Digital Marketing

BCU FORWARD2021 Conference

Team Digital Cake was recently asked to take part in the BIrmingham City University #FORWARD2021 conference and join a panel of digital professionals, sharing their knowledge of the industry with the BA(Hons) Digital Marketing and MSc/MA Future Media students. 

It was great to be a part of such an exciting event and participate in this event alongside the keynote speakers; William Bonaddio (Social Media Consultant), Ashley Temple (BBC creative) and Rebecca Meekings (Iprospect). Joining our very own Senior Client Delivery Manager, Katie, on the panel was Sophie Page-Britton (Brew Digital), Sally Hawkesford (SHC Digital), Abbie Swindell (Electric House), Adam Barrie (Electric House), Gareth Davies (GRIN)  and Emma Davies (GRIN). 

Here are our key take-aways from the event – 

1. William Bonaddio, “Can I Have Your Attention, Please?”

First up was social media consultant William Banaddio, who presented some fantastic insights into the industry and highlighted the importance of being able to accurately track your online activity. For instance, he explained how those who are looking to utilise social media as a sales channel need to have a Pixel set up so that they can monitor conversions and track user journeys. By doing this, you are able to pinpoint at which stage of the conversion path that they disengaged and use this information to inform your tailored retargeting messages. 

During his talk, Will revealed that there are two ways to influence consumer behaviour through marketing. The first method accounts for 60% of the strategy and is centred around priming the audience. This is achieved through building a strong brand which resonates in consumers minds via consistent, purposeful brand activity. Additionally, the messaging that is used for marketing is critical in proving to consumers that you’re a long-term trustworthy brand. The focus here isn’t on short term sales but instead in resonating in users minds. The second part accounts for 40% and is focused on driving sales! This tactic involves nudging the audience by prompting them to purchase your products/services through short-term campaigns. Eventually, the effectiveness of short-term campaigns depletes as consumers reactions lessen over time; making it important to have a strategy that’s an optimum combination of both.

Regarding video ads, Will highlighted the importance of ads which can be engaged with both with and without sound and recommends including closed captions where possible, as Facebook tests have suggested that adding captions to video ads can increase view duration by 12%. Adding to this, he stated that 60% of Instagram Stories ads are viewed with sound on and that ads with sound are perceived to be more ‘relevant” than those without. To end, he pointed out that it’s important for video ads to still make sense if viewed in a sound-off environment but should also include engaging audio for those who are able to watch with sound.

2. Ashley Temple, “The Attention Economy”

We were also joined by the Creative Director of Technology & Innovation for BBC Creative, Ashley Temple, who had some important advice concerning the distribution of assets! The central theme of his keynote was on “sweating your assets” when promoting content for your brand. Essentially, when you’re given an asset or creating new assets from previous content to think about how it could advance into different narratives. For example, a perfume advert can be personalised toward a male audience, female audience or be entirely product lead. “Sweating your assets” can also be executed by formatting the content for different channels and platforms, so at the finish, you’d have multiple versions of the same content. These assets could then be redeployed across different channels, providing a comprehensive campaign for a client. 

Growing from your failures was another key aspect of Ashley’s talk as he pointed out that marketers shouldn’t be scared to fail and should be brave enough with their creative strategies to give themselves the opportunity to fail! If you don’t succeed in the way that you’d hoped, you need to react quickly and resolve any issues that arise, in favour of satisfying the client. He also mentioned that in times of failure, it’s important to analyse the data and engagement metrics thoroughly to verify what went wrong and what can be learned from any misjudgements. Overall his message conveyed positivity towards failing, in the sense that if it’s dealt with correctly, it can promote further growth and personal development that you would have otherwise missed out on.  

Following this, he addressed that the audience should be at the heart of everything you do when it comes to creating successful campaigns. At present, it’s no longer just about broadcasting to your audience as it’s equally important to have an omnichannel experience and engage with them across various channels. Make sure you react with them on social platforms, like comments/posts, reply to direct messages etc. As well as this, listening to your audience is extremely important and growing from any constructive feedback they may have. 

3. Rebecca Meekings, “A Week In The Life”

Rebecca Meekings, Paid Social Director from IProspect, was the final keynote speaker of the event who shared their insights into the company’s digital strategy. She explained how one of their prime strategies consists of three-segments which are: Tease, Reveal and Sustain.

Tease: The first stage is all about creating buzz and awareness for the campaign, which could be a new product launch or a big event that you feel people will be interested in. 

Reveal: Consists of establishing mass awareness and impact, it’s also where the big reveal within the campaign lies. This stage requires you to own the conversation and be centre stage for your audience for your formal launch in the market. 

Sustain: Includes maintaining the buzz and engagement by keeping audiences interested and at the forefront of their mind. 

By following these steps, you can ensure a complete user journey which results in high levels of customer retention. To end her keynote speech, Rebeca touched upon the concept of omnichannel marketing and how digital marketing can extend to immersive real-life experiences. (thinking back to how they went to Gucci fashion week?).

4. Panel Discussions

We heard from a range of incredibly talented individuals from creative, digital and ecommerce agencies. Including Sophie Page-Britton from Brew, Sally Hawkesford of SHC Digital, Abbie Swindell and Adam Barrie from Electric House, Gareth Davies and Emma Davies from GRIN. It was a fantastic opportunity for our Client Delivery Manager Katie Underwood to partake in conversations about a range of insightful topics and trends. The panel discussed themes such as:

  • The future of digital marketing, predictions, innovations and how the landscape will change over time. 
  • How certain individuals achieved their success, along with any tips they had for aspiring young marketers. 
  • How a key characteristic of a successful digital marketer is being authentic and trustworthy. 
  • There was also mention of how marketers should continually focus on their personal development in order to adapt to the forever changing industry. 

We really enjoyed attending the FORWARD2021 event at BCU, and we’re keen to attend the FORWARD2022 event next year! 

Chris Thomas

Author

Chris Thomas

CEO & Founder

Chris has been at the forefront of eCommerce and a pioneer of online retailing since the early 00s. A 5-time Drapers Award winner, Chris has extensive experience in developing fashion brands online.

Chris founded Cake in 2016. Based in Birmingham, with offices nationwide, Cake specialises in helping fashion brands understand their market online and then helps to develop appropriate strategical direction to achieve their plan, all backed by his 20 years of operating in the retail market.