joel windels speaking at digital journeys

Digital Journeys 2015 – Technically Human

Today I had the pleasure of attending my first digital event, Digital Journeys 2015 at Jellyfish in Brighton. One of the big themes of the day was how we can use data & tech to find our audience and tailor our marketing efforts to them as much as possible. It’s about utilising data but at the same time maintaining a customer-centric approach. This idea was epitomised by the opening speaker Matt Bush from Google who talked about some of the latest opportunities in mobile search. He called for marketers to make better use of search data to connect with user intent.

“50% of users who conduct a local search visit a store within a day.”

Among the eye-raising statistics on mobile was that ‘near me’ searches have grown 34x since 2011 (80% of which are from mobile) and that 50% of users who conduct a local search visit a store within a day. Think of the implications for businesses with brick and mortar stores! The opportunity doesn’t just arise from the fact that mobile is relatively new and the tools are evolving so fast, but because mobile search advertising offers the chance to use so many signals – intent, device, location, time, interests, and more. Its little wonder Matt dubbed mobile as “the most creative marketing platform”.

Other speakers included Darragh Daunt from Google Double Click who told us about the proliferation of programmatic marketing and shared his programmatic playbook. This was followed by a discussion on programmatic marketing with the intriguing trio of publisher (Mail Online), agency (Jellyfish) and client (Nestle). Gawain Owen is the digital lead of Nestle and was so passionate about the efficiency and lack of waste associated with highly targeted, programmatic media buying that he offered to spend an hour of his time with any businesses in the room prepared to reach out to him.

If you want to change behaviour, use data to get to the root of the mindset of your audience.

Later we were treated to some amazing examples of data driven decisions by Joel Windels from Brandwatch, a social listening tool that analyses social media activity. The first of these related to search data around HIV where they found that the thing that matters most to sufferers was not, as one might expect, how long people live with the disease or discussions about treatment but rather concerns about not wanting to pass HIV on to loved ones. What an incredible insight for health authorities & pharmaceutical companies. If you want to change behaviour, use data to get to the root of the thoughts & emotions of your audience.

Don’t underestimate the power of marrying online data with offline marketing

One of the most powerful things that search and social media provides is the location data. Peroni (the Italian lager) took advantage of this to assess how the perception of their brand differs around the country. What they found was that in Brighton their product was perceived as a luxury brand but in London (where the range of beer is much wider) the social media data showed that it was seen as a basic option. They used this insight to inform their billboard messaging in each location. The lesson: don’t underestimate the power of marrying online data with offline marketing and the importance of integrating strategy across the two.

Argos took this concept to the next level by tying geographic social media data with a map of their stores. They actually changed the in-store experience based on social listening data. What they found was that in many places in the north of the country people wanted a more friendly service, so altered their hiring strategy to make this a priority. In London people generally wanted a faster service so they could get in and out as fast as possible, so Argos tailored the in-store experience to this audience. Powerful stuff!

Everybody knows that people buy ice cream when it’s sunny, right?

The final example is a lesson in challenging conventional wisdom and taking a scientific approach even in situations where the answer seems obvious. Everybody knows that people buy ice cream when it’s sunny, right? But does this apply to all brands? Brandwatch added their datasets to weather and revenue data that analysts at a certain ice cream brand had been toiling over for years. The analysis showed a large segment of their users were tweeting about and uploading pictures of themselves turning to the product for comfort on hot but rainy days. Once again, a hugely valuable insight that helped change how, where and when they marketed their product.

I’ll leave you with a quick summary of Darragh Daunt’s playbook I mentioned earlier. First you have to organise audience insights (who, what, where, when), then design compelling creative guided by this insight; don’t leave creative as an afterthought. Execute the delivery of these assets using integrated tech across multiple platforms and lastly… don’t forget to measure it!

I came away from the event with an overwhelming confidence that the era of data-driven decision making is already here for digital. Those at the forefront of digital are using every available source to find the right audience and segment it, then attempt to deliver them the right offer within the best context.

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