Last week I met some new people. Well, new to me. Turns out that what they do isn’t new at all, I was just ignorant of their work. One person’s innovation is another person’s normal.
We met in London, on semi-neutral ground, bringing different perspectives to the table, from different areas of the UK. And yet we were all representing local, through our own lens.
The catalyst for the meeting was Matt Waring from Addiply (@mattwaring, @addiplylondon), the local online ad platform that brings both editorial control and pricing model control for local site managers across the UK.
The ‘new’ part for me was Jaqui Devereux and Donald McTernan from the Community Media Association. The CMA support around 220 local community radio stations around the UK. They sit on panels helping to shape the local media landscape, and represent broadcast at a not just local level, but more importantly, a local community level.
And representing EMO, and therefore local marketers everywhere, was me.
We went around the table, each sharing who we were, what we did, and what we thought we might get from the meeting (you know the drill). Matt kicked us off knowing, as they do, EMO’s local bent and the CMA’s and their affiliated stations growing need to replace a model based on funding, to one advertising and partnership revenues from other sources. Addiply’s individual (per site) control model may well be a solution for the CMA’s stations with a simple route to ‘monetising’ their websites, bringing as it does the opportunity to determine how, and how much advertisers will be charged. But perhaps more importantly, for a network defined by its diversity, Addiply’s platform provides editorial control over advertisers content. For in this space it is the community that defines what is right and wrong for the community to support, not a sales team for another organisation.
Jaqui followed on, and described to me a world of local empowerment, the blurred lines between small independent commercial radio and community radio, the governance that gives the network structure, but also legitimacy. The passion is tangible, and feels very much like it is powered by the trust placed in the CMA by the network of stations they represent. Interesting and important work is already going on direct with government bodies, targeted support for local communities to get the right messages about local health services and opportunity to the communities they serve. The organisation is set-up for, and very good at, empowerment, support and representation – but in addition to this they need to first craft and then magnify the commercial opportunity to help these stations survive, and thrive. Developments around the opening up of the analogue transmission network, Local TV and web transmission provide new and exciting opportunities, which all cost money.
I closed the loop. Matt and Jaqui has asked me to look a the situation from the perspective of our agency, from agencies in general and from that of the local advertiser. So I spoke about our work, our targeting and how traditional radio broadcast very regularly doesn’t meet our criteria (or our local clients’ briefs) in terms of relevance, reach/wastage, or response. (NB: Which is not to say that Independent Local Radio is a channel to be dismissed – in the right mix it is very powerful – but rarely do we find we can hone down the audience with the detail that our consultancy results require).
This is where the CMA’s network hold the aces. But aces, from a different pack of cards. Their stations aren’t bound by the need for wide reach and multiple zero’s in their audience figures. They are focussed on their community. Their audience is what it is. Some listeners form a regular, daily audience, some cherry pick the right content, in the right language, at the right time of day. They aren’t held by an intangible demographic group, but by shared beliefs, ethnicity, interest and a shared location. This is powerful stuff for EMO – in the right situation, for the right brief it could be the perfect storm of relevant content, passionate editorial, specific and shared community perspective. But miss by an inch and it might as well be miles away from right.
And therein lies the CMA’s challenge. Commerciality in terms of standard media planning rely on reach, which their network has in pockets. The value of specific and targeted reach goes head to head with general awareness from larger audiences.
I am looking forward to seeing where this goes.
When it comes to digital marketing channels and understanding what and why people do the things they do online, it can become a complex and daunting task. With the plethora of recording tools, testing, experimentation and analytics applications available to us, the decisions of which one and what data do I need to be looking at – becomes harder and more time-consuming all the time. Have you sat there, staring at a Google Analytics dashboards, flicking through the massive amount of clickstream data, hoping to pull out any number of insights to justify your involvement in a project? If you said yes – don’t worry you’re not alone.
In a book by Avinash Kaushik, called Web Analytics 2.0 (The art of online accountability & science of customer centricity), Kaushik points out that we need to look at a combination of tools in order to get closer to insight. He also points out that we can still do this without investing huge sums of money and in fact for SME’s we can still do it for free (well not including someone to implement the code and test it).
So what do we need? Below is a list of free (or relatively cheap) tools you can implement to start to build a powerful web analytics tool box. I’ll go into detail in later posts, but for now, here’s an overview for you to get going.
- Clickstream eg. reporting from Google Analytics, Woopra, Clicktale.
What is it? Collecting, storing and analysing your users click-level data such as visits, time on site, page views, bounce rates, campaign traffic and user stats like browser, mobile software and geo-location. All the while allowing you to store specific reports, customise dashboards and schedule reports. This is collecting the ‘WHAT’ users are doing. It can also be extended to email, online advertising, mobile apps and software i.e. basically any interaction with a digital device can be recorded and contribute to your clickstream data.
Why we care? Remember the terms ROI, cost per acquisition, cost per conversion, cost per lead etc? In plain and simple terms these mean – money gained in relation to the money spent. The first step in getting to arrive at ROI, is the recording of what users are doing when they interact with your digital marketing. Access to these reports should be a given – not an option.
- Multiple Outcomes Analysis eg. goals and sales funnels analysis in GA, task completion rates in iPerceptions, social media outcomes in Sprout, recognising customer struggle via Tea Leaf.
What is it? This data looks at how user activity (and the end outcomes) are tied to the underlying business goals of the project. Albeit increased revenue, reduced cost and/or increase customer service/satisfaction (there’s not much that doesn’t fit into one of these 3 broad categories). These measures look at the macro goals (eg. sales of products) in relation to the micro goals (eg. sign up for newsletters, social interactions on site etc). To effectively report on multiple outcomes however, it relies on the fact that the project and business goals are clear from the outset and that it has been identified upfront, what outcomes are to be measured.
Why we care? Because essentially – this what we are here to do? Deliver digital solutions to help achieve our clients business objectives. It is a necessity in order to remain competitive.
- Experimentation and testing eg. Google Website Optimiser, Optimizely.
What is it? This helps us understand ‘Why’ something has performed good or bad. Through experimentation and testing we can run real-time experiments on site with various ideas and let our customers tell us what works best. Many are afraid of failing in this area and don’t test to avoid embarrassment with the client or boss. But in the good news is, this type of failing allows us to quickly (and with minimal cost) re-adjust strategy. We can do this with sales messages, images, copy & entire pages, not to mention the many email broadcast and ad-serving solutions that offer these features built-in.
Why we care? Why guess, when you can upload a number of versions and let the customer help you ‘optimise’ the content. It’s an easy win for everyone.
- Voice of customer eg. TestmyUI & OpenHallway for usability, Treejack for card sorting.
What is it? Measuring again the ‘Why’ but this time via direct interaction and feedback from the user. This gives us valuable insight into the customer experience and therefore at the end of the day – readiness to purchase or engage with our products and services. Could they find what they were looking for, how long and how frustrating was it to get there?
Why we care? These are some of the questions we should be asking to ensure that our customers have a positive experience with the interaction (and ultimately the brand experience). The great news is – it’s not expensive or going to push your project deadline out by weeks like most would think. For usability testing, 5 users is enough to get worthwhile results and with the above tools listed can be done within a day.
- Competitive intelligence eg. Compete, Google Ad Planner, Google Trends, Wordtracker, Quantcast, Trackur.
What is it? Measuring the ‘what else’ or how do we compare against our competitors? Taking your analysis and optimisation to the final level, is looking at your performance outside a vacuum and in context to your competitors.
Why we care? There is a plethora of data sources out there that provides information (much available for free) and analysis based on your performance against your competitors. Use this to help set competitor benchmarks and mine industry trends for actionable insights to help you better plan for future developments and marketing activity
In summary, the aim of this article is to highlight that we should and can easily be using a broader set of intelligence tools to build effective understanding of the success (or failure) of our digital work. One tool from each of the categories is adequate to cover the 5 bases. Kaushik calls this the ‘Multiplicity Strategy’.
Does your note book have lines on it? The chances are it does. Why? Because that’s what gets listed in the stationery order, and because that’s what you used at school to keep your handwriting neat:
‘Research findings provide strong evidence that, for the majority of children, use of lined paper facilitates more legible handwriting than unlined paper’ (Alston & Taylor 1987, p 76)
We’re conditioned to it. We write notes, we want them to be neat so we can read them again later. But the lines also condition your thinking as well as your script. They make writing words the ‘normal’ way to use a notebook. And yet so much of what we do requires illustration, demonstration, process, stakeholders, providers, flows of information and relationships. These are hard to capture in long-hand, and even harder to be accurate and descriptive. So notes miss accuracy, connection, emotion because our brain is trying to fit everything in the little spaces provided by the lines.
Essentially, for nearly everything we do, the object of our activity should be simple enough to sketch out freehand. In fact it will almost always be easier to write up, present or demonstrate later because you are thinking and recording in the same way your brain was working at the time you captured it. And most importantly, if you can’t show graphically what you are trying to achieve in a project, how easy do you think it will be to write it down long hand and expect others to understand?
Next time you finish a notebook, ask for ones free of restrictions (Note: don’t actually ask for “a book free from restrictions”, you’ll get some very strange looks). Turn it landscape whilst you scribble – amazingly this is the same format you’ll use when you type or draw them up later on on your computer. Draw shapes and connect them with links. Put large asterisks where you want to note detail or actions. Draw a smiley face where you want to describe good things (in fact scribbled graphical notes make it much easier to get away with doodling when you’re bored of the meeting – but you didn’t hear this from me!!)
Break free from your lines. And your brain and your colleagues and your clients will thank you.
This hairy man – otherwise known as his Creative Directorness, Andy Purnell – stormed the offices this morning in guerrilla fashion, delivering a drive-by creative presentation. Just to jolt us out of our mid-morning comfort zones, and into the realm of ever-better creative brief writing. We considered it a teaser, ahead of an all-agency initiative to refine and develop our creative briefing practices – something that no agency should ever rest on their laurels with. We’re collectively looking forward to more interruptive broadcasts from Mr P.
Location-based services have popped up everywhere over the past few years. Most of us can look back to the first views of Earth from above with Google Earth (grainy, patchy images that our dial up connection struggled with) and laugh a little. Now, LBS is everywhere.
We think LBS is interesting, obviously. But I was flicking through the McKinsey ‘big data’ report and saw this.
What the…? How did McKinsey get to this number?
Turns out, McKinsey used their super brains and super computers to ‘look at the value chain of location-based applications‘. They looked at the amount of data generation and the potential value created.
- amount of data generated across regions, user behaviour, and frequency of use.
- the value chain of LBS. How do individual consumers use and benefit from LBS? How do enterprises or governments benefit?
McKinsey themselves say that their estimation is conservative, and it could well be more. But if you think about the process of using a personal navigation device, you’ll immediately see the value of time saving, fuel consumption reduction.
Other types of LBS like check-in services (Facebook Places, Foursquare etc), local information sourcing tools (LocalMind, Neer), and community noticeboards and news sites (EveryBlock etc) also add value and decrease costs in many ways. One of those is increased marketing relevancy. We can (and have) discuss the balance of personal data privacy vs openness, but the fact remains that as people become more permissive about what they will share openly, we marketers have more opportunities to communicate more effectively, meaning more ££ spent in the right place, less wastage, and better results. And that’s something we can all get behind.
RockMelt is a browser based on Google Chrome that’s pretty revolutionary. There are lots of reasons why several of the Digital team use it – mainly because it’s simpler and easier than Safari, IE, and even Firefox. The main feature is that it’s integrated with social media, which means that you can add RSS feeds and updates from Twitter or Facebook in a nice little organised side bar.
Although it sounds like RockMelt’s ‘always on’ features will distract you fundamentally by pushing all the distractions further into your view, it doesn’t. It shows you a count, so that you don’t get stuck in that process of going back to check what’s going on all the time (Fear Of Missing Out). If your FOMO gets too bad, now there’s a feature that let’s you go into ‘quiet mode’ – so you can ‘pause’ the distraction temporarily and get on with the task at hand.
Then there is the ‘View Later’ button. On all of your feeds, and all of the pages you’re browsing, you can use the ‘View Later’ function to collate all the bits and pieces you’d like to save until you have the head space. So useful.
But most importantly, now you can search in browser and select which country’s search results you want to see. So for example, if I want to see how high in the results Tesco is when people in Russia search for ‘Tesco’, I can do that easily, without having to use a masking site or other weird and wonderful tools.
So this browser (like all browsers) is not giving me hyper-local search results unless I tell it to in my search terms, but it’s helping me see things from another country’s view. And if RockMelt can build it for country level search results, maybe default regional or hyper-local search results filters are around the corner.
Marissa Meyer explained more about Google Business Photos at Social Loco early last week – an extension to Google Maps that allows business owners to have photos taken by Google of the interior of their business. She also explained that Google’s two pillars of Local are Maps and Places. Only available in selected cities so far but includes London.
Facebook Deals launched in Alpha in 5 US markets. Most interesting about this is the way that Deals are promoted to users living in those markets. Deals has been given a high priority space on the left-hand navigation as well as a pop up when the user logs in. The pop up asks the user for even more granular location information (ie Zip code) rather than the city that the users have already entered. Clearly, Facebook is planning to hit the location relevancy hard. No news yet on whether the Zip codes captured at this stage will be usable for Facebook advertising.
Great news for Local Mobile Marketers with a new Smartphone user study released by Google in late April. News for Local Marketers is that 9 out of 10 Smartphone searches result in an action (purchasing, visiting a business, etc.), and 88% of these searches result in action being taken within a day – Mobile = Fast conversion!
A sad day for Local blogging with the ending of the Guardian Local experiment. Three local blogs in Cardiff, Edinburgh and Leeds were highly valued in the community, but deemed unsustainable in the current format. Will Perrin from Talk About Local makes some incredibly wonderful points – mainly around the balance between community vs commercial sustainability, and Ed Oldfield gives us a bit more info about the commercial and advertising side of the experiment.
Tim @ The Daily Infographic published an excellent summary of the Deals space – Facebook Deals vs Google Deals vs Groupon vs Living Social. Not really news but a nod to a helpful resource!
Finally, eBay continues on a shopping spree for businesses that give them local capabilities with their acquisition of local media and advertising company Where. Here’s TechCrunch’s announcement and summary of eBay’s Local aspirations.
This is the ‘Trailer’ for a new interactive digital experience for the Range Rover Evoque Pulse of the City project. It’s a choose your own adventure film called Being Henry.
Starring Leo Fitzpatrick (The Wire) and directed by Nick Gordon (Levi’s, Sony, Doritos), Being Henry is housed on a dedicated Adobe Flash site. It’s basically composed of multiple videos that seamlessly switch when the viewer clicks on Henry and drags him toward a certain decision. The dragging sequence is done via a series of JPEGs that cut smoothly into the live action.
The viewer manipulates through a series of choices, resulting in nine storylines and 32 different endings. (Check out the video for a taste of what kinds of things happen in all the possible stories.)
The product tie-in? Every choice you make — taking chances, looking for love, etc. — apparently determines your ideal Range Rover Evoque, which you’re presented with at the end of the film.
If the idea seems familiar, you may recall that we have already ‘been there, done that’ with an ‘experience’ for the Alfa MiTo last year. Again proving that EMO can get ahead of the curve when given the opportunity.
I want to start my EMO blogging career not by sharing some stunning creative I have seen, or more importantly these days, experienced but by sharing my thoughts on the changing shape of the ‘marketing agency’ and how that shape relates to EMO and how it will affect the creative solutions we produce.
So, what do I mean by shape?
Clients are demanding new and different ways of approaching their marketing problems from their agencies. To quote an article I read in Campaign recently, the marketing director of a major retail bank said “In my siloed world, I just want people who don’t think in silos.”
A traditional ‘agency’ is ‘shaped’ around the multi-department structure. Planning, Media, Creative, Account Management, Production etc. All beavering away in their own silos on their ‘bits’ of the brief.
Many in our industry believe that this traditional silo structure is on its way out and in its place is a more collaborative way of working.
Setting up new agency, Now, strategist Kate Waters said their aim is to “…create a more fluid agency structure, organised not in departments but in ideas teams.”
Endorsing that thinking is Andy Fowler executive creative director at Brothers & Sisters who says “We wanted to create a much more collaborative agency – much less departmentalised – still with every skill you could imagine but working together in a more collaborative way.”
Agencies are ‘knocking down’ walls between departments. Skills and disciplines still exist but this integrated approach enables an agency to create more bespoke solutions to a client’s marketing challenges.
This is something that EMO and in particular its ‘Localisation’ offering is embracing and delivering.
Here at EMO we have the talent and experience from a host of different backgrounds that are able to work together to produce solutions that meet our clients’ needs. From a website design to an experiential event, from an ad campaign to social marketing.
Another major factor of this collaboration concept is the impact of digital technology.*
Today, digital is a common denominator of almost every form of marketing communication, it has created channels though which every big idea can be transmitted.
And so the big idea becomes the central core, and then the appropriate communication channels are selected for it. As a result, according to Dare’s deputy chairman, John Owen, “agencies need to write briefs that are less directional. They need to apply a more discipline-neutral approach.”
So what is the ideal shape for the marketing agency of the future?
In my opinion it is an agency that has a broad range of production capabilities ‘in house’ (geared to the digital age) that work closely together to ensure their expertise is shared throughout a campaign’s development.
Explaining the agency of the future Owen imagines it as “three concentric circles. The ideas are in the centre, with a variety of ‘in-house’ production skills surrounding them and beyond that are external production resources that are either unavailable or uneconomical to provide directly. The production skills blend with each other and with the planning core. There are no partitions either conceptual or physical.”
While there will always be a need for an agency to deliver a retail urgent, reactive response, this is best served by an underlying bedrock of multi-disciplined, collaborative talents, where ideas are at the very core and routes to market are diverse and emergent. Creative can thrive in an agency shaped like this, as can client business. It’s a shape that EMO can look to and see that, with ever-continuing moulding, it’s not all that far away.
*As if to emphasise its importance, the investment bank JP Morgan recently launched a $500 million fund to invest in digital and social media companies on the back of investor interest in Facebook and Twitter. It’s hard to believe that Facebook and Twitter didn’t exist 6 years ago!
When you buy a car, suddenly you start noticing all the other cars that are the same as yours, so much so that you’re convinced that there are more than there were before.
The transition between marketing ‘generally’ and then marketing ‘locally’ is similar. When you’re working in an agency that specialises in Local Marketing, suddenly you wonder how you missed all the stuff going on in the Local Marketing space. It’s so fundamentally obvious that in the battle for relevancy, proximity matters. Everywhere you look, people are talking about local – and not just as an intangible theory, but as an actual ‘thing’.
An actual ‘thing’, you say?
A highlight of the series of Maroon Peugeot 307s is the launch of a new US hyper-local industry trade publication StreetFight a few days ago. They’ve positioned the service as a collection of everything that’s happening in the hyper-local space, including vouchering, check in services, and local news sites. Then there’s the super-massive Patch.com hyper-local news service based in the US run by Arianna Huffington. EveryBlock (US) and StickyBoard (UK) community noticeboards have redesigned and launched respectively. Talk about Local‘s community efforts are ongoing and the Big Society ideas continue to generate meaningful conversation. These are just a few of the bigger things that are going on, but community activities and new ways to use technology to help communities engage are popping up every day. So too are hyper-local, hyper-relevant marketing opportunities.
People continue to have debates about the definition of the words hyper-local, localisation, local marketing… whatever we end up calling it in the history books, we’re part of a shift. The UK’s take on local is a little different to the US’s as pointed out wonderfully by Joni Ayn Alexander, but the main point is the same. It’s a thing.
A thing with big agencies predicting daft numbers like 42.5 billion dollars by 2015.