Digital Cream is a roundtable event organised by Econsultancy where over 200 senior client-side marketers have the opportunity to share best practice and discuss what is and isn’t working for them. I describe it as an opportunity to do exactly what you would rather be doing at a lot of the conferences and events you go to. After all, its good to talk.
I was moderating a session around Joining up On and Offline Channels and Data. Although I can’t share any of the detail, what is said on Digital Cream stays on Digital Cream, I thought it worthwhile sharing some of my take outs arising from my research and discussions around the subject.
Where delivering multichannel customer experience is concerned there are still a lot of organisations moving from the stage that is considered to one that is capable. That means there are still a lot of brands and businesses working with systems and processes that are customer focused but not necessarily harnessing cross channel capabilities.
It is pretty clear that the two biggest challenges brands and businesses face are structuring their internal and external teams and joining up the numbers, whether that be driving insight or understanding the role and value of each channel.
On the subject of teams and talent I have felt for a long time that there’s a short supply (and hence a big opportunity) for those people that are ‘specialists at being generalist’ and can work effectively across channels and disciplines. These guys and girls take a critical role in driving joined up planning, delivery and measurement. But if you are really are into sharing the burden of joining things up then you need to be developing multidisciplinary silo bashing teams – across your interim and external or agency teams.
Data is of course becoming pretty cool and there’s a lot of talk around datafication, it’s ability to support big leaps forward in our understanding of the customer journey and the potential to help deliver fantastically integrated marketing programmes. It feels like there is a real thirst from brands, businesses and marketers to make that happen. One thing I would say though, especially where attribution is concerned, is set realistic expectations and be careful not to hit the law of diminishing returns around Return on Analsyis Resource (ROAR). Maybe next year will be the year of data driven marketing. Now that would be cool!
Last week I managed to find the time to attend Cool Content in Brighton, part of the impressive Brighton Digital Festival. And I’m glad I did. Focused on looking to the future it’s a half-day event for people who work with digital content and want to share ideas with their fellow content professionals. I got the feeling we might one day be at something much much bigger and say ‘Hey, remember the first one of these?’.
I’ve said it before and I will say it again. These events represent fantastic brainfood. Even if it’s half a great idea that comes out of it that’s worth every bit of time and effort attending. As diverse and inspiring each of the presentations were the one that made a lasting impression was that given by Paul Annett and Tim Paul of the Government Digital Service. That will be no surprise to those of you who know me.
Ten guiding principles to guide the delivery of government digital stuff.
Start with needs*
Design with data
Do the hard work to make it simple
Iterate. Then iterate again
Build for inclusion
Build digital services, not websites
Be consistent, not uniform
Make things open: it makes things better
(*user needs not government needs)
For those of you that have anything to do with spending public money on ‘doing digital’, I urge you to take a look at the principles in more detail. They make so much sense. It was nice too to see some of the guys I work with inspired by what was said. Just because it’s government doesn’t mean it has to be anything less than brilliant.
Unfortunately I missed two conferences last week that I would really have liked to have gone to. Eye for Travel’s Online Marketing and Social Media Europe 2011 in Amsterdam and the econsultancy JUMP 2011 event in London – an annual event that focuses on the pursuit of better joined up and integrated marketing. Exactly the sort of brainfood that we all need from time to time. For me the benefits of attending these types of events are three fold;
I take my head out of the day to day grind for at least one day.
I take away a few really useful insights that help me on my way.
I tend to come up with some useful ‘thinking frameworks’ that help me solve real work problems on my return.
Sometimes you are just too busy or you just don’t have the budget to attend these kinds of things in person. But that doesn’t stop you consuming the content. Be it in real time on twitter by following the conference #hashtag or afterwards through slideshare and Vimeo. Of course what these events bring with them is a content legacy that lasts long after the event. One that you can catch up on.
That’s what I have been doing this morning. The sorts of things I am working on at the moment include writing a number of chapters for a new digital marketing handbook, a big user experience and design project for a new website and trying to figure out how the hell we are going to come up with an organisation wide content strategy to better deliver everything we do. I need help.
So I came across the following deck on slideshare and what I ended up doing was very quickly flicking through the slides. What I picked up were a number of useful insights and thoughts around content strategy. For example the basis of the problem we face as an organisation; fragmented content management, fragmented organisational structure and fragmented platforms and devices. And a reminder that developing content strategy really is about change management.
Then I looked further and came across this video of the same person doing another presentation on content strategy. I made myself a cup of tea and watched the whole thing. I started to develop a thinking framework around some of the relationships between information architecture (and user experience), content management (and technology) and social media (and marketing). I started to figure out what the processes were that might help me solve or more importantly create the content strategy problem we face. Of course what I was doing this time is properly engaging with the content. It was video content this time but it could have equally been a blog post, a white paper or even the same slide deck I had flicked through earlier.
Now I don’t feel so bad about missing those two conferences I just mentioned. The stuff we do is a never-ending learning journey. One that is never finished and one that you must never neglect. So in the absence of unlimited time and enough budget to attend every conference you would like to here’s a rule of thumb I have just developed that should help me (and maybe you) maintain your staple diet of digital marketing brainfood.
Flick through some stuff once a day but at the very least once a week Properly engage with some stuff once a week but at least once a month Go to a conference maybe once a quarter but at least once a year
I guess it is a bit like your five a day. A useful guide to stick to.
Oh, and make sure you check out Karen McGrane if you are in any way interested in content strategy.
Here are the presentation slides for today’s keynote at ENTER 2011 – the international conference on IT in travel and tourism. Big thanks to the keynote team – Jason Ryan from iCrossing and Tom Hall from Lonely Planet.
If branding online is at least in part reputation management destination brands face a number of key challenges – including content, socialisation, integration and measurement. We used to pay particular attention to things like tone of voice, style and design. In our new world we need to pay attention to things like our point of view and the way we behave as brands.
The emotional journey a customer undertakes with a destination brand involves a journey across awareness, engagement, emotional attachment and advocacy. From a marketing point of view the starting point used to be very much awareness. Now we can kick off that journey at the advocacy stage – harnessing the power of those that love us most and help drive awareness.
We drive awareness through seasonal planned activity. Our marketing campaigns. There is now a very real opportunity to amplify existing attention. Be it events big and small or that which you are gaining through social channels. That conversational content can be used to drive both awareness and engagement.
Test and learn is important. Figuring out how to do things – and more importantly how to do them well. Execution is as important as ever. Digital has empowered marketing departments the world over. The relationship with their agency teams is becoming more collaborative and one much less based around them and us. A relationship where everyone is learning by doing.
We still need a unifying idea. That big idea used to be the starting point. Integration used to be about delivering that idea across the full range of channels – traditional and digital. We need to develop models that support proper integration across owned, earned and bought media. One such model might be putting the big idea in the middle of everything and supporting it through targeted engagement initiatives which crowd source content, develop that content and the communities that exist around it. Through the creative use of paid media channels we achieve further amplification around those initiatives and we wrap it in our brand – or our point of view.
If a lot of what we do in the digital space is always on – including PR, social media, search and content development – one of the challenges is how we wrap that around our campaign activity and support it. So not only are we amplifying what we do where engagement is concerned we are using that engagement to support what we are doing across paid media channels. I talked about simple unifying approaches in the previous post Looking at trends. Is digital growing up? Developing a content strategy based on a content calendar might be one of those approaches.
We need to support such activity with a user centric approach to measurement. One that looks beyond traditional campaign metrics and web analytics by evaluating visitor engagement through measuring user behaviors both on-site and across the networks and communities our customers participate. One that focuses on Awareness (Do people know about us?), Actions (What are they doing when they find us?) and Advocacy (how do they feel about us?). A scorecard approach can be used to track an appropriate set of metrics and help deliver always on measurement to support always on marketing.
Mobile has got to be one of the biggest digital marketing trends of 2010 and anyone and everyone is talking about it. Smartphones are proving to be a game changer for most and in one of the offices we work in there’s an almost unhealthy level of phone geekery and banter.
While researching my ‘top trends’ for a keynote we are giving at the International conference of Information Technology in Travel and Tourism ENTER 2011 I came across this slideshare presentation on mobile trends 2020. These people are not anyone and everyone. They are 46 very smart folk that really know their onions around mobile. Pulled together by Rudy De Waele and well worth having a flick through over a cuppa sometime.
Back in April I was lucky to get tickets for the first TEDx event to be held in Cardiff. If like me you’ve arrived a bit late to the TED party here’s a quick introduction to the concept.
TED stands for – Technology, Entertainment, Design. The overriding mission is to spread great ideas from great thinkers, for free, through the internet. It started as a conference held in California back in 1984 and since then it’s grown to become a four day conference where 50 speakers are each given 18 minute slots. There are more than 500 TED Talks on TED.com.
TEDx is the smaller more local baby offspring of the TED conference. Hosted by the Millennium Centre the Cardiff TEDx event went down a storm. Check out the aftermath comments at tedxcardiff.co.uk.
‘Harmony and Ideas; Why Perfection Is Your Enemy’ was my favourite talk of the night. Paul Clarke’s theatrical and a let’s face it a bit bonkers delivery made for a captivating performance, mixing mathematical insights with audience participation and Jonny Ball style demos. I loved the idea that whilst music comes from the soul it is without doubt underpinned by robust mathematics…..I’m no mathematician but for a while there I was hooked.
Another blinder was Steve Robinsons talk that revisited some of his best moments from the making of the Cardiff made series The Tribe. – What We Can Learn From Tribal Cultures.
Yesterday I attended the Digital Marketing Briefing in London. It’s one of those meet the buyer type events and in my opinion one of the best organised ones. They do a good job at attracting good people and making sure they engage with each other. You know … the sort of thing that happens automatically at a conference in the US but something us ‘Brits’ often need a bit of help with.
They top and tail it with some great speakers – this year Chris Hunter got everyone sitting up in their seats with his reflections on a high threat bomb disposal tour in Iraq. Drawing parallels with the digital marketing world of course. Now I know that when I am under pressure and I find myself momentarily unable to speak it is because my body, in it’s wisdom, has decided to send my blood to the really important bits and not the front of my brain. Ambushed and hugely outnumbered by insurgence for him. A 5% increase in our average £CPC for me. More tangible parallels included ‘If there is no one in your team that can do your job should you not be around anymore you have failed to do your job as a team leader’ and ‘Your enemy are getting better and better. And they are getting better faster’.
Some of the other sessions were more the sort of thing you would expect – like digital futures and the inevitable ‘What does social media mean for your brand?’ Extremely valuable for sure but I can’t help thinking when I am at events like this that we can all consume this kind of content in the comfort of our own homes and the most valuable thing that comes out of an event like this is face to face contact with your industry peers. Yep, we are all connected through a multitude of social platforms but sometimes it’s really good to talk, empathise and get to grips with what people are really feeling, winning with and struggling with on a day to day basis. Furthermore, you very quickly become aware who is worth pursuing a longer term relationship with. I guess that’s the point. That’s speed dating.
Here’s a short summary to accompany the slides. The session focussed specifically on place branding although a lot of this applies to any brand in the online space …
Digital channels have grown up. Push has become pull. Consumers are becoming increasingly empowered and turned off by one way communication.
What consumers are saying is shaping your brand. Branding online has become more about reputation management. It has become more social.
Brands face four key challenges – content, socialisation, integration and measurement.
Content. Your community of content producers and consumers can help fuel your content hungry web presence – on and off your own website. Smart brands offer something for them to line up against and support.
Socialisation. Brands need to learn how to live within a new conversation culture – the norms, values and attitudes that it brings. You can’t buy success in the earned media space – you still have to earn it.
Integration. Online and offline support each other. From awareness to advocacy many of the same rules apply but the journey just got messier. An integrated strategy and a multichannel approach still rules.
Measurement. Different ways of doing things require different measurement. The quality of your content network is all important. The sentiment of the conversations across it is one of the more difficult but important things you have to measure.
Brands must listen. Before you do anything keep your ear to the ground. Take account of context, history and the specific challenges you face as a brand.
We used to pay particular attention to things like tone of voice, style and design. In our new world we need to pay attention to things like our point of view and the way we behave as brands.
In the absence of a ‘set piece’ solution great story telling supported by creative and technical convergence goes a long way to help successfully manage your brand’s reputation.
For place brands and travel destinations the challenge is further complicated by the sheer number and variety of individuals and organisations involved in shaping the brand. Online stakeholder communities and brand platforms might go some way to helping pull it all together but their success still depends on the same things that help build any community – online or offline. To name just a few;
Make it easy to join, share and be open.
Provide leadership but share responsibility.
Make sure the incentives work for all involved.
Like most things digital it is all about people rather than just technology!
ENTER is the International eTourism Conference, promoted by the International Federation of IT in Travel and Tourism. This year it is being held in Lugano, Switzerland in February with keynote speakers from, amongst others, Google, Expedia and Switzerland Tourism.