All posts by jeremyville

Just your everyday Data-Punk

‘Don’t disappear up your own arse’, warns William Hill CMO

This recent piece by Charlotte McEleny of UK publishers Brand Republic is great as it highlights that there is still room in marketing for ‘experience’ and ‘gut feeling…

William Hill CMO Kristof Fahy urged brands not to over-complicate content and measurement by “disappearing up their own arse” during a panel discussion at BrandMAX event in London recently.


Both William Hill and fellow panelist Just Eat admitted that they found the majority of content measurement to be irrelevant and over-complicated, suggesting that it’s better to get content “out there” and to measure later.

Kristof Fahy, CMO at William Hill, argued that betting companies are well placed to comment on the issue because as a business they have always had to create content to encourage betting.

“For the ROI big picture, we are the prime case study. What I do know is that it works, but one question is measuring,” he said, “Do it first and measure it later. You’ll never do the right thing otherwise. If you understand your brand and customers, content should be relatively easy.”

Fahy explained that William Hill doesn’t run a brand tracker because asking someone whether they liked the brand would depend on whether they’d recently won £20 or lost £20. He said the brand focused on two key metrics; new account growth and turnover, and directed all content and marketing KPIs to them.

“[WIlliam Hill is] horrifically focused on the numbers; new account growth and turnover. Once you start disappearing up your own arse as a brand, you have to come back to the fundamentals; who is our audience and what are they doing?” he said.

He referenced his time at Orange, which he believed fell foul to this mistake. “At Orange we did disappear up our arses, we forgot the point; how many phones are we selling?” He urged marketers to remember that customers were ultimately paying their wages.

He also cited William Hill’s World Cup success, claiming that they were the number one betting brand across the tournament earlier this year. However, he said that it was difficult to attribute that success to its investment in content. The brand launched an online TV show with James Richardson that featured famous footballers, but he also questioned whether it was down to its odds slashing for key games which was essentially “giving money away”.

Just Eat CMO Mat Braddy supported Fahy’s views on using brand and customer knowledge to power content decisions. He said: “Content is not king, it’s the context. The context of how I use Vine versus Snapchat, for example, they all have completely different contexts in my digital life. Context is forgotten in a lot in conversations about content.”

This article plus more from Brand Republic at:

Marketing needs to reconnect with the digital opportunity

This recent piece from Matt Holt in UK blog ‘The Wall’ from Haymarket Publications is interesting in that it is a reminder of the enormous digital opportunity when certain rules of engagement are applied…


The ‘D’ word. At its mention, do your eyes light up or do you recoil?

Certainly no one can argue with the potential value of digital. It has transformed businesses – companies that ‘go digital’ are two to four times more valuable to investors than those that don’t(1). It has transformed countries – in the past five years the internet has accounted for 21% of GDP growth in mature markets (2).
And of course it has transformed consumer behaviour – how we research, how we shop, how we engage. But let’s ask ourselves this. Have we seen it transform marketing in the same way? Have marketing folk truly realised the potential of digital?
In a recent CMO survey, 40% said they thought their marketing was ineffective(3). Given that a lot of marketing is now digital, what is that saying about the state of digital marketing?
There is more evidence than I can cite here; all pointing to one simple fact. For too long digital has operated under different rules to the rest of the business. Which means it has lost its way.
It’s time to reconnect marketing to the enormous digital opportunity. Here’s how.
From extensive experience in the space, we’ve identified five main areas of digital disconnect. Brands must focus on these if they are to realise the full potential of digital.
1. Innovation – there is often a disconnect between the promise of digital innovation versus the reality. Brands who are systematic about innovation are the ones that tend to profit most from it.
2. Vision – how often do digital marketing projects get canned when they get shared with the wider business? Far too regularly and that’s because too often there is a disconnect between the digital strategy and the wider business strategy.
3. Audience – there is often a gap between the perceived digital behaviour of a brand’s target audience and actual digital behaviour. 82% of chief marketing officers (CMOs) cite reaching their customers as the thing they are most concerned about4.
4. Channel – traditional marketers are often slow to realise that significant numbers of their target audience exist on digital channels, especially on those that are rapidly emerging.
5. Effectiveness – in a recent survey, just 9% of CMOs strongly agreed with the statement, “I know our digital marketing is working.”(4) How on earth can CMOs hold their own in the boardroom with chief financial and operating officers if they can’t justify the value of their digital marketing activities?
Given the challenges, only by being systematic will brands be able to realise the enormous potential of digital, winning more customers and unlocking total customer value in the process. Then – and only then – will marketing thrive in the digital age.

Read more from Haymarket:

The Best Social Media Campaigns of 2014

This recent article by Lauren Friedman in imedia is a great read. Social has truly found it’s valid place in the communications mix.

The world of social media is ever-changing and brands are experimenting more and more with how to get the most impact from their social campaigns.


What I find most interesting is the decline in Facebook marketing. Is this a result of all the new changes Facebook has made to make it harder for marketers to reach their audience? Maybe. Regardless, Facebook isn’t the only network in the deck. And there were plenty of innovative and creative campaigns this year. If you didn’t catch my mid-year review, make sure you check it out!


AT&T’s “@SummerBreak” campaign

Oh, Millenials. So elusive, yet so powerful. AT&T made it clear this year it was going after Millenials, and it has done just that. With the goal of reaching a specific target audience and getting them to follow AT&T on social channels, it launched a @SummerBreak campaign. The campaign, a digital video series that existed solely on social media channels, tapped into five YouTube influencers (which are really the strongest influencers right now) to film a series. The storyline entails a group of smartphone-addicted teenagers as they spend their last summer together and get ready for college life.

The series racked up more than 15 million views on YouTube and 10 million social engagements. It was such a success, there were two seasons.


Urban Hilton Weiner’s selfie coupon codes

Urban Hilton Weiner, a South African clothing brand, launched a very unique and creative campaign that all retailers should consider. Its “pay with a selfie” campaign took the fashion brand to a whole new level. Urban Hilton Weiner wasn’t a particularly big name before its “pay with a selfie” campaign, but now it’s one of the most talked about brands in fashion.

Customers shopping for clothes in-store could post a selfie wearing its clothes and post it on social media (Instagram, Twitter, etc.) using the hashtag #urbanselfie to receive a $10 coupon.

This campaign was truly ingenious and accomplished everything that any retailer would want from a social media initiative — it encouraged social sharing, showcased pieces of its clothing, and most importantly, gets people buying its clothes. In fact, French Connection, Marc Jacobs, and others have launched similar campaigns since.


P&G’s Always #LikeAGirl campaign
Add this one to the stack of CPG women’s self-help effort campaigns that have been launching recently. But this one is a bit different. In the video, adults and a kid brother are asked to show what it looks like to run, fight, and throw like a girl. They make silly and highly stereotyped efforts. Then, young girls (I would get around 10ish) are asked to do the sale thing. These girls make confident and energetic efforts. The message: Girls’ confidence plummets during puberty, and Always wants to change the perception of the phrase “like a girl.”

Needless to say, this campaign spread like wildfire generating 31 million views in the first week. To date, the video is over 53 million.


Tesco’s Secret Scan-ta app
England-based grocery and general merchandise retailer has come up with a pretty fantastic way to choose gifts this year — by scanning your friend’s or family’s Twitter stream. It works by scanning that person’s Twitter stream and providing a gift recommendation based on the content shared.

Now, I’m not sure how great the gift suggestions are, but in any event, it’s a very clever way to get people engaged and sharing.


April Fools: climate controlled Virgin flights
Each year, brands take April Fools’ Day in their stride and join in the fun with some believable, and many unbelievable tricks. This past April, Virgin America did one that I absolutely loved.

Richard Branson proudly announced on YouTube that Virgin America would like to give more control to the passengers by introducing Total Temperature Control (TTC). This new feature would allow passengers to create their own personal climate controlled environment on the plane. With a partnership with Nest thermostats, this joke seemed pretty real. Virgin is always on the cutting edge of trendy technology and the fact that both CEOs appeared in the very professionally developed video made this joke pretty believable.

Brands are getting more and more strategic with their social campaigns. The generic “pin-it-to-win-it” contest isn’t going to make it onto this list anymore.

So, get creative!

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Instagram overtakes Twitter, hitting 300 million users

This piece (written by Sarah Homewood) was published recently in AdNews. 

In just over four years Instagram has reached the 300 million user mark globally, making the social network bigger than Twitter.

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Twitter has 284 million active users accessing the service, putting it just behind the Facebook owned photo and video sharing network. Facebook still trumps them both however, with a staggering 1.35 billion monthly active users as of September 2014.

In an announcement on its blog, Kevin Systrom CEO of Instagram recognised the milestone saying: “Over the past four years, what began as two friends with a dream has grown into a global community that shares more than 70 million photos and videos each day.

“Instagram is home to creativity in all of its forms, a place where you can find everything from images of the Nile River to the newest look from Herschel Supply or a peek inside the mind of Taylor Swift.
“We’re thrilled to watch this community thrive and witness the amazing connections people make over shared passions and journeys.”

Systrom also announced that like its social stable mate Facebook, the site would be rolling out verified badges for celebrities, athletes and brands, making it easier for users to know that they are connecting with the authentic accounts.

He also said that as the social network continues to grow that keeping the site authentic is “critical”.

“Instagram is a place where real people share real moments. We’re committed to doing everything possible to keep Instagram free from the fake and spammy accounts that plague much of the web, and that’s why we’re finishing up some important work that began earlier this year.

“We’ve been deactivating spammy accounts from Instagram on an ongoing basis to improve your experience. As part of this effort, we will be deleting these accounts forever, so they will no longer be included in follower counts. This means that some of you will see a change in your follower count.”

Earlier this year the network opened itself up the advertisers with Ben & Jerry’s, McDonald’s and Vegemite, being the first Australian advertisers to launch paid ads on Instagram.

Paid ads look almost identical to organic posts, with the addition of the “sponsored” tag on the top right corner. Meaning advertisers could for the first time target users based on age and gender with paid ad content appearing to users who do not follow them.

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