Marketing digital. Making results.

How can SMEs use digital tools to go global?

Join our live discussion at 1pm (BST) on Tuesday 5 July to discuss how businesses can utilise digital marketing and shopping systems to grow exports and expand internationally. Post your comments below

Digital channels have enabled many small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to expand internationally with far lower overheads than ever previously possible. The rise of e-commerce and m-commerce, cheaper international delivery, streamlined digital stores and increasingly mature platforms are eroding the financial barriers between businesses and international consumers.

But with technologies and competitors evolving rapidly, and with significant risks still involved, things are far from easy or certain.

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How to Choose the Best Digital Marketing Analytics Software

Marketing and analytics go together like peanut butter and jelly. After all, without being able to examine concrete data, it’s difficult — if not impossible — to make any legitimate progress with your marketing campaign. Considering the fact that marketers are expected to spend over 11 percent of their total budget on [...]

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Back to bricks and mortar: how e-commerce has embraced the real world

Many digitally born businesses are taking the plunge into physical retail as they tap into the rise of the experience economy

American eyeglass retailer Warby Parker’s foray into bricks-and-mortar retail began in one of its co-founders’ apartments.

Warby Parker launched in 2010 as an e-commerce business enabling customers to order a range of affordable glasses to try at home before sending the unsuitable ones back. After a surge in demand, customers started asking Warby Parker if they could buy the spectacles in person.

Related: From digital to print: the publishers bucking the online-only trend

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The Complete Guide to Content Marketing on LinkedIn

If you’re looking for water cooler gossip, an endless barrage of selfies and viral cat videos, there are plenty of social media outlets to fulfill those needs. But if you’re into professional networking, connecting with like-minded individuals in your industry and advancing your career, LinkedIn is the go-to network. Simply put, [...]

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10 Ways You Can Use Your Anger to Build Your Business

In the business world, anger is often viewed as one of the most unsavory of emotions. It can hinder your thought process and lead to rash, impulsive decisions that will most likely result in regrettable outcomes. Anger can also create rifts between business partners, colleagues and clients.

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How To Know If You Should Hire A Conversion Rate Optimization Expert

I absolutely love it when the numbers tell me good news and when I’m killing it with conversions. I hate it when conversions are down and I’m not hitting benchmarks. Thankfully, I have the experience to know what to test and the processes I can go through to try and improve my conversions.

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One-click checkouts and pay-by-selfie: the rise of mobile commerce

M-commerce, or mobile purchasing, is growing fast, thanks to more confidence over security and greater simplicity

Buying stuff from mobile phones has been talked about since Coca-Cola and Nokia first installed vending machines in Finland in 1997 that accepted payment via text message, or SMS as it was then. It’s been a long and tortuous road since but, according to recent Nielsen figures, mobile technology (including tablets) is now fully embedded into the modern shoppers’ psyche.

Certainly millennials or Generation Y (the generation born in the 80s and 90s), who Rebecca Huntley says, in her book The World According to Y, see technology as “their natural ally, a necessity rather than a luxury”, have been largely responsible. This generation has been the principal target for mobile retail strategies, which makes sense. Why target the mixed bag of dabbling Generation Xers, who still talk about the days before the internet, when you can target the group that doesn’t feel stupid talking to a smartphone?

The trade-off between ease of use and traditional card security is lessening, particularly with biometrics.

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How modern marketers allocate budgets to maximise growth

From search to social and out-of-home advertising, our panel of experts reveal how they invest their marketing spend

With a plethora of tools available in the digital marketing toolkit, it can be a minefield deciding where to invest scarce resources. Our panel of experts agree that a combination of techniques is critical – alongside ongoing analysis and a careful eye on measurement.

Andy Lockley, digital marketing manager, Cloggs

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Marketers should learn the lessons of the stuffed Horniman walrus

In the rush to embrace the latest platforms, the communications industry creates unnatural campaigns stuffed with pointless new technologies

Frederick Horniman was a Victorian tea trader and avid collector of art and artefacts, objects and specimens from across the world. In 1901 he donated his collection, and the museum that housed it, to London County Council “for the instruction and enjoyment” of Londoners, on condition entry should always be free.

At the Horniman Museum in Forest Hill you’ll find totem poles and textiles, pan pipes and puppets, death masks and a dodo model. There are cabinets of curiosities, dioramas of startled and stuffed wildlife. You can see the remains of a 19th century male mermaid, a merman, which is actually a composite of fish, bird and papier-mache. The Horniman is truly a place of wonder, a place where science, art and the imagination walk hand in hand.

Related: 'We must do all we can to value and protect our creative output'

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Which mobile messaging platform is right for your brand?

Apps such as Facebook Messenger are moving away from simple texting. Get it right, and there are huge opportunities for marketers

By 2018 there will be 1.1 billion new users on mobile messaging platforms such as Facebook Messenger and Snapchat, according to new data from Activate. That means there will be 3.6 billion users in this category, 400 million shy of the total number of internet users predicted by the same year. Mobile messaging is a fast-evolving category that mystifies brands for a few reasons, but it is also one that has huge potential.

Related: Social media marketing – let's rethink community management

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Digital Marketing Institute's Ian Dodson: most marketers aren't digitally skilled

Ian Dodson, founder and president of the Digital Marketing Institute, talks about the skills gap, data privacy and the importance of specialising

It was established in 2008 to provide digital marketing education and bridge the growing digital skills gap. It was born of necessity when we were finding it extremely difficult to source staff with the skills needed to work in our digital agency.

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Why media design is the new media planning

In a personalised age, brands will only succeed if they put their customers at the centre of their media

Netflix has 76,897 unique ways to describe types of movies. By breaking down every single attribute describing film and television content – narrative elements, moral aspect of characters, romance quality, scariness – Netflix came up with personalised genres that are specific to the point of ludicrous. By mixing all those micro-genres with millions of users’ viewing habits, Netflix successfully created popular television shows.

If we apply this same micro- and human-centred approach to media planning, we get media design. Netflix succeeded because it put its personalised genres at the centre of its content universe. Brands will succeed if they put their customers at the centre of their media.

Related: Marketers should be hunting for a perfect product, not influencers

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6 Little-Known Web Based Content Marketing Tools You Can Use For Free

To succeed as a content marketer, you must create value. Valuable content gets attention. One piece of valuable content will get a thousands times more attention than hundreds of pieces of “okay” content. So create value. But creating value is hard work. Insanely hard work. To create value without burning out, you [...]

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Why context is everything for brands

Understanding customers underpins every marketing strategy, but brands spend too little time identifying the right target context for their message

All brands have a clear idea of their audience: identifying, understanding and segmenting customers underpins every marketing strategy. But how much effort is spent uncovering a brand’s ideal target context – the times, places and moments when a message will resonate best? Far less.

Is this a mistake? Psychological research into the fundamental attribution error suggests so. The fundamental attribution error refers to the widespread, but mistaken, belief that people’s character is more important in explaining their behaviour than the context of their decision.

Brands should focus as much on target contexts as they do target audiences

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How Any Entrepreneur Can Grow a Personal Brand Using Video

The best entrepreneurs in the business are using video to grow their personal brands. Take Gary Vaynerchuk, for instance. The man is a video legend. Hop on YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, or Periscope, and you’ll be blown away by the intensity and sheer number of his videos. Vaynerchuk gets it. He understands [...]

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Why Do the Best Startups Execute Faster than Anyone Else?

Abraham Lincolnis believed to havesaid, Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle. He probably wasn’t referring to startups, but he may very well have been. Speed is essential for startups. Why? Without speed, there is inevitable failure. More than half a [...]

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Lights, camera, action: the unexpected rise of live online video

Facebook and Twitter are no longer simply text platforms but mobile video channels battling to turn consumers away from TV

Live online video seems to have shot unexpectedly to the top of the media industry’s priorities this month, but experts who missed the subject off their trends lists needn’t feel embarrassed. In a rare interview, Facebook’s senior management recently admitted that even they only saw the opportunity themselves when they were reviewing internal data back in February.

Twitter’s Periscope app is a perfect fit with its aspiration to be the best possible “live connection to culture” for users (and indeed for non-users), but its recently announced NFL live streaming sponsorship is a radical new play beyond that. Twitter will no longer just be a place to discuss the live TV you’re watching, it will be the place you go to watch that content in the first place.

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The future of agencies - evening seminar

Join us on Wednesday 25 May to discuss the changing relationship between agencies, media owners and clients

The relationship between agencies and clients is changing. Job roles are disappearing, clients are bringing previously external roles in-house, and of course, consumer demand and technological developments continue to disrupt how work is done.

On Wednesday 25 May 2016 the Guardian will host an evening panel debate and networking event bringing together cross-industry perspectives to examine the shape of agencies of the future.

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Digital Marketing: It's Not As Difficult As You Think

A lot of people are scared of digital marketing. In a sense, I get it. There’s a lot to do, a lot to keep in mind, and everything that you thought you knew tends to change. This is why digital marketing has an aura of fear surrounding it. Big. Scary. Ominous. But [...]

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No Time? No Money? Growth Hack Your Business With Zero Budget

Growth hacking. Growth hacking is why tiny startups can mushroom into worldwide successes overnight. Growth hacking is what allows a nerdy developer to engineer a global phenomenon. Growth hacking produces the power that disrupts entire industries. As a student, user, and aficionado of growth hacking, I’m convinced that with growth hacking [...]

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12 Things Not To Do When Using Digital Marketing In 2016

Digital marketing in 2016 comes with a new set of problems, pitfalls, technologies, innovations, strategies, and opportunities. It also comes with plenty of chances to mess it all up. In other articles, I’ve discussed some of the lurking dangers and problems that face digital marketers. In this article, I want to [...]

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6 Things You May Not Know About Conversion Rate Optimization

Conversion rate optimization is one of the fastest-growing movements in the digital marketing universe. For a long time, not many people knew about conversion rate optimization. It was often something left to the Google analytics guy, or, worse, forgotten about altogether. Even many digital marketers, well-versed in the ways of SEO, [...]

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Where Will Growth Hacking For Startups Be One Year From Now?

One of the fastest growing trends in the digital marketing industry is growth hacking. The term is despised by some, overused by many, and misunderstood by many more. The term, as I use it, is used to describe a business that is bent on growth and utilizing cutting edge, untraditional methods [...]

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How To Sell Conversion Rate Optimization To A Skeptic

If you’ve experienced the glories of conversion rate optimization, you’re a believer. You’ve seen its power, experienced its improvement, and are sold on its benefits. But some people haven’t reached this state of enlightenment. Rather than pity their ignorance, it’s time to recruit them to your cause. But how do you [...]

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Blind faith in big data may be dangerous

What the Big Bang Data exhibition at Somerset House tells us about the state of modern marketing

If like me, you work with numbers, there’s a very good chance that the Big Bang Data exhibition at Somerset House will blow your mind. In among the eerily lit and often overwhelming visualisations of just how much our entire society revolves around the collection, aggregation, analysis and sometimes downright hoarding of information, I was struck by a sudden awareness of the potential dangers of everyone in the field of marketing can fall into if we blindly put all our faith in “data”.

The exhibits at the show ranged from the sublime – for example, the beautifully rendered and hypnotic digital representations of data projected onto entire walls – to the downright ridiculous, like Iknowwhereyourcatlives created by artist Owen Mundy, which uses Instagram data to pinpoint the exact locations of more than a million cats with frightening accuracy.

Related: Data should not be used as a drunk uses a lamppost

Marketing today has somewhat lost its way ... there is a bigger need for human insight and creativity than ever

Related: Does big data really matter for agencies?

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