Bright Ideas

The power of content

The power of content

Interruptions are infuriating. There are only so many times that you can demand your audience’s attention and persuade someone to buy a product, consider a service, read more, click here…or whatever your call to action may be.

Since you only get a few chances (if that!) to connect, producing relevant content that brings value to its readers is key to engaging with them.

Positioning yourself as a thought leader in your industry is essential for establishing trust, proving authority, building awareness, and, ultimately, on market share.

But how do you go about creating killer content that will set you apart from the rest?

Be a giver

“The paradox is the more info you give away; the more people will buy what you have to give.”

Brian Clark hit’s the nail on the head. Your reader must feel like he or she has something to gain – or else they’ll quickly disengage.

Show them your unique perspective. Teach them something they didn’t know. Give advice that they can act on.

Business leaders want to learn before they invest, so set out to inform your audience – not to pitch to it. This not only shows that you know your stuff, but establishes an association between you and added value.

Be readable

This is obviously essential – but often overlooked. Your content has to be effortlessly digested, if is to pack a punch.

Be clear. Be concise. Be compelling. Make sure it is easy to absorb:

• Utilise bullet points (see what I did there?)
• Use images to break up the text
• Bold key words so that they stand out
• Look at the typography and font size
• Consider column width
• Think about colour
• How are the lines spaced?
• Where will your ‘call to action’ go?

It is important that your content is, not only readable, but also usable. Make it interactive by including links – both to other areas of your own site and to relevant third party content if this applies.

Incidentally, there is more on how to write better copy.

Sharing is caring

So, you’ve written something tremendous? In today’s world (where cat videos go viral in minutes) you need to ensure that your content is shareable.

Integrate social sharing tools to make it is easy for your reader to spread the word – your word.

All you need is a button, for example, that allows your reader to tweet your content with one click of the mouse. There are a ton of tools out there to help you to encourage others to promote your work. Help them to help you.

Think SEO

Not only do you want to enable someone to share your stuff – you also want others to be able to stumble upon it.

To boost your search engine ranking, and help readers find your content online, you will need to assign it at least one strong key word. You will then need to optimise your content, and its metadata, for your chosen terms.

This might involve doing some initial key word research (again, there are several tools to help you with this) but it will pay dividends in the end.

Read more on the do’s and don’ts of SEO.

Build a strategy

Yes, you can write something that will rock your reader’s world, but it’s what you do with your content that really counts:

• How is it distributed? Through which channels, on what devices, and in what form?
• To whom is it delivered?
• Where is it hosted?
• How regularly is it updated?
• Is it consistent?
• Is it relevant?
• Is it current – and how do you plan to keep pace with hot topics?
• What is the overall objective?
• Who is going to follow up – and how?

How you promote your content is truly essential – or your words may fall on deaf ears. If it’s searchable, shareable, and you’re shouting about it, you have a powerful weapon at your disposal.

At Bright Innovation we believe that if you get your content marketing right, it will speak for itself, and help you to build the relationships that will ultimately drive revenue.

If you’d like to talk about the kind of approach that might work for you, contact a member of the Bright team!

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Lydia KirbyThe power of content
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Smashing the 1,000-attendee target for your next virtual event

Webinar recap: How agile marketing powered TECHNIA's virtual event

Smashing the 1,000-attendee target for your next virtual event

The latest in the Bright agile marketing in action webinar series went live on 23 June 2020 and it was a hit! We brought together the best and brightest in strategic marketing to explore what it takes to create ground-breaking virtual events. Joining us for a discussions were CMO, Ghassan Sultan and Marketing Project Manager, Lisa Granton, key players at TECHNIA, one of our top clients. Together, we explored how they managed to smash their 1,000-attendee target at the recent PLMIF 2020 event. So, what’s the critical success factors for creating a virtual event that scores leads and builds your brand?

Agile marketing powers virtual events

Our webinar poll discovered that 96% of organisations have moved their events online. The global work culture has changed in response to Covid-19 and it’s not just a temporary fix. Your next event will be online, but it has to stand out from the crowd. To do this effectively, your event must capture the needs and goals of your audience and provide the tools and information they need to readily adapt and keep pace in a changing market.

So, where to start?

Embrace agile marketing

As the Bright team discussed in our webinar:

“Marketers need the ability to adapt, move at pace and be resilient to changing markets and organisation dynamics – this has been critical during Covid-19 and will continue to be relevant as we prepare for Brexit,”

In short, agile marketing is the common-sense approach to optimising what you have and experimenting with new tactics, tools, messaging and channels to reach your campaign KPIs.

When creating virtual events, an agile way of working allows you to bring together a cross-functional team to test, learn and continually improve your strategies, messaging and tactics throughout the event lifecycle – driving engagement and leads before, during and after your live event. Using valuable data insights to understand what works for your audience and what doesn’t, giving you the power to create an event that makes a lasting impact and builds your reputation in your industry.

The TECHNIA success story

TECHNIA came to Bright with a bold vision. They wanted to change the way events were delivered, capitalise on high-value content and reach a global audience. Ghassan walked us through TECHNIA’s goal to transform how they host events and attract a large audience. What started as a costly physical event turned into an ambitious vision for an innovative knowledge-sharing virtual event.

Ghassan’s vision for TECHNIA’s PMLIF 2020:

  • Target 1,000 global attendees
  • Capitalise on existing digital content and try new channels
  • Be 100% sustainable in line with TECHNIA’s #GoExplore movement
  • Cut time and budget from £100,000 in 4-8 months to £10,000 in 4-8 weeks

It was clear that such a brilliant event demanded extraordinary KPIs. Always ready for a challenge, Bright jumped at the opportunity to engage and drive leads from global tech leaders throughout the event lifecycle. We helped create a multi-channel marketing strategy, delivering key messaging for different target audiences through different media across the three-month campaign.

“Transitioning from physical to virtual really takes effort and your team is vital to success,” said Ghassan. “Bright’s agile marketing approach seamlessly integrated with our team. Thanks to the regular stand-ups and strong data insights, we were able to quickly change tactics to reach 2,000 attendees – an incredible success!”

Critical success factors to creating a compelling event:

  • Setting clear, strong KPIs
  • Testing and iterating messaging
  • Providing quality on-demand content

TECHNIA’s marketing manager, Lisa Granton, also highlighted the power of data-driven decision making and communication to drive success:

“Throughout the agile marketing process, we received constant feedback on what was working and what wasn’t, and the Bright team responded with great energy to perfect our messaging. We were able to keep developing and improving throughout our campaign.”

For more details, see our TECHNIA Virtual event success case study

What is the future of TECHNIA events?

Agile marketing is a different way of working and we have seen its tremendous power to transform teams and encourage cultural change. After the success of the PLMIF 2020 virtual event, TECHNIA noticed a dramatic change in their ways of working and how they approach creating future virtual events. “We found we were less focused on large, far-reaching strategies and more focused on starting small – setting short-termed goals and daily tasks to effectively reach our long term, big KPIs.”  It’s safe to say the next PMLIF event will be crafted with agile marketing.

According to Ghassan, PLMIF2020 will also be hybrid. Taking the lessons they’ve learnt on how to deliver a successful event, they’re planning to create a roadshow of small, local physical events followed by a large global virtual event.

Learnings from the webinar Q&A

How do you engage sponsors?

Create sponsorship opportunities, tailored to your partners and get them to help promote the event. TECHNIA saw wave after wave of partners getting involved in promotion and Bright provided a toolkit of engaging messaging for easy promotion by partners.

How do you nurture leads?

Divide your team into two, focussing one on attracting leads and hitting your target with high-level messaging, and the other on nurturing leads through email, LinkedIn and other keep warm tactics.

How do you evaluate what platform works best to support a large virtual event?

Pinpoint your goals – do you want to make your virtual event look and feel like a physical conference with booths and networking opportunities? Or do you simply want to share knowledge and create dialogue with your audience? Once you’ve shortlisted your options, speak to reference clients and leverage their experience with the different platforms to make your choice.

You also have the option of building your own platform! If like TECHNIA, you know what you want and you have the skills and resources, build a platform that suits your needs.

How do you drive people to attend the live event on the day and not the on-demand?

TECHNIA advertised that they would be sharing content during the live event that hadn’t been viewed or discussed before. Combined with the multi-channel campaign we ran and Bright also provided a toolkit of eye-catching comms to help the TECHNIA sales team invite attendees to their virtual booths.

Where can I find additional resources?

Have a read through our top tips for creating a stand-out virtual event:

 

Want to learn more? Watch the full event today, on-demand for viewing at your leisure. And if you’d like to have your say in the conversation on agile marketing or virtual events, join our Agile Marketing Club Meet Up group. See you there!

Lydia KirbySmashing the 1,000-attendee target for your next virtual event
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Five tips to a successful Webinar

Five tips to a successful Webinar

When your audience can no longer come to you, creating engaging virtual and digital experiences has become vital for businesses, now more than ever. From webinars to masterclasses to 3-day virtual conference events, virtual knowledge sharing has fast become the new normal. Pre-pandemic, over 50% of businesses planned to increase the number of webinars they produced in 2020 and we can assume this has increased vastly in the last few months. Businesses are having to pivot quickly, switching physical events to online events, with webinars being the popular option for many marketeers. They are a highly effective way of building an audience and launching it at speed.

In a recent post, we discussed the best time to host a virtual event for a global and local audience. Read on for some more top tips to hosting a successful webinar (like our recent one, Agile in Action).

Tip 1: Create engaging content

You have an average of 50 minutes with an audience of prospects, so webinars are a powerful marketing tool, but you need great content to keep them engaged. A visually appealing, text light presentation can increase engagement from the viewers and result in more highly qualified leads. Choose a niche topic that is relevant, touches on your target audience’s pain point(s), and is something you can provide expertise on – and a solution.
Got a lot of information to share? Kick-start a regular stream of content. Building a hub of webinars on your website establishes your company as a thought leader in the sector. As you run more sessions, you’ll learn what works well with your audience and continuously optimise your performance.

Tip 2: Promote your webinar everywhere

Content is key for an engaging webinar but so is the promotion. How many times do you register for a webinar, receive a reminder almost a month in advance and possibly the day before, but still forget about it or remember too late?

Promotion should start a minimum of two weeks before, but we would recommend earlier – four – six weeks. Naturally, a longer promotional period will boost registration rates and can increase the number of attendees on the day.

It takes time, and multi-channel campaigns for people to be aware and excited about your webinar. Promote it everywhere – on social, blog posts, your website, via your partners and through email – still one of the biggest drivers of webinar registrations at 57%. Rather than hammering home the same event reminders, add valuable supporting content to the mix. For example, relevant blogs, speaker information, a kick-start guide or infographic – all of which help set the scene and build enthusiasm, ensuring your audience doesn’t fatigue.  This is about those who have registered for the webinar too – what content will they find interesting? Keeping registrants’ warm helps increase live attendance and interaction.

Don’t forget to start planning and creating your post-webinar follow-up communications (see tip 5). Whether they attended live or not, this is the beginning, and arguably most important step, when converting webinar leads from MQL to SQL.

Tip 3: Engage and interact with your audience

92% of webinar attendees are looking for a Q&A / opportunity to ask questions. So ask registrants to send in their questions pre-webinar. Not only does this keep your registrants thinking about your event but it gives you time to prepare answers to those questions and time to manage extra ones that come in during the Q&A.

Selecting a reputable webinar platform that you can trust and that provides the right user experience. Zoom, On24, Microsoft Teams, Go To Webinar, Google Hangouts – there are a wide range of platforms but choose one that is secure, can integrate seamlessly with your martech, and is easy for your team to use (they will be in control on the day). Take advantage of polls and quizzes (included in some of these platforms) during the webinar to get live feedback from the audience during the event.

Tip 4: Practice makes perfect

Bring together your script, slides (even if they’re still in draft) and any guests or hosts for the webinar and do a dry run at least once before the big day. This will help everyone understand timings, allow you to refine the presentation further and give your speakers time to gel-together. It’s also a good opportunity to iron out any technical hitches before the go live! Ensure you have the best equipment – microphone, cameras etc. to eliminate any technical issues and help build your confidence!

Tip 5: After curtains close, game time

So, the webinar has finished and it was a success – well done! The 24-48 hours after the webinar is key. Ensure you follow-up with attendees, thank them for joining and provide them with the recording and slides. Don’t forget about the contacts who registered but didn’t log-on live (up to 35% of webinar sign-ups are people who will want to watch it on-demand) so get the recording and slides over to them too, and thank them for registering.

Go the extra mile – these are you prospects after all – offer free templates to help them get started, a relevant report or thought leadership piece. Anything the attendees didn’t anticipate receiving is an added bonus!

Finally, timely delivery of your well-planned follow-up nurture emails (see tip 2), start now. Over the next few weeks you need to do everything you can to convert some of those prospect leads into customers. Don’t expect them to come to you, they have shown their level of interest across the last few weeks as they have engaged (or not) with your content and virtual event. Now it’s time to nurture them, connect on LinkedIn and find out if there is an opportunity to be won!

Our upcoming webinar will go over How to succeed at virtual events, including how you can make the most of your events. The webinar will take place on Wednesday 24th June, 11am BST. Register now to save your seat.

Check out our previous blog posts on virtual events, including When to hold a virtual event and a summary of our last webinar, Agile in Action.

Zoe MerchantFive tips to a successful Webinar
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Are you getting through?

Are you getting through?

Critical success factors at the sharp end of communication

It is difficult to think of a time where there has been greater risk and turmoil in the world, especially in the last 50 years, and this creates a difficult position for those charged with communicating to employees, partners or clients.

Of course, Coronavirus is just one example of business disruption, anyone remember Brexit? Highlighting why the ability to communicate in tough times is so important.

The damage and cost in terms of lost clients, talent and reputation of poor communication practice is unquantifiable. High performance businesses know that clear, consistent and timely communication is key to business resilience and even more so during times of rapid change. Here are my top five critical success factors for communicating successfully, now and as we move through the downturn:

Don’t stop communicating

Never stop communicating, that’s it. Whenever faced with ambiguity there’s a natural reaction not to say anything until we are absolutely clear on our response. Employees and clients will usually already be aware of the issues, starting to worry about the impact and hypothesising on how best to deal with the situation. Even if you can share very little factual information, employees need to know their leaders are scenario planning and working on solutions. When things are uncertain that is when communication is most important. If there’s silence from the top, people will fill in the gaps themselves and it’s unlikely to be in a positive way.

Never speculate

Be as transparent as you can be. No one will expect you to have all the answers, but they will need to feel that you are sharing what you can and being honest about what you don’t know yet. Of course, the flip side is that it is equally important that you don’t feel pressurised into communicating something that you’re not totally confident about. If you are not 100% sure something is true, don’t share it. Validate your information before communicating it – never speculate! Let people know that you’re working on getting an answer and will come back to them as soon as you have it. Drip feeding progress updates is a good way to minimise frustration and provide reassurance to your team, clients and prospects whilst you fully understand the situation.

Show empathy

It’s important that communications are as much about giving people the information they want to hear, as it is about the information you want to tell them. Understanding where the areas of highest concern are, and ensuring you are providing people with the information that you can around those areas, will demonstrate understanding, empathy and ensure your comms are authentic. Have a plan and be upfront about when they will receive further information to keep them informed.

Take the information to the people

Too many organisations hide behind email. Although it is an effective channel of communication it should not be the default for everything. 

When people are worried, face-to-face is the best way to engage and when that’s not possible you need to think about how you can use tools like video conferencing to ‘bring people into the room’. The use of video conference has vastly increased since COVID-19 and as human beings we rely on sight more than any other sense so it’s not surprising. People are far more likely to trust a message when they can see the person delivering it and it can offer the opportunity for QA and sharing ideas that will help you plan further communications and really understand what the concerns are for your people or clients.

Digital channels should be understood and used to reach key audiences to enable effective communications. Comms leaders need to become masters of data and insight so they can understand performance through reporting on engagement across digital tools including email and collaboration tools such as teams, slack and intranet traffic to underpin recommendations for the next wave of comms or tactics to improve results.

Build in agility

Resilience and flexibility are key. As we all know, situations can change quickly so your communications planning needs to be agile. Introduce new ways of working so that your comms team and key stakeholders in the business can work as a cross functional team to adapt quickly, respond appropriately to ever changing situations and developing a test, learn and improve culture. Use data and insight to understand the performance of key channels, how well you are reaching your audience and inform your next communication activities to adapt your plan and ensure those that need to be informed and act on critical information, do so.

Of course, there is still the challenge of a recession ahead and those businesses who have the greatest agility and ability to adapt at pace will be most likely to survive and thrive. These are interesting times for everyone and having the right narrative and communicating with clarity so everyone understands key information, the role they should play and the actions needed is going to be critical in determining how well your organisation will be able to navigate through the downturn.

Tough times don’t last but agile businesses do. Find out more about agile marketing and communications and how it can help you.

Alexandra JefferiesAre you getting through?
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The 3 Building Blocks of Agile Marketing

The 3 Building Blocks of Agile Marketing

Although many forward-thinking and innovative marketers are already reaping the benefits of the more efficient, agile way of working, with 71% of our survey respondents adopting agile techniques to help them get to market faster this is a common first reaction when discussing agile marketing transformation. You might understand the concept in the general sense, but few can identify what agile marketing actually is, and perhaps even more importantly, what it isn’t.  

Incorporating agility is not about making quick, unfounded decisions as fast as possible to meet a deadline, but about strong, data-driven decision making at pace reacting to market change and continuously learning for optimised results that provide key takeaways for the next sprint of the project. 

There are three core aspects of the agile approach, all of which work together in a successful agile marketing delivery. Check out each component in terms of why it’s important to marketing as a wider function as well as why it is a focus of marketing with agility and pace. If you’d like a more in-depth explanation of what agile is, before deep diving into its components, see our introductory guide. 

Creating the culture 

As the first building block, People is one of the most overlooked and underrated assets of any business. Your team are the driving force that pushes your business forwardan unlimited creative resource and original idea generator that knows no bounds and a big part of the products or services you provide.   

When incorporating agility into your marketing strategy, it is people that will deliver to deadlines, meet campaign KPIs and ultimately ensure the success of this project and beyond.  

The core principles that drive success in an agile team are ownership and transparency. Individuals take responsibility for what they produce, avoiding siloed work by providing transparency to the rest of the team, or Agile Hub.   

Before any project begins, a culture of change and learning with team members is established, creating togetherness, alignment and a positive attitude towards achieving a shared objective. Stakeholder mapping is conducted so as to understand existing processes, dividing roles and responsibilities in a strategic, efficient way. With the internal marketing team’s skills and capabilities reviewed to identify gaps and to help identify how agile marketing experts, such as Bright, can best support throughout the project.  

The natural pace of agile marketing makes it an exciting environment for employees who are willing to embrace a move away from a more traditional approach and they are likely to come away with invaluable learnings for future projects. Without realising, you’ve created a more attractive place to work.  

 Pragmatic process and ways of working 

The second element of an agile marketing strategy is process. As we work towards the set KPIs, embedding new ways of working and improving performance is key.  

Within the sphere of B2B, marketing professionals can be all-too quick to deny the flaws of current processes, instead looking to blame external factors for underperformance. In fact, it’s often only when a project is exposed to a fresh pair of eyes, exploring the unexplored, that holes, flaws and areas for improvement within existing processes come to light. 

When adopting an agile approach, you actively seek and identify issues and risks, as well as the dependencies and barriers that can affect the outcome. By being proactive, you not only minimise the likelihood of risks becoming issues, but you also have a better idea about dependencies and can establish effective workarounds as and when required.   

By applying the test, learn, iterate model to developing processes, businesses are able to make tweaks and amendments to optimise activity based on data combined with previous experience to establish a closed feedback loop and cultivate continuous improvement. In addition, workplaces encourage a culture of learning within teams, empowering internal teams and providing the know-how to continually achieve fantastic results.  

Optimised technology and data driven decisioning  

Technology is seamlessly integrated throughout the marketing function, enabling pace, data visibility and informed decision making. This may sound too ideological; tech is often seen as a barrier and too regularly large investments are made only to be side-lined by excel docs, but it’s the third and final building block.  

Technology has revolutionised the marketing function to allow for capabilities marketing managers could only dream of a few years ago. According to a report from 2018, there are 2.5 quintillion bytes of data created each and every day, a number that is likely to have accelerated along with the growth of the Internet of Things.  2018, there are 2.5 quintillion bytes of data created each and every day, a number that is likely to have accelerated along with the growth of the Internet of Things.  

In order to inform your strategies and create data-driven decisions, it’s essential to put the right tech in place to gain actionable insight. Avoid vanity stats and focus on what can effect change in your results, having a large number of visits to a landing page has little value if they don’t engage with any content on the page or convert.  

Adopting agile ways of working removes the perceived barriers outlined above, recognising the role played by technology, championing the use of automation, CRM and project management software. Map your existing martech, identify the gaps and create an adoption plan to ensure your technology is being used effectively to support the wider marketing team. Learn more about how you can optimise your technology with our recent blog post, Making the most of your martech stack   

Could your team benefit from an agile marketing approach? Contact us today to talk further about your current marketing strategy and how the fantastic team here at Bright will be able to help.

Lydia KirbyThe 3 Building Blocks of Agile Marketing
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Is the honeymoon over for WFH?

Is the honeymoon over for WFH?

Craving the office just a little bit? Some tips for getting back into the WFH groove

Most of us have now been working from home since early March and with the future looking uncertain on how office life moves forward, some people are finding the WFH honeymoon almost over. With communication platforms like Microsoft Teams and Zoom trying to keep us excited with new backgrounds and functionalities, it still seems to be getting a bit much. People are craving human interaction with colleagues.

Finding the balance to ensure productivity and a happy home life is hard, especially when we are so restricted on social aspects and juggling teaching children with a full-time job and trying to protect our more vulnerable nearest and dearest by keeping ourselves to ourselves. The norm would take the teaching kids out of the equation or have us leaving the house in the evening to go for a relaxing drink or a family dinner, while currently, we eat sleep and breath office surroundings in the comfort of our own homes.

Here are some top tips on how you can keep productive, healthy and sane whilst WFH:

Keep on moving:

You’ve heard it before, but we’ll say it again, exercise is oh so important and helps heaps with keeping your brain productive and sleep patterns in check. Staying in the house day in, day out is hard and going for a 20-minute run at lunch or putting on a home workout video helps refresh your mind and breaks up the day. Keep moving. We know it’s hard but try and get yourself into a routine and join a fitness tracking app – it’s a great way to keep motivated when seeing your friends and colleagues do the same and can get a bit competitive, which is always healthy!

Draw a line between your desk and home life:

If you can, keep your desk separate from your home life. This can really help but understandably, isn’t possible for everyone. If you don’t switch off, your productivity will suffer and even though you are working longer hours, your quality of work may take a hit.

Stay organised and don’t give up:

Being organised is a well-desired trait and some of us don’t have that gift, but since the pandemic, we have had to adapt overnight and ensure we are planning, staying efficient and keeping our to-do lists ticked. Don’t give up – spend some time before or after work setting out the day ahead. Take five minutes to formulate a to-do list, tidy your workspace and get ahead. No one wants to start the day in a flap with no plan, don’t make it harder for yourself to stay productive. There is some great tech out there to help with that or a good old notebook and pen is sufficient!

Children need attention, and that’s ok:

Companies understand we are in a parallel world right now and having a full-time job working and educating your offspring is hard. Don’t beat yourself up if they only spent half the day learning and the other half watching Moana – it’s to be expected. There are lots of free online tools out there to help support with this balance and a lot of teachers are keen to supply extra activities and worksheets – so don’t be afraid to ask for the help. No one is judging you.

Be creative:

Take on a hobby to help you zone out from the one or two jobs you may be juggling. Who knows, you may even find something you’re really good at. I pretty much think I’m Monet now with the 2 paintings I completed in lockdown and my colleagues have just purchased a pottery making kit to start creating ceramics from home, so we are expecting to see video evidence of the iconic scene from Ghost make an appearance soon!

Ghost GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

There is such a thing as brain food:

It’s hard to do all the above and still have an ounce of energy to keep on top of your health – we get that. But brain food does exist and the healthier foods you eat – the more energy you will have and the easier it will be to stay on track with the WFH life. Don’t get us wrong, a takeout here and there is the only way through the new life of no eating out. It’s balance you want to focus on. So, enjoy that kebab on a Friday night because you worked hard all week and you deserve it. It’s guilt-free.

This pandemic has challenged us all in more ways than one but staying positive and not putting ourselves under unnecessary pressure is as important as that to-do list you have sitting in front of you. There is light at the end of the tunnel! To read more check out our ultimate guide on working from home.

Alexandra JefferiesIs the honeymoon over for WFH?
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Infographic: 5 quick steps to optimise your website

Infographic: 5 quick steps to optimise your website

Time to work on some marketing updates for your business? We have created an infographic to summarise some high-level quick wins on how you can optimise your website to engage more of your audience and generate new leads. Take a look to see where you can improve.

So, there you have it, some tips on ensuring your side is giving your target audience the ultimate user experience journey. If you want to discover more ways to transform your marketing, check out our blog on ‘Getting started with agile marketing‘.

Alexandra JefferiesInfographic: 5 quick steps to optimise your website
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Agile Marketing in Action: Adapting to Survive and Thrive

Agile Marketing in Action: Adapting to Survive and Thrive

The Bright webinar, Agile marketing in action: Adapting to survive and thrivewent live on Wednesday, 29 April, 11am and safe to say we loved the experience! The virtual event attracted marketing professionals across a diverse range of industries, and it was a brilliant opportunity for us to drive the conversation on all things agile.  

So, What is Agile Marketing?

The session kicked off, after brief introductions to speakers, by defining the term agile, exploring the success of agility in a broader sense in relation to efficiency, pace, innovation, and reduction of issues and risks. Three core values and principles from the original manifesto were then drawn upon in more detail: 

  • Customer focus – spotlight on the buyer journey and how to engage and interact along the way 
  • Experimentation – using a test, learn, iterate approach to generate data-driven insights and results 
  • Minimal viable approach – using short, adaptive strategies to demonstrate success 

Given the current circumstances affecting businesses across the globe, it was important to mention the COVID-19 outbreak to set context and avoid the overused term ‘unprecedented circumstances’, from dominating the conversation. To do so, we explored why agile marketing is no longer a nicety but now business critical and how this ability to adapt to market disruption is crucial for companies of all shapes and sizes.  

We also discussed the challenges our clients and most other marketers are having to deal with at the momentincluding frozen budgets, organisational paralysis and poor change managementThat said, we are starting to see the most forward-thinking firms focus their attention on lead generation and client retention activities to ensure pipelines don’t fall off a cliff. This means they can build momentum and new business to safeguard their businesses and meet revised sales targets for later this year.  

Sian Heaphy, Agile Lead at Bright shared the results of our recent Future of B2B Marketing Report diving into the detail of the survey we undertook and its key findings as well as exploring what these insights actually mean for marketers now. Summing up with the benefits of agile marketing supported by the survey findings and the long-term, tangible benefits we uncovered for teams that adopt an agile way of working  

“It’s given teams greater flexibility, transparency and control over their project tasks. They’re more empowered to collaborate, experiment and react quickly to change when their ideas are validated through the test, learn and iterate approachcritical success factors for resilience.” – Sian Heaphy   

Next, Adrian Brooks, Change Lead at British Medical Association (BMA) talked about his experience of introducing agile marketing to take a new proposition to marketThis lively discussion detailed the BMA’s journey to inject agility and pace into their marketing practices, barriers to adoption (and how they overcame them) and the results and long-term benefits achieved through the adoption of agile marketing 

The session ended with an interactive Q&A, with Adrian and Sian fielding questions from the audience. There were lots of thought-provoking questions we didn’t have time to cover so we’ve created a complete Q&A below for reference.

Q&A

How would you implement agile as a way of working in a traditional environment? 

The key is to start small. You aren’t going to become an agile marketing team overnight. Find a pilot project (proposition development and / or go to market campaigns work really well for a pilot) where you can test a hypothesis using new ways of working.  

Work with an experienced partner (like Bright) and select a handful of your team to work on the pilot and establish an agile marketing hub (3-5 members is a good number) and get them bought into the vision and what you’re trying to achieve. Give them the support and resource they need to run the pilot independently from other activity, taking into account any BAU work they are responsible for.  

I see in the research and the Future of Marketing Report the biggest barrier to getting started with agile marketing is lack of buy-in from leadership – do you have any tips on overcoming this? 

At BMA we were lucky that at a project level, the leadership team was very supportive. We were working on a new proposition targeting a new market so from the get-go the project ethos was to be different and try new things. There was some resistance within the senior leadership due to the new ways of working suggested so we had to build the business case and confidence for this. Demonstrating why being agile and adaptable would help us get better results and help the in-house team get experience. 

BMA had a multi-pronged stakeholder management approach – engaging with the members, steering committee and senior management at a formal level and at a 1:1 level with key people. Regular reporting and transparency on project progress was really critical to generating their buy-inAgile focus on data and the ability to provide them with insight at every stage to demonstrate the learnings and value we were generating on a week by week basis was invaluable to getting engagement and buy-in. 

What tools do you manage each sprint?  

Tooling is a question we see a lot, and it was one of the biggest barriers to adopting agile marketing identified in our survey. 

From a project management perspective, there are a number of ways to get started. Trello is a great tool to get started with to build a simple Kanban board that you can use to create your sprint backlog and monitor progress throughout the sprint. 

For a lot of our projects we use Monday.com which offers the same benefits as Trello but is a much more robust project management tool where everyone can easily understand status and prioritiesIt’s also accessible anywhere by the team which has been important as project team hubs are working remotely.  

From a physical perspective at its simplest, creating a workspace in your office where you can create a Kanban board using a white board or post-it notes can be just as effective. In the current climate this isn’t possible, but it can be a great way of bringing the team together in one area to collaborate.  

The key to successful sprint management is to make sure that whatever tool or mechanism you’re using to track sprints is being utilised by the team, so you get the visibility you need to understand progress. 

Collaboration tools are also key for successful agile hub and management whether you’re using Microsoft Teams, Slack, Skype or any other communication tools, creating a virtual area where team members can interact, collaborate and communicate is critical. 

We also use Mural for many virtual creative ideation sessions and to capture retrospectives at the close of each sprint.  

Did your sprint targets vary or were they quite consistent over time? How many targets were identified for each sprint? 

The short answer is yes. It’s important to create an overarching goal or KPIs for the project or campaign as a whole and then break it down into specific goals or KPIs for each sprint that will move you towards achieving the project goal. 

The great thing about agile ways of working is that it’s data-driven, so you can regularly review your metrics and update and change as you progress. It’s about finding what works and optimising to help you achieve your goal(s). 

Culture – I find that is the major challenge, genuinely the hardest piece. Any suggestions? How do you get people to buy into the process? 

At BMA, they had a very traditional ways of working with siloed teams, so breaking down that culture was really difficult. It was the biggest challenge/barrier to success. We had really fixed ways of working. One of the ways that we started to break this down was to bring managers into the agile hub so we could talk about the process and resources required in real terms. What was needed at each stage and who would be responsible for it. And giving managers that clarity on how the different elements worked together really helped to break down these ingrained ways of working.  

Communication is really important and giving members of the team clear roles and autonomy over their tasks is really powerful, empowering the teams to make their own decisions. With any change you’ll find members of the team who are open to it (and can become great ambassadors for these new ways of working) and others who see it as a threat. Communicate the vision, what you’re trying to achieve and what role they can play in delivering that (and provide the training and support needed to help them) is a great way to start bringing them on that journey.  

If you missed our webinar but like the sound of what you’re reading, fear not, as the recording is now available! View the Agile in Action: Adapting to Survive and Thrive webinar today, join our Agile Marketing Club Meet Up group and keep an eye on our social channels for announcements of the next webinar, coming soon to a home-office near you!  

Sian HeaphyAgile Marketing in Action: Adapting to Survive and Thrive
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Unlock agility with LinkedIn

Unlock agility with LinkedIn

Why you should be on LinkedIn now more than ever

The outbreak of Covid-19 has forced the majority of the world to work from home, children to be kept out of school, and trips outside to only be taken once a day for exercise or when collecting and delivering essentials. This is new for all of us and it has unnerved a lot of people into thinking that their marketing actions need to stop until all this is over.

But now more than ever, marketing is critical. It’s the one survival tool at your disposal capable of seeing your business through to the end of this crisis and ensuring success in the years to come. If you’re looking for a simple, cost-effective way to hone your marketing focus, LinkedIn is the place to be. By increasing visibility across the top networking app for business, you’ll keep customers engaged with your brand, stay in touch with partners and suppliers, and build pipeline through steady lead generation. What’s more, the number of users is increasing, with more professionals than ever jumping on to share news, knowledge and business tips for success in times of market disruption.

So, we know LinkedIn is the place to be right now, but you’ll still need a proper strategy to make the most of all this tool has to offer.  Now certainly isn’t the time to fire off connection requests and LinkedIn ads without a second thought. There’s a lot to take into consideration when formulating your messaging.

Here’s how to do it:

1. Don’t ignore COVID-19

It’s here, it’s affecting everyone, and it will have an impact on business for years to come. It is already changing the way people live, work and interact. Acknowledge that and acknowledge the hardship in your messaging. Don’t act like it’s just business as usual. This crisis should unite us.

2. Outline how you can help right now

Pitching what was useful back in January when we were all devising our 2020 strategies won’t be of any help or interest right now. Make that mistake and you’ll find yourself reposted with #marketingfail. Take some time to creatively rework your proposition as a benefit in the immediate term and clearly explain how your service will help companies get back on their feet.

3. Do your research

If you’re struggling to answer the point above, then you need to go back to the research stage. Don’t stop building pipeline but do reassess your target accounts and verticals quickly.  Take the time to fully understand the impact this global crisis will have on your clients’ target markets, then tailor your messaging and service to ensure you’re offering support they need. Retaining existing clients is key to future revenue, so make sure they feel reassured and well managed.

4. Stay relevant

Give your audience the useful tips and how-to guides they need to easily get started with your service or product. Be there as the helpful thought leader of that space when you respond to connections or jump in forum threads, the one they turn to when they need further guidance or support throughout this crisis. And, now that we’re all at home, turn your content into interactive virtual events to inform, engage and inspire your LinkedIn network.

5. Be personal

This is an opportunity to build relationships and contact prospects you haven’t been able to reach — consider Account Based Marketing (ABM) to help open up dialogue. With everyone working from home and social distancing, people are now more responsive to an invitation to discuss over a virtual cup of tea (or coffee) and intro video calls. Plus, you’ll have plenty of common ground to discuss and knowledge share in how to combat the impact of COVID-19.

From individual professionals to global enterprises, LinkedIn is the number one social media tool for business right now, and your key to surviving this period of massive market disruption. By researching the impact, pivoting your message accordingly and creating engaging content, your LinkedIn marketing will offer a viable opportunity for interacting with your prospects and supporting them through this time.

Adapt your marketing to survive and thrive

At Bright, we’ve been helping our clients quickly pivot their strategies and adapt their messaging on LinkedIn and other social media channels. Watch our immersive webinar as we explore ways to ignite agility, boost leads and perfect communications throughout this challenging time.

Lydia KirbyUnlock agility with LinkedIn
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