Getting Personal

By Kelly Gerrish

Marketing is becoming increasingly personalised. Mobile technology has made it easier than ever for marketers to personalise their message to consumers.

After all, who doesn’t enjoy the feeling of walking into a shop and being recognised and treated as an individual? We all relish the personal touch, and this is no less the case when it comes to digital marketing.

Five years ago, the most personal it got was a ‘welcome back’ message on a website. If the personalisation was particularly advanced and could work out who you were based on a log-in or a browser cookie, you might be greeted by name: ‘Glad to have you back, Kelly.’ Fast forward half a decade and the evolution in technology means the possibilities for personalisation are endless.

74% of marketers claim to know that personalisation increases customer engagement. Interesting then that the same study highlighted that only 19% of marketers are actually using it.

Although personalisation may seem gimmicky at first, there is no doubt that doing it well helps consumers cut through the noise. Think Amazon’s product recommendations based on past purchases or what other people have bought. The more targeted and personal companies are with their messaging, the more likely they are to convert prospects into customers.

But don’t do it for the sake of it. When personalisation goes wrong, the effect can be more annoying that not bothering at all.
Personalisation cartoon

9 Ways to Make Everyone at a Festival Hate You

By Kelly Gerrish

Festival season is well and truly upon us, but outdoor shindigs fuelled by sun and alcohol can bring out the best and worst in people.

A festival is a perfect opportunity to kick back, chill out and truly escape the pressures of modern life, spending a few carefree days in a tent drinking and partying. But it’s easy to let the vibes and too much sun (or rain) go to your head. In the excitement of spending three days away from reality, people sometimes forget what NOT to do when camping in a muddy field with thousands of other people.Glasto

We’ve pulled together the things that get on our nerves more than anything else at festivals. Check out our festival don’ts below.

Bringing suitcases
Who wants to wheel holiday luggage across a muddy, uneven field?

Pitching on top of someone else
There’s nothing quite like waking up with someone else’s head
touching yours through two tents.

Moaning about everything
You signed up for three days of no showers, portaloos and hangovers. Suck it up and make the most of it – or stay at home.

Sitting on shoulders
Great for grabbing attention on TV coverage but miserable for everyone behind you.

Taking acoustic guitars
There’s plenty of decent live music without treating everyone to a drunken 4am rendition of Foo Fighters.

Filming the set with an iPad
If you thought phones at gigs were bad, iPads are a whole new level. Whatever happened to just enjoying the moment?

All night talkers in camp sites
You’re still drunk or high off excitement, so how about you make the most of the buzz at the late night tents instead of making a racket when people are trying to get some much needed sleep?

Throwing cups of bodily fluids into the audience
We’re fine with not washing for a few days but that’s just disgusting.

One-song fans
You travelled all that way, pitched a tent and got covered in mud, just to shout all the way through a band’s set because you want to hear their big hit single?

But it’s not all about what NOT to do. Do embrace the festival spirit. Wear your grass stains and mud splatters with pride, forget where you’ve pitched your tent and have fun. It’s what festivals are all about.

Image is Everything

By Kelly Gerrish

Images can make or break your email. Get it right, and they really grab the reader’s attention, increasing the chance of conversion from interest to sale. Get it wrong and your email may not even display properly.

iStock_000020209334_LargeThese top tips will help you get the most value from your visuals.

1. Keep it crisp
You want eye-catching images that look professional and force the recipient to sit up and take notice. Now is not the time for amateur photography. Use 72dpi images for emails and always scale down an image (from large to small) to avoid blurriness and pixilation. Think crisp imagery that’s simple, interesting and relevant to the content. Any product imagery should show the product in the best light (literally) and really shout about your product.

2. Check your stock
You see thousands of images in print, online and on TV every day but very few of them were created specifically for that product or concept. Stock imagery sites like iStock or Shutterstock are great for when you need general images. The more specific your search terms, the more unique the returned options will be. You’re bound to find something to catch your and your customer’s eye. Most images are royalty-free, meaning you only have to pay once to use the file multiple times but make sure you check the usage rights for any images you purchase.

3. The bigger picture
Sometimes you have to showcase something that could not be less visual. Solve the problem by creating graphics or some kind of artwork.

4. Think structure
Always place larger images below the fold or preview pane so people who have blocked images from downloading automatically don’t miss your message. Consider asking a clickable call to action within the image so you can track which graphics provoke the best response from your recipients. Never use a background image on an email – chances are it won’t render properly if at all.

Four Steps to an Effective Social Media Strategy

By Kelly Gerrish

Social media is big news and only getting bigger. A recent report on social media habits estimated that Britons spend 62 million hours each day on Facebook and Twitter – an average of one hour per person. If you’re not already marketing on it, you’re likely to be missing a big chunk of your target market.

As a product of the Facebook generation, it’s easy to understand why people are so obsessed with social media. For marketers, the potential to grow their business via these networks is endless. Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ are just some of the prime networks every company needs to have an active presence on. It’s now inexcusable for any business that wants to thrive to not be tweeting.

social_media_strategy111

Here are four strategies to take control of your social networks and give them a boost.

1. Create a plan and stick to it

Without an execution strategy, your content is meaningless. Set a limit for how many tweets or posts to publish a day. This can be adjusted as needed but having a target will give you a benchmark. You want to be active enough to be interesting but not too active you become annoying. Plan ahead but with the flexibility to add posts in to cover breaking news in a timely manner.

2. Treat each platform individually

Content can be used across multiple channels but each network should be treated separately. Adjust your messaging to suit the channel. For example, LinkedIn should focus on educational, in-depth business-focused content whereas Instagram should feature engaging visual content.

3. It pays to talk

Never ignore a comment posted to you on any platform, whether stellar or critical. If a customer doesn’t receive a response, your lack of communication could cost you that sale and ensure they go running to your competitors in the future. Negative feedback needs to be addressed as well in a thoughtful, timely and respectful manner. Aim to create brand advocates by using your social channels as an opportunity to show how well you treat your customers.

4.  Embrace mistakes

No matter what tools and technology you use to power your marketing, don’t forget that humans are behind it. We’re the ones telling those tools what to tweet, who to email, what to publish. Mistakes are unavoidable because we’re only human after all. If you make a mistake, embrace it. If appropriate, be creative in addressing your faux-pas.

FIFA Scandal: The Sponsors React

By Kelly Gerrish

With FIFA rocked by corruption arrests and an investigation into the hosting for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup, football’s global governing body is under the microscope.

FIFA already lost sponsors last year amid growing controversy but it still counts on some of the world’s biggest and best-known brands.

With pressure mounting and sponsors wanting to distance themselves from a scandal involving bribery, fraud and money laundering, here’s what FIFA’s major partners had to say:

Visa

“Our disappointment and concern with FIFA in light of today’s developments is profound.  As a sponsor, we expect FIFA to take swift and immediate steps to address these issues within its organization. This starts with rebuilding a culture with strong ethical practices in order to restore the reputation of the games for fans everywhere.

Visa go as far as to threaten to pull its FIFA sponsorship, saying that unless FIFA rebuilds a corporate culture with “strong ethical practices” at its heart, “we have informed them that we will reassess our sponsorship”.

Coca-Cola

“This lengthy controversy has tarnished the mission and ideals of the FIFA World Cup and we have repeatedly expressed our concerns about these serious allegations.  We expect FIFA to continue to address these issues thoroughly. FIFA has stated that it is responding to all requests for information and we are confident it will continue to cooperate fully with the authorities.”

McDonald’s

“McDonald’s takes matters of ethics and corruption very seriously and the news from the U.S. Department of Justice is extremely concerning. We are in contact with FIFA on this matter. We will continue to monitor the situation very closely.”

Adidas

“The Adidas Group is fully committed to creating a culture that promotes the highest standards of ethics and compliance, and we expect the same from our partners. Following today’s news, we can therefore only encourage FIFA to continue to establish and follow transparent compliance standards in everything they do.”

As brands line up to distance themselves from the controversy, it remains to be seen whether FIFA, or indeed the World Cup, can survive the latest scandal. The strong statements from sponsors embarrassed by their association with FIFA show a concern that continuing that partnership could irreversibly damage their brand reputation. Sponsors paid a whopping $1.6 billion alone in 2014 to simply associate their brand with FIFA. But can they afford to continue to be linked with an organisation that is so seemingly corrupt? Sony already walked away in December 2014 – could we now see the others follow suit?