Tag Archives: marketing

My best weekend read: Web Designs for Different Generations

My favourite blog post from this weekend’s reading list, by far, is Web design across different generations by Danny Bluestone, published on Econsultancy.

The article focuses on website design and how important it is to know who your user is and what they need from you.

Know your user, and don't make them think #greatwebsitedesign
Know your user, and don’t make them think #greatwebsitedesign

In my experience it can be tough enough to identify and then agree internally who your main user is, never mind keeping them front of mind during a long, arduous development process.

That’s why the five categories of website users proposed by Bluestone, based primarily on age, is useful.

The categories are:

  1. The Silent Generation (born in 1929-1945) lived just after World War II
  2. Baby Boomers (1946-1964) during the economic recovery
  3. The sceptical Generation X (1965-1979)
  4. The more technologically savvy Generation Y (1980-1999)
  5. The immersed Digital Natives (from 2000)

Like all simple customer categorisations there will be boundaries that blur and characteristics that don’t fit but having a place to start – and come back to – during those internal discussions is very useful.

Bluestone highlights the different  needs and expectations each type of user has of a website, and how they are likely to use it, for example:

“This generation [Silent Generation] is likely to blame themselves and give up when a website fails to perform, rather than searching for another option. They have a hesitant, careful approach to websites, double-checking forms before submission, so it takes substantially more time to complete tasks. “

As well as the usability elements raised in this article* I was struck by how different the branding – visuals, tone of voice, language used – might need to be for the different  categories.

*another great read about website design is Steve Krug’s Don’t Make Me Think.


The rock star partnership of sales and marketing revisited

This week I’m going to a seminar on marketing for SMEs and entrepreneurs run by Ulster Bank in conjunction with SmallBusinessCan which promises to be an interesting affair.  Some of the topics under discussion on the SmallBusinessCan website will be addressed, such as:

  1. Marketing or sales?
  2. Social Media
  3. E-commerce, designing your website, app or website?
  4. The classics
  5. Cloud, social media, software and systems

I’m looking forward to hearing what the panel will say about the first topic.  One of SmallBusinessCan’s founders says “My personal view is that a good sales person is worth 10 marketers.”

First of all it should never be an either/or.  Both disciplines have their place in any organisation and, at their best, complement each other well.  I wrote about this before (and not just so I could post a photo of Jimmy Page and Robert Plant in full flow).

Secondly, it is better to make selling everyone’s job rather than marketing.  Developing everyone’s ability to spot a sales opportunity and nurture it to a certain point before passing to the sales team will reap more dividends.  The same cannot necessarily be said for marketing though.  It’s a rare outfit that allows everyone in the organisation to contribute to the Facebook page or Twitter account although hats off to those who do.  This requires good training, trust and a blame free culture.

A recent survey by The Channel Partnership in conjunction with The Leadership Foundation found that over 80% of sales and marketing professionals believe their activities are not aligned, no doubt having a significant impact on the bottom line.  More than half said that the lack of a clear strategy was a key factor in the development of co-ordinated plans, as was lack of time, budgets, structured processes and senior direction.

Hubspot, the lead generation software people, has abandoned the traditional silo structure altogether in favour of wrapping their sales and marketing functions around buying personas, effectively banishing any ‘us and them’, ‘sales v marketing’ rifts.  It must work for them – they’ve recently raised $35m investment money to expand into Europe.

So marketing isn’t quite dead yet, then.

What Quora says about how to market an app

Over a million apps but how do you market yours?
Over a million apps but how do you market yours?

The global apps industry continues to grow massively – iTunes approved it’s millionth app back in November – yet it is still in its infancy.  It’s a very exciting place to be working right now.

For hard working appreneurs the only stats that matter are the number of downloads and the rate of returning users  – these are the magic numbers that investors want to see.

And getting there means marketing.  Unfortunately there is a derth of case studies, research, advice and online chat about how to do this.

Most of the marketing advice tends to be either:

1.  Buy online advertising to get your users (as eshewed by those platforms with ad space to sell) or

2.  Get an influential person with large social reach to promote your app (as advised by smug people who’ve achieved this).

Neither of which is a valid strategy for most cash and time strapped start ups.

So, here’s a summary of a thread I found on Quora with a bit more useful information about how to market an app.

Essential actions to market your app

1.  Identify your target customers and the pain point your app is solving for them

2.  Articulate this in a value proposition and snappy description

Must do actions to market your app

1.  Provide awesome screenshots (not to be under estimated)

2.  Write a press release and other good PR fodder (research stats etc) and make easily available.  Post them on news distribution sites like prmac.com, prnewswire.co.uk and gamespress.com

3.  Use social media to create a buzz – blogs, Facebook and Twitter were the platforms mentioned

4.  Write on and create new threads on forums like MacRumors, Touch Arcade and Tuaw

5.  Capture email addresses as soon as possible and ask early adopters for reviews

6.  Engage with app influencers to secure reviews

7.  Launch in phases

8.  Identify your (SEO) keywords so your app is easy to find in the App Store

Jury’s out on these actions to market your app

1.  Buy advertising space

2.  Focus all your energy on marketing within the App Store

3.  Learn how to do it properly by building one app purposely to throw away (Angry Birds was Rovio’s 57th game)

4.  Have a lite and paid for version of your app

Have-fun-but-not-high-hopes actions to market your app

1.  Get it featured on The Big Bang Theory

2.  Ask Stephen Fry to play with it

One marketing tactic missed from the Quora thread is the importance of email marketing to drive downloads and engagement.  Another is the clever (ie neither stalkerish nor  so infrequent it’s irrelevant) use of push notifications within the app to drive repeat use.

It stands to reason that best practice for app marketing will evolve in 2013 though, like SEO marketing, it may well be a moving beast as the boundaries and rules set by the App Store change.  But what then of Android?  Time will tell.

The Social Sickness (infographic)

I’ve been collecting some great infographics for a while and want to share one here each day this week, since it’s nearly Christmas.

Today’s blog is about everyone’s favourite topic – social media.

Social media is part of most marketing job roles nowadays.  If you’re always online via your smart phone or tablet the temptation to throw out a little tweet, post, pin or share for your job when you’re online with your friends and family anyway is huge.

Here’s a list of ten social media personas and the unhealthy relationships they have with social media.  How many of these bad habits have you fallen in to?*


*hands up, I ‘fess up to one of these.  Ok, two.

Thanks to Marketo for the infographic and Rohit Bhargava for the original idea.

Tomorrow’s infographic is about customer surveys and how they can backfire.  If you don’t want to miss it pop your email address into the box on the top right to receive these blog updates straight to your inbox.

“It was 20 years ago today…” How marketing has changed

computer less office
There was no digital technology in the office where I first started work. There are many more marketing tools available now.

Andrew Jacobs’ blog post about the changes he’s witnessed in learning and development over the last 20 years has inspired me to write about some of the changes I’ve seen in the not quite 20 years (argh) that I’ve been in marketing.

I’ve also had a recent blast of activity in LinkedIn where I’ve connected up with a lot of lovely people from my early career.  Thank you LinkedIn for putting me back in touch with them and reminding me of those times.

It really doesn’t seem that long ago that I first started working in a marketing role at Royal Mail as part of my degree placement year but of course it is.  Tempus fugit.

At first glance it seems that so much has changed in marketing since then but there are also a lot of things that have remained the same.  Here’s my snapshot.

4 things that have changed in marketing

1.  Unthinkable as it may seem now when I first started in the big world of work not everyone had a computer.  I was a lowly placement student and got by just fine with a pen and notepad.  And the typing pool.  Now my tools of the trade are a smart phone, ipad and highly portable laptop.  I still love my pen and notepad though.

2.  The internet hadn’t been invented 20 years ago, never mind the social media platforms of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Flickr, YouTube, Slideshare, Pinterest et al.  Our shop window was a literal one – the post offices and callers offices that are still (just about) here today – and the call centres and postmen our brand ambassadors.  We had no websites or virtual presence then.

3.  Long lead times meant that campaigns took a great deal of time to execute.  Strong project management skills were held in high regard, probably more so than creativity.  Our below the line activity took the form of direct mail (naturally) and we did a lot of above the line work in the form of TV ads, radio and press campaigns.  Planning was done months in advance and every single element of a campaign was scrutinised and debated before execution.  Immediacy and responsiveness were not front of mind in our marketing campaigns.

4.  The tone of voice we used in our comns was more formal than now.  While this is still a characteristic of the Royal Mail brand today I think that, as a society, we’re less formal and deferential than we used to be.  As consumers we don’t think organisations command respect just because they’ve been in business for decades (how agile are you?).  Customers have more choice and can shop around at the drop of a hat nowadays – a shift of balance has occurred.

4 things that remain the same in marketing

1.  Writing skills are as important for the marketer as they ever were.  Every marketer needs to be able to blog as well as create frequent and timely social media conversations with customers and prospects.  In the past you may have been able to rely on a colleague to copy check, amend or even rewrite your messages but no more.  If you can’t put your message into words easily, quickly and with confidence yourself then you’re not able to exploit social media platforms – the most powerful communication channels available nowadays.

2.  Being clear what you want to say, to whom, and how, are still founding principles of good marketing.  Distinguishing who is a stakeholder, who is an influencer, who is a budget holder etc, is just as important as it always was.  Mix this up and you risk wasting time, offending and, potentially, losing a sale.  Good targeting and segmentation is still key.

3.  Images are probably more important now than they ever were.  Flickr, Pinterest and Facebook are the successes they are because of our love of photos.  If a picture paints a thousand words, and in today’s online world we see an awful lot of words, then selecting the right image is critical.  Marketers now have to have a good eye for design and know what images and visuals work and what don’t.

4.  The immediacy and transparency that social media gives means that managing how your brand is viewed, if you can, is still important.  Reputation management, as it is called nowadays, has become much harder.  As consumers we talk openly online about our experiences of companies, products and services without too much thought, sometimes naming and shaming to get action.  For the marketer this is like herding cats – not easy.   However, there is also a theory that more than half of active Twitter users follow companies, brands or products on social networks and 79% of them are more likely to recommend the brands that they follow.  Get it right and you have an army of ambassadors working for you.

These are just some of my thoughts and reflections.  What do you think has changed in the last 20 years in the field of marketing and what’s stayed the same?  Please share your comments below.

PS.  I was half way through writing this post when the very wonderful Hubspot published an ebook this week called 100 ideas that changed marketing.  A fantastic, much more in-depth read than my little retrospective here.

5 posts I liked enough to share

5 is the magic number
Five recent marketing blog posts worth a read

This week I’m sharing five blog posts that have caught my eye and which I think are worth a look if you’re interested in social media, marketing or how to tell a good yarn.

1.  Guide to formatting WordPress posts and pages – Copyblogger

This is a very simple and basic introduction to the formatting functionality available for WordPress posts and pages.  Great for any newcomer to WordPress.

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2.  How to weave a story that instantly captivates your audience – Copyblogger

An interesting companion to the nuts and bolts post above.  In this post there are some tips about how to tell a magical story, illustrated via an incident with a washing machine.  Trust me.  Like all Copyblogger posts this is well written and motivational for all would-be story tellers.

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3.  75 tips to manage your social media efforts – Quicksprout

A great collection of easy to digest tips for getting the most out of your blog, Facebook, Twitter, Google +, LinkedIn and Pinterest profiles in 2012.  For example, tip number 23 advises you to create follower groups and segment your status updates on Facebook using their new segmenting features.

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4.  What to obsess over – Seth Godin

One of the world’s favourite marketers and a man given to writing witty and pithy blog posts cuts to the chase here.  “If you track concepts your concepts will get better.  If you track open rates your subject lines will get better,” he says.

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5.  Content marketing through the sales funnel – Small Business News

The title of this post lets it down but nevertheless it’s worth a read.  A useful and interesting post that outlines four areas in the sales and marketing funnel that most frequently need attention.

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Derry plans a digital creativity celebration with CultureTECH festival

The first ever CultureTECH festival takes place in Derry this week
The first ever CultureTECH festival takes place in Derry this week.

This week Derry plays host to a four day festival of technology, media and music called CultureTECH.

A veritable banquet of digital culture featuring acts, keynotes, bands, artists, developers and speakers will be on offer at venues and spaces all over the city from Wednesday 29 August to Saturday 1 September.

Think TED or SXSW with a hefty dollop of Norn Iron wit and hospitality.

Over 1,000 delegates have registered so far to hear more than 90 industry speakers, nearly 50 music acts, film screenings, games events, digital street art and a digital funfair.

I’m going along to review the Digital Marketing For The Rest of Us day on Wednesday. The speakers are drawn from big corporate organisations and small online agencies so it promises to be an interesting session.

Would be musicians and gamers get access to experienced advisors on Thursday who talk about, amongst other things, how to create the most awesome music video ever on a shoestring.

Friday looks like a great day at The Millennium Forum where the ten Big Ideas in the morning are followed with an afternoon of TED-worthy keynote speakers including Ben Hammersley (WIRED UK), Kath Mainland (Edinburgh Festival), Sir Nicholas Kenyon (Barbican) and Daniel Burwen (Cognito Comics).

If Wednesday is the marketing day, Thursday the gaming and media day, Friday the big speakers day then Saturday is the fun day.  That’s when the CultureTECH picnic is held with a digital funfair (featuring a virtual coconut shy) and a free outdoor gig with Duke Special headling.

Good luck to everyone involved in the organisation of this inaugural digital fest.  Reviews to follow.

Full programme (pdf) here.