Marketing Automation

Marketing automation is vital for any business. If you’re considering growth and expansion, as most organisations are, you need a marketing plan that helps you to grow your bottom line. So, it is imperative to create marketing strategies to attract potential customers. To attract new customers, it is helpful to reach out to them at multiple points during the sales cycle – to gauge their interest, to nurture their curiosity, to peak their desire, and to encourage them to convert. The AIDA model springs to mind (Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action) when considering this process. Connecting with them at various points and on multiple occasions in appropriate ways with the right messaging becomes an extremely important factor in the sales conversion process. This is the essence of marketing automation. Of course, marketing automation works better for some organisations than others. You will need to consider a variety of factors, such as quantity of customers, volume of transactions, potential for repurchase, cross-selling and up-selling, and so on, before making up your mind if it is necessary for your organisation to invest in a marketing automation solution.

What is marketing automation?

Marketing automation is essentially a software tool that automatically communicates you’re your prospects and customers through a variety of different media, but mostly through email. It is often connected to a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, which helps companies to build up personalised communications with their customers in order to deliver relevant offers. This data also helps to build up customer personas that assist marketing departments with understanding how to target audiences in different ways to deliver the most effective results.

What are the advantages of marketing automation?

The key advantage of marketing automation is that you can programme the software to perform certain communication tasks at certain times, and then the hard work is done – although you will still need to manage it on an ongoing basis. Also, it helps companies to improve their marketing strategy and it is a great tool for tactical lead generation and sales nurturing. It can also reduce marketing costs and it provides measurable results and KPIs for both tactical and strategic campaigns.

What are the disadvantages of marketing automation?

Firstly, it requires a lot of effort and commitment to learn how to use it effectively in order to define the target audience and the appropriate messages to communicate to them along the sales pipeline journey. Also, it can be a significant investment, and it can’t fix everything. Despite the major benefits marketing automation offers, it is not a “cure all.” This is perhaps the number one issue we have seen in the marketplace, with some clients thinking that their marketing automation software is their marketing strategy, rather than a tool used to deliver their strategy. We think of this a little bit like the tail wagging the dog…

What is customer lifetime value (CLV)?

Customer lifetime value (CLV) is a prediction of the net profit of your entire future relationship with a customer. It informs you how to allocate your efforts towards the most profitable channels and audiences, thus resulting in a better ROI. Not all customers are equal, and gaining a thorough understanding of their differences allows you to gauge how much to invest in communicating with each one. After you have segmented your audience, the next task is determining how best to connect with target customers at a personal level. Having identified which high-value customers to address, defined their lifetime value and drawn a profile of their priorities, you can then make informed decisions on which media to use. Marketing automation, when executed correctly, allows companies to market to and nurture customers with personalised and useful content via a multitude of channels.

Some useful tips

Don’t confuse your audience with poorly defined communication channels. There is an abundance of communication channels available to marketers in this day and age. Communication between you and your audience should always be a welcome event (or at least not an unwelcome one). Don’t alienate or anger your audience by forcing correspondence to happen, or by reaching out too often. Always ask prospects to opt in. Not only is it the ethical thing to do, but you’ll also be able to steer clear of any legal issues and reinforce a positive image around your brand to new prospects and current customers alike.

Don’t initiate communication on a channel you cannot use for the entire correspondence. Communication is a two-way street. If you have implemented a well-devised marketing automation process – one that accounts for incoming and outgoing correspondence between your system and your customers with an ability to listen to the other party, you will have a clear picture of their needs and be one step closer to closing the deal. Not having the capability to listen to responses via channels used for customer engagement is a failure, but it is even more so if you lack the ability and the process in-house to follow up. Align sales with marketing. If you ask questions or want responses via the channels you use to engage with your audience, be sure to have the capabilities and process in place to receive them and lead them to the next step.

Don’s smother your audience with irrelevant and unwanted content. During the process of nurturing leads, great marketers uncover a host of intimate details that paint a picture of who they are doing business with. Marketing automation then kicks in and utilises this information to serve tailored and personal content that will push leads further down the sales funnel. Sending content to prospects, especially if you are initiating the action, is quite intrusive, so if this is a part of your workflow you must absolutely make sure that what you’re sending out aligns with their needs and interests. If you don’t know what these are, take a few steps back and review your process of collecting data.

Don’t send duplicate content or correspondence. Flawless marketing automation is difficult to achieve even for the best of brands. It requires a strong top-of-the-funnel base that produces a consistent flow of sales leads. It doesn’t matter if you have to spend a great deal of time carefully reviewing your programmed workflows to automatically send out correspondence. Always ensure you’re not sending out duplicates on any correspondence.

Marketing automation software companies

There are many reputable marketing automation software companies in the marketplace for you to consider, such as HubSpot, Campaign Monitor, Eloqua and InfusionSoft. We recommend you take time to consider which one best suits the needs of your business. Read reviews from other customers to see which ones best resonate with your business needs.

Conversation LAB wins Conosco account

Conversation LAB has welcomed client win Conosco to its London office to help boost its global digital credentials. This comes off the agency’s recent South African wins – Markham and Kinky World of Hair.

Conversation LAB has been contracted as Conosco’s digital agency of record and is responsible for search and content management, UX, data, and analytics. The agency also manages all bought media with a strong focus on Google demand generation.

Conosco provides technology support, service, and strategy to United Kingdom-based businesses. Conosco says that IT belongs in the boardroom, and all its services are delivered with business goals in mind.

Speaking from London, Conosco director Max Mlinaric says, “Conversation LAB was recommended to us through our South African network, and we were impressed by their offering – a broad skillset all under one roof – as well as their competitive pricing. The fact that they now have an office in London is very exciting, and we would like to congratulate them on the expansion of their business.”

Kevin Power, group managing director of Conversation LAB, adds, “It is great to work with Consoco, one of the leading outsourced IT companies in London. They have a superior offering and are single-minded in creating the best possible technology solutions for London based companies. Their focus and dedication to going ‘beyond IT’ really excited us about partnering with them on their next phase of growth.”

For more information, visit Alternatively, connect with them on Facebook or on Twitter.




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Friday Reading #116

Okay okay I know we’re late, but hey – you needed some reading for the train home right? 

Burger King
is the latest brand to use advertising in order to raise awareness of an
important problem – bullying. The stunt takes place in a Burger King store and
the simple premise of the advert is that more people are prepared to complain
when they receive a sub-standard burger than they are to step in when they see
a high school student being bullied. It’s a well branded, quite touching advert
with an eye-opening focus which is that we should all take a stand against
bullying. Watch it here.

Channel 4
has shared results of one of the widest research projects in TV sponsorship, asking 80,000 viewers across 5 years their thoughts on the medium and brands
that use it. TV Sponsorship has rarely felt like one of the most glamorous
parts of a media plan; often seen as safe, giving out sometimes bland, indirect messages
that can fade into the background of people’s viewing – in fact sponsorship creates
prestige, trust and is the fabled answer to ad-evasion
. Younger audiences are
more receptive to it, and people are more likely to see sponsors as being premium brands they
would like to purchase.

In hindsight it seems strange, a new piece of technology is created, a huge leap forwards in progress and capability – and not many people notice. People were still writing about the impossibility of powered flight years after the Wright Brothers first flight – and more recently, the innovations in the first iPhone took several years before they were adopted at anything approaching scale. It’s worth remembering that often it’s not necessarily the quality of an idea which is lacking, but we’re used to what we know – so it takes time to get used to something new, even if it’s better.

This is probably lost on the auspicious readers of Friday Reading, who doubtlessly walked straight into the jobs of their choice. But it’s still worth reminding ourselves that even the greats of the advertising world had their share of rejection when they were getting started. Russell Davies (my planning hero) has a whole collection of the things on his blog, including one from Cilla Snowball. So don’t take it personally, keep going, try again, and as our friends at W&K might put it – fail harder.

Job vacancy: PR Account Manager

We’re on the lookout for an experienced Account Manager to take charge of our PR portfolio. Ideally, you will have at least 3 years’ account management experience as well as a proven track record in and in-depth knowledge of PR as well as other areas. Alongside helping us to grow our PR business, you’ll also be taking care of some of our varied client base; take a look at our case studies to find out more about the brands we work with.

That’s just a quick summary of the role. Get all the details below, and to apply email hello@togetheragency with your CV and cover letter.

To be successful, you’ll most likely need…

  • 3 to 5 years of account management experience
  • Good experience working in a dedicated PR role
  • Additional experience across at least two of the following areas: web build, packaging, digital campaigns, photo shoots, brand development
  • Some client-side experience (though this definitely isn’t essential).

You’ll need to be…

  • Confident and self-assured in your relationships, both in-agency and with clients
  • Persuasive when meeting with and presenting to clients
  • A good communicator with effective listening skills
  • Highly organised, especially under pressure
  • Able to prioritise when dealing with several projects at once
  • Ready to fit into a collaborative and close-knit team
  • Positive and enthusiastic with a can-do attitude.

While we think experience is more important than qualifications, generally we’d expect you to have…

  • A good degree in any subject (a marketing degree is a bonus, but not essential)
  • Excellent writing and grammar
  • Good numeracy skills
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office and Excel
  • A UK driving licence (though again, this would just be a bonus)
  • Ability to travel to client locations anywhere in the UK and abroad.

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The Gumbification of Experience

New event technologies transform environments into storybooks

In my new role as strategist and practice area lead for the Experiential Studio at Jack Morton, I’ve been thinking a lot about Gumby.

Just in case you don’t remember Gumby – he was an odd-looking claymation creation from the 60s and 70s made relevant by Eddy Murphy on SNL and who appeared in recent ads by GMC  & Honda. Gumby and his pony pal Pokey would walk into storybooks. It was his superpower – the ability to walk right into a story, experience it, and become a part of it.

And when I think about the capabilities today’s experiential techs bring to strategists and creatives planning our clients’ events and environments, it’s that ability to immerse the audience in both shared and personalized stories that is most exciting.

By enabling people to engage with their environments through voice, eye-tracking, gesture, or movement, we’ve begun to make people a part of the story they are co-creating with us.

The environment becomes the storybook. The experiences become the story.

That means mapping the audience’s paths through the experience – and the micro-moments that make it up – to deliver information, surprise, interaction, even joy.

AR overlays – whether 3D animations or videos – actually allow familiar environments, and the objects in them, to tell their own stories as people explore and engage. Check out the new NBA AR app from the National Basketball Association that allows anyone to drop an NBA-branded hoop into any environment.

While we’re still in the exploration stage of what mixed reality means for advertisers, experiential technologies offer the opportunity for brands to fully integrate into the lives of fans and advocates and to add value instead of interruption. For some great thought starters, check out

I believe thinking about an event or an environment as the blank pages of an interactive storybook prompts us to think about the experience overall and what it does for and to our audiences, instead of thinking just about adding “Wow” tech-enhanced moments that really aren’t all that “Wow” anymore.

The time of gratuitous event tech is over. The time for story-making is now.

I think Gumby would be proud.

The post The Gumbification of Experience appeared first on Jack Morton.


Dark, but different is Green & Black’s first ever TV campaign. It’s our debut ad for the chocolate brand and the brainchild of mcgarrybowen creative directors Simon Conner and Stephen Cross.,

The ad was directed by Dorian & Daniel and sees a modern day Red Riding Hood chased by a pack of wolves through a forest. The reveal comes when she starts counting to 10 and you realise that the chase was just a game of hide and seek.


All the Slides from SearchLove London 2017

As it always tends to do, SearchLove London flew by in a flurry of top-class presentations, intense marketing chat with fellow digital folks, and lots of caffeine. The 2017 edition was our 2nd sellout crowd in a row and it was really special to look across a packed auditorium as each speaker got up on stage to share with the audience some really cool stuff.

And, above everything else, that’s why people join us year-after-year, because of the quality of those 17 intimidatingly-smart speakers. If you couldn’t make it along, or just need another look, you’ll find all the slides from the two days below…

Link building Case Studies, Myths and Fails by Paddy Moogan

Beyond the Reach of Keyword Targeting: The Evolution of Paid Media by Samantha Jane Noble

Reverse-Engineering Google’s Research on What Searchers are Looking for by Rob Bucci

Conquer Your Toughest Analystics Challenges and Level Up Your Marketing by Mike Arnesen

Go East, Innovators: Strategies From Asia the Rest of the World Needs to Adopt by Purna Virji

The New Era of Visual Marketing by Jes Scholz

Mobile-First Preparedness: What We’ve Learned From Crawling the Top 1 Million Websites by Jon Myers

Social Content Masterclass: Platform Specificity by David Levin

Content Distribution: How To Give Your Content More Life by Ross Simmonds

10 Steps to Make Power BI Help You Bust Silos in Search and With the C-suite by Wil Reynolds

A Competitive Analysis that Saved $337,000 by Zee Hoffman-Jones

The Campaign Flop: What to do When Your Content Fails by Kirsty Hulse

The Day After Tomorrow: When Ad Blockers Stop All Analytics Platforms by Samuel Scott

From Website to Web-App: Fantastic Optimisations and Where to Find Them by Emily Grossman

Digital Witness: Tales From the Charity Frontlines by Cheri Percy

The Why and How of Creating Video Content for Search by Justin Briggs

Seeing the Future: How to Tell the Impact of a Change Before You Make it by Will Critchlow

Be at the next SearchLove conference (in Sunny San Diego)

As one SearchLove event draws to a close, the planning for the next gets underway. We’ll be back at the beautiful Paradise Point resort in San Diego on 26-27 March 2018. Tickets are already on sale, with early bird discounts of $200 off every ticket. 

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Facebook News Feed Experiments: Threat or Opportunity?

As Adam Mosseri, Head of News Feed at Facebook noted in a post on Monday “There have been a number of reports about a test we’re running in Sri Lanka, Bolivia, Slovakia, Serbia, Guatemala, and Cambodia.” The test he is referring to is that of moving all content posted by brand pages (not content shared by friends) from the main user News Feed into a separate tab named “Explore”.

What’s changed?

One of the first sources to write about the test was Filip Struhárik with the starkly titled “Biggest drop in Facebook organic reach we have ever seen”. The story has since been picked up by The Guardian (Facebook moving non-promoted posts out of News Feed in trial) and the BBC (Facebook explores, publishers panic). As you can tell from the titles, tensions are running high, which is understandable because the very people writing them could stand to be the hardest hit by another step of removal from their core audience. As you may also have gleaned, this trial is applying to organic content only, not promoted posts. It is a matter of time before someone comes up with an “-ageddon” nickname for the event, (Explorageddon sounds like a tourist board advert) but as many have pointed out the potential ramifications could be serious.

Purely from a publisher relations standpoint, this could perhaps have been handled better. As Mosseri mentions in his post “It’s also important to know this test in these six countries is different than the version of Explore that has rolled out to most people”. While it’s understandable that Facebook wouldn’t want to panic publishers by warning them of this planned test in advance, rolling out something so controversial in a limited geography and making it easily confused with something else far more widespread wasn’t a fantastic exercise in concern management. It’s akin to starting annual review day by firing the first few employees you meet and leaving everyone else to stew. It’s also understandable that any new release will come with its bugs, but Struhárik has reported page posts being removed from the main News Feed for users that don’t yet have the Explore section, meaning for those users all page posts are hidden in the Pages Feed section which I certainly hadn’t visited before today.

Change isn’t always a bad thing

It’s true that some changes that Facebook implement can make us better writers, marketers, and entertainers. The much-maligned algorithm update which reduced pages’ ability to reach their followers felt like it makes life harder, but it allowed good publishers to get far more for their money by engaging with their communities and learning from what they like, rather than just pumping out 50 posts a day to rack up those juicy clicks. Much like AMP, Instant Articles made us consider what we can pare back and peel away to give visitors only what actually matters with as little wait time as possible, and I’m actually quite interested in some of their plans on monetising chat bots discussed in this podcast, for instance sales messages being blocked if a user hasn’t actually engaged with your messages in the last 24 hours.

A step backwards

However, it’s not always the case that these changes improve the content quality. Facebook has also announced in the past that users don’t like reaching the end of their timeline, in response they allowed individual publishers to appear multiple times in a users’ News Feed, whether this improved satisfaction is debatable. In the same announcement, Facebook described users not wanting to see notifications of friends’ likes in their feed – after Facebook removed these notifications low-quality pages just pivoted to “tag a friend who” memes some of which exemplified the worst side of us on social media. More recently Facebook has gathered that users want to see more from friends and family, that is one of the reasons they have given for this latest test.

My concern is that moving this content to a separate (currently quite hidden) section and only allowing paid content into the News Feed won’t make publishers better, it’ll quarantine the terrible content but lump it in with the good. It stands to make Facebook success more like the deep-pockets-or-black-hat game that exists elsewhere and hampers the success of small but genuinely talented content producers. It’ll also mean that publishers have even more inaccurate figures about the value of a follow, making it harder still for community managers to argue the for investing in a community.

What’s more, I still don’t see it reducing the torrent of “Tag a mate who is s**t at golf” posts coming up in my feed because the real low-quality publishers already know how to get their content past Facebook’s net – get my friends to deliver it to me. There is even a host of “Tag a friend to make them open their phone and look at this cucumber for no reason” content – that’s content that is basing its success on mocking Facebook’s aim of showing you only what you want to see.

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Of course, Facebook has to make money but I am far happier with the current system which stands to make companies pay through the nose to distribute uninteresting and unoriginal content. While it’s far from perfect, the current method of checking content popularity leaves more of a gap for the intelligent, well-targeted, human content to run rings around generic uninspired posts, and even gives smaller publishers a better chance. It could be argued that users going to Explore will be primed to read and engage, but the number of times I open the “promotions” tab in Gmail speaks to the contrary, and that’s ignoring the fact that the Explore section currently won’t be limited to pages I subscribed to, but will include any content that Facebook deems appropriate.

The outcome

As Ziad Ramley, former social lead for Al Jazeera, suggests, this could all just be flash-in-the-pan. After the testing period, Facebook could well kill this experiment dead, or it might even roll out and have nothing like the negative impact we’re envisioning. Even though Facebook explicitly prioritises users over publishers, a stance that Techcrunch describes as the reason Facebook has survived so much change, there are certainly reasons why they might want to reverse this course of action. As Struhárikm observed to The Guardian: when we finally get a News Feed that’s just friends we may just find out just how boring our friends are. Maybe we’ll jump into the Explore section when we get sick of hearing about Clea’s “nightmare” mole operation, or maybe we’ll just stop logging in.

One thing’s for sure, moving publishers out of the News Feed, even if it is accompanied by a reduction in the quality of experience, is bound to be far more frictionless than attempts to move organic page posts back in. If Facebook makes this change and usage goes down I could imagine the smartest marketers playing News Feed exposure like the stock market, waiting for the drop in interest and investing heavily while Facebook tries to gain back its lost momentum.

Why you should work with micro influencers

Influencer marketing is the newest trend for marketing, taking over from programmatic. There’s been a huge shift towards making full use of this form of marketing, developing it into a fully-fledged channel over the past few years.

It’s not hard to see why. On average, businesses are said to generate 6.5x ROI on an influencer marketing campaign. Studies have also shown that marketers also believe that the quality of customers obtained through influencer marketing is better than traditional channels.

No wonder more and more brands are investing in influencer marketing. But are they doing it correctly? Too many brands are aiming to work with Zoella, or Deliciously Ella, when actually they should be aiming a bit lower – for good reason.

So, why is it that micro influencers are better than bigger names?

Authenticity 🕵

In a lot of cases, micro influencers will be a lot more relatable than bigger name influencers. Celebrity influencers can seem very detached from the average, everyday consumer. Their problems aren’t the same problems that most people will face in their day-to-day lives.

However, micro-influencers seem more attainable and more relatable. Their followings tend to be based on their direct approachability and everyday personism. Many consumers trust these micro-influencers much more than they would trust larger, celebrity endorsements.

Priced out 💸

In the previous era of influencer marketing, when we were restricted to Zoella and Alfie Deyes, you either stumped up the huge amount of money required to work with them, or you didn’t do influencer marketing.

However, now you can work directly with micro influencers, you’re not priced out of influencer marketing as a channel.

This means that your marketing budget not only stretches further but also that you can engage with multiple influencers during a campaign, instead of hinging all your focus on one influencer in particular.

Easier to work with 💘

Working with huge, borderline-celebrity influencers can be tough. It can be a real challenge. Influencers who have followers in the hundreds of thousands, if not millions, tend to think of themselves as celebrities, with all the negative connotations that are attached to that.

Demands can be made, egos can be inflated and handling can be difficult. All of this can lead to a less than ideal working situation, as well as friction on projects.

Micro-influencers tend to be free from these sort of behaviours. They’re still at the point where they rely heavily on word-of-mouth and their reputations, so they’ll ensure that they’re pleasant to work with in order to get more work (obviously this isn’t true for everyone, but the majority are).

Better metrics 📊

One of the biggest reasons to work with micro influencers is that the metrics tend to be better than macro influencers.

Whilst micro influencers do have a smaller amount of followers, many studies (here and here) have found that influencers with smaller amounts of followers actually have higher engagement rates.

This means that you’re getting more actual engagement with the posts that you’re spending your money on, and a bigger bang for your buck.

Tap into a niche 🍰

Most micro-influencers have smaller followings for a reason because they appeal to a specific niche. Identifying the correct micro influencer for your target market and for your niche is key.

When you engage with the followers of specific niches, you can be guaranteed that they all like the particular topic, such as interior design. Even if the influencer isn’t a household name, you can be assured that their followers will all really care about interior design and therefore be more engaged with your design brand, for example.

By tapping into these extremely targeted follower bases, you’re more likely to drive better engagement and overall better results.

Brand safety 🔐

There are some arguments that say micro influencers also have an element of greater brand safety than macro influencers do.

Larger influencers have subsets of followers within their followers. All their followers may not follow them for the exact same reason.

However, micro influencers have smaller but, as previously said, more targeted audiences. Their expertise on a particular topic means that they will partner well with the brand, and typically they already produce safe, contextual content.

Overall, working with micro influencers is ideal for any brand, of any size. You’re not priced out, the content is more authentic and you get higher engagement. What’s not to love?

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