Are you successfully tracking your content marketing efforts?

Content marketing. It’s come to save us all, hasn’t it? With consumers looking around every available social network for information and entertainment, all brands have to do is provide satisfying content and in return people will be only to pleased to fill their coffers. Right?

Well, stone me. It’s a little bit more complicated than that. According to research from the Content Marketing Institute, brands are either having difficulty (or simply not bothering to…) to measure the value of their work.

Just 21 per cent of B2B marketers claimed they were successfully tracking the ROI of their content marketing campaigns.

The inability to measure the impact of content marketing programmes is down, in part, to quite how new this promotional approach is across digital channels and how customer behaviour is changing.

Earlier this year Bjorn Timelin, a partner with McKinsey & Company, outlined how smart firms realised the traditional ‘funnel’ model used by marketers to map how consumers move from being interested in a product through to purchase is broken and a new set of factors has been brought into play by the rise of social media.

Basing his analysis on research conducted into skincare products, he said new factors necessitated a new approach where firms need to pro-actively throw useful information and entertaining content at potential customers early in their ‘buying journey’ in a bid to compel them toward their products.

Despite the ‘consumer decision journey’ being nothing like it was ten years ago, he said, many companies still use the old funnel model to plan marketing campaigns, they did not understand how technology had changed purchasing journeys, nor had they adapted accordingly.

But even if your firm recognised the need to market for a new customer cycle and attempted to quantify ROI, that doesn’t guarantee results. There remains a huge range of abilities, Timelin added, when it comes to measuring marketing impact. Of those that can’t properly measure the impact of their work, there were many that simply relied on blind faith while spending large sums of cash. And, of course, there were others who simply ignored the need to measure impact at all. The Content Marketing Institute survey said 15 per cent of its respondents did no tracking of their content.

However, all is not lost. The wide-ranging survey found that seven out of ten marketers were creating more content than the previous year, while 35 per cent of those who claimed to have a detailed content strategy said they were also able to track successfully – suggesting a more formal, disciplined approach naturally brings with it a desire to measure outcomes as well as execute campaigns.

One of the more telling statistic of the whole report was that 14 per cent of respondents claimed not to have a content marketing strategy and a further 48 per cent said they had one, but it was undocumented.

As the report says, having a strategy that isn’t documented may be a good first step, put a more formal approach – where greater strategic thinking is applied – will bring better results.

It’s telling that 60 per cent of those with a documented strategy rated their content marketing effectiveness highly, while 32 per cent of those who only had a verbal strategy felt the same way – I’m surprised it was even that high.

(Below is the slide deck from the Content Marketing Institute with all the findings from the research)


Programmatic ads, Martin Sorrell, and what they mean for agency and other media jobs

A recent article in The Wall Street Journal summed it up succinctly: some brands, it said, are increasingly using programmatic systems to buy digital ads themselves, rather than paying third parties to do so for them. A survey from Forrester Research and the Association of National Advertisers suggests a reason: it says 46% of marketers are concerned about the transparency of agencies tasked to buy online ads. Put simply, if the agency doesn’t tell you how much of your money its live buying desk spending on ads, and how much it’s taking as a fee, fears can spread.

(If you’re unsure of what programmatic ads are – might be an idea to pause here and read this…) (more…)

Five key mistakes firms repeatedly make when recruiting senior executives

MTA media headhuntersHiring the right senior talent into your business can be a time-consuming and expensive process. That’s where engaging the right executive search team to source talent can be crucial – it’s a time-saving and, ultimately, cost-effective process.

Time and time again we see hiring managers do things that, in the long-run, set them back. Common mistakes get made and, if not put right, they can repeatedly cost the hiring firm.

Here’s a quick and easy guide to the type of mistakes that occur time and again when recruiting senior executives - and the simple steps that can be put in place to rectify them: (more…) how increased transparency can affect executive recruitment?

As headhunters, one of the questions we get asked most (other than ‘how much is it paying?’) is ‘how is our company perceived out in the wider market?’ It’s something of which busy company directors can easily lose sight. In fact, I’ve been asked that question twice this week.

The nature of my executive recruitment job means I talk to hundreds of people every week, and in doing so I pick up an enormous amount of chatter about how happy (or unhappy) people are in their roles. Sometimes the reasons are personal – say, a lack of opportunities for progression. At other times, they’re directly related to office culture. We get a lot of the latter. If you’re in senior management in the media, the chances are we have a better idea of how prospective employees perceive your company than you do.

Earlier this week, I spent a fascinating half-hour or so on For those who haven’t seen it, it’s a bit like Tripadvisor for job seekers. It give people an opportunity to hear a number of views on what it’s like to work somewhere, before they sign on the dotted line. On my first visit, I immediately looked up 20 companies I’ve worked extensively for in the past. And on every single occasion, the feedback was pretty much as I’d expected. (more…)

Paddy Power: edgy content marketing, banded ads

If you’re a upstart brand looking to carve a sizeable place in your market and grow quickly, then a little controversy never really hurts. The theory goes that nothing stretches the money you have available for publicity like running edgy campaigns that risk censure.

Step forward online bookmaker Paddy Power and its roster of ads featuring the tranquillizing of chavs, tasering tea ladies, and refund offers if Oscar Pistorious was found not guilty – an ad eventually banned by the authorities.

Paddy Power has deliberately set out to drive business forward with an edgy and irreverent content marketing strategy that appeals to its target audience of young men, but the online bookmaker’s approach isn’t simply a matter of producing shocking ads time and time again, it’s more nuanced. (more…)

Programmatic ads: can they disrupt agencies and threaten ad sales jobs?

If you buy ad space on behalf of advertisers and a technology comes along that, almost overnight, undermines your business model and makes it staggeringly easy for clients to place ads themselves, you might well have a few sleepless nights, perhaps even considering what other ad sales jobs are available.

Well, say hello to ‘programmatic advertising’.

The term isn’t one familiar to many, but for those focused on the future of ad sales and marketing, programmatic advertising is rapidly becoming the thing that dominates their thinking. (more…)

Clickbait won’t help local newspaper business models, building communities will

A few weeks ago, a disgruntled newspaper journalist said to me “the rationale seems to be ‘why bother doing your USP well, when you can do the ubiquitous badly?’” It’s a question many journalists of my acquaintance have been struggling with. I’m sure they would sympathise with Gareth Davies, Chief Reporter at the Croydon Advertiser, who publicly vented his fury on Twitter after fellow Local World website, the Maidstone & Medway News, ran a story on the celebrity nude photo hacking scandal.

I’m sure most people would agree this isn’t a story of immediate relevance to the Maidstone & Medway area, and many journalists of my acquaintance are queasy to say the least about the proliferation of ‘clickbait’. The website’s editor, Simon Finlay, defended the decision, saying “we’re trying to drive an audience to our site… [these stories] do get us thousands of hits and that’s a good thing.” (more…)

The costs of making bad executive appointments – and how to avoid them

MTA media headhuntersBad senior or executive appointments, most businesses have made them. An established firm would be hard-pressed not to have made a bad hire or two in their time; it’s almost unavoidable. The trick is to learn from that and to reduce the number you make in future. But how do you go about doing that?

The biggest error an organisation can make – especially when it comes to senior management – is choosing the wrong candidate for the role – trying to make a square peg fit a round hole. This may sound obvious but getting the candidate wrong is still a widespread problem.

According to a global survey of 6,000 HR and hiring managers carried out by Careerbuilder, 62% of UK firms admitted to having made poor appointments. (more…)

How analysis and data skills can change the way executives make big decisions

One of the knock-on effects of digital technology is that like never before business leaders can draw on enriched information when making critical choices – but do they really let data rule, or are experience, intuition and gut feeling still the keys to successful management?

In recent weeks we’ve looked at several ways data gathered through digital sources is changing business. We’ve examined how supermarkets are using technology to revolutionise retail, how knowledge of data can help you get a job in both the editorial and commercial departments of a newspaper, we’ve even looked at growing data use in education and how the difficulties of understanding Big Data are, in some instances, restricting the development of personalised, one-on-one marketing.

In short, what we’ve seen is that analysis and data skills will be key to an array of future jobs. (more…)

How Domino’s pizza uses mobile marketing and ordering to drive sales

None of us needs a technology worthy or a digital consultant on £100 an hour to understand the importance of mobile devices. Cast a glance down any high street and you’ll soon get an idea for how inseparable we all are from our phones. Even Google tells us now that more searches are made via mobile or tablet device than via desktop.

Why then have so many businesses failed to create dedicated mobile sites or build specialist optimisation into their existing digital platforms? Do they think – unlike them – everyone else is happy to endlessly scroll, searching for a button or link that’s impossible to press?

Well, not so Domino’s Pizza. A couple of years ago the fast food chain took the decision to use mobile – on its own terms – as the venue to drive for competitive advantage.

Nick Dutch, head of digital at Domino’s UK, told the Smart Insight’s Digital Impact conference, in London earlier this week, how his firm had adopted a mobile-first strategy and sought to grow sales by focusing on this channel. (more…)