Figaro Digital Summer Marketing Conference Roundup (Part One)

by Caity Dalby Figaro Digital

All anyone has been talking about recently is the heat wave that has gripped the UK, but on 12 July 2018 hundreds of digital marketers gathered in the beautifully air conditioned lecture theatre of the Royal College of Physicians, Regents Park, for one of the best days in the industry’s events calendar –the Figaro Digital Summer Marketing Conference.

With an audience of over 200 senior digital marketers and 19 speakers from the brands, agencies, and technology providers that are spearheading innovation within the industry, the conference covered trending topics from creative AI to Gen Z targeting. After a full day and jam-packed agenda of speakers, presentations, and networking, delegates left feeling inspired (despite England getting knocked out of the World Cup the day before).

Here we take a look at some of the day’s key takeaways.

Chairperson Welcome

Sophie Crosby, former SVP Insight and Marketing at Ticketmaster and veteran marketer within the music industry, chaired the conference and kicked off the day by briefly summarising the state of the marketing landscape today and pulling together some of the key themes of the event.

Having had a career in music marketing, Sophie knows more than anyone that every marketer’s purpose and goal is to find and understand their audience: in the music industry this means getting literal audiences into venues and in marketing in general, this is a more abstract concept. But what they both have in common, is that these audiences are now expecting to be seen by bands and brands as an individual and are demanding to be marketed to as such – hyper personalisation. Sophie reminded the delegates that technology is one thing, but audiences don’t all look the same and it is the people and their emotions that should really be at the heart of what marketers do.

Life has changed dramatically in the last five years, and this is no where more apparent than within the digital marketing industry. We are no longer simply reporting ROIs to CMOs and CFOs, but are instead coming to a more all-encompassing era of looking at, and prioritising, the consumer and how we communicate with them. The tech trends that have driven this change include, but are not restricted to: the cloud, startups, mobile, dark social, and data science.

In light of these technological advances, Sophie suggests that we’re all turning into millennials through our general expectation of what our technology should do for us and how brands should communicate to us through them. Most importantly for marketers, this is now a cross-generational expectation and at every level of interaction with an audience consumer expectations of service, relevancy, and timeliness, are higher than ever.

View Sophie’s welcome here.

How Digital Delivers Medical Care In The Frontline

James Kliffen, UK Head of Fundraising at Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders or MSF for the non-francophiles amongst us), kicked off the day with a feel-good presentation focused on MSF’s delivery of medical aid in the most remote and insecure communities, and how this is made possible by a ‘digital first’ approach. James highlighted some incredible statistics showing the sharp increase in digital donations as early as 2005 – a change in monthly donations that was exciting but also daunting as more traditional and depended upon donation methods failed and the lack of a digital fundraising model became apparent. This, James suggests, sparked the NGO’s reactionary strategy and in recent years the changing lifestyles of their supporters have entirely transformed MSF’s fundraising efforts, placing digital at the heart of a revolution in communications.

This prioritisation of digital has also, and incredibly importantly, closed the distance between the generous individuals who give to MSF and the medical teams that they help. The result, James argues, is that the majority of new financial supporters now give digitally but there is also now the additional option to volunteer your time online and be involved in MSF’s work, using a laptop or smartphone, as part of the ‘Missing Maps’ initiative. The pace of change in how MSF fund raises and connects with it’s donators continues to accelerate in 2018, and James showcased their work with Muse on their world tour and the new methods of giving that are being pioneered at music festivals this summer.

View James’ presentation here.

The ABCs Of A/B Tests

In the first of the day’s Figaro Digital 21s, where the speaker powers through 21 slides with just 21 seconds per slide, the delegates received a quickfire lesson on the ABCs of A/B tests. At an event where inevitably talk would steer towards innovation, AI, and programmatic, Reneé Doegar, Head of Marketing at the London Review of Books, took us back to the basics of digital marketing and A/B testing. Digging through her best test results Reneé revealed everything she loves about testing, information on testing theory and measurement, and provided the delegates with some free and efficient testing calculators for those brands that just simply can’t afford an ESP.

What grabbed the delegates attention, and got them perching on the edges of their seats, were the real examples of tests Reneé has run to grow the London Review of Books subscription base by 35 per cent. With some surprising – and some not so surprising – results, these tests and their affects on the subscription rate of LRBs garnered numerous intriguing and practical questions after Reneé’s presentation and left the delegates wanting to know more. For more insight on testing from Reneé you can read her article on the subject here.

View Reneé’s presentation here.

Inbox Placement – Why All Marketers Should Be Making Sure Their Emails Are Going To Be Seen

For 15 years Communicator has been providing best in class email delivery solutions to customers and with 235.6 billion emails bombarding consumers a day they think that inbox placement is a metric that all marketers should be monitoring. With an average of 2.85 billion email users and 5.24 billion email accounts in 2018 (stats suggesting a significant amount of disused, duplicate or multiple email accounts), there is evidently a huge disconnect within email marketing when placement metric isn’t a priority in your email strategy. During this session Gareth Boyd, Business Development Manager at Communicator, shared exactly why inbox placement is such a significant metric for Communicator and why knowing what inboxes are looking for can revolutionise your deliver, open, and click through rates. Especially when, in the last 18 months, between 48-58 per cent of emails were registered as spam.

Gareth took the delegates through his top three ways to improve their inbox placement, including: using a shared IP to improve your placement to a happy average, using a dedicated IP, or implementing Communicator’s SMARTsend™ which ranks your recipients into different levels of engagement using hundreds of different IP to build up your email reputation. Gareth also shared the details of a case study with leading high street brand, Ted Baker, who were moving ESPs and were able to benefit from Communicator’s SMARTsend™ solution. Increasing the reputation of their emails and warming up their new IP was an absolute necessity due to the proximity of the highly profitable the Spring/Summer season for the particular brand, and in two campaigns they had increased their inbox placement to 96 percent and cemented a low bounce rate.

View Gareth’s presentation here.

Engaging Gen-Z : How To Win With The Next Generation Of Consumers

All anyone is talking about these days is targeting this generation over that generation, Baby Boomers versus Millennials, Millenials are pitted against Gen Zs. But should you really market to Generation Z differently than Millennials? Gen Z – often described as having been born between 1995-2010 and attributed as the first truly digital native generation – are a tricky bunch to market to as Coris Leachman, Business Director and Partner at Impero, discussed in his hugely insightful, whirlwind of a presentation any Gen Zer would be proud of. One of the primary concepts Coris tackles is the absolute need to separate, as marketers, what we think Millennials will respond to positively versus the types of content that will engage this new, younger audience. Whereas Millennials (the oldest of which will be turning 40 in about 18 months) desired content implying a product or brand was independent, authentic, or handcrafted, the generation that has supplanted them as the main young target audience with their budding disposable incomes thrive off brand names, exclusivity, creativity, and speed. In an internet minute there are 46,000 new photos posted on Instagram and over one million swipes on tinder: meaning that if you aren’t creative and don’t stand out, your brand will be lost.

When consumers reach the age of 25 it is significantly harder to influence them, so connecting with audiences when they are young is paramount to a brand’s success. Coris suggests that the three best ways that any brand can become more visual and appeal to the next generation of consumers are: getting visual and not being scared to get weird, being fast and pioneering, and importantly being authentically who you are as a brand.

View Coris’ presentation here.

Customer Retention: How Can Your Customers Expand Your Business?

Virtual mobile network, giffgaff, has a pretty unique culture based on the dialectical old Scottish meaning of the word giffgaff: mutual giving or fair exchange. Richard Fullerton, CRM & Referral Sales Lead at giffgaff, spoke at the Figaro Digital Marketing Summer Conference about how that manifests itself in every part of the business, primarily the concept that the people who use the giffgaff service are members and not customers. This is a fundamental belief within the company and influences every aspect of it, particularly in the active decision to remove customer service lines and rely entirely upon an online community platform of members for support. These members also actively steer the business, with 660 member ideas having been implemented to improve the company to date.

But what does this mean in terms of marketing and leveraging your customers (or members) to expand your business? One of the main ideas behind how giffgaff works, Richard reveals, is their members help members policy and this filters into how the company has created loyalty and expanded their customer base through their engaging content, hyper-personalisation, and unique member-get-member referral system. A members recruit members system through which, Richard claims, 50 percent of all giffgaff’s members today have been introduced to the business and is well over a third of their acquisition to date. Richard looks at the ways you can capitalise on your customers and optimise your customer retention by making it easy to refer, making the benefits of referring tangible (spelling it out for them), leveraging when you’re at your best, and personalising when it really matters. Watch his presentation to find out more.

View Richard’s presentation here.

Read part two of the Figaro Digital Summer Marketing Conference Roundup! All of the presentation videos can be found here.

In the meantime, why not check out our events calendar for details of more fantastic thought-leadership events to help your business get to the next level.

Continue the conversation on Twitter at @Figaro_Digital.