Marketing digital. Making results.

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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Five Funding Facts That Could Impact Your Startup

Any startup founder must grapple with a basic question: Where do I get the money to start my business? Unless you’re a trust fund baby with an endless supply of the stuff, you’ll have to get it from elsewhere. So… where do you get it? I’ve started a few businesses. In [...]

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How The Best Entrepreneurs Stay Organized

How often does life seem chaotic to you? If you’re like me -- running, founding or acquiring multiple businesses -- it can look pretty chaotic sometimes. Some of us are energized by the chaos. Others of us are totally thrown off by the chaos. For the entrepreneur, it’s important to make sense [...]

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13 Content Marketing Predictions For 2016 And Beyond

Content marketing is in constant flux. The entire industry disrupts on a monthly basis as new technologies rise, others fall, and algorithms are tweaked. Already, we’ve seen significant changes in 2016, but this is only the beginning. The universe of content marketing is in constant motion. The tactics we’re using right [...]

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Oculus Rift and HTC Vive: virtual reality remains so near and yet so far

VR is heralded as the next big thing, but there’s reason to question whether this technology will ever become a must-have

This year is being presented as the time that virtual reality (VR) goes mainstream, with consumer pre-orders of Oculus Rift and HTC Vive dominating the headlines at recent tech events. The Consumer Electronics Show and Mobile World Congress have also been packed with eager marketers keen to get their hands on what they think might be the next big thing.

VR innovations certainly look set to grab headlines for the foreseeable future but it’s worth taking a step back and getting some perspective – the true mainstreaming of VR is still some years off and there’s reason to question whether the technology has the potential to ever be a must-have.

Related: What does virtual reality mean for advertising in 2016?

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How to unify disparate agencies behind marketing campaigns

Most clients have a roster of agencies handling aspects of their communications. But advertising needs a holistic strategy

In the Mad Men era, marketers worked with full service agencies which, acting on behalf of the company, planned, produced and distributed all the advertising for their clients. These retained relationships lasted years and sometimes decades.

True full service ended with the advent of television commercials as spots between shows, rather than branded programming. At this point, the actual making of the 30 second films was outsourced to production companies.

Related: Advertisers want your attention, but how do they know they have it?

Related: Will algorithms destroy or save ad agencies?

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Marketers should be hunting for a perfect product, not influencers

Using the Kardashians and Rihannas of this world can bring reach and exposure, but they don’t build a marketplace

Recently, Rihanna tweeted a picture of herself listening to her new album, Anti, on what looked like a cross between headphones and a crown. The golden and crystal gadget in question, designed by Dolce & Gabbana and priced at $9,000 (£6,215), sold out within 24 hours.

For those working in the business of taste, this was no surprise. While it is unclear whether Rihanna was actually endorsing the headphones, it is an accepted marketing practice for companies to send their products to celebrities and bloggers, then sit back and watch the likes and, some claim, sales roll in.

The formula linking the complexity of social influence to sales doesn’t exist. But this doesn’t seem to worry marketers.

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Try These 10 Rarely Used Marketing Ideas For Small Businesses

Marketing a small business isn’t easy. There are tight budgets to worry about, niche markets to satisfy, and the constant demands of other marketing obligations. But on the flip side, marketing a small business is incredibly exhilarating. In a small business context, it’s much easier to see the immediate impact of a [...]

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12 Ways To Avoid Startup Mistakes

If you want to spark a lively discussion among a group of entrepreneurs, all you need to do is make a simple request: "Tell me about your mistakes." Every single entrepreneur has made mistakes, is making mistakes, and will make mistakes. Mistakes and entrepreneurship go together. But thankfully, some mistakes can be prevented. [...]

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The Minimalist's Guide To Owning A Business

Minimalism is a lifestyle characterized by the pursuit of simplicity and freedom from possessions and consumerism. The minimalist lifestyle might seem like it doesn’t jive with business ownership. After all, doesn’t it take greed, ambition, and cut throat ladder climbing to start a business? Obviously it doesn’t since so many successful business [...]

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Ignore the naysayers, 2016 could be Twitter's best year yet

The social media platform is poised to offer advertisers real value – as long as they recognise it’s about content now, not just tweeting

It’s fair to say that Twitter hasn’t had the best press recently and if you look around at the dozens of 2016 advertising predictions you won’t find many suggesting that its luck is going to change soon. But I beg to differ. Yes, it is going through something of a perception crisis, but underneath the headlines the platform is well-placed to have its best year. Advertisers should look beyond the sensationalised doom and gloom to see the real potential on offer, but doing so means rethinking some key points.

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7 Shortcuts For Becoming A Successful Entrepreneur

Ask any entrepreneur, successful or not, what it was like becoming an entrepreneur. You’ll get a variety of answers. For some, it started naturally. For others, it was irresistible. For many, it was by necessity. But nearly every entrepreneur will also admit that it was hard. There’s nothing easy about starting your [...]

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A Proven Method For Discovering The Exact Kind Of Content Your Customers Crave

The most effective way to attract customers, develop thought leadership, build a list, improve your SEO, expand your influence, grow your brand, increase revenue, and expand your digital footprint is with content. But what kind of content? Who’s going to read that content? Why would they care? What difference does it make? [...]

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5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting My Online Business At A Young Age

I first started dabbling in entrepreneurship when I was a freshman in highschool. In the microcosm of my high school business environment, I did alright. But it wasn’t until I launched a “real” business a few years later that I realized how brutal entrepreneurship could be. Many entrepreneurs don’t start quite [...]

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Marketing at the Super Bowl 50 – go hard or go home

The sporting event offers advertisers a huge platform, but without serious commitment, marketers are better spending their budget elsewhere

As the Super Bowl 50 approaches, marketers should be wary of pouring their time and energy into half-hearted real-time marketing attempts to hijack the day, because just like on the pitch itself, it’s a case of go hard or go home.

The 2015 Super Bowl had an average domestic audience of 114.4 million people (expanding to 160 million globally), making it the most-watched broadcast in the history of US television, with 118.5 million tuning in for the Pepsi-sponsored half-time show starring Katy Perry. The event certainly gets people talking, with more than 28.4m tweets sent and more than 65 million people posting, commenting or at least liking something about the 2015 game on Facebook. Viewership numbers are impressive, but to give it some context, the Fifa World Cup final in 2014 attracted over a billion viewers and, in this world of multi-channel television, only a 47.5% share of US TV ratings.

Related: Five things great brands will do differently on social media in 2016

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Top 7 Tips For Surviving Your First Year As An Entrepreneur

The first year of entrepreneurship is always the hardest. You’re scared silly. You’re a nervous wreck. You’re pulsing with adrenaline. You’re running on caffeine. You’re making life-changing decisions every other minute. You’re lonely. And you’re kicking ass. Entrepreneurship is a form of self-punishment that few people dare to engage in, and in [...]

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How To Take Your Boss's Position In One Simple Step

You’ve had your eye on the corner office for a while. You know for a fact that your boss makes five times as much as you, has a retirement account in the high seven figures, and enjoys unilateral power throughout the company. You want all of that. You want to be [...]

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