A unique opportunity has arisen for a talented editorial and copy writer with an interest in expanding their digital marketing skills to join a small marketing team in a rapidly expanding financial services company.
With a journalistic background, you will have responsibility for producing relevant regular financial news stories and articles (at least one feature a week). This content will be published on our associated websites, on social media channels and via email and other communications.
You will also be responsible for the day to day management of the business’s social media channels, aiming to maximise search engine optimisation, raise brand awareness/reputation and drive consumer and business traffic to the company’s website and telephone unit.
You will also have the opportunity to broaden your marketing skill-set as you will be involved with all aspects of the marketing function. This will include writing and producing off-line marketing collateral and financial promotions, writing copy for an in-house magazine, agency briefing, liaising with our associated businesses, recruitment, exhibitions and conferences.
This is a full time role, based in the Midlands with immediate availability. Salary will be dependent on experience.
(published in the Financial Services Forum’s quarterly magazine, Argent)
Since the credit crunch began, all consumers have really wanted to see is the headline ‘Bankers take responsibility for financial crisis’. The whole financial services industry has come under sceptical scrutiny.
Against that background, is it surprising that a claim to be ‘customer-centric’ elicits a gale of hollow laughter amongst consumers? But keep making the customer the heart of your business. If you don’t get up every morning, thinking of how you can better serve your customers, then you may as well stay in bed.
Just don’t alienate them by telling them that you are a ‘customer-centric’ organisation. Never let internal ideas inadvertently become external communications.
Your customer-centricity should be obvious from the way you serve them.
Don’t say it. Be it.
I first met Sophia Warner, the British Paralympic sprinter, in early 2011 and offered my services as a marketing and communications consultant on a voluntary basis. My objective was to get her message across to key stakeholders, particularly potential sponsors (who could support her financially in her quest for a medal) and potential employers (who might offer her an interesting role after the Paralympics were over).
Sophia’s is a compelling story; medal-winning international athlete who just happens to have cerebral palsy, training 30 hours a week on the track and in the gym, mother of two young children, with a full-time career in marketing and business development. Plus, at 38 years old, the London 2012 Paralympic Games might have been the only opportunity she would have to win a medal at her events, the T35 Women’s 100m and 200m. (The 2012 Games were also the first time Sophia’s events had been included in the Paralympics.)
The challenge was how to communicate these ‘unique selling points’ (USPs) without spending any money, something with which many small business owners will be all too familiar!
The answer was to construct a simple website to contain all her key information and then use social media and targeted email marketing to share information with a variety of stakeholders at virtually no cost.
Social Media and Email Marketing Activity
A personalised email is sent from Sophia to her segmented database of contacts whenever there is something relevant and interesting to say, for example, when she signs new sponsors, appears at events or receives coverage in the press. The parallels with small business are obvious; the business may have signed new business partners to improve its overall customer proposition, it may be hosting a seminar or attending an event – or it may have been featured in the trade, local or national press. But the business’s stakeholders may well be unaware of one or all of these things unless there is a regular and planned digital communications strategy in place.
The aims of Sophia’s digital communication are to:
1. keep her supporters and sponsors involved in what she is doing
2. generate opportunities to speak to the media
3. find new sponsors who can help support her in her quest for medals (now focused on the IPC Athletics World Championships in Lyon, France next July)
Sophia uses Facebook (where she now has 629 friends) to post new photos of her in training and at events and Twitter (1,830 followers) to tweet short updates and news flashes on the many aspects of her life. These tweets – which often refer to her sponsorship work, with regular mentions for all the companies that are supporting her – are linked back to the website whenever relevant. Every time she posts or tweets, a series of interactions with her stakeholders is initiated, often resulting in new opportunities for her.
The website allows readers to access longer press articles and YouTube video clips, such as footage of Sophia running in the Women’s 200m – T35 at the London 2012 Paralympic Games. (Start watching at 1:09:00. Despite running with a prolapsed disc in her neck, Sophia ran a personal best of 35.25 seconds.)
Sophia is supported by the following sponsors: Procter & Gamble, Virgin Active, Boots and Simplicare. She has also been appointed vice-president of The Children’s Trust at Tadworth, a charity close to her heart as it was there that she received specialist treatment and therapy as a child in the 1980s.
UK Athletics appointed Sophia as its Commercial Director with effect from October. She is only a few weeks into this high profile role, but is already making progress towards securing new sponsors for UK Athletics.
She has also been in talks with various TV channels about providing expert analysis for Paralympic sports programmes in the future.
With the media, sponsors and fans continuing to take an interest in Sophia post London 2012, you are sure to hear more about her in the months to come. Why not visit her website or follow her on Twitter and keep up to speed with ‘Sprinting Sophia’?
Martin Lewis of Moneysavingexpert.com says that loyalty doesn’t pay. However, customer inertia, especially in the area of switching current accounts, has so far meant that, even if customers do not ‘like’ or feel loyal to their financial services provider they are unlikely to switch to a competitor.
But that might be about to change with the ‘perfect storm’ conditions of Virgin Money taking over Northern Rock (following Metro Bank into the ‘new current account provider’ sector of the market) and the Independent Commission on Banking’s final report recommending that the following measures be introduced by all banks to simplify bank account switching:
1. 7 day transfer
2. Seamless redirection of direct debits and standing orders
3. More information on the overall costs of each account (so that a proper price comparison can be made)
Thus, current account customers might finally be given the guarantee that they can switch account provider painlessly, the motivation, as Sir Richard Branson’s consumer-friendly Virgin Money proposition finally enters the banking space and the tools to do the job thoroughly, as the price comparison sites will be able to use the more detailed information on the costs of different current accounts to provide more accurate assessments of their relative merits for different customers
Will the trust that consumers have lost in the financial services industry following the credit crisis finally start to be restored by the new bank brands? And will the customer-centric communication for which Virgin is known elsewhere strike the right note with disillusioned current account holders?
Is switching bank in 2012 on everyone’s ‘to do’ list or will consumers be as apathetic about changing current account this year as they always are. In short, is 2012 a ‘tipping point’?
Here is a report that I’ve recently written for one of my clients, market research agency, Opinium, on what might happen.
At the end of the third quarter of 2007, the average UK house price (according to the Halifax House Price Index) stood at £199,766. By the end of the third quarter of 2011, that had dropped to just £162,211 a nominal fall of 18.8% over 4 years. However, UK house prices have dropped by more than that in real terms, when adjusted to take inflation into account.
The Retail Price Index was 208.0 in September 2007, rising to 237.9 in September 2011 (Source: Office of National Statistics – ‘RPI: All items: 1947-2011’ – where January 1987 = 100). That is an increase of 14.4% in the 4 year period. So, if real (inflation-adjusted) house prices had stayed level, an average £199,766 house in Q3 2007 would cost £199,766 + 14.4% today, that is to say £228,532. The fact that it costs £162,211 shows that real house prices have dropped by 29% from 2007 to 2011.
This shows just what good value residential property has become since 2007. Despite the uncertainty surrounding the world economy and the stability of the eurozone, is it time to take advantage of an almost 30% correction in average UK house prices?
Here are some of the exciting marketing trends in store for the year ahead, as predicted by ‘The Marketer’, the magazine of the Chartered Institute of Marketing.
1. The only place to be seen this year is on screen, especially in the medium of video, where limited advertising budgets will have maximum effect and brands will be attempting to attract consumers’ attention through gamification and interactive apps.
2. According to the report IDC Predictions, 2012 will see more money spent on tablets and mobiles than PCs, so marketers will need to reflect this in communications with their customers. It’s not enough for your website to work on a PC screen; that is not where most of your customers are viewing you.
3. Marketing to baby boomers could be the next untapped niche. As people live and work longer more marketing will be targeted at the over-55s. This will lead to the creation of more products that are tailored to their specific needs and more communication that talks to them in their own language (including correct spelling, punctuation and grammar. 2012 could be a good year for the apostrophe!)
4. Your purse or wallet could soon become a collector’s item. Contactless payment devices like QR codes will enter the mainstream in 2012.
5. Community focused initiatives are set to capture consumers’ attention and loyalty, with local marketing becoming more important than global marketing.
6. There is likely to be a growth in DIY health apps – helping to monitor and improve consumers’ wellbeing ‘on the go’ (although surely we would need fewer health apps if we weren’t ‘on the go’ quite as much?)
For more details of all of these trends, visit The Marketer’s website – or give me a call and I’ll investigate any trend you think may be particularly useful to your business.
I have been working as interim head of marketing & communications for The Pennies Foundation, creator of Pennies, the electronic charity box. The role culminated in a showcase event at BAFTA, which premiered the new Pennies video (‘The Power of Pennies – One Year On’), launched a new social media campaign, using a Facebook app, and announced a series of new high profile supporters of Pennies, including Gary Barlow, Cheryl Cole and Jason Donovan. Pennies was also featured on the BBC and in the Guardian.
My role has been to take over from the previous head of marketing & communications at the end of July, manage in-house and external marketing resources, oversee the autumn campaign detailed above and recruit, coach and support a new permanent ‘head’, handing over the role at the end of November. It’s been a privilege to work alongside some inspirational people, as well as a great learning experience!
Designing An Effective Website and Social Media Communications Strategy
I met Sophia Warner, the British Paralympic athlete, at a business event in Dorking, Surrey in early 2011 and offered my services as a marketing and communications consultant. The aim was to help her tell her story to key stakeholders, particularly potential sponsors who could support her financially in her quest for a gold medal.
With the help of Allen Betchley at Progression Design we built a website template, linking it to a bespoke content management system, which I could populate with relevant copy, images and links. The website design, build and content population took around a month, from concept to launch.
The integrated communications launch campaign was executed via email marketing to a total of around 180 contacts across three different database segments (corporate, media and personal), Facebook (to friends), Twitter (to followers) and LinkedIn (to professional contacts).
Since launch, over 1,000 people have visited Sophia’s new site, viewing an average of 3 of the 6 pages, spending an average of 2½ minutes on the site.
- Chandlers Brighton BMW has agreed to supply Sophia with a branded MINI Countryman in the lead up to the Paralympic Games in 2012.
- Procter & Gamble has appointed Sophia as an ambassador for its ‘proud sponsor of mums’ campaign for the 2012 Paralympics.
- Boots has agreed a long-term sponsorship deal with Sophia and she spoke to 5,000 of its employees at an event on 23 June at the Ricoh Arena, Coventry.
For a more detailed account of this successful website, social media and e-mail communications campaign, please read Sophia Warner – Communications Case Study – Update Sept 2011