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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 p.aitken@forumevents.co.uk.


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.”


digital marketing

UK digital ad spend up 17% in 2016, says PwC

A joint report from PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) has found that investments in the digital advertising space are rising, driven by advertisers’ need to tap into the rising trend of mobile video.

Nearly half of all UK internet time is now spent on smartphones, with digital ad spend expected to have increased by 17% in 2016 to reach over £10 billion, marking the fastest growth rate within the industry for nine years.

The £10 billion threshold has never been crossed before.

Spend on mobile campaigns rose by more than 50% to reach over £3.9 billion, with overall mobile investment now accounting for 38%of all digital ad spend throughout Britain.

Spend on mobile video ads doubled to £693 million by the end of 2016.

“The rise in people consuming mobile and video content has accelerated digital’s growth rate to its highest level for nearly a decade,” said IAB’s UK chief marketing officer, James Chandler.

He added that reaching the £10bn threshold had been made possible by “brands breaking the mould, trying innovative formats and making the most of video to reach and amaze people.”

Discussing the ongoing debate regarding the transparency and brand safety of platforms such as YouTube, which according to Google gets  more than half of its views from mobile devices, Chandler added: “It’s impossible to ignore the issues the industry is facing at the moment, but digital never stands still.”

However, Sir Martin Sorrell, head of market-leading communications service group WPP said mobile was an “untapped” multi-billion dollar opportunity, which suffered through inadequate technology, causing advertisers to hold back on spending.

During an interview at Mobile World Congress earlier this year, Sorrell said: “People are spending about a quarter of their time on mobile, and yet it only accounts for around 12% of spending – That’s out of kilter and it has to change.

“Technology, bandwidth, the devices, the screens are not big enough, not good enough yet,” he added. “There’s a lot of technological development to come.”


FIFA ‘struggles for sponsors’ at Russia World Cup – Report

FIFA is reportedly struggling to secure sponsorship at next year’s World Cup in Russia, with two thirds of the available slots remaining unsold.

World football’s governing body has been rocked with corruption and scandal in recent years and is still trying to recover, with brands such as Coca-Cola, Adidas and Nike suffering negative brand sentiment as a result of their connection with the organisation, and many other brands opting not to get involved in 2018 for fear of similar repercussions.

The cost of partnerships has also been heavily criticised by international and local businesses.

As things stand, FIFA has sold 10 out of the total 34 sponsorship slots available. At this stage during the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, nearly all of the sponsorship positions had been filled.

In an interview with The National, Adrian Pettett, chief operating officer at Havas Sports & Entertainment Cake, describes the current commercial situation as “damaging but by no means fatal”.

“Doubtless some existing FIFA sponsors will have used the bad publicity as a reason to exit their deals or not renew,” he said. “Others will have looked at the venues for 2018 and 2022 – Russia and Qatar – and pondered their ability to activate effectively in those markets and gain a return on the considerable investment. This has left space for new entrants, of which there will be plenty.”

FIFA lost several major sponsors after the tournament ended in Rio in 2014, including Sony and Emirates. Since Gazprom agreed to be a Fifa partner for the 2014 and 2018 World Cups, only three other companies have agreed major sponsorship deals for the Russian tournament.

Print is dead! Long live print at the Print & Digital Innovations Summit!

Here at Forum Events, we have a long history of working within the print sector, having hosted our Print Services Summit for 10 years.

In that decade, much has changed, of course – and nothing more so than the rapid rise in digital print products and services, juxtaposed with the consolidation of the traditional print sector.

But print ISN’T dead. We still love the smell of a magazine hot off the press, freemium newspapers such as the Metro are holding steady and book sales are showing growth.

However, the savvy print businesses have adapted to provide new products and services that suit the brave new (or not so new) world of digital – and we have too.

The Print & Digital Innovations Summit is the result. Like its previous form, it’s a one-day event aimed at print and marketing professionals who are looking for new product, technology and solutions providers.

Simply put, we match your requirements with suppliers who can provide you with the solutions for a series of one-to-one meetings. 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.

For further information on the Print & Digital Innovations Summit, please contact Paige Aitken on 01992 374079 or email p.aitken@forumevents.co.uk.


FORUM INSIGHT: Make your company blog work harder

There’s no sadder sight than a neglected company blog.

The chances are you’ve invested a fair bit of money in your website, which is probably the main channel through which to present your company to potential and existing customers outside of face-to-face meetings.

And if that’s the case, you’ve probably spent a fair bit of time setting up social media channels, and have maybe even paid someone to manage those for you.

First impressions last and your blog is the perfect tool with which to keep those channels fed and your website looking fresh and up to date.

But like New Year resolutions and Arsenal FC post-Christmas, it’s very easy to lose momentum after those initial earnest posts.

The main consideration when trying to keep a company blog updated is time, or the lack of it. Quickly followed by the need for inspiration. Both are easily addressed.

If you’re already paying someone to manage your social media, speak to them about taking on blog duties too. If you’re using an external creative agency the chances are they will be able to help too.

Internal solutions are also easily happened by. That new marketing intern is probably desperate to get his or her name up in lights and should be eager to prove their worth through blogging duties. Failing that, ask around – offices are often full of hidden talents waiting to be released.

Once you have the resource, it’s time to think about the content. The task of conjuring up appropriate subject matter can be a little intimidating, but it needn’t be.

A good place to start is drilling down into your product line – what do you sell? How were those products created? Look at mini FAQs, staff profiles, product announcements and commentary on industry news that affect your business. Does BREXIT have implications in your market? Tell your audience why.

To keep organised, draw up a simple content calendar, containing subjects, publication dates and responsibilities to keep things on track.

And the more content you post, the better it is for SEO too. Search engines will see that your site is being maintained and kept fresh, and that will score you brownie points against competitors in the rankings wars.

Plus, as alluded to earlier, the great thing about blog content is that it will feed your social media channels, which can also become neglected quite quickly. Each blog you post should be shared on LinkedIn – via employee profiles and your company’s own page – Twitter and Facebook.

All all three platforms you can then increase your reach if you pay to ‘boost’ posts to reach specific demographics. But more on that anon.

So, brush those cobwebs off your CMS and start posting – the world of content marketing awaits…

GUEST BLOG: The Wild West of Virtual Reality Marketing

Komal Sable, COO of Tengio, talks about the growing power of VR, and what marketers need to be aware of in the digital age.

The purpose of marketing is to promote, to draw attention, to build interest, and to inspire passion. Imagine now, a medium which enables you to create emotionally invested, passionate customers. A medium that can affect behaviour on the subconscious level. That medium exists today, in the form of Virtual Reality. Research is ongoing into the potential, but current studies suggest that the immersive nature of VR can be used very effectively for treating PTSD and phobias, or for training people in new skills and behaviours, making it a powerful new technology bearing a lot of responsibility.

Virtual Reality as an industry is in its infancy, we aren’t even close to uncovering the tip of the iceberg yet. However, in the last 4 months the Playstation VR has been on sale, in very limited quantities but they’ve managed to ship close to 1 million devices. Google Store has shipped 10 million cardboard devices. These numbers lead us to believe that VR isn’t just a fad; it’s here to stay as a new medium of content consumption. What is terribly exciting is that as a medium, it’s still the Wild West; there’s excitement, passion and opportunities to be grabbed if you strike at the right time.

Something that baffles me is the lack of marketing agencies embracing VR. There have been some big companies who’ve dipped their toes in VR; Coca Cola, McDonalds, Jaguar, Glenfiddich etc. but I’d personally have expected more. Marketers talk about creating compelling and emotionally authentic media content and here they have a medium that gives them just that.

If you want to market a product/brand to millennials, marketing agency can look at VR as an excellent tool to introduce new products and immersive experiences. Brand awareness and loyalty, can be achieved through the medium of VR. For example, How does a hotel, cruise or holiday company convince someone that it can offer an amazing experience when the person has never tried it?

A brochure, website or videos can take you so far, but actually taking them to the destination and allowing them to walk around the accommodation, to look at the views, to be inside the experiences, that’s the sort of tangible experience that gives a real sense of what it would be like and sells it like no other medium. Hotels and Travel companies can offer a VR experience to customer of a selected destination, before choosing their holiday. Marketers can use VR for product, educational, research, commercial, training and many more experiences. A good start is Web VR and Mobile VR, since most consumers own a mobile or web-capable device, and the google cardboard is the most widely accessible platform.

Digital marketers and Innovation heads of companies need to come up with exciting new ideas to reach out the existing and new clients, and as the hardware becomes increasingly affordable and available in the consumer market, now is the perfect time to get in ahead of the rush and to make a unique impression through VR.


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