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Can Marketers Get to Grips with the Human Condition?


We were really looking forward to last night’s Techmap and boy did it not disappoint!

What did we love most? The practical approach our speakers took to the topic we were exploring.

If you weren’t able to make last night’s meetup then you will definitely want to read on and hear about the session’s key highlights. For those lucky enough to be apart of last night’s Techmap, why not give yourself a reminder of the session’s key takeaways.

Our speakers took to the stage to explore how to employ neuroscience research techniques to drive marketing performance. But who were they?

  • Thom Noble, CEO, NeuroStrata
  • Mev Bertrand, Research Manager, Neuro-Insight
  • Will Nicholson, Managing Director, The Vision Network

As we hope you will agree, a pretty strong line-up of expert speakers who really know their stuff! Check out what they had to say. Their insights were invaluable.

Thom Noble – Neuro Marketer, kicked started the evening’s talks.

Thom has prior experience working with a range of large brands such as Diageo and Disney. He explained the extreme frustration he felt towards traditional marketing research techniques due to the the lack of innovation injected as well as the lack of depth uncovered.

He no longer feels this frustration because now, almost every sector is involved with neuromarketing techniques; including the likes of Facebook, Coca-Cola, Google, PayPal, McDonald’s and P&G.


But why?

Because the market research sector has been formalised over the past 60 years – new innovations have surfaced. However techniques such as focus groups have only helped somewhat; Thom states that they’ve hardly transformed the market research industry.

Looking below the level of consciousness to see how consumers are actually responding has only become an option over the past 10-15 years.

Thom highlighted the key neuro-facts:

  1. The non-conscious dominates our perception and decision-making
  2. We are mostly auto-pilot – our decisions are made without us consciously being aware of how and why
  3. Neuroscientists agree we use two very different ways to think:
  • System 1 – Implicit – unconscious emotion
  • System 2 – Explicit – conscious emotion
  1. Emotions play a key role in every decision
  2. We can’t really articulate our emotions – these non-conscious and emotional influences: we are typically not aware of them

What makes neuro measures different?

  1. Observation
  2. Reaction – system 1 – implicit
  3. Expression – system 2 – explicit

Thom explains the benefits of neuro research techniques:

  1. Can evaluate what people think and feel response instead of what they say
  2. Quantitative data – more robust / testable and cheaper than qualitative data
  3. Cause and effect
  4. Fresh, deeper insights
  5. More accurate, more predictive

How do we do all this stuff?

  1. NeuroMetrics – measuring activity directly from the brain
  2. BioMetrics – measuring biological or physiological at response e.g. lie detector and facial decoding
  3. PscyhoMetrics – measure the mind’s associative response

Mev Bertrand then went onto discuss the application of neuromarketing techniques and in particular Steady State Topography (SST).

This is a research technique that analyses the reflex reaction in the brain and is effective at tracking exactly what’s going on in the brain.

What does it measure?

The speed at which the signal travels and reaches the different parts of the brain.


Mev explained that neuro research techniques have advanced to a level whereby we don’t need to conduct studies in labs anymore; systems have developed which are robust – thus studies in home environments are becoming very much the norm.

Another break through?

We no longer need to show the same thing more than once in order to achieve results which we can draw meaningful analysis from – this definitely makes life easier from a market research perspective.

Long term memory encoding – an area of the brain which folds things away forever. Mev went on to detail how memory encoding can be used to test the effectiveness of an ad, for example we can measure the exact parts of a TV ad which are most effective and engaging from a viewability perspective.

Once Mev’s team of neuroscientists had analysed the results in the summer of last year, they predicted that Volvo’s ‘Epic Split’ TV ad would be highly effective based on the strength of viewers’ left brain memory encoding responses at key branding moment. So it was no surprise when Volvo Trucks won the 2015 Cannes Creative Effectiveness Grand Prix.

Birds Eye case study:

Maximising memory encoding response to branding moments. Mev took us through the Birds Eye Frozen Fish US TV ad and then detailed how Neuro-Insight worked to improve its effectiveness.

Initially the ad wasn’t performing very well. There were two key points which were missed opportunities.

  1. The set-up scene – an ocean scene
  2. The pause / sudden silence / anticipation build-up moment – this had nothing noticeably obvious to do with the brand

What feedback did Neuro-Insight provide BirdsEye with?

  • The need to mention the brand right at the start during the set-up scene
  • The need to use the pause moment to really build anticipation levels; how? By inserting a product message
  • To highlight the brand during the final ad scene

What were the consequences of redesigning the BirdsEye ad in-line with this feedback?

  • Brand linkage increased from 8% to 44%
  • Purchase intent increased 23% to 51%

Will Nicholson from The Vision Network then discussed the use of eye tracking to test and evaluate creative to enhance campaign performance.


Will started his discussion by making a key point: “there’s no point making content if no one is going to see it.” According to ComScore, only 46% of online advertising can be seen; more shocking is the fact that this statistic isn’t correct. Actually only 14% of online advertising can be seen. It was this statistic that made Will and his team decide to look deeper into their clients.

Therefore it’s never been more important than it is now to have hold of a tool which tests whether your ad has been seen or not.

This leads us on to Will’s main discussion which detailed the application of ‘Eye Tracking’.

What does it actually measure? 

The three S’s:

  1. Seen – what is seen
  2. Salience – in what order
  3. Stickiness – for how long?

Eye tracking is very similar to IRIS recognition used as a security measure at most airports. It works by following your eye gaze.

But what’s the purpose of this? To highlight and plot areas of interest on an ad. It’s important to note that eye tracking is not about how you’re holistically gazing but is a way to divide an ad into different areas of interest.

Areas of interest could include:

  1. Image
  2. Message
  3. Background colours

Heinz case study:

Will went on to discuss the Heinz creative testing analysis. A variation of the Heinz ad’s were put under scrutiny in order to help the creatives make a decision on which of the ad’s were the most effective. The average percentages of the time spent fixating on the main message of the ad – so the Heinz logo and brand message were calculated.

In the scheme of things, small variations can make a big impact. Thus in the case of Heinz, this meant modifying the background colour of the ad from blue to red.

You can see the end result of the Heinz ad below.

Heinz Campaign

(Image credit: Will Nicholson, The Vision Network)

Heat maps are similar to eye tracking. They also help identify which aspects of an ad people are most engaged with during the time of exposure; you can visibly see where a person is looking in relation to the different ad features.

To conclude Will highlighted that ‘knowledge is power’. We have to start using the new market research techniques available to us if we really want to make an impact with our campaigns.

Q&A Session

  1. How many people do we need to make this research more robust?

This is completely dependent on individual techniques, for example eye tracking requires a minimum of 30 respondents. Whereas explicit techniques require between 100-200 respondents; thus they are far more cost-effective approaches for marketers.

  1. Do I have to use lots of different neuro techniques – or can I dip in and out / pick-a-mix?

This is dependent upon what you are trying to achieve – what’s the question you want to answer? There are a number of different methodologies which can be adopted. But which ones you adopt are dependent upon your budget and timescales.

A lot of people start using neuromarketing techniques parallel with what they are already doing. The typical route for a marketer? To run a test for a few hundred pounds e.g. automatic eye tracking or facial decoding as these techniques are the most affordable; hence why more people are starting to jump onboard with these techniques.

  1. What’s next for the neuro research industry?

The industry has some challenges it has to face first. As more people get excited about new techniques, increasingly suppliers are jumping into the area. This creates great confusion and often mis-practice, decreasing the validity of test results.

The industry needs to get open validation out there e.g. case studies. This will help to increase the validity and credibility for those in the industry who are actually practicing correctly.

  1. Who is the person in the company that resonates best when introduced to your techniques?

To characterise and definitely not define – marketers get much more excited than researchers; why? Because they are more willing and open to change. Marketers are looking for something new and different; they’re open to innovation and more commonly proactively use the insights. They also tend to have more control over budgets.

Researchers tend to be more concerned about the norm and don’t like or openly encourage change. Why? Because change is interpreted as a threat to previous techniques used and hence undermines previous research as it’s a disruption to their work.

The core problem? There’s a huge history of research that companies are usually attached to. Thus its difficult to adapt to new techniques.

WOW – what an insightful discussion.

Thank you again to Thom, Mev and Will for joining us for a really great and insightful discussion. You can see Thom and Mev’s slides here:

Will’s slides here:

For those uninitiated with techmap, it’s our monthly event series where we look at the applications of technology for driving marketing, advertising and PR performance. You can read all about it on our blog here.

If you would like to explore how you too can gain value from CRM and marketing automation, get in touch. You can reach me here, or on twitter here.

This Week’s Most Popular News Stories

See below for this week’s top news stories on B2B marketing as voted for by our followers on Twitter.

1. New stats from Pew: Global social media usage research in 2015

Social networks are so well established now, that there are now a core ‘top 5’ social networks which are most popular, which doesn’t change from year-to-year. However, as is to be explained, the most liked social media sites vary a lot by level of usage in different countries and with demographics. When comparing the most popular social networks it’s best to review them by active account usage, not just the number of user accounts.

We’ll see in this summary that some social networks are growing more rapidly than others while some are now in decline.

2. How programmatic is taking centre stage in digital advertising

Today programmatic has become a marketing technology that more than a third (37%) believe will be the dominant power in digital advertising in the coming years and a further 55% believe will be extremely important, with only 8% of people believing it will have only a minimal role to play in the future.

The figures, from Reaching Full Potential – reveal that programmatic is becoming more important all the time with 71% of the advertising ecosystem now recognising that knowledge of programmatic is one of the most paramount capabilities that agencies will need to possess by 2020. But the survey also showed that there still remain publishers who need to get on board with the technology with 39% of publishers still not offering programmatic inventory.

3. How To Perform Twitter Research To Improve Ad Performance

Twitter can be a tricky platform for SEM account managers.

Performing keyword research is very different than standard search campaigns. Why? Because of user intent on the platform. Twitter is a real-time micro-blog. Users are not necessarily going there to search for an answer like they would on Google. Instead they’re likely to be going there to find relevant news, engage with others, share articles or opinion thoughts, establish thought leadership and be a part of the conversation. With this in mind, how do you go about performing Twitter keyword research?

If you have any questions, want to suggest a post, or are interested in how Klaxon can support your business, you can contact me here, via twitter @lauren_klaxon, or in the comments below.

This Week’s Most Popular News Stories

See below for this week’s top news stories on B2B marketing as voted for by our followers on Twitter.

1. Top 5 Influencer Marketing Tools – With Views from Influencers

In the saturated world of social media, a few people have a lot more influence than the rest.

These “influencers” are the rising stars of the social media world with huge followings and loyal groups of engaged fans. For marketers in all industries, being mentioned by an influencer can be the difference between your product or service falling flat or hitting the jackpot.

So influencer marketing has become a key task for marketers, but with so many influencers to choose between in so many various fields, how do you find the right one for your business?

2. Curation versus Fair Use: How to keep your content safe

“Content curation” is a hugely powerful tool for marketing. By sharing someone else’s relevant and helpful content, you prove to your audience that you care about helping them—not just boosting your own site traffic.

But when does “curation” turn into copyright infringement? Too often, people will copy and paste an entire article onto their own website, then become indignant when the original author asks them to take it down. Struggling to believe this actually happens? It does.

In our litigious society, you must understand the difference between helpful curation and using content in a way that breaks the law. It boils down to understanding the concept of fair use.

3. 5 Reasons why CRM can fail
Customer relationship management (CRM) is an approach to managing a company’s interaction with current and future customers. It involves using technology to organise, automate, and synchronise sales, marketing, customer service, and technical support.

According to a variety of recent reports, between one-half and two-thirds of CRM implementations will fail. Are you struggling to successfully implement a CRM into your business? Does the phrase ‘Colossal Ruinous Mistake’ spring to mind?

Take a look at Richard Young, Director – Bullhorn CRM, discuss the most prominent five reasons why CRM fail – and what you can do about it.

If you have any questions, want to suggest a post, or are interested in how Klaxon can support your business, you can contact me here, via twitter @lauren_klaxon, or in the comments below.

This Week’s Most Popular News Stories

See below for this week’s top news stories on B2B marketing as voted for by our followers on Twitter.

1. Tech companies come together to create The Internet of Things Security Foundation

More than 30 companies, including Vodafone, BT and Intel have come together to form The Internet of Things Security Foundation (ITSF) in order to appraise the security vulnerabilities of internet-connected devices.

The new industry body says it will evaluate the security credentials of internet connected devices amid the growing number of consumer products which are now connected to the internet.

2. Programmatic advertising’s great device fragmentation challenge

Kantar Media TGI’s COO, Alex Kuhnel, looks at the growing issue for programmatic advertising of consumers increasingly switching between devices for their online activity and what can (and is) being done by the industry to resolve this challenge.

This post explores:

  • The challenge of broken cookie journeys
  • Efforts to circumvent the issue of device fragmentation
  • Existing tools engineered to build genuine solutions to the challenge of device switching

3. Multi-channel nurturing – long-term and thought out

Our starting point – if you’ll forgive this assumption – is that too many marketers’ thinking begins and ends with the inbox. We all need to think beyond email – as powerful as email still is. It is tempting to think about a single newsletter that goes to a single content asset that then turns into a single lead and sale. But life isn’t that simple or singularly focused.

If that scenario is a campaign – and it may well feel quite sophisticated, using platforms such as Marketo and Silverpop – then we need something much more akin to a long-term programme, lasting at least a year for many buying cycles. How does that work?

If you have any questions, want to suggest a post, or are interested in how Klaxon can support your business, you can contact me here, via twitter @lauren_klaxon, or in the comments below.

This Week’s Most Popular News Stories

See below for this week’s top news stories on B2B marketing as voted for by our followers on Twitter.

1. Four key metrics to measure content marketing success

Content marketing is not new; the Michelin guides were first printed more than a century ago as a way of encouraging motorists to drive to new restaurants and, consequently, need new tyres more often.

But today, with some research suggesting 90 per cent of B2C companies use content marketing in one form or another, the need for understanding has never been more critical.

What qualifies as success?

2. How can businesses improve digital skills?

Smart Insights been talking about digital skills throughout this week to coincide with the release of their research report into the current state of digital skills in the marketing industry.

The survey results of over 1,000 marketers have some useful lessons for how businesses can support digital skills development to foster internal talent.

3. Experiential marketing: Is it the future or just another almost big thing?

In 2002, Steven Spielberg directed the film Minority Report. The PreCrime captain, used three psychic sources called “precogs” to predict crime prior to the event occurring and apprehend the potential criminal based on foreknown knowledge.

Advertising and marketing has since been searching for a “Minority Report”-esque captain of its own for years. In the past, the discipline has attempted to use scientific advertising, predictive marketing, evaluated advertising, big and little data, and nearly any new marketing or communications trend that can or seem to achieve the goals of  ‘pre-tail’ or ‘pre-sell’ based marketing.

We have entered a world that provides us with a ‘marketing Minority Report’ type tool. A not-so-new tool called experiential marketing (EM).

If you have any questions, want to suggest a post, or are interested in how Klaxon can support your business, you can contact me here, via twitter @lauren_klaxon, or in the comments below.

CRM and the Promise of Automation

What was this week’s techmap all about?

CRM and marketing automation.

Who were our CRM and marketing automation experts?

Simon Daniels, Head of Marketing Operations, Hanson Wade

Richard Young, Director, Bullhorn CRM

To kick things off Richard started off by discussing the idea of utilising content in sales and marketing alignment.

According to the Content Marketing Institute these are the things that we measure content marketing on:

  • Website Traffic
  • Sales Lead Quality
  • Higher Conversion rates
  • Sales
  • Sales Lead Quantity
  • SEO Ranking
  • Time Spent on Website
  • Inbound Links
  • Qualitative Feedback from Customers
  • Subscriber Growth

It’s interesting to see Sales Lead is listed twice. So we can say Content and Sales are closely aligned.. Or at least when we ask people who produce content.

Where does content work best? Here are the effectiveness ratings for B2B tactics:


Source: Content Marketing Institute: B2B Content Marketing Trends – North America (2015)

Interesting that the top item here is in person events – human to human interactions. Webinars whilst digital can also include human to human interaction.  That makes the top two items human contact focused, where content supports that process.

According to Qvidian 65% of content is never used, 49% of content is only somewhat accurate and only 21% can measure the ROI on content.

So what? Most people can’t actively show an ROI on content in relation to revenue and most organisations make it difficult for sales people to find their latest and most accurate content. A major issue to sales and marketing alignment!

There’s huge benefits to sales and marketing alignment but it takes work and there’s no silver bullet.


As you move further into the sales cycle the types of content your engaging with needs to change. What does this mean in practice? Well your marketing automation engine needs to be aligned with your CRM. The sales guys use CRM and they run their opportunities through it.

This should automatically update your marketing system. It doesn’t just stop with the sales cycle. A modern CRM is also going to start delivering insights on your customers as well.

There is some complexity as most Marketing Automation systems simply have no concept of an opportunity, in which case you need to create a custom field. But really this stuff is not hard these days. The biggest barrier to making this happen is not the technology, it’s the people in your business.

Richard’s top tips for sales and marketing alignment:

  1. Common language
  2. KPIs – how you’re measured drives behaviour
  3. Build a buyer persona – and the buyers journey
  4. Ensure you support the buyers journey together
  5. When deals fall out of the sales process – recycle them

Next to take to the stage was Simon whereby he introduced the three lessons learned about marketing automation.



1. It’s not all text book

Marketing automation grew out of the tech sector and is at heart, orientated around a high value, long and complex sales cycle. If that describes your business then you’ll fit into the out-of the-box model perfectly, but otherwise you may need to use your imagination.

You shouldn’t be forced into adopting approaches that don’t fit your business, do be innovative and always ask whether the system can work for you, not the other way round.

2. Get in-house expertise as soon as you can

There are a variety of really very good solution providers, consultancies and agencies who can help deploy, integrate and operate your MAP system. However, it gets expensive fast and can quickly become more worthwhile bringing a expert onboard to handle the day to day activities.

You’ll likely still need the back-up of an external provider, but having someone in your office, living and breathing your business, really understanding what’s going on and working with your other marketing staff is very powerful. It’ll give you a hell of a lot more flexibility – imagine having someone in your office ready to jump straight on a task such as campaign setup.

3. Not all platforms are created alike

It’s tempting and the easy way out to think that all MAPs are the same and to just pick the first one that comes along, but this would be a mistake. Looking at Scott Brinker’s Marketing Technology Landscape it’s very obvious how many different platforms there are and they all have their strengths and weaknesses.

Make sure you evaluate your requirements and assess the ability of each solution to meet your specific needs. Tailor the solution to your business needs.


Source: Scott Brinker: Marketing Technology Landscape Super-graphic (2015)

Q&A Session

1. What do you mean by a common language?

Richard: You need to talk to your sales team. Ask them what a lead is and then map out the process of what the customer does. Work out where you should have given the lead to sales.

The reality is – sales need to be engaged earlier rather than later. Generate engagement early on!

2. What size does your business need to be to consider in-house resourcing?

Simon: An in-house specialist and consultant can work in tandem. It’s not merely the size of your business but where your business is going.

If there’s a fairly steady state, then you can’t offer career development for an individual, and so I would suggest outsourcing.

On the other hand if you’re business is growing rapidly, there’s the clear opportunity to bring expertise in-house and to do it immediately.

What you need to think about is – can you engineer a role? Perhaps a temporary role for 12 months would better suit you and the in-house specialist. The cards are laid out on the table from the offset.

3. What’s the main reason for people under utilising CRM and marketing automation platforms?

Simon: Resourcing and expertise.

Most commonly people blame technical implementation but this shouldn’t be underestimated.

It’s all about on-going execution.

4. Often there’s contradictions when it comes down to sales wisdom. What process would you suggest?

Richard: Nurture the lead – accept that this could take months but cold calling isn’t always the way to fully engage a lead.

Remember – contact should be early but appropriate!

Thank you again to Simon and Richard for joining us for a really interesting discussion. You can see Simon and Richard’s slides here too:

Here’s a special shout out to our event sponsors Bullhorn. Thanks for keeping us all fully refreshed throughout last night’s Meetup!

For those uninitiated with techmap, it’s our monthly event series where we look at the applications of technology for driving marketing, advertising and PR performance. You can read all about it on our blog here.

If you would like to explore how you too can gain value from CRM and marketing automation, get in touch. You can reach me here, or on twitter here.

This Week’s Most Popular News Stories

See below for this week’s top news stories on B2B marketing as voted for by our followers on Twitter.

1. Don’t Know How to Recycle Old Content?

We all have a myriad of blogs on our sites that are no longer used and tend to just gather dust.

Aside from receiving the odd view or comment, older content is often overlooked – partly because it’s out of date but also partly because Google tends to prefer newer indexed material.

But, this doesn’t mean it should go to waste and there are many ways that you can repurpose old content and bring it back to life, allowing you to get more from it. After all, you’ve done most of the research already – so update, alter the format and reap the rewards!

2. Big Data Will Change Every Business

If you’re still saying, “Big data just isn’t relevant to my company,” you’re seriously missing the boat.

Big data and its implications will affect every single business — from Fortune 500 enterprises to mum and pop companies— and change how we do business, both inside and out.

It doesn’t matter what field you operate in nor the size of your business; as data collection, analysis, and interpretation become more readily accessible, they will have an impact on every business in several important ways.

3. Traditional Agency Practices are Holding Back Understanding of SEO

The UK market for Search Engine Optimisation services has become “sluggish” and “outdated”, according to Nik Gohil, co-founder of London SEO agency NKG Media.

Old-fashioned practices are actively holding back a wider understanding of SEO and its place within contemporary marketing.

If you have any questions, want to suggest a post, or are interested in how Klaxon can support your business, you can contact me here, via twitter @lauren_klaxon, or in the comments below.

ROI and the New Measures of Success

This week’s techmap Meetup was all about ROI and the new measures of success.

Let’s rewind to the start of last night’s Meetup and remind ourself of a well-known quote from Henry Ford:

“Half of every dollar I spend on advertising doesn’t work, I just don’t know which half.”

Ford died in 1947, but to this day the marketing landscape is still littered with examples of campaigns that have fallen short of return on investment. However our techmap panel of experts showed us that there is light at the end of the tunnel by detailing the new ways in which you can prove your value. Let’s reflect on last night’s great Meetup!

Our speakers for the evening included:

  • Hugh Davies: Director of Corporate Affairs, Three
  • Stella Bayles: PR Consultant, Trainer and Mentor
  • Russell McAthy: Managing Director, Deliver Insight

Hugh talked about campaigns and PR

Hugh started by outlining three key points regarding measurement:

  1. Outcomes before outputs
  2. Objectives before measurement
  3. Measure what counts

But what do the Boards value? What do the top dawg’s really value?

  • Time
  • Making money

Although they do also value principles. Thus Hugh went onto look at the Barcelona Principles and incase you aren’t acquainted with the Barcelona Principles here is a reminder:

  1. Goal setting first
  2. Measuring outcomes not outputs
  3. Measure effect on business results
  4. Quantity and quality
  5. AVEs not the value of PR
  6. Social media can and should be measured
  7. Transparency and replicability are paramount to sound measurement

What do these principles demonstrate? “That you need a hierarchy in place otherwise you measure all sorts of crap”.

To summarise, Hugh outlined four important takeaways:

  1. Understand your goal
  2. Don’t be afraid to challenge or educate
  3. Quality runs deep (you can buy quantity in advertising)
  4. If in doubt, Barcelona is cool!


Stella looked at SEO and metrics overlapping.

What do typical awareness metrics look like?

  • Favourability
  • Logos
  • Key meanings
  • The list goes on…

These metrics are all well and good but what happens next? Can the business answer these questions with hard stats?

  • Did the business convert audiences?
  • Did the audience become advocates?

According to Stella we need to go beyond awareness and think about how we can make a business impact and change people’s opinions.

“Over half of website traffic can be attributed to PR”. This one liner from Stella caused a little commotion among the audience. Was this fact true? If so, where had she got this fact from? Where was the factual evidence to back it up?

Here – more and more search engines are the trusted place for information and results. Why? 85% of us are clicking on natural search results. 

But what does this have to do with PR?

  • Google makes its decisions based on the influencers online (quality)
  • Google sees a PR campaign – identifies the biggest influencers talking about that piece of content and then sharing that content and thus realises the content should be in front of the influencers audiences
  • Google makes changes based on what influencers are saying about the content
  • Many influencers are in ‘browse mode’ and so are not actively looking for that information
  • But when we search for something specific we are actively looking for information
  • Without Google – recommendations from our influencers content wouldn’t be visible

Stella went onto detail how Google ranks content:

  1. Content always needs to be technically sound
  2. Content needs to be engaging – include images, videos – different types of content
  3. Recommendations – seen through links

SEO and metrics do overlap and we need to be aware of how this can impact ROI.

Russell talked specifically about attribution modelling. 

A lot of people use analytics to prove what has happened historically – but those in superior positions who make things happen in businesses don’t care about this.

What can attribution do for business?

  • Attribution is not just to media mix modeling
  • Attribution is not just to redistribute budget
  • Attribution is not just to support your econometrics modelling

Attribution tools currently sell you these three things. But in a year’s time what will the market be focusing on? Russell predicts that the focus will be geared towards using attribution to better understand HOW consumers will engage with your brand.

“There is only one type of attribution model that matters” – according to Russell, this is bullshit.

Attribution is about understanding the ‘truth’ in the data you have. Once you define an attribution weighting model, you manipulate it to become your exclusive version of the truth.

Russell went onto explain that the only model that should matter is the algorithmic model, which uses the data available to create its weightings and scoring thus developing an understanding of the importance of each touch-point.

Resourcing and the 80/20 Rule

Businesses should be split the way you utilise tools.

  • 20%: technology
  • 80%: people

Russell feels that the 80% assigned to people should be further sub-divided:

  • 40% assigned to people who get the data, who Russell referred to as dirt
  • 40% assigned to people who think in the clouds (people who think in clouds? The people who help make decisions and ask the questions)

Russell finished his talk by explaining that the prominent issue that attribution faces is in fact psychological and not technical.


Here’s a quick reminder of last night’s Q&A session:

1. How can you separate PR and SEO – budgets are assigned separately.

  • Look at what pages the links are going into
  • Where is the natural search going into
  • Does that correlate with the increased visitability to this site?
  • Understand how, if departments work together the results which are created

2. What skills do marketers need to properly measure and attribute value to what they are doing?

  • Communication & negotiation skills
  • Understand that there’s no such thing as a stupid question – be honest about what you don’t know & communicate this
  • Translating – understanding the story that comes out of the data; communication – explaining the story

3. How long will it take to change the ‘working in silo’s’ psychological culture within the workplace?

  • Dependent upon what the businesses goals are
  • Who is making the decisions? If the CMO doesn’t want to break down silo’s they will not set the correct business goals so the silo’s will never be broken down
  • Hugh tackled this questions by looking at it from the client’s perspective – “wanting integration, but how do you achieve that?” At Three, we have three goals which allow us to start with a clear perspective but ultimatel integrate change.
  1. People goal
  2. Profit goal
  3. Brand goal – Net Promotor Score (NPS)

Thank you again to Stella, Russell and Hugh for joining us for a hugely interesting discussion. You can see Stella, Russell and Hugh’s slides here too:

For those uninitiated with techmap, it’s our monthly event series where we look at the applications of technology for driving marketing, advertising and PR performance. You can read all about it on our blog here.

If you would like to explore how you too can gain value from ROI data, get in touch. You can reach me here, or on twitter here.

Is Data the Holy Grail for Marketers?

This week’s techmap Meetup was all about data, or more specifically, answering the question: Is Data the Holy Grail for Marketers?

The evening started off by introducing “social data as the new Don Draper” in Tim Barker’s words; the most influential asset in the digital space to date. Tim went on to look at the topic from the perspective of what Facebook topic data means for the consumer insight.

Topic data shows marketers what audiences are saying on Facebook about events, brands, subjects and activities, all in a way that keeps personal information private. Marketers use the information from topic data to make better decisions about how they market on Facebook and other channels, and build product roadmaps.

For example, with topic data:

  • A business selling a hair de-frizzing product can see demographics on the people talking about humidity’s effects on their hair to better understand their target audience.
  • A brand can see how people are talking about their brand or industry to measure brand sentiment.

While this type of data has been available from third parties before, the sample size was often too small to be significant and determining demographics was near impossible. With topic data, data has been grouped and personal information from Facebook activity stripped, to offer insights on all the activity around a topic. That means marketers get a holistic and actionable view of their audience for the first time.

Tim highlighted the challenges in using standardised social data for consumer research:

  1. Not representative of the population
  2. Public networks are bias
  3. No demographics within the data and so you can’t normalise
  4. Too much effort to try out or interpret & analyse

Our next speaker: Mat Morrison

Mat went on to look at the topic from the perspective of influencers. There’s a lot of interest in “influencers” these days; search has trebled in volume and the number of articles in the marketing press to meet that search interest has also increased. Malcolm Gladwell published “The Tipping Point” just around here. What he couldn’t have predicted, was the explosion in social media marketing that was to emerge a few years later.

The book more or less set the scene for the rise of blogging, the democratisation of web publishing and social networking. PR agencies were already beginning to characterise their discipline as the “business of influence”, and the first attempts were being made to industrialise “viral marketing.”

Thanks to social media platforms, celebrities are becoming channels, controlling their audiences. And what used to be ‘narrowcast’ platforms (blogs/vodcasts/podcasts) have grown, consolidated, and commercialised. This kind of consolidation makes it easier for busy advertisers to spend money. Which in turn increases the flow of money.

The problem?

No-one knows how to value this stuff. It’s pretty clear we’re only going to be valuing influencers in a couple of ways; as channel or as content. There are all sorts of data streams and cues we might use to assess audience interest in an influencer. Search is a pretty straightforward one: where are we in the influencer’s narrative cycle?

Twitter’s sheer volume of data, and the relative ease with which those data may be collected often mean that we don’t look any further than that. Most of the tools for identifying and evaluating “social media influence” simply use Twitter data (see below slides for Mat’s more in-depth look at Stephen Fry as an example).

Mat summarised: 

  • Talking about “Influencer Marketing” isn’t helpful; no-one shares a good definition of “influencer” and very smart people who I trust call into question their very existence. 
  • I’d strongly caution against adopting new metrics or KPIs for influencer marketing; instead, try to judge influencer activity against your existing activity. Does adding incremental “influencer” activity increase efficiencies at an acceptable cost? 
  • I’d strongly recommend using paid media to amplify and target content that you create with the influencers
  • I instinctively prefer to think of talent as co-creators rather than as channel.

There were plenty of key takeaways for me. But the ones that really stood out were:

  1. Data is dangerous if not normalised and insight applied
  2. The big data industry came about 3-4 years after the social media revolution so there’s still so much to understand and digest
  3. Data is not the Holy Grail for marketers, insights are
  4. Don’t trust anyone else’s data, when you have your own data you can begin to build your own insights

Thank you again to Tim and Mat for joining us for a hugely interesting discussion on data. You can see Tim and Mat’s slides here too:

For those uninitiated with techmap, it’s our monthly event series where we look at the applications of technology for driving marketing, advertising and PR performance. You can read all about it on our blog here.

If you would like to explore how you too can use data to deliver return on investment, get in touch. You can reach me here, or on twitter here.

Selling SEO to your CEO

Selling in search engine optimisation to your CEO, or higher management, can be a painful experience. Many CEO’s (and CMO’s for that matter) are brilliant business-people, but are not digital natives. They may not understand the value that search can bring to their business… yet.

Selling search into your CEO isn’t going to be easy, but it could be the core of a solid, modern and profitable digital marketing strategy.

Once you’ve explained that modern search engine optimisation is not about asking your friends to put a link on their site, or farming out thousands of links without substantive content. Then explained what really works in search, you need to explain the value and sell the story behind optimising your web presence for search.

Here’s how I’d go about it…

Understanding search is simple

You don’t have to think about all the technology and rules (algorithms) behind where a website appears in Google. All you have to do is understand why people type phrases into Google.

In that moment people want information, and Google is in the business of providing the specific piece of information they want, within less than a second, billions of times a day.

This can be information on a celebrity, food, drink, fashion, technology, what ever your niche, there will be people who what information.

All that search engine optimisation does (avoid SEO if you can, three letter acronyms are not friendly to your CEO) is make sure that your piece of information is what people find when they are searching.

Give your CEO an example they’ll understand, if you type into Google, the word ‘Oracle’, what do you get? Information about the company Oracle.

Think about that for a second, the word oracle has it’s own meaning other than the company. Google knows enough about you and the web to make a pretty good guess which Oracle you were looking for.

I’ll go onto how search returns results in a moment, for now it’s more important to know what makes Google really special. It’s a tool to allow people to get information at their point of interest; it doesn’t matter whether you sell cars, or coke cans. If someone searches ‘buy 6 pack of cola’ there is a good chance that search will lead to a sale. Search engines are the best way for users to get what they want, with the least effort, why would you not want to be the top place result for your niche?

One metric to rule them all

For all the complexities of search engine algorithms and ranking processes, monitoring at it’s highest level can be achieved by reviewing just two metrics; Domain Authority (DA) and Page Authority (PA).

DA and PA allow you to instantly compare your chances of beating a competitor to the top-spot in the rankings on a website or page level.

Both Domain and Page authority use a logarithmic scale. This means growing a website’s domain authority from 20 – 30 will be considerably easier to achieve than moving from 80-90. The important thing to remember is that larger is always better.

Let’s see an example that instantly explains how a site is likely to perform against its competition. In this case, let’s take the Harvard Business Review, FastCompany and Financial Times:

DA tableWhilst there might not be much in it when it comes to pure values of Domain Authority, remember that all those values are logarithmic, there is a massive gap between and

This level of comparison is great to get your CEO interested in search marketing, demonstrating where your site compares to the competition, and how steep the challenge will be to beat them.

Vanity metrics are still metrics

There is a very slim list of goals that should be set for search engine optimization:

  • increasing position in search per keyword
  • improved authority
  • traffic from search

These metrics should be how you measure the success of your campaign. Through improvements in these measures you will also gain improvements in a slew of other measurable areas, time on site, pages viewed, and unique users just to name a few.

When talking about SEO these are the vanity metrics. Although these are not campaign critical, they will certainly bring a smile to your CEO’s face when they see a xxx% rise in unique users, or xx% decrease in bounce rate, we put metrics like these in our reporting, not because we believe they have a great value to SEO, but because they are easy to understand for senior management.

Sooner or later every SEO tactician gets asked; “So, how does search work?”.

What I’m going to share with you is not how search works ‘down at the metal’. There will be no talk of data processing or algorithmic thinking through machine learning.

What I’m going to explain is the goals and action of search in a digestible way, so you can pass it on.

Let’s set the scene, Google only has one goal, to sell advertising in a way which presents adverts as useable, actionable information. This is what we call search advertising or sometimes Pay Per Click advertising(PPC).

In order to provide an environment in which users are happy to be exposed to a high percentage of advertising per page, search results are also provided, these results are based upon three main groups of factors

  1. The content of the search: e.g. “buy 6 pack of cola”
  2. 200 pieces of information which are collected about every site Google has seen on the web
  3. 60 pieces about the computer/user who is performing the search

These three groups of factors allow Google to create a profile of the content which is being displayed, and the user who is searching, matching the two up to see your results in search. Overall, Google’s aim with their ranking algorithm is to present the most relevant piece of information to a user, based upon the phrase they have entered. This is based on technical factors, such as site speed, site structure and site security and information focuses factors; site content, context provided by other sites (links) and conversation (discussion around the post on social combined with Google’s brand understanding).

If you would like to know more about how to optimise your business for search, how search can help with your other marketing efforts, or you just want a chat about how we can help your business give me a call on: 0203 714 2231