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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.

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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.

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Tesco’s retail media revolution continues with health-themed ‘hackathon’

Tesco Labs, the supermarket’s digital innovation wing, is running a 48-hour ‘hackathon’ next month to spur the development of health-themed technologies for its customers.

The supermarket has made an open invitation to computer coders, designers, and those working in tech marketing and business development to attend the weekend event in London, starting on September 12.

The aim of the hackathon is to develop retail media ideas that can help Tesco’s customers make healthier food choices in store and online.

In addition, Tesco is keen to explore how it can share data to help customers understand their own behaviour, compare their food choices with others, share tips and advice, and track and find out more about what they’re buying and eating.

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Looking for a great new job? First you need to establish and build a lasting relationship with an executive search firm

MTA media headhuntersHere at Martin Tripp Associates we’re often approached by people when they have made the decision to move roles and are actively looking for a new job opportunity. While our end goal is to place the best candidates in the best roles, our primary objective is to help clients find the best available talent for the post or business function they need to fill, rather than to help candidates source new jobs.

Unlike most recruitment agencies, retained executive search specialists aren’t looking for a ‘transactional’ relationship with candidates, it’s not the job to try and fit candidates into as many available vacancies as possible, it’s more a matter of establishing relationships with the right people in their specialist area, so when client vacancies come along, we know who to approach.

With this in mind, I thought it might be useful to set out some simple ways in which a senior executive can establish and nurture a relationship with an executive search firm.

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Knowing about programmatic advertising could help your media job prospects – so what is it?

Nearly a third of publishers in the UK have not heard of programmatic advertising, according to a recent survey by tech firm AppNexus. For a technology that has been widely touted as the future of the publishing industry, this is faintly astonishing.

So what is programmatic advertising?

In a nutshell, it’s a form of online display advertising that relies on complex algorithms to set a series of criteria that when met trigger the deployment of ads. Campaigns are booked and optimised via a simple web interface.

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Five ways data is holding back personalised, one-on-one marketing (the first five really, because there are loads…)

 

Image of MediaCity Salford

Unless they’ve been on extended leave or in serious dereliction of their duties, senior executives across the country are likely to have heard little else about the future of marketing than how putting customer relationships at the heart of their businesses will be vital in the coming years.

The digital world has forced a series of new challenges on business, and high on that list of challenges is the shift in customer behaviour bought about by the adoption of new technologies and communication through social media.

Firms keen to embrace this behaviour shift – and understand how consumers want to connect digital channels – need to think about how to gather data and then what to do with it.

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Pinterest, Promoted Pins, and self-service social media ads for SMEs

Running a small business in the digital age isn’t always easy. The inherent problems associated with battling a large rival offline have the unpleasant habit of transferring neatly to the online world.

Websites of firms with big marketing budgets are chocked with content; they command great authority from search engines; their inbound links are often of a high quality; and when search engines make big algorithmic changes, they respond quickly.

For small businesses that can’t compete on organic search, digital platforms offering flexible self-service ads and promotions can be a godsend.

Through its Adwords platform, Google allows creation of specific, targeted ‘pay per click’ (PPC) campaigns that can be tweaked easily through a self-service interface and provide smaller firms the exposure they need.

In fact, one small business owner told Tripp Associates his self-service Adwords had proved so easily manageable – and such a reliable source of revenue – he’d jettisoned his digital consultant and added £2 income to every £1 spent by closely managing campaigns himself.

And where Google has successfully enabled the small business owner, other digital platforms have followed.

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Headhunting media jobs outside London – it’s on the up!

Change is in the air. Perhaps that’s over-stating it a touch; but a little bit of change is definitely in the air. Here at Tripp Associates, it hasn’t escaped our notice that a pleasing invigoration has worked its way into a certain section of the media and information jobs market.

As the economic picture improves beyond the capital, the number of briefs we’ve received for media jobs from firms located across the UK has steadily risen.

London is a major international centre for media and information businesses and will obviously remain the source for the majority of our briefs, but in recent months we have placed digital, art, and sales directors, web editors and heads of news across the Black Country, the East Midlands and at various spots down to the South Coast.

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Make your content marketing programme sing with these ten webinar tips

For business publishers webinars can be a dream. They offer a satisfying mixture of editorial heft and readership engagement – and let’s not forget the sponsorship revenue they bring in.

But let’s put aside those benefit for a second and focus on the sponsors. What’s in it for them?

If a brand can find the right publishing partner, one that allows it to position itself as a trusted and authoritative voice to an audience of prospective customers, the potential to enhance its Thought Leadership credentials can be great.

Let’s face it, Thought Leadership is an awful term, but if you can show expertise and position yourself ahead of the competition without resorting to squirm-inducing cliché, then you’re on to something. There’s also the (not so) small matter of considerable lead generation from a new and previously untapped database of interested individuals.

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Looking for a job with newspaper group? Make sure you understand data…

If you’ve been following my recent posts, you’ll know I’ve been spending the last few months talking to senior management figures across the newspaper industry – national and regional. The aim of these conversations has been to found out how they see their industry changing, how their specific business is changing, and to understand the recruitment challenges they face.

In all three areas, one word comes up time and time again – data.

“The challenge for me”, said the Head of Digital at one big newspaper publisher, “has been to convince senior management that it’s no longer just about the number of uniques [web and mobile site readers] you can get. That’s in many ways a vanity number.”

If web traffic alone isn’t enough, he went on to say – digital commercial people working at newspapers need to understand much more about their readers in order to sell appropriate ads.

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Martin Tripp Associates: what sectors and job titles do we recruit for?

Last month, I had a surprising conversation with a regular media client. He’s used Martin Tripp Associates extensively over the years, but only to help headhunt content roles. I was amazed that he was unaware we also recruit in other areas – heads of digital, marketers, general management, commercial roles, strategy directors, and so on…

So, being a statistics geek, I thought I would share the following infographics with you. They help visualise what it is we do here. Based on last year’s activity, the first chart shows a breakdown of our assignments for media clients according to the disciplines we recruited.

While ‘General Management’ was the largest single category we worked on, the big rise was for ‘Product/Insight’ roles and this reflects a trend toward better-informed product development and customer-led innovation.

We have also seen rapid growth in demand for digital-savvy commercial leaders. They are in short supply, and highly prized by their employers; like the Product/Insight people, the best are only found and recruited by a thorough search process.

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Educational publishing: Are MOOCs better suited to corporate learning than high ed?

Use of MOOCs in educational publishingUntil recently, Massive Open Online Course (MOOCs) were seen as one of – if not, the – key mechanism through which future higher eduction schemes would be delivered.

From their first use in 2008, educators, entrepreneurs, and reformers had been queuing up to talk about the virtues of a learning model that offered the prospect of an education system where thousands of people could learn together.

Throughout 2012, and even up until last year, the idea that MOOCs would represent a fundamental part of the future of higher eduction was still common – but then something changed.

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Selling digital space: how advertising salespeople can avoid being left behind

Even the most superficial reader of newspaper websites can’t fail to notice the abundance of new technology that is now regularly incorporated into the storytelling process – and as the demand for new ways of telling stories evolves, the range of editorial skills required is evolving almost as quickly as the technology used to publish.

But it isn’t just in editorial that new digital skills are required. As publishers, both local and national, struggle to work out how to make money from digital, the roles of advertising salespeople are changing even more rapidly.

Over the course of the last few months, I’ve been immersed in the newspaper sector; talking to senior decision-makers about the kind of posts they find hardest to recruit. By some margin, the most common answer has been ‘good salespeople who really understand digital’.

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Understanding customers is key to developing media for professional services

In the last two years we have worked closely with several key firms producing successful workflow tools for the professional services sector. In that time we’ve had many wonderful conversations with our partners, but again and again these discussions seem to orbit one central concern – in a digital age, how do our partners build products that are indispensable to their professional service clients?

The message that comes from these discussions is that at the heart of every process to product and content development should be an acute understanding of the user, the intricacies of their day-to-day work, and a fundamental grasp of their pain points. 

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How Adidas is using content marketing around the World Cup

Unless you’ve been living on another planet for the last few weeks, it would be hard to avoid knowing the 2014 World Cup kicks off tonight in Brazil.

As with many other large sporting events, the build-up to the tournament has been littered with stories about institutional corruption, levels of preparedness, and disquiet in the host country about about staging the event. Yet, if the Brazilian World Cup follows the traditional pattern, all this noise should fade away once the football begins and fans will get down to the serious business of shouting at their televisions as they watch men run about in the searing heat.

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How to do a quick social media audit and get a cheap and simple campaign off the ground

Have you dipped your toe in the world of social media? Have you set up a Twitter account for your firm, but then perhaps forgotten about it? Is social media something you think your business should do, but haven’t really yet figured out how it all works or what the benefits can be?

If the answer to the those questions is mainly ‘yes’, then you’ve come to the right place. The good news is that it can be a relatively straightforward process to get something workable in place, the bad news is that you may have to do a quick audit first – don’t worry, we’ll keep it short and sweet.

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Educational publishing jobs: the future is developing customisable e-learning content and platforms

Graphics of educational publishing jobs termsFor educators, students, parents, and politicians the shift to online learning presents an opportunity to improve achievement, reduce costs, and deliver tailored learning experiences. For educational publishers, this change is as much a headache as an opportunity.

Educational publishing is undergoing profound upheaval, and for some traditional firms managing the shift to a digitised world is proving tricky.

Publishers are often guilty of focusing too closely on how customers engage with their existing offering rather than asking themselves the fundamental question: what do my customers really need?

So, what do they need?

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Workflow and data-analysis tools are changing legal publishing – and others

Publishing for the professional services used to be a sedate affair: a magazine would come into print once a week, perhaps once a fortnight, and at regular intervals it would be accompanied by a special pullout or an information booklet. It was all very calm and straightforward.

Digital publishing changed everything. News and comment is now instant, and data sets are available at the touch of a button, but of all the changes brought about by technology, this speeding-up of the information transfer is neither the most radical or the most useful.

Providing news and data sets quickly is all very well, but what modern businesses really need is smart information derived from data-driven analysis, and to have that integrated with workflow tools.

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Tech brand publishing: Microsoft Stories tells the right tales

Imagine running a business where behind the scenes there wasn’t just lots of dull clerical work, but a ton of switched-on, enthusiastic people experimenting at the cutting edge of technology to push your organisation forward.

Wouldn’t that be great? Isn’t that probably something you’d like to tell your customers about?

Previously, we have asked what makes good brand publishing and looked at best practice in financial services – a sector notorious for its heavy regulation and conservative approach to storytelling – but when looking for brands that are really good at developing innovative ways to talk about what they do well, technology companies are a great place to start.

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Customer experience: it’s more than social media and ‘touchpoints’

Last month I tried to buy software online. I knew what I wanted, but when I visited the provider’s website it was full of baffling options and unnecessary guff. So I bought a rival product. My second choice. It was easier.

Then, last week, I bought a television. I researched online, found a product page with all the necessary info and a simple payment method, so I bought it. Suitable follow-up email has encouraged me to go back and buy a printer.

In both cases the determining factor wasn’t the product, it was the experience.

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Brands are getting interested in ‘efficacy’ – how digital media helps firms get what they plan for

In recent weeks the concept of “efficacy” has become something we have been thinking about more and more. In conversations with clients and prospects, the ability for them to ensure a desired or intended result with the services and products they supply has been high on their list of concerns.

How do we – the conversations go – ensure we produce stuff our customers really want or need? How do we ensure a great reception for the things we produce or the programmes we run?

Increasingly, the answer is to establish a better understanding of the customer – and the way to do that is to talk to them more directly, more personally, and in an overall smarter way.

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Want an editorial job on a newspaper? How are your data skills?

Over the course of a few short years digital technology has fundamentally changed our publishing industries. Daily and weekly print editions have been replaced by constantly updated websites, apps, and digital downloads. Not only that, but the way we tell and adsorb stories has also changed.

To accommodate new formats and ways of sharing information, those working in publishing have been forced to adopt new skills. A keen editor now knows as much about the social media impact of their content and they do about story sources. But what do we really know about the skills publishing will require in five years time? What talents will staff need to remain relevant?

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been talking to senior managers across the newspaper industry to gain some insight into their recruitment needs. For those who have been paying close attention to the sector, much of what they’re saying won’t be hugely surprising , but over my next few posts I thought I’d share some insight for the benefit of any job-seekers out there.

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How Walt Disney uses social media to connect with audiences

Social media may have brought a wholly new way for brands to engage with consumers – but in an digital environment where attention spans are short and content is abundant, how do you stand out and make an instant connection?

Shira Feuer, head of social media EMEA for The Walt Disney Company, told The Economist’s Big Rethink conference the proposition was simple – to get attention, brands need to create something that is of value to the consumer.

But how does a brand define what is valuable? How does it know what consumers want to connect with across social media?

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It isn’t just publishing businesses that need to think about mobile first

A publishing revolution is taking place and industries of all shapes and sizes need to be ready for the change – mobile will soon become the dominant technology over desktop computing and businesses need to align themselves for this new way of doing things.

Speaking last week at the launch of IMC’s Innovations in Magazine Media report, Juan Señor, a partner with Innovation Media Consulting, outlined how he thought the news publishing industries would be affected by the shift to a mobile, adding that this wasn’t a change that would happen in two or four years time, mobile first was happening right now.

“This is the mobile moment,” he said. “The tipping point where mobile traffic overtakes desktop.”

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Beyond the broken funnel: six reason why changing to ‘instant marketing’ isn’t easy

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, according to a leading media consultant.

Bjorn Timelin, a partner with McKinsey & Company, told The Big Rethink conference last week that despite the ‘consumer decision journey’ being nothing like it was ten years ago, many companies still use the funnel model to plan their marketing campaigns.

For brands that want to prolong their relationship with customers, he said, it was essential to understand how technology had changed purchasing journeys and adapt accordingly. It is no longer a linear process, he said, but a circular one. The old model of customers moving neatly through the funnel from the ‘marketing’ phase to ‘store purchase’ was gone – as was the old idea that ‘advocacy’ came after a purchase.

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Guardian Labs and the play for native advertising

Banner advertising has long been the established method by which digital publishers generate income – but an increased use of mobile, difficultly innovating the humble skyscraper, and growing customer ‘blindness’ to banners has led many to re-evaluate their approach and instead start experimenting with native ads.

Guardian News & Media is the latest publisher to jump aboard the native ads bandwagon. The Guardian is by no means the only newspaper looking for new and innovative ways to raise revenue (in fact, the Times has been has been involved with branded content for years), but even by its own forward-thinking standards, its move into native advertising is a compelling one.

The publisher has set up a branded content division – called Guardian Labs – with the aim of creating innovative marketing campaigns that can stretch its revenue stream beyond display ads.

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Marketing is getting personal: Showrooming and the rise of ‘Me-tail’

Remember the days when making a purchase meant having to drive to the shop and buying whichever version it stocked of the item you wanted? It almost seems like another age.

Now, with Amazon and others, we research, review, compare deals and shop for alternatives at the touch of a button. Control has swung to the consumer like never before, and in the next 12 months that trend is set to increase as brands invest in technology to enable even greater levels of personalisation.

Late last year, Marketing Week predicted the rise of ‘Me-tail’ would be the biggest marketing trend in 2014.

Put simply, the ‘Me-tail’ concept will see brands move from one-size-fits-all messaging to a position where they can feed specific campaigns and offers to consumers in the hope that they can build relationships that are increasingly relevant to the needs of individual customers.

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