Taking time for inspiration…

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One of the hardest things about running a business is finding the time to explore. When you think about taking some time out to just listen or read you have to battle the little voice in your head that tells you that you should be doing something ‘more productive’. There is new business to be secured, finances to angst over and a million other operational things that you can’t help but feel you ought to be doing. The thing is if you are not occasionally taking the time out to discover new things then you are depriving the business of the very things that will ensure your customers keep coming back for more.

Last Friday I took a day out to attend the inaugural ‘Confluence.’ This was an event that was all about stories and the many and varied ways in which they can be told. At the heart of it, the marketing and communications business is all about stories. Whether it’s building compelling narratives that will attract and retain customers or engaging employees to make sure they come with you on your transformation journey, everything is built around stories and our ability to tell them.

There were some exceptional speakers but my three favourites (in no particular order) were Candide Kirk, Founder and Head of Product Design at Novellic, Director, and writer Nosa Eke and Adipat Virdi, Digital Strategist and interactive storyteller. From Candide, I learnt a huge amount about increasing discoverability; Nosa was all about the power of a multi-platform approach while Adipat was inspirational around the power of storytelling to do good.

So in the name of paying things forward, here are the five most useful things I learnt from my Friday at the almost too funky Google HQ in Victoria:

1.

Sometimes what you don’t like is more important than what you like: Apparently, Tinder takes more from your swipes to the left than it does from your swipes to the right and uses what you dismiss to build a picture of what you might like. This approach is being adopted more and more because…

2.

Your statements about what you like are often different from reality. This is why smart platforms online are far more interested in your actions rather than your words. Candide used the example of Novellic where she compared the types of books that people chose when asked to select their ‘type’ and compared it to what they actually searched for. Apparently, a lot of people who claim to be into 20th Century literary classics and really into whodunnits and trashy romance…

3.

People will generally pay what something is worth. There was an interesting talk by Katie Vanneck Smith and Dominic Young about different approaches to selling content on the web. Traditional subscription models essentially mean you are paying for a whole pie when you might only want a slice. Micropayments allow you to pay for the slice while a more traditional membership approach brings the added benefit of bringing you into a like-minded community

4.

What you see depends on who you are – even if you are looking at the same thing. I was surprised to learn that Netflix will show you a different image to promote a programme or film depending on your profile. If you took the movie Titanic for example; if your profile suggests you like action adventure you might see an image of the ship sinking but if romance is more your thing then its Jack and Rose all the way. This might not surprise some people but to me, it was a reminder of just how clever and sophisticated these platforms have become

5.

Completeness is often the key to discoverability. It is very tempting when you are completing the profile forms to set up on a platform just to focus on the compulsory stuff and ignore the optional. This is a mistake apparently. The more a platform knows about you the greater the value you hold. Also, platforms value different pieces of information differently so you need to maximise your chances of giving it the bit of information that it cares about.

Emma SindenTaking time for inspiration…
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Ideas to value in 8 hours

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The Bright team love a challenge, especially when it delivers value to us and our clients! That’s why we decided to host a hackathon on our very own website. Because if you’re going to experiment, we’d rather experiment on our marketing before rolling it out to you.

The day was spent turning ideas into business value at super-speed. That was eight hours focused on building a strategy to boost UX, tapping into our content to make it more relevant to you and having a complete rethink about how our website looks and feels.

The day consisted of group ideation sessions, smaller break-outs and bringing our ideas to life. Here’s some pictures from the day…

These agile ways of working are rapidly growing in popularity, particularly with small and medium-size businesses, where resources are limited, and time is valuable. Want to know more about how you can adopt agile methodologies in your marketing? Check out our Minimum Viable Marketing eBook.

Chris PetherbridgeIdeas to value in 8 hours
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Data…Data everywhere. What’s the right way to approach your reporting?

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Digital marketers are experiencing an “issue” at the moment. We have a substantial amount of data to analyse and use to our benefit. Definitely not a bad problem to have, as you would much rather have too much data than not enough.

Taking Google Analytics as an example, GA has a staggering 150 default metrics, which can be viewed through over 100 various dimensions. That is just the default settings, and does not include any advanced views, filters or implementations you may well want to setup.

Looking at social media, Facebook analytics exports a whopping seven spreadsheets with over ten columns of data, while Twitter analytics exports include up to forty columns of data.

That’s a lot of data to sift through! This can make it exceptionally difficult to choose one, or even a few, KPIs to really focus on.

You would think having access to such a wide range of data would make our marketing strategies easier, and this is generally true for larger companies who are able to outsource their data analysis to data science experts. These companies have indeed prospered, but the smaller businesses tend to struggle with where to start with this seemingly insurmountable mound of data.

In smaller businesses, resources tend to be much tighter and the luxury of spare time is sparse. The result of this is that employees don’t tend to digest the data, explore trends and ask questions. Instead, employees get into a routine of running the same reports over and over on a monthly basis, while not gaining much insight into what value the data at hand provides.

This is more common than not among small businesses, but there are steps and mindset changes one can take on to streamline your data reporting, to allow you more time to be inquisitive and find the value needed for your marketing strategies.

Marketing analytics is not rocket science, so don’t treat it as such.

Take A/B testing, also known as split-run testing, for example. It’s been around for what feels like decades now!

Have some ideas on how to improve your email? Go ahead and test it using various test buckets. Looks like our audience prefer our teal button more than our yellow button, great! How about our landing pages? Can we AB test our hero banner? Sure, why not. Let’s nail down what our audience responds best to.

Does A/B testing really represent how your customers respond generally, or just in that current moment they received your content? It’s difficult to tell and is why A/B testing can be so frustrating at times.

The results of the tests can often be inconclusive. Sometimes your test sample is too small to have a statistical weight behind it to make these difficult decisions. Other times, there are factors which are out of your control, that might influence your results, like a website loading speed issue.

The point here, is that A/B testing, or any other form of testing, may not yield the results for what works best from a marketing perspective. Having a controlled environment, like any scientific test, is paramount to obtaining an accurate depiction of your results. However, in Digital Marketing, controlled environments are few and far between.

These methods should not be discarded by any means, but we also need to be cautious when implementing them, because again, marketing is anything but a controlled environment.

Some metrics matter, others don’t.

Now back to those ridiculously large social media analytic reports. Here’s the honest truth: I rarely use even 50% of those metrics. Why?

Well, to begin with, it’s important you know what you are gaining value from when looking at these reports. Many metrics are just slight variations of themselves, or sometimes have very convoluted definitions as to what those metrics are. If they are too similar, or too vague I omit them from my report.

The fear of missing out is the real crux of the issue here. FOMO again.

Reporting on every metric available, due to fear of missing out on something, isn’t the best strategy, because it clouds the real valuable metrics. If a metric isn’t valuable, don’t use it, as it’s only going to make it more difficult for you to spot relevant trends in your data.

Just keep in mind that platforms like Google, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, although they provide you with endless amounts of data to sift through, only you and your business can know what’s really important.

It’s about the ingredients, not the meal.

Before you start cooking up an analytics report, think about the value you are hoping to find in the data. Play devil’s advocate and ask yourself what results you would expect to see if your initial conclusions were wrong.

In doing this, you’ll be much better suited to finding patterns and trends you may not have spotted with your initial conclusion-based approach.

Stop searching for the right answers, and look for the right questions

Question yourself, your approach and your data regularly. If you feel you’re eventually questioning everything, don’t be overwhelmed. You’re doing it right.

The world is changing constantly, along with the platforms we use and HOW we use them. Your perceived concept of the “right answers” may be true one day, and wrong the next.

Keep adapting and be open to change.

If there’s one lesson I’ve learned working with digital marketing data, it’s that you have to be a perpetual sceptic. Of the metrics, of your reporting, of yourself.

Sian HeaphyData…Data everywhere. What’s the right way to approach your reporting?
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Getting Your Team On-Board With Digital Change

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When you think of internal comms, what immediately springs to mind? Perhaps a monthly company newsletter announcing new hires, leavers, births or Sally in HR getting married. Or that repetitive monthly email reminding you to cast your vote for ’employee of the month’. Not particularly exciting or inspiring. However for today’s businesses, internal comms is fast becoming a cucial tool. Especially when it comes to communicating and managing digital change within a business.

I’m sure ‘digital disruption’ must be the most over-used business phrase of the last two years but there is no denying that digital transformation is now taking root in even the most conservative of organisations. Digital transformation, whether it’s implementing a specific new technology solution or an entire organisation wide digital strategy, needs to be communicated to employees. And, crucially it needs to be adopted by them to ensure that your programme isn’t one big expensive failure. Enter internal comms.

From Partner to Graduate and everyone in between

First and foremost, any internal comms strategy needs to have a pretty good understanding of who it needs to communicate to. In most large organisations the employee audience can be pretty diverse. From Senior Management or Partner level, who may have been with the company for most of their careers, to young graduate trainees fresh out of Uni.

There may also be specific job roles within an organisation that will be particularly affected by the change. Tailoring your communications and messaging to highlight the key benefits of the new solution or strategy to certain employee groups is crucial. Understanding where you are most likely to come up against resistance to change and ensuring that they feel involved in the process from early on can really help overcome any grumbling. A little extra hand holding goes a long way.

Channels and Champions

Of course you’re going to need to explain why you are making the change and inform employees what actions they need to take as part of this. Inevitably, for most organisations, email will play its part. However, the snag being that we’re all guilty of ignoring emails that don’t need our immediate attention and then forgetting to look at them again, so don’t rely too heavily on this. Consider other channels such as impactful short videos, micro-sites to host more detailed information, desk drops and office launches to grab peoples’ attention and get them engaged and listening. That way when emails with important information do come through, they’re less likely to ‘file’ them in the trash folder.

Having said that, the most effective vehicle for communication are your employees. Find your champions, people on the ground who are engaged and enthusiastic, get them to act as ambassadors for the change. Despite all the different channels at our disposal today, word of mouth is still the most effective form of advertising.

Internal vs External

It is one thing to recognise the value of internal comms, but another to ensure it is carried out effectively. Many organisations may not have an internal comms function. If they do, it may be one person in the marketing department and it’s pretty unlikely that they have a good understanding of what it means to successfully implement technological change within a business.

For organisations looking to implement digital change, internal comms can be a real blocker. So, in many cases they are looking outside of their organisations to external communications experts, who approach an internal comms project in the same way they would an external comms or marketing campaign. In fact, both your internal and external comms strategy and objectives should closely align to be truly effective.

Ultimately the success of any digital transformation programme comes down to whether employees embrace and adopt that change. Businesses must go beyond engaging with their employees, to compel them to change their working behaviours. Effective internal comms is the key to effecting that change.

Sian HeaphyGetting Your Team On-Board With Digital Change
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3 Key Google Analytics Tips To Impress Your Boss

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In this blog, I will take you through the 3 best analytics tips I’ve been given to track website performance and impress your boss. Make good use of them.

Tip 1: Customised dashboards

It can be easy to get overwhelmed with data from Google Analytics but your colleagues are still expecting you to create amazing reports, to share analysis with them and to spot opportunities or issues. Relatively unknown but very useful, Google Analytics offers customised dashboard to help you monitor your performance.

You can easily use customised dashboards for social media, for SEO, traffic acquisition, branding and content marketing…  You just need to have a look and choose what you need.

They are free and accessible in just a click. Since every business is different, the monitoring objectives are, so you will need to make some changes or get inspired to develop your ideal table edge.

1. Select the customised dashboard you want (you can also use the search bar to look for relevant terms)

2. Click Import

3. Select the website you want to monitor (in select a view)

4. Click create

Tip 2: Customised alerts

It can also be frustrating not to be instantly aware of what happens in real-time on your website. You cannot afford to spend every minute of your day on Google Analytics trying to to spot unusual behaviours. The ability to spot in real time a particularly successful campaign or an issue could be invaluable

After identifying the key performance indicators, you can associate a tolerance level to be told when there is an unusual behaviour on your website. Whenever the tolerance level is reached, Google Analytics will notify you and you can take the required actions to change the situation.

1. Click on Admin

2. Under View, click on “Custom alerts”

3. Click New alert

4. Create your alert and click save

Get some inspiration with the 5 examples of customised alerts by Google

Tip 3: Send reports automatically

After building multiple dashboards that will respond to your needs, you can easily share these reports with your colleagues.

Google Analytics provides automated emails for your reports so that you can you all have a shared vision of your website performance.

1. On each dashboard, click on email

2. Complete the pop-up with

  • The recipient
  • The frequency
  • The format

(if the structure of the dashboard were to be changed, the next report will automatically adjust to the new structure)

Zoe Merchant3 Key Google Analytics Tips To Impress Your Boss
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Why Should LinkedIn Be A Key Part Of Every B2B Marketing Strategy

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With more than 300 million members worldwide, LinkedIn has truly established itself as the largest professional network online. In B2B and in particular the IT & tech industry, it’s my experience that more people have a LinkedIn account than a Twitter account. Trends in B2B marketing also show that companies are taking advantage of different technology when researching, and in some cases they are at least 75% of the way through the buying cycle before contacting a vendor. Having said all this, it’s still my experience that LinkedIn is a tool which many companies struggle to fully utilise.

Here’s a short guide to 5 reasons why LinkedIn should be a key part of your B2B marketing strategy:

1. Research

Whether you’re looking for new prospects, delegates for an event or new talent, LinkedIn allows you to easily find and approach the people you’re looking for.

For effective research you need to have built a good number of connections (200 – 500) however, make sure your network is relevant and is acquired using best practice.

2. Driving traffic to your website

Driving traffic to your website from LinkedIn is a great way of showing ROI and in the LinkedIn strategies I run, sending an increasing amount of traffic to websites is the main metric.

In fact, across many of our clients LinkedIn drives more traffic than any other social network.

3. Show your brand personality

Your prospects will research your company and even had made their buying decision before contacting your sales team directly. A company’s brand is becoming as much about the people they employ and culture they create as it is about the services themselves.

Your prospects are gauging your brand personality by looking at your company profile and the profiles of your key staff. Make sure you are reflecting well!

4. Leverage personal networks

Most businesses will have people internally who either have a strong personal LinkedIn network, or a strong personal brand.

Make sure you leverage these individuals on social media and especially LinkedIn. When executed correctly these people will demonstrate significant thought leadership in your market whilst driving interest in your business.

5. Share great content with your brand advocates

Your LinkedIn followers tend to be people that have an interest in your brand. Don’t be fixated with the number of followers you have; you should care more about the quality of your followers. Company updates allow you to interact with your customers, prospects, staff, suppliers and talent pipeline. When they see great content they will share and in turn, your followers and web traffic will grow.

LinkedIn often rolls out updates, and it can be difficult to keep up. LinkedIn strategies need to be kept up to date and will need to evolve as market trends shift. If you are looking for advice and guidance on how to make your LinkedIn strategy work for your business, get in touch with Bright Innovation.

Chris PetherbridgeWhy Should LinkedIn Be A Key Part Of Every B2B Marketing Strategy
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Do Business Users Understand Tech?

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We often hear that ‘the business users won’t understand our tech messaging – we need to talk business benefit; we need to talk solution’. To some degree this is true. However, dumbing down the decision makers is dangerous. Times have changed, and we are more tech savvy than we have ever been.

In everyday life, the average Joe uses cloud storage to back up photos from smart phones and access documents; uses apps to get better deals on everyday items (such as Costa or Sainsbury’s), and gadgets to monitor heart rates, how many steps you have done in the day, and what to eat.

This involvement of technology in our lives happens before we have even stepped into the office – so to dumb down people that don’t sit in the IT department is wrong. The game has changed.

I am not saying that you need to go into the depths of point to point integration, java code or application development. But we can attribute a certain level of knowledge to our business users – and this bar needs to be raised. The expectations of decision makers are changing: what they get at home, on the iPad, smartphone or smart TV, they now expect at work.

This is not specific to Generation Y. Generation X and baby boomers have had to adapt (often having more disposable income to spend on gadgets and tech) and have high expectations of what tech can do. However, these are often matched with years of experience in dealing with projects that haven’t delivered and with that comes the expectation that work related systems are slow.

Let’s take a step back.

Understand people’ skills rather than job roles

you should complete a brief audit of your own skills, merge your technology knowledge at home and at work, combine this with your approach to solving IT or application problems (usually Googling) and you start to see the patterns, and expose the characteristics of real people rather than job roles.

You could further segment based on Geoffrey Moore’s technology adoption lifecycle – we all know those people who have the latest and greatest tech as soon as it’s out (early adopters) and the laggards who are the last to upgrade their feature phone to a smart phone.

Map out how you would like to communicate

It is also important to map out how we most like to be communicated to – this may be slightly truncated at work versus at home. Of course, the time you have to look through email marketing, or twitter feeds, will determine your bias towards one communication approach over another. To be successful we need to understand people, in a holistic view, rather than just a job role, or decision maker. The way decision makers deal with technology in their personal and work life is similar regardless of their current job.

Don’t tell granny how to suck eggs

So how can we benchmark decision makers for assumed knowledge? My advice: don’t tell a granny how to suck eggs. It is probably best to assume they know the basics of enterprise architecture, integration, cloud and applications – especially the senior level decision makers. If they have been responsible (even in part) for signing off large IT projects, they will understand what they are agreeing to. It may only be top level (so Google your terms to make sure the right definitions come up. If not, make sure to include them in your communications).

Get the message right for the right person. This may be the business benefit, it may be cost efficiencies, but the supply chain director will appreciate your delving the level below to explain the cost efficiencies gained by integrating his two key systems, or by adding bespoke reporting, or implementing a new tracking application. Otherwise it is just smoke and mirrors and can often be perceived as a lack of understanding when it comes to the customer’s problems.

Chris PetherbridgeDo Business Users Understand Tech?
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