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October 2016

Marketing & advertising October 2016

The month in Marketing & Advertising: October 2016

Advertising, Marketing, News | No Comments

This month we take a look at the big stories from the crazy worlds of marketing & advertising.

Facebook Conversation Topics wants to tell you what to talk about

Ever had the feeling that you’ve run out of things to say to your friends? Well, you’re in luck, because Facebook’s Messenger app is on hand with a range of ‘conversation topics’ to keep you and your friends chatting for hours.

The concept is simple: see what your friends on Facebook have been up to and build conversations around this information. It doubles as a more succinct newsfeed too, telling you what your nearest and dearest have been up to, where they’ve been and even what music they’re listening to.

The technology comes just a month after a user identified some code hidden in the Messenger app pointing to a new feature called Rooms. Slightly less promising than Conversations, this comes across more like a throwback to the days of internet chat-rooms, where people with a shared interest in topics can chat. Thankfully, it’s likely this version would eschew the anonymisation that made real internet chatrooms such a controversial feature of the newly burgeoning ‘world wide web’.

For anyone concerned about the state of humanity when we genuinely need algorithmic prompts to start conversations, you’re not alone. On the bright side, however, you’ll never be lost for words again.

Marketing & advertising

Marketers now spend more on mobile display ad spend than PC & tablet

For anyone in doubt of the power of mobile marketing, behold! Mobile display ad spend has now officially overtaken spending on Desktop and tablet. A new study by PwC and the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) this month revealed that mobile display ad spend reached £802m, £40m more than advertisers spent on PC and tablet. Digital advertising itself reached an all-time high of £4.78bn in the first half of 2016, the highest first-half growth rate in two years.

Mobile ad spend saw the biggest boost of all, however, with a 56% increase in the first half of 2016. In fact, 2016 has been a pretty good year for every area of mobile advertising. Ad spend on mobile sites grew 43% to £745m, while mobile video spend grew 129%, suggesting our mobile dependence could be turning into a full-blown addiction.

Consumer goods brands such as food, toiletries and clothing were responsible for 18.3% of the overall ad spend on mobile, with 18.3%, followed by travel & transport at 16.4% and automotive at 11.7%.

Paid search also received a boost courtesy of our mobile fixation, growing 18.1% to £2.49bn in the first six months of 2016. With recent YouGov data finding that 82% of smartphone users check their phones within an hour of waking (while 86% of 18-34s do so within half an hour), our mobile obsession doesn’t show any signs of abating soon.

Marketing & advertising

Unilever and Tesco call an end to a very public tiff

October has been a month of uncertainty for people across the UK, especially as the reality of Brexit begins to spread from political hypothesising to real-world impact. That’s right, with all the potential pitfalls and profits of Brexit, few could have anticipated it would hit the yeast-based spread market so hard.

Marmite fans throughout Britain decried the news that Unilever, in response to the falling value of the post-Brexit pound, were increasing retail prices on some of the UK’s favourite foodstuffs.

The row looked set to embroil Tesco and Unilever in a very public spat. Thankfully the companies reached an agreement within 24 hours of the announcement.

Unilever released a statement explaining “We have been working closely together to reach this resolution and ensure our much-loved brands are once again fully available. For all those that missed us, thanks for all the love.” It may seem like a trivial issue for the haters, but the announcement elicited a collective sigh of relief from Marmite-addicts everywhere, not to mention providing some free publicity for the both parties involved.

The publicity didn’t necessarily benefit both parties, however. The day following Unilever’s announcement saw Tesco shares up 4.2 percent, while Unilever shares were down 0.7 percent.

Marketing & advertising

Mcdonald’s: Ronald McDonald keeping a lower profile

Unless you’ve been living under a rock lately, you’ll be aware of the clown craze sweeping the world. Theories ranging from an internet craze gotten out of hand to some extreme form of viral marketing for a re-adaptation of Stephen King’s It abounds, but there have been other, less expected responses. The ‘killer clown’ craze has also provoked a huge backlash against the entire profession of clowning, and it seems even the most well-known aren’t immune to the collective coulrophobia.

That’s right, even McDonalds’ own Ronald McDonald is laying low until the heat surrounding the killer clown craze dies down. McDonald’s said earlier this month that it is being “thoughtful in respect to Ronald McDonald’s participation in community events” as a result of the “current climate around clown sightings in communities.”

Despite ‘hoping’ to disassociate itself from the current creepy fad, a clown has been spotted lurking by a McDonald’s in the Australian town of Moe, Victoria. Several sightings of a male clown wielding an axe at cars exiting the drive-through of the fast-food restaurant earlier this month.

Whether Ronald himself was involved is doubtful, but perhaps it’s best he keeps a low profile until this craze has finally run itself into the ground.

Marketing & advertising

Google steps in the smartphone ring with Pixel

Dubbed ‘the smartphone to end all smartphones’ by one, over-excited reviewer, this month saw the release of Pixel, Google’s first ever homegrown smartphone. As the first ever 100% Google Google designed phone, there was a lot of pressure on the Pixel to excel. That it’s the first phone to boast Android 7.1 and the reworked Google Assistant is being touted as the phone’s chief selling point.

Both of the newly launched Pixel phones come with a version of the aforementioned ‘Google Assistant’, promising new features including advances in artificial intelligence to improve personalised and voice-capable searches.

The phone’s physical design, with 5-in. or 5.5-in. screens and top-spec 12MP rear camera, have gone down reasonably well, although some thought-leaders have rightfully wondered why Google made the step into producing its own hardware at all.

The smartphones were just one aspect of the company’s new hardware push, however. Also unveiled at the conference were Google Home, a device that relies on Google Assistant, and a virtual reality headset/controller called Daydream View. Whether these releases will be enough to establish Google as a leader in the mobile hardware market remains unclear. It wouldn’t be the first time Google has made it late to the party only to become an industry leader.

Marketing & advertising

Psychographics in marketing

Psychographics in marketing: How to gain valuable audience insights

Analytics, Marketing, Psychographics | No Comments

For the uninitiated, psychographics is the study of the personality, values, opinions, attitudes, interests, and lifestyles of a designated group. Commonly referred to as ‘IAO variables’ (for Interests, Activities and Opinions), they sit at the subjective end of the consumer attribute spectrum. At the objective end sits demographics. Demographics can give us important data like the age of a target group, what profession they’re in, and where they’re based. Meanwhile, psychographics in marketing make up the shades of grey between the black and white of your demographics. 

Understanding the psychographics of your target audience is vital to the marketing process, but too often these insights are undervalued or overlooked. That’s because it’s easier to see your consumer as a collection of incontrovertible stats, rather than the complicated mass of neuroses, emotional responses and contradictory belief systems we know we are. Psychographics in marketing helps you understand how to direct and shape your content. It includes how to market using custom-targeted channels, a vital aspect of the modern marketers .

So how can you discover the psychographics for your audience, and, just as importantly, how do you incorporate these into your own campaigns? So check out the top five tips on tapping into those all important personal interests, and discover how they can guide your digital strategy.

Talk to your current clients

It sounds too simple to work, but talking to your clients can give you insights unattainable through any other means. In practice, every interaction with a client should be seen as an opportunity to learn more about your audience as a whole. Make their interests your interests. Try to empathise with their approach to life as much as their approach to business.

In doing so, you can simultaneously gain audience insights while solidifying your business relationships by showing you really care about aspects outside of their professional lives. Talking to clients can lead to all kinds of revelations, not least in how you interact with them and what they (and other clients) expect from your business.

For instance, you could learn from talking to clients that they spend a significant amount of time on the road attending business meetings. This, particularly when referenced against their typical email reply hours, could tell you that ads targeted at mobile are more likely to yield a good ROI than Desktop, as well as reiterating the need for a mobile-optimised website.

Psychographics in marketing

Utilise data, both large and small

As a marketer, if you aren’t using big data to study your audience, you’re not only in the minority, you’re putting yourself at a serious disadvantage. Data is essential to gaining customer insights, but data alone can only have so much influence on how you structure your output. Look at your existing site content and previous special offers. What has moved people to click, call, or buy in the past? The data gained from studying these interactions goes a long way to telling you what your consumer has done, but psychographics reveals why they did it.

Because psychographics involves the study of personality, values, opinions, attitudes, interests, and lifestyles, it is essential you trace the lead’s journey to your content, and how they interact with it once they arrive. By studying where else they have browsed, where and what time they accessed your content, you can begin to unravel their interests and build your digital strategy around how these interests dictate they will respond.

Likewise, small data is an invaluable tool to the marketing process, particularly in B2B scenarios. Whereas the broad-scatter metrics provided by large-scale analytics (or big data) give a comprehensive overview of how your audience interact with your content, small data focuses in on just individuals. In B2B interactions, where the decision of an individual user can affect a project, company or even an entire industry, understanding their interests gives you a significant advantage over the competition. 

Psychographics in marketing

Measure social success

Share relevant content through different channels – which channels work best, at what time and using what language? Understanding these variables can go a long way to helping you understand the people behind the accounts, and how best to engage with them. Of course, there are so many channels to now reach your audience through, gauging the best media for you will take time and patience.

Narrow your channels down using your demographics. Study the networking sites and the reasons people use them before whittling down your choices to only the relevant channels. For instance, LinkedIn generated 80.33% of B2B leads in 2014, compared to just 12.73% by Twitter and 6.73% by Facebook, making LinkedIn the obvious choice if you’re running a B2B campaign. Check engagement rates on all your posts, across your chosen channels, and audience behaviour patterns will begin to emerge which can then be integrated into campaigns.


Study audience output

Social media is particularly effective because audiences give you an insight into their personality through their own social output. Take a look at the kind of posts they Like/share/Tweet/post and create a profile map of their tastes. Include in this features like their active hours, their choice of language and their response to different images.

Your study of client output doesn’t have to be limited to their social accounts, however. If you’ve been interacting with them directly, there are a wealth of hidden inferences to help you compose a fuller picture of their interests. Study their language, when they reply, how they structure their emails and other aspects of their interactions. Studying the organic social conversations of your audience can also give you an edge on the competition, allowing you to identify emerging trends as and when they happen.

Psychographics in marketing

Don’t forget the classic data-gathering tools

With the rapid evolution of data-harvesting tools and audience profiling technology, it’s easy to forget other, more traditional means of gathering client information. For instance, customer surveys may seem like an outdated concept, but they can still add to your understanding of client behaviour.

The real challenges in conducting consumer surveys lie in deciding what questions you need to ask, and how to introduce the survey. For the latter, the point at which you introduce the survey request can have a major impact on the resulting information. The responses resulting from an on-site pop up following a purchase will vary dramatically in comparison to a survey embedded in an email. Consider carefully the means by which you reach out to your audience. The Hawthorne effect will also play a part in influencing your answers, so remember to take this into account.

For the former, it’s vital to develop criteria that help inform your future digital strategies. The difference between a personal question and a professionally relevant question may seem slight, but the gulf in the value of the results can be huge. Asking about your prospective consumer’s hobbies gives you some background to who they are but. But asking their favourite weekend activity gives you an extra level of insight that can inform an actionable strategy. Asking which social media channels your consumer uses gives you a good understanding of how they gather information. Asking them to rank their social media channels in terms of their value in gathering business opportunities, however, will result in more focused and actionable insights.

Person holding tablet browsing products online psychographics in marketing


Just as demographics alone won’t give you the full picture of your audience, psychographics only tells half the story. By combining the two schools of thought, you can build up a huge bank of quantified and qualified information that can be used to leverage important insights. While demographics provides objective classification, psychographics recognises the need for subjective information regarding your audience.

These seemingly innocuous elements contribute to the psychographic maps of your audience and enable you to make more informed marketing decisions, something every marketer could benefit from.

Disruption marketing

5 things your startup needs to focus on above disruption marketing

Feature, Marketing, Startup | No Comments

Of all the industries thriving under the tech revolution, marketing seems to be the most prone to embracing new buzzwords. This wouldn’t be such a problem but marketers seem predisposed to overusing and oversimplifying these words to suit their own ends. Of all the buzzwords currently floating around the martech atmosphere right now, none are as trite and tired as ‘disruption marketing’.

Although technically a business model, not a marketing approach, disruption marketing has been held up as the secret ingredient to rapid business success. Startups everywhere are proudly proclaiming themselves as the next big disruption to the status quo, despite not really understanding the criteria for something to be ‘disruptive’. In fact, any company can be disruptive. Being truly disruptive requires more than just an innovative idea. It involves applying the same fundamentals of business used by others, in a more dynamic way.

What is disruptive marketing?

In the interest of clarification, let’s lay out exactly what disruptive marketing is. The standard definition can be traced back to ‘disruptive innovation’, a term put forward by Clay Christensen, the author of ‘The Innovator’s Dilemma.’ In it, Christensen explains ‘disruptive innovation’ is the process by which large, established companies are caught out by small, agile startups.

Often these startups will be described as “operating on a different wavelength” because they have eschewed traditional working practices in favour of a more unorthodox approach. The problem today is, too many startups equate the unconventional with successful market disruption. So instead, we’ve compiled a list of five things your startup should aim to do that will, in turn, give you a disruptive edge over the competition.

Disruption marketing

Understand your customer

This sounds like an obvious requirement, and it is. Companies far and wide, however, are failing to respond to this most pressing need. It doesn’t matter if you’re a large tech startup based in Silicon Valley or a small delivery startup in Sydney, you have to have a clear image of your client and their needs. Ask yourself, what could you offer that would tempt them away from your competitors?

Communicate with your customers regularly. If you don’t maintain contact with your customer, you can’t truly understand them, making it harder to evolve your model around their needs.

Every technology is disruptive in some way, and to produce anything other than an exact replica is to disrupt in some sense. By endeavouring to understand your client-base better, you can begin to spot the pitfalls of others and act on them. Uber was based on the age-old idea that people need hired-transport, but it eschewed the unpredictability of hailing a cab, allowed drivers to use their own cars and side-stepped the decreasing relevance of physical currency. In doing so, they disrupted the market while building on the same principals of previous public transport models.

disruption marketing

Refine your process

Disruptive marketing is misleading for a number of reasons, not least because it leads CEO’s to think they have to create a new technology, model or approach from scratch. Companies like Uber and AirBnB were based on age-old concepts. The only real ‘disruptive element’ was in the way they took an established concept and simplified it. They didn’t reinvent the wheel, they refined it for a new generation.

Ensuring the UI for your software is accessible and clean will keep clients coming back for more, while a simple sign up and implementation process will streamline the sales funnel between lead and customer. No company starts out with the perfect process. Business models have to be optimised according to the consumer, the cultural environment and other, ever-changing factors.

That’s why it’s essential to keep your model fluid.  Trial different marketing approaches, technologies and channels to see which work best for your brand. Experiment with measurable goals, incorporating data-harvesting tools to gain quantifiable results – measuring success rates is always easier when you quantify them. You may never find the perfect formula, but that shouldn’t stop you from striving to improve your model.

Marketing your startup

Adapt your model

As Jill Lepore explained in an article for the New Yorker “Disruption…despite its futurism, is atavistic. It’s a theory of history founded on a profound anxiety about financial collapse, an apocalyptic fear of global devastation, and shaky evidence.” Disruption is an inevitable part of business, and, on a grander scale, society, and to try to wilfully harness it is to ignore the obvious – you can’t own evolution. You can only hope to spot the surge and ride the wave.

Our mobile phones, the internet and, before that, TV and cinema, were all disrupters. They changed the way we eat, sleep, socialise and entertain ourselves, but they were the result of thousands, even millions of minds coming together to advance existing technologies.

As W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne pointed out in their 2005 book Blue Ocean Strategy, existing firms already have an advantage in disruption. Because they have already gained a foothold in the market, they are better seated to identify and exploit ‘blue oceans’ – markets new to both customers and competitors.

Reinvent your startup business model

Find your niche

What do you offer that nobody else can? Identifying your USP is the closest you’ll get to consciously developing a disruptive marketing strategy, but it’s nothing new. Every business strives to stand out and convey why it’s the optimum choice for consumers.

To really make a mark on an industry you must identify your USP and justify its presence in the market by tackling the shortcomings of your competitors. Responding to market demand and anticipating market demand are very different. If your marketing processes are largely reactionary, responding to client needs when they arise, how can you expect to get ahead of the competition?

Tools like Google AdWords’ Keyword Planner provide insights into industry hot topics, but they can also point to upcoming market trends. Track keywords that you feel are most relevant to your company and try to spot recurring themes. Keywords like ‘inbound marketing’, ‘eCommerce’ and ‘custom marketing platform’ have only recently become popular searchable terms, but they could point to the next big thing. Use these as a means of guiding where you position your startup in the market, and how you reach out to new leads.

How to disrupt innovation in business

Maintain a strong social presence

Use the right channels, make sure your content is relevant for your audience. Your social content has to give clients valuable information whilst cultivating a consistent brand message. Of course, disruptive marketing stems from the unexpected. Be willing to step outside of the boundaries and apply a unique approach, but first, you must understand the boundaries.

Draw up a profile of your customer base and build your content around what you know appeals to them. This refers not just to the subject of the content, but the language with which it’s written, the images you use and the times you choose to communicate your message. Your social presence is the first port of call for many prospective leads, so it’s vital you establish your corporate character here, and ensure it’s consistent across all channels.

Disruption marketing through social media

By all means, study the business behaviours of other startups – after all, marketing and business are ever-changing concepts that could always do with being further refined. But trying to emulate the success of other companies by replicating their process will never result in the same triumph. As Abby Ross said in a recent Forbes article, “we need to empower, not disrupt.” To be truly innovative, you must first understand the tried and tested methods of operating and improve upon them. Quirky business practices might disrupt an industry, but it takes real business acumen to change an industry forever.