Official Prolific North Live eBook Released

Once again Prolific North Live brought the region’s premier marketing and communications talent together for two days of inspiration, innovation and insight. Now in its third year, Prolific North Live has become the biggest marketing expo outside of London.

To support this year’s event we have created an official eBook that aims to capture some of the leading ideas and products unfurled over the two day expo.

The options available to Marketers in 2018 are vast, and this eBook looks to dig deeper into the methods businesses are prioritising over the next 12 months and how it has changed since 2017.

 

In the eBook What Marketers Want 2018  you will find:

  • Insights Theatre speaker Cari Kirby – Marketing Manager from Team Cooper – writing on the value of Gamification
  • 72Point’s Head of Digital, Jack Peat, discussing the importance of PR in 2018
  • The Chief XR Officer for hedgehog labs, Shaun Allan, on Virtual Reality and how it is disrupting the market
  • An exclusive article on the importance of Branding from the founder of Halston Marketing
  • Gemma Richards, Marketing Manager for Fluid Branding, on how to measure ROI with branded merchandise
  • and much more…

How Twitter Reacted to Two Days of Talks at Prolific North Live

Prolific North Live is over for another year after two days of talks, product demos and networking at Event City and Twitter had a lot to say about it.

The snow was relentless but over 3,200 people attended the expo to discover the latests industry trends from over 110 exhibitors and more than 70 talks.

With huge brands like McCann, Bing Ads and Everton Football Club speaking at the event, attendees were treated to a unique take on where the industry is going in 2018. Below we take a look at some of the biggest takeaways. 

1. Richard Kenyon from Everton Football Club on the importance of fan collaboration

2. Adam Oldfield from Force24 on the metrics that really count

3. The Co-op’s Catherine Turner spoke about PR on Wednesday in the Marketing Theatre

4. Dave Lawson from AO in the Technology & Future Trends Keynote session on Wednesday

5. Dr Dave Chaffey from Smart Insights highlighting the importance of the marketing life cycle

6. Matt Hackett and PushON in the Finance & Growth Hub theatre on Wednesday

7. When it comes to marketing campaigns in 2018, AR is no longer a gimmick

8. Kenyatte Nelson on day one in the Keynote Theatre

9. Lee Wilcox discussed Digital Content in the Keynote Theatre on day one

10. IAB’s James Chandler spoke in our Keynote Theatre on day two

11. Zak Edwards put the case forward for retailers to innovate and invest

12. Alison Last spoke for Kellogg’s on day two

13. Catherine Shuttleworth – the CEO of Savvy – in Thursday’s Women Thought Leader’s session

14. Lyndon Nicholson from Buffalo7 argued the case for reinventing your relationship with Powerpoint

15. UKFast in our Keynote Theatre

16. Professor Danielle George talked about AI on day two

17. GDPR is an opportunity to make businesses more ‘human-centric’

18. Sue Little from McCann in Thursday’s Women Thought Leaders session

19. Rob Ramsey highlighted how promotional content will change for brands in 2018

20. Darren Elliot from Taboola with his talk: ‘Decoding the Behaviour of Your Online User’

21. In Thursday’s Insights Theatre Dom Raban gave his talk: ‘Using AI and AR to Put Child Patients in Control’

22. Key takeaway from UKFast’s Marketing Director

23. Ellie England from Bing in the Keynote Theatre

24. On day two at Prolific North Live, Sandy Lindsey MBE from Tangerine talked talent and recruitment

25. Managing Director of Bring Digital – David Ingram – summarised the two days over on his twitter feed

Only a year to wait for Prolific North Live 2019…

MSP Launch Competition for Free Tech Incubator Space


The article below was written by Anne Dornan, Head of Innovation and Partnerships at Manchester Science Partnerships


The MSP team is thrilled to be joining so many leading businesses and brands at Prolific North Live – an event which grows from strength to strength every year and showcases the huge talent and vibrancy of the digital, tech, and creative media sectors across the North.

After a busy 2017, where we launched our flagship Bright Building at Manchester Science Park in September, and also welcomed the first businesses to Mi-IDEA, our new co-innovation centre in partnership with Cisco, 2018 is going to be another landmark year for MSP as we prepare to launch our new Tech Incubator in Manchester in partnership with the city’s universities, Manchester Digital and Complete Resourcing.

Opening in early May at Bruntwood’s redeveloped Manchester Technology Centre, we’re  confident that the Tech Incubator will be the ideal environment for data science and technology innovation businesses to begin their journey.

As a home for the next wave of disruptive innovations and entrepreneurs from across the UK, MSP’s Tech Incubator is aimed specifically at those working in the areas of: Artificial Intelligence, cognitive computing, or machine learning; data analytics; VR & AR; fintech; blockchain; e-commerce; cyber security; cloud technologies; quantum computing; the Internet of Things; smart cities and digital health.  

The competition is a really exciting opportunity to identify the rising stars of the North’s flourishing digital sector, and we look forward to helping to nurture them through their first steps in business, and supporting them as they scale.

We know that taking the plunge and starting a business can be a daunting prospect, which is why the Tech Incubator will offer much more than just an amazing place to work.

It will be a supportive and collaborative community of peers, specialist professional advisers and trusted partners.

At MSP we have always been passionate about creating communities of like-minded businesses in locations where innovation and entrepreneurship come together to drive real growth and impacts. The Tech Incubator is in an unrivalled location: it’s right in the heart of Manchester’s Innovation District on the Oxford Road Corridor, and part of Manchester’s largest city centre development, Circle Square, soon to be the home of world leading engineering, advanced materials and tech businesses.

The collective expertise and resources of our partners will prove invaluable to new customers at the Tech Incubator – where businesses will join a supportive environment tailored to their needs and become part of MSPs 300-strong community of high-growth science and technology businesses.

Our delivery partners include Manchester Digital – the independent trade body for the sector – which is relocating to the Tech Incubator this year, providing a long-term home for their membership services and events programme – and Complete Resourcing, a specialist consultancy for innovative technology start-ups looking to build world-class teams.

The Tech Incubator’s business growth programme also includes access to funding and finance through the Investor Ladder network, mentorship services, access to R&D resources and specialist professional services from leading advisers including Grant Thornton and KPMG.

At Prolific North Live we will be hosting an exciting programme at our stand (135 – next to the keynote theatre). Come along, meet the team and hear from both MSP and Bruntwood customers, who will be sharing their innovative products inspiring growth stories. Among those attending will be Manchester Digital, Cubic Motion, Lightstart Apps and Kwizzbit.


Manchester Science Partnership will be launching a special competition at Prolific North Live, giving start-ups the chance to win free desk space for 12 months and access to a specialist business growth programme – in total worth up to £9,500.  To apply click here.  

How To Create Effective AR Marketing Campaigns: Experience


The below blog was written by Sam Whitehead, Head of Insights for Blippar.


In my last blog post, I looked at optimising distribution factors (touchpoints and call to actions).

If you haven’t read it, I would recommend starting with this before reading on. The key areas for a successful AR campaign can be split into two buckets:

  • Distribution — making sure people can access your AR experience in the first place
  • Experience — creating effective, high impact AR content.

This post will focus on optimising Experience factors: Immediacy, Repeat Usage and Delight.

Immediacy

This is all about delivering immediate benefit to the user, both in terms of loading times and UX.

Human attention spans are down 50% in the last 15 years (Microsoft, 2015) and we’re more impatient than ever. 53% of users bounce from a mobile site that takes longer than 3 seconds to load (Google, 2016). This has led to projects such as Facebook Instant Articles and Google Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), which aim to load almost instantly.

When it comes to loading times for AR, users grant you slightly more grace than they would for a mobile site, but not much more. Although it’s tempting to use lots of high-res 3D, be cognizant of the trade-off between the size of your AR experience and how long it will take to load.

Aim for a loading time under 5 seconds, certainly no more than 10 seconds, and make sure you carry out thorough QA testing over a range of internet connection speeds.

Minimising loading times is only half the challenge. You must also use simple, linear UX to clearly lead the user through the AR experience. Stay away from main menus and ‘web thinking’, instead give the user fewer choices that only require simple gestures (swipes, taps) to navigate through the experience.

Each additional tap you require from the user is an opportunity for them to drop out of the experience early. Set yourself a ‘one-tap benchmark’, so that users don’t have to tap the screen more than once to reach the core benefit of the experience. Or go one step further – what benefit can you give the user in zero taps?

Repeat Usage

AR inherently drives impressive repeat usage as people are so curious about the technology. Blippar campaigns average 3 blipps per user, but many generate 10+.

Be intentional about designing experiences that encourage repeat engagement, that continue to deliver user benefit over time, whether entertainment or utility. Brands should aim for users to interact with their product in AR each time they pick it up.

Driving repeat engagement is a well-understood discipline in digital. There are numerous models and theories that can be replicated in AR to drive regular interaction and build habitual behaviour.

 

 

Humans like to collect and complete things. Using gamification, daily rewards, updated features or episodic content will skyrocket your campaign’s performance. It doesn’t need to be anything complicated, just ensure you continue to deliver user benefit over time (e.g. a lipstick that updates you with the latest looks and tutorials in AR each week, a beer that gives you new opportunities to play and win football tickets each time you drink).

Delight

This is the most nebulous of the five best practices but you know it when you see it. It’s a really cool AR experience that you instantly want to share with others.

It could be visually stunning creative work – true AR that is tracked to an object or a location, such as Blippar’s campaign with Coca-Cola, which turned each can into an interactive AR jukebox.

Or it could be a clever use case, where AR provides a ‘digital shortcut’ that moves users down the purchase funnel, such as virtual try-ons or Blippar’s ability to put you in the driving seat of any car simply by scanning it.

 

The opportunities to create surprising and enchanting experiences in AR are endless but you will often find yourself held back by practical factors, such as timelines or the specifics of a brief. Ask yourself tough questions to make sure you’re able to deliver a quality experience despite any limitations you face. Don’t fall into the trap of doing AR just for the sake of doing AR – it should delight your users.

So there you have it, our five best practices (touchpoints, call to action, immediacy, repeat usage, delight). Use them as a checklist for your campaign to ensure effective performance.

Don’t fall into the trap of neglecting the real-world distribution factors. If you’re building a magical AR experience, you still need to invest in making sure it reaches people. And similarly, once you have a user in your AR experience, use mobile-first design and user-centric thinking to delight them and keep them coming back. This will ensure your AR campaign is both valuable to end-users and effective for your brand.


Blippar is a leading Augmented Reality and Computer Vision company. The Blippar app – its showcase app – is the world’s first augmented reality browser using AR, AI & CV. Click here to book a 15 min meeting with Blippar at Booth 17 (Immersive Technologies zone)

8 Companies You Can Pre-book Meetings With for Prolific North Live

The largest Marketing expo outside of London is arriving in Manchester tomorrow.

Prolific North Live is bringing over 120 brands to EventCity for two days of product demos, networking and thought leadership.

A few of the exhibitors at the expo have made getting to know them even easier. Below are 8 companies that allow you to pre-book meeting slots with them over the next two days. Just simply hit the link to view their profile.


Click Consult


Blippar


CTI Digital


Digitl


Halston Marketing


Nimlok


Nu-Hi


Taboola


 

Do We Need a Fresh Approach to Tackling Counterfeit Goods?


Join VST Enterprises CEO, Louis-James Davies, and Dewhirst CEO, Anthony Wood, at Prolific North Live where they’ll be discussing how new technology can help protect consumers from poor-quality fake products

The below piece was written by Louis-James Davis.


The need for traceability across consumer supply chains is becoming increasingly recognised by both governments and the general public.

This is not just driven by concerns about safety and ethical fears but by worries about quality as well – when purchasing a product, consumers want to know they are buying the real deal, not a cheap “knock-off”.

The International Trademark Association (INTA) anticipate that the global economic value of counterfeiting and piracy could reach £1.6 trillion by 2022. In 2015, the value stood at £1.2 trillion.

Detrimental doppelgängers

As well as impacting on consumers’ rights to quality products, this trade poses a serious threat to the prosperity of the genuine brands that are being faked. Every time a knock-off product is purchased, money is being syphoned away from the company whose brand is being counterfeited. It’s the reputation of the real deal that suffers when a doppelgänger product fails to meet consumer expectations.

With all of this in mind, it’s no wonder that a growing number of governments are looking to tighten traceability legislation across a wide range of sectors. Non-governmental and industry bodies are being set up to initiate supply chain monitoring schemes in order to tackle product counterfeiting as well as other quality issues.

Nevertheless, disclosure of supply chain information remains patchy and traceability is also hampered by technological limitations – there are various industry initiatives to improve information flow, from material sourcing, to sale and beyond, but there’s currently little connectivity between these systems.

The genuine article

At VST Enterprises, we’ve developed a new application for our VCode® and VPlatform™ technology to help boost tracking in the supply chain and overthrow counterfeiting at the source.

We’re working alongside leading fashion business, Dewhirst, to integrate our proprietary technology, VApparel™, to clothing, footwear and accessories in order to curb counterfeiting in the retail industry. VApparel will allow consumers to establish the authenticity of the product before they make a purchase by scanning theVCode® printed on the label or product itself. Consumers can also establish other product information via a VCode® scan such as the factory the product was made in and the raw materials used, through to customised marketing material.

VSTE’s VCode® and VPlatform™ technology has been awarded an EU Seal of Excellence for its anti-counterfeiting and end-to-end supply chain and traceability capabilities, and has been commended by UK Prime Minister, Theresa May.

Join us at Prolific North Live

It’s solutions like VApparel, resulting from partnerships between manufacturers, security specialists and technology experts, that will help genuine brands gain the upper hand in the global fight against counterfeiters. And that’s exactly what I’ll be talking about at the upcoming Prolific North Live with our Joint Venture partner for VApparel and CEO of Dewhirst, Anthony Wood.


VST Enterprises will be on on the ‘Anti-counterfeiting’ panel at 2pm, Wednesday 28 February in Prolific North Live’s Reveal Theatre. 

When it Comes to GDPR, it’s Time to Separate Myth From Fact


The below blog on GDPR was written by Davinia Hamilton-Maddox, Co-founder and Director of Phoenix Digital.


There’s a lot of stuff on the internet about GDPR at the moment, and with some conflicting versions of the rules, you’d be forgiven for feeling lost in data hell.

This ‘yet-another-blog-post-about-GDPR’ blog post attempts to rule out the myth from the fact and highlight the key points to consider for getting on the road to compliance.

So, first, let’s recap on the What and the Why, the When and Where. Then we’ll try and tackle the How.

What: GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) replaces The Data Protection Act of 1998. Its purpose is for the protection and privacy of personal data, and the individual rights of EU citizens.

Why: We live in a data-rich world, and the 1998 Act is out of date with today’s new ways of processing and using data. It will force businesses to be more careful with, and accountable for, people’s personal information.

When: The regulation comes into force on 25th May 2018. But now is the time to start putting things in place to become compliant.

Where (and Who): GDPR will affect every business who owns, processes and/or uses personal data of any individual within the EU. This includes businesses outside of the EU if they own, process and/or use personal data of people within the EU.

And now for the big question – How?

Ok, let’s try and get this into 6 bitesize chunks. (I tried 5, just for the aesthetics of the thing, but it definitely needs 6. At least it’s an even number which satisfies my Libran mind.)

Explicit Consent

The key word here is ‘explicit’. It is not enough to have a simple ‘opt-in’ check box on contact forms any more, you need to tell people what you’ll be contacting them about, how often and in what format.

An example: Company A offers four key services. The CRM system identifies if a customer is associated with service 1, 2, 3 or 4, yet offers and promotions are happily sent out to the full mailing list for all services. Under GDPR, individual opt-in consent – and individual opt-out – would need to be obtained.

You should also not assume that because a contact on your mailing list has not yet opted out, they therefore give their consent to be contacted by you. But under the eyes of GDPR, not opting out is not Explicit Consent.

If you don’t think you have explicit consent from the contacts on your database, all is not lost. You can still send an invitation out before 25th May to request consent – don’t forget to be explicit (have I mentioned that word enough?)

Double opt-in is not mandatory by the way. I’ve seen this crop up in a few documents and blogs, but it’s a myth!

The right to be forgotten

Individuals have the right to request complete erasure of their personal information. There are two considerations here; first, businesses have to make it easy for individuals to request sight of what data you hold about them, how you use it and if you share it with anybody else (internally or externally).

Second, if they request their details are removed, you have to remove it completely. Out of any and every database – CRM, email distribution software, the fulfilment house you use for managing your mailshots, the Chairman’s laptop because he likes to keep a copy of everything…

You may well be investigated if you accidentally send communication to an unsubscribed recipient. So think about how you will manage this process; keeping data in one single place, without any copies in existence is one way to maintain control.

Relevance and Accuracy

This is actually a good excuse for a good old data cleanse. Rather like clearing out the loft, it’s not exactly a job to look forward to, but just think how satisfied you’ll feel afterwards!

Relevance – only collect and store data you actually need. If you don’t need to know a person’s date of birth, religious beliefs or sexual orientation, don’t ask for it. Yes it might help you build a picture of your typical customer demographic, but if you can’t prove this information is a legitimate business need, you may well be in breach of GDPR. And with a maximum fine of €20m (or 4% of global turnover), it might not be worth the risk.

Accuracy – email addresses, telephone numbers, job titles change all the time. Spend the time between now and 25th May to get your existing data up to date and then have a policy in place which states how often you will check its accuracy.

Data sharing

Keep sharing to a minimum. Best practice would be to have one central location, password protected and only accessible by people who actually need access.

An example: you receive an enquiry from your website contact form. Your website requests the individual’s name, email address, phone number and a message. It arrives into the business through a generic email address monitored by two members of staff; one of whom assesses the message and forwards it to the relevant department for processing/responding to. The manager of that department passes it to a member of his/her team to handle.

The person who submitted the contact form, in all innocence, now has their personal contact information on at least four machines, and quite possibly several mobile devices which are synched to email accounts.

This process would not conform to the ‘Privacy by Design’ stipulation under GDPR. A better approach would be to store the data in the website database itself which can be accessed via the password-protected CMS.

Data Storage

This point relates to the length of time we can keep data rather than how and where we actually store it.

The answer is there is no maximum time period. GDPR only states that an organisation must decide, based on its own legitimate business needs, as to how long is too long.

So as part of your new Data Policy, you must state how long you will retain an individual’s data for, and you must have a process in place that deals with this once that time period is reached. It doesn’t necessarily need to be for a number of years; for example, your policy might be that you remove a data subject after 12 months of no-engagement.

Data protection Officer

Appointment of a DPO is mandatory if you are a public authority or an organisation dealing with data on a ‘large scale’. (I have yet to find the definition of ‘large scale’ so we’ll have to use our imagination for the time-being).

It’s best practice to appoint a DPO if you do not fall into one of these categories though. Especially if you distribute regular marketing campaigns and/or monitor online behaviour through Google Analytics (or similar; other analytic platforms are available).

The DPO can be an existing member of staff, a new recruit or an external resource. A word of advice is not to underestimate this role and tag it on to a junior member of staff’s job description. It should be considered as a senior position, because this person is responsible for an organisation’s compliance with GDPR.

I hope you are now thoroughly clued up on GDPR and will rush forth and comply.

Or perhaps you are just thoroughly exhausted.

Unfortunately GDPR is not black and white. There’s a considerable amount of grey in the middle. But I hope, at least, you have something to start with. And if you’re still confused, give me a call, and we can weep together.


Phoenix Digital specialises in solving online challenges through a tailored and strategic approach to web design and build. The team will be at this year’s Prolific North Live on February 28th & March 1st.

2018 Won’t Be the Year of Voice Search – and Here’s Why


John Warner is an in-house marketer at Click Consult where he spends his time accruing industry certifications, tinkering with code, plotting strategy and writing articles on all aspects of search marketing.


Digital assistants have been permeating western culture now for some time, with episodes of various sitcoms featuring storylines driven by Siri or the Google Assistant or Alexa, there are sites devoted to their mishaps and endless articles on the pros and cons of interaction with them.

Within the search marketing industry, there are a number of ‘future of search’ articles which are driven by voice search, but they tend to be fairly woolly, predictive and lacking in real detail. The reason is that, despite the fact that voice search has been on the horizon and a predicted game changer for some time; it has nevertheless caught a lot of people by surprise – with almost 42% of respondents to a survey (sent to a 300,000 strong segment of Click Consult’s email database) reporting that digital assistants represented the biggest potential game changer for search in 2018.

The reason for this is that the technology, usefulness and uptake has progressed far faster than the majority of marketers and techies alike would have expected.

It took mobile (depending on where you draw the line of true mobile search) around 20 years to achieve parity with desktop for searches made, while voice has achieved 20% of all searches since early versions of Siri (the earliest you can reasonably place the inception of voice search) in seven years.

 

With rates of voice search among Millennials (roughly those born between 1982 and 2004) and Generation-Z (born 2004 onward) already being estimated in the high 40%s, it is easy to understand why ComScore is predicting that 50% of all searches will be by voice – therefore performing a similar feat to mobile in half the time. While I still cringe, say please and thank you during voice searches (occasionally unthinkingly apologising if the software can’t understand me), my children have been asking Google questions since they could talk.

This potential halving of the time it will take to reach parity also halves the time that brands, from small businesses right up to Google itself, will have to respond to the change.

 

As voice is predominately built upon the advances of mobile technology, it is also capable of accelerating far quicker.

WAP, for example, debuted in 1999 – and it took me what felt like a full 90 minutes to check the football scores – and it took until 2007 and the introduction of some larger, touch screen devices to begin making real progress. Even so, it took another eight years for Google to introduce its first major mobile friendly update to the core algorithm (called Mobilegeddon at the time).

We are now entering a period where Google is beginning to roll out ‘Mobile First Indexing’ – almost two years after mobile searches exceeded those on desktops. It is difficult to imagine that the search marketing industry has until 2030 to fully optimise for voice search (according to Google Trends, to illustrate interest, users in the UK in 2017 – an election year in the middle of Brexit – searched for Alexa far more often than Theresa May).

This is where, I believe, from where the slight schism in opinion comes regarding voice search. It is as easy to find articles dismissing voice search as a potential force as it is to find overestimations of its imminence.

I’m going to – in a cowardly fashion – fall somewhere between the two: I believe that voice will begin to impact search this year (especially with the introduction of screened voice devices like the Amazon Echo Show), whether through small drops in site traffic, but equally I think the true impact of voice search is a couple of years off and bound with the improvement of conversational or interrogative search (by which I mean voice searches with the option to further refine a search through interaction with the digital assistant rather than each search being held as separate), wearable tech and augmented reality (AR).

The reason for this is simply that voice search has found the web unprepared. While people are showing a surprising (to me) willingness to use voice search, its facility is little more than that of searching via text input and will often (though less often than it has in the past) necessitate a visit to a webpage anyway.

The increase in rich results, however, show that Google is keen to deliver answers directly from search engine results pages (SERPs) and this trend is likely to increase as voice search progresses – for example, of a group of 339 keywords tracked by Click Consult through Ahrefs’ rank tracking tool since the end of September, there has been an 85% increase in rich results showing in associated SERPs, including a major bump from the introduction of ‘people also asked’ rich results (a variety that could potentially deliver a lot of data that Google could feed in to future interrogative search capability).

 

However, while voice search may trigger more answers directly from search in the future, it is highly unlikely that Google will enter in to a mass project of content production. Instead, these answers will tend to come from curation of first page sites – as the rich results do now.

This, combined with a push to force Google to pay compensation to publishers, could lead to profit sharing opportunities for publishers capable of featuring regularly in rich results and voice results.

This is where the issue lies with voice search at the moment: no one has really worked out how to successfully monetise it. While Amazon is making money on the physical assistant devices, and potentially from orders through it, there is nothing definitive to say that they are earning more from Echo or Alexa (beyond the cost of the device) than they otherwise would from text interaction. Both Google and Amazon have been furiously denying questions regarding possible advertisements on their devices (though one has tried, unsuccessfully, with a promotion for Beauty and the Beast – which it denied was an advert at all, while the other has recently begun opening up to more ‘paid promotion’).

Where I believe the benefit for publishers will come, however, will be that voice search will eventually make our personal choice of digital assistant a staple part of our lives in the same way that mobile phones have become.

 

People will come to trust them – especially as they increase in their ability to personalise responses and improve in their usefulness in day to day life.

When this personalisation is combined with localised search (another area that has seen a lot of tinkering from Google in the last year), we could then see our friendly digital assistant begin to make suggestions pulled from recent searches, from diarised anniversaries and birthdays as well as from paying publishers. “Where’s the nearest pizza place?” could lead to paid promotion, as well as top results, and personal favourites from past purchases with an Android or Apple Wallet.

It is reasonable to infer from the activities, business purchases, tweaks to search and various other things from the big five in tech where they see the future – and it is mobile, personalised, local and spoken. So what can we do to prepare if not even the companies driving toward the future appear to have settled on how to get there?

There are three ways to prepare:

  1. Natural language and long tail – the ability of search engines to parse meaning is increasing all the time, which frees content writers from a lot of previous constraints surrounding keywords and also allows content to aim for long tail – as voice queries tend to be longer (though not by much).
  2. Markup – There are quite a few tools that can help which are available online – with JSON-LD as well as microdata generators available. In addition, Google provides its own assistance. It is absolutely vital that, wherever you look for help, that sites begin to properly implement structural data.
  3. Make sure you consider the robot. A lot of the advice for writing for robots would remain true for humans: use clear language, avoid jargon and overly long sentences. Where it becomes completely necessary is in HTML cues, including title tags and the correct use of the < b > and < strong > tags.

While 2018 will most likely not be the year of voice search – however long it takes, voice is coming – and it is better to prepare in advance than face being caught out by a sudden shift.


Click Consult is a multi award-winning search marketing agency and will be exhibiting at this year’s Prolific North Live on February 28th & March 1st.

Collaborative Storytelling: A B2B Content Marketing Marvel


The below article was written by Georgia Halston, Founder of B2B agency Halston Marketing.


In our January Predictions post we listed the concept of collaborative storytelling as an upcoming trend to watch within B2B.

As we’ve already seen such positive effects for our own clients, we decided to elaborate:

The B2C marketing world has been using collaborative storytelling as a device to create a more meaningful connection with their target audiences for a while now.

There have been three movements in terms of marketing relationships, the first was a one way street between the producer and consumer and this was crafted during the golden age of advertising in the 50s and 60s and this was the lay of the land for a long time.

Social media, the freedoms that come along with online authorship and the compare the market culture brought about a shift in the consumer paradigm. Potential customers were no longer taking the word of the producers as gospel and it became commonplace to refer to blogs/vlogs, review sites and social media as consumers started on their multi-touchpoint journey towards purchase. Brands followed suit and started to advertise with the help of online influencers through sponsored social media and blog posts.

A third shift is being seen in the work of the more astute advertisers towards a collaborate content creation paradigm where not only are the producers and the influencers invited to the party, the consumers themselves are a main facet of the content.

A huge lesson can be learned from this paradigm shift and applied to B2B. We work with our clients to really think about the companies they work with. We encourage them to ask their partners not only for feedback and testimonials but to push for site visits to create video and image-based content.

In an effort to really bolster their authority within their sector we also advise on deeply collaborative reports, thought pieces and white-papers with their existing clients. This not only brings about a deeper connection with existing customers, it shows potential clients, and everyone else in the industry, that they really trust and care about what their clients have to say.


Halston Marketing is an experienced B2B Agency based in Leeds. They will be exhibiting at this year’s Prolific North Live on February 28th & March 1st.

What Encourages Brand Loyalty, Says Thank You, and Makes You Smile?


The below article was written by Gemma Richards, Marketing Manager at Fluid Branding.


A whopping half of the UK public say they have taken action after receiving a promotional product, compared with only 19% for TV advertising, 11% for online ads, 10% for print and 9% for direct mail.

 

Since the Brexit vote all industries are existing in a climate that is unstable. Budgets are being reduced meaning businesses need to be leaner and more intelligent.

 

This means that demonstrating return on investment and squeezing every last drop out of your marketing budget is more important now than ever before.

Interestingly, 50% of people would like to receive merchandise products more often and only 5% become annoyed with Promotional Merchandise, unlike the 73% that get annoyed at online banner ads!

Promotional products are 6 times more likely to make recipients feel appreciated than the media of print, web, direct mail or TV.

A promotional gift delivers its full impact when the recipient finds it useful. So, make sure that you select the right product for your demographic ensuring maximum ‘bang for your buck’. The largest marketing area is around the desk area, and, of course, this means that your product will be visible on a daily basis.

A huge 96% of respondents believe that promotional products increase brand awareness and a further 83% could name a brand or company featured on a promotional item that they had received.

82% of respondents reported they’d purchased products or services from a company that had given them a promotional gift.

So, there you have it – promotional products really do work! We’d love to talk you through how you can ensure maximum leverage for your brand and harness some of this feel-good factor on your next campaign. 

*BPMA research – Spring 2013


Fluid Branding is an established, experienced and highly professional promotional merchandise supplier, with offices across the UK, Ireland and Europe. They will be exhibiting at this year’s Prolific North Live on February 28th & March 1st.