On Thursday 5th November, Stephen and I ventured to our first Digi-talk Digital Marketing Conference, held in the grand Europa Hotel Belfast. Armed with our early bird gets the worm mentality, we were first there to guarantee front row seats. The early rise left us a little baggy eyed but the coffee and bacon butties that soon arrived, as well as our Hastings Hotel table duck, certainly set us up for a great day.

As content has become such a vital element of Digital Marketing, we were excited to hear from such a great line up. Industry experts across various sectors had insights and thought provoking ideas to share with us to help us better curate and create our own content and understand the ways in which consumers are actually consuming it online.

Steve Cardwell, Commercial Content Manager, Jamie Oliver Ltd

Steve kicked things off for the day and spoke about branded video content. He brought us back to the Jamie Oliver School Dinners days when he was engaging with 6.4m viewers through television. As he progressed to his more recent 15 Minute Meals, that reach had dropped to 1.4m. It was interesting to hear Steve talk about the shift that was happening at that time within the digital landscape and the realisation that those previously engaged television viewers were now elsewhere; mobile.

The birth of Jamie’s Food Tube, a collaboration of video content from Jamie himself, social media influencers on the YouTube Channel and branded content for brands such as Renault and LV Insurance completely gave customer engagement a whole new meaning.

Steve explained that each piece of content that his team creates is done so to Inspire, Educate and Entertain. He went on to tell us the importance of creating video content that people and consumers find value in and give them a reason to engage with Jamie’s brand. An interesting point Steve made was that YouTube is not for television ads and the importance of not creating a TV ad. He enlightened us about the freedom that comes alongside YouTube in terms of the eligibility to be that little bit more creative and think outside the box. People like that!

Key Takings

Steve emphasised to us the importance of planning and setting KPI’s and knowing exactly what is you want out of a campaign before you start e.g. Brand Awareness, Increased Click through Rate etc. He highlighted that the beauty of video and particularly You-Tube is that you can test and try and that it’s ok to make mistakes. Often you have to make mistakes to improve and create better, more engaging content the next time.

Steve Cardwell

Helen Smyth, SMB Community Engagement, EMEA, Facebook.

Helen took to the floor next and began immediately honing in on mobile. “We live in a truly mobile world,” she said, “but what does that actually mean?” She continued to make the point that even though technology progresses and develops at such rapid speeds, we must still only focus on what is important; people. Most important to brands as without the consumer, there would be no brands.

Three changes in user behaviour on Facebook;

1. Shift from Desktop to Mobile

To emphasise this observation, even though we are aware that this shift has already taken place, Helen informed us that South Africa and Nigeria are 90% mobile today and Kenya is 100% mobile, meaning that desktop is no longer a user touch point in Kenya. That’s pretty amazing.

She continued by digging deeper into what people are actually doing on mobile; video. Carrying on nicely from Steve’s insights, Helen reminded us that in 2014 there was a moderate amount of content on Facebook until… yes you got it, The Ice Bucket Challenge. Between June and September of 2014, a staggering 17 million videos of Ice Bucket Challenges were uploaded onto Facebook and watched by 10 billion people. Today, 45 billion videos are viewed every day on Facebook, 10 million of which on mobile.

2. Shift from text based communication to image based

Helen reminded us of a time when mobile phones were huge, brick like gadgets that were neither easy on the eye nor easy to transport. Eventually they got smaller and more streamlined, came in all different colours and designs and could be taken anywhere. Then she spoke of the now, today. Screens are once again getting larger, demonstrating that consumers are in fact driving the need for this technology, indeed by what they are doing with it and the need they have for greater amounts of data.

She continued with Emoji’s and Facebook stickers and how these are the basis of a new social language. People today can communicate through images, removing the need for text. Instagram, a visual based platform built for mobile is the prime example Helen used to show the impact image has had, and is having, on digital today. People and consumers can upload images and describe those images with emoji’s, another innovative alternative to text based communication.

3. Shift from Search to Discovery

In terms of the Facebook Newsfeed, Helen told us that everything is competing with everything. Anything uploaded today is competing with everything else ever created on the internet, which means content has to be valuable, authentic and engaging to not just compete but win with high quality consumers.

Helen highlighted that quality is more important that quantity stating that 100,000 likes on your business Facebook page are no good if none of those 100,000 are actively engaging with your brand.

Key Takings

Helen advised us on the importance of a mobile strategy. It is where the masses are and they need to be able to see you and your content responsively or the reality is they will go elsewhere. She highlighted Personalised Storytelling in terms of taking one message and applying it to all target markets as key to competing in the growing phenomenon of communicating with consumers directly through messaging apps. Finally, Helen concluded with targeting the right people. Analyse the data and act on it accordingly.

David Douglas, MD and Creative Director, Ebow, The Digital Agency

David opened his talk with an innovative referral to Fleetwood Mac, “Players only love you when they’re playing.” His good taste in music wasn’t the point he was making here though but that this can also be applied to brands.

He used the Football World Cup as an example with Sony advertising their 4X on billboards during the games. His point was that the web doesn’t actually care about this big picture stuff as it does not come down to the digital space. Instead, digital is all about links in the chain and great digital occurs when there are no breaks in the chain. The chain, in David’s eyes being Awareness, Familiarity, Consideration, Purchase and Loyalty.

David acknowledged the shift in brand thinking, the power of the consumer with regards the mobile revolution and the need for digital marketing to think first like the user. He pointed out that landing pages hold more importance than home pages on a website and when directed to a landing page, the user will go straight to whatever need they have on that page, they don’t see anything else. Arguing therefore, the need for ease of use and navigation and proving ultimately that it’s no good showing a consumer an advert for Sony 4X at the World Cup if when they lift their mobile and Google where to find one, the chain breaks down.

What I particularly liked about David’s talk was an observation he made about Martech. He explained the importance of the relationship between marketing and technology within a Digital Agency or a Project Management company as he prefers to call it with regards communication and ensuring no breaks in the all-important chain as well as ensuring time and financial efficiencies within the business.

Key Takings

David left us with the realisation that the internet is the most competitive market place in the world. He explained that bugs are part of digital, there are thousands of lines of code that we will never understand and constant is the only change so we will be forever tweaking, accept it.

David Ebow

Lisa Fitzsimmons, Marketing Manager, Guinness, Western Europe

Lisa began the final speech at the conference by reminding us that the Guinness we all know today is indeed not the original. She pointed out that the first ever bottle of Guinness was indeed that, a bottle. An innovative and strategic change made some 200 years ago, changed the Guinness form, making it a black, nitrogenized liquid with a white frothy head that is the only form of Guinness we call to remember. Imagine if they hadn’t..

This innovation and adaption to change means that 10 million glasses of Guinness are enjoyed globally every day. The brand has cemented itself as an iconic advertiser which Lisa puts down to embracing the age of disruption and understanding that brands are to be about actions and not words.

She cleverly described an advertisement on social media as being like at a party. If someone came up to you and was boring or had nothing entertaining or valuable to say to you, you wouldn’t continue talking to them would you?

Lisa explained that often, even in such a large company whereby planned media would be crucial, often unplanned or random events occur which demand immediate action. E.g. A new barber shop opened within Dublin, targeting young men of a certain demographic and interested in a particular style and culture. Guinness gifted this shop bottles of Guinness which they pushed across their social channels, delivering great brand awareness and visibility to the Guinness brand in association with this particular market. Random, unplanned, worked.

Lisa continued to demo some of the Guinness ads from the recent Rugby World Cup which are a hot topic of the media at the minute. We all saw them, we all loved them and we all tweeted about them. Again, in combination with planned media it was the unplanned, random events that occurred throughout that prompted the most creative and effective ad campaigns simply because Guinness were listening to what was trending among the masses and acting on it. Named as NO1 brand associated with the World Cup this year, it paid off!

Key Takings

Lisa left us with this, “Don’t be the dog chasing after every car, wait for the Porsche.”

Digi-talk 2015 was a truly great day. The content, speakers and sleek set-up were what made it so worthwhile and huge thanks must go to Hannah Corbett, Digital Marketing Executive at Hastings Hotel for her and her team’s fantastic effort in organising such a successful event.

I think anyone who attended would also agree and I encourage anyone to get in touch with Hannah and get to the next one!

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