2020 has been a challenging year, one that has forced many agencies to reinvent themselves on the fly. David Lillington believes that agencies which have used this time to reflect will be stronger for it when the next crisis emerges.
As with many businesses, the pandemic has given us the impetus, and the time, to reflect.
We are already a distributed organisation, so were lucky to have the technology and the processes in place for this way of working. This allowed us to quickly shift our focus toward planning for a different future when the lockdown took hold.
We invested time into evaluating how different sectors were responding to the crisis, which organisations were succeeding, and the potential challenges that our clients were likely to face in the short, medium, and long-term.
The pandemic is fast-tracking a trend we were already re-shaping the business to address. Clients are increasingly moving away from traditional transactional exchanges, and instead seeking a consultative relationship, regardless of agency size or specialism.
The businesses adapting quickly to this crisis, the ones that will continue to thrive, are seeking strategic advisors, not order-takers.
As many organisations strive to understand the implications of embarking on digital transformation in such a short time frame, and what implications this has for their customers, they are increasingly in need of tried-and-tested expertise to help them overcome these challenges.
Acknowledging this need, and with more time to invest in deeper thinking for our clients, we have accelerated the expansion of our strategic offering over the last few months, cementing Reading Room as a research-led digital consultancy.
We’ve strengthened the integration of our service areas, so that our work delivers broader value to the client. User research and discovery processes are now led jointly by communications and UX specialists.
This deeper integration between teams allows us to unlock insight very early on that can inform and create a rationale for multiple streams of strategy and digital transformation work. It ensures we are always looking at business challenges holistically, regardless of the original brief, by bringing together diverse mindsets and expertise from the outset.
The economic turmoil created by Covid-19 has also revealed a clear demand that is not being met at the opposite end of the market.
There are ambitious, high growth businesses out there that require the expertise and support of a national agency to survive, but don’t have the budget to attract them. As with our enterprise clients, they want a strategic partner to help them define their trajectory and build a digital roadmap to achieve it. But they also want an approach that balances ambition with budget, and can adapt to changing economic circumstances. They need lightweight solutions right now, but want the capability to scale quickly as soon as their business gets the opportunity to grow.
With these two clear market opportunities emerging over the last few months, we have re-shaped and clarified how Reading Room sits alongside our marketing agency brand – Fat Media. This means we can offer a way for new brands to navigate their immediate challenges, but also become a long-term digital partner to enable growth.
With the marketing budget often first to be culled during unstable economic times, it is tempting for agencies to join a ‘race to the bottom’ in a bid to under-cut rivals and clamber for a shrinking pot of marketing spend.
Rather than leaping into a pricing war, as this pandemic-induced recession starts to bite, we challenge agencies to think hard about what it is that clients really value, and what should be realistically relinquished to the client’s in-house team.
We ask clients to work with their partners using an open, collaborative approach towards solving business problems, rather than increasing pressure to deliver the same scope on a smaller budget. We invite long-term thinking over short-term solutions.
It will be the businesses that value evidence-led planning, flexibility to pivot, and diversity of thinking that weather this storm. Those that invest in partners who can offer this expertise will have the resilience to survive and grow, despite an increasingly complex, unpredictable future.
David Lillington, managing director of Reading Room
Much has been written about the power struggle between the rational and irrational powers of the mind — the divided brain, the opposing forces that will convince you to have that extra slice of pizza even though you know you shouldn't.
In Daniel Kahneman’s landmark book, ‘Thinking Fast and Slow’, they are described as two separate systems of thinking; first, the emotional and irrational process that makes you love or hate something, followed by the slower and more thorough process of rational logic.
Balancing the short-term "sugar hits" of performance marketing with the long-term, "slow burn" power of emotional brand building is one of the most powerful ways a brand can grow and succeed in the digital economy of the future.
But despite extensive evidence and research that proves its effectiveness, why is this type of thinking so widely overlooked in marketing? Let's explore.
Brands that achieve a share of voice above their share of market will grow.
Decades worth of research from the brilliant minds at IPA demonstrates that the rate at which a brand will grow will be broadly equivalent to the difference between their share of voice and share of market.
Simply put — the more that your audience hears and talks about you, the more you will grow. That sounds simple, right? Well, it is — and despite the rise of digital marketing, this is still true, so why aren't we doing it?
The truth is that the power and relative ease of performance digital marketing (and the short-term benefits it can deliver) have created a hyper-dependency on quick wins and instant results that are easy to prove through simple metrics.
Digital marketing has developed an addiction to the "sugar hits" of short-term success.
While these short-term, quick-win ad-funded campaigns contribute strongly to the bottom line, they also have such a fast decay that evenue will literally dry up overnight if the campaign is switched off. That means they rarely deliver meaningful long-term effects.
Instead, brands must combine the power of performance marketing with the long-term effects of brand building for maximum efficiency.
As humans, our brains are hard-wired to process emotions much faster and more deeply than rational facts — and every interaction with a meaningful and memorable brand experience will gradually and permanently change the perceptions and intent of your audience.
So, think of brand building as a form of mental training for prospective customers.
Our emotional brains are much smarter and faster than your logical brain thinks it is — without realising it, you make decisions even when you unconsciously think you are choosing not to decide. It's a hard-wired fact of human nature — and one that we often overlook as marketers, despite the evidence and research to prove otherwise.
Why? Because we're obsessed with activation and quick-win results. The "sugar hits" of short-termism.
Each exposure to emotional brand building produces relatively smaller sales improvements, but with a much slower decay than activation campaigns, as they continue to literally change customers' brains over the long-term. This long-term exposure and conditioning will gradually make customers more likely to buy, whilst simultaneously reducing price sensitivity, and other rational barriers that may impact a successful campaign.
The power lies in balancing short-term activation campaigns with long-term brand building that will build brand salience, reduce price sensitivity and deliver much stronger long-term success than either approach in isolation.
Take the graph below as an example: the vast majority of sales in this case study by IPA came from the yellow area — long-term brand building activity, supercharged by short-term bursts of activation campaigns.
By carefully and purposefully combining human interest stories and emotional content with rational, factual messaging and product information, over time a strategy that combines both types of engagement will see considerably better results than those who favour one approach over the other.
To dive deeper into the topic, check out Effectiveness in Context and The Long and Short of It, both by the great minds at IPA.
Emotional engagement and storytelling creates long-term memory, which is a critical part of brand building.
How people feel about your brand matters more than what they think about it — which is why human interest content, emotional responses and even humour (this will obviously depend on the type of brand you are) can have a powerful effect on your audience that is impossible to achieve through rational messaging only.
Let's take a look at some examples:
Google's incredible powerful Superbowl ad for Google Assistant crafts a powerful human story about a man's journey through memories and loss — the ad does a great job of humanising Google Assistant, while completely avoiding any messaging about features, price or availability typically seen in search advertising.
However, this ad creates powerful reactions that make eventual customers more likely to choose Google Assistant over Alexa or other competitors, provided they had the right emotional response.
Cravendale: so good the cows want it back
Cravendale's classic, iconic ad injects a cynical flavour of humour into a category that is price-competitive, and notoriously difficult to differentiate in. Even decades later, their brand of humour makes their brand memorable and powerful.
As humans, our brains are hard-wired to process emotions much faster and more deeply than rational facts — and brands that successfully balance the raw emotional power persuasion with the science of precision and performance, will unlock the keys to much higher and sustainable long-term growth.
After great success in Australia, Openpay, an interest-free buy now, pay smarter service, recently launched their services in the UK.
Openpay has appointed Roast as its first UK digital performance partner, to lead the brand’s online strategy across technical SEO and paid media channels.
As a rapidly growing fintech business, Openpay needed a flexible agency partner to suit their agile ways of working.
Roast has been able to provide an adaptable digital solution based on ‘ring-fencing’ a cross-functional team that is not bound by channels.
With considerable growth in the e-commerce sector recently, Openpay aims to support people in managing their money more responsibly by spreading out payments.
Georgina Whalley, chief marketing officer at Openpay, explains, “Our goal is to provide a transparent and reliable service that helps people manage their cashflow. Openpay allows consumers to buy the things they want and need now and pay over a time to suit them, with absolutely no interest. Just as with our consumers, our partnership with Roast centres around trust, authenticity, and flexibility – their adaptable model is key to us being able to meet our goals in the digital space.”
John Barham, managing director at Roast, adds, “Their principles of transparency and customer-led approach, resonate with us as an agency. Whilst the setup is not a traditional way of working, Roast has become a true extension of Openpay’s in-house team, with both the agency and brand growing through shared learnings and experiences.”
Roast is one of four multiple award-winning agencies that form a specialist digital network, TIPi Group. The independent group also houses voice specialist agency Rabbit & Pork; website development and design agency Kitty; and digital consultancy The Market.
With a difficult 2020 coming to an end, we could all do with a dose of optimism for the next year ahead and luckily there is plenty of data to suggest business recovery will pick up by Q2 2021. Which means brands need to react now to ensure their search is strong enough to fully capitalise on demand, as it returns to normal.
Here, we look at three SEO priorities you need to place at the centre of your search marketing strategy for the next six months.
In response to the coronavirus pandemic, half of UK companies slashed their advertising spend while only 7% said they would increase spending to take advantage of decreased competition and exploit new opportunities.
With 2020 now coming to a close, these opportunities are becoming more apparent. Some 37% of consumers plan to spend more online this year while only 12% say they’ll continue to buy from the same brands, according to a report from McKinsey.
So people in the UK aren’t only buying on new platforms since the pandemic began; they’re also buying from new brands, which means there are a lot of opportunities to be won and lost.
Brands that pulled back on their advertising spend as a result of Covid-19 lost key channels like Google Ads for capturing these buyers. However, 63% of marketers said SEO will become more important during the coronavirus pandemic, highlighting the importance of a strong organic search presence during times of uncertainty.
The key takeaway from this is that, if you’re going to pull back on advertising spend, you need the organic search presence to fall back on. One of the biggest strengths of SEO is that its momentum carries on, even if you reduce spend, while your ads stop generating leads as soon as your spend stops.
SEO is the saviour during times of crisis but diversifying with a comprehensive multi-platform presence puts you in the best position to react to disruptions.
Let’s go back to our earlier stat that 37% of British consumers plan to spend more online this year. This coincides with Amazon sales being up by 37% YoY in Q3 2020 and eBay reporting a 25% increase YoY for the same period. Retailers managing a multi-channel strategy of organic SEO and paid advertising on Google Shopping, Amazon Ads and eBay Ads are in a good position heading into 2021.
Tools like Google Search Console and Google Analytics are staple platforms for search marketers. With Search Console, you can see which queries your website shows for in the SERPs, even when users don’t click through to your site - a powerful tool for optimising your strategy to maximise existing opportunities.
That said, if you rely too heavily on a platform like Search Console, you can lock yourself into an echo chamber where you’re only ever optimising for the existing opportunities Google reveals for you.
What about the opportunities you’re not showing for that Search Console isn’t reporting, though?
Luckily, Google does provide all of the data you need to find these opportunities, as long as you know where to find them. For example, if you type “SEO services” into Google Search, there are two places that reveal related search opportunities on the results page:
Google recommends these searches because they’re relevant to your initial query and they generate high search volumes. In other words, these are keyword opportunities you definitely want to be showing for and you can check whether you are or not by going back to Search Console and checking which queries your website shows for.
Of course, manually running these checks is going to take a lot of time but you can automate this entire process with intelligent automation to ensure you’re always optimising for the best opportunities.
There’s a lot of talk about “share of search” in the marketing world right now and this is even more important, considering all of the shifts that have taken place in 2020. Your share of search helps you identify the size of your existing search presence in relation to the total volume of opportunities available to you.
One way to check this is by using the Audience Overlap tool in SEMrush. All you need to do is type in your website URL and a list of competitors you want to measure against. In the graphic above, you can see Forbes has the largest share with 83.3 million search terms, WSJ and News Week with 28 million each and GQ with 8 million.
Now, the overlap of those bubbles illustrates where these publications are showing for the same queries. More importantly, the areas where there is no overlap shows where each brand is capitalising unique opportunities, and this is where Forbes has built the vast majority of its search presence.
If you find yourself competing against a giant like Forbes, the good news is that this kind of report can reveal how much of your market potential you’re not yet realising. Which brings us back to getting out of your search bubble and finding the opportunities your current datasets aren’t revealing.
If you need help with your SEO heading into 2021, contact us on 02392 830281 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
What felt like a set-back in March has turned into an accelerator pedal. We have implemented more progressive ways of operating as a business in the last six months than in the previous six years. We are leaner, more agile, more productive, self-managed, remote-yet-connected, without geographical boundaries and with trust and autonomy built into our actions. While we miss each other’s company, we are hungrier than ever before to do our best work.
We have doubled down on what we do best and know how to sell, and levelled up on productising our consultancy and innovating new offerings. The rapid growth of e-commerce due to Covid-enforced changes in consumer habits has given us a real platform to add value and help brands to grow online. This has helped us to grow our own revenues.
At the same time, we have been able to reduce our costs. Having no office in use for several months and deciding to re-open in the form of a co-working hub on a single floor (instead of three) represents a cost saving for the future. When you combine this with less travel time to clients and lower running costs, we have been able to strengthen our business model.
It has also given us an opportunity to invest in our team. Supporting home working with contributions for equipment and bills and taking action on climate change to decarbonise beyond our business footprint. Internally, we have facilitated the death of presenteeism. Work where you do your best work is our new mantra. This comes with a need for trust and accountability; I believe high performing teams flourish operating this way.
The nail went in the coffin of internal emails and shared server filing too. More instant and open communication platforms combined with collaborative cloud platforms is more productive and agile.
From a client delivery perspective, while we value face to face meetings and discussion, the discipline and timesaving of video calls outweighs the value of in-person meetings for many more functional conversations.
Flexibility and belief
The most successful agencies in the 2020’s will be the ones that can adapt quickly to change. Agency specialisms will continue to move with consumer behaviour - which has seen the biggest shift to digital engagement in 2020 since smartphone/connected device penetration exploded in the 2010’s. Brands will also feel the value of having trusted experts to support their inhouse capability. We may see an increase in shorter term engagements as brands look to find the best solutions to solve specific needs and are less willing to sign off on long-term retainers with a single agency.
In-housing is going to be big. Brands will look to agencies to support them in different ways, what we’ve dubbed internally as ‘the third way’ – helping brands to build out their own capability with teams performing at an equal level to an agency. We’ve worked in this way with clients in the past with great success and, through recent wins and client conversations we are seeing this need start to grow. It definitely needs agencies to change their approach and work with clients in new ‘consultative’ roles.
For larger organisations, it will take time for them to transition to a fully distributed workforce. The prestige of being at the centre of a vibrant, commercial and creative hub will remain. I think there is a bigger opportunity for smaller agencies to work effectively in networked teams in multiple locations. With the acceptance of video conferencing permeating all strands of businesses, office location is definitely less important than it ever has been.
Looking at what we’ve achieved over this time, some of the decisions would likely never have been taken in the old world, and others would have been a year or more away.
Sam Zindel, co-MD, Propellernet
Although blog posts are an important part of any content marketing strategy, sometimes you need to expand. Here are 5 types of content that aren't blog posts, but will still help you generate traffic and sales.
In this episode, Ralph and Amanda let you know what they think about The Social Dilemma and their 5 biggest takeaways from the movie.
The post Episode 282: The Predictable 5-Step Formula to Sell High Ticket Programs appeared first on DigitalMarketer.
We analyzed 306M keywords to understand the types of queries that people use in Google search. Specifically, we looked at keyword distribution, query length, keyword difficulty, CPC, SERP features, and more. Using data from DataForSEO and Ahrefs, we uncovered some very interesting findings. Now it’s time to share what we found. Here is a Summary …
The post We Analyzed 306M Keywords. Here’s What We Learned About Google Searches appeared first on Backlinko.
In the second installment of his CMO ot CEO column, Paul Evans muses on the leadership lessons marketers can bring to the top job, and what it means to steer the ship in a way that prioritises context over control.
One of the great things about writing this column will be the opportunity to reflect on things that are happening right in this moment, and this week the subjects of good and bad leadership, as well as control, caught my attention.
Last week, an inudstry friend asked posed a question: what type of leader do you want to be? It sparked my interest in the subject.
Whether chief executive or intern, it's a great question for anyone to ask themselves. No matter what role we play in a business, we all have opportunities to demonstrate leadership behaviours, regardless of whether we're managing a team of direct reports, or in any position where we can take responsibility for a function, problem or task that sits in front of us.
As a new chief executive, I am more conscious than ever of wanting to be a ’good’ leader. I wanted to come into Adgile and have people see the best in me and be aware that I would carry their best interests and that of the company at all times.
My background at leading brands and agencies has had me undertake both individual contributor roles, as well as having people management responsibilities. I enjoyed both, but would not profess to be a great leader of people to any extent.
My natural inclinations lean towards mastery and specialism (which I practiced through the delivery of media and integrated comms planning over a number of years). However, in previous roles, this expertise would often run in conflict with empowerment – whether towards my agency partners or my direct reports.
Essentially, my instincts for ownership and the best possible outcomes have meant that I’ve perhaps not given the people I worked with the respect and latitude to perform as they needed or deserved over the years.
With time though, I’ve worked hard to become more self aware.
Empowering through context
As I write this, I’ve been in the chief executive role for a couple of months now, and have been working consciously to set the tone and examples of the kind of leadership that I want the entire business to show and share.
’Context, not control’ is a mantra that I’m stealing and interpreting from Netflix – a business with which I have a rapidly growing admiration, for the way that it has designed its style of leadership and culture.
Leading through context is an incredibly powerful and empowering act on behalf of any leader, and if manifested in culture, can supercharge the talent of any business.
Context is enabling. It allows decision making to move throughout teams – underpinned by trust, candour and talent density – by providing clear guidance as to how to navigate choice, but not dictating the actual course of action. It is the difference between coaching and directing – it’s where I want to hit as a leadership and cultural ’sweet spot’.
This is not to say that control as a leadership style is wrong, it simply needs to be used in moderation and in the correct circumstances, compensating for some of the factors above, where not present, or where required to make progress. Subtle forms of control can be fine – for example the use of specific KPIs to set and track performance where more active management is needed.
As I reflected earlier in this post, my desire as a subject matter expert can be to do and deliver, so my leadership journey will be characterised by working hard to ensure I am empowering and enabling in the majority.
Two stories that caught my eye when I was researching leadership, were ones that reminded me about how important it is for any leader to be mindful of this balance between context and control, and how destructive overt control as a leadership behaviour and culture can become if left unchecked.
You will, I’m sure, have heard about the bullying allegations against Priti Patel, the British home secretary, surfacing through the results of an independent enquiry that – although indemnified her – highlighted many examples of questionable conduct in her leadership role, such as swearing and shouting at her teams.
You may also have read this piece by Campaign’s Brittaney Kiefer, where she led a pretty brutal and candid examination of the bullying traits within our own marketing and advertising industry. This lays things pretty bare, but it’s well worth the long read to appreciate the infectious nature of this kind of leadership and management style in this extreme form.
The leader I want to be
The reason that I highlight these examples is that I have had first-hand experience of – not one, but two – line managers that have led through overt control during my career.
Shouting, pubic disapproval and intimidation, role dilution – I could go on, but you get the picture. It’s not my place to expose anyone – I feel this should have been my responsibility at the time, no matter how difficult the situation – but these are experiences I can learn from, clearly now informing what kind of leader I don’t want to be. I look back at those times with a sense of fulfilment, in that I can now choose a more positive leadership style very different to those individuals – one built on context, not control.
Leadership and culture is never really set – it breathes and it lives through the behaviours and acts of everyone who is part of that organisation, and very often beyond.
I’m incredibly fortunate in that I’m working for a business that is already vibrant, positive and encouraging of its teams. As a custodian – which every chief executive ultimately is – my aim is to build on this foundation, harnessing the power of context through leadership in continuing to build a business where extraordinary people and talent match and fuel the technology and innovation we create.
The upcoming festive season is likely to bring some cheer, after many months of flat consumer demand, in some of the key Southeast Asia (SEA) markets marked by enhanced consumer adoption of mobile, according to Rishi Bedi, vice president and general manager, SEA, Japan, and Korea at InMobi.
Despite what has been one of the most challenging periods for the region since the ’97 financial crisis, South East Asia (SEA) is set to witness a resurgence in consumer sentiment with the upcoming festive season. Kicked off by a slew of online retail sales including, Singles day and Doubles day among many others, the 2020 festive season will ring in a new period of optimism as consumers prepare for Christmas, New Year’s, and the Lunar New Year. But what makes SEA unique, as we gather from our consumer surveys, is the collective yet distinctive shopping experiences centred around mobile. Here is a look at the emerging retail behaviour in some of the key markets in the region
87% of digital buyers to purchase on mobile in Indonesia
Derived from the term ‘Hari Belanja Online Nasional’, translating to National Online Shopping Day, Harbolnas is a month-long online shopping festival spanning from 11.11 (Singles’ Day) to 12.12 (Doubles’ Day), just in time for end of year celebrations. This year has heralded many changes in shopping behaviour with 92% of consumers trying a new way of shopping and 67% sharing that they will be more mindful of where they spend their money, prioritizing price over loyalty. This will also be a mobile-first Harbolnas, with 87% of digital buyers in Indonesia purchasing on smartphones. Apparel and Electronics will be the most popular categories purchased by smartphone users in Indonesia.
86% Filipinos to make pent-up annual purchases during the festivities
A considerable, pent-up demand exists in the Philippines with over 90% of consumers stating that they have delayed their purchases due to the pandemic. This pent-up demand is a great opportunity for brands with 86% planning to make purchases during the festive season. With price sensitivity on the rise, over two-thirds of consumers plan to buy during the biggest sales events. 83% of consumers plan to research products and services on mobile, while two in three connected consumers will close the loop and make their final purchase on smartphones.
Seven in 10 Malaysians will shop for the new year on their smartphones
Malaysians are excited for this festive season with 60% looking forward to traveling back home and ringing in Chinese New Year with their families. In the mobile-first economy of Malaysia, 82% plan to research and 69% plan to buy via their smartphones. What sets Malaysian consumers apart is that over 44% do not plan their purchases ahead of time, presenting a valuable opportunity for marketers in the region. F&B will take the cake in terms of consumers spending closely followed by Apparel.
70% of Vietnamese to travel back home for Tết
As a country, that has been able to tackle the pandemic effectively, 42% of consumers say that there are no changes to their Lunar New Year plans. Travel will remain a critical aspect of the festivities next year, with close to 70% of residents planning to travel home, to celebrate with their families. Smartphones are the most popular gateway to the internet in Vietnam accounting for 67% of consumer research and 59% of purchases. Unlike other regions in ASEAN, Vietnam will see a healthy demand across categories – across electronics, F&B, apparel, beauty, and home furnishings.
The pandemic has meant a paradigm shift in the retail shopping behaviour
While each region may usher in this period in their own unique way, one truth remains across nations: consumer adoption of digital, especially mobile. In fact, one in three consumers learn about sales and discounts via mobile advertisements in certain regions of SEA, beaten only by friends and families as the other reliable source for shopping information.
This mobile centricity is further catapulted by the existing social distancing norms in the new normal. But this does not mean that consumers are shunning away physical retail spaces. Instead, a new shopping order has emerged: click-to-mortar. This online to offline shopping model helps consumers make their choices online in the comfort of their homes, while still offering brands a chance to curate a custom offline experience as shoppers visit in-store to pick up their purchases.
Despite price sensitivity, consumer sentiment is set to make a cheerful return this festive season fuelling the resurgence for brands and retailers.
Rishi Bedi is the vice president & general manager, SEA, Japan, and Korea at InMobi.