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Digital Marketing

MarketEd.Live 2021

Our team attended the eagerly awaited marketing conference MarketEd.Live at the Nottingham Contemporary and shared with us their insights and learnings from the day.

This year, the theme was ‘Closing the Gaps’, whether that’s the gap between sales and marketing teams, the gap between a customer saying ‘yes’ or ‘no’, or simply gaps in knowledge. The event was hosted by BizPaul and featured many interesting speakers who centred their talks around the results of this year’s research which focused on the recovery from the pandemic, changes in the way we view marketing, and how audiences react now.

Conference day was supplemented by additional learning on either side of the event, a fun pub-quiz and a networking after-party!

Science or searnce? Why the marketing world needs to channel it’s weirdness

First up was a talk by Amy Keane, a creative sociologist and cult-leader-in-training, who thinks that the marketing world needs to channel it’s weirdness.

Amy suggested that in a formulaic world where people act normal simply in order to survive, modern marketing has become predictable, preachy and painfully samey. She noted that all ads at the moment are the same and we’re in the midst of a normality crisis. Amy referenced the Naked Attraction bus ad that caused outrage and subsequently argued that creatives currently live in fear.

Amy discussed why we’ve all become so boring, and how allowing ourselves to be a little weirder would not only make us happier, but more creative and in-tune with our audiences.

Amy explained that studies show the psychology behind normality and that people think normal is good. As a result, the word ‘weird’ is used to ‘other’ whilst social media conditioning has the rest of us all saying the same phrases and talking the same way because it gets the most engagement.

An interesting aspect of the talk was when Amy asked the audience to doodle whilst she was talking because she thinks creativity is lacking in the industry right now and we should all be human experiments. She told us how she undertook a social experiment which involved asking people of all ages who identify as ‘weird’ to draw the inside of their mind. She observed that younger participants such as children aged 7 drew pictures of rainbows and unicorns etc. whilst older participants tended to draw pictures of how anxiety manifests in their mind and it being overrun with thoughts. As they got older, participants started to feel like a burden because society told them it wasn’t okay to be weird.

I’m age and image: utilising age identity for segmentation, targeting and positioning

In this talk Sharon-Marie Gillooley discussed how self-perceived age identity influences consumers’ attitude and behaviours, consumers buy to feel younger and the consumption act itself can determine their age.

Sharon-Marie explored the importance of self-perceived age identity over date-of-birth age for segmentation, targeting and positioning. She argued that if you’re of a certain age you are no longer relevant.

Age = ‘old’ = Old ideas

Sharon-Marie suggests that age-identity has in fact moved from being a relatively fixed and socially entrenched state to one that is fluid and flexible; however it remains a real problem in the industry that needs to be addressed in marketing because so much is lost currently.

Strategy unpicked: a live strategy Q&A

Based on their successful internet series of fireside chats, Tim Elliott and Paul Chapman brought an interactive session where they answered questions posed by the audience and helped develop strategies to solve those marketing conundrums.

The pair suggested that storytelling has gotten really lazy and that we should make it really personal – after all it’s only ever one person looking through a screen at a time!

They asked the question: what is the real value of standing out? and suggest that it’s hard because if it was easy, everyone would do it. They stressed the importance of being remembered and that standing out is the key to effectiveness.

Tim suggested that ultimately the people who care win – it might take longer but those are the marketers who survive and do well in the industry.

Revenue streams that every video creator needs to have

Rob Balasabas taught us ways in which your video content can do much more than build trust or convert a customer. As an experienced video content creator, Rob looked at how video can actually start performing from a revenue perspective, the building blocks required to enable revenue from video and how to position products to sell via the format.

To begin with, Rob discussed some of the common reasons why content creators don’t try to increase their revenue streams:

‘I need a big audience’

‘I need better equipment’

‘I need to have a solid sales funnel’

‘I need a perfect business plan’

‘The [season] is a bad time to start a business’

‘There’s too many people in my niche’

‘I dont have the skills or knowledge’

Rob argued that the above statements are all myths and not true in today’s industry. Instead he explored different revenue streams for content creators.

Affiliate marketing:

Add affiliate links everywhere you can
Create pretty URLs for your affiliate links so that they’re easy to remember
‘Check the link below’
Create something that addresses a pain point and then introduce a product/service as a solution – meet the customer where they are at
Membership programmes: a way to generate income for like-minded people

One Time Thank You’s: sending links to Venmo’s etc. can generate revenue but these aren’t for everybody

Consulting services: high ticket invoices allow you to generate a decent cash flow as you build up other revenue streams. You can then use these in your content.

Online courses: how sharing your expertise and knowledge can create a revenue stream and build your audience

Is authenticity just a wanky red herring?

In this colourful session, Debbie Clarke explored what customers really want from marketers and brands. She posed the question: is authenticity really all it’s cracked up to be? Or do customers want something else from us? Debbie took us on a tour of authenticity as we questioned who is authentic, do people even care, and what is it that actually makes people love our brands, buy our stuff and tell everyone they know just how amazing we are?

Debbie argued that being authentic is embracing vulnerability, integrity, being the real you, trust and reliability. She noted that we’re now having conversations with brands – we personify them and as a result the world is more connected.

However she also questioned if we actually have to know/like/trust brands to buy from them, or do we just tell ourselves that to make us feel better? She admitted that she still buys from Amazon despite trying not to – suggesting that in reality we just want what is cheap and convenient…

The burden of bias: the neuroscience that helps consumers convert

In the final talk of the day, Kenda Macdonald suggested that brains are bad at buying and that they struggle to make even the simplest, most logical decisions. Kenda looked at the advances in neuroscience and explored what the brain needs to take action, and by the end we had learned about five brain biases the brain uses like a crutch, and what we can do about them to lower the barriers to conversions.

Kenda argued that as marketers, we don’t understand how the brain works. Decisions are complicated but the brain tries to lazily save calories by transferring and collating information. She put this into context by exploring the idea of loss aversion and the example of when consumers spend more so that they can get free shipping. The brain lazily sees this as a gain rather than the loss it actually is.

Kenda also argued that the best way to mitigate bias is through critical thinking. She suggested that if marketers show consumers comparisons, data, human stories, examples and meaning, decision making will feel safer and subsequently encourage them to check-out.

By the end of the session, we were armed with actionable know-how to help us increase conversions and keep brains choosing brands!

If you work in marketing, or are a business owner that conducts your own, MarketEd.Live brings the latest knowledge, advice and strategies from world-class industry experts and big brands, and we can’t wait to return next year!

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Beth Taggart

Brand Executive

The website build was extremely good, the final outcome was even better. We are over the moon with our new website and the feedback from customers has been incredible. Cake went out their way to make recommendations on what they know from experience will work. Can’t recommend any higher & looking forward to continually working with the team.

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Chris Thomas


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.