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Evolving marketing in the automotive industry

By Jonathan Gilpin, Lookers

With an annual turnover rate of £82 billion and an employer of over 186,000 people in the manufacturing process, along with an additional 700,000 in other aspects, the automotive industry is huge. 

In addition, the stability the automotive industry creates for the UK economy is substantial, considering the industry alone accounts for 12% of UK good exports. 

But marketing investments for businesses in the automotive industry are usually rather costly. Although there are occasions when we are driving past a car showroom and a shiny new Ford Kuga Titanium catches our eye, it is a rarity in 2019.

For those among us that try and suggest they aren’t sucked in by an utterly fantastic marketing campaign — they are telling a fib. 

Product placement is one aspect certain brands choose to focus on. Fans of popular evening soap Coronation Street helped the hashtag #roysrolls trend after the show replaced Roy’s standard coffee with the alternative, big brand Costa Coffee. 

Alternatively, some businesses have become rather symbols of festive periods, such as John Lewis and their annual Christmas TV adverts. In 2018, the campaign paid tribute to British music cult hero, Elton John. 

The popstar is shown to be playing his rather ironically named song Your Song in a modernized, up to date rendition of it in front of a packed-out concert hall. Travelling through time, letting the audience act as witness to the variety of eras in which the song has been played, it finished with a young Elton playing his first piano. 

If you think about it, none of John Lewis’s adverts in recent years have had any relation to the brand itself, however this clever subtle trick does get you thinking of their brand. 

The overriding purpose of a marketing campaign is to make it stick in your mind and most importantly remember who delivered it. For the remainder of the festive period, the British public were driving to work and doing the dishes, humming the tune to Your Song, and when they were, they were thinking about John Lewis. 

The launch of a new product is crucial. Despite the fact an all-singing, all-dancing media campaign will not be enough to mask the incompetency of a below par product, an impressive one accompanying a genuinely capable product will succeed in boosting sales. 

Here with Lookers and their new Ford Kuga Titanium, we take a look at the way car manufacturers invest in the launch of new products, and whether they opt for a subtle or direct approach. 

The true meaning behind Va Va Voom

Despite a slow start back in 2002, Thierry Henry’s career with the Gunners gradually begun to take off. 

Having two premier league trophies and being top goal scorer in two seasons for his club wasn’t bad titles to add to his name. However, breaking the hearts of Manchester United fans wasn’t the only job Henry had on his hands, or shall we say, feet. Thierry had been tasked by French manufacturer Renault to find the true meaning of ‘va va voom’. 

In the past, the Clio has commonly been associated with being a feminine car, however after the striker was seen driving the car in the advert this helped draw attention away from this stereotype and the physical attributes or capabilities of the car itself. Instead, it took a young, rather dashing sporting icon, and delivered a stylish message to the masses — the Clio is for everyone. 

It’s suggested by marketers that after doing something once, the concept loses its initial appeal. In the case of Henry, Renault were clearly so impressed with his performance at the helm, they drafted him back in to chip in with the 2019 Premier League season adverts on Sky Sports. 

A car you could eat: Fabia Sponge 

Rumor has it that after the release of the greatest automotive TV advert of all time, every day Skoda offices have a slice of cake in tribute to it. 

It’s not often you would look at a car and think “that looks tasty”, regardless of how pleasing to the eye it is. 

Eight master bakers teamed together to create a life-size cake in the shape of their Fabia vehicle for their 2007 advert. Madeira cake, Battenberg, Rice Krispies, chocolate fingers, and oil, in the form of golden syrup, were all moulded together to create undeniably one of the most expensive cakes of all time. 

It took the equivalent cost of 62 Skoda Fabia’s to create the cake for the Czech car manufacturer. Tragically, by the time the icing and filming had been complete, most of the edible aspects of the cake had perished. 

Despite the marzipan alternative, this approach did largely center around the actual car itself, in comparison to the Renault. Accompanied by Julie Andrews’ My Favourite Things, the advert watches the chefs at work, creating an utter masterpiece. 

It’s great when things just work 

For their brand-new advert, Honda used the rhetorical statement of ‘Isn’t it nice when things just work?’.

The advert that situates a Wallace and Gromit-style mechanism in a rather lengthy, desolate gallery is deemed one of the most visually intriguing piece of media contents of all time. 

This domino-effect style idea sees a variety of car parts collapse into one another causing them to fall and trigger the next element of the chain, leaving the audience sat in anticipation to see what the final falling aspect is going to be. 

Before the launch of their campaign, Honda’s sales in Europe had been rather unimpressive. The video however was incredibly well received, collecting a host of awards, including one at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival. Honda sales, in turn, jumped by 28 per cent, and the monthly number of Honda branch visits rose from 3,500 to 3,700. 

After 4 days of filming, £1m and 606 takes later the Japanese manufacturers had finished their advert. Again, there was little of the video that focused on the vehicle itself however, the advert got engraved in the minds of its viewers. 

From a business perspective, you need to consider how much your marketing campaign is going to cost, how much you’re willing to invest and how beneficial it has the potential to be. 

Sources:

https://www.autotrader.co.uk/content/features/classic-ads-cake-skoda-fabia

Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay

How is global working affecting video management?

By Parham Azimi, CEO, Cantemo

The latest iteration of Cisco’s “Visual Networking Index” found that video will account for 82 percent of all online traffic by 2022. That means most of the content your site visitors, leads and potential customers consume will include moving pictures, and all of this needs to be managed well.

In addition to a huge increase in video content production, distributed global teams are now an everyday norm for many companies.

According to an article published in Forbes at the end of 2018, remote working is a standard operating mode for at least 50% of the US population. Employees are beginning to expect a flexible work life and Forbes is predicting that Generation Z workers will expect more choices as to when and where they work.

However, it’s not only employees who are seeing the benefits of working remotely; many employers are reaping the benefits of increased productivity from their remote staff, as highlighted by recruitment organisation Tecla in its 2019 article.

With clear advantages, it’s not surprising that there has been a giant increase in employers embracing distributed teams. However, it doesn’t just promote productivity, it opens up a whole new workforce. This allows businesses to employ well qualified and talented staff based on their qualifications as opposed to where they live. Of course, adapting workflows to enable this presents employers with some challenges. With offices based around the world some staff are starting their day when others are switching the lights off.

How can you ensure smooth and seamless collaboration for creative teams working on the same projects, but in different time zones? The benefits of remote teams mean that organisations are ready to implement technology to make this easier and more efficient. However, industries that work heavily with reams of data are faced with a decision; what solutions are suitable for the job? Is there a solution that not only enables video management, but also enhances it?

When file sharing isn’t enough

When we are thinking about file sharing, we’re considering options such as Dropbox, Google Drive and One Drive. These are popular and low-cost tools that can be a suitable way to handle media when your content library or archive is small. With capabilities to share links and set permissions, sometimes web-based sharing is enough as it does all of this very well. However, its file sharing falls short when being used for more complex workflows, such as collaborative projects that have multiple stakeholders,  teams, timezones. Have you ever tried to find a file that your colleague has mis-named, duplicated or saved in the wrong location? This is where it’s time to consider file management tools. 

The case for Media Management 

Finding lost files wastes valuable time. Add to this the complexity of collaborating with creative teams and clients across multiple locations and you can feel the metaphorical sweat beads starting to form. Metadata may be part of the solution.

Combining AI—which allows computing brain power do the heavy lifting—with rich metadata will provide the tools to make media searchable and easier to find. Automated and bulk metadata tasks can allow for efficient media management. Tagging media enables a huge set of parameters to search for content.

Instead of manually choosing where to file media featuring a family, on a day trip, travelling by train, with their dog, you could choose a better option and make the file discoverable using any one of those search terms. Better still, AI capabilities have now been developed to a point in which it can identify the images within the footage, translate this into metadata and provide the user with the content when searched for.

However, global working creates a challenge when managing how you store your data; metadata needs space and remote teams need scalable storage solutions that are easy to access. How should global businesses be storing their content? Can the right storage increase efficiency? 

Storing files and workflows

With many global organisations recognising their complex storage requirements, time must be spent considering how to use storage and workflows to improve efficiencies on an operational level. Sharing files with global teams and clients for review is often quickly and effectively handled by applying cloud-based workflows.

A cloud-based workflow can route all of the steps in the process for approval, regardless of where staff are located. Cloud-based workflows also drive productivity by taking workflows online and reducing manual steps; this rapidly increases efficiency, often at a lower cost than alternatives. As legacy systems start to creak under the strain of modern working challenges, many organisations are considering whether the cloud holds the solution to streamlined workflows.

Cloud working has become a widely adopted computing term.  Most marketers understand that taking storage power from hardware on premise and placing it in the cloud is beneficial for many reasons. However, when swapping to the cloud an organisation’s first decision is whether to adopt cloud storage or a hybrid. Hybrid cloud is a combination of both cloud storage and on-premise storage. It offers users with flexibility when it comes to file sharing and keeps egress costs at a minimum. Add in proxies, which I’ll address later on, and you’ve got a powerful, modern solution.

An editor may already have several hundred gigabytes of data for just one project, which makes sharing and global collaboration difficult. Projects with a fast turnaround can easily encounter bottlenecks that slow down processes and defeat the objective of a media management solution. Enter: proxies.

Proxies

To avoid a content bottleneck, cloud-based media management solutions should provide the ability to offer proxy workflows, particularly non-linear editors (NLEs). With proxies, editors can edit content and the project timeline without having to use significant amounts of bandwidth that are required when moving the high-resolution files around. Working with and moving much smaller files has cost implications for egress (getting your files back out of the cloud) and should be considered when selecting a vendor for services. 

The right tech is the solution

Whether collaborators are across the hall or across the country, organisations need their staff to have the ability to access, edit and share media easily and quickly. Businesses are now turning to sophisticated media management tools to make it simpler to share media at various stages of production, review, edit, and seek approval – no matter where teams are based. All of the advantages of hybrid cloud-based file management produce fewer obstacles in developing and collaborating on creative content. 

Hassle-free, secure and reliable, hybrid workflows support global organisations while they solve their media management challenges. A customised and robust hybrid cloud platform offers a smart solution that enhances ordinary asset management whilst enabling collaborative working. The benefits of remote working outweigh the challenges; equip your business with the right tools and there’s no reason not to hire the best person for the job, regardless of where they are in the world. 

Hyper everything: How tech integration is changing customer communication

By Michael Wright, CEO, Striata 

A raft of new technologies, many of which are easily integrated into existing channels, are changing the way organisations communicate with their customers. 

Chatbots, voice integration, and dynamic (hyper-personalised) content, amongst others are at the forefront of this evolution. But organisations cannot simply implement these technologies and expect dramatic improvements in their customer communication efforts. 

Instead, they have to ensure that any new technologies are utilised in line with the broader goals of customer communication; that is, making communication as valuable to the customer as possible.   

AI and meeting customer needs

With any form of customer communication, the aim should always be to move with the customer through their stages of life and offer the customer appropriate services at each stage. 

So, for example, in the insurance world, a customer may start with renter’s insurance as a single person and move to homeowner’s insurance, car insurance and life insurance as their personal circumstances change. 

Here, artificial intelligence (AI) has an important role to play. In the customer communication space especially, AI-based systems are useful for predicting user behaviour and providing content based on that prediction to prompt the user’s next action.

Organisations are already seeing the value AI provides in this regard, integrating it into email, billing, and mobile payments, all of which contain forms of customer communication. 

AI is also driving the use of chatbots, which appear on websites and instant messaging services, as automated virtual assistants.  

Not only are chatbots useful for customer service,  but also for invoicing and payment collections.  

The rise of voice 

But good customer communication isn’t just about baking new technologies into existing channels. It also means embracing the technologies your customers are actually using. 

One example of this is voice recognition.  

By 2020, Gartner predicts that 30% of web browsing will occur without a screen. And 55% of American teenagers will use speech recognition, daily. 

It’s only natural, therefore, that customers will want to interact with organisations via voice. Any organisation that invests in integrating voice technology into its customer communications now stands to give itself that extra edge over its competitors.    

Micro-segmentation and hyper-personalisation 

If an organisation is going to integrate these technologies successfully, it needs to ensure that it couples them with real-time data to deliver more relevant content, product and service information to each user. 

The more information an organisation has on each customer, the more meaningful and valuable its communication will be. 

Broadly referred to as hyper-personalisation and micro-segmentation, this use of data means being able to provide content that is relevant on the day / month / life stage of that customer. It allows the company to provide information that improves the customer experience due to the very personal nature of the content. 

Moreover, hyper-personalisation is proven to build loyalty and trust, that ultimately makes customers more profitable. 

A dual approach

Putting the customer back in the centre of customer communication requires more than technology alone. Like the human-centred design approach (putting the customer at the core of the product design process), communication design should be too.

Asking customers directly what content they want to receive, when and how, is invaluable to the design process. This dual approach enables the organisation to combine preference and engagement data (technology), with input obtained directly from the people best suited to design the process: customers and employees (humans). 

By taking this integrated approach, organisations can ensure that they provide customers with the kind of communication they need and want. 

About the author – Michael Wright launched Striata in 1999.  A Chartered Accountant by profession, he started his career at PwC where he was responsible for Internet Strategy & Services and Business Information Services. The technology bug having firmly bit, he moved to VWV Interactive as Managing Director before founding Striata. He was the founder of the South African chapter of First Tuesday, the “Global Thought Leadership Network”. As Striata’s CEO, Wright is responsible for the company’s vision, mission and the business’ global expansion

Hyper everything: how tech integration is changing customer communication 

By Michael Wright, CEO, Striata 

Guinness, Kit-Kat and Jaguar Land Rover – Quirky brand facts you never knew

It’s easy to get carried away with our stereotypes and assume we know which countries love specific products.

We would rightfully expect sales of Yorkshire Tea to be high in the UK and Volkswagen to be the leading car manufacturer in Germany.

However, there are many global shopping trends that come as quite the surprise. Because many companies have grown to the status of global brands, their popularity has surged around every corner of the world.

What’s more, your favourite brands such as Kit-Kat sometimes completely alter their products to appeal to a whole new country of potential consumers. 

Read on to learn some little-known facts about the strange successes and unexpected alterations of some famous companies…  

Nearly 40% of Guinness is consumed somewhere in Africa

Despite the association we have between Guinness and Ireland, the drink’s homeland is surprisingly not its biggest consumer. In fact, Guinness is more popular in Nigeria which is the beverage’s second largest market. Most people associate this popular drink with cozy Irish pubs or rowdy St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. This all seems completely at odds with its hype in so many African countries.

A potential cause for this anomaly is that Africa is actually home to three of the world’s five Guinness breweries, with Guinness-loving-Nigeria taking pride in one of them. This explains the love of the drink over the African continent but, despite this, the UK still retains the top spot for Guinness consumption (with Ireland coming in a disappointing third place) 

Japan has over 80 different flavors of Kit-Kat

One brand that has gained a massive following overseas is Nestle’s Kit-Kat. Over in Japan, this tasty chocolate bar is adored and hugely popular. In fact, Japan is so obsessed with this snack that they currently sell it in over 80 different flavours! You’re familiar with the Kit-Kat chunky, dark chocolate and white chocolate, right? But have you ever tried flavours such as soybean, Earl Gray tea, Camembert cheese, baked potato and cucumber? I thought not! 

Some of these flavour options definitely sound more appealing than others, how many would you dare to try?

China is the new biggest market for Jaguar Land Rover

British brands like Land Rover are constantly growing their customer reach. Despite these cars perhaps being most associated with rural England, China has recently become one of their new biggest markets and their demand in Asia is every growing. 

One possible reason for this is that many Land Rover models such as the Land Rover Discovery Sport and the Range Rover Evoque have been manufactured in China since the early 2000s. This increasing rate of manufacture has been reflected in the growing Chinese market.  

India is the country that drinks the most whiskey 

What do you associate most with whiskey? Perhaps you think of remote Scottish distilleries or the famous Edinburgh whiskey tours. Scotland is definitely the country that you’d assume loved this drink the most, but they have been pipped at the post by a surprising rival: India. 

Since 2015, studies have told us that India consumes nearly a half of the world’s supply of whiskey. To put it another way, that’s almost 1,600,000,000 liters of whiskey each year! 

Of course, India’s vast population gives it a certain edge in this competition. When it comes instead to whiskey consumption per capita, France takes home the trophy. On average, the French are known to drink more than two liters per person per year.

Mexico is the biggest consumer of Coke 

Although Coca-Cola is a brand that embodies everything American, the USA is astonishingly not actually its biggest market. To find the biggest consumers of Coca-Cola you have to look a bit further south, down to Mexico. 

The Mexican market for Coke products is immense, with the impressive consumption of 728 per capita! This massively outweighs even America who are the runners up at 402. No other country even comes close to these Coca-Cola fanatics. Of course, this is including all coke products rather than just their iconic eponymous beverage. When a company makes over 3,500 beverages, then it’s bound to up its number of consumers.

From drinks, to chocolate, to car brands, global businesses are making colossal waves in unexpected places. It is also clear that some brands are going the extra mile to mix-up their products to suit these new audiences, in weird and wonderful ways!

Image by engin akyurt from Pixabay

A how-to guide to Legitimate Interest Assessments

As a business, you need to market your services beyond your own walls. However you’re also aware that you need to comply with GDPR… and PECR!

So how can you balance getting the word out, while also meeting personal data obligations?

There are six lawful basis set out in the GDPR to justify the processing of personal data – Legitimate Interest being one of them. But many businesses are unsure how to apply it for business to business (b2b) marketing communications.

So what exactly is Legitimate Interest, when can you use it, and how can you actually do it?

Download the guide to read:

  • When you can use Legitimate Interest
  • Examples of Legitimate Interest
  • The 3 stages of Legitimate Interest Assessments (LIAs)
  • Tips to remember
  • Bonus: Free Legitimate Interest Assessment Template

Legitimate Interest can be a great option for some businesses, but you need to follow the proper steps to protect yourself, your business, and the rights of your data subjects. You will need to demonstratethat your interests are not overridden by the interests of the individuals in question. And you do that by carrying out a Legitimate Interest Assessment.

If you would like to discuss LIAs – or the GDPR at large – in more detail, and how the Regulations relate to your campaigns, please contact Nigel Copp at KPM Group. 

How to market to the over-50s

Force24’s Managing Director, Adam Oldfield, offers his insight into what digital marketers need to know when effectively communicating with ‘silver surfers’…

There’s a strong market emerging that digital marketers cannot afford to ignore, especially as they are proving to be an affluent demographic when it comes to loyalty and brand commitment – and that’s the over-50s.

According to NatWest ContentLive, the so-called ‘silver surfers’ market not only accounts for over a third of Britain’s population, but they hold around 70% of the country’s household wealth.

Further statistics in this article also underline how these customers are fans of online shopping too – with 75% of adults aged 55-64 logging on to buy products and services in 2017, as reported via the Office for National Statistics.

So, what do marketers really need to understand about this group, in order to effectively get their messages across? 

Firstly, it’s a demographic which holds traditional values close to them. They prefer to buy from people they trust, and have a level of engagement that certainly shouldn’t be underestimated – or overlooked – by brands.

However, it’s important that marketing departments approach this kind of audience in a different way – and that’s by embracing their ethos of wanting to get to know people.

Why? Because the over-50s place long-term value on the organisations who show they truly care about their individual needs. Therefore, businesses need to demonstrate a commitment to connect, and take them through their purchasing journey in a personable, humanised way.

When it comes to understanding when to engage too, if marketers try to communicate with this target market at the wrong times, the audience is more likely to unsubscribe because they guard their inbox like it’s their front door – they certainly don’t care for blanket brand spam.

What they do hold true value to is security, and, that’s where marketing automation can be a real benefit to companies. Having such a platform ensures communications are relevant, land when most timely, and are sent in-line with the end user’s preferred frequency.

Automation allows for companies to super-personalise their marketing can help to build the trust this audience requires, as well as collect crucial data, in order to understand what the customer is looking at – helping departments to escalate the purchasing journey, at their desired pace.

Finally, another element for firms to really consider is the artwork included when sending their comms. This demographic is less design-critical – they prefer a polished, well-constructed piece of marketing over something that’s contemporary or graphic-heavy. They want value over vibrancy.

In order to really connect with the over-50s on a level that will create a long-standing relationship, organisations have to be patient and put real effort into personalising their messaging, in order to show how dependable and trustworthy they really are.

Image by pasja1000 from Pixabay

Is your brand’s content is working as hard as it can?

By Carrie Webb, Head of Content, The Bigger Boat

It’s no secret that a brand’s content is hugely important. It can mean the difference between and organisation being discovered online or not.

But so much more than that, quality content elevates brand perception, nurtures lasting relationships with an audience and enables companies to build authority and credibility.

In such a content-rich environment, it can be difficult to know how to grab consumers’ attention, drive real engagement, create conversations and ultimately increase conversions. Whether it’s via a well-designed infographic, a collection of helpful blog posts or a fully-fledged PR campaign, here’s how to give great content the best chance of surviving and reverberating in such a crowded place.

Build out a strategic approach

Don’t create content simply for the sake of posting something. There should be a sound detailed strategy behind it that takes into account many factors, but most importantly aims to create a connection between brands and consumers.

The first step is to identify the brand’s strengths and consider this alongside a competitor’s offering. Take a holistic view of how those in the same space behave, and look at the types of content they’re producing – what’s working and what isn’t and, crucially, how audiences are responding.

A structured, analytical approach is required to then apply learnings to the content strategy. This will provide internal guidelines and is the brand’s ‘why’ and ‘how’.

Begin by defining audience personas (include their needs, where they consume content and any challenges and pain points), the organisation’s story and messaging and nail down content purpose.

There should also be considerations for business-wide and content KPIs. Detail success metrics for every piece of content – traffic, views, shares, conversion rate, brand awareness, for example – and jot down outreach plans for them. Collating and assessing all this information leaves an overarching strategy that plans ahead for every aspect of the organisation’s marketing activity in an effort to produce the best results.

Consider shareability from the outset

Creating a fantastic piece of content that ticks all the boxes – for example, it’s user friendly, relevant, and has SEO coursing through its veins – is great, but it’s not enough to simply upload and sit back in the hope results will flood in.

If a business isn’t promoting its own content, it’s missing out on many outreach possibilities. There’s no harm in giving customers a helping hand in finding content. If there’s budget, look towards PR, consider paid promotion or use influencers to shout about the work.

Email marketing provides a good way to round-up and tease content on the brand’s site and, of course, sharing contentacross the relevant social platforms is always a winning tactic when looking to start conversation.

Finally, don’t underestimate the value of employee advocacy. If a workforce shares its content, this shows customers that staff members have bought into the brand – and its content is credible. It also ensures a much higher reach without having to put extra budget behind it.

Write for the desired audience

A business should know its audience better than they know themselves, and create content that perfectly tailors to their needs and behaviour. This is key to content success.

Provide answers to questions asked, offer a viewpoint on topics customers are interested in, and ensure the brand is operating in a space where the target market is digitally active.

Genuinely useful, purposeful content gains more traction and is more likely to resonate in a meaningful way. Knowing – and serving – an audience is vital in content marketing. After all, the goal isn’t always to simply clinch a sale – there needs to be an effort to work hard and gain their trust, and convert them into advocates. Consistent, quality content that provides for their needs should do just that.

Ensure CTAs are simple and structured

Find subtle ways to encourage an audience to share thoughts, move through to another piece of relevant content or perform a customer action. Whether it’s to download a PDF, buy a product or simply head on to another blog within the site, the call to action (CTA) should be well-designed and strategically placed, with clear and compelling text.

Use the right words to give the CTA an obvious thrust – the user must be left in no doubt as to what’s being asked of them, and what they’ll receive if they click.

Make it timeless

The best content is evergreen – it doesn’t have an expiry date. Its information is as useful and relevant now as it will be five years down the line.

‘How to’ guides are a great example of content that doesn’t date. While there will always be a place for seasonal, topical content, it won’t have much appeal once conversation around it has subsided and an organisation is left with an initial increase in traffic that will quickly fade.

During its 20th anniversary celebrations in September 2018, Google announced a selection of new search features. Among them was the ‘Topic’ layer in the search, which aims to recommend new content to the user after analysing the web for a topic and developing a huge range of subtopics. It favours the most relevant content, namely that which has shown itself to be ‘evergreen and continually useful, as well as [being] fresh content on the topic’.

Harness the power of analytics

Insights software provides invaluable data as to how content is performing and can help to make strategic decisions.

For each piece of content created, its objectives and goals should have been set out in the content strategy at the very beginning of the process – using analytics gives specifics of whether it’s meeting them. Find out what’s working and what’s not by measuring traffic, bounce rate, dwell time and engagement, for example.

If content isn’t doing too well, an organisation will gain insight into why that is, and should make changes accordingly to avoid making the same mistake with future content.

Using an analytics tool should be routine for content marketers – do it correctly and learn what makes users tick, where they’re coming from, what type of content they favour and easily pinpoint successes, and where improvements are needed.

Apply detailed consideration to the strategy behind content as well as its aftercare and ensure it works as hard as it can for the brand.

With time, effort and consistency in the approach, content will find its place with the right audience, help raise brand perception and generate the desired results.

Carrie Webb is head of content for The Bigger Boat – a creative digital marketing specialist business based in Yorkshire.

How does the wedding industry differ online from offline?

In the last twelve months, approximately 87% of UK consumers have bought at least one product online – with online sales increasing 21.3% in the year 2016, and forecast to increase by 30% by the end of 2017.

Here, Angelic Diamonds, retailer of unique diamond engagement rings and bespoke wedding rings discuss whether it’s time for its industry to plunge into the digital world in order to survive…

This has stemmed from the fact that our lives are gradually becoming more reliant on the digital world – but organising a wedding has traditionally always been quite a physical process, with brides needing to try on their wedding gowns before they buy, grooms having several suit fittings, and of course, who would want to miss out on the opportunity to have a tasting session at your venue for your wedding breakfast?

With new technologies and social media apps, is it time for the wedding industry to make a transition into the digital world? With many companies realising the potential of going digital with their business, does the wedding industry have to grab a slice of the action to stay successful?

Can we expect a digital future?

According to The Huffington Post, around 6 out of 10 brides are actively planning their weddings through their mobile device: they research gowns (61% of brides, up from 27% in 2011) and search for wedding vendors (57% of brides, up from 22% in 2011).

This highlights that digital has already had a huge influence on the wedding industry. With social media apps such as Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook, brides and grooms can find so much inspiration for their big day with just a few clicks. Modern couples are now using new technology when wedding planning. In fact, 42% of people use social media to plan their wedding – with 41% of brides following photographers on social media, 37% of brides following venues and 14% following florists.

Social media is widely used for wedding inspiration – the social media apps provide a platform for wedding planners, venues, florists and other wedding suppliers to showcase what they have to offer. Instagram and Pinterest, which is used by 64% of brides, have now become a couple’s go to platform for all their inspiration, a digital alternative to a wedding fair. Suppliers who have not yet invested time into creating a social media profile for their business could be missing out on free exposure. And it’s not just the planning of the wedding that social media is a part of – when asked, over a quarter of today’s modern couples (27%) said they would create a hashtag for their special day.

Is it possible to survive offline in todays’ world?

There could be light at the end of the tunnel for the wedding industry that suggests the industry can survive offline in the future. Whilst it is likely that companies will need to go digital at some stage to stay up to date with the latest technologies, and keep their head in the game, there might always be a place for them offline within the industry.

When couples organise their wedding, you’ll be aware of how much they need to see, and experience, in person – from venues and food tasting, to wedding dress and suit fittings, the industry might struggle to operate solely online, because of the need for physical processes. Wedding fairs have been around for centuries, and there is a reason for that; whilst modern couples use social media for visual inspiration, wedding fairs are still a great way for suppliers to engage face-to-face with potential customers. For most people, their wedding day is the biggest day of their lives so it’s important that they can speak face-to-face with suppliers, and physically see what they have to offer. Wedding fairs often take place at wedding venues – they are the perfect occasion for brides to start to see their wedding come together.

Now-a-days, and in the future, there is no escaping the fact that the industry will embrace digital platforms – and couples will use these platforms as a source of inspiration and to help ease the planning process. However, the industry is not yet ready to wipe out all traditional methods of wedding planning.

There’s no question that there is still a demand for the physical processes. Maybe, it’s just time for suppliers and other industry professionals to use digital as a means to extend their business and gain more exposure.

Sources

https://www.confetti.co.uk/news/wedding-report-2015

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/matt-douglas/part-1-the-past-present-f_b_9294420.html

GUEST BLOG: Overcoming marketing isolation

Marketing has been transformed over the past two decades, evolving from a primarily creative, somewhat fringe activity to a core corporate function, defined by metrics.

Yet while the ability to demonstrate ROI may have added discipline and improved marketing’s board level credentials, there is a significant downside to the reliance upon individual, task based measures. It is not just the CMO who is frustrated by the inability to join multiple sets to diverse metrics to gain a deep understanding of the true operational impact of marketing; individual marketers operating in task basked silos are completely blind to the role they play within the full marketing and sales funnel.

For generations now raised to expect instant gratification and an ability to contribute, these data silos are damaging morale and contributing to employee churn – resulting in ever less successful marketing teams. Data may have redefined marketing and provided essential proof of value but the tide is turning.

Without a real-time view of data gathered from all aspects of the sales and marketing funnel, which underpin a relevant dialogue with sales and, critically, build a far more motivated and engaged team, the gains in reputation and corporate value could be rapidly eroded, insists Marc Ramos, Chief Marketing Officer, SplashBI

Providing the complete picture

From Pay per Click (PPC) to email campaigns, social media to content generation, every marketing role is now supported by an extraordinary depth of data, often in real-time. But how effectively is marketing working as a whole? Is marketing delivering the quality and quantity of sales leads required? Despite the proliferation of data, the vast majority of resources are siloed – from sales automation tools to Google Analytics, data may support day to day campaign management but it delivers little, if any, valuable and actionable insight to the CMO.

From the CMO’s desire to identify and remediate problems in real time, to the Sales VP’s requirements for a better dialogue with marketing and the corporate need for accountability, siloed data sources, however deep and however fast, fail to provide the complete picture. And that is unbelievably frustrating, not only for the CMO but for individual marketers. The current real-time data sets offer a marketer great insight into campaign performance; but if that insight stops the moment the leads are handed off, and the overall company objectives are not being hit, the model is clearly flawed. Isolated individuals, however well they perform within their own remit, lack the motivation and engagement that is essential to achieve long term success.

Analysing full funnel data

It is a real-time understanding of the links between each marketing element – and hence data set – that delivers new levels of accountability and visibility between marketing and sales and vice versa. What leads have been delivered to sales and how effectively have sales closed those leads? Where, what and how is this affecting the overall corporate objectives this week, month, quarter or year? With visibility all the way to the CEO, when full funnel data is pulled together, analysed and reported on properly, the entire organisation can be held accountable.

The ability to leverage a pre-built business visualisation of the complete marketing funnel is a revelation. Encompassing web traffic performance and PPC, email campaigns and social media response, a high visual, real-time view of the entire funnel changes every aspect of the CMO’s activity – from real-time campaign tweaks on the fly in response to a drop off in specific performance to the day to day management and motivation of staff.

This latter point is key: while deep, cross business insight will improve the relevance of marketing metrics and enable effective targeted response, this complete, end-to-end view can also re-centre the marketing team by overcoming task based isolation. By creating marketing goals that are inclusive of sales performance, the business can consider and understand the performance of individuals as part of the whole and vice versa: for the first time each individual can understand the value of his or her marketing role to the overall business.

Taking individuals out of their task based siloes not only makes it far easier to focus on the best leads but, more critically, it provides context to day to day activities, context that is fundamental to building engagement and motivation. For the CMO dealing with the constant challenge of staff retention and the fear of losing great talent, adding cross-organisational business insight, including sales, finance and HR data, to full funnel analytics can also be a revelation.

A pre-built visualisation can provide a better understanding of the issues created by a multi-generational workforce of baby boomers, Generation X and millennials; or identify those managers who retain and get the best value from their talent. Essentially, with the ability to rapidly explore diverse business information, the CMO has new insight to support the creation of a true marketing team, rather than a number of isolated individuals, – a team that shares the same business vision and works effectively together.