February 2011 - Archieve

Under the hood articles from the past.

Getting What You Really Want

Webinars…are they an effective tool for communicating with your audience?

There is no doubt technology is slowly taking over more traditional methods of communication for... well, just about everything; texts, emails, websites and now webinars. But what is a webinar? Quite simply, a webinar is a conference or seminar via the Internet. They are often used in business for meetings, presentations, lectures and training. Using a live presentation, it happens in real time, as users are able to participate through file sharing and ask questions online unlike webcasts where you are unable to respond interactively.

There are many benefits to using a platform like this; particularly in a sustained period of recession where budgets are a lot tighter. By simply connecting to any computer, using a webinar reduces the need to physically attend conferences and seminars, making it both cost-effective and saving you and your clients’ time. This also entitles you to host training sessions more frequently at the same low cost, not to mention helping to maintain a smaller carbon footprint with less travel to and from meetings and conferences.

Webinars can also potentially reach a far greater, global audience with highly interactive tools including polls and live Q&A. They are very useful when accessing a hard-to-reach group, for example GPs. Notoriously GPs are often time-poor and so offering them the option to log in and participate quickly during a break at work rather than taking a day out is a strong advantage.

So what are the top tips for webinars?

The Do’s and the Don’ts

· DO PLAN AND PREPARE. A common technique used is to act as if the webinar has already happened and did not achieve the desired results, you can then change your strategy plan accordingly.
- Is your topic appealing to your target market?
- Have you invited as many appropriate people as possible, including your speakers’ contact lists?
- Is your registration form simple and easy to use?
- Is the timing of the webinar appropriate for the target audience?
Trying to cover too many topics to suit more people results in a lack of specific information.
Try not to get caught up in finding the most expensive presenter or complicated demonstrations and charts; your audience is there for your content.

Is 2011 really the year of Mobile Marketing?

Mobile technology has come a long way since the day my father brought home the brick – Nokia 1100.

I wasn’t allowed a mobile for a long time, due to all the health warnings etc, but in the last seven years, I’ve managed to go through seven phones with another upgrade due next month. Starting with the Samsung S100; Motorola V220; Motorola V545; Samsung E900; Motorola W377; Samsung G600;

To now having the Blackberry Curve 8900:

The blackberry...

..My entire life at my fingertips. Remember the days of carrying a filofax? Not any more... all you need is one mobile phone now. With a fully working calendar with alerts, push emails, camera, internet, applications and not to mention all the basic communication needs of phoning and texting, why would you need anything more? Approximately thirteen million people in the UK now use smartphones.

As Balasubramanian, Peterson and Javenpaa (2002) stated, the mobile phone is a form of ‘Always on’ media. It offers more opportunities for communication when other methods are not available. My phone is literally always on and has woken me up in the middle of the night before, if anybody needed to communicate with me outside the normal hours; mobile technology is the way forward.

So what is mobile marketing?

Mobile Marketing is a set of practices that enables organizations to communicate and engage with their audience in an interactive and relevant manner through any mobile device or network.
Mobile Marketing Association, 2010

Providing access to most forms of media as and when you need it, Apple took the market by storm with smartphone, the iPhone, introducing an entire new level of mobile technology, launching “apps” which many other companies have brought to their smart phones now. Applications linking you to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for social media use. For shopping use, the Tesco app. For banking, Natwest. There are gaming apps - anything and everything you could think of, there’s probably an application for it and we’ve all heard the overused but most likely true phrase, “there’s an app for that”.

The idea of Foursquare worries me though. Allowing you to check in to places all over the world from your phone. Allowing everyone else to see it.. similarly to Facebook “places” app.. I’m not convinced I’d like the world and his dog to know where I am at what time; it seems to provide yet another opportunity for crime and invasion of privacy. Evidently I am in the minority with that view as of December 2010, Foursquare reported they had over 6 million users.

I can’t count the number of times Orange have called me to ask me what I use my blackberry for the most? And as a phone, you’d assume phonecalls or being a student, you may assume SMS messaging. According to Marketing Week (2010) the most popular way to communicate with smartphone users is still SMS messaging rather than social networking.

In fact, the only negative I have for mobile technology is that it doesn’t help should you ever want a day off – you are always contactable; there’s always emails and texts waiting, people that need responding too. It’s easier to switch your computer off than phone.

So how can you take advantage of this “always on” media in Marketing and PR?

According to Dentsu in 2009, Mobile Marketing is worth $1.14 Billion. It’s not just about sending offers out via SMS, new technologies now allow consumers to be targeted by their preferences, their social circle and their location – a unique personal experience.

Alex Kozloff, Mobile Manager at the Internet Advertising Bureau explains that mobile marketing can completely outperform online; click through rates and conversions are generally greater.

The Pros
· Personal
· Very targeted
· Up to date
· Useful
· Trackable

The Cons
· Personal
· Strategy?
· Works with Media Mix?
· Difficult to buy
· Still in its infancy

“In the UK, 88% of consumers ignore adverts they receive on their mobiles and 36% automatically delete them. Just 9% of UK consumers take any further action once they view a mobile ad.” (Marketing Week, 2010)

A report from Deloitte claims that Mobile Marketing may be too intrusive for some consumers and therefore be counter-productive - something we all want to avoid. Like a lot of other strategies, a more popular way to reach your consumer and encourage responses is to use coupons, offers and free usage off an app or game.
From mobile sites, to location marketing, the possibilities are endless. Yet no-one seems to be maximising the opportunities. Only one in five of the UK’s top retailers have a mobile-optimised version of their website (One iota, cited in Marketing Week 2011).

So how do brands and organisations use it?

Rob Unsworth, head of trading finance and commercial insight at Debenhams “We defined our mobile marketing requirement, enabled and tested the mobile component in just four weeks, enabling us to launch our first campaigns in October 2010 - perfect timing for the Christmas season.”

L’Oréal have become increasingly more involved with the Mobile Marketing scene. They developed two MMS campaigns in France to create brand awareness. The first of the two was for "Combleur Collagène Lèvres," the collagen and hydraulic acid lip treatment. The campaign targeted women aged between 35 – 49 year olds by sending an MMS to 105,000 women of supermodel, Linda Evangelista. The second was targeting men between 18 and 35. An MMS was sent to 45,000 men who had a smartphone. It displayed Patrick Dempsey, best known for his role in Grey’s Anatomy. He invited mobile consumers to connect on the website to print a coupon providing discount on any product from the L'Oréal MineralFx range.

L'Oréal wanted to promote brands Garnier Pure Active and Ambre Solaire via the mobile marketing. They launched a “Spotman” game for Garnier which encouraged users to learn about the Pure Active products.
For Ambre Solaire, two mini-sites were created to offer information to help visitors understand which products were right for them and a third site for customers to discuss and rate Ambre Solaire products.
“L'Oréal wanted to provide consumers with brand expertise anytime and anywhere and extend their proximity marketing to hard-to-target markets,” said Kevin McGuire, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Technology Officer at Adenyo, the company responsible for the scheme. "The brand also wanted to be associated with a new, state of the art media.”
As a part of this campaign, L'Oréal bought a $300,000 mobile banner to run on sites within the Nokia Media Network in Europe. The banners promoted different aspects of their websites, for example chances to win prizes. They wanted to drive people to the mobile-optimised sites. The site also offered consumers’ questionnaires, advice, make up choices tailored to them through their user profiles and a beauty myth-buster section. Consumers with smartphones were also offered application downloads, wallpapers and screen savers.
Also encouraging consumers to give their mobile phone numbers to opt into a mobile loyalty club, L'Oréal encouraged ongoing communication with interested people.
In October last year announced that they had signed up for a six month trial with O2’s location-based mobile marketing. This service reaches out to one million plus O2 customers who have opted in for the O2 More option. The service allows their customers to store personal information about their interests for example, beauty. So if an O2 customer has listed beauty as an interest, when they enter a L’Oréal-owned area, they will receive an SMS with a buy one get one free offer on L'Oréal Elvive hair care products at Superdrug. To prevent annoying their audience, O2 have limited each user to only receiving one SMS per day.

It seems to me that mobile marketing is all about balance. As with any other campaign strategy, you need to find the happy medium of too much and too little. Companies not currently involved are missing out on many opportunities that their competition may well pick up. Britain has a long way to go with mobile marketing, but maybe 2011 really is the year of mobile marketing.

The Year Ahead - BU Trampolining

It has finally come round, BU Trampolining has been a recognised University club for a year now and it's time to handover to some fresh faces with new ideas. The role of President is being handed over to first year student, Matt Nugent.

Being the founder of the club, it's really hard to let go and let someone else have full control over it, and I'm not sure I'd opt to completely step back from it, if it weren't for my placement year. We've decided to do a 'handover' semester where the committee and I will work closely with Matt to ensure he is completely confident and comfortable in his new role. He will then take full control of the club from Easter onwards.

I have complete faith in Matt and his ability to run the club. Over the past semester he has shown huge dedication to BU Trampolining and is a National Level C Competitor, so can take the club to a level I cannot - I haven't competed in seven years, that in itself is a terrifying thought.

So, I thought I'd use this space to reflect on everything BU Trampolining has done over the last year. I'm not going to pretend it's been easy, but it has been incredibly rewarding and I'm so glad the people I had around me a year ago encouraged me to pursue the club.

Trampolining is a sport open to all ages, all fitness levels and all abilities, I never understood why universities didn't automatically have a club. Oxford Brookes didn't and neither did Bournemouth, well, until I arrived. When actually beginning to research everything that was needed for the club, I began to see just why universities were leaving it well alone; the insurance, the health and safety, the coaching ability, to name but a few. It would have been a long and tedious process and probably one that would not have been completed in my time at Bournemouth University if had not been for Ringwood and Bournemouth Trampoline Club. 

Ringwood and Bournemouth Trampoline Club is where I trained when I was growing up - I used to spend most of my time gazing at the amazing competitors like Jem Camble and Imogen Gunner though. But the club was incredible, every coach I worked with was passionate and everyone training around me was dedicated, you couldn't ask for more. And one of the strong advantages of going to university where you live, you already have the contacts.

Rosie Bascombe, who is the head coach at R&B was extremely keen to establish a link with Bournemouth University and opened up one of her sessions to us, which now, I think we have slightly taken over. Starting with one bed in the corner, we now run four of the six beds available. Not only did she accommodate for our members by finding extra beds, extra coaches, she negotiated on prices to make them "student-friendly". Without her, BU Trampolining would probably be sat on its original piece of paper I carried round with me for the first four months of my life at Bournemouth Uni.

With the sessions ready to go, we needed to become an established club at the university, for which you need a committee of five people. Our original committee consisted of myself, Fleurie Forbes-Martin, Kristian Ward, Shenique Edwards, Hannah Rowley and Jessica Fosher. And then we needed members. This is where having a committee of mainly PR students was an enormous help. We all had a lot of ideas for promotion strategies. And as far as I'm concerned out of everything we did, only two of them had the major impact. And this is where I attempt to link all of this to my degree... 

1. I struck lucky, a friend was the Sports Editor of Nerve - the student magazine - and offered to write an article on the launch of BU Trampolining. You can read this article here. Not that I had to pitch for this feature or write a press release or anything else that would happen in the world outside of university, but the basics are there.
  • CONTACTS - I'd love to assume that I'd have been able to get an article into the magazine without knowing anyone there but that's just not realistic. And even if I had, I would have had to have written it.. 
  • Publishing articles in magazines/newspapers. One article had an enormous response, and turned our club from a five person hobby to the serious, competing University club that it is today. Proving the value in the written word still exists. 
2. Facebook.
It drives me insane sometimes, but for promotions, especially when your audience is students, you can't lose.
One facebook group was the platform for communication the club needed as a follow up from the article, creating events for socials and sessions, messaging members, displaying photos.. it really does everything you'd need. And it's FREE. A huge benefit for someone running a university club with no budget. Our online presence of one group grew to include to a page as facebook updated.

I'm sure I'm portraying my basic point of YOU CAN'T DO IT ALONE. But you really can't. Our committee undertook a few changes as we grew in membership. Abi Taylor joined us, bringing with her the strong recommendation that we enforced kit. This kit is the sole reason why we are now a recognisable brand on campus. Mike Butchers also joined us as Fleurie, Kristian and Jess left. And this is how the committee has remained up until this point. Now, all of us are off on placements, giving Matt the full potential to change anything and everything about the club - a very scary prospect! I just hope all that were there to help me will continue their support toward Matt.

So I do have an awful lot of people to thank for their involvement in the past year at BU Trampolining.

Rosie Bascombe
All at R&B Trampoline Club

Ally Hanks
Debbie Payne
Annabelle Spender
Toby Horner
All at the Students Union

Fleurie Forbes-Martin
Hannah Rowley
Kristian Ward
Shenique Edwards
Jessica Fosher
Abigail Taylor
Michael Butchers

Niall Malone
All at Nerve Magazine

Marc Rosenthal
Ben Reynolds
Simon Constant

Joseph Kent
Joshua Saunders

and anyone else that I missed, I'm very sorry.  

So that's the year gone.. and I now have to thank those who aim to continue to run BU Trampolining for the year ahead;
Matthew Nugent and his choice of committee who continue the legacy on. I wish you all the best of luck and have no doubts that you will succeed. 

So I guess what I'm saying is I've been blessed to have some really amazing people in my life who have wanted to help. BU Trampolining would not exist without each and every one of you. 

Ragan Communications Phone App

And another way of communicating with your publics... phone apps. 
One of my favourites... The Ragan Communications FREE iPhone App. 

As a PRO, it's more than likely you're always on the run, so you need an up to date service right at your fingertips. 
The Ragan News Service App offers news, how-to features, case studies and video interviews. 

Published on August 17th 2010, the Ragan App covers 

  • Tips, stories and analysis from Ragan's PR Daily
  • News and features for corporate communicators from Ragan's Daily Headlines
  • Hot stories you can use from Ragan's Healthcare Marketing and Communication's News
  • Video interviews with the biggest experts in the fields of PR, social media and employee communications

An all-in-all convenient, and most importantly, FREE application. I'd thoroughly recommend it. 

Follow Ragan Communications on Twitter: @MarkRaganCEO

Representing your brand online

The internet is an extremely popular form of media. In 2007 the Internet Advertising Bureau claimed that 65% of the total adult population in Great Britain were online. This is a staggering amount, and is thought to have increased significantly since then too. Social Media online has taken off across the UK, from a personal use with sites such as facebook and a corporate use with sites like twitter, linkedin, blogs and sometimes facebook also. Many organisations have got on the bandwagon to use twitter and reconnect with the consumers; whether or not this has any affect is another matter.

44% of companies use blogs to communicate with their publics.

According to PRWeek (November 26th 2010), 45% of respondents don’t know if social media has helped brands respond to a crisis. This finding is from a survey by Toluna. PRWeek have also claimed that the BBC currently have the most online influence.

So what's the most important thing about digital marketing strategies? Being able to monitor measure them. There are many tools for this, one of my personal choices is available from Alterian. There are so many other tools available for you though, many of which are free, such as Tweetdeck, StumbleUpon, Google Analytics, and Stat Counter.

I've got to admit, I'm a bit of a social media geek, just in the respect of I think I actually have every single platform you could think of, whether I use them, that's another matter, and as for using them correctly, well, that's not for me to judge.
I love LinkedIn and Twitter though, definitely my two favourites, I'm slowly getting used to blogging too, but this is all very new to me. I wish I could get rid of facebook, but until I figure out another way to communicate with peers at university to promote the events BUTrampolining run etc, I'm a bit stuck with that one.. but it is a massive waste of time, distraction and as far as I can tell, a method for people to literally stalk you.

As for BU Trampolining, we use a combination
facebook, twitter and youtube. We really struggled with twitter as trampolining is such a niche topic, it was difficult to find like-minded people to communicate with, and considering our target audience is a small group at one university, twitter may not have been the best platform to use.

Last Monday, John Stanton,
MD and Gifford Morley-Fletcher, Director or Strategy (Inbound Marketing) from Base One came down to talk to us about their B2B digital marketing strategies. My absolute favourite part of this lecture was this:

I love this... it's the main thing that stuck with me through the lecture. Yes, just an image, but it represents how each online tool itself could be beneficial but together, a strong marketing strategy. Quite a creative representation too.

So, some last minute tips for using online strategies for marketing: -

  • What is it you want to achieve from using these platforms.
  • Who are they?
  • Why are they interested?
  • What’s their platform?
  • What are their boundaries?
  • What do we want to say?
  • What do they want to hear?
  • How will we reach them?
  • First person and meaningful, passionate and informal
  • Don’t preach or sell


Nudge Nudge

Behavioural Economics… it’s all anyone and everyone can talk about. But what is it? Essentially it rejects the idea that we act on rationality. There is the common assumption that when given relevant facts, we will then behave accordingly. I’m sure we’d all like to assume this is the case anyway. However, we are much more likely to act upon impulse, emotions and, above all, habits. As a society, we won’t wait and want everything at our fingertips now.

The fact is technology has spoiled us. Computers, mobile phones, emails and credit cards, to name but a few. These are all convenient to use on-the-go, 24/7, but have they robbed us of our patience? So if it’s not rationality influencing your decisions, what is it? Behavioural economists argue that although we may be unaware of it, we tend to make choices based on our instincts, peer pressure and how the options are presented to us, known as choice architecture. A little scary isn’t it? That we might act upon our whims over sense.

So how does this relate to marketing? Well this fascination with behavioural economics has grown since the release of Richard Thaler’s ‘Nudge: Improving decisions about health, wealth and happiness’. And even David Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne have been talking about the potential for communications to focus more on behaviour.

In a more cynical viewpoint though, this could just be seen as an attempt to flatter the IPA (Institution of Practitioners in Advertising), who have recently made a dedication to increasing efficiency using behavioural economics. “If you don’t pay attention to the design of the choice architecture, then you can lose out – in Government and in business,” says Hamish Pringle, director-general of the IPA.

So the big question is - how does this help you? Well if you’re more likely to influence people by appealing to their impatience and impulses, surely framing options and packages to achieve better results doesn’t seem so difficult. And if you don’t think such a small change could have such a significant impact on your audience and their consumer behaviour, ask The Economist. When testing this theory the magazine found that there was more than a 250% increase in customers choosing the more expensive alternative for subscriptions. And what was the simple change they made to their packages to achieve this incredible result? Instead of offering a simple choice of option a - subscribing for a year to online articles, or option c - subscribing for a year to printed and online articles, they included an extra irrelevant subscription choice – option b - they offered just printed articles for the same price as option c. This automatically created the illusion that in option c, the online articles were essentially free and therefore a ‘must have’ in common thinking of today’s society. Just imagine the outcome you could potentially achieve using techniques like this?

Over the recent years, there has certainly been a move towards change in traditional marketing methods. Perhaps more emphasis is now needed on choice architecture but the power of PR and press still can play a crucial role in your business’ reputation and consumer behaviour. Take Apple for example - one of the leading and most forward-thinking companies around - they can successfully launch products purely on word-of-mouth PR and there is no need, initially anyway, to include any irrelevant payment options for example. There are plenty of people who will happily pay the small fortune asked out-right to purchase an iPhone, knowing full well the price will drop within a matter of months.

By challenging traditional marketing methods, behavioural economics can play a big part in consumer’s behaviour. Perhaps it’s what’s needed to give you the competitive edge needed in a period where your budget may have been reduced. Just by measuring how your audience respond to promotions or by using appropriate rewards can lead to desired behavioural change within your target market.

So by giving consumers a small nudge you can make a big difference to their behaviour, the outcome and your business.