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What’s the Future for In-App Marketing?

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How much?!?

There is general rumbling against in app purchasing, especially in games marketed at children. Parents are happy to download a free game for little Timothy to play but not so happy when the credit card bill, feature charges for bliss bombs, unicorn hats or whatever lands on the doormat.  As this news story shows the Micro payment model isn’t always that micro.

And on paper it is kind of an odd premise.  You pay real money for a series of 1s and 0s that can only exist within the confines game.  Well I suspect that it won’t be too long before gamemakers, marketeers and brands put their heads together to come up with a whole new way of selling.

Imagine what would happen if in-game money actually bought you a real, tangible thing. What if when you bought a product in a game it actually turned up on your doorstep the very next day? Or in the not too distant future you got the downloadable blueprints for your 3d printer?

In a game like Sims Freeplay it would mean that whenever your online character bought something, say a magazine, you’d actually get a copy of that magazine delivered to your real home or be able to download it as a digital copy. And because it was bought through the game all your friends would see it as a personal recommendation and be more likely to buy a copy too.  This type of exposure could also be wonderful for emerging artists and talent. If celebrity avatars suddenly started wearing your designer clothes, or displaying your art in their homes it wouldn’t be long before they hit the mainstream.

With Tap style games and apps that track your progress there are obvious links to products and services.  If you’re trying to get healthy for example then having an app which allows you to buy a subscription to a local gym would make real sense.  Having to check-in 5 times to unlock your Buff Badge and upload all you times/reps for the Feel the Burn award might just be all the encouragement you need.

As with all new forms of product placement and advertisement this model opens up a whole can of worms when it comes to ethical issues.  Whereas buying a day pass to a zoo in-game might be acceptable, receiving a gun in the post certainly wouldn’t be.  Why not leave us a comment below with your thoughts?

Sales & Marketing – An Unexpected Love Story

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“You don’t understand what I need!”  “You never listen to me!”  “This just isn’t working!”

In our experience Sales and Marketing departments have a pretty tempestuous relationship.  In theory the two should work symbiotically to create the perfect sales cycle. One creating warm leads, the other closing the deal.   In reality is often goes more like this;

  • A new product or service gets launched
  • The marketing team has a great idea for the campaign
  • They create whole host of marketing materials
  • The sales team don’t understand why or how to use them with a customer
  • The sales pack end up languishing in the boot of a car or under a desk
  • Both sales and marketing teams feel frustrated with each other’s lack of vision
  • And repeat.

As with most troubled relationships the problem stems from a lack of communication and not understanding each other’s worlds clearly enough.

So how can we fix this? Well, it’s all about getting together and learning to share. Short, regular brainstorming sessions are key to improving the sales cycle, and they’re even more effective if ran by someone outside the company.

Share the Problem

The aim here is to reduce the interdepartmental rivalry and get everyone thinking about solving the same issue.  Marketing often has the wider view of the customer but the sales team can get to know them intimately and understand exactly what they need.

Share the Creative

When coming up with the creative make sure everyone has a voice. Although it’s marketing that will be responsible for generating the material it’s the sales team that will be using them day to day so they need to be comfortable with what’s created.  And if you’ve helped build the idea it’s a lot harder to knock it.

Share the Results

Get regular feedback on how a campaign or sales push is working.  What are the success stories? How can you share them to create new leads? What’s not working?  How quickly can you adapt your marketing materials to reflect this new information?

But lose the shared metrics…

Because nothing causes a rift faster than a bonus based on tasks you have no control over.

It won’t happen overnight, but we’re confident that you’ll start to reap results before too long.

How do you think the relationship between Sales & Marketing is in your company?

Do you have any success stories you’d like to share?

Why Your Brand is all In the Customer’s Mind

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I came across this fascinating Tedx talk by Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman: The Riddle of Experience vs. Memory and started thinking about the implications it had for marketing and customer interaction.

The theory is that we all have an ‘experiencing self’, which is us as we actually live an event, and a ‘remembering self’, which is founded on the memories we construct after the fact.  The difference between the two can be staggering.  And crucially it’s the remembering self that takes precedence when it comes to decision making.

So much so that a happy customer relationship of 10 years could count for nothing if the last encounter they have with you is a bad one.   That may not actually be that surprising.  But what is interesting is that the reverse is also true – a terrible experience can actually result in a positive memory providing it doesn’t come at the end on the interaction.  (If you want the proof for this I suggest you watch the Tedx Talk to find out more about the eye-watering colonoscopy experience…)

Daniel explains that time has very little to do with the creation of these memories.  A great week’s holiday of lazing by the pool will result in a handful of treasured moments, but if you double that same holiday to a fortnight you wouldn’t end up with double the memories.  For that to happen you’d have to suddenly decide to go skiing or head off on safari for the 2nd week.

What all this means is that your customer’s relationship with you is built on a collection of memories they have about their experiences with your products and services, rather than the experiences themselves.  And it’s these memories that customer will use to makes all their decisions.

So how can we keep brands fresh in the minds of our customers?

  • Keep your marketing  vivid and update your messaging regularly to help create new memories
  • Keep looking for inventive ways to surprise and delight them
  • Try reaching out to them on new, unexpected channels
  •  Interact with them little and often – it’s what will make the most memories
  • Leave each interaction on a positive note – even if it means artificially extending it.

Why not let us know your thoughts on the topic?

LinkedIn Skills Arms Race

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You’ve probably noticed over the last few weeks that there’s been something of a deluge of new skills appearing in people’s LinkedIn profiles.  These have been created as a way of rating people’s abilities in a particular field and have become something of a Facebook style ‘Like’. Although they don’t replace the ‘recommendations’ function they’re certainly a quicker, easier way of recommending someone.

As with most things, with LinkedIn you get out what you put in. Obviously it helps if the people you’re trying to engage/stalk/entrap are also using LinkedIn to a similar level but it can’t hurt having the casual user see that over 300 of your 400 connections recommend your ‘Invisibility’ skill.

There’s a near constant stream of people in my LinkedIn feed adding skills like there’s no tomorrow. At the same time I’m constantly made to feel guilty by the relentless emails letting me know someone else has endorsed a tenuous skill I’ve added and shouldn’t I really think about reciprocating?

LinkedIn has almost turned it into a game to endorse people. I got sucked into a 20 minute session of ‘Endorsement Roulette’ (I’m pretty certain I was trying to unlock an achievement). The problem being that you tend to get a lot of people endorsing you for skills they’ve never used you for, simply because they like or you’ve worked well in another area for them so why the hell not?

Whilst I still think these skill endorsements can be a useful resource, Christine (who also uses LinkedIn regularly) isn’t so keen on them, seeing it as a popularity contest rather than a hard fought badge earned. She may have a point. As more and more people add more and more skills does it devalue them? Also surely it’s at risk of ‘gaming’ by those lovely folk who seem to connect based on 6 degrees of separation? What do you think?

by Ross McMinn

Teeth Aren’t The Future

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If you’ll pardon the expression I’m sick to the back teeth of toothpaste adverts. I can’t believe that these aren’t being created by the same small number of companies who’ve created an unhealthy stranglehold over the dental hygiene market.

I can’t stand Sensodyne adverts with short interviews of dentists or guineau pigs shot from seemingly a thousand different adverts. Short case studies that showcase toothpaste as a life changing enamel pleasing messiah. Similarly, I’ll never cease to tire of ads from firms like Colgate where we see a team of intrepid scientists dutifully checking and rechecking results as an animated representation of Colgate bravely deflects food and drink from the tea. I use Colgate. I consider it my mission to make this heroic guardian suffer.

Compare this, if you will, with the treatment our eyes get in advertising. Unlike their mouthy equivalents eyecare adverts get lovely creative advertising and memorable slogans like “should have gone to specsavers”. Why must our teeth settle for second best?

In all seriousness, I find it strange that certain products or services slip into a rhythm in which seems to permeate that whole industries advertising. It’s when a company like Dove steps out from what we perceive as the advertising norm for that industry that they really start to stand out. I’m not advocating a “Campaign for Real Teethcare” or “hilarious” skits that involve people’s teeth being knocked out with a “Should Have used Aquafresh” tagline, but the brand that goes different I’d wager will steal quite a march on the rivals. Especially when their rival is still busy setting up a thousand different cameras in a dental surgery to capture that exact moment the teeth glint when the dentist smiles.


 

Why a video testimonial might just be the best thing you ever did for your business.

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When a customer tells the world you rock on camera it can have a transformational effect on your business.  Why?  Because potential customers are usually looking for some reassurance that what you have to sell is really what they’re looking for.  Although written testimonials could be used to do this they lack the immediacy and impact of a video and if they happen to be anonymous? Well most cynical people will start wondering if they’re fake.

Video testimonials on the other hand prove that your company is committed to good customer service.  They let you demonstrate how you go about solving your customers problems and most importantly that you won’t let them down.  And because they show happy, satisfied customers whose lives have been made better they do a far better job of blowing your own trumpet that you ever could.

So if you want to start getting the best out of your customer’s testimonials why not follow our few simple tips?

Don’t script it.  Testimonials only work if they sound genuine.  Ask the customer some open questions and let them tell you what they think in their own words.

Be specific.  “Improved profits by 200% in just 6 months” sounds so much impressive than “We saw a jump a profits”

Be relevant. If you want to sell your product to the healthcare industry make sure you’re talking to someone who works in that industry and better yet set the interview there.

Objections. What objections? Make time to deal with any perceived negatives with your product or service. Production seen as too slow? That’s because you get it right first time.  Too expensive? Not when you take into account the savings in other areas they’ll make.

Don’t fake it.  Ever. Always use real customers because it’s all too easy to spot when an actor or member of the business has been used as a stand in.

Why not let us know how you use customer testimonials to promote your business?  How easy do you find it to ask customers for them?  Or do you struggle to get clients to agree to be on camera? Have you found testimonials make it easier to get new business?

How To Use Mobile Marketing To Entice Your Customers In 5 Easy Steps

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Everyone I know has a smartphone.  They use them obsessively, at work, home and even, thanks to wifi, on trains and in airports whilst travelling.  Most of this time online is spent searching for something, something to buy, watch or inspire.  And whilst never switching off is almost certainly a bad thing it does raise an interesting opportunity for marketers.

Yet most brands are still lagging behind when it comes to mobile and online marketing.  Instead of using it for what it’s good for they stick to the same methods they always used.  So a brochure becomes a downloadable PDF, an email campaign is treated like just direct mail and company videos start gathering dust unwatched and under-promoted on YouTube.

So what can we do to change this? Read on…

Optimise, Optimise, Optimise

The downside to checking your email on a mobile is that you’ll be viewing the content on a much smaller screen than was probably intended.  This can mean such horrors as horizontal scrolling, huge, unwieldy images, and far, far too much text.  By properly optimising your website and emails you can help avoid this and stop alienating your readers – for more info on this subject why not read Ryan Hickling’s Blog on Mobile optimisation here.

Make your content bite-sized and intriguing

People attentions spans are getting shorter especially when using mobiles to view content, so you need to get to the point quickly.  Creating a series is a great way to achieve this, several short episodes instead of one long programme means that you can spread your messaging over a long time frame whilst cliff hangers and plot twists will keep your audience coming back for more.

Let the audience join in

Host the conversation in places where your audience gather. If they use Facebook launch your campaign there, if they all use the same coffee shop put up posters to tell them where to find you online.   Competitions, games, quizzes and forums are all ways to get your customers more engaged.

VIP Status

Exclusivity makes customers feel special.  Anyone who signs up to your campaign is a brand advocate and they deserve to feel like they’re getting the very best treatment.   Just make sure that what you offer has value to your customers and that they are properly rewarded for being loyal to your brand.

Pick the right time to launch

Even if you’ve created fantastic content it’s still not going to make a splash if no one knows about it.  If you’re a fashion or retail & leisure brand it pays to think outside the traditional 9-5 timeframe when it comes to launching.  Weekends & evenings are prime time for your audience to get involved.

The Cheat’s Guide to Measuring Success

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Hurray, you’ve finally launched your new video.

It looks great, came in on budget and is bang on message.   Which just leaves us with the BIG question – is it working?

The good news is that even if there wasn’t a measurement strategy put in place at the start of the project there’s still plenty you can do to find out;

1.       Start by reminding yourself of the original objectives for the project.  Are YOU happy that it’s doing what it set out to do?

2.       Ask around.  You probably know at least a couple of people in your target audience so why not do a quick straw poll and ask them what they thought?  (If you’re met with blank stares you may need to think about upping the video’s promotion.)

3.       Check the view count.  Understanding statistic can be a bit complicated but all you’re really looking for at this stage is how many people have actually watched your video and if they made it to the end.

4.       Find out how the video is being used – if it’s a sales demo is it used to start conversations with customers? If it’s a training video is it being watched in full?  If the answers no then why not?

5.       Is it being shared?  Around the company? With friends and family?  Even globally? Chances are that if people are forwarding it around or talking about it with each other then the video has done its job.

Hopefully after doing a few of those simple checks you’ll be breathing a big sigh of relief, but if not keep an eye out for next week’s blog where’ll be giving you some hints on what you can do next.

In the meantime we’d love to hear your experiences of trying to measure success.  Is it something you insist on? Or avoid like the plague? Any hint or tips we’ve missed?

Putting All Your Eggs In One Channel

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Over the last decade there’s been a drive towards specialism fueled by the rise of new marketing channels and from what we’ve seen it’s driving clients mad.  I’ve had several conversations with clients over the last couple of years, all bemoaning the fact that they’ve had to work with several different companies to get the campaign they wanted.

And who can blame them? Running the average campaign can take 1 Creative Agency for the concept and strategy, 1 Digital Agency to create the website and online assets, 1 Production Company to create the moving media, 1 Print Company for direct mail and 1 Social Media company to run the twitter feed and write the blogs.  That’s not to say these individual specialists don’t play nicely together but without one company acting as project lead, that job falls to the client who’s busy enough as it is…

That’s one of the reasons why we set up Workspace 1.

For several years I’ve seen (and preached to those who know me) that specialism is not the all singing and dancing advantage it once was. Every new innovation or marketing development has seen the creation of another breed of specialist agency, which increases the risk of siloed marketing as a specialist looks to move the focus of the project into their own area of expertise.

Clients want (correct me if I’m wrong) effective, clear and comprehensive solutions.  I’ve got absolutely nothing against specialist organisations in fact, we work alongside an awful lot of them to offer the full range of services we do, and will continue to do so. We merely believe that offering a comprehensive solution to our clients creates more effective communication than putting all our eggs into one channel.

Traditionally we’ve gravitated towards projects where film becomes the central pillar of the creative, as they’re a very effective communication tool, and they’re also fun to make.  We recognise, however, that it’s important to create a well-rounded eco-system around whatever the core platform is (whether this is film, web an event etc) which is controlled by one creative point of contact.  This approach ensures a creative continuity and means that no matter how the customer engages with a campaign, the level of quality and messaging is the same throughout.

There are plenty of people out there who only make films. We make dreams come true. Your dreams. Come run free in the fields with us.

 

Dying Channels Evolve

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When the “social media revolution” began, we were told that the old channels were dying. Print, TV, Events were all being rendered redundant, we were told, by this new kid on the block. We were told precisely the same thing* when TV was invented, that it would kill radio.

We’ve been waiting for over 50 years now for Radio to die and it doesn’t show any sign of dying. In fact it’s evolving.

Utilising social media as an enabler, podcasts are essentially an easily distributed form of radio. You can stream thousands of stations from all around the world. If I want to listen to a Venezulian Talk Show, I can probably find a service to do just that.

Social Media has allowed us to interact with these old forms of media more than ever before. Reviews, discussion forums, twitter conversations, if anything Social Media has created a strong interactive glue between old channels.

It allows us to join media up where before they were siloed.

A recent study by We Are Social, compared Facebook with TV to show TV attention is dying. Well, fair enough. With more channels vying for our attention, we’re going to redistribute the way we consume media. The thing is, an awful lot of people view TV with Facebook open on a laptop or mobile device. I know I consume an awful lot of TV with Twitter open on my iPhone, merrily tweeting away a compelling cultural commentary as some idiot bounces off a big ball on Total Wipeout. Second screen interaction is enhancing, not removing the TV experience.

We’re attracted to this glue as it responds to what we say and do, but a lot of what we talk about and refer to (albeit in a non-professional capacity) is still Offline media.

Yes, nothing works the way it did before social media came along, but it’s evolving to work in harmony with it. Integrated campaigns are becoming the norm whereas before it was either offline or online.

A lot is said about the death of Print or TV especially, but this constant speculation about their health is driving innovation in both channels. We’re unlikely to ever see a full demise of either. The effectiveness of both as standalone channels will probably continue to tail off a little, but at the same time history has taught us there’s room out there for more than one way of consuming media, and there’s plenty of us out there to consume it.

*Well I wasn’t, but I wasn’t around then to be told really.

Addendum

Yesterday Russell Buckley declared QR Codes are dead so we expect to see a lot of innovation in the QR code sector now.

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