What is Agile Marketing? And why should I care?

Yay – a new buzzword! AGILE MARKETING

You may have heard of the term ‘agile’ in relation to software development and glazed over with a vision of bespectacled neeks in jesus sandals getting excited about the last episode of Game of Thrones as their hipster beards get sodden with stale coffee in their morning stand-up meeting (Something I’ll explain later. The stand-up meeting that is, not the picture you’ve got in your head right now.)

Sarcasm aside, agile marketing is fundamentally about delivering marketing campaigns with greater speed, efficiency and adaptability.

Which is in turn, fundamentally about delivering greater value to your customers.

 

It’s simple really.

 

We work a lot with financial services companies. Most of them are large, all of them are bound by strict compliance rules. You might think that agile marketing is impossible in this context. But actually, we disagree. And we’ve even proven that wrong (as we’ll explain later on…)

We’ve pulled together our top tips for a beginner’s guide to agile marketing:

Try daily standup meetings

A standup meeting is basically where everyone gets together for a quick fire catch up about the day’s pipeline of work. You’re meant to conduct the meeting standing up. It keeps it brief, raises the energy levels, and makes it a discrete activity from sitting at your desk all day which lends a degree of focus.

agile-marketing-standup

By getting together, everyone knows what’s going on. They know who is doing what, what needs to be done by when, and can lend ideas and support to the rest of the team.

It’s so easy to just walk in, turn on your computer, flick through your emails, and pick something to work on. Stand-ups mean that everyone is forced to work on the most urgent, pressing tasks because they understand the priorities and dependencies in the team. 

It actually makes a lot of sense. Whenever I’ve tried it in the past, it’s always been during a big, complex project and it’s really worked to increase efficiency. (Note to self to use with all ongoing activity…)

 

A/B testing email campaigns

Agility is about being able to quickly pivot and course-correct along the way. It’s all about making incremental improvements.

A/B testing is a fantastic tool for agility. And it doesn’t need to be that hard. Most sophisticated email clients these days give you the ability to A/B test your campaigns.

 

Use free collaboration tools

(Cough. Trello. cough.)

To be truly agile, everyone on the team needs visibility of what’s going on and what needs to be done. And this needs to come from a single, central, accessible source of the truth, not various emails treads where you forgot to cc someone key. It’s great for managing workflows of blogs, content, or event planning for example.

If you’re not using Trello, get on it.

I’ll leave this link here for you to explore how Trello helps marketers get shit done.

 

Elastic agency capacity

**Shameless plug for Moreish Marketing**

Agility is about being responsive and quick to react. Think genius examples like the Oreo’s Super Bowl tweet, or Specsavers’ witty tweets.

At Moreish, we work a little differently to the standard agency model. Aside from our core client-facing team (the likes of yours truly), we use our trusted network of freelancers. People who are at the top of their game.

This serves two great benefits to agility –

  1. We’re totally media and technology neutral. Whatever the campaign needs to deliver results, we can provide. And the skills at our disposal are always at the forefront of technical advances.
  2. Our capacity is totally elastic. We can have one person working on your account one day, and 10 people the next. You only pay for the resource you use, and more importantly, we can meet deadlines most large agencies would laugh at.

Last year, we were pretty proud that one of our LV= campaigns was shortlisted and ‘Highly Commended’ for the Marketing in the Moment award at the Marketing New Thinking Awards 2015.

 

Dynamic HTML5 banners

We did a cool campaign a couple of months back with LV=.

In 2014, George Osbourne’s government budget announcement sprung massive changes on the pensions industry. Nobody saw it coming. But LV= were quick off the block to react to the changes with our Take Heart campaign. The business results were phenomenal (as well as winning a load of awards).

Roll forward to the 2016 budget announcement, and LV= wanted to be prepared for whatever nasty (or nice) surprises that might arise.

We designed a series of banner ads to go on the main trade websites. And because they were built in dynamic html5, it meant that we could update the content on the fly, and react almost instantly to the budget announcement.

Sod’s law, there was nothing groundbreaking. But this agile approach to campaign planning meant that we were poised to gain a competitive edge.

 

Use tools to spin up quick landing pages

Agile marketing departments tend to be able to produce more content. Which is great, but the rest of the marketing machine surrounding this content needs equal velocity.

We often find that people struggle to build pages on their website fast enough, and with enough flexibility to make the most out of this. And it zaps all of the energy out of creating content in the first place.

Have a look at tools like Unbounce for spinning up high converting landing pages. They also make A/B testing easy. (We can give you a hand if you’re stuck here.)

 

 

Some aspects of agile marketing are going to be tricky for financial services marketers to make a part of their daily lives, especially in the social arena. When you work so closely with compliance, newsjacking and diving in on social conversations is tough.

But there are absolutely, definitely a whole host of things that we CAN do to make marketing more agile.

Yes, it means putting some processes in place. And trying new things, which can be scary.

But we’re confident that you’ll also find it removes frustration, increases efficiency, and makes work more fun.

 

 

Why animated videos flop…

We’ve been asked to do a lot of animated videos recently.

And it’s no wonder, they do miracles for conversion, search engine ranking and social engagement. Look no further than this fab slideshare.

 

 

We love doing videos. Done right, in our humble opinion, they can be the best way to bring a product alive, make a complex concept digestible and make really good shareable, snackable content.

Done wrong, they do nothing for your brand or engagement.

Here are our pet peeves to avoid next time you’re thinking about doing an animated vid.

Over-complicated

Done right, videos are especially great for making really complex things seem simple. And when you consider that 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and that visuals are processed 60,000x faster in the brain than text. That’s immense.

But believe us, it’s not easy to distill a complicated concept into a simple visual animation that really works. Animation is great because you can build up layers of a story as it develops.

I’ve seen so many videos where the message has been totally lost because they’ve tried to cram too much into 60 seconds and have failed to distill the concept or creative down to it’s essence.

Feels off-brand

Google ‘animated videos’ and there will be plenty of companies furiously bidding to create you an animated video with fixed turnaround times and a price per minute.

They’re experts at what they do – they pump out thousands of these things a year. And for quick and dirty animated videos they can be great. But do your research…

These off-the-peg videos can look exactly that. Added to which, they don’t always have the time and processes in place to gain a depth of understand about your business, brand, audience and product.

Videos are a fab way to build brand awareness, don’t blow it by commissioning a video from a set range of animation styles that’s not in harmony with your brand.

Haven’t thought through how it will be used

Before you start creating an animated video, it’s 100% worth thinking through how you’ll be using it before you start.

Are you thinking of using it primarily for social, emails, events, landing pages? (All of the above is fine by the way, just so long as you’ve thought it through.)

It informs so many things – like the length, reliance on audio / subtitles, and any areas of the screen to avoid. You need to think carefully about the combination of visuals, text, and audio that you use.

If you’re creating a video to play on your stand at a conference for example, something with a wordy voiceover isn’t going to work so well as something more visual.  

A quick scroll down your Facebook feed will tell you that there’s an increasing prevalence is subtitled videos. We’re happy to watch videos muted with subtitles. It’s something that’s especially worth bearing in mind in a B2B context where people might not want to blast it out to the whole office.

Not taking advantage of analytics

There are some incredible tools out there that give you fantastic insight into your video performance.

Wistia is our particular favourite. Youtube and Vimeo analytics just don’t really have the edge if you’re taking your video marketing seriously.

As well as having impressive lead generation options and integrations with marketing automation platforms, you can get an incredible amount of insight into the audience engagement levels…

Like whether your videos are the right length (from the average engagement rate)

Or whether any sections were confusing or especially engaging (heatmaps show you re-winds and replays – pretty cool. )

It’s too long. Yawn.

There’s no shortage of research out there that will tell you that the shorter the better. And we’d hold by that fact.

But it’s a little bit more complex than ‘I have to keep this video to between 30 – 90 seconds or the world will implode’.

Here’s why:

If you’re explaining something high level, to a new audience, and your primary objective is to get people to share it / engage with the whole content and the call to action at the end – then stick to 30 seconds.

If you’re producing a video for an audience that you know has a hunger for the subject, and you’re going into a bit more detail, or it’s complex to explain – aim for up to 90 seconds.

And if it’s an in-depth educational video, or for training use, then it’s really up to you to make a call based on the complexity of your content. For example, we’ve just produced a 15 minute long animation for DTCC to use with internal stakeholders to explain a really complicated product offering. Anything less and it wouldn’t get the points across. Anything more and we would’ve seen engagement levels hit the floor.

But the main rule is: whatever you go for, make sure it’s not boring.

 

If you’ve got a video that’s 94 seconds long, then focus on making each one of those 94 seconds engaging rather than stressing about cutting 4 out. And use the reporting tools available to you to see if you made the right call on length.

We’d be happy to chat through your requirements if you’ve got a video you want producing. Just get in touch…

 

Is it time to pull the trigger on marketing personas?

Persona development in marketing a really important. They’re a great way to make you think about your target audience in greater depth.

But sometimes we need to approach them differently.

Think about yourself as a persona for a second. (Because we can all be sure that someone in some marketing department somewhere is trying to pin you down.)

Have you always been the same person throughout your life? Probably not.

Going to university, buying your first home, getting married, getting divorced, getting married again, having kids, your kids leaving home, making that career move, becoming a grandparent – all the things that we go through in our lives that inadvertently, and yet inevitably change our perceptions and priorities.

At the time, we’re not alway conscious of going through a life change. But we all are at some point.

It’s something that Lloyds have embraced in their recent advertising campaign:

Trigger based marketing personas

 

They’ve found a way to embed the need for their financial services within the context of big life changes. It really resonates.

These ‘transition states’ are real sweet spots for financial services marketing. It’s at these points of flux and transition that we’re open to re-imaging our lives. If we can align our campaigns with these life triggers, then you’re onto a winner. They’re the things that create, or bring to light, the need for a financial product or service.

And they’re also completely within reach when it comes to paid channel of audience segmentation. Don’t forget that Facebook knows everything about you. Targeting marketing efforts based on life triggers seems like the smart thing to do.

But there’s an added layer of complexity – these triggers don’t actually have to happen to you. For example, your neighbour over the road gets diagnosed with a terminal illness. You don’t know them that well, but it doesn’t matter. Just being exposed to the reality of ‘what if…?’ scenarios totally changes your mental calculations when weighing up the pros and cons of protection products.

Let’s stop looking at personas in terms of age, hair colour and what car people drive, and instead focus on the things that both help to effectively segment your audience and deliver marketing messaging that matters to them, here and now.

 

Why you should add an educational edge to your Financial Services marketing content

1. Establish trust

Arguably, Financial Services rely on trust more than other industries. And yet according to a report from the FSCS published in November 2015, only 36% of UK consumers state they have trust in financial services firms. Second only to Media.

One of the best ways to build trust is to share knowledge, inform, educate, and ultimately, empower people to make independent decisions.

Make sure your marketing content is jargon free, digestible and not riddled with acronyms. 

2. Add value

Aim to simplify and demystify the complex. When you live and breathe financial product every day, it’s easy to forget that not everyone knows what you’re talking about. To the average person, financial services can be confusing and intimidating – the stakes are high when you’re talking about your hard earned money.

Use simple, visual and informative marketing content like explainer videos and infographics to get across your product features and benefits in a simple way.

3. Let your expertise shine

There’s no better way to position yourself as an expert and thought leader in a space than to impart knowledge. In fact, it’s the ONLY way.

And this doesn’t mean spending 50% of your time on theasaurus.com.

Run your content through the Einstein test –

Benefits to making financial services marketing content educational

4. Be more shareable

Educational marketing content is more shreable

You’ve got two brochures in front of you for similar pension products from two different providers. You can’t split a hair between them.

One brochure goes for a hard product sell, pushing the features and benefits of their product.

The other gives you useful information on top of this that will help you to make a considered decision.

Which of the two are you more likely to pass onto your gran when you next see her? Which of the two is she most likely to have stuck on the fridge 12 weeks later?

A Newscred survey found that 19% of respondents say they’d share interesting articles from their bank with family and friends on social media if it was available.

Useful content sticks. And so does the name of the brand that went the extra mile to add value to your buying decision.

Building Trust in Financial Services Marketing

Ahh, trust. Good old trust. A brand’s most fickle best friend. It takes years to build up, as little as a single encounter to dash down.

Arguably, trust is more important in the financial services sector than some others, especially since there is a severe lack of, and you’re rarely buying anything of immediate tangible benefit. It’s become a central debate in how financial services can move forward.

The latest 2016 Edelman Trust Barometer report shows a mixed bag. The good news? Public trust in financial services has increased 8% since the 2012 results.

The bad news? Financial services ranked bottom place, with a 51% trust rating.

Building trust in financial services with marketing

There’s clearly some way to go.

There are ways that we can approach financial services marketing to help the road to recovery and restore trust.

Mostly, it’s actually pretty simple.

1. Ditch the jargon

Always, always, always, go out of your way to craft simple, easy to understand copy in financial services marketing content. When trust in the industry is low, don’t give your audience the impression that you’re hiding behind jargon. And that goes for small print and T&Cs as wells as headline and body copy.  

Chris Schafer, BrandpointYour average reader doesn’t work on Wall Street, isn’t a hedge fund manager, and finds the DOW’s rapid ups and downs maddening. To make it relatable, tie your financial message into an experience your readers do know intimately.” 

Chris Schafer, Content Marketing Manager at Brandpoint

Create an internal process that allows you to run all first drafts of copy through the “simple police” in the corner.  And no, this isn’t handing it to compliance at the end. What we’re talking about here is changing your frame of mind before you even start to create content.  Nothing should go to a second draft unless it’s passed the jargon filter.

In our experience of working with Financial Services marketing departments, if you can’t explain it with simple language, then a) the concept or product isn’t simple enough, or b) there’s not clarity internally. In which case you shouldn’t be looking to market it externally yet.

And even when it comes to adviser-facing content, you’re still talking to a human being. By all means use jargon where appropriate, but leave it at that. Don’t be that annoying person round the dinner table that uses big word to try and make himself sound clever, rather than just saying something clever in the first place.

2. Educate and add value

What better way is there to build trust than to teach? Educational content is great. Give your customers the tools and resources to inform themselves about the market and your products. This will help them to feel empowered about the buying decisions they are making.

Interestingly, 55% of respondents to a NewsCred survey said that they trust a bank more when it offers them helpful, useful content.

3. Work with compliance

Ultimately, compliance exists to protect the best interests of the consumer. Take a leaf out of their book and champion the customer in all of your marketing.

When it comes to compliance, it’s not ‘them vs us’. Don’t see them as the sober party pooper popping all of the balloon in the corner of the room.

Involve them in your marketing campaigns from the very beginning. ‘Passing compliance’ shouldn’t be an afterthought. You might be surprised at the value this adds – they’re seeking the same clarity and honesty that your customers are.

Here’s some advice from Mark White, CMO of Raymond James Investment Services:

Mark White, CMO of Raymond James on ComplianceEspecially in our industry, it’s really important to be compliant. We have a small compliance group that physically sits in marketing, so it’s an integrated part of the process. There are various steps when we are going through the planning process or production process where they can flag things to say: “That’s a topic that may require additional review.”

I know in some places you create a great piece of content and you pray that it is going to get through compliance. We don’t approach it that way. It’s integrated from the beginning.”

4. Focus on customer service

These days consumers do their research – they shop around online, read reviews, visit comparison sites, ask friends and family. On top of – or instead of – seeking professional financial advice.
You won’t escape online reviews in one way or another, even if you hide under the bed with your eyes closed and your fingers in your ears. Find a way to embrace it. Encourage your customers to review you. Direct them towards positive testimonials. If you’re lucky enough to have a 5* Defaqto rating for example, shout about it.

5. Focus on your customers as individuals

Always revolve your marketing around what matters to them in their world. Every single word should aim to connect with them as individuals.

Why? Because at the heart of it, money is a high emotive, individual topic of conversation, inextricably linked to your customer’s hopes, fears, dreams and future.

Create rapport with your audience and demonstrate that you understand their interests. As Jenko Kent, Chief Creative Officer of Stage 6 Media puts it –

Jenko Kent, Stage 6 MediaMoney is a fundamentally emotional issue for the average person, and we make ourselves vulnerable to the companies who we trust enough to bring into our financial worlds. If instead of lauding your facts, figures, success rates, and service offerings, you can connect with your customers on a human level, you’re going to have a much more substantial impact.

The best way to do this is by telling heartfelt stories that demonstrate your genuine passion and determination to care for your customers.”

 

Our top 10 B2B marketing influencers to follow on Twitter

We’ve pulled together a list of our favourite B2B marketing influencers that we think every self-respecting B2B marketer should follow. All hail the B2B marketing Twitterati…

@MarketingB2B

Great for: all things B2B
Lots of good, varied content. Great place to go for interesting research and articles in the B2B marketing world.

@TheDrum

Great for: The latest marketing news

The Drum is the UK’s most visited marketing news website. There’s a lot of D2C stuff, but some important B2B content too. A good place to put your finger on the pulse of current marketing trends and topics of interest.

@Hubspot

Great for: Marketing automation and tips

The world’s leading inbound marketing platform, Hubspot has a quasi cult following. They pump out tons of really relevant, helpful and useful content for us marketers. Informative and light in tone, shareable stuff and a good read.

@KathPay

Great for: email marketing best practice and understanding the customer journey

Kath Pay of Sticky Content writes and curates a research and opinion pieces on effective email marketing.

@MarketingProfs

Great for: Content marketing

Ann Handley, is ‘waging a war on mediocrity in content marketing’.

@iftweeter 

Great for: social media

Immediate Future is a social media consultancy that as luck may have it, is just down the road from us at Moreish Marketing. CEO @KatyHowell is also worth following as a highly influential B2B marketing guru.

@dougkessler

Great for: Interesting conversations around content marketing

Doug Kessler is Creative Director and Co-Founder of B2B marketing agency, Velocity.

@CMIContent

Great for: Finding interesting research

Content Marketing Institute promotes a ton of really interesting research and content.

@Wistia

Great for: video marketing

Wistia are a video hosting platform but share really helpful insights into video marketing and video production.

@rskin11

Great for: Cutting-edge analyst insight

The twitter feed of Ryan Skinner, Forrester analyst. Often pioneering opinions.

Why video absolutely needs to be in your 2016 B2B content marketing plan

According to Cisco, by 2017, video will account for 69% of all consumer internet traffic. And by 2018 this is have risen to 79%. That’s a pretty staggering prediction.

There’s no getting around the fact that video needs to be core to your marketing content strategy. In fact, 96% of B2B companies are planning to use video in their content marketing over the next year.

At Moreish, we’re certainly seeing an increase in demand for videos. And a large chunk of this increasing appetite is formed of clients that want to use video to explain a complex solution, concept or product quickly and engagingly, to a business audience. Like this animated video we produced for Healix.

And when you consider that 75% of business executives watch work-related videos at least weekly (Forbes), it makes total sense.

If you need more convincing, here are 6 great reasons why video should be at the front of your mind when planning your 2016 marketing budget:

Shareability

Is video marketing the most shareable form of content?According to this recent study by Hubspot, video remains the most shareable form of marketing content.

And it’s true in a B2B context too – 54% of senior executives share work-related videos with colleagues at least weekly (Forbes).

Content shared between colleagues is a really effective powerful exchange in a B2B context – it gets your message in front of the right people from a source they know and trust.

It’s really digestible

59% of senior executives say that if both text and video are available on the same page, they prefer to watch the video (Forbes). It will be interesting to see if this balance tips further in favour of video in the next few years, as the next generation of senior executives comes to the fore.

For now, video can’t completely replace text at the risk of alienating 41% of senior executives. The written word still very much has a place. We need a combination of visual and written communication.

Interestingly, we find that because you’ve got to pack a lot into a short amount of time, choosing a video format can really force clarity and concision in your content. Research suggests that you’ve got between 30 seconds and 2 minutes to land your points before engagement drops off.

Flexibility (and success) across different channels

Videos can be used effectively across almost every marketing channel you can think of.

Email campaigns, landing pages, social channels, at events… the list goes on. It’s one of the reasons they’re a great investment.

Interestingly, Sydacast found that websites which include video content have an extra two minutes on their of average site visit time. And email subject lines that contain the word ‘Video’ increase CTRs by 65%.

Conversion 

74% of businesses reported that video content outperformed other content types in driving conversions. The return on investment is clearly there.

And video’s really adaptable to different stages of the customer journey – it’s uniquely just as well suited to high-level, top of funnel overviews as it is to explaining granular details. Providing the right information at the right time is a surefire way to increase conversion.

Contribution to the bottom line 

Organizations that use video are seeing revenues grow almost 50% faster each year than their video-averse counterparts do (Marketing Profs). You can’t really argue with this figure as a good reason to add it to your content mix.

And the data insight that’s available is phenomenal. You can now see exactly who watched your video, how long they watched it for, which bits they rewound and watched again with tools like Wistia for example. This added level of insight (which by the way can be integrated into CRM systems) makes the ROI easier to track and investment easier to justify.

Video’s a long way away from getting tired

Ascend2 reports that 91% of companies say they’re still seeing the effectiveness of marketing videos increase. With ever-changing styles and ever-changing technologies available, video marketing is in a strong position to adapt and flex to the latest digital marketing trends and audience preferences.

 

What’s the future got in store for video marketing?

Increase in video personalisation

We’ve already seen initial forays into personalised video marketing.

Coca-cola’s Share a Coke campaign used the names of viewers watching catch-up programs on 4oD to serve ads with bespoke lines of copy that inserted their name on the bottle’s label.

Video marketing personalisation

And they achieved some impressive results – with ad recall at 71% and purchase intent at 24%.

The technology is there, now marketers need to find a way of applying this to best effect in a B2B context.

More interactivity

We’ve already seen ads on YouTube and on-demand streaming platforms that force you to choose which variation of an ad you want to see.

Alongside polls and surveys mid-play, we’re likely to see an increase in interactivity with video content. The result? More relevant, hand-picked content for the viewer, and greater customer insight for the marketer.

And then there are campaigns that blend interactivity and personalisation. Like Three’s ‘Sing it kitty!’ interactive video campaign.

Sequential video remarketing

This approach is all about using video to segment and engage your audience with the appropriate information at different point of the sales cycle. By serving them different content based on previous video interaction.

Periscopix have written a good article about it here.

 

If you want to have a chat about how to incorporate video into your 2016 marketing content, then get in touch.

Q&A: Simon Martin answers some tough questions

How do you build the perfect marketing team?

Making sure everyone has clearly defined on their roles within the team but has the same passion for excellence. Getting the right balance of insight and strategy from the client, and a strong creative input and vision from the agency. We work closely with our clients to really get to the crux of the campaign and what they want it to achieve and deliver. The beauty of the Moreish team is that we have extremely flexible, elastic capacity to pull in additional ‘best of breed’ specialist resources from the Moreish network as and when it’s needed. This really helped us cherry pick exactly the right resource to be ultra-responsive and strike the right chord with the Take Heart campaign.

Which campaigns have you seen recently that are defining the marketing landscape?

Some of the most effective campaigns I’ve seen so far this year are ones that manage to cut through all of the noise and snap my subconscious advertising filter into awake mode – the ‘refreshingly honest’ campaign from Oasis drinks being one, and Nordnet Norge’s ‘Welcome to transparent banking’ being another.

We know not all brands can afford to be this bold especially in the finance sector, but what both of these examples do which is bold and commendable is to take a step back, remove the marketing veil, and acknowledge the hard cold truth of how their messages are perceived. The result? They’re memorable, witty and create an instant bond of trust between the brand and consumer.

What types of company do you see excelling at marketing at the moment?

We’re a financial and B2B agency and there is a lot great work in these areas that don’t get the limelight they always deserve. But at the same time there is a lot that we can learn from other sectors. Companies that are smart about personalisation – like Amazon and Netflix – they use insight from the data they collect to make helpful suggestions that enhance the user experience. Community-based companies like Airbnb and TripAdvisor are doing well too, designed to be useful at their core, they seem to be closer to what the user wants. They’re both great websites in different ways. And LV= and Prudential are two financial brands that I think are doing great jobs at making their offering more relevant and engaging with more authenticity than some of the rest.

Marketing is becoming more and more data and technology-driven, how can marketers ensure the right balance between creative thinking and scientific marketing?

In many ways, we’re lucky to be marketing in an age where we’ve got unprecedented levels of insight into the successes and failures of our marketing efforts in such granular detail. But equally, the amount of information can sometimes be stifling to creativity – distracting even, if you can’t work out which bits of information are relevant.

All of this data provides fantastic insight into what has worked and what hasn’t – it’s invaluable for strategic planning and course-correcting. But I think it’s really important sometimes to put the data aside during the creative process and start from the human you’re marketing to. We need to make sure marketing doesn’t lose its soul.

What do you see as being the biggest trends of 2015, and do you see examples of companies capitalising on these as part of their marketing campaigns and programmes?

We’ve seen some great example of real-time, responsive marketing this year. Oreo have been wizards here, but there was a ton of really clever, snappy creative around the London tube strikes this summer.

The rise of ad blocker has been an interesting development that’s not going away – we’re going to start to see companies finding new and more innovative ways of getting their messages across to their target audience, especially to the younger generations who’re growing a thick advertising-proof armour.

And this year in the B2B space has seen a much wider adoption of marketing automation tools. Where I’ve seen these in their element is in the sales cycle and on-boarding process of SaaS based tools like Wistia, and Wrike – a sophisticated mix of ‘marketing’ interactions and automated HTML-free emails that can be really effective at shortening sales cycles.

How should companies be defining and measuring marketing excellence?

This depends on the business and the objectives of the individual campaign. But for most commercially focused organisations it’s got to be about trying to get clearer line of sight on the difference your marketing efforts have made to the bottom line (well thought through campaign scoring methods can be good ways to cut through the stats). But at the same time as marketers we shouldn’t forget that this metric is totally irrelevant to our customers. I was listening to a brilliant podcast the other day with Mitch Joel and Seth Godin who said that the companies that have really got it right and nailed their marketing are the ones that you miss when they’re not there. The Amazons, Ubers and AirBnBs of the world. I’d have to agree with that.

Social media as well as research is another great way and cheap way to get a gauge your marketing success – the feedback you get on social channels tends to be the most honest and unfiltered because it’s low committal, low effort and relatively anonymised for the consumer.

What are the core elements of inspiration to be found within marketing?

I totally and utterly believe that the key to good marketing is understanding what makes people tick. There’s a reason 99% of people love to secretly indulge in people watching, it’s why I love my job. We’re social beings that are interested in other humans.

And if we can channel that curiosity into really understand our audience’s needs, habits, motivations and barriers – and how to get across your point effectively within that context – then you’ve got it sorted.

 

 

Get clever with your CTAs

Getting your call to action right can be tricky. Not so much where you want them to go, or what you want them to do, but the way in which you ask it.

As I used to get told time and time again as a stroppy teenager – ‘it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.’

Kath Pay has recently written a great article about the difference in the appropriate calls to action in push vs pull channels. To summarize (although the full post is certainly worth a read), you should base your call to action on the sales funnel stage your prospect is at, and tweak it depending on whether they’re engaging with push or pull marketing activities.

At one end of the spectrum, if someone is reading a marketing email (push) at the top of the funnel, try a softer, more enticing CTA e.g. ‘Why not consider…?’ ‘Would you like to…?’

Once they’ve clicked and committed, and are actively engaged, now’s the time for more direct CTAs – ‘Buy now’ ‘Download’ ‘Free trial’.

Getting the tone of your CTA to align with the emotional engagement of your audience makes them more likely to convert.

The article got me thinking about how an insightful CTA can make a big difference to how you engage. Here are two of my favourite examples:

Bizible – The False Choice CTA

Tips for creative effective CTAs (Calls to Action)

Well, they’ve really got you hostage here. What self-respecting marketing professional could click ‘nope’ without looking over their shoulder first.

Clever, very clever. (But I outsmarted them by clicked the cross in the top right. Ha! Didn’t see that one coming eh Bizible!)

 

 

Jelly Splash – The Mind Game CTA

Landing page CTA best practice

To my shame, a few months ago, I developed an unhealthy obsession with a mind-numbing game called Jelly Splash. You’ll be pleased to hear that I’ve kicked the habit now. I’m over it, and I’m coming to terms with the clever psychological warfare they played on me time and again.

In Jelly Splash, when you run out of lives you have two options – you wait 20 agonising minutes, or you pay. But here’s the thing: to decline either of these options and quit the game you’re forced to declare that you ‘give up’.

It’s so subtle, and so clever. Nobody wants to be a quitter. Especially when you’ve just been beaten by a blob of jelly. It goes again countless proverbs and fables that are ingrained in our psyche…

“Quitters never win”
“If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again” the list goes on…

I went there. I paid. And yes, I am ashamed.

It’s easy to be lazy and pick the obvious, most direct option with CTAs. Both of these examples have gone the extra mile in their audience’s shoes, and it pays off.

And now my blog is winding to an end, looks like it’s my turn to conjure up a clever, creative CTA…

My CTA is a Call to Arms rather than a Call to Action. I challenge you to think outside the box in your next campaign – be it email, DM, social, sales calls, whatever. Come up with a call to action that stop your audience dead in their tracks and makes them think carefully about their next action.

And let me know how it goes for you.

Raising the bar in Insurance marketing

Insurance is the only thing that you ever buy that you’re glad to never get any use out of. At least it’s the only thing I can think of, apart from some dodgy impulse wardrobe buys. (Other ideas on a postcard please…)

It’s like buying a Mars bar and then being satisfied with an empty air filled packet.

There’s nothing tangible to buy, and it’s only of any benefit when something unfortunate happens.

Traditionally and fundamentally, there are two main ways to trigger a buying decision of a financial protection product.

  1. Demonstrate the likelihood of something happening / not happening
  2. Illustrate the repercussions of something happening / not happening.

Either way, the ‘need’ factor comes from fear. No doubt fear is a powerful emotion, but it’s also a negative and monotonous message to base your brand around.

Of course, the more attractive younger sister of fear is ‘peace of mind’. And for many years, that’s been the spin that you buy when you put your hand in your wallet to fork out for insurance.

But again, it’s a monotonous message that’s hard to demonstrate the value of.

You buy travel insurance and you don’t use it. Fine. Good in a way. But for the 98% of people that never need to claim on their insurance, how can you leave them feeling like they’ve got value for money?

There’s a new generation of insurance marketing strategy which aims to address this imbalance, and it’s an interesting development…

Trends in insurance marketing messaging and strategyTake Vitality Health from Pru Health. When you sign up to their private healthcare insurance package, you get a whole host of additional benefits without ever needing to make a claim. Some directly related to health – video GP appointments and a 24/7 GP helpline. And others that are on-brand, but indirectly linked to their product.

They’re about rewarding their customers that live an active, healthy lifestyle – 50% off Virgin gym membership, a free Starbucks coffee each week.

Ultimately, these added bonuses are the result of a narrowing market space that evolved from a consumer reliance on comparison tools. There’s an unquenchable thirst for differentiators. Aiming to change, or at least supplement the buying motive with a more positive message – life’s for living – we’ll help you achieve this come rain or shine.

And hey presto, you suddenly have tangible benefits that 100% of your customers can use and enjoy, not just the unfortunate ones. Compare the Meerkat’s 2 for 1 cinema ticket offer when you buy insurance from them is another great example.

The penny has finally dropped that you’re not going to get raving customer reviews (or high retention rates) from the 98% of your customers that never see a return on their investment.

As consumers and marketers, we say ‘good’. We like where this is heading.

Let the bar raising commence…