Smart Insights Digital Marketing > The Marketing Strategy Blog Fri, 24 Oct 2014 12:40:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Plan momentum into your always-on content marketing campaign Fri, 24 Oct 2014 09:30:00 +0000 The Final day of our Successful Content Marketing Series

Cycling - Herne Hill - Penny Farthing Race - London - 1932 successful content marketingSuccessful content marketing is an “always-on campaign” – to do it right, you need to keep up an ongoing flow of content, so you’re always there when a prospect wants to join the conversation or asks a question that you have the answer for.

Here are three easy ways to keep the content momentum going:

  • 1. Explode your assets: When you create a big piece of content such as an industry report or an in-depth white paper, plan and structure it so that lots of little bits can be broken off and used independently in other channels to promote and amplify – tweets, blog posts, Google+ updates and so on.
  • 2. Brainstorm series of ideas: Don’t just look for one-off ideas – look for content types or formats that you can keep on populating with different examples. Say, for instance, you’re a cycle shop. You might come up with an idea for a video tutorial format, which you can use again and again to explain how to perform different cycle maintenance tasks to prospects and customers.
  • 3 Go for evergreen: A lot of content marketing tries too hard to be topical, whereas evergreen content – perennially useful content that keeps on being used, shared and referred to – is the gift that keeps on giving. Identify your golden oldies using metrics and make sure they are continually and prominently linked to via new content.

Output: Guidelines for how to break up content into smaller, more digestible chunks. Guidelines for content formats that you can use frequently, which all have the same look and feel. A list of classic evergreen content and a plan to do more of the same.      

Case study: eSpares

From how to cure a smelly washing machine to how to replace a dishwasher basket wheel, eSpares has built up a formidably helpful library of Video How to… guides on YouTube, offering tips and advice on just about every imaginable problem you could have with a household appliance. The format is very well established – all that’s needed is to create new videos as new questions arise.



We hope you have found our series useful – do let us know your thoughts. Here are the full five days!

Image/Copyright:@PA Images
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Marketing salary surveys show key qualities for gaining digital marketing jobs Fri, 24 Oct 2014 06:40:02 +0000 What are employers looking for from digital marketers?

The latest research from Michael Page and EMR Recruitment shares trends in recruitment salary and skills trends in the world of digital.  Both surveys have highlighted optimism by digital professionals and employers as there are clear signs of continued growth for digital skills.

Some of the marketing respondents who were surveyed said that they are focused on trying to keep their digital skills up-to-date through on the job training and self-learning.

Over the past year, EMR’s report shows that marketing professionals are now more satisfied with their salaries and bonuses – are these respondents just working for fantastic employers, or is it true across the UK!.

Michael Page’s interactive salary checker tool is a great way to check out salaries by county, sector, and digital specialism. Here is an example of salaries for roles in Yorkshire and the North East:



For more detail on typical company requirements for each role, the Smart Insight’s Digital Marketing Job Description and Template gives typical activities and personal attributes relevant both for companies advertising digital roles and candidates seeking new roles to enhance their skills.

EMR’s ‘2014 Salary and Market Trend Report’

You can download the full report, here are some highlights:

  • Strong growth for Communications roles and substantial increase in salaries and bonuses
  • It’s interesting to see that there is still a gender imbalance in terms of promotion to senior roles being dominated by men, though there is an increase in female respondents taking on more managerial roles
  • Companies are attracting new talent, by offering more flexible working hours as there is a growing demand for work-life balance and companies are seeing the benefits by offering this


  • Only taking up to 3 months to find new roles, where the top 3 reasons are for more challenging work, a higher salary or improved career prospects.
  • Some great advice from businesses across sectors and those working both in permanent and on freelance contracts, on how to enhance your career and prediction to what the future holds

Previous salary survey findings

This previous salary survey and market insights report from Michael Page has some interesting findings for marketers about what employers are looking for if you’re looking to gain a new job, or if you’re a manager looking to recruit new members to your digital team.

What qualities are employers looking for from digital marketers?

The research shows that companies are not just seeking digital marketing knowledge, but hands-on experience and proven successes. Interest in the developments of the digital industry, all-round marketing experience and commercial awareness are all ranked as very important:

So, it’s important to show a genuine passion. Being active in social media, following the interest or even better, publishing or contributing to a blog can help here. The ability for candidates to apply digital campaigns or knowledge to real business objectives and to add to the bottom line is now essential for employers. Perhaps surprisingly, social media is the least important quality, with 15.5% saying it was not important or not relevant.

Michael Page asked their clients, “What’s the best piece of advice you would give to candidates who are looking to develop their digital skill set?” Going on courses, attending seminars and reading are all important, but of course, nothing beats hands-on experience. An understanding of what works well for your sector and keeping an eye on the competition or those brands that ‘do digital well’ is also recommended and is another way to show your passion.

This summary of requirements for digital team members is also relevant to consider when recruiting for digital roles. It’s not surprising that experience and commercial experience are most important, but think what is the best way you can assess these to differentiate team members?

Where do employers turn to fill digital roles?

The research also shows where clients turn to fill these roles. Encouragingly, for those looking for work in digital, 80% of clients surveyed have experienced a shortfall in digital expertise in their marketing department. Agencies are still the main source, but it seems 24% now try to recruit their own permanent employee. Use of interims is also quite high (20.8%).

How should roles be structured in digital teams?

We’re often asked what the ideal digital marketing team looks like in terms of roles and structure. This will naturally depend on the type of business and its size, but there are some common activities that need to be managed. To help here, we have a Digital team structure template that can be used to compare digital roles and structures to your current situation to help plan and justify future changes.

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An example of using actionable analytics iteratively to engage business leaders, win resources and embed a data-driven culture Fri, 24 Oct 2014 06:40:00 +0000 Evolution, not revolution is the pragmatic approach to Digital Transformation

Digital Transformation Actionable Analytics

Businesses of any scale can generate huge quantities of data from their analytics – most of it with the potential to improve performance. But to realize that potential, to action the actionable takes time, focus and budget.

This research from the Smart Insights Managing Digital Marketing report shows that many businesses are conscious that they are not spending sufficient time on planning and optimization.


In organisations who have yet to embrace data as a vital marketing tool, getting buy-in for the resources to make it happen can be challenging to say the least.

As a digital transformation specialist, I often work with people at the start of their journey to a digital direct-sell business model. For them it represents a major cultural shift requiring new skills, techniques and competencies.

Many of these have traditionally sold their products through distributors and agents and therefore lack digital or direct to customer marketing DNA in the Board room. This means that their experience of the power of actionable analytics is limited and a Kaizen marketing approach is as alien as it sounds.

Getting business leaders to engage

So how do you get business leaders engaged with the data and use actionable analytics to drive transformation?

In my experience, the approach needs to be one of evolution rather than revolution. In practice that means a step by step approach, taking persuasive and focused actionable analytics to the Board room one by one; using a series of mini business cases to win the resource to take action, rather than flooding the business with a blizzard of data and large resource requests it’s not ready for.

The first step is the hardest

I was working with a SME business recently that was starting out on the journey to digital transformation. The marketing team were finding it difficult to win more resource to develop business as usual tasks such as an ongoing programme of conversion optimization. They had tried several times to secure the budget, but had struggled to get buy-in from the board.

They had built an impressive presentation featuring lots of diagrams, funnels and actionable analytics. But somewhere in all that great diagnostic data the key message had been lost.

Show them the money

So we worked together to simplify the business case and focus on 3 scenarios.. These showed that if we increased conversion by various amounts we would make £X incremental revenue from the same amount of traffic.

The commercially focused headline figures got the attention of the key Directors. Having shown the size of the prize, we were then able to have the conversation about the resources required, the costs and projected ROI. The budget was signed-off.

Step by step. Little by little.

This initial step opened the door to further conversations on how we could use actionable analytics to iteratively improve performance and begin to make the shift to agile budgeting, responsively shifting resource into the best performing digital channels with the highest ROI.

We identified that although 40% of traffic was coming from organic search, the bounce rate was very high and conversion was relatively low, prompting a project to review their SEM activity. Momentum was building and the evolution towards a data-driven culture was accelerating – all based on using basic, focused and persuasive actionable analytics to make the case.

Next we highlighted that Facebook was generating a significant and growing percentage of traffic and it was converting at well above the site average. This quickly led to another mini business case which, building on the first,  successfully pitched for more content development resource. Subsequently  this evolved into a full content marketing strategy.

More recently we have worked with the Board to define 5 KPI’s related to key stages of the customer journey. These are now reviewed at every trading meeting to begin embedding an actionable analytics focus within the business.

Building momentum

In that case we started with a focus on 1 key metric – the financial upside of increasing resource to improve conversion - and built from there, keeping it simple, taking it one step at a time and resisting the urge to try and connect leaders with all of the great data we had at our disposal all at once.

In my experience, these leaders were not unusual in businesses beginning their digital transformation journey. They don’t want to get under the bonnet and deal in an alien language of funnels, customer journeys and usability. They just want to know was how much more money the company will make if they invest in the resources to do it. So wherever possible, nail your colours to the mast and lead with a headline figure in cash terms to earn attention and get sign-off.

When I’ve worked with customers who have an offline direct marketing background, for example using direct mail as their main acquisition tool, the transition to wider suite of digital actionable analytics was much quicker and easier to embed. The underlying principles of acquisition and retention metrics were understood and a test, learn, improve mindset was already present.

Some things to bear in mind

But if you’re working with or within an organization where actionable analytics are not yet culturally embedded it’s useful to bear in mind the following success factors for making analytics more actionable :

  • 1. Get focus. Get business leaders involved in agreeing the top 5-10 KPIs that relate to business contribution to digital channels, and signed up to a review of these at every trading meeting and in the Board room. This will lead to a deeper engagement and drive an analytics focus from the top down.
  • 2. KISS. Turn your marketing skills inwards and remember to keep it simple.
  • 3. Focus on the headlines. Use the diagnostic analytics to get the job done when you’ve won the resources – but keep to a minimum when making the pitch.
  • 4. Deliver relevance to your internal audiences. Segment reports and insights to meet the specific needs of various functions within the business.
  • 5. Take it step-by-step. It’s an iterative process of building confidence and trust in the data across the organization. Demonstrate how actionable analytics help to make strategic and resource allocation decisions easier.
  • 6. Communicate. The way in which we communicate insights from analytics really matters to make them actionable.

Evolution not revolution leads to sustainable transformation

In my experience digital transformation is both a top down and bottom-up process. Yes, leaders must lead and be committed to driving their organisation to a digital-first culture. But to do this effectively they need the right information from the experts in the business – in form that is digestible and engaging from their perspective. And not all at once.

Like optimization itself, changing to an analytics driven culture is an iterative process. No one wants to take longer than necessary to deliver a transformation, but it’s the classic tortoise versus hare allegory. Winning hearts and minds and changing ingrained business habits is never an overnight process.

But taking the time to get it right, winning the buy-in, trust and confidence of your stakeholders, will help embed the data-driven ethos that lies at the heart of a digital transformation.

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Retina Displays – Why you need to think about retina screens in your email marketing Thu, 23 Oct 2014 13:45:00 +0000 Understanding the pros and cons of Retina screens in email design

eye-phone retinaChildren of the (higher) resolution – Every time I see an article or advert about Apple’s Retina Display, I have to force myself not to dismiss it as marketing guff and consider the relevancy. Let me explain.

As an email designer, devices with a Retina display are a pain. When I open an email I have lovingly crafted they make my pin-sharp graphics look a touch blurry, and that’s guaranteed to upset any designer.

In this article I look specifically at email design for retina displays, register for the free webinar with my colleague Darren for more insight on mobile design for Email.

What is a retina screen or display?

First it’s important to understand what a ‘Retina’ screen is. First and foremost, the name is just an Apple marketing term – Samsung, Sony, HTC, in fact all smartphone manufacturers are now producing devices with high PPI (Pixels per inch) displays.

Any screen with a pixel density high enough that under normal viewing conditions the individual pixels cannot be distinguished is essentially ‘Retina’, although it should be noted that Apple’s Retina devices handle images differently to any other high PPI device.

In a nutshell, the PPI value is determined by the resolution of the screen and its physical size. The ‘normal viewing conditions’ also vary between devices and their use. I want to explore these details in more depth in my next post.

What happens if you don’t design your emails for retina screens?

Scalable graphics, photos and text look super sharp on these screens. Unfortunately, images created at the smallest possible size with mobile devices and data connections in mind don’t look quite as sharp as they should. In fact, Apple Retina displays in particular have a particular way of handling and displaying graphics that ironically make ‘normal’ graphics look worse than any other high PPI screen, where the slightly fuzzy edges are barely noticeable.

The current workaround is a @media query – a line of code that tells devices with certain parameters to do different things. In this case, telling devices with a pixel ratio of 1.5 or greater (with a few other rules specified to cover different devices) to display an image double normal size.

@media (min–moz-device-pixel-ratio: 1.5),

(-o-min-device-pixel-ratio: 3/2),

(-webkit-min-device-pixel-ratio: 1.5),

(min-device-pixel-ratio: 1.5),

(min-resolution: 144dpi),

(min-resolution: 1.5dppx) {

/*Show alternative double size image*/


This provides another image double the size for high PPI displays, ensuring everything looks as it should. Sadly due to limitations of the @media query code, it also means that every device that responds to the @media query itself (which includes all mobile devices) downloads the bigger image as well as the normal one. For an email with say 5 images, this is a 10 image download, 5 of which are double the size of the others. That’s a much longer load time, and could very easily be the difference between opening and ignoring an email.


But the fact is high PPI ‘Retina’ screens are becoming the norm on smartphones and tablets. Why? As technology improves and brands seek to distinguish themselves from their competitors they increase the number of pixels while the physical sizes stay the same, all in the name of sharper text and images.

Load times are so important that they’re still the overriding factor, but if you had a super whizzy message to give that would really benefit from it (say an iPhone app targeted at iPhone customers) then the extra wait might be worth it. As always, it’s down to your target audience.

Image/Source Copyright:NewZapp
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Brainstorm content marketing ideas and create a content calendar Thu, 23 Oct 2014 10:30:00 +0000 Day 4 of our 5 days of Successful Content Marketing Series with Sticky Content

Day 4 content marketing brainstorm

Today’s the day you start generating ideas and populating your calendar.

Hold a brainstorm. Sit round as a team, look at what the competition are doing, look at what you’ve done before, look at who you’re trying to reach. Start jotting things down on Post-its: literally anything that comes to mind.

[Editor's note: Readers who don't know it, check out the Smart Insights Content Marketing Matrix which was designed for sessions to brainstorm content marketing].

At this point, no idea is a bad idea, but make sure you’re generating solid concepts and not simply coming up with themes. A good idea is specific, with a clear angle that can be summarised in a neat elevator pitch. A theme is an area you want to write about, perhaps many times. So for a healthcare provider, a key content theme might be ‘stress’, but the ideas will be many and varied: ‘How to spot signs of stress in your staff’, ‘Can stress ever be good for you?’, ’10 ways to de-stress your business’, ‘101 natural stress-busters’ and so on.

Now make a content editorial calendar in Excel, with time (broken into weeks or months, depending on your resourcing summary) along the horizontal axis, and content channels (e.g. blog, email newsletter, Twitter, Facebook etc) down the vertical axis. Using the time axis as a diary, add in any events (internal or external), upcoming campaigns or key team absences – anything that could impact on what you’re to going to be able to create and when.

Now add in your content mission statement across the top of the doc, and create mini statements for each channel. To use sports gear as an example, the overarching statement was ‘helping you achieve peak performance in your chosen sport’. For different channels, this might break down as:

  • Twitter: personal messages encouraging individual customers to improve their times or hone their skills.
  • Email newsletter: hints and tips for better training and performance.
  • Blog: in-depth articles about sports science topics eg nutrition, muscle fatigue.
  • Facebook: the channel where we talk about new products and promote the content we’re producing in other channels (eg the blog).

Now you can go back to your Post-its and start sifting the ideas into 3 piles: Definitely, Delete and Think About. Focus on the first pile and start populating your key channels with content inspired by your best ideas. Look for ways to reinforce ideas across channels, and always make sure each execution fits with the mini-statement you’ve agreed on for each channel.

Output: An editorial calendar in Excel, detailing the content you’re going to be posting, when you’re going to post it and via what channel.

Case study: Nike

Nike uses its social channels for different purposes and personas in a way that is clearly informed by research but still clearly linked to an overarching content brand. Nike Football and Nike Running on Twitter , for instance, feel more aimed at males and focus on developing skills and technique.


However, Nike’s presence on Pinterest is largely aimed at a female demographic, with a focus on style, visuals and exercise classes.


Image/Copyright:@PA Images
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The modern B2B Lead Nurture Process Thu, 23 Oct 2014 09:00:00 +0000 Practical content marketing and profiling techniques to identify senior decision makers

Senior decision makers are increasingly reluctant to hand over their contact details when exploring potential solutions. You may have noticed how busy managers often omit their phone numbers from their email sigs! At the same time, the explosion in content marketing with the availability of detailed information online in a range of formats has enabled those seeking to use your products or services to carry out extensive research on you independently without booking a demo.

There is now little need to book a demo, take a trial or speak to a salesperson when so much content exists online to inform their decision.

Whilst these prospects are carrying out their due diligence research at distance, others who are at a much earlier stage of the buying cycle are seeking content that will inform and educate them.

Whitepapers, videos, thought-leadership pieces and research are standard fare in any inbound content marketing plan and can be very effective at driving traffic to your website, but putting barriers in place to access this content can be premature in two respects.

  • Firstly, across the whole B2B site, less than 5%  of website visitors will volunteer their contact details in exchange for access to the content – although it’s higher on individual landing pages of course [see these B2B Conversion rate examples].
  • Secondly, those looking at this content are not always ready for the sales follow up that you would attempt through capturing their details.

In fact, just 27% of B2B leads are sales ready when they first divulge their contact details (Marketing Sherpa). For the majority of contacts you acquire in these circumstances, there is a lot more lead nurturing to be done.

If you’re treating the download of a whitepaper as a buying signal, you may find your sales efforts a little premature.

However, having their details at this early stage does enable you to monitor their behaviour. For all of those who would not divulge their contact details in any circumstances, marketing automation and tracking technologies can help you identify them nonetheless and add them to Lead Nurture programmes.

By using a variety of techniques to identify and nurture companies visiting your website from an early stage, you are then able to communicate more effectively as their interest becomes more serious.

Signals for the advanced buying stage

The online behaviours of those at a more advanced buying stage are different. They are doing due diligence and looking at different types of content from those who are merely researching the topics that your content covers. Case studies, pricing, specifications and brochure downloads tend to be more reliable indicators of buying behaviour. Why would someone be interested in a case study if they had no interest in buying?

Although they are doing this at distance, we can still track these behaviours. Case studies are seldom behind a registration wall, hence the value in having identified them earlier in the process. We can track company and contact activity from initial visit, right through to purchase. We can also see how, depending on business size, different people in a company become involved in the process as they progress through the purchase funnel.


At the point a contact demonstrates some form of genuine interest, the nature of your marketing should change. Content designed to convey your proposition more clearly will work better in these circumstances. There comes a point where blog posts and other light touch content is not sufficient to help progress these leads.

Prospects will be more receptive to in depth content, but you should also attempt to give them opportunities to make contact and help you qualify their interest further. This is where interactive content types come into play; seminars and webinars, surveys and solution wizards (calculators, assessment tools).

This content should help them develop their understanding of your proposition, but also help you to better understand them.

Five killer B2B profile attributes

Your understanding of prospects should be structured in such a way that you can then segment and target future communications.

  • 1. Location - Are they located in an area that you serve? Does distance have a bearing on your approach or who approaches them?
  • 2. Size - The requirements of an enterprise are seldom the same as an SME. How does your proposition differ to certain sizes of organisation? What differences are there likely to be in the sales process? More due diligence? More stakeholders? More time?
  • 3. Industry - Likewise, different industries will have their own challenges. There may also be structural and legislative differences which have a bearing on your approach.

The first three killer attributes or values relate to the organisations you are targeting. Sometimes referred to as firmographic data. The latter two are contact centric; demographic. It is important to consider the implications of having multiple contacts to engage from a single company that you are targeting and how their role and seniority may dictate differences in your approach.

  • 4. Role – Different departments will be interested in different aspects of what you can provide. Are there differences in the business benefits? Who will be interested in the technical aspects? Is there a compliance or legal requirement?Here’s a simple example of how we can use technology to tailor content by role:relevant-content-example
  • 5. Seniority – Who will ultimately sign off on contracts or purchase orders? Are you able to deal with them directly or with their team? What relationships will you need to nurture and at what level?

To effectively communicate, you must better understand your prospect intimately.

Salespeople are used to contending with this variety and adjusting their behaviour and their pitch accordingly, but in marketing, we have to set out our stall in advance and try to guide leads along their own journey.

Everyone’s Different

Predicting the path from first time visitor to sales qualifiable lead is never something that we can map out fully. There are too many variables:

  • Different timelines
  • Different requirements
  • Different stakeholders
  • Different budgets!

The focus should be on progress rather than precision. Lead Score helps us to track cumulative behaviour. Different leads may consume different content, but their engagement with different types of content can give us a clear idea of their readiness for sales engagement.

A sudden jump in Lead Score due to multiple sessions from multiple contacts within an organisation is often a sign that your solution has been pitched internally. Other stakeholders in the decision making process will conduct their own desk research into the suggestions of their peers and seek the relevant assurances that their colleagues have done their due diligence properly.

It may be that those who visited your website and divulged their details at an earlier stage are not the ultimate decision maker, but researching solutions on their behalf.

As senior contacts become involved, they may be looking for answers more quickly than their colleagues who you have nurtured over time. Executive summaries, video testimonials and other forms of content that convey the key selling points succinctly are best deployed in these circumstances.

The larger the organisation, the more complex the vendor selection process and in recognition of the shift in the point of sales engagement, you should mine your sales literature for more content that can be deployed in a targeted marketing capacity.

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction

The quality of your content and your ability to deliver the right message at the right time to the right contact will define the success or failure of any lead nurture strategy.

In devising your strategy, you should match trackable actions to content delivery, but in the latter stages, also draw upon the Five Killer Values to ensure relevancy.

Also consider what you would do both in the positive and the negative. Your follow up to downloading a whitepaper may be to invite them to attend a webinar. What happens if they don’t attend? Some actions or inaction will qualify them out, but others need either perseverance or a variation in approach.

Other times, your calls to action may not appeal to certain types of contact. Senior decision makers may appreciate a more direct approach if it saves them time.

Avoid your own content cul-de-sacs too. Some specific actions warrant a specific response. Others will be more generic. This is where Lead Score can help you to make sense of a variety of actions and respond appropriately.

Businesses with established lead nurturing programs generate 50% more sales ready leads at a lower cost (Forrester Research). Historically, marketing has handled the ‘one to many’, whilst sales look after the ‘one to one’.

Using Marketing Automation to nurture leads requires marketing and sales to work more closely, getting more and more targeted until such time as only a one to one approach is appropriate.

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7 things marketers need to know about Twitter Digits [@SmartInsights alert] Thu, 23 Oct 2014 07:31:06 +0000 Will Digits displace other email address-based user sign-in and authentication methods?


Recommended link: Twitter Blog Digits announcement


This is another interesting piece of new jargon and associated tech that marketers need to ‘get their heads around’. Here’s a summary of my understanding. I’ve also gone a bit beyond the ‘copy and paste’ summaries of other announcements by digging out a couple of case study examples of brands already using Digits which show how important this could be as part of the overall digital marketing ecosystem. This is why I have unusually rated its importance as 5/5!

  • 1. Digits is a new method of signing on to mobile apps and websites developed by Twitter. Twitter says it will reduce ‘friction’, enabling users to sign in to apps more readily.
  • 2. Digits works by signing in with mobile numbers and confirming using an SMS . It’s similar to two-step authentication already introduced by Twitter and Google in 2013 to improve user security.
  • 3. It was announced as part of Fabric at the Twitter developers conference on 22nd October 2014. Fabric is a platform of three modules that Twitter says:

addresses some of the most common and pervasive challenges that all app developers face: stability, distribution, revenue and identity. It combines the services of Crashlytics, MoPub, Twitter and others to help you build more stable apps, generate revenue through the world’s largest mobile ad exchange and enable you to tap into Twitter’s sign-in systems and rich streams of real-time content for greater distribution and simpler identity”.

  • 4 Twitter sees part of the value proposition of Digits as the lack of need for an email address. Could this be the “beginning of the end”” for email? One of the main reasons younger users are forced to adopt email is that they need it for social sign-on.
  • 5 The security risk of Digits is sure to get attention. Simply, put what happens if you lose your mobile? Other fallbacks will surely be needed.
  • 6 Brands are already using Digits to extend their mobile apps. The McDonald’s Alarm App enables friends to share offers for McDonald’s food and beverages. In order to redeem the offer, a person must authenticate as a real user. Twitter says:

McDonald’s felt that social sign-ins put too much burden on a user to share personal details, and that email addresses and passwords were too often forgotten or onerous to manage. Digits enables McDonald’s to quickly authenticate real users and get them into the app with a minimum of friction

In another case study / example Fitstar  sees it as important in emerging markets where it can be more common for young users in particular to have a mobile number, but not an email address.

  • 7. You can find out more on a dedicated site. has all the info – it’s a separate site.

The big question is whether other social network platforms such as Facebook and Google will adopt it? That seems unlikely, but as Google has shown with its two step authentication, they are likely to develop similar approaches.

That’s how I see it – how important do you think Digits will be?

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Getting noticed for your first digital marketing job post University Wed, 22 Oct 2014 14:00:00 +0000 My top 10 tips to help you secure your digital marketing graduate job

There’s something nostalgic about looking back at your time at University – especially when looking to offer advice.

Like that one time you were stranded in the library preparing for your last exam. Or the time you were rushing to print your coursework and realised you had run out of print credits. Frustrating at the time, but when you look back, there’s always a lesson learnt.


University offers so much, yet it’s often under utilised by students. This is sometimes only realised by graduating students when it’s too late to seize those opportunities.

So this is me, who has been there, done that, passing the baton of advice on to any Under-grad or Post-grad students who may be considering their future in digital marketing. The following tips are lessons I wish had been passed down to me in my time of need. So if you’re preparing for graduation, or just want to get ahead, check them out and let me know what you think!

10 tips for Undergraduate or Postgraduate Students wanting to get a first job in Digital Marketing

  • Tip 1. Make the most of your time

Whether you plan to secure a grad scheme, start your career or just go travelling, one day your time at university will amount to something, and if you knuckle down now you’ll be thankful later.

University is a great opportunity to discover yourself and gain independence, but at the end of the day you don’t want it to be wasted time. The key take-home from this post is to make the most of your time at university, but how…

  • Tip 2. Get experience

I’m adamant the most valuable aspect of my time at University was my placement year. Before we go any further this isn’t a ‘uni-bashing’ article. There’s no ‘I learnt more in one week on the job than I did at Uni’ sentiment around here, and this is why…

I spent over 15 months working for a sports travel business, heading up their online marketing. During this period I was exposed to challenges that I’d never faced before, and I was forced to develop new skills.

One of the key benefits of my placement wasn’t skill related, it was more human than that. It was focus and determination and it transferred directly to university.

When I returned to university I knew what I wanted and the only way to get that was to knuckle down and be committed to my course, expand my knowledge and achieve the grades I knew I was capable of.

With half of recent UK graduates stuck in non-graduate jobs the graduate job market is as competitive as ever. The long and short of it is that you need experience. I was lucky that Leeds Metropolitan University had a great Careers Advice Centre that helped prepare me for applications and interviews. If you aren’t as lucky at your university then there’s plenty of resources out there. Just check out Target Jobs or Milkround and get searching for your placement year.

  • Tip 3. Study Abroad

Along with their careers advice team, Leeds Met also have great international links which allow students to spend a semester abroad through their Study Abroad Programme.

Now I wasn’t lucky enough to get an exchange, but it’s one of my biggest regrets. Not only does it provide great life experience, but in today’s growing international community, having experience working overseas could just be the different in helping you secure that dream job after graduation.

If you get the chance then apply. Don’t have regrets.

  • Tip 4. Digital resources

Once you’ve spent some time working in the marketing industry you get a feel for where you want to progress. For me it was digital, and if you’re reading this article then you’ve at least got a slight interest in digital marketing.

With the fast pace nature of digital it’s critical to keep up-to-date with the latest trends by staying plugged in to key industry resources such as Smart Insights, Econsultancy and Mashable

Smart Insights

There are also some great specialist resources out there such as Moz for the SEO inclined, as well as one of my favourite digital resources, QuickSprout

  • Tip 5.  Digital courses and qualifications

Along with the great resources outlined in the previous point, there are also some fantastic opportunities to gain recognised digital certifications.

Google Analytics Academy is at the fore-front of digital certification, and there courses are a ‘must-have’ for those starting out in digital. The syllabus is a great way to learn the basics of Google Analytics at your own pace with video tutorials to help you along the way, plus it’s FREE so what are you waiting for?

If you followed my recent post about digital analytics you’ll see that there’s a wide range of certifications available. However the Digital Analytics Fundamentals is a great start and should you pass, it’s a fantastic addition to your CV.

  • Tip 6. Read, Read, Read

One of the greatest marketing books I’ve ever read is ‘The New Rules of Marketing & PR# David Meerman Scott. This book helped spur my interest in digital marketing, and I don’t know where I would be in my marketing career had I decided not to open the first page.

Engage, expand, enjoy…

  • Tip 7. Study

During university you learn a lot about yourself. The first two years of university you find yourself, make new friends and get to grips with your degree. You pick up areas of interest; you get to know what you do and don’t like.

During your final year things change and it gets serious. You’ll notice a switch in behaviour amongst your fellow students. Rather than a wild night out, many will hit the hay, knowing full well that tomorrow they’ve got a big library session on their hands. Don’t worry though, there’s still plenty of time for fun.

You need to know your subject and actually be prepared for your seminars and lectures by reading around the topic. Not only does this help you understand the module, but you’ll find that you’re actually engaged with the seminar and you’ll get more out of your time at university.

Trust me when I say the most important place on campus is the library. Your time spent here can literally make or break what grade you get.

Engage with the subject, find your passion and get after it. You’ll thank me later.

  • Tip 8. Prepare

This point follows on from the previous but it’s that important it requires an extra emphasis.

In my first two years at university I did very little (if any) reading around my subject. I thought I could do enough by just cramming the week before deadlines.

The truth is that 70% of your final grade is decided by your final year. It just isn’t good odds to gamble your degree on being able to cram a year’s worth of study into the two weeks before finals.

Read around your module, challenge popular theory by offering different points of view. Again, just engage with the subject, you’ll reap the rewards both in your grades and your overall enjoyment.

  • Tip 9. Job Hunt

So you’ve put in the hard yards and you’ve got the grade you wanted. Next up is to secure that dream grad job. Truth is most the good graduate schemes start their application process quite early on in the academic year, so if you don’t want to miss the buck you best be prepared. A good place to start is by visiting recruitment popular recruitment websites, as well as The Times 100 Top Graduate Employers

With Digital Marketing being somewhat of a niche when it comes to grad schemes your going to have to do a bit of digging. Most agencies have some great internship posts, particularly if you have a language or two under your belt.

Econsultancy’s Jake Hird wrote a great article a while back which highlighted who’s investing in digital marketing grad schemes. A belter of an article and if you want to get into digital marketing then check it out.

  • Tip 10. Have Fun

Okay there’s been some hard hitters in this post. I don’t want you to think I’m all work no play. I had a great time at university, I made some great memories that I’ll never forget and have made some fantastic friends.

However would it have been worth if I chose not to study, flunked out and didn’t achieve what I went to university for in the first place? In my mind it wouldn’t have been. It’s not cool or clever to be the clown.

Enjoy yourself, study hard, and have fun, you’ll have a much better time for it come graduation when you’re celebrating your achievements with your friends and family.

Image Credit/Copyright:  hxdbzxy :123RF Stock Photo

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The Five biggest mistakes that digital marketers make with PR Wed, 22 Oct 2014 10:00:00 +0000 How to avoid those typical PR blunders

PR SolutionsPR, like many parts of digital marketing, can be a numbers game. You try different pitches to different publications and hope that something works. Along the way, you make mistakes and you learn from them.

Below, we’ve spelled-out five of the most standard mistakes of PR outreach so you can avoid making them.

  •  Mistake #1: Thinking news will come to you

It can be exhausting, but in order to get coverage, you need to seek it out. And today, there are more tools available than ever for low-budget, reduced-effort PR outreach campaigns.

‘Info’ and ‘tip’ lines are freely available online and more effective than you probably think, too and social platforms like Twitter or LinkedIn or software-as-service like MuckRack provide an opportunity to get in touch directly with people you might otherwise never have had access to.

Following a reporter’s social media feeds will give you a sense of their personality and what topics interest them. Re-tweets and shares may even help open some initial doors.

If you’re planning to reach out via social media, reach out through your most established account or the one most suited to the pitch.

  • Mistake #2: Reaching out with nothing to offer

The news media is a fast-paced business. In the digital age especially, the pressure on publications is to get the latest news, first, and get it out as quickly as possible.

Don’t expect that a publication will be interested in covering ‘your company,’ because your company, in and of itself, is not news. And definitely don’t reach out before you have some to deliver on the news end.

Wait until you have a newsworthy announcement to make before seeking coverage. Otherwise, you’ll just damage your credibility and hurt your chances the next time you actually do have something to work with.

What qualifies as news? Well, that varies depending on the publication and writer and what exactly your business consists of. But these are a few standard announcements every business should be looking to use as launch platforms for outreach:

  • Launches (you’re starting your business or releasing a new product)
  • Fundraising (you’ve just raised $10,000 on kickstarter)
  • Milestones (your company turns 5!, surpasses 10,000 users, gains 50,000 followers on Twitter, etc.)
  • Acquisitions (your company acquires, or is acquired by, another company)
  • Joining a cool club or receiving an award
  •  Mistake #3: Not minding your manners

A little politeness can go along way for you when your goal is to convince other people to shine a light on your business.

Again, PR is a numbers game, which means that strategy has to look forward, beyond this piece of news or this particular campaign.

Don’t become so committed to getting coverage for that one story that you squander what could be a lengthy and productive relationship down the road. Remember to always be courteous, even when the response you’ve been handed is less than ideal, or possibly rude itself.

Keep in mind that journalists are busy people, reading through more solicitations, emails, and press releases than you would ever want to. Empathize with that. Tell them, for example, ‘I understand that you might not have time to respond.’

Be persistent, but know that no amount of badgering is going to get someone to publish a story if they don’t want to on its merits, and that a good interaction will pay dividends, if not now, then in the future.

  • Mistake #4: Rushing your pitches

As much as you may feel like a machine sending out pitches all day, the reporters going over them are people.

And before those people get around to giving your press release the time of day, they’re going to read your email. It seems simple, but the best outreach email really is like the best marketing emails: personalized, cordial, brief, and professional. Professional means free of mistakes and well-mannered. Brief means no more than around five one- or two-line paragraphs.

  • Give them a succinct idea of who you are and why they should be interested.
  • Show that you took time to learn about the person and publication you’re writing to and that you’ve given some thought to how your news can fit the types of stories they aim to cover.
  • And, of course, be polite.

Here’s a quick sample of how you might go about it.

Hi Jane,

My name is Joe Shmo and I’m contacting you because I enjoyed your article on improving digital marketing ROI and thought you might be interested in a new announcement from my company, SmartInsights.

SmartInsights is a prominent digital marketing strategy blog that specializes in providing actionable, analytics-based insights to our readers.

Next week, we’ll be publishing our latest e-book, “Planning Template,” which compiles professional digital marketing templates created by our team of global experts, and will be available free on our website.

Below I’ve attached an official press release, along with pictures of the book cover and some of the chapter pages.

If you’re interested, we would be happy to offer you exclusive access to the launch story, including interviews with any of our staff and/or the authors of the e-book.

I understand that you’re busy and might not have time to respond. If not, I hope you don’t mind that I send other announcements in the future.

Please, let me know if there’s ever anything I can do to help in the course of your writing. And thanks for your attention. 

Joe Shmo
Editor-in-Chief, Smart Insights


  • Mistake #5: Don’t ask for too much

It’s important to show that you know a journalist’s time is valuable:

  • Don’t ask open-ended questions or approach journalists with frivolous ‘just wanted to introduce myself’ emails. Come when you have something, or not at all. The internet provides plenty of forums for casual interaction, but if you’re sending an email, there should be a purpose behind it.
  • Don’t ask to meet for coffee, unless you’re already on casual speaking terms with that person. Anything you have to say or propose can be spelled out in a quick email, or it doesn’t need to be spelled out at all.
  • Don’t offer anything you’re not prepared to deliver. Don’t, for example, reach out to dozens of journalists at once with an exclusive. If they say yes, and you have to turn them down, you may never have their ear again.

Much of PR is common sense. But it’s good to hear these things over and over, because you’d be amazed at how many savvy marketers and business people make the same basic mistakes. Making sure you’re not one of them is as good a way to stand out as anything unique you might bring to the table.

Image/Copyright: OpenClipArt/cyberscooty
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Which digital role is right for you? [Infographic] Wed, 22 Oct 2014 09:00:00 +0000 An interactive map for your new digital marketing job role

Do you know where your digital skills and passions lie, but aren’t sure which digital marketing role to target? NeoMam Studios have produced a fun infographic to help you map out your skills with suggested roles. Although it references apprenticeships it also prompts thoughts about the right type of role for more experienced digital marketers

This will be a useful tool to use in conjunction with our recently updated Digital Marketing Job Descriptions and Roles Template to guide you through the digital jobs maze to find what is right for you or to build up a role specification for a new digital specialist in your team.

Digital Apprenticeship Infographic

As  you clickthrough you will have the chance to click onto the 4 skills at the end of your mapping and be guided through a journey to match your skills to the right job. Start the Journey by accessing NeoMam Studios’ full interactive infographic How to apply for a digital apprenticeship.

This infographic also reminded us of Simon Swan’s post from last year suggesting people working in digital marketing need a balanced range of skills defined as a T-Shaped Marketer.

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