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April 2020
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TED’s life lessons from climbing

We love TED – the annual technology, entertainment and design conference that posts videos of its speakers so the world can share them.  It’s well worth browsing through the talks on offer. (We highly recommend Malcolm Gladwell on spaghetti sauce.) It’s also noticing the very cool functionality surrounding each video (social sharing, embedding, transcripts, “what to watch next”). We were very taken with this talk from advertising bod and veteran climber Matthew Childs  (who also has a vague look of the Scottish Government’s web guru Willie Paul about him) taking lessons from the rockface and applying them to real life. And, yes, “don’t let go” is in there.


If the stop sign was created today…

A funny wee video sending up the whole creative process in modern advertising. null – Watch more free videos

Scottish Marketing Association on the digital future

Mark GormanStewart writes: To Denholm Associates in Leith, courtesy of the Scottish Marketing Association, there to scoff and quaff free food and wine. After a while its chairman Mark Gorman was good enough to point out that I was there to take part in a discussion on the future of digital marketing and not to break gluttony records. (I would like to take this opportunity to thank the security staff for being so restrained in removing me from the crisp bowl.) The panel, Mike Coulter, Eliza Dashwood, Scott Howard and me, were led by John Campbell up a spiral staircase to the lurking audience as the theme from Rocky blared out from loudspeakers. (Might have been the music from Question Time but I’m not sure, having been mixing my own brand “Leith rosé” from the drinks cabinet.) The standard of debate was very high and I think the audience of 30 marketing types were interested, judging by the fact that the stayed put instead of stampeding for the exit. Needless to say, I emphasised the centrality of online content to the future of marketing. Aside from a lively debate about whether what was happening online now was the biggest upheaval we’d ever see, the panel agreed on some key points:
  • Digital agencies need to give better service to clients, learning from their “offline” antecedents.
  • The agencies of the future need to be nimble so they can, in Mike’s memorable phrase, “dance on the waterbed” that is the changing landscape.

RIP the page view: not so sadly missed

Those who have worked in evaluating the success of online marketing campaigns will not be surprised to hear of the death of the page view – after a long illness. After its final death throes, the page view’s demise was confirmed by Nielsen/NetRatings in an announcement in July 2007, where it said that it was no longer using the page impression as the primary metric for comparing websites. Culprits in the shuffling off of the PV’s mortal coil include:
  • The increasing use of AJAX which can refresh content without a page reload
  • The increasing use of video.
Nielsen believes that these trends will continue with technology supporting more in-page viewing. This has led to them to use time on site as the comparison metric since it at least demonstrates the value to the customer of on-site content. The reality is that this reflects a deeper shift in the world of online measurement, as analysts try to get to grips with the impact of Web 2.0 technology such as blogging, user generated content, social networks and widgets. Page views clearly do not give insight into the level of audience engagement and although time on site is a step in the right direction, we don’t believe you can rely on it as a single site metric. What you want to know is whether your content engaged with the audience or not. No one single metric will ever satisfy that question. Comparison decisions will be hard particularly for advertisers. New metrics must be considered such as the number of ratings, number of comments, which parts of videos people watched/shared. And to give you a fuller picture of your audience motives qualitative collection through surveys is also required to support the decision making process. Whichever way Web Analytics 2.0 goes certain rules will still apply
  • It’s about intelligence not data

Online marketing and the shakedown 2.0

It looks as if the financial services market is about to go through a major recession. But within every recession the seeds of recovery are always sown and the commercial realism for the economic failing is brought to light. The result is always a shakedown and a more realistic realignment of the industry. For instance, it now seems patently obvious that house prices can’t indefinitely increase at 20-30 per cent a year. You may remember going through a similar phenomenon in the dotcom crash. At the time we were all excited about the birth of a new economy that didn’t obey traditional financial rules. However, the hard logic of return on investment and profitability exposed the flaws in boo.com and the like. The shakedown came and the internet industry grew up and started to act like a proper business. On a smaller scale there is a shakedown and realignment taking place in our internet marketing industry now. For many years we have read about the impending demise of the advertising and marketing agencies, the decline of the newspaper and PR industries because of the new logic inherent in the internet as a communication channel. The realignment and shakedown is actually coming for the online agencies who hold on to the illusion that the most valuable asset to their clients is website design and build. The real value to your customer lies – as it always has done – in the content and the people who understand how to use it to to influence and engage.

Seth Godin: ‘Ideas that spread, win’

The ever excellent TED Talks gives us this video of marketing guru Seth Godin holding forth on: “Sliced bread and other marketing delights”.

The key message is that interesting stuff grabs attention and conveys messages better than stuff which ain’t. (Oh and look out for the way that the TED video lets you skip to the sections you want rather than having to watch the whole thing. This gives a time-poor audience the ability to manipulate the content to make it more effective at reaching them. Smart.)

In a world of too many options and too little time, our obvious choice is to ignore the ordinary stuff. Marketing guru Seth Godin spells out why, when it comes getting our attention, bad or bizarre ideas are more successful than boring ones. And early adopters, not the mainstream’s bell curve, are the new sweet spot of the market.

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Content marketing: a visualisation exercise

Imagine you’re a marketeer who has gone through all the difficult work of getting your content online. You will probably have done your audience segmentation and usability testing, designed your information architecture, created your taxonomies, produced creatives in line with corporate guidelines, selected your CMS, posted and reworked all those volumes of content and then gone through the agony of testing and change management. Phew. Finally, it is accomplished. You have a site designed on sound principles compliant with all online standards. Surely such a well engineered solution must achieve the purpose it was set out to do. And to some extent it has – it has distributed your information in a structured format ready for your segmented audience to view. Now how do you justify all that expenditure to senior management? You supply monthly web statistics on page views, search terms and referring links – possibly, if you’re really sophisticated, broken down by audience segment. And this is the evolutionary point where the best sites are today. “So,” you may ask, “what is problem Mr Content Marketing?” The answer is that after all this good work you need to start thinking about customer engagement and delivering value. In handling all those engineering and standard compliance problems, the actual marketing objective of engaging in a dialogue that delivers values got put to one side. Why? Because it’s outside the expertise of many online agencies. And few agencies really want their performance tied to client business objectives. It’s far easier to deliver a website and job done. Content marketing is the next step for anyone getting a message to an audience. It’s about putting the future of your site in the hands of marketers who think and act like publishers. To illustrate this point: many health sector websites are the equivalent of a medical journal or text book. The information is well structured and all the information is there. But it’s static, sometimes hard to uncover and there is very little scope for change after publication. But if you marketed your organisation through online stories in a health, fitness and lifestyle magazine you would have something that was refreshed regularly and caught the attention and interest of your audience. That’s content marketing.

Marketing guru Seth Godin on content

Juntajoe reports on an audio seminar by Seth Godin, as part of his Meatball Sundae Book Tour. Here’s some key points.
  1. The old way of marketing is where producers talked at customers with consistent interruption. New marketing is about connecting with customers.
  2. Today’s new marketing is a bigger opportunity than any revolution that came along before (Factory, Industrial revolution) because people only need access to ideas, not access to large amounts of capital.
  3. Instead of spending $5 million on advertising, spend $5 million on a great product that people want to talk about.
  4. There is a difference between how many and who. Old marketing was about how many. New marketing is about who. If 12 people are coming to your blog, but they are the right 12 people with large amounts of buying power, that’s what matters.
  5. Permission transferred is permission lost.
  6. Your content: Who is listening? Make something for them. If you make something that solves their problems, they’ll talk about it and tell others.
  7. The gatekeepers have changed. Today’s technology has enabled the destruction of old gatekeepers (have a message to tell and can’t get it out… create a blog then) and the creation of new gatekeepers (those that have 1,000 friends on Facebook).
  8. Figure out why the target needs to pay attention to you? Find information they desperately need (books, blog, research, surveys, etc.) and give it to them. This is the heart of new marketing.