How to Win Trust and Loyalty

CDS will be exhibiting at next February’s Marketing Show North.

How is loyalty changing? What do customers really want? Are consumers genuinely loyal to brands or is it purely habit? How can brands reward their customers to keep them loyal?

Consumers say they feel less loyal, while their behaviour remains as loyal as ever – according to the third edition of this research that has tracker customer loyalty since 2016.

Nearly two-fifths of people (39%) say they feel less loyal to brands and companies than they did a year ago, but this may not translate into a change in their behaviour and needs.

Year-on-year the figures have remained steady with half of consumers (49%) still falling into the ‘Active Loyal’ group and around one in five (22%) as ‘Active Disloyal’ – with the remainder either loyal through habit or in certain situations.

Discussing what businesses can do to increase loyalty, Rachel Aldighieri, MD at the DMA, said:

“Brands must renew their focus on the most important part of their long-term success, their customers.

Whether marketers decide to offer more personalised experiences, new loyalty schemes or flexible subscription models, successful brands will be those that can put the customer at the heart of everything they do.”

When asked to name their favourite brand or one they were loyal to, consumers were clear that one stood out above the rest: Amazon. Retail stalwarts Marks & Spencer, John Lewis, Sainsbury’s and Tesco complete the top five.

Consumers also report feeling genuine loyalty to these top brands, rather than this simply being based on convenience or habit.

Read the full report to find out more, including how:

  • Consumers are still prone to comparing offers and are deal sensitive
  • Different brands and sectors attract different kinds of consumer loyalty
  • Brand social responsibility and good customer service are strong drivers of genuine loyalty
  • Rewards and loyalty schemes in less established sectors are engaging younger consumers
  • The appetite for loyalty and reward points is somewhat saturated, needing to adapt to match consumer needs

Komal Helyer, Marketing Director at Pure360, explains:

“Consumer trust in ‘faceless corporations’ is waning, and in its place is a growing preference for meaningful interactions with brands who are perceived as genuine, transparent and relevant. For marketers, the message remains the same: add value to your customer’s lives and stay relevant to their interests or risk losing their business altogether.”

Source: Above reproduced with the kind permission of the DMA.

Paul Meersman, Head of Marketing at CDS commented:

“Brands need to get every touch point with their customers to deliver a rewarding experience that moves the customer smoothly and quickly through the buying process. To do this they need to get the basics right. Flaky systems and poor communications cause frustration and lose trust. Getting it right requires robust, secure digital and print systems that are intelligently integrated, data driven and provide a seamless multi-channel experience. It’s as important for B2B companies to understand this as it is for household brands.”


Why MicroStrategy Usher Is An Industry-leading Enterprise Security Solution

CDS will be exhibiting at next February’s Marketing Show North.

Usher, by MicroStrategy, replaces physical badges, passwords, and security tokens with digital badges delivered via smartphones.

These digital badges lock down logical and physical assets without sacrificing convenience.

Usher provides instant verification, communication and geo-fencing capability for organisations that require an instant ‘answer’ in time-critical situations.

Emergency planning and resilience

CDS have been looking at Usher’s capability around emergency planning and resilience for convergent volunteers and rest centres. We have also been discussing restricted access to buildings across a manufacturing complex.

Convergent volunteers are individuals in the community who appear on-scene to help in the event of a major incident. Although grateful for the help, the emergency services do not have the capacity, tools or available information to assess the credibility, capability and skills of each volunteer.

This is not only a security threat but also a health and safety issue that could draw attention away from the incident itself.

We have also been discussing the Usher capability for use in rest centres. The resilience teams across the West Midlands have a process for ‘activating’ rest centres and registering those that need temporary accommodation. Currently, the registration process works but is slow, using paper-based forms.

Usher comes into its own by speeding up the registration process and includes additional security to include a photograph of the individual. An ID band is also printed to include a unique QR code that is matched to the person’s record within Usher.

Outside of resilience and emergency planning, we have been investigating secure access into and out of restricted buildings across an industrial manufacturing complex. Currently, access to and from buildings is done with badges on the end of lanyards.

The badges can be lost or become overused in a short period of time. Usher badges on mobile devices provide the perfect, unique and secure option with the benefit of the tracking capability sitting behind it. Badges can also be issued to visitors if they are in a time restricted building or a restricted zone.

5 Ways to Optimise Your Adwords Account

The article below was originally published on the Venture Stream website.

So you’ve mastered the basics of AdWords marketing.

Your account is up and running, you’ve embedded tracking and are successfully monitoring traffic and goal completions, you’ve got a handle on your spend through bids and budgets, are targeting carefully researched keywords through one or more ad groups, and your ads are live and getting clicked. Now what?

There are dozens of ways to optimise your AdWords account to ensure your budget isn’t wasted and your CTR (click-thru rate) and conversion rate is as strong as can be.

Here are five helpful methods for those looking to move past the basics of AdWords and implement intermediate techniques to achieve an increasingly optimised account.

Ad Extensions

The limited number of characters available when writing ad copy is useful for creating concise ads that stick to the point. When written in correlation with very specific and targeted ad groups they can deliver an impressive CTR. That being said, you shouldn’t let these few lines of text and single website link be where your ad copy starts and ends. Ad extensions are additional snippets of text to add additional info and marketing copy to your ads. Ad extensions can be added on an account level, campaign level or even ad group level, allowing you to be as general or specific as you want.

There are currently more than 10 different types of ad extensions that allow you to add additional links to popular or relevant web pages, call extensions with contact information, price extensions, location extensions, offer extensions and many more. To add these, click the ad extensions tab in AdWords, then select the correct extension view from the dropdown list then press ‘+ Extension’ button.

Search Term Reports

The search terms feature within AdWords is a favourite amongst the PPC team here at Venture Stream as it offers useful insights into what users searched for in Google to be served your ads. To view, set your desired date range and select the Keywords tab in AdWords and then click on Search Terms.

From here you can see what was searched for people to find your ad, how much each click cost and whether their click was followed by a subsequent goal completion. You are then given a list of keywords that can then be added to existing campaigns if they aren’t already being used, or can be added to the negative keywords list if they aren’t relevant to your brand or business.

Location Targeting

Setting up the correct locations is a fundamental part of creating a functional AdWords campaign as it ensures your ads will only be shown in places that are relevant and you won’t rack up big bills from useless clicks from users outside the relevant regions or countries. However, there are ways to look further into the data of where your ads are performing the best, allowing you to bid up on these areas and give more money to the places where your campaigns are working well.

To see this data, select a campaign and then select settings followed by the location button. Tick any countries / regions that have been performing well then select ‘What triggered your ad’ from the location reports dropdown list. Select this location again and then choose to view by city from the same dropdown list. You can then bid up or down based on the performance and spend of the various geographic cities.

Device Performance Review

There are so many different factors that can have an impact on the effectiveness of your AdWords campaigns, including the type of device (desktop, mobile or tablet) your ads are viewed on.

An example of where this rang particularly true is with several of our clients that specialise in baby and infant products, where we found traffic and sales on mobiles were far higher than any other device due to busy parents quickly ordering things while on-the-go using their mobile phones. To check out how your ads are performing across the different device platforms click settings while at an ad group level followed by the Devices button. You can then see the data from each device and can bid up or down accordingly.

Ad Scheduling

Similar to devices, the time and day that users click on ads could also show useful patterns of behaviour that can be used to optimise bids. In order to access this data you must first set up ad scheduling in your adwords account. To do this, click on settings while at a campaign level. Press the +Ad Schedule button and then decide what kind of time increments you want your data to be collected as. It could be as general as 24 hour day-long slots or as specific as hour-long slots if you wished to view the analytics as close as that. Press save and you’ve successfully set up your ad scheduling.

To then use this data, simply select the ad scheduling page after you’ve set the wanted date range and you can check the performance of your campaigns at different times. If certain time slots seem to be accruing a lot of expensive clicks but few conversions then you may wish to bid down, while time slots that convert well you can bid up on. This is yet another handy way to put use your budget wisely and improve your overall CTR and conversion rates.

These are just five of the many different optimisation strategies we use and routinely check on an either daily, weekly, fortnightly or monthly basis to ensure all PPC accounts are running as optimally as can be.


One Size Never Fits All: Integrating Your Technology Wisely

The below piece was written by Rob Amos, the Global Strategic Partnerships Manager for Adestra. Adestra will be exhibiting at next February’s Marketing Show North.

What does a truly connected Martech stack look like?

With increasing pressure for marketers to incorporate best-of-breed automation, personalization, and machine learning tools into their everyday strategy, the sheer volume of integration options out there can feel overwhelming.

In many ways, this presents an exciting opportunity. Rather than retrofitting your existing processes to map against the off-the-shelf MarTech provider you’ve bundled yourself into, this home-grown mass of marketing technology empowers you to integrate and interweave the closest fit to your circumstances and brand.

That’s the idea, at least. But how can you make these seemingly disparate elements work seamlessly for you?

Drawing on his 20 years’ experience in the industry, Rob will guide you through the process of integrating wisely, looking at example stacks and flows and identifying the questions you should be asking when aligning your goals to a new provider. Rob will also look at the very real risk of ‘MarTech FOMO’ (do you really need that particular integration, or are you being lured by the latest shiny penny?), and why we at Adestra believe so strongly in the value of starting with data when integrating for our clients’ needs.

Access the Adestra Webinar archive by visiting their website.


A Lesson From 18 Years in Digital Marketing

The below article was written by Accord West’s Agency Director, Simon Gear. Accord North will be at February’s Marketing Show North.

We work every day in an industry driving innovation, but it never fails to amaze me how often people lose sight of the simplest, and arguably most important, aspects of campaign activity.

A week is a long time in politics, but an age in digital marketing. Here a few simple wins from last week:

1. Sometimes lower CPC = more traffic and more business.

Recently, a new business win engaged in a thorough on-boarding process to allow analysis of their past PPC activity. They loyally followed what GA was telling them, focusing on the keywords that were converting and aspiring for maximum impression share and position. This, however, came at a cost, as bid inflation ate up more and more of the budget. Sales both fell and became more expensive.

Our initial suggestion was to reduce CPCs (on average by 40%) from 98p to 58p, driving more traffic instantly and switching back on some of the keywords that common sense determined must be appropriate.

The result? Overnight, sales rose above previous levels and cost per sale fell from £59 to £38.

2. Focus on your primary form/booking process, it pays dividends.

A simple AB test adding a green or red validation to a client’s form saw a reduction of errors of 77%. More valid enquiries = more conversions.

3. Meta titles are important… still!

A client recently had switched to an SEO agency with a focus on page content renewal and aggressive outreach strategy – not a problem in itself!

But certainly, one when major keywords began to fall down or off the SERPs.

A review by our team identified that the new meta titles were ignoring those business-critical keywords and a reversal of meta changes saw a speedy return to 1st page rankings within days.

4. Please, please, please… set up your tracking properly.

A business wanted to start work with us and we looked to review campaign KPIs.

To our shock, we found conversion rate was three times as good as any benchmark from our client base of 150+ travel clients.

Our Data Analysis team stepped in and found multiple erroneous GA codes on conversion pages, meaning they were treble counting and discounting historically other media from their mix – because it didn’t perform to PPC levels.

5. Finally… but most importantly.

We have proved that macaroons are 17% better at generating sign-ups when compared to sandwiches.

Growing Business Through Clear SEO Strategy

The below article was written by Click Consult’s Head of Organic Search, Mark McGonigle about the challenges that brands face, the changes they can make and the success that they can see. The piece originally appeared on their website.

For businesses, getting their strategy right can be the difference between success and failure. 

What are the challenges that brands and businesses face today from a search marketing perspective?

All brands and business are continually striving for online growth and they are up against frequently evolving search engines with machine learning looking to return the right websites/content in order to achieve more ‘satisfied users’.

This is the biggest challenge facing search marketing, with the need to understand the metrics which the machines are classifying as ‘satisfied’.

There is a continual need to keep reviewing and evaluating the current search marketing strategies in order to ensure that they are correct and that they are returning the expected performance, through keyword positions and subsequent organic sessions.

This will either then be an acknowledgement that the strategy is correct or whether or not it needs altering based on the findings.

Being in strong keyword positions however is just the start, further metrics such as click through rate (CTR) and conversions which are ‘satisfied’ signals to the search engines also need to be continually reviewed.

Are there any new areas that businesses can expand on in terms of digital marketing and how does the future of the industry look?

I wouldn’t necessarily state ‘new areas’ to be expanded upon but I would say that there are areas which some sites feel that are unnecessary in relation to their site, even e-commerce sites need unique and knowledgeable content.

Google is smart enough to understand what the site and page is about, but creating content particularly at category level gives Google a better understanding of the pages it is serving.

Guides can sometimes be overlooked on e-commerce sites but can provide a valuable source of information which search engines will like.

We have seen better converting traffic for sites where informational terms have ranked – such as ‘the difference between’ & ‘what does X mean’

The feeling is that the idea of ‘intent’ appears to be much more critical in terms of the content you produce, and is something that has been overlooked by many businesses. Here at Click Consult, we have, especially over the past few strategy phases, looked at angles that represent a ‘new way of thinking’ or ‘approaching’ search marketing.

How can brands differentiate themselves from their competitors, particularly in congested and highly competitive industries?

As previously mentioned, good informative content will give a brand an edge over their competition – well as long at the content is better quality than their competitors.

But in addition to content there is still a lack of basic technical set up on sites which is the foundation that needs to be built upon, to include elements such as speed, mobile, markup, keywords and taxonomy of the site.

Ensuring the base set up of a site is correct and logical will allow the search engine bots to better understand and serve the content in the search engine results pages (SERPs).

Another area which I have felt has fallen to the wayside over the past couple of years is online customer service. The better the customer service then the better reviews which can be requested and returned through structured markups – this then leads to better CTRs, which although not officially confirmed  as a possible ranking factor, the machines are likely to be looking at this metric.

If you could pick one aspect of search marketing for a business to focus on if their goal is to grow quickly, what would it be?

Google has made it clear that the two main updates have been around mobile (March 2018) & speed (July 2018). Whereas these have been on most SEOs radar for a long time now there are still some sites which are catching up and would benefit from making changes to meet these two key updates.

Sites still insist on uploading large scale imagery causing load times to slow and mobile rendering more difficult which will ultimately make users leave or look elsewhere.

This all goes back to the ‘satisfied user’ theory.

As Head of Organic Search, what are the day-to-day challenges that you face in your role and what are the benefits you see?

Each morning I check daily rankings for key clients and if there is any significant change either positive or negative then it’s sleeves rolled up to gather an understanding on what has taken place.

Is it a greater roll out, is it a test, is it a blip, are we behind on delivery or has a piece of coding been added which has caused the issue? Any of these mean I have to piece together the puzzle.

I have to say however, it is ultimately satisfying once you understand what is happening and that stays with you, should this happen to other clients then you have the benefit of a check list to run through.

Undertaking checks on various clients and their industry, helps pull together a more comprehensive list, which would subsequently lead to a resolution.

Get Your Contacts in the Cookie Jar

The below blog originally appeared on the TAO Digital website. TAO Digital will be exhibiting at next February’s Marketing Show North.

We all have a contact database, people we’ve met over the years. Maybe out networking, at lunch with a business contact or even down the local pub.

But how can you capitalise on this within your companies marketing. The last thing you want to do is annoy those new found contacts with cold sales calls.

Get them in the cookie jar! Then provide them some value.

Remarketing to Your Cookie Jar

The first and most underutilised way of using a website cookie is remarketing.

You can use your list of contacts on a number of platforms to build a custom audience of people you want to get your brand in front of.

Facebook custom audiences, Google custom audiences, Twitter custom audiences, Linkedin custom audiences to name a few platforms allow you to add your contact data and put your adverts in front of them.

It is such a cost effective way of having your contacts see your brand as they browse round the world wide web.

Even if they take no action, your brand is being reinforced over again.

It is of course very important not to overdo this and create a negative brand impression. But this can be carefully managed by defining the right campaign settings.

Understanding your contacts needs and requirements

We now have access to some great technology when it comes to utilising the information a website cookie can give a webmaster or business owner.

I’m sure we have all seen Google Analytics data? If not, 1, where have you been? 2, get it set-up right this minute!

But did you know you could use the same information to build up a profile of what your website visitors are interested in? What pages have they visited?

We work with a marketing automation platform called Active Campaign. Using this software we can create lead scores based on what a contact has done on the website.

For example:

If a contact clicks through from an email sent using Active Campaign we install a website cookie. They click on a training course information page, then they click through to a specific course page and then look at the pricing and dates page for the course.

We can use this data to add points to their lead score. Once this threshold is reached we email the contact information through to the sales team. They can then contact the lead.

This has 2 benefits for the business, first they aren’t wasting time on people who have accidentally clicked through from the email but have no interest in the service and secondly they know that when they do call the contact, they will know who they are and a bit about what they’re talking about.

It’s a warm lead rather than a cold lead.


It’s really important in business these days to take advantage of all opportunities to get your business in front of people. You never know when they might need your services.

Utilising cookies and your existing contact data can help you do this and for not a massive cost.

CRM Systems and How to Get More Value

The below article was written by Olafur Thorkelsson and originally appeared on the Data Dwell website.

In any business, the CRM should be like the central nervous system of the body.

It’s at the centre of every process, responsible for controlling all the essential functions and ensuring that everything runs smoothly and effectively.

But in order to work correctly, the nervous system has to receive signals from the rest of the body.

The same is true for your CRM.

To be effective, your CRM needs to have signals – or data – inputted into it and analysed correctly.

But the difficulty lies in getting that useful and effective data into the CRM in the first place.

How can you ensure all relevant data is inputted into your CRM correctly, and then used in the right way to enhance your sales processes?

Why CRM’s Often Fall Short

A CRM system is only as good as the data it contains. Good data makes for a great CRM, but any kind of data can be used effectively if it exists.

And that’s one of the main problems. Getting data into your CRM.

Most of the time, sales reps are incredibly busy. They’re working hard to communicate with leads and close deals. Adding information and keeping accurate records in the CRM is the last of their worries.

They see little value in record keeping or utilising any of the various tools which exist to help the flow of data in the CRM.

So as long as the need to manually input data exists, there’s the strong likelihood that it won’t get added to your CRM. And that dramatically reduces its value.

Executives will not be getting the data they need, processes will fall down, and sales will suffer as a result.

How to Overcome the Problem of Inputting Data Into Your CRM

The adoption of any CRM can easily fail because sales teams do not think they gain enough benefits from their CRM. They can do their job without it, so why do they need to bother with it?

The key is to get sales teams on board, show the utility of data in the CRM, and streamline processes wherever possible.

  1. Clearly show value to your sales reps

Firstly, you need to show sales reps how an efficient CRM that’s full of insightful data can be beneficial to them and their roles.

Using traditional record keeping and more advanced sales enablement software like Data Dwell – that uncovers a host of interesting and useful buying signals – you should be able to demonstrate how data can help sales reps close deals much faster.

By tracking, measuring and analysing engagement signals, you can show sales reps how the CRM can help them pinpoint the best leads, focus on the deals closest to completion, and spend less time on wasted prospects.

2. Structure and automate

Time and effort is one of the biggest hurdles in getting data into the CRM.

Get more value from your team and the information they add by structuring sales processes around tasks that can be easily automated. Reduce the number of repeatable tasks that are required by integrating with apps or other processes within your CRM.

3. Align processes and remove friction

Finally, passing the data through the CRM nervous system and to the ‘brain’ should be as simple and seamless as possible. Sales reps need to be able to get the useful information they are looking for, without any hurdles.

To do this, you’ll need to make sure you remove any friction between your CRM and the platforms you use, and regularly check that data is flowing seamlessly from one function to the next.

Check that the platforms you use can align with your current operations. If they don’t, be ruthless in changing them.

When you do align all your processes and platforms, automate where possible and let your sales reps see how valuable the data can be in closing deals, you’ll be getting the best possible value from your CRM.

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.


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).


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


CTI Digital


Halston Marketing