The 23 February 2017 saw digital marketers from across the country arrive at the Emirates Stadium for what is arguably the most productive day out in digital marketing: The Figaro Digital Marketing Summit. Spanning a whole day, the summit sees the coming together of an impressive assortment of digital marketing expertise, covering a diverse and valuable set of areas, tactics and inspiring case studies to help brand marketers take their strategy to the next level. As the delegates return to their teams armed with the latest techniques and insight, we take a look at some of the day’s key takeaways.
Opening the day’s presentations with a broad overview of the key areas of digital marketing focus today, Skip Fidura, client services director, dotmailer, introduced some the day’s key topics such as mobile marketing, email, and automation, with the help of “Winston the Watchdog.” “It’s amazing,” says Fidura, “how many big brands aren’t using any kind of marketing automation […] we have a motto, which is to think big, have those great big ideas. But then start small, and scale quickly.” By breaking down the automation strategy into manageable chunks, marketers can make sure that the workload grows at a sustainable pace, which will ultimately result in a more streamlined conversion, reactivation or welcome campaign.
“Ninety per cent of all the data in the world was created in the last 12 months.” Says Jeremy Waite, Evangelist, IBM. Waite explains that as more devices become connected, the route which marketers need to utilise to reach their customers is changing. Marketers are already sitting on mountains of data, but without the capabilities required to order, extract and manage it, and the quantities are only increasing as device usage continues to rise. “By 2020, 1 million devices will be added to the internet every single hour […] we need to figure out how to market to them […]” Despite the surge in technology, it’s the understanding and the savvy usage of customer data that will allow brands to continue to successfully compete for their consumer’s attention. Waite urged marketers to understand how much understanding can be gleaned from a small amount of data, and why the personal connection to customers will reinforce all other forms of digital communication. “This is not all about technology, it’s not what this conversation is about. How can we get people to go out and change the world by going out and falling in love with our brands and causes and ideas?”
Voice search is not the mysterious tool of the future anymore. “In the US, one-fifth of searches on Google Android are made by voice,” says Ian Miller, CEO, Crafted. “Voice search is on an upward curve […] led by the rise of mobile.” The key consideration for marketers is the fact that voice search is completely changing how consumers search and discover brands. The longer search phrases offer marketers an opportunity to be very specific in the results they are able to offer, but at the same time makes the window of opportunity smaller. With voice assistants guiding consumers directly to the most appropriate result, the number of potential touch points available to woo a consumer to your brand during their search is potentially slashed. “The good assistants will take some of that social profiling to be able to put together a picture of what the consumer might like to discover, but if you don’t have that data, your brand might miss out.” Going forward, making that your search strategy is prepared for the rise of voice assistants is imperative, and brands should make sure that they have strategies in place to take advantage of featured snippets, and the new shortcuts in the customer journey.
Simon Heyes, director of social, 8 Million Stories, broke down the vital elements that will enable marketers to elevate their video strategy and increase their reach. Paying particular attention to authentic voice, emotional connection and audience segmentation, mobile is once again leading the way in terms of accessibility, and it’s here that marketers should be redoubling their efforts in 2017. “It’s allowed us to create and distribute content in real time, which has really shifted the strategy from 12 months ago.” Says Heyes, also pointing out that content plans which don’t include real-time content are now beginning to fall behind the competition. “There’s a new audience in town,” in Millennials and the subsequent “Generation Z”, and these audiences have markedly different relationships with personal devices and technology. “These are the guys who are pushing content out there. They communicate with images and video […] they are creators, while the previous generation were curators.” It is vital that marketers keep a finger on the pulse in order to keep up with the trailblazing Generation Z, who are coming into the consumer bracket brands are looking for. “Think mobile first,” says Heyes. “With live content, there’s a massive audience you can generate, but also still remaining really personal to you as a brand.”
Founder of atom42, Andy Atalla, was vocal about why marketers should be breaking “best practice” in order to avoid “doing the same thing as everyone else” and becoming lost among their competitors. “These are really very complex times,” says Atalla, “and as businesses we are not really set up to succeed. We’re organising ourselves into silos, and that’s not the best way for an organisation to be set up.” Digging into some of the key defining questions for marketers, he outlined the landscape at a macro level and dived into some of the key questions marketers should be asking themselves at a micro level: How are SEO and PR agencies working together? How can PPC teams be utilised to ensure that the tools offered to the team are worth their salt? How can marketers consolidate their efforts with technical and development teams to ensure a productive and streamlined collective effort? By taking a more human approach, Atalla explains that marketers need to “exist and connect on that level, and we will have better working relationships with people if we do that. Encourage, invite, demand questions all of the time. […] We know that people do their best work when they’re happy, we invest so little time in making sure that the people around us are happy and cared for, but that is where we will get the best returns.”
Modern data actually suggests that 75 per cent of marketing budget is wasted. “Wastage is on the increase rather than the decrease, which is really sad, considering the amount of data that we now have.” Says Agi Kendrick, strategy director, Chalk Global. Companies are sitting on huge quantities of customer data, but these accumulations have become so engorged that they’re no longer useful. “[Marketers are] not effectively and intelligently going through the data they’ve already collected, they’re only obsessed with collecting more.” But while brands are constantly on edge waiting for the next big trend, their pre-existing silos of consumer information are lying unexplored. “Brands need to take a step back and say ‘am I being effective with what I already have?’” Says Kendrick. “Data can really help us target and communicate better with our audiences […] really when we think about data, we need to think about people- behind every data point is a real person.” Marketers should instead refocus on making the most of the data that they have already collected, and understanding how to put this to best use to communicate with their customers as humans, not touch points. Kendrick urges marketers to walk in the shoes of their target consumers. “You want an advert that sit seamlessly within [a webpage] and add value to the digital experience.”