Tag Archives: marketing

Let Them Eat Cake: What Can the Great British Bake Off Teach Us About Marketing

By Kelly Wright

As The Great British Bake Off returns to our screens, we are set for another summer of baking madness. The impact that the series has on popular culture is huge. But what can a show about cake teach us about marketing?

Keep it real

The GBBO contestants are real people with real lives we can relate to – the retired primary school teacher from Yorkshire, the university student from London, or the hairdresser mum from Cardiff. They’re just like us, which makes us engage with them. Add in a teaspoon of unscripted dialogue, and a pinch of natural emotions, and you’ve got a recipe for success. In short, GBBO is authentic – just like your marketing should be. Give the contrived, one-shoe-fits-all approach a miss and focus on making your brand personable. Personalise your messaging, speak in your audience’s language and make your tone approachable and engaging.

A picture paints a thousand words

However tasty a cake may be, it needs to look good to really get the judges and the audience going. No sunken middles or soggy bottoms allowed. People eat with their eyes, and it’s the same with your marketing too. If done well, visual advertising can make an impact that will imprint your brand on your audience’s mind and leave them hungry for more.

Believe in your brand

If someone said you were about to watch 12 weeks of people baking cakes and be emotionally invested in rising dough, you’d probably scoff on your biscuit crumbs. But the last series peaked at 14.5 million viewers an episode, making it one of the most popular shows on TV today. This goes to show, there’s no such thing as a boring product, service or project. It’s all about how you sell it. The proof is in the pudding.

Marketing Resolutions

By Kelly Gerrish

It’s the time of year we all make vague resolutions that will be forgotten by February. According to Statistic Brain, 45% of people make New Year’s resolutions, but only 8% of those are actually successful.

But this doesn’t just apply to our personal lives. It’s very easy for marketing teams to follow the same pattern, starting off the year with good intentions and big ideas, only to get distracted along the way. It’s easy to lose sight of the fundamentals in favour of the shiny new thing, particularly with the constantly evolving digital landscape.

As we move into 2016, it’s a good opportunity for brands to go back to basics. If you want your marketing resolutions to be successful come the end of 2016, don’t think short-term;  you need to build them into your long term plans with clear objectives and a focused strategy. Otherwise you’ll be back in the gym come 2017…

Creative Review

By Kelly Gerrish

As a creative agency, we’re well versed in the creative review process.

Many companies take a “too many cooks” approach when assessing creative. Everyone has an opinion, and these are often subjective. If you try to accommodate everyone’s individual opinions, you can easily lose sight of what’s really important – why you’re doing it in the first place. The end audience should be at the forefront of every creative review, but it sometimes get drowned out by the noise of differing stakeholder opinions.

Setting the parameters of the creative review are just as important as the creative itself. The most talented design team in the world will deliver mediocre work if you don’t carefully manage the review stage.

Combining a vague creative brief with a large review team can be a recipe for disaster.

This parody video shows the dynamic of having too many creative reviewers in the kitchen.

Look Who’s Talking

By Kelly Gerrish

When talking about your product or service, you’re hoping your email or website copy will spark customers’ attention and get them to buy. You have to impress with your words so it’s easy to fall into the trap of hype.

But modern day consumers are more suspicious than ever when they know they’re being sold something. Some adjectives are used so frequently that they have become meaningless, adding nothing to your message and actually reducing credibility. Think twice before using these overused marketing buzzwords in your promotional copy.talking

Advanced: Seen in marketing copy across every industry. Advanced technology, advanced processes, advanced ingredients. It’s used so often it no longer has any effect.

Revolutionary: Unless your product literally started a revolution (doubtful), avoid using this.

Groundbreaking: Very few products have actually created a new market which didn’t exist before. Notable exceptions are the iPod and sliced bread. Same can be said for its sister, breakthrough.

Cutting edge: A favourite in the technology industry, essentially meaning not behind the times. This meaningless filler slows your reader down and increases the risk of them switching off.  See also state of the art.

Exclusive: Is your product only available to one person? If not, it’s not exclusive.

Unique: We all think we’re special and there’s no one like us. But just saying it has no value. Demonstrate the benefits of your product to enable readers to come to their own conclusion.

Pioneering: Unless you’re truly leading the way in research or development of new products or were the first to climb Mount Everest, it’s probably best to avoid this one.

Innovative: If you have to say your product or service is innovative, it probably isn’t.

Instead of padding out sentences with empty words, simply tell people why your product is good and why they should care. Make the benefits the stars of your copy, and the product will sell itself.

Time to Get Social

By Kelly Gerrish

The past few years has seen an explosion in social media. Ignoring it is a big mistake for any business. In an ever expanding landscape, those that don’t move with the times will be left behind.

If you’re managing social media for your business, these five surprising stiStock_000025709660_Largeatistics might make you rethink your approach.

1. Social media is now the number one online activity

We all know social media is popular but did you know it’s now officially the most common thing we do online? Social media is clearly not a fad and it’s not going away. It continues to grow as a habit as new platforms continue to appear and develop.

2. 93% of marketers use social media for business

Only 7% of marketers say they don’t use social media for their business. It’s becoming increasingly common to include social media as an integral part of an overall marketing strategy.

3. 189 million of Facebook’s users are ‘mobile only’

There are more users accessing Facebook purely from mobile devices than you think. It’s worth considering how your content will look on a smaller screen before posting it because nearly 10% of users will never look at it on a computer.

4. Two new members join LinkedIn every second

The social network for professionals continues to grow every second and is definitely worth paying attention to in your social media strategy. Make your group a great source of information to help you make the most out of the growing user base and share from your company page.

5. 25% of smartphone owners can’t remember the last time their phone wasn’t in earshot

We’ve all heard the cliché of smartphone owners who never let go of their phones but it seems it’s not too far from the truth. 25% of people aged 18-44 can’t remember the last time they didn’t have their phone with them, meaning they’re connected all day, every day.

Social media has fundamentally changed how we communicate. There has never been more immediate ways to connect with your customers. While it is undoubtedly an invaluable tool when used correctly, it must also be used with caution. The world is constantly evolving, and so must your social media strategy to adapt.

The Future of Marketing

By Kelly Gerrish

In our line of business, we work on a lot of email campaigns. Crafting the perfect subject line, carefully selecting the right words to get the message across, before tying it all together in a visual package that really sells. Lots of careful thought goes into every marketing email that drops into your inbox, so it really surprised me last week to hear from my 14 year old niece that most of her friends don’t even HAVE email. In fact, ‘they just have Facebook.’  It really got me thinking.

Growing up in today’s socially immersive world, it’s perhaps not a big surprise that most teenagers don’t need to consider using email until they’re in work. As marketers we need to think about how to engage with this next generation of consumers. Not using email is just the tip of the iceberg when you consider how to market to the next generation. We’re going to need to get smarter. We’ll need to give consumers a reason to choose us over other brands, a reason to connect with us emotionally. And we need to seamlessly integrate into the places they hang out, whether that’s a physical place or an online community.

Communities rather than campaigns. Followers rather than customers.iStock_000033419744_Large

The whole landscape is changing. Future success won’t be determined by the size of marketing budgets. Tomorrow’s winners will be the ones who think outside the box.

What does the future hold for marketing? How do you think future generations will interact with brands?

Soft Bounce vs Hard Bounce

By Kelly Gerrish

Hard and soft bounce rates are two of the most crucial email marketing metrics you should be tracking. But many marketers neglect them because they don’t understand the difference.

A ‘bounce’ means that your email was returned by the recipient’s mail server as undeliverable. Essentially it bounced back. But why does this happen? There are a few different reasons which can be split into two main categories.

soft_bounceA soft bounce gets as far as the recipient’s mail server but is rejected before they receive it. Maybe their mailbox is full, the message is too big or their server is down. Soft bounces normally resolve themselves as most mailing engines will resend the same email three times. If all attempts fail, the email address is automatically converted to a hard bounce and removed for future. Similarly, if your last five emails to a recipient have soft bounced without any trackable activity, it will automatically be converted to a hard bounce and be removed.

hard_bounceA hard bounce is an email which is returned to the sender as permanently undeliverable. This could be due to an invalid email address, recipients no longer working for a company, or their mail server blocking you emails. It’s important to keep an eye on your hard bounces as not all mailing engines will automatically remove them from future datalists. They don’t exist so they’re never going to open your email. Leaving them on your database will only distort your metrics.

Some servers interpret bounces differently, meaning a hard bounce on one server may only be a soft bounce on another. Whatever way you look at it, if your emails are bouncing then your message isn’t being heard. These quick tips will help you ensure that your message gets through.

Keep databases clean
Some mailing engines will automatically remove invalid email addresses but not all. When people subscribe via an online form, check for typos, incorrectly formatted addresses and invalid domains. You’d be amazed how many people fail to enter their own email address correctly. You could also use double opt in to allow recipients to validate their email before adding to your list.

Monitor delivery rates by domain
Track your open and bounce rates by major domain or company. If one is significantly different to the others or you see a sudden spike, your campaign could be getting stuck in the spam filters.

Commonwealth Games Marketing Masterstroke Puts Children First

By Kelly Gerrish

A unique fundraising initiative at the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony has raised £3.5m for children’s charity UNICEF.
A billion-strong global audience saw a host of celebrities including Hollywood actor James McAvoy and Olympic cycling champion Sir Chris Hoy appeal to help disadvantaged kids across the globe as part of UNICEF’s Put Children First campaign.

More than 700,000 generous Brits each donated £5 within 24 hours of the opening ceremony. The appeal was the first of its kind at a major sporting event.

McAvoy told viewers: “This has never been done before – this many people in a single moment all coming together to make a life-saving difference to millions of children.”

The already impressive tally is expected to soar in the coming days when donations from the rest of the Commonwealth are totted up, with money still rolling in.

This ground-breaking campaign is a perfect demonstration of how well-timed marketing can make all the difference. By featuring global celebrity brand ambassadors and pulling on the heartstrings of the millions of people watching the opening ceremony across the world, UNICEF has ensured its brand awareness is at an all-time high. Capitalising on that to raise money to provide food and vaccines to vulnerable children really shows the magic of marketing.

How to Gain Opt-Ins

By Kelly Gerrish

The average consumer will receive a whopping 9000 email marketing messages this year– approximately 25 per day. It’s impossible to read that many and quite frankly, who would want to? More often than not, we hit delete without even opening. Far too many companies bombard potential customers with ineffective emails, causing us to disengage and unsubscribe. We want to streamline our inboxes to the information we really want.

Next year, new EU data protection laws will mean consumers have to opt in to marketing messages instead of the current opting out. But according to new research, we may be more reluctant to do that.

These eight tips will help you encourage your customers to opt-in and stay in.

Opt in

1. Define the value
What’s in it for me? As a potential customer, unless what you’re offering is relevant and important to me, I don’t care. If I don’t care, I’m more likely to unsubscribe.

2. Provide communication options
A ‘one size fits all’ approach weakens your company’s value proposition. Make it easy for consumers to choose the type and frequency of communication.

3. Start a conversation
Make it clear you want to listen and encourage feedback. Invite customers to join a conversation geared around their evolving needs, not a monologue.

4. Establish a clear path to opting out
Customers are far more likely to start a relationship with you if they know they have the power to end it someday. Make it clear how to do this from the initial contact to build trust.

5. Remember your brand
Often opt-in screens and messages are unbranded and feel disconnected from your brand identity. Provide a thoughtful opt-in experience that represents you, not a cheap imitation.

6. Don’t nag
Send an offer once and don’t repeat. If I’ve read the initial offer, I don’t need to be told again and again. Don’t bombard customers with the same information.

7. Keep it simple
Collect only key data that will help you deliver a better customer experience. Lengthy forms with irrelevant fields are annoying and create suspicion as to why you want that information.

8. Listen and learn
Companies who embrace social media can react quickly to capture organic opportunities for opting-in. Twitter is a great tool for creating more engaged relationships – a compliment on here can be seen by the world so be prepared to act on it.

Shedding some light on Dark Social

By Kelly Gerrish and David Cornes

As marketing professionals in today’s social media heavy online environment, we like to think we can track and analyse everything. Sophisticated tools like Google Analytics help us delve into the detail of how well various campaign activity promotes our product or service.

But how accurate is this really? How often in metric reports do you see the words ‘direct traffic’ or ‘unknown referrer’? The reality is that this untracked figure could account for as much as 70% of site visits. This vast trove of social traffic is essentially invisible. Far from tracking everything, we’re really just stabbing in the dark.

This mysterious traffic is known as ‘Dark Social’ – essentially links that have been shared in a private way. They could be shared via email, Instant Messenger, Skype, text message, even sharing your screen with a friend or colleague. There are other possibilities that could cloud our analytics too – search tools like DuckDuckGo allow anonymous web browsing to protect privacy and avoid personalised search results.

Dark Social is complicated and it’s even more complicated to track. It affects every single analytics system and there’s no real solution yet to counteract it. In short, you probably can’t fix it but you should be aware of it in your own marketing. Trackable or not, ultimately any referrals to your site are great – it’s just another form of word of mouth.

Do you see this on your website? How do you try to track it? Share your experiences with us in the comments below.