, glittering other techniques to enhance the eyebrow. However, the trend for contouring is out.

“The kinds of contouring we see on reality TV now has a more subtle look, ‘non-touring’ as it’s called – a technique that uses minimal products to give more of a no-make-up look to the face,” added Page. “The overall effect is one of a natural dewy appearance, using primers and liquid or powder highlighters and illuminators, and we expect this is where brands will be investing new product development budgets.”

First ever UN fashion resolution to be drafted

The next generation of global fashion leaders are set to draft a resolution to the United Nations on fashion, making it the first negotiation of its kind.

Gathering for the Youth Fashion Summit prior to the Copenhagen Fashion Summit, young talent from around the world are set to discuss how the industry needs to tackle rising concerns of fashion manufacture and consumption.

Challenging social issues, the summit hopes to inspire corporate action through the UN, the first ever resolution concerning fashion.

The resolution will be negotiated with industry leaders such as H&M and Swarovski, and NGOs such as Greenpeace on 10 May 2017 before being presented on stage at Copenhagen Fashion Summit on 11 May. Later this year, the resolution will be presented to the UN in New York.

Also fighting for a sustainable fashion industry are renowned fashion industry names like Susie Lau (also known as Susie Bubble), who is the Youth Fashion Summit ambassador, and Simon Collins, the former dean of the School of Fashion at Parsons School of Design, who will give inspirational talks at the Youth Fashion Summit.

“This year we are truly proud to support the Youth Fashion Summit,” said Nadja Swarovski, Member of the Swarovski Executive Board. “To empower the voice of future generations, who will continue to lead this fight for a sustainable fashion industry in the years to come.”

Augmented and virtual reality market to reach over £45 billion by 2022

Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) markets are expected to surge over the next five years, reaching a worth of over £45 billion worldwide.

As the ability to develop 3D immersive worlds becomes more popular and easy to create, Allied Market Research has released a report forecasting where the industry will go in the future.

Increased gaming opportunities as well as business adaptation has been key to public understanding of VR and the lesser known AR, which allows for contextual interaction integrated into the real world.

AR is particularly relevant due to its fast adoption by the mobile market, with a notable example being the massively popular Pokemon Go app, which reached huge numbers over the summer of 2016.

Because of the increased development speeds, mobile markets are being touted as the space to watch, as it is expected to grow far beyond other markets.

Aside from video games, practical uses for customer experiences and training exercises are becoming more common, and Allied Market Research predicts it will pave the way for many more applications in the next decade.

“Augmented and virtual reality offers a cost-effective and efficient solution in training and skill development as it replicates the real scenarios by using augmented and virtual reality enabled solutions,” said Sumeet Pal, research analyst at Allied Market Research. “augmented and virtual reality solutions create a virtual environment similar to the real world, where a trainee can understand and tackle challenges with strategic mapping.

“In healthcare, training students or nurses or other medical professionals on live humans is unethical and could be harmful; thus, augmented and virtual reality-based solutions provide valid tools to train medical professionals without compromising and harming one’s life.”

GUEST BLOG: Armin Hierstetter: The cost of voice in content marketing

Any marketer worth their weight will obsess about a lot of things. I’d bet you a beer that metrics and content are on their worry list. I run a voice over market place called bodalgo and I’m here to talk content, not the need for it but the cost of it and in particular voice content.

At this point you are think – voice content as in tone of voice right? Wrong. By voice content I am talking about voice overs, explainer videos, ebooks, presentations. With content creation there is always a challenge to produce what is relevant and engaging to your target audience, and there is always a cost associated with it. In terms of time and money spent. There is of course a link between both of these costs and that’s quality.

Rush to create content and your target market will now it and will respond accordingly, skimp on producing it and they will too! So how can you be smart? Let’s make a couple of assumptions; your business needs a 90 second explainer video to support the launch of a new service. You can use the video on your site, embed it in your newsletters, use it at trade shows, share is across Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and ensure it has a call to action at the end of it so you can track the responses to it. That’s the distribution plans dealt with let’s look at the production costs.

Apart from the time to create a story board and script you have production and filming and if you are planning to produce multiple language versions (never assume your target market all speak English) you are going to need a voice to read the words you have crafted in several languages.

If you are small business your budgets are unlikely to be large so you are keeping a keen eye out for costs, but there is an old adage you might well be aware of ‘pay peanuts and you get monkeys’ and with shoddy content  you get shoddy results unless you are after the unprofessional look.

So if you look at the steps outlined above you have a choice spend smartly or risk creating cheap content. Ideas are priceless and writing the right words can be done if you are wordsmith and know where to go, when it comes to video production you also have the advantage of seeing what people have produced and choosing what you want.

As for voices well that’s where things can get really interesting. There are of course a plethora of low cost sites out there offering voices on the cheap but yup you guessed it, you get what you pay for. If you use a voice casting agency there are some hidden extras you have to know about. Firstly what are you getting for your money? A voice over? A fully produced sound file to match the video? A bill for a recording studio? I raise all of this for the simple reason that quality costs but so does ignorance. Knowledge is power and asking the right questions gives you the right answers and the ability to make the right choices.

A site like bodalgo screens voice over talent so only quality talent can pitch for your work and nowadays  a lot of voice over artists have their own sound booths so paying for the cost of a recording studio is not something you should be worrying about or having to pay for. Technology like webRTC also means you can speak to the voice artist while recordings are being made so you get the voice, intonation and accent you want immediately; as after all time is money.

Taking all of the above into account the next time voice features in you content marketing requirements you should now have all you need to ask the right questions, get the right voices at the right price and of course create something that sounds great to you and your customers. No worries.

Join the print and digital marketing industries in London this November

The Print & Digital Innovations Summit will take place on November 23rd at the Intercontinental London – The O2, giving the UK’s print and digital marketing communities a unique chance to meet, network and do business.

The event, combining the previously separate Marketing Business Forum and Print Services Summit, has been refactored to better serve the evolving market – your attendance is entirely complimentary, inclusive of one-to-one meetings with trusted solution providers based on mutual interest, educational seminars hosted by industry thought leaders and copious networking opportunities.

The Print & Digital Innovations Summit is structured so that senior marketers can meet directly with specialist suppliers.

But don’t just take our word for it – Here are some thoughts from last year’s delegates:

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

“Useful event- well planned, organised and executed”

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

“A thoroughly enjoyable event for both long standing and less experienced print professionals. Well organised and well worth attending”
Bristol- Myers Squibb

“It was the best networking event I have ever been to, very carefully planned according to my needs. I just had to arrive and speak to who I already selected. The 20 minute sessions are not too short and not too long. I found more partners who I am sure I can work together with in the future”

“As a first time visitor to the event and also fairly new to coordinating MandM’s direct mail campaigns, the event was interesting in how it brought together the whole print world spectrum from creative through to delivery.”
MandM Direct

For more information on the Print & Digital Innovations Summit, please contact Paige Aitken on 01992 374079 or email


FORUM INSIGHT: Housekeeping tips for your digital presence

Last week we took a look at how you can make your company blog work a little harder in terms of helping to grow your business. But sometimes it’s worth taking a step back to see if the fundamentals of your online presence are working as well as they should be.

If you don’t have dedicated ‘digital’ staff, an agency, or or a marketing department that takes care of such things, then making sure you’ve covered off the basics can be a daunting task.

You’ve got a website up and running, but what are you doing about social media and are you keeping your clients up to date with regular email updates? No? Then you won’t be alone.

The good news is that there are some simple steps you can take to make sure the basics are covered off…

Let’s assume that you already have a website. If you tasked a third party with building and maintaining that site for you, ask them to give it an SEO health check. You might even be able to do this yourself if the site is built on WordPress or similar. In short, make sure the site title and description paints an accurate picture of your business – this is the information search engines use to identify your site and thus (hopefully) include you in relevant results.

This takes us to social media. If you haven’t already got a LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook page for your business, set them up now. And make sure your profile information exactly matches the title and business description on your website and references your URL. Search engines will then recognise that and group everything together in their results.

The other thing that Google can do is show potential customers exactly where your office is located, via Google My Business. You have to jump through a few hoops to set it up, but it will make your business more visible to potential customers. For example, if someone searches for ‘events company in Hertford’ a map panel will show in results with pins for all such business in Hertford, including your own (if you’ve registered!).

Let’s also think about email, which is often neglected in the scramble towards social media. It’s a bit fiddly to set up, but it’s also a brilliant and direct way to communicate with your customers. The first step is to start collecting email addresses – get yourself an account with Mailchimp, create a sign-up form and put that on your website with a clear call to action.

Make sure you add any existing customer databases to your newsletter mailing list (first making sure they’ve given you permission to send them emails!). You can then easily create simple email campaigns with which to keep your customers up to date with your latest products and services.

If you can get all of the above done, then you’re ready to properly engage with existing and potential customers online – We’ll show you how in our next instalment…


Facebook F8 2017 – What marketers need to know

The 10th edition of Facebook’s F8 Developers Conference took place last month in sunny California, with founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg and fellow executives pitching the future of the popular platform to the gathered masses.

Facebook has become a key marketing platform for brands everywhere given the juicy consumer targeting it offers, allowing engagement with an audiences that were unprecedented only a few years ago.

The ongoing buzz around Augmented Reality was the key topic at F8, with Zuckerberg addressing the need for “an open platform that any developer in the world can build for augmented reality without first having to build their own camera and then get a lot of people to use it.”

Facebook wants us to connect with each other on a deeper level through AR, using augmented masks, special effects and 360 video, with a phone’s camera acting as a mainstream augmented reality platform, in a similar way that Pokemon GO did in 2016.

Mass market AR on Facebook is probably two years away. However, marketers should prepare themselves in readiness for launch – Google figures released recently show 82% of smartphone users conduct research on their phones while in stores (seen as a key AR user case) ahead of making a purchase. Facebook hopes AR will transform the way consumers purchase products and interact with retail businesses. Nike has already started using custom-made branded overlays exclusive to Facebook, and many other brands will follow their lead.

Virtual Reality was the next big topic, with the announcement of Facebook Spaces, “a new VR app where your can hang out with friends in a fun, interactive environment as if you were in the same room”. It was clear when Facebook purchased the US-based VR technology company Oculus it was looking to connect people outside of its mobile app.

For marketers, the possibilities are endless: estate agents could show potential virtual buyers properties from anywhere in the world; students from across the globe could attend online education platforms; travel agencies could show holidaymakers around hotels and locations ahead of buying tickets. Again, mass market use of VR is probably half a decade away, but its evolution and applications are evolving at breakneck speed.

Using QR codes with the messenger camera is another way in which Facebook is trying to help people connect with businesses in the physical world. By scanning codes, information about an event or business can be released through a Facebook Messenger bot, providing a touch point between customers and businesses and adding extra value.

New and enhanced analytics for Facebook business pages was also announced at F8, including artificial intelligence to help “scan your analytics and highlight important changes or your best performing content”. Previously only for apps, analytics will now be provided for Facebook Pages and also offline conversations, giving businesses the ability to measure and understand customers’ journey across Facebook Pages through to purchasing on their websites.

Basically, Facebook Analytics will make it much easier for marketers to assess the ROI for their social media activity, allowing businesses to better understand the user journey from commentating on Facebook posts through to purchasing items on websites.


Timberland partners with xAd for new campaign

Timberland has announced a new UK campaign with location intelligence company xAd to identify a new audience of ‘urban adventurers’.

The campaign will give Timberland the opportunity to use xAd’s location intelligence technology to find new ways of reaching its target audience and hopefully entice punters into their bricks-and-mortar stores.

xAd has worked with media agencies Vizeum and Amplifi to develop and deliver content to 18-34 year olds living in the city.

Using the tech, target groups were identified from intelligence including recent-store visitations and real-time physical proximity.

The campaign drove a ‘visitation lift’ of 6.2% to Timberland stores and stockists, with 20% of visits occurring within 24 hours of exposure to the Timberland content.

Using xAd’s proprietary Blueprints technology, which draws polygons around specified points of interest, Timberland identified areas for precise proximity targeting to build highly relevant audiences.

Theo Theodorou, GM EMEA at xAd, said: “With location intelligence, brands can communicate with audiences in the moments that matter and boost engagement with their products.”

The results of the campaign were measured independently by a 3rd party lift report, which allows brands to see the correlation between their digital campaigns and footfall data in the real world. The campaign drove an incremental visitation lift of 6.2% to Timberland stores and stockists, with 20% of visits occurring within 24 hours of exposure to the Timberland content. This shows the impact of targeting audiences in the right moment to drive them in store.

Andrea Simmen, Marketing Manager for UK & Ireland at Timberland, said: “We are delighted with the results of the campaign. Through leveraging xAd’s accurate location tech-nology, not only have we been able to understand the impact of our mobile marketing on visitation to our stores and our stockists, but we have been able to engage key audiences with the most relevant messaging to them.”

Dean Warburton, Digital Account Manager at Vizeum UK: “The advertising industry is under increasing pressure to be more accountable and transparent. This campaign has been successful in using mobile to drive shoppers into Timberland stores. For the first time, Timberland was able to see the impact of its mobile campaigns on real store visitation. Using xAd’s real world visitation history, we were able to get a more accurate picture of how consumers are connecting their purchase journey between online and offline.”