Marketing & advertising October 2016

The month in Marketing & Advertising: October 2016

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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

Marketing & advertising

The month in Marketing & Advertising: September 2016

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Virtual reality takes on new dimension

Oh, to work in the world of virtual reality! The medium has been through a lot lately. With a lukewarm reception at the Cannes Lions and just a few promising examples of the technology’s potential, investors could be forgiven for hedging their bets. But fear not, for a recent Nielsen survey of 8,000 consumers found that consumers might actually be ready for VR. Whether the world’s of marketing & advertising are ready, is another matter entirely.

According to a report released this month by Nielsen’s Media Lab, 24 percent of respondents said they are likely to use or purchase VR in the next year. The number of people who said they didn’t plan to try it fell even further when given a rudimentary explanation of its potential applications.

There was more good news for marketers interested in VR, too. Harry Brisson, Nielsen’s director of lab research noted that those interested in VR “are ‘triple-A’ consumers: Not only are they early adopters of new products and services, but they’re advocates for the brands that they use and love.” This is great news for companies already investing in VR, but it’s important to remember, when it comes to virtual reality, nothing is quite as it seems.

Marketing & advertising

Instagram doubles advertising base in 6 months

Instagram announced this month that it has increased its advertising base to over 500,000 businesses. The social network reached half a million advertisers just a few months after hitting 500 million active users, and the mobile photo-sharing growth doesn’t show any signs of abating. Speaking at a press briefing this month, Instagram’s head of brand development for EMEA Amy Cole said the top five advertising verticals on Instagram were now consumer packaged goods, eCommerce, retail, entertainment and technology.

In a bid to encourage more brands to engage with their audience, Instagram introduced ‘Business Tools’. The service allows companies to add a contact button to their page and provides more detailed data regarding the personality traits of their followers. The service has proven a hit, with 1.5 million businesses converting to a new profile on Business Tools.

The app’s ‘Stories’ feature, although derided as a Snapchat rip-off, has proven to be a big hit for businesses too. Cole explained the impact Stories has had on marketers. “We have seen brands make use of the fact that you can message people through stories and they go straight into your direct messaging. It gives brands that extra flexibility.”

Marketing & advertising

Youtube debuts new Call to Action TrueView feature 

This month saw Google introduce a new format for YouTube TrueView video ads. TrueView for Action allows for in-video ads to be tailored to a specific action. So rather than a generic ‘Learn more’ link appearing alongside the ad, brands can now choose their own phrase. Not only does this help banners achieve greater brand relevance, it allows advertisers to develop more specific ad campaigns.

Sridhar Ramaswamy, SVP of ads and commerce at Google, announced the new feature at the DMEXCO digital media conference in Germany this month. Ramaswamy said TrueView action ads will be tested throughout the year. With the reporting and user experience being fine-tuned, the aim is to make the new format available globally.

Google explained the option would be particularly useful for advertisers in “high consideration” industries, like those in financial services, automotive, or travel. Google will test this format for the rest of 2016, but we could see it rolled out by as early as next year.

Marketing & advertising

Yahoo confirms massive data breach

Yahoo found itself in hot water this month after confirming a massive data breach that affects hundreds of millions of users. The hack, which Yahoo confirmed this month, saw the birthdates, usernames, passwords and email backup details of half a billion users leaked. However, the tech company was quick to calm fears of a risk to people’s personal financial accounts with an official statement:

“The ongoing investigation suggests that stolen information did not include unprotected passwords, payment card data, or bank account information; payment card data and bank account information are not stored in the system that the investigation has found to be affected.”

The attack was first reported back in August when a hacker, going by the name ‘Peace’ claimed to be selling the private information of over 200 million Yahoo accounts. The details were allegedly put up for sale on a hacker’s marketplace called The Real Deal. At the time, Yahoo acknowledged they were aware of the claim, but stopped short of confirming or denying its authenticity. If you’re a Yahoo user, click here to check if your account has been hacked.

Marketing & advertising

Snapchat debuts Video-Enabled Sunglasses

As far as first hardware products go, Snapchat’s Spectacles could actually be a step in the right direction. As the tech startup looks to branch out beyond the world of app technology, there was a real danger of the company forgetting what made Snapchat so much fun – short & snappy user generated content. Thankfully, if the video-recording eyewear unveiled this month is anything to go by, user-created content is still an integral part of the formula.

Snap Inc (the tech company’s new corporate name) started calling themselves a camera company a few months back, and with the release of Spectacles, Snapchat is clearly planning to go way beyond the much-loved mobile app.

The Spectacle debut this month revealed that users push a button near the hinge of the glasses to record up to 10 seconds of first-person video. Each new button-tap records another video, allowing you to create several quick, first-person clips in a row, which can then be sent via the app to followers. The prospect for what users can do with an extra hand now free probably don’t bear thinking about, but it’s certainly opened up new markets for the image messaging pioneers.

Marketing & advertising

Geo-specific marketing content

The secret to great geo-specific marketing content

Advertising, Agile marketing, Business, Marketing, Technology | No Comments

At the risk of stating the obvious, the internet, and by extension, smartphones, have redefined borders in marketing. Businesses can find work from the other side of the globe; brands can advertise in any and all countries simultaneously, and companies can now boast an employee-base with more cultural diversity than a Benetton ad.

All of this sounds like great news for marketing, but marketers are struggling to keep up with the advances in technology, as evidenced by the number of nationally-targeted generic PPC campaigns. But content that tries to please everyone rarely leaves a lasting impression on anyone. That’s why geo-specific marketing is so vital.

geo-specific marketing works on the concept that graphically diverse content, and locally-specifical targeted ads appeal to a more varied spread of consumer. For marketers, it not only enables a more efficient media spend, it can also provide a significant advantage over competitors. In fact, 60% of advertising professionals already believe geo-targeted ads deliver a stronger ROI than generic ads and 50% said they deliver a higher response rate.

So how can you begin to integrate geo-specific marketing into your own campaigns? Read on for some top tips on how to make your content both international and locally relevant.

Develop a local vernacular table

Every region, country, and even every city has its own cultural and linguistic nuances. When creating ad content, it’s vital to consider not just what you say, but how you say it. Filtering your advertising language through the vernacular of a target region can make a huge difference to your success rate. Of course, international companies should have already included translations for different countries. But even when marketing to two countries with the same national language, you should try to tailor the content to their specific dialect.

Say, for instance, you run an international digital video rental store based in the UK. In Britain, to advertise a newly returning show you would most likely refer to it as the ‘new series’. However, the US more commonly uses ‘seasons’ in reference to a string of episodes. Failing to make the distinction could see your ranking slide in America, as people searching using their own national vernacular find other, more culturally relevant entertainment offers.


Customise the channels you use

Last year, the Local Search Association (LSA) of the US released data showing mobile devices surpassing PC use in the search for local businesses and services. While this should warrant a change in focus for companies based purely in the US, companies operating internationally should already have a clear idea of mobile consumption in other countries.

India and China both rely heavily on mobile technology, and businesses based in these countries have already tailored their content and ads accordingly. Mobile has the added advantage of pinpointing exact locations, allowing you to integrate offers into the ads providing they are in a nearby location, further increasing the relevance of your ad above competitors. With geo-specific marketing, it’s not just who you market to and with which content, but also the channels you use to reach them.

Geo-specific marketing content

Develop locations with limited uptake

By dividing regions, you gain a stronger understanding of the areas in which your content is and isn’t working. By being able to directly compare different geographic locations, you can edit your content and ads according to what works best in each selected region. Take a look at the websites and ads of local competitors and try to break down each element – the tone, language used, page layout, etc. – and experiment with each.

Alternatively, you can choose to drop under-performing regions from your campaigns entirely. Remember, one of the central strength’s to geo-targeting is that it restricts your ad-spend to ensure you only reach out to relevant visitors. This allows you to focus your budget and time, but can leave you open to losing what little influence you have in other regions.  


Geo-specific marketing contentPersonalise the marketing experience

Personalisation is a must in modern marketing. Companies risk alienating consumers by not tailoring their content, and this includes the geographic location. Even incorporating language with locally distinct vocabulary for different regions is a form of personalisation. In fact, studies have shown that 67 % of smartphone users want ads displayed to them customised to their city or zip code, while 61% want ads customised to their current surroundings.

By referring to the areas in which your geo-targeted ads are being shown, you can relate to your customers directly and further reduce wasted impressions. For local businesses, in particular, personalisation equals greater brand recognition and a greater ROI.

Geo-specific marketing content

Target geo-specific events

You can personalise your content even further by referring to geo-specific events. By referring to an upcoming local, regional or even national event, you can add a timely element to your content and channel the exposure into increased ROI. Of course, marketers already look to integrate anticipated events like local sporting fixtures into their marketing plans. But there are also a myriad of geographically specific events that could increase ROI but just can’t be predicted.

A sudden heat wave can be a big boost for a number of industries, including sunscreen manufacturers, soft drinks companies and outdoor clothing stores. Marketing with content that addresses both a consumer’s location and their current climate can be a major boost, but can also save companies with less relevant offers from wasting revenue. For instance, a company selling winter coats might decide to drop their ad-focus in a region currently experiencing a heatwave, preferring instead to focus their efforts on areas going through a cold spell.

Geo-specific marketing content

Use geographic reporting tools

Geographic reporting tools allow you to develop more sophisticated testing through comparing different offers or promotions in the same region. This is hugely important to informing your overall social strategy, particularly when going head-to-head with competitors for local ad-space.

Google Website Optimizer allows you to segment your traffic and define subsequent actions based on that segmentation, in part automating the process behind your geo-specific marketing. There are hundreds of resources out there to help you make the most of geo-targeting tools, but they’re not the only means of fine-tuning your geographic focus.

You can also use analytics packages to study the browsing behaviours of previous site visitors. This allows you to pinpoint consumers’ tendencies and provide relevant, location-specific content, even if they’re not currently in the area.

Geo-specific marketing content

Don’t limit yourself to ad space alone

If you have a blog, write content with a specific focus on a particular area, taking into account all the previous points, including changing vernacular, posting times and the channels you use.

The more control over your campaigns, the more you can begin to understand why people respond to content in the way they do.  

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different means of communication following the initial hook. For example, try optimising a landing page with geo-targeted content from a geo-targeted banner. Compare the results with a generic, non-geo-specific landing page and see which yields the highest conversions. From this, you can begin to develop a stronger understanding of where geo-specific content is most needed.

Geo-specific marketing content

Consider the little things

It’s not just the language and dialect of a region that you should consider. When creating content, either onsite or in your advertising, it’s important to consider the little details. Ensuring your content is in the relevant currency may seem like a no-brainer, but companies still persist in using just one. Less obvious but no less relevant are metrics like weights, volumes, distance and speed. You should always crawl your geo-specific marketing content with a fine-toothed comb to guarantee your content has the full impact. Remember, even the smallest error, when seen enough times, becomes obvious.

Visuals also play an important part in the geo-targeting process. Test different images in different geographical settings to see which types of image warrant the best response. Be sure to keep a record of these, as they could go on to influence future geo-specific marketing campaigns.

Geo-specific marketing content


In marketing, as in so many other industries, it really is a case of right place, right time. Geo-specific marketing gives you an extra edge over competitors, be it in the local arena or on a national or even international level. It takes time and more than a bit of patience, but those willing to put the work in can really take advantage of a new digital society.

August Marketing & advertising

The month in Marketing & Advertising: August 2016

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This month we take a look at the top stories from the worlds of marketing and advertising, including the Rio Olympics and Snapchat’s new user data sharing policy.

Olympics 2016 proves there are winners and losers in marketing too

The 2016 Rio Olympics are over, but the marketing revelations keep on coming. The latest Brand Agility Index study by PR firm Waggener Edstrom Communications revealed the biggest marketing winners of the Olympic sponsors, and the podium has some surprising additions. Samsung and Nissan both earned golds for their performances, while long-time sponsors Visa and McDonald’s both failed to live up to expectations. Both Nissan and Samsung were boosted by the record medal haul enjoyed by team GB, who finished second behind the US. With a series of ads starring comedian Jack Whitehall, Samsung walked a fine line between comedy and drama. Likewise, Nissan took a tongue in cheek approach to the Games with a series of ads in which ‘Nissan executives’ gave team GB athletes a range of bizarre product placement requests. The car company covered every base with their campaign, including harnessing the power of the Games’ appeal through social media coverage and allowing fans to ‘train alongside team GB athletes’ via Facebook Live. With its Olympics hashtag #QuemSeAtreve (#WhoDares) being named third best-performing hashtag of the Games, Nissan outperformed global sponsors and enjoyed a full percentage point increase in their Brazil market share.

August Marketing & Advertising

Twitter signs up Warner Bros for UK ‘promoted stickers’ launch

In anticipation of the latest JK Rowling film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Warner Brothers has teamed up with Twitter to introduce promoted stickers. The campaign will span across the UK, US, Japan, Brazil, France and Spain. The campaign allows brands to design four or eight stickers, which users can then add to their photographs as a form of “visual hashtag.” Photos featuring the brand’s stickers can be found by anyone who taps the sticker, including brands who want to see exactly who are engaging with their brand.

This isn’t the first time the sticker hashtag tool has been used in marketing, although it could be the most innovative use of it yet. Pepsi introduced the concept of visual hashtags in the US earlier this year, with the #PepsiMoji campaign encouraging users to take pics of custom emojis on its products’ packaging. As brands look to new ways to combine the digital and the physical worlds, we can expect a lot more in the way of cross-media, inter-brand collaboration.

August marketing & advertising

Snapchat enables advertisers to access personal user data

In an effort to increase its advertising revenue, Snapchat has pledged to allow advertisers access to personal user data. The move will allow advertisers to provide the most personalised marketing experience to the user since Snapchat first introduced ads back in 2014.  

Of course, the “sophisticated behavioural targeting tool,” as it is referred to, has raised yet more questions about the nature of privacy in social media. The company’s CEO, Evan Spiegel, had even called user tracking for the sake of tailored advertising “creepy,” but it looks like Snapchat has since come round to the idea. Some have called out the user tracking as an invasive measure, despite that the platform will not capture data from your browsing history outside the app. Snapchat addressed the issue, saying “We want you to feel understood. We want to understand what’s relevant to you and your life, and we want to show you things that you’ll care about.” Let us know in the comments what you think of Snapchat’s new personal data policy.

August Marketing & Advertising

Personalisation most important email attribute for click-through

Confirming what most marketers already suspected, this month saw a UK-based survey reveal personalisation as the attribute most likely to prompt click-through in an email marketing campaign. Conducted by French online marketing consultancy firm Mailjet, the survey asked a diverse pool of UK-internet users to point out the top five marketing email features most likely to get them clicking through to a branded page.

The survey found that personalisation took precedent as the most important overall factor, with 40.2% citing it as the most important element for a click-through. The study also threw up some unexpected findings, including that 40% of millennials (respondents aged 16-29) saw the email’s design as the most influential factor. As the age of the respondents rose, the importance placed on design dropped. Likewise, device compatibility was deemed less significant of a factor for older respondents than to those in the ‘millennial’ age bracket, with only 17.1 percent of respondents overall noting it as the most important element. The findings give further strength to Clemmie’s argument that personalisation is now an essential element to all marketing campaigns.

personalised email marketing

Integrate agile marketing into your digital strategy

How to integrate agile marketing into your digital strategy

Advertising, Agile marketing, Marketing, Technology | No Comments

These days businesses need to be able to adapt at a moment’s notice. The internet has given us round-the-clock coverage, instant updates and regular access to all the latest news; it’s no surprise consumers expect brands to keep their output contemporary.

Marketing campaigns need to maintain a liquidity, adapting to the changing needs of the consumer while staying relevant in a dynamic environment. So, by all means, lay out your strategy, but don’t try to carve each day in stone. Businesses capable of responding to changes around them are more likely to entice a new audience, and thus increase their overall reach. Brands that rigidly adhere to their pre-planned marketing strategy with no wiggle-room for new developments, on the other hand, will find their campaigns lagging behind competitors as they struggle to stay in the spotlight. So, just how do you integrate agile marketing into your campaigns, and why do so many marketers struggle to keep pace?

Incorporate client feedback into your campaigns

The growth in social media and corporate responsibility has disrupted the traditional flow of marketing, adding a new dimension to the way content is distributed and consumed by audiences. Today, customers can give feedback directly to companies in full view of their peers. Marketers have to engage with this feedback to prove they are receptive to change and that they really listen to their audience. But some marketers have gone one step further, integrating the customer comments into their campaigns and even building marketing campaigns around feedback alone.

Responding to your consumers is essential to prove you recognise your client-base as individuals, but it also lends a human element to corporations. Just check out the exchange below to see how a humorous response can earn you major social props.

Agile marketing for your digital marketing campaign

Don’t be afraid to engage with other brands

Agile marketing doesn’t just mean engaging with smartasses online, it also requires you engage with other brands when and where it’s relevant. The more witty, elaborate and/or memorable the exchange, the better the audience response and exposure. After popular male perfumery, Old Spice tried to take a bizarre swipe at Taco Bell on Twitter, Taco Bell responded with a concise but scathing putdown.

Agile marketing in your digital marketing
Although the banter between brands is usually lighthearted in nature, the competitive ribbing can give both brands a major boost and entice new customers. Honda tried to drum up interest in its new minivan with a playful Twitter campaign involving foodstuffs likely to be sucked up by the minivan’s built-in vacuum cleaner, but Oreos responded with some clever agile marketing of its own. The best thing about this approach is these social media ‘spats’ rarely have a winner. Providing the exchange is entertaining enough, both parties will be rewarded with increased media and consumer attention.

Make sure it’s relevant to your customer base

Before getting too excited about the prospect of igniting a Twitter ‘feud’ that spreads like wildfire across the digital landscape, it’s important to consider your core brand values, and how well these would be reflected in your choice of subject matter and any other key actors involved. Agile marketing requires a deep understanding of your brand’s perception in the wider world, and poorly judged social marketing can severely damage your brand image.

When the cooking site Epicurious decided to tie their latest recipe (whole-grain cranberry scones if you were wondering) to the Boston Marathon bombing, it highlighted exactly why marketers need to stop and consider timing and tone before trying to engage with a consumer-base. Newsjacking (attaching your brand to a trending topic, such as by adopting a popular hashtag on Twitter) can very easily go wrong, as evidenced in the Tweet below.

Integrate your campaign with topical news

Agile marketing relies on an ability to pivot your strategy according to new developments, both internal and external. For planned events such as the 2016 Olympics in Rio, marketers can prepare their material early and consider each new deployment of content. But agile marketing is all about responding to the unscheduled, going off-script and creating a unique reaction to a particular situation. Culturally significant events are a great opportunity for marketers, but often the best replies come from situations that couldn’t be anticipated.

During the 2016 Euro football, supermarket chain Iceland jumped on the unexpected success of the Iceland international squad with some brilliantly timed Tweets. When Iceland (the country) were drawn against England in the quarterfinals, Iceland (the supermarket) stepped up their social campaign and earned themselves thousands of more Likes, Retweets and Followers.

Agile marketing in your digital marketing

Allow testing and data to take precedent

Agile marketing has existed in some form for several years, but it’s only since the proliferation of data harvesting tools and personalisation platforms that it has been able to be truly agile. Adapting your marketing strategy relies on understanding your competitors, the context in which your campaigns are implemented and the personal preferences of your clients. Marketing attribution has made meeting the latter requirement decidedly easier.

Through monitoring how clients interact with your content, you can adjust your approach according to their personal preferences and ensure your material reaches them through the most effective channels. Agile marketing, by its very nature, is unpredictable, but data gives you the confidence to engage with consumers with a more informed, personalised approach. As your campaign progresses, you can develop a stronger understanding of the most effective content for each consumer and begin to introduce incremental, data-driven changes to your strategy.

Be mindful who you align with your brand

As we said earlier, the topical news is a great platform for getting your brand out there, but this doesn’t mean you should jump on every news story going. It’s important to consider if your brand has any place in tying its name to a popular news piece, particularly if it’s on a subject with no relation to the brand’s purpose, or a sensitive subject that may deem any attempts at brand association as exploiting a painful situation for your own gain. Likewise, as a marketer you have to ensure your brand is associated with people appropriate to your brand message.

This becomes more challenging when agile marketing is involved, but even when a quick decision is needed on a potential brand association, it pays dividends to research the other party and make sure they fit with your core values. When renowned road racing cyclist Lance Armstrong was stripped of his titles following a doping scandal, brands had to move quickly to disassociate themselves from him, and other brands quickly reconsidered sponsoring him for future events.

Agile marketing in your digital marketing

August Marketing & Advertising

The month in Marketing & Advertising: July 2016

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

Even the marketing for the Olympics is causing controversy

With the controversies hanging around the 2016 Rio Olympics, it can be easy to miss the new developments surrounding the tournament’s marketing campaigns. Under the original rule for athletes and their sponsors, no-one participating in the Games could allow their name, picture or sports performances to be used for advertising purposes during the Olympic Games. Now, for the first time ever in an Olympic tournament, that rule has been overturned. There’s just one caveat, the ad campaigns can’t overtly link to the Olympics. Non-Olympic sponsors like GoPro, Under Armour and Virgin, have been quick to take advantage of the marketing opportunities this provides, but it’s led to some fairly inventive attempts to skirt around the obvious link.
The athletes are also bound by the rules, even if it does mark a relaxation of the rules compared to past Games, where athletes could not publicly endorse their non-official sponsors during the weeks surrounding the tournament. During the 2012 London Olympics, athletes made their frustrations at the restrictive rules by Tweeting using the hashtag #WeDemandChange. The competitors may have got their wish, but they have to ensure they don’t explicitly relate the sponsors to the Games. This might sound like an overly arbitrary rule, but it probably won’t be the most controversial .

Coca-Cola slips down the global brand rankings

Despite consistently ranking as one of the most recognisable brands in the world, Coca-Cola no longer enjoys its ubiquitous status as the all-American company. That’s because July saw Coca-Cola drop out of Millward Brown’s ranking of the top global brands, a major measure of a company’s cultural presence and overall market value. The soft drinks giant’s fall from the top spot isn’t exactly unheralded, following its disappearance from Interbrand’s best global brands list in 2013. However, it does point to the importance of maintaining pace with changing technology, and shows just how much the internet has levelled the playing field for new companies. Of the top ten global brands, five specialised in computer software, and three weren’t trading as a public company before the turn of the last century. It’s not been a great month for Coca-Cola. Not long after being released, their ads for Sprite were branded as ‘sexist’ and ‘misogynistic’ by people across the internet. Taking a look at the ads, it’s not hard to see why people would take offence, with taglines like “She’s seen more ceilings than Michelangelo,” “You’re not popular… you’re easy,” and “A 2 at 10 is a 10 at 2.” If this is their attempt to bring the brand back into the spotlight, they may be best keeping a low-profile for a while.

VR impresses, albeit sporadically, at Cannes

Despite the world’s current preoccupation with virtual and augmented reality (thanks a lot, Pokemon Go), the new medium failed to live up to the hype at this year’s Cannes Lions. The world was waiting with baited breath to see where this exciting new technology will take us, so perhaps it was inevitable that the offerings at the annual advertising, marketing and communications event would disappoint. One of the most notable exceptions was Lockheed Martin’s “Bus Ride to Mars” project, which saw a group of schoolchildren board a bus in Manhattan only to be transported to the red planet’s surface through the power of virtual reality. The project was awarded 19 Lions, an even more impressive feat when you consider those awards spanned 11 categories and add up to more than any other single piece of work at this year’s festival. The top accolades, however, went to the New York Times. The publication’s VR experience “The Displaced” bagged the Entertainment Top prize with an immersive look at the journeys of refugees from around the world in a move that Entertainment Lions Jury President Jae Goodman said “catapulted the Gray Lady 100 years forward.”

Facebook Messenger passes one billion users

Continuing its indomitable rise to be the most pervasive brand on the planet, Facebook announced this month that its Messenger app now boasts over 1 billion monthly active users. The social media behemoth now owns three apps with more than one billion users. Joining the official Facebook app and Whatsapp (who Facebook bought in 2014), Facebook Messenger’s popularity further cements the company’s position as the leading social media brand. Google Maps and YouTube both also rank high in the app charts, but Facebook has invested wisely in new technologies to ensure its place at the top of the leaderboard. The introduction of chatbots designed to simulate human conversation, as well as constant updates to the apps games, has positioned Messenger in an integral role within Facebook. Talk of extending its digital assistant feature, currently only available in the San Francisco Bay Area, could see the app take on an even more intrinsic role in our daily lives but, until then, we’ll all have to make do with using it to shoot digital hoops and messaging strangers with unfortunate, albeit hilarious, names.

LinkedIn makes the move into user-videos

Following its acquisition by Microsoft, LinkedIn has tried to boost its interactivity and give key influencers the opportunity to post 30-second videos on selected topics. In a move that looks to tap into the Snapchat generation, the company hopes to give leading tastemakers from the Linkedin community the ability to deliver bite-sized lectures on relevant topics. Writing on the Linkedin blog, senior product manager Jonathan Sherman-Presser claimed: “you’ll get an intimate look at where [the influencers] work and hear their honest thoughts on topics central to the professional world.” The new video feature gives every Linkedin user the opportunity to hear top advice direct from industry leaders, but does not yet allow users to pitch questions they want answered themselves. Topics covered so far include the most important thing founders should avoid doing at a pitch meeting, how artificial intelligence will change the office dynamic and how colleges should measure their students’ success. The move may have come quite late in the day for the professional networking site, but if it can effectively tap into the big questions and ensure its topics are relevant, this could be the beginning of a new era for Linkedin and business.

Marketing & advertising technology

The Month in Marketing & Advertising: June 2016

Advertising, Feature, Marketing | No Comments

This month we take a look at the big stories from the worlds of marketing and advertising, two industries often filled with vacuous, self-serving shameless promotion, but occasionally buoyed by the flash of genius courtesy of an inspired original concept.

IBM launches AI-powered Watson ads

In a bid to harness the power of machine learning in all its terrifying apocalypse-inducing glory, IBM this month announced the launch of “cognitive ads”. That’s right, in an industry first,  IBM’s The Weather Company has claimed the future of advertising is here, and it lies in AI ads. The move marks the first consumer use of IBM Watson technology in advertising, but it could well become the norm for marketers as they form strategies around feedback gained from machine learning. The Weather Company initially plans to trial the technology in partnership with  Campbell Soup, Unilever and GSK Consumer Healthcare. Customers viewing a Watson Ad will be able to ask via voice or text about the product or offering. The customers will receive accurate responses thanks to Watson’s machine learning and natural language capabilities. For anyone worried Watson’s cognitive learning ads could go the way of Microsoft’s Tay, Weather Company global head of sales Jeremy Steinberg assured people that Watson creates a library of material, from which the AI-bot assembles the “curated answer.” For the sake of IBM and Watson, we hope the library of material is regularly vetted.

Marketing & advertising technology

Unilever drops gender stereotypes from its ads

In a move that has been praised by gender rights groups and the industry as a whole, Unilever has vowed to drop all sexist stereotypes from its advertising. The news comes after a two-year study found just 2% of the company’s ads show intelligent women. Unilever, which owns brands including Knorr, Dove and everyone’s (least) favourite yeast-based snack, Marmite, announced the changes following a global ad-study into gender roles in the company’s ads. The company spends €8B a year advertising more than 400 brands. The announcement was confirmed at the Cannes Lions festival in France last week. The study made for difficult reading, including finding that women were represented in an authoritative role in just 3% of ads, while 40% of the women surveyed said that they do not identify at all with the women they see in advertising. It’s a progressive step for the industry as a whole, and Unilever’s standing as the second-biggest advertiser in the world will hopefully inspire other firms to follow suit.

Marketing & advertising technology

Mark Zuckerberg’s eccentric security quirk

This month Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg inadvertently revealed he tapes over the speaker and camera on his laptop and set the tech world into a long-overdue debate about home security. After being photographed holding a cut-out Instagram frame in celebration of the apps 500 million user milestone, eagle-eyed followers noted some interesting additions to his Macbook. The multi-millionaire millennial puts tape over his webcam and speaker to avoid conversations and images being picked up by opportunist hackers looking to get some dirt on the 32-year-old entrepreneur. The discovery sparked discussions on hardware security between major heads of state, tech specialists and even the lowly man on the street. In case you’re wondering, yes, you should tape up your webcam and mic when not using them. The NSA files leaked a few years back revealed hacking people’s laptops is not above the security agency, and several cyber security experts have advised people to do everything they can to limit hackers access to their private lives. Whether you think it’s a little extreme comes down to what you do in front of your webcam, but the reality is, taking a few extra precautions never hurt anyone, even if it does make you look a little paranoid.

Marketing & advertising technology

Everyone is jumping on the Euro Cup train

Even with some premature exits from the competition (not to mention some not so premature exits), the Euro 2016 tournament in France has proven a level playing field for new talent, both on and off the pitch. The tournament has led to some truly inspired advertising so far, with big names like Coca-Cola, Mars and others opting for the “Come on England!” approach in the UK. The flaw with opting for this approach perhaps should have prompted calls for a backup campaign, but so far it seems like most brands hadn’t anticipated the highly likely scenario of England crashing out early. Budweiser was picked up on social media for a billboard spotted following England’s departure from the competition. ‘50 YEARS OF HURT IS THIRSTY WORK’ may have sounded like a great line during discussions in Budweiser’s marketing department several months back, but when seen after England have already been knocked out, it takes on a slightly derisory tone. Coupled with the billboards location in an Asda car park in Coryton, Cardiff, the ad takes on an even more sardonic tone. A far more inspired approach to marketing came courtesy of that most unlikely of sources; the Iceland supermarket chain. Prior to the game between the England vs Iceland game, the frozen foods specialists had encouraged some friendly competition between the two countries by rebranding its stores:

The store Tweeted throughout the game itself, at several points reminding followers that it was in fact just a supermarket, and did not represent the tiny island nation of Iceland. With the final whistle signalling an end to England’s Euro Cup hopes, Iceland the store tried to stay magnanimous in victory (well, it’s namesake’s victory, anyway):

Brexit marks a change in fortunes for UK businesses

After several months of fierce campaigning, Britain voted to leave the EU. Ignoring the political and economic implications of the vote, Brexit has already begun to impact on the country’s thriving marketing and advertising industries. Even before the vote, the uncertainty caused by the EU referendum was beginning to influence the markets. For ITV, this uncertainty led to the broadcaster lowering its ad revenue forecast in the first half of 2016. Likewise, ITV rivals Channel 4 blamed the slowdown in advertising spend on the referendum. Jonathan Allen, director of sales of Channel 4, told Campaign “About a quarter of it [fall in ad revenue] is Brexit.” The reason behind the fall was the level of uncertainty the referendum created. Advertisers are wary of investing too heavily when they’re not sure what’s around the corner. The slowdown looked set to lift as soon as the vote came in. However, with the political environment still precariously ambiguous, advertisers have been wary of investing too heavily, which places more emphasis on maintaining current brand policies and shifting market focus even further towards the digital landscape. The truth of the matter is, nobody can be certain what effect leaving the European Union will have on the advertising and marketing industries. One thing is for certain, however, is that the vote gives the UK and the EU, a whole new set of opportunities and obstacles. It’s  up to the industries to ensure they’re ready to tackle both.

Marketing & advertising technology