CMO Summit 2013

3 12 2013

Change is an interesting process. It excites us and scares us probably in equal measures. An underlying theme that ran through the CMO Summit 2013, organised by the Marketing Institute of Ireland, is how the marketing profession is constantly changing and perhaps changing at a faster rate than ever.

Peter Fitzgerald, Country Sales Director for Google UK, highlighted the rapid growth in the number of smartphones, bandwidth and in ecommerce as evidence to support the rapid growth of the internet economy. The key challenge facing mobile is to be relevant to what the consumer wants.

Francois Nicolon and Vanessa Lynch of Kantar Media challenged us to look again at the role of marketing and communications. They spoke about changing the traditional roles so that Communications looks after creating all types of content and Marketing takes responsibility for taking that content and using it to create leads and convert them into sales. They also highlighted their view of the marketing team of the future which includes experts in graphics, technology, search, content and social.

Amanda Gosling of IBM continued with the theme of change when discussing the IBM report on The Customer-activated Enterprise. Amanda pointed out that many organisations still present to the customer in a way that reflects corporate structure. She highlighted necessary changes in approach including:

  • moving from being campaign driven to being always on

  • moving from batch interactions to realtime or location aware interactions

  • increasing use of hyper-personalisation

  • having an attraction approach rather than a transaction approach

In common with Francois and Vanessa from Kanter, Amanda strongly suggested that marketing needs to parter with technology in order to achieve this level of change.

The challenge of truly delivering a high quality customer experience is to have “real connections at relevant moments delivered with relationship care”. To really deliver this require significant levels of change requires a real effort and a dedicated change agent to make it happen.

In the afternoon session Simon Bailey of Interbrand and Phil Rumbol of 101 (and formerly of Cadbury) continued to highlight the ways in which the interaction with the consumer is changing. In discussing the 10 elements of strong branding Simon included responsiveness, relevance and presence or being where the customers are, which echoes some of what Peter Fitzgerald said at the beginning of the day.

Phil Rumbol talk about how we still see marketing communications “through an outmoded lens”. Phil talked about the highly successful “gorilla” ad campaign for Cadburys which he said consumer understood immediately but corporate executives objected to as it did not include traditional element such as the product of the brand. The campaign was hugely successful increasing revenue by £150m from just £5m in spend.

Phil also spoke about the subsequent “Bring back Whispa” campaign which was essentially a customer driven initiative. As part of that Cadbury handed over the outdoor advertising to personal messages created by consumers. You can just imagine the reaction in the Legal/Compliance department when that idea was first discussed.

Change is also under way in Enterprise Ireland where Julie Sinnamon has just taken over the reins. Julie highlighted the incredible innovation and international success among Irish companies and pointed out that they contribute as much to the economy as multinationals.

To sum up, the pace of change in the way marketing works is only going to increase and the need to move away from old models, relinquish control and genuinely collaborate with customers is more urgent than ever. We are, I believe, moving from a Business to Consumer model to a Consumer to Business model driven by the power of digital channels.

This article on the CMO Summit was first published by the Marketing Institute of Ireland in November 2013.

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Turning Leinster Rugby into an elite organisation

6 02 2013

Mick Dawson, CEO of Leinster Rugby, addressed the January 2013 Marketing Breakfast. Mick took the audience through the journey that Leinster Rugby has taken from the amateur to the professional to the elite era. To give some perspective, when rugby union turned professional Leinster Rugby had no structures, no fan base, played three matches a season and was seen as a stepping stone to the national side. Today it has:

  1. 145 employees
  2. A turnover of €17 million
  3. 13,000 season ticket holders
  4. State of the Art facilities in UCD
  5. Plays 28 – 33 matches a season

We live in a moment where change is so speeded up that we begin to see the present only when is it already disappearing” RD Laing

From a marketing perspective a key message that I picked up from Mick was the importance of managing people and relationships. Mick and his team have to manage relationships with professional sporting bodies, players, sponsors, supporters, volunteers and the amateur side of rugby in the province. I was very interested in the emphasis Mick put on this. For example, the supports club is a separate entity to Leinster Rugby but they meet regularly to keep in touch with what the supporters are saying.

Leinster Rugby has also invested in trying to understand their audience and their brand. They carried out a brand study to see how they were perceived by a cross-section of stakeholders including season ticket holders, clubs, schools, staff, players and sponsors. Based on the result of this study they made three key decisions:

  1. the brand was Leinster rather than Dublin and they need to expand outside the traditional south Dublin stronghold
  2. a new logo was need to drive the brand forward
  3. the profile of match attendees needed to change from men in their 50’s to families

This clear understanding of the brand has helped position Leinster Rugby as the “12 county army” and a remarkable sporting and commercial success story. Mick’s full talk is available on the Marketing Institute’s YouTube channel or you can view my interview with Mick below.





Taking the ‘yes’ from the ‘no’

6 12 2012

Thanks to the Ryan Academy I had the pleasure on Tuesday of listening to Rory O’Connor and Anita Murphy of Rory’s Story Cubes and The Creativity Lab tell their story. This is a marvellous story of innovation, creativity, perseverance and hard work. If you are looking for a creative yet simple Christmas present for someone you could do worse than buy one of these.

There were a few key messages that really struck me.

  1. If people don’t help you then have the courage to do it yourself. Not everybody will see what you see.
  2. Don’t hold their failure to see your vision against them. If they can help you in the future then accept their help.
  3. Be prepared to try the less obvious route to solving a problem.
  4. Try to clarify the real need. If someone says ‘no’ then try to understand why they said ‘no’ and then meet that need.

Marketing, innovation

Finally, what struck me most was Rory and Anita’s absolute passion for what it is they do. A truly great Irish success story.





Media 360 Conference via Twitter

23 11 2012

I could not attend the Media 360 conference this week but did follow it on Twitter. I thought it might be interesting to summarise the views of the Twitterati under a few headings.

General comments

  1. The decisions you make now will determine how successful your brand will be when the recession ends
  2. Short term decisions to cut [marketing] spend leads to long-term damage to your market share
  3. Aside from numbers, the biggest strength of radio is the one-to-one relationship people have with it
  4. Deadlines work on ads. Creates a sense of urgency and spurs people into action
  5. Deliver a strong call to action and focus on the goal

Research

  1. Invest in good research and monitoring to see what parts of your ad campaign work
  2. Don’t trust research (this from the head of a leading market research company)

Digital

  1. Digital has a place in all marketing plans
  2. Brands that are winning in the digital world are those that are open to participation
  3. Ensure that your website is accessible through all devices
  4. Direct mail and digital work well together
  5. SEO your website and use mobile search
  6. Search is the bridge between traditional and digital advertising
  7. Digital will drive the recovery of media

Social

  1. All about social media for 15-24 year olds
  2. 40% of all Tweets during peak viewing times are TV related
  3. Implement social listening
  4. Social content is NOT advertising
  5. Create a content schedule for social media

Mobile

  1. Mobile is a key area of growth, RTE say they see 60% of their traffic coming via this channel
  2. Don’t use your desktop as a digital frame of reference, use mobile




The importance of your staff

25 10 2012

At recent Marketing Breakfast Nigel Blow, the CEO of Arnotts, gave some excellent insights into the ongoing work of rebuilding the classic Irish retail brand that is Arnotts. You can see the entire presentation on the Marketing Institute You Tube Channel but what struck me was the emphasis Nigel put on the workforce.

Nigel started by saying that he inherited a very demotivated workforce. This is hardly surprising given that they had been told they were being made redundant during the planned redevelopment and were very much aware of Arnotts’ financial problems. However, despite all this, the staff were very passionate about Arnotts and wanted to contribute to its turnaround. Because of their great loyalty and passion Nigel was very keen to involved them in the process.

Nigel and his team held coordinated sessions with all staff . These sessions usually had about 100 people at a time and included the full range of staff for longing serving to new, from Arnotts staff to concession staff. The key points to come out of these sessions were:

  • feedback was hugely positive even though you would have expected negativity
  • staff were very grateful for being included even if many of them had seen it all before
  • you must implement at least some of what comes out of the session in order for them to have any credibility
  • the level of honesty was impressive: “you have to get rid of the s**t people”
  • a lot of time was spent on vision and values and on the ‘bullseye customer’
  • all of the results were communicated clearly
  • annual goals for staff were based on the tone set by the values

Nigel finished his section on staff by reminding us that change is difficult. As much as people say they want it you must be aware that when it is happening it is very difficult.

If you want to learn more check out my interview with Nigel conducted after the breakfast event.

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Content marketing is easy?

12 10 2012

I attended the Digital Thursday event organised by the Marketing Institute of Ireland last night. The speaker was Nick Biggam, Commercial Director of AIB Merchant Services. Nick and his team provide the technology behind electronic payments whether that is using your credit/debit card in-store, purchasing over the phone or buying online.

Nick outlined how they have grown their business through content marketing and SEO using a new website to position themselves as industry experts. I wrote a guest blog post on the event for the Marketing Institute which gives more detail but what struck me most was how much time Nick and his team invest in this content driven approach to marketing. What they do is:

  1. Write 3 to 6 independent, non-biased articles a week to showcase their expertise. This is done using a team of independent journalists as well as articles supplied by other industry players
  2. Serious SEO work involving 141 key words of which they rank first for 90
  3. Backlinks to the AIBMS website for additional information
  4. Sharing content via LinkedIn and Twitter
  5. Monthly email

That’s a lot of ongoing work!





Dublin SEO Summit

28 09 2012

I attended the Dublin SEO Summit last Friday which was organised by e-Celtic.

I was particularly interested in the presentation by Niall Harbison, founder of Simply Zesty. Simply Zesty are pioneers in the use of Social Media and built the business through social media rather than via more traditional means. This made some of Niall’s comment all the more interesting.

Use Google if you want to drive traffic

I was surprised at Niall being so strong in his support of search over social but he pointed out that 75% of traffic to websites comes from Google. This is because when we want to find something we go to Google. We search. We find. We click through. We are comfortable leaving Google once we have the answer. In contrast we are not comfortable leaving Facebook. When we are in Facebook we like to stay in Facebook and do not want to click on external links.

Use social media for brand build

Simply Zesty used social media to build awareness of their brand. They combined blogging with sharing through various social channels to grow the business. This approach works because once a potential customer engages (share, like, follow, etc.) then they are interested and you can draw them in with relevant content.

Social media takes time

Simply Zesty typically have 3 to 4 people working for a day on each blog post. This is the secret to their success. Well researched, well written, relevant content. Many people believe that social media is quick and instant. Simply Zesty show that it is not but it can be very successful.

Email is massively powerful

I couldn’t agree more with this. Email gives you the power to control the message you are sending. It gives you the power to segment your audience. It gives you the power to be relevant and direct. It also gives you great analytics and the ability to react quickly to the insights you receive.