I have “marketing” written on my Twitter profile, but so does every other “part-time digital marketing consultant”, as I post on my LinkedIn. But I’m quite serious about it, which is why I booked a ticket to the Digital Marketing Show, and I wanted to share some of my thoughts because I spent the afternoon with some of the most talented marketers in Britain and they made me love them and love their product and want to talk about them. Well done them.

The show was held in the ExCeL centre, with presentation space in the four corners and a paid-for area in the middle that I didn’t pay that much attention to, with exhibitors arranged all around. You could wander round chatting to people and drop by talks arranged around the themes of content, social, mobile and e-commerce. There’s three talks I’d like to rave about:

Effective Mobile Marketing for Small Businesses

Delivered by Ewan Macleod, Head of Bizcrowd (a new b2b platform by NatWest and RBOS) and Editor for Mobile Industry Review, whose aim was to berate all small business owners everywhere for being useless. He made a very good point that “doing mobile” doesn’t mean investing thousands in an app – even the smallest, most local cornershop can buy Google advertising for their location. “Cupcakes islington”, “groceries clacton” – it’s not hard. As Ewan said, “If I can’t find you, I won’t buy from you and I won’t care.” Word.

The second point was “make it phenomenally easy to buy”. It costs far more to lose out to your competitors than invest in a cheap shopping cart. The takeaway that I most frequented at uni, Spice Kitchen, has a website that consists of nothing but a menu, a shopping cart, and a 10% discount if you order through them instead of Just-Eat. It was great. Every time I tried to search for curry  or related in Manchester, they’d be right there. I got a 10% discount, they got a higher margin I presume than whatever Just-Eat took off them, and they came up every time in Google Maps.

I forget what the third point was (perhaps “swear a lot because that way you’ll definitely be memorable”), but I think “be findable” and “make it possible to buy from you” are sufficient obvious yet unheeded to be going on with. :P

Finding Your Voice: Getting it Right when Speaking to the World

This was largely a run through of how to do video marketing well. For a company that you know, does marketing, Ever After is a poor choice of name (google is and try and pick out which company I’m talking about) but apparently this was an improvement on the previous name “Social”.

They opened with a serious kick-ass video about the impact of video on your brand’s image online, but unfortunately after ten minutes of searching, it seems that hasn’t made it onto their website. Hope they do put it up, because I for one would love to share it (Hint. Hint.). Useful facts that came out:

* The chances of getting a Page 1 listing on Google increases 53 times if your page includes video.

* 55% of internet users watch video daily, 78% watch it weekly.

* If you try to sell your product subtly, people will get annoyed. If you blatantly sell your product, people find it charming. Especially if you make it funny:

That would be me under the speaker in the blue shirt:

Branding and Communicating with Millennials/Generation Y

Joeri Van Der Burgh, author of How Cool Brands Stay Hot, dedicated his speaking time to looking at different marketing campaigns, and how young people reacted to them. I was most struck by the story that in testing, this completely true history of Adidas was considered inauthentic by millennials, but at the same time, when informed that Häagen Dazs is actually a ice cream brand founded in the Bronx and given a crazy name to make it sound Danish and exotic, they all nodded and said “yeah, great marketing tactic, well done.” I suspect I was the only one on the crowd thinking, “Yes! I am 24 and I had the same reaction!” Joeri’s takeaway was that, for our age group, authenticity is not, paradoxically, about being true to the truth, but being truth to the brand. We sniff out bullshit corporate social responsibility claims six times before breakfast, but a brand that’s open about their identity is untouchable.

Why are millennials specifically important to marketers? Because we have a conversation about brands 146 times a week on average, double what the next most active group has. We talk, and we don’t shut up.



I talked to a fair number of stall-holders and I’ll be suggesting a few products to people and groups I think it would suit, but I just wanted to name some specific folks worth talking about:

  • The sell of the day goes to Charlotte Sumner at Pancentric Digital for gamely giving me a twenty minute appointment to talk about the email marketing strategy of every organisation I’ve ever been involved in, and giving me a free can of Diet Coke. By the end, I’d thought of someone who would actually benefit from their email software over the stuff they’re already using and I actively wanted to help them help my colleague in return for helping me. Win-win-win
  • The Sandpit is an incubator whose rep kindly took the time to give advice to me on start-ups even though they were there to promote their graduating products.
  • My News Desk is a great embeddable newsroom platform, but unfortunately quite pricey. Journolink, launching in January 2014, is a much cheaper alternative PR platform that’s going to be a bit like the British version of HARO but aimed at businesses and charities, that I will definitely be checking out when they’re up.
  • The ultimate winner was Apple, as I did not see a single person wielding a laptop or tablet that was not a Mac or iPad.
  • The spoon of shame goes to At Task (whose name I had to go and look up), whose rep had evidently sized my slack-and-polo-shirt-wearing self as not worthy of pitching to, so she sat behind a laptop the entire time without even showing me the site, and when I asked why At Task was better than Basecamp (a work platform I’m familiar with), shifted a bit in her chair but still didn’t take the opportunity I was blatantly offering. Presumably she’d had a hard day, but it won’t be her company’s £1200 product that I’ll be recommending to my friends, family and employers. Her booby prize is a Glengarry Glen Ross pep talk:

Overall a fun day, and I hope they do it again next year. They’re running for a third day today, which you can still attend. Alas, I have lectures.