Tag Archives: 2015

Ringing in the marketing bells of 2015.


It’s time to break old marketing habits and embrace new methods of engagement.

Hands up who has read a 2015 predictions article, in the last week? Yep, I thought so – almost everybody. In this post, we might refer to one or two trends but in general we will discuss what we’ve learnt from our own marketing interactions, in the last year.

Heading into 2015, marketing has become a key word again because, as a business discipline, it appears to be finally moving out from its perceived buzz-word shackles. As we move into a new year and the tsunami of new technologies, channels and platforms continue to wash over us, the ability of marketing to tell a brand’s story, in an engaging way, is becoming even more important to business growth.

Why is this important? Because, in general, people won’t put up with any brand communication that wastes their time anymore. There are a lot more pressing factors in people’s lives nowadays and brands need to be able to empathise and understand this environment. As mentioned in previous posts to this blog, companies that treat people as humans, with honesty and relevancy, will come out tops. Organisations need to focus on empowering people with a little more control over their lives.

Marketing’s time in the sun.

It is being said, with more frequency, that customer experience is the new source of differentiation for businesses. We agree and believe that this will only intensify over the coming years. How brands analyse and use customer data correctly, and not just pay lip service to it, will determine if they get a return on their investment (ROI) in data analytics. Marketing activity is central to realising this ROI.

I suppose you cannot talk about customer experience without mentioning, ‘digital’. The challenge for brands is to integrate responsibility for all customer touch points, during their purchase journey, under the one umbrella. To us, it makes sense that it is a marketing umbrella that’s used. More importantly, and probably controversially, a marketing strategy should include all customer-facing technology as well. Those internal silos need to be broken down, as nobody knows customers better than the marketing team.

One of the biggest challenges facing the marketing function is to be more disruptive (in a constructive sense), internally. For many years ‘marketers’, myself included, simply  implemented campaigns (advertising, sponsorship, CSR etc.) rather than investigating some form of ongoing innovation. With the marketing team’s new ‘time in the sun’ it needs to stand up and lead the revolution towards putting the customer at the centre of all business operations. The secret of marketing is to understand the psychology of your audience.

Marketing can play a key role in the growth of a business because it is the motivating factor for new customers – for example:

  • Getting people’s attention and interest
  • Getting them to buy your service instead of a competitor’s offering
  • Making them loyal and to become brand advocates

Is listening the new marketing trend for 2015?

As is said by many, brands need to be smarter about their marketing and evolve it, because their audiences are more knowledgeable and in control than ever before. Here are a few areas where a marketer can focus on, in the coming year.

  1. Personalisation – people will accept information that is relevant to them personally
  2. User experience – know how and where a prospect gathers information, and their influences
  3. Communities – think of each relevant community member as a potential brand advocate
  4. Advocates – personal engagement with influencers, will create a WOM ripple effect
  5. Storytelling – People like and remember stories – make yours a compelling one

So, how do we go about dealing with these five customer-focused areas? Simple – use the three ‘Ls’ – listen, listen and listen. You will only understand this if you accept the notion that your customer expects a customised experience. They do because it is being fuelled by digital, mobile and a resultant sense of empowerment.

When planning ahead, that old marketing chestnut of ‘awareness’ must be taken as a given rather than a focus and thereby modern vanity metrics should become less of a distraction. If real brand engagement is to match customer’s expectations you will need to know, in real time, what those expectations are. Therefore, we need to listen more.

Tips and Timesavers.

Let’s be honest, running a business can follow a fairly simple model. Make / provide something that people want and tell them about it. Thereafter, your satisfied customers tell other people about it and eventually a loyal community is developed. If it is that easy then why isn’t everyone successful in business? Because, it is still, all about the brand and the skill that is required to develop a powerful one.

Increasingly, you must be a thought leader in your business category so as to differentiate your brand. In this regard, and looking ahead to 2015, we would suggest that brands:

  • Get emotional – use the emotional values in your business category for positioning
  • Be authentic – your brand story must reflect the category’s realities by being ‘believable’
  • Be relevant – there is no point in using many online sources unless they’re engaging
  • Be brave – people expect you to be using technology to customise their experience
  • Be conscious of privacy – people will expect greater security in relation to their data
  • Outsource – use the expertise of others to make yourself a thought leader

Of course, there is not much new in what we are suggesting above but, as a wise person once said, ‘if you want to do something new, you must stop doing something old’.

We don’t like finishing on a negative note, but it is worth mentioning a few business pitfalls to avoid in 2015 and beyond.

Don’t think that you know everything about your business category or that the bit you do know is still true. There is also a danger that you might believe that whatever has made you successful to date, will continue. It helps to  look outside your own category of business. The two obvious lessons to be learned, from recent years, are thinking that a) your next big competitor will come from within your industry and b) there is no need to be online because, it doesn’t apply to your industry.

“Aidan and myself wish you a brand engaging, technology-embracing, profit making and smarter outsourcing 2015.”

“We hope you have enjoyed our marketing tips and timesavers blog” – Aidan & Jim.

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Of course, we can always meet face-to-face, just leave your details here and we can grab a coffeet, cheers.   Jim – O’C&K


At the Christmas Party, dancing is allowed but not encouraged.

Christmas Party Dancing

“We want to create value for you by sharing marketing tips and timesavers” – O’C&K.

‘Tis the Season to be jolly, but be careful out there.

Yep, it’s that time of the year again. That time, when a lot of companies seem to spend their time panicking over their end-of-year goals, the Christmas party and reviewing the efforts of the ending year. The trouble is though, that when doing so, a company can take their eye off marketing communications, both internally and externally. We will look at some do’s and don’ts for the Christmas Party and then we’ll see what we need to keep in mind when looking ahead to 2015.

Let’s face it, Christmas is not the time to start being somebody you’re not. Just because ‘tis the Season to be jolly’, it shouldn’t mean that you try to be somebody else. For instance, you might have a glass of wine with a customer at lunch, and on your return to the office, decide to be more ‘open’ and tell somebody what you really think of them – this can cause total chaos in the ranks. In similar circumstances, one might feel a little safer to say things online that appear funny to you, but this also might backfire.

The ultimate place to be careful, of course, is at the (in)famous Christmas Party, where people ‘let their hair down’, this is a minefield and it can all end in tears. Not a good start to a new year. Such a gathering is not an opportunity for the boss to wind down or for you to tell her what you really think. You might have spent a long time earning people’s respect – don’t blow it all over a bottle of wine. The goal is to enhance your good reputation while at the same time having fun in a way that doesn’t get whispered about the following week.

Here are some do’s and don’ts in relation to the Christmas Party:

  • DO – thank the boss early in the evening; DON’T – treat the free bar like a buffet
  • DO – eat early; DON’T – talk about work colleagues (or customers) at the party
  • DO – wear party hats or antlers; DON’T – carry around mistletoe
  • DO – cancel any meetings for the next morning; DON’T – discuss work issues
  • DO – dance if you are asked; DON’T – try to repeat the moves from Saturday Night Fever

Without trying to be a killjoy, I believe that you should situate your mood somewhere between merry and jolly and a couple notches short of being full of festive cheer. By all means enjoy yourself but just remember to be careful out there. You have been building your personal brand throughout the year – use the party to enhance it – not ruin it.

Looking ahead to 2015.

Having survived the Christmas Party, what will the New Year have in store for us?  Well, one thing we do know is that customers will be looking for a personal experience with a brand, rather than being sold to. To do this, companies will have to integrate their marketing activities so that the customer experience is seamless, at whatever buying stage they are at. Also, the use of analysis, on which to base their marketing activity, should be more prevalent, so as to obtain a more effective return on their marketing efforts. 2015 will be about being smarter with your marketing communication.

As customer’s expectations (and choices) are rising rapidly due to modern day ‘connectivity’, so too are their expectations that businesses will understand them and satisfy their needs. In this regard, internal marketing will be as important as external marketing. Employees, as brand advocates will be an important element in customer engagement and indeed, retention.

Two elements in every company’s modus operandi will be even more critical next year as more and more people ‘go online’. 1) Local SEO, as opposed to nationwide SEO, will become more lucrative and 2) personal content marketing will be done through storytelling. In general, the online marketing experience will become an increasingly important tool of differentiation.

Tips and Timesavers.

Now is the time to agree your marketing activity for 2015. The very first thing to review is your message. Your message should be an honest reflection of your offering and one that is easy to promote and remember. Here are 5 tips to consider as you plan your 2015 activity.

  1. Revisit your marketing plan (what is your USP?)
  2. Does your marketing  talk directly to the buyer (is your message easy to understand?)
  3. Do you know your marketplace (what is your service’s / product’s appeal?)
  4. Have you a solid marketing image (have you a strong, clear public image, at all touch points?)
  5. How will you make your customer feel appreciated and important (consistent, excellent service?)

So to finish off before we go to our O’C&K Christmas night out this evening, here are some ideas on how to use social media as a layer rather than a channel during the Festive Season. Decorate your social media sites with Christmas decorations just like you would in your office e.g. your Facebook cover. Why not add some visual ‘spice’ to your photos, use Pinterest to help with shopping dilemmas, run contests online for prizes. I presume you have sent a personal holiday email to your customers already or why not create a Vine or Instagram video to wish them Season’s Greetings.

Our final thought is to encourage businesses to support worthy causes. Every business should have some form of CSR activity going on but especially around this time of year, as people’s minds turn to giving. Not only is it achieving social good, but it is also a good way to build goodwill for your brand also. We hope you have a wonderful Christmas.

We Supported Nurture this Christmas 

  If you have any other tips or timesavers please leave a reply below. If you’d like to receive similar content, just subscribe by clicking through the pink button, on this page.  Of course, if you want to get in touch, leave your details and perhaps we might meet for a chat, cheers.   Jim – O’C&K