What’s it really like to work in the world of digital marketing?
This series of blog posts will show the variation of roles we have at iCrossing and will give an insight into what happens on a daily basis including commuting journeys, social activities, lunch time food spots as well as the best and most challenging aspects of the job. This post introduces Chris from the product development team based in Brighton.
Before working at iCrossing I was completing my Computer Science degree at the University of Brighton. I had also worked part time during my final year doing software development for a building energy management systems company, which kept me on that final year after I worked a full time placement with them.
I approached iCrossing as I wanted to stay in Brighton, and while there are many web-development based jobs in Brighton, iCrossing are one of the more interesting, diverse and well-known.
How you get to work in the morning?
After completing our degrees, my partner and I decided to move to Peacehaven which is just down the coast road from Brighton.
Peacehaven is a much cheaper, albeit quieter, place to live , consisting mainly of dentists and the best Indian take away ever! I commute in to work using the bus which takes me roughly 30 minutes on a good day. I don’t actually mind taking the bus, it gives me time to listen to podcasts, read my Kindle, or just surf Reddit on my phone.
I bought a digital SLR camera about 7 years ago and have used it sporadically but rarely ventured away from auto mode. The confusing array of options have put me off learning how to use it properly coupled with the incredibly hard to understand photography jargon you’re faced with if you try to look something up. The fact is it’s not just point and shoot, photography is a really confusing topic with endless things to learn which can be very off putting for the novice photographer. As marketers we’re in constant need of compelling images to capture the imagination of our audience and while it’s easy to lean on phone cameras and Instagram filters the output from these usually doesn’t look great when you look at a larger version on desktop. My team completed a short photography course this week where we learnt about ISO, aperture and shutter speed. It’s really not that hard if explained in plain English and you can achieve some great results so I thought I’d share 3 top tips here.
We looked at ISO first which is the setting you adjust depending on the amount of light. My camera has 4 options: 200, 400, 800 and 1600 which can be selected via the menu (in the camera icon drop down for mine which is a Nikon). This will vary from camera to camera with the better ones having more options to choose from. Our teacher told us a handy phrase to remember ‘if the light is low, think ISO’. So if you’re taking pictures in a dark place you need to select a higher ISO, for bright light select the lowest. You should always use the lowest number you can get away with to keep images as crisp as possible. 200 for a sunny day outside, 1600 if you’re in a dark club. Try 400 for indoors but if it’s still too dark boost it up to 800. I’d always struggled taking photos indoors – too dark without a flash and I don’t usually like the look of photos taken with a flash. All I needed to do all along was increase the ISO setting. It’s no surprise that changing the ISO setting has an effect on other functions on your camera this is the type of information that used to make me phase out when I tried to learn anything so I won’t go into it but you can read more on the topic here if interested.
The recent expansion of Google’s Consumer Barometer holds many useful insights for digital marketers, from the online resources people use to make purchase decisions, to the differing smartphone activities enjoyed across different age ranges.
The overhaul has resulted in a much more intuitive user experience and a slightly more aesthetically pleasing UI but the main reason for the change is the inclusion of a much vaster pool of data, collected worldwide earlier this year.
The free tool provides a wealth of consumer information which can be manipulated in just a few clicks. A mere 7 clicks gave me a brightly coloured chart showing the gender split in device use in Romania. Although most of the charts themselves are frustratingly too big to screen grab, it takes just two more clicks and I’ve got the data in a handy CSV to use however I wish. Pro tip: For smaller charts, simply use CTRL and – to zoom out until everything fits on screen.
“We want to be human, not digital” – this was the opening line from Mel McVeigh, host at the Drum’s Joy of CX event at Bounce in central London last week. It’s a powerful statement and one that really should be at the heart of everything we as marketers do. Sadly, it isn’t.
But what is digital, if it isn’t about people? The answer is nothing. It is all too easy to get lost in the wilderness of digital data and to forget that what we are looking at is information about individuals, about people. That at the other end of screen, that ‘click’ or that ‘eyeball’ is actually a real live person. Just like you and me. So if you can’t humanise all the data you collect, if you can’t use it to produce work that is relevant to people and make it about people, then as our Head of Media, Sam Fenton Elstone quite rightly said – what’s the bloody point?
This was the premise for his Q&A session at the event with Group Digital Sales Director for Hearst, Stephen Edwards. Hearst is one of the largest diversified media companies on the planet, with brands including household names like Cosmo, Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, Men’s Health and many more. It also happens to be iCrossing’s parent company. The guys had a lot to chat about, but here are just three of the many salient points they chewed over.
Data is all very well and good, but unless you are using it to draw actionable insights in order to understand your audience better and to ensure the best experience for your customers, then what’s the point?
We’re spending tomorrow with the team from The Drum at their ‘Joy of CX’ event (cheeky), in London’s rather cool Bounce venue to look at exactly this. How can we use data? How can we make the most of it to directly improve our customers’ experience with us? And, how can we make data human?
Our Head of Media, Sam Fenton Elstone, will be taking to the stage with Hearst’s Group Digital Sales Director, Stephen Edwards, to discuss the impact of ‘big data’ on the marketing landscape and how that has lead us to understand our audiences better than ever before. They will look at how this has impacted a publishing giant like Hearst and what are the next steps forward for them? Who wins as a result of this ‘humanisation of data’? The consumer? The advertiser? The publisher?
We’re taking the whole concept of humanising data one step further by partnering with audience insight specialists, Visual DNA, to analyse the marketing personas of the audience on the day through a fun and interactive quiz, with real-time results captured and visualised. Will you be a creative visionary or a marketing geek?
Finally, our very own Data Scientist, Sam Zindel, will be hosting a roundtable session which will task delegates to either build a brand proposition or morph inside the sub-conscious of a consumer based on the information they are given in just 25 minutes for a fun filled interactive session.
As if that isn’t enough, we’ll also be joined on the day by the highest rated speaker from this year’s iCrossing Client Summit and I believe 3 time TED speaker, Neuroscientist Dr Beau Lotto, who will be looking into how to study the consumer’s emotional and decisional brain. There will also be sessions from Made.com, Shop Direct and spoken word poet, Simon Mole.
It’s definitely set to be a full, fun packed day. Tickets are still available so head on down to find out more. We’ll be sure to share our thoughts from the day.
Google has announced that Penguin 3.0 – its new Penguin algorithm update – is likely to be released in the next few weeks. So, what can we expect from this latest update and what does it mean for brands?
While Google is currently testing the new update they have said that they expect to “delight searchers and make life a bit easier for webmasters”. This means that at this moment in time we can only speculate what the new update will be able to do.
What we do know is that Penguin focuses on manipulative and unnatural links leaving Panda to target low quality content. The last Penguin refresh took place about a year ago so we can safely assume that Google has spent the last 12 months developing an algorithm that can tackle some of the big challenges that still exist.
First up is the user experience for searchers. To improve this, we expect that Google has been working hard to crack down on manipulative links from low quality blogs, often targeting specific commercial keywords. This is something that Google has not yet resolved but an area that continues to be widely abused.
If this is the case, we can safely assume that websites and brands that have not updated their SEO strategy and tactics will lose organic visibility for keywords that they don’t deserve to rank for naturally. And because the new update is believed to be more thorough in terms of cutting into deep pages and long tail keywords, brands will have even fewer places to hide.
Cracking Negative SEO
Last week my inbox was flooded with media packs from affiliates with all the various opportunities to get clients involved in their Christmas promotions. There is everything from themed newsletters to social media coverage and all the costs range from a couple of hundred pounds to a few thousand pounds. With so many media packs and so many opportunities available to brands it can sometimes be daunting and difficult to decide exactly how to go about picking the right options with the right partners.
How do you decide what to do?
This is the tricky part as the tendency is to play it safe and do more of what worked well last year. While there’s nothing wrong with this approach to begin with it does become a bit stale. You will also start to notice that the cost of doing this activity increases each year and sometimes at a greater rate than the returns you are getting. In order to get out of this diminishing ROI cycle it is important that you mix things up.
As well as the usual Christmas coverage you book with your usual performing affiliates try three new things.
A lot of tweeters believed this year was the turning point of Glasto moving from festival to TV show… and others were shaming those campers caught in compromising situations live on Telly! (I’ll leave that to your imagination!) Football fanatics thought it was the best weekend of TV since <Insert great football moment> as Kasabian played out the festival, Costa Rica battled on to beat Greece on penalties immediately after!
Fast forward 4 months – Michael Eavis is threatening to close Glastofest for good and tickets are about to go on sale, what better time to use some awesome analytic tools to decipher who and what everyone was talking about over the Glasto period!
Brands can no longer assume that young people use all social networks or that older people are not getting involved. It just isn’t the case anymore. Different groups of people use different social networks and it continues to evolve. Brands failing to realise this will find their social media campaigns falling at the first hurdle as they throw good money after bad.
With Social Media Week London taking place last week, we analysed the demographic breakdowns for each network. We found that an impressive 45% of Facebook’s users are aged 35 and above and the number of users aged over 55 has increased by almost 10% in the past two years. All other ages have declined. Facebook is clearly no longer just a young person’s game.
But compare this to YouTube where 76% of users are 18 – 54 and it is the 18 – 24 year olds that have seen the fastest growth, with numbers here up an incredible 40% since 2012. The under 17s have seen a 50% drop off over the same period.
Twitter meanwhile is seeing huge growth across all age groups – with users aged 35 – 54 enjoying a 45% uplift since 2012.
Interestingly, LinkedIn, is clearly not resonating with young people. It is the over 55s that have really started to embrace it. Indeed, users aged 18 – 34 have dropped off dramatically, while the over 55s have seen a 55% increase since 2012.
From ‘What it is to be human’ to ‘How to buy beer’, iCrossing was answering the questions that really matter at its 2014 Client Summit yesterday. Taking place at the iconic Barbican Centre in London, the event saw an eclectic mix of talented individuals present their take on how brands can make the most of the moments that really matter to people.
The speakers included Beau Lotto, a neuroscientist with a passion for design, Rita Clifton, dubbed the doyenne of branding by Campaign magazine and Jon Munro, who has the extraordinary task of marketing a whole country (Wales in case you’re wondering). So as you can imagine the audience was treated to a wealth of insights, with each speaker giving their unique point of view on the world of marketing.
We will be sharing videos and stories from the event over the coming days, but for starters here are our top take aways from the event:
Mark Iremonger Chief Strategy Officer at iCrossing:
Mark kicked off with a quick summary of what we are focusing on as an agency. For us it is about understanding our clients’ audiences in a far more granular way. We have moved away from producing one experience for everyone and our ambition as an agency is to be able to create a million perfect experiences for a million different people. Finding and creating that perfect moment. It’s a big ask but it’ll be worth it.
Using search data Mark also gave us a sneak preview of what people wanted to know about in 2013. Can you guess what the most searched for ‘How to…’ was? No, we couldn’t either –it was how to make pancakes, and the most common ‘What is…..’ search was ‘What is Twerking?’…..’What is the meaning of life?’ came it at number 10 on the list. We’ll let you make your own assumptions on that one.
Sign up for email notifications of Connect blog posts.
- Connect – iCrossing U.K.
- Conecta2 – iCrossing LATAM & Spain
- Greatfinds – iCrossing U.S.
- Talblick – iCrossing Germany
- The Content Lab
Other Blogs We Recommend
- Core Audience
- Forrester Blogs
- Google Plus Blog
- iMedia Connection
- Media Monkey
- Mobile, Social, Ambient by Rachel Pasqua
- Online Marketing Blog by Tristán Elósegui
- Search Engine Land
- The Content Lab
- The Facebook Blog
- The Official Google Blog
- Twitter Blog
- Wired Sussex
- WSJ Digits