channel effectiveness

Nowadays marketers have many different ways to target consumers and buyers. With the rise of digital channels, subsequent ad options, and trackable interactions the temptation is to throw money behind metrics and proclaim these channels as the most effective at our disposal.

With the rise of marketing’s role in influencing real sales and being an innovative business partner, the pressure has been on throwing money behind efforts that appear to contribute to direct sales via the latest digital trend and channel.

Our infographic summarises some key channel insights when it comes to usage and effectiveness.

channel effectiveness infographic

People may even dismiss more traditional channels as passé and predictable, in terms of use rather than results.

Therefore, channels such as radio, newspapers, magazines, out of home, and direct mail can be overlooked in terms of effectiveness. Even the original digital communication email is now considered old hat, despite research often highlighting it as the top performing tactic in the mix, particularly within B2B.

And it seems us marketers can be the ones most susceptible to overestimating effectiveness in favour of the latest trend. Not surprising considering we’re often briefed on a desire for the new and experimental over the tried and tested.

So, when Ebiquity released an evaluation of traditional vs more modern marketing techniques (Re-evaluating Media) that revealed marketers underestimate the effectiveness of the traditional methods which are often seen as ‘dated’ we were interested in the results, and of course methodology.

The research established the most important media attributes to growing a long-term brand are:

  • Targeting. Important to ensure you get your ad in front of the right people, at the right place and the right time.
  • Return on investment (ROI). Whether a decrease in Cost per Acquisition (CPA), more sales orders, influenced pipeline, or increased market share, what the campaign results in vs the cost matters.
  • Connects the audience with the brand in a positive way. It goes without saying that increased brand preference, perception, or likelihood to buy from the brand is a good thing.
  • Increases the brand’s relevance within its target audience. Helping people understand how and why something is useful and appropriate for them is an important part of the customer journey.
  • Reaches as many of the target audience as possible. Whether reached via paid targeting, shared content, utilisation of owned channels, general WoM or buzz – the more the merrier.

 

 

Using these factors as indicators of effectiveness they asked marketers which they believed would be the most effective channels at achieving these.

The below graph shows the most effective channels based on the evidence as to how campaigns actually performed vs the marketers’ perceptions.

 

 

TV scored top in both showing that marketers are aware of the effect it can have and hopefully shows that they are utilising this to its full potential. This is arguably the ultimate advertising channel and in fact, increases business effects by 40%. And with great targeting options, more specific channels and sophisticated media options via the likes of Sky Adsmart it is a commercially viable option for brands that may have thought it previously unfeasible.

Although TV advertisers and agencies underestimate traditional media, this doesn’t mean online video and social media aren’t effective. As in most cases, it depends. It depends on the audience, type of campaign, and the long-term goals.

You need to be able to understand your audience in order to see what is effective for that particular market. These mediums, both offline and online, are all effective depending on the audience and depending on the message you are trying to convey. Integrated activity, even when a couple of methods are used, can be most useful when they complement each other.

The IPA in the UK recently released a PDF collection of The Greatest Hits of Binet and Field, featuring a summary of the longstanding view that a 60/40 split between brand building and sales activation is best for long-term growth.

 

 

Each campaign is different, not all campaigns will be able to get an exact 60/40 mix. The idea is that 60% of ad spend should go towards relevant channels that will grow the brand and the other 40% towards short-term results, which can be evenly distributed across online and offline media.

The chart below shows how the approach can be effective in building a brand and achieving sales over different timescales.

 

 

In summary, it seems we need to bear a few things in mind when planning effective marketing activity:

  • Don’t follow the latest trend, unless that works for your audience.
  • Embrace a classic combination of traditional and trending to broaden targeting and metrics.
  • Start with the audience, not the channel.
  • Set short and long-term goals and split spend accordingly.
  • And finally, use research to test your thinking, not dictate it.

could china be the real 2018 world cup winners?

With the World Cup in Russia now upon us, nations are prepped to support their team to potential World Cup glory. China finished bottom of their qualifying group, so they won’t be in it to win it. But might their brands be scoring a few awareness points along the way?

FIFA’s infamous issues over the past few years have impacted some of the major traditional sponsors renewing their contracts. This has shifted the goalposts allowing other, arguably lesser-known, brands to step-in and reach a global audience of around 3.5 billion fans.

China is expected to see the biggest increase in advertising spend as a consequence of the World Cup, with the competition generating $835m in additional ad spend. Chinese companies’ advertising spends double that of the US, around $400 million, and is far more than host nation Russia, at approximately $64 million.

Xi Jingping’s World Cup dream

In recent years China has seen a rapid growth for their football leagues with many well-known stars swapping the Premier League for the Chinese Super League. Chinese president Xi Jinping is a football fanatic and back in 2011 explained his own personal ambition for Chinese football: To qualify for the World Cup, to host the World Cup, and finally to win the World Cup. Football is now on their National Curriculum. So it seems China are serious about taking the sport on and building an army of fans.

100,000 Chinese tourists are expected to travel to Russia during the World Cup, dwarfing the 32,000 tickets sold to England supporters, with flight bookings between China and Russia up by around 400% from the same period last year.

The Chinese companies taking advantage of the 2018 World Cup

With this increasing popularity of the sport throughout China, many large companies have taken it upon themselves to use the World Cup as a platform to advertise.

Some of China’s biggest brands such as Wanda, who were the first Chinese company to sign up as a FIFA partner in 2016.

With Sony deciding not to renew their agreement with FIFA ahead of the World Cup, that paved way for Hisense to be named the official television supplier, along with Vivo who have been presented as FIFA’s official smartphone sponsor in a six-year agreement.

And Mengniu Dairy will be providing the tournament’s official yoghurt drink.

So, could the World Cup be the game changer in getting Chinese brands full exposure to more global audiences? The odds are out for the countries most likely to take the trophy this year, but how things play out for these Chinese brands is yet to be seen.

good marketing strategy defines what not to do

There’s a line in 1993’s Jurassic Park that deserves more credit.

Jeff Goldblum’s character, Dr Ian Malcolm, responds to the creation of the park during lunch with the park’s creator, John Hammond.

He highlights the lack of accountability among the scientists who have genetically engineered the dinosaurs. The park’s creator then argues that the scientists have done something that ‘nobody has ever done before’.

Goldblum’s character responds with the powerful line:

(They) were so pre-occupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.

It’s a sentiment that would benefit from being applied more in marketing. Particularly at a strategic level.

There’s a growing tendency among agencies and marketing departments to try and cover all the bases, particularly when it comes to media touchpoints. The problem is the number of bases continue to grow. Traditional mediums such as TV, radio, print, and outdoor haven’t gone away; yet they’ve been joined by search, display, a host of social platforms, and now there’s the hype bandwagon behind influencers, VR, AR, AI Bots…etc. etc.

Spanning this whole spectrum is a mistake, not an achievement.

Yet this behaviour can be seen in agency pitches. The ones that keep on going further and further into executions – ‘this is how the idea works on the underside of a manhole’.

This highlights the next issue of a ‘could’ approach, rather than ‘should’: audiences.

The breadth of data points now available allows for a vast array of audience segmentation. Yet it is rare to see a confident approach where this information is used to properly define target audience segments, and with that, audiences who are not the priority for the activity. Instead ‘target’ audiences now often span the full breadth of viable customers and beyond.

With more options, the choice has become overwhelming, to the level that choices stop being made.

‘We could do…’ has become an issue in most agency and marketing department meetings. Adding more requirements to the activity, rather than refining them.

The list of audiences and activity grows, and consequently, the brand, product or campaign idea becomes over-stretched and diluted.

There’s too much to try and do everything.

A response that covers ‘all the bases’ is one that lacks a strategy. It spreads resources too thin and leaves a good percentage of the best opportunities untapped.

Here’s where the true value of good strategy lies: deciding what not to do.

Strategy should not be a shopping list.

It should be sharp and pointy. Defined and refined.

It involves making hard decisions because it means removing opportunities.

So next time you sit down to develop your marketing strategy, be sure to ask the question:

Are we doing this because we could, or because we should?

employee value proposition: more than the offer on the table

Employee Value Proposition

Considering the challenge of an employee value proposition

Here at Pretty Pragmatic we regularly audit, align and design Customer Experiences for our clients.

Along the way, it is always interesting to see where marketing and customer services converge. The common thread is company employees feature throughout the experience in one way or another.

Employees are often a key audience to incorporate in our clients’ campaigns, particularly when targeting them with productivity or empowerment messages.

Some time ago we worked on a campaign based on Business Reimagined, this indicated that 71% of employees were ‘actively disengaged’ in the workplace. Not only was this bad news for existing employees; it, in turn, has a negative impact on businesses with subsequent higher attrition rates and challenges around talent attraction.

The solution was (in a nutshell) to understand the employee pain points via YouGov research and align solutions (in this case via technology) to employees’ challenges and make their lives easier by redressing their work/life balance.

What matters and the facts

Both existing and former employees are a useful source of information when trying to understand what’s good and what’s not about where they work.

With the online review culture spilling into the job market, sites like Glassdoor allow employees (existing and exiting) to rate their employment experiences anonymously and frankly. And controlled exit interviews and employee satisfaction surveys can provide a wealth of information to easily analyse and derive insights from.

This research process should lead to an Employee Value Proposition (EVP) that is based on truth and aspiration, aka the company’s vision. This is what the company is offering potential employees in exchange for their skills, capabilities, and the experience they can contribute to the business.

Prioritising people over profit?

Richard Branson runs Virgin based on employees first, customers second, and shareholders third. And there is clearly something in this for service-based industries in particular – there’s a lot of truth in the saying ‘people buy people’. So surely an Employee Value Proposition should be just as important as propositions for products and services?

Pride over packages?

When we are designing candidate attraction plans, like many acquisition strategies we need to understand what is being offered and who they need to target with these attributes. Understanding who the local competition is, the available labour market, the local infrastructure and transport options, average salaries, and skills available are important to inform the right tactics.

However, when it comes down to differentiating one place to work over and above the other, sometimes it requires more than just hours worked and wages earned. Whether people are involved in the creation, process, or customer service of a company’s product or services, they are an extension of the brand and therefore it is important that they share the company’s values and vision.

Simply put in ‘The War for Talent’, the EVP should be an answer to the question ‘Why would a highly talented person choose to work here?’. The classic ‘What’s in it for me?’. And whilst 57% of people say benefits and perks play a major role when selecting an employer, over 50% of people under 36 say that they would take a pay cut if a company’s values aligned with their own.

A decent proposal?

It is important to remember that a value proposition ‘represents the psychological framework human beings use to make decisions’, as defined by University of Louisville Associate Professor Brad Shuck.  And so behavioural science plays a part in this framing.

Whilst there are similarities between a Customer Value Proposition (CVP) and an Employee Value Proposition (EVP), the commitment levels are different, and more akin to considered purchases such as homes and the selection of educational institutions.

Rodd Wagner, author of Widgets: The 12 New Rules for Managing Your Employees As If They’re Real People, sums up why creating an EVP is no small task, saying ‘Given how much of a person’s waking hours are spent on the job and how much of people’s egos are wrapped up in their professions, that is no small proposition’.

So, it might be right to not only put employees first but also the EVP to ensure attraction and retention of the right people that make the business work to its full potential.

If you’d like to talk to us more about Employee Experience, Employee Value Proposition creation and activation please get in touch.

the five p’s of personalisation

Here at Pretty Pragmatic we are in favour of people using our names when communicating to us. In fact, sometimes we get referred to simply as ‘Pretty’ in personalised messaging, which makes us feel flattered. However, it does highlight the errors that can occur in this friendly pursuit.

Personalised marketing is the process of sourcing customer information and using this to create individually personalised messaging as well as specific product offers. Whilst using data in this way can have ‘big brother’ connotations, it can also connect with people on a personal level and short-cut our decision-making process by making things feel more relevant.

The importance of every campaign is not only the quality of the execution, but the accuracy and appropriateness of data which is gathered beforehand. The data can, of course, vary as to what product you’re looking to personalise.

For example, if like Spotify, you were to personalise a playlist for one of your customers, you use the data on what music they commonly listen to. Assuming the customer consents to this as part of the conditions, this should be straightforward and clearly connected to the experience.

Personalisation can be as simple as your first name on an email, recommendations for new movies and TV shows, suggested products based on things you’ve bought before, and not to mention the loyalty-based rewards and discounts on your favourite brands.

We consider the 5 Ps of personalisation in the following sections of this blog namely; Power, Psychology, Purchasing, Pitfalls, and Potential.

1. Power

First up, what is the power of personalisation and who cares?

Giving your customers the feeling that they are valued by your brand and recognising their contribution can help them feel included and valued. Everybody appreciates a personal touch; being treating and acknowledged as an individual rather than a number or transaction. And as such personalisation is increasing in importance for marketers, with 42% of marketers stating personalisation was their top priority for the coming year.

So why would marketers prioritise personalisation? The simple answer is because it works.

A well-known example of a very effective yet simple personalisation campaign is Coca-Cola’s ‘Share a Coke’, in which they swapped out their brand name and replaced it with the UK’s most popular names which were printed onto their bottles. The idea that they could share not only a Coke, but also special moments with their breadth of customers turned out to be hugely popular. After printing over 1000 names onto the bottles they received 998 million impressions on Twitter, 235,000 tweets from fans using the #shareacoke hashtag. The campaign created sales of 150 million personalised bottles, impressive considering the decline in demand for fizzy drinks.

2. Psychology

There is a lot more to personalisation than simply wanting a product.

Behind all of this is the psychology and what really makes us feel good about a product with our name on, or why we feel valued when we receive an email that personally greets us. There are many factors as to why we would want a personalised product, such as the sense of ownership or to feel we have something more exclusive and different to everyone else.

According to a study from the University of Texas, we can attribute our preference for personalised experiences down to ‘desire for control’ & ‘information overload’. When you get a product that is tailored to you and your needs it simply makes you feel more in control.

So, as mentioned earlier, presenting pre-thought out options to buy makes life easier for people, but also enhances their feeling of control.

3. Purchasing

How is the success of personalisation reflected in purchasing habits?

Some companies have based their businesses on the ability to personalise products to attract customers. Not On The High Street has used this to their advantage, selling a wide range of products with the option to personalise your goods, making them fantastic ideas for gifts and presents or even to personally tailor your own household items.

Another related example is Oakdene Designs. The founder, Ben Grist, used Amazon and Not On The Highstreet to distribute his personalised designed items, but started whilst at university, growing the business to over £1 million in turnover in just 2 years. This illustrates the effect of the personalisation market within retail – and the success that comes from producing the right products and giving customers the control they want to create something to meet their individual needs.

4. Pitfalls

There are commercial benefits of personalisation. However, what are the potential pitfalls and what implications could there be in getting it wrong?

The question is, is the risk of personalisation worth it? A case where personalisation can go wrong is a misspelt or incorrect first name on an email. Or the assumption that all things you purchase are for your own consumption or use. We’ve all been served with the wrong name and with ‘things we might like’ that we don’t, but these errors are pretty few and far between, so does the greater good outweigh the bad?

A study conducted by Verint found that 40% of customers are willing to forgive mistakes made by brands if they feel the brands know them personally. There is, of course, the question about how do people feel about receiving personalised communications and offers? Some might feel this is a bit intrusive. However, 52% of customers globally say they like being offered a personalised experience, but 51% say that it is important the experience reflects them as a person. Therefore, we need to consider more than just the digital data and start thinking about other personal attributes when creating these offers.

5. Potential

The potential of personalisation is seemingly endless. Technology like Siri can allow us to have a personalised experience using our mobile phone by understanding the tone and sound of our voice, responding to (most of) our questions and queries. Newer products like Alexa for our homes allow us to have our own personal planning system that understands our needs and wants. Amazon’s past purchase solution gives us the opportunity to reorder products at the press of the button, storing our history to ensure the purchase process is even quicker and, arguably, less considered.

Although this may stop you thinking more than twice about re-purchasing a product, it does tap into our ‘tap to pay’ and contactless culture.

Could the potential of personalisation provide predictable revenue for business and predictable spending for consumers? Whilst, the benefits here seem obvious for both parties, we also need to allow for irrational, impulsive, and unpredictable behaviour. Surely, to be truly personal you need to consider the human in people, and predicting that takes more than just data analysis.

We all like to think we’re different and of course, we are. Which is what makes personalisation unique – because each customer is. It’s important to understand the needs of your customers and individuals. With these things in mind, we at Pretty Pragmatic create personas that help identify the differences we each have, promote preferences, and help create the personalisation that customers want and need to feel valued, build trusting relationships, and to create a defining brand.

 

the strat pack app

We’ve recently launched our marketing strategy app, The Strat Pack, for iPhone and Android.

As the name suggests, it’s a pack of strategic planning cards in digital form. If you want to go ahead and download it, you can do so for free from the App Store or Google Play using the links below:

Download The Strat Pack for free from the Apple App Store.

Download The Strat Pack for free from Google Play.In this blog post we wanted to share the reason behind The Strat Pack, and the benefits we hope it brings.

Why?

The Strat Pack is something we’ve developed over the last 12 months.

Having worked with a broad range of marketers over the past decade or so, we know there’s always an appetite to encourage marketing teams to think differently about their brand.

But scaling strategic thinking can be hard. Even when people want to do things differently, they can often defer back to approaches they’ve used in the past – therefore repeating what has gone before rather than inspiring change or driving differentiation.

We wanted to create something that allowed marketers to have access to small prompts that helped them consider the broader range of strategic opportunities at their disposal, with recognisable examples.

Hence, the idea behind The Strat Pack was born.

What?

The Strat Pack is a deck of 30 cards. Each card prompts a different way to think about your brand and business, allowing you to see all the opportunities available and bring a fresh twist to your marketing.

At the base of each card is an example of a leading brand that used the approach successfully in their own marketing.

We originally created the deck as a pack of physical cards, sending a few packs to senior marketers to get their feedback and open up a conversation about what we do here at Pretty Pragmatic.

They got a great response. The Head of Marketing at a leading financial services brand replied to say it was the best direct mail piece they had ever received.

We consequently felt there was a need to build it into something that was easier to distribute and would allow us to put it into the hands of more marketers.

Download The Strat Pack app

And that brings us to the app itself.

After a little refinement, we’re now ready to let everyone know about it.

The app experience is simple. You see a card on screen, swipe right to see the next one, and swipe left to go back one.

By pressing the ‘View the deck’ button you can see the whole deck and jump to any specific card of your choosing.

As we say, it’s simple. And we think that’s its strength.

And as an app, it gives a whole host of marketers access to strategic prompts and ideas in the palm of their hand.

You can download the app here from the App Store and Google Play.

Apple App Store                   Google Play

The Strat Pack Workshop

We’ve also developed a workshop that uses The Strat Pack.

It’s for marketing teams who want to discover the strongest opportunities for their brand. It provides a great way for a team to take a fresh look at their marketing using a range of different exercises.

The workshop enhances brand understanding for all marketers in the team, whilst also allowing an opportunity to step outside of day-to-day activity and take a strategic view across the entire business.

If you’re interested in discussing The Strat Pack workshop, you can contact us at hello@prettypragmatic.com, using the subject line ‘The Strat Pack workshop’.

I’m interested in The Strat Pack workshop.

love/hate island

Love Island has divided the nation with people becoming addicted to – or turned off by – the controversial show.

In a nutshell, the show is based on beautiful young people looking for love, or who love the idea of the fame that comes with appearing on the series. This year they’ve soared in the ratings, dominated conversations amongst friends, families and colleagues. And as if Monday’s weren’t bad enough, tonight’s final means our evening entertainment over the past 7 weeks is coming to an end!!

In our opinion here is where they’ve struggled and smashed it. And it’s all about the LOVE.

Logistics:

As the picture suggests we purchased the coveted water bottles and waited for 3-4 days with bated breath for them to arrive. Alas, no sign and after 1 week we logged our concern. After 2 weeks, this escalated to a complaint. We got a lovely email back explaining we were in the next batch – yey!

So, having forked out the best part of £20 per bottle, how could we feel so high and dry? The email alluded to, and the many social posts indicated, that they just didn’t anticipate the demand and the engine wasn’t quite as well-oiled as the Islanders’ bods! Having a backlog and waiting list certainly highlights the scarcity and potentially drives more demand. But, ultimately customers were left posting in social channels with no response to their enquiries regarding their missing orders. In this day and age, the social media team should be integrated with the service team so they can respond to complaints and compliments alike.

But the success of the product itself just goes to reaffirm that Share a Coke was really onto something – simple personalisation ideas connect with the masses. However, gauging the potential demand and garnering feedback about the product during production could have maximised the sales during this moment in time/moment of madness.

Opportunities:

The contestants have gained lots of fans and followers due to their popularity based on their partners, personalities, and looks.  So, whether it’s charcoal toothpaste for a bright white smile, fake tan to emulate their bronzed bodies, or a protein powder to get stacked; they’ve been endorsing these on a daily basis and earning a fortune for the posts and pleasure.

Superdrug is the main sponsor for the show, no surprise with their products being perfectly aligned to the pampering people are craving from luscious lashes to plump pouts. So, all islanders stand to make a pretty penny even if they don’t scoop the competition cash prize of £50k. Proving that influencer marketing can be a viable career with brands looking to align with these relatable reality stars.

Variety:

Fair play, you can’t knock the variety of content disseminated over the different Love Island channels. The hero content (the main evening programme) provides tonnes of material that gets quickly carved up into social posts and polls that generate loads of engagement.

The spin offs are the winners though i.e. Love Island Reactions and the Love Island Reactions Back Up pages. Great content sourcing and selection, proving curation and commentary mean you don’t need to be the originator to gain attention and make an impact!

Engagement:

The Love Island YouTube channel has regular updates of videos and clips from the show with around 3 or 4 clips uploaded each day. And it’s all fairly basic, slapstick stuff. For example, the most popular piece of content on the official Twitter page was a clip of Kem hitting his head in the hideaway which received over 28,000 likes and over 9,300 retweets.

But the main channel engaging the audience is Instagram with over 1 million followers! Perhaps not surprising when YouGov data shows that the viewers of the show are younger and female. Predictably, their hobbies feature shopping and ‘sitting around doing as little as possible’!

People who like Love Island described the show as ‘addictive’, ‘cringey’, ‘dramatic’, ‘easy to follow’ and ‘bizarre’. On the other hand, people who disliked the show described it as ‘crude’, ’embarrassing’, ‘cringey’, ‘boring’ and ‘bizarre’. So it would seem the reasons for loving or hating this show are fairly similar – one person’s love is another person’s loathe. No judgement.

#LoveWhatYouLove #WatchWhatYouWant #HatersGonnaHate

trends to end in 2017

Trends to end

Welcome back to the office – where the coffee isn’t as good (or expensive) as your new Nespresso machine and the emails are yet to build up (after everyone has forgotten their passwords after too much Christmas port).

Whilst the rest of the marketing world write about the trends they predict 2017 will bring, we thought we’d share some of the marketing misgivings that we’d rather see the back of over the next 12 months.

1. #STRAPLINES

If you’ve sat through much television over the festive break, you’ll have realised how many brands are now just whacking a ‘#’ at the front of their campaign strapline and having it sit at the end of their TV ads.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all for hashtags, but when they’re bolted on to the back of a 30 second broadcast ad with no social purpose, nothing that people can relate to or are inclined to discuss, then it’s just a brand doing a bit of dad dancing to show they “get” how these ‘social medias’ work.

You know the agency will have been briefed – ‘we need to transfer the viewers online (where we will post the same TV ad on our YouTube channel)’.

If you’re going to use a hashtag in your TV, print or OOH ads, then at least try and make it something people would want to get involved with – even if it’s just a quick skim over on their Twitter feed.

And if you decide to continue with this trend of hashtag-washing, then please try and use it in your radio scripts. It will be a real treat for the ears.

2. M*llenials

I refuse to be another contributor to the lazy stereotyping that uses the M-word. We’ll happily miss out on the SEO-hit of someone searching for the latest M-word article to post on LinkedIn.

Maybe in 2017 we will progress beyond the M-word into new and exciting audience sub-categories. How about ‘Centurions’ (everyone born last century) or ‘Mobile Natives’ (those born after Steve Jobs’ 2007 announcement of the iPhone).

Or how about we make an effort to understand behaviour can be cross-generational, rather than banding people in half-baked age brackets and calling them a marketable segment.

3. Suspect Stats

See almost every piece of brand commissioned research that was used for PR in 2016.

Unfortunately, the motivations of the business often overtake the credibility of the research, resulting in press releases (and press coverage) around stats that are formed by dodgy samples, bias analysis and crafty structuring of the findings.

We love a good stat here at Pretty Pragmatic, but a bit more rigour would be nice in 2017. It could also help brands demonstrate a bit more understanding of the wider world of their customers.

In the meantime, we fully recommend listening to the BBC’s More or Less podcast to give you a weekly update of how manipulative the world of PR statistics has become, and the reality behind the numbers.

4. “Digital First”

If you’re doing digital first, then when do you think about your audience? After the tactics? Oh…

There’s plenty of articles around this time of year with titles like ‘Let’s stop calling it digital marketing, it’s just marketing’ and the like. But this isn’t that point.

This is simply that too often the execution precedes the objective. ‘Digital first’ has become a trendy thing that’s said to look progressive. But, in reality, it indicates a tactical rather than strategic approach to marketing.

Mark Ritson puts it nicely:

So in 2017, let’s put strategy first, tactics second.

5. Big Bad Data

Data’s great. Used properly, you can do interesting and insightful stuff with it. Just take a look at what Spotify recently did with it:

spotify_1

Unfortunately, Spotify is in the minority.

It’s said that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, and too many marketers (and, to be fair, boards) are trying to make big decisions with misaligned, poorly analysed data and statistics.

Mistaking correlation for causation is to be expected in the early days of working with big data sets, so it’s important to take a step back and look from a different perspective when you do find something that could be a game changer to make sure it stacks up.

A great example of how big data can present false positives is here from fivethirtyeight.com. They ran food research covering 26 different categories (e.g. left or right handedness), that spanned 1,066 variables, which was then run through 27,716 regressions – of which produced 1,386 false positives. These false positives included: people that regularly consume table salt also having a positive relationship with their internet service provider; and people with ‘innie’ belly buttons being more likely to eat cabbage.

For anyone considering a January detox after recently reading an article related to food research…this article may also be an eye opener!

But brands are now facing the same challenges – where large datasets present extensive ways of gaining insight into customers and business performance.

Yet establishing where data is connected and going beyond just comparing two variables is critical to understand the full picture presented by the information and not just clinging to where the data aligns.

So, in 2017, we hope to see big data analysed properly, rather than looking for shortcuts to find ‘insights’ that can result in big data leading to bad decisions.

In Conclusion

There’s plenty to be optimistic and excited about in 2017, but whilst we’re enjoying all that it has to offer let’s make a resolution to get rid of some of the bad habits that could hold us back over the next 12 months, and put an end to some of these trends.

getting closer to clients

client-quote

“Agencies should break up current operating models where account teams are gatekeepers to planning and creative.”

“They don’t understand the numbers and can’t build business cases, particularly creative agencies.”

“They think, wrongly, that a marketing director is all-out creative when, in fact, less and less of their time is spent on that.”

All the quotes above are taken from a 2015 survey carried out by the IPA and The Marketing Society to understand client opinions of marketing and advertising agencies.

The findings clearly signify that the traditional agency models are grasping to stay relevant to the real world of a client-side marketer.

The obstruction created by account management ‘gatekeeping’ the relationship.

The desire to keep creativity on a pedestal whilst the remit of the marketing department expands into new territories such as marketing technology and customer experience.

The lack of understanding that ‘big ideas’ for creative campaigns are now a piece of a much bigger puzzle that requires a business case to justify any significant investment.

Agencies so often come to the table with an agenda. They have the answer before a client has even asked the question.

It’s this element of distance from the real business strategy of clients that led to the development of Pretty Pragmatic.

We felt there was a need for greater access. Both ways. The gap between agency and client had gotten bigger rather than smaller, and we felt that needed to change.

Agencies should feel like an extension of the team, but with the remit of providing outside perspective. Stopping the potential tunnel vision that can be inflicted upon marketing teams via the day-to-day processes and pressures within the business.

They should also listen to the problem and answer it in the best way possible, rather than the most profitable or confined to what they are able to deliver in-house.

So it’s a small thing we do here, you can pick up the phone and speak directly to the strategist. Not an account manager who will get them on a conference call with you 48 hours later.

We cover the breadth of what a marketing department now has to consider, from the pretty stuff (brand building, product campaigns, experience ideas, core creative ideas) to the pragmatic stuff (technology implementation, data, customer journeys, personas, content mapping, and CRM).

It means we come to the table impartial.

We don’t have an answer ready to ‘sell’ because our product is strategic problem-solving. Without hearing your business objective, we don’t have a leg to stand on.

We then identify the areas that will get the greatest benefit, form the business case, and then realise the solution with the help of our specialist partners and freelancer ecosystem.

It’s a new model that we’re finding works pretty well.

Give us a call and we can chat it through, you’ll get straight through to us!

linkedin targeting

LinkedIn ads stat

We’ve recently been working with a number of brands helping them to connect with small businesses in the UK.

One of the most obvious places to start doing this is LinkedIn, where the ad targeting capabilities allow you to target profiles based on the size of company people work at alongside other factors such as job title, seniority, function, location and vertical (to name but a few).

For SMBs, say in the 11-50 employees category, there is a button to click that means your ads can target the people who LinkedIn knows work in companies of that size. In the UK, LinkedIn can provide access to ~1.3 million people who work at companies with 11-50 employees.

LinkedIn SME Include Targeting

All useful stuff, but there is one common challenge that data like this brings – inconsistency.

Not everyone has a 100% ‘All-Star’ profile (a nice way that LinkedIn encourages you to fully populate your details). Some people have half completed profiles. Some businesses have half completed profiles. Many small businesses don’t have a profile at all.

This means that if a person works for a small business of 11-50 employees without a company page, or their company page doesn’t specify the number of employees, or they haven’t listed their current employer, then you would never find them when targeting by their company size.

With this targeting we are able to reach 1.3 million people in our target 11-50 employee companies, a total of only 33% of our audience given companies of this size employed over 3.9 million people in the UK in 2015.

Given LinkedIn has over 22 million UK members, where the economically active working population is 33.4 million (I appreciate this is a rough indication of coverage!), we should be aspiring to reach ~65% of our SMB audience via LinkedIn (this would be 2.53 million small business employees) rather than our current 33%.

Here is where a frequently overlooked feature comes in handy.

As well as targeting who you want to ‘include’ in your targeting, you can also select who you would like to ‘exclude’.

Below you can see how we’ve excluded everyone who has a profile that identifies them as working in the UK but in companies that don’t fall within our 11-50 employee target organisations.

LinkedIn SME Exclude Targeting

With the ‘include’ targeting we were under-represented with 1.3 million people (33%). With the ‘exclude’ targeting we are over-represented with 14 million people (358%!).

This is where understanding your audience personas is critical, as you now need to use LinkedIn’s other targeting criteria to filter this number down to those you actually want to reach – the job titles they are likely to hold, the seniority they are likely to be at, the verticals they are likely to be in, the groups they will be members of and so on.

LinkedIn Targeting Criteria

Combining this inclusive and exclusive approach to LinkedIn ad targeting can allow you to reach the greater proportion of your audience, and is an especially useful tip if you want to reach a particular company size.