A Micro Guide To Micro Influencers

For almost as long as advertising has existed, brands have used celebrities for endorsements. As social media evolves so does the use of influencers for marketing. A study by Nielsen found that only 33% of consumers trust online ads but 90% trust peer recommendations, and with new regulations putting a bigger onus on brands to clearly label when a piece of third-party influencer content has been paid for, micro influencers offer a cost-effective and accessible option for many small businesses.

Shakers and Makers

Time Out published some research recently splitting influencers into the two categories of  Shakers and Makers. Shakers being celebrities and very well established and popular social media ‘stars’ and Makers being those with a more modest, but still influential following. The research also found that “makers are 10% more likely to successfully influence somebody else to take an action, despite having fewer followers.”

1,000 Followers Plus

Takumi is a micro influencer marketing platform and suggests that anyone with around 1,000 to 150,000 followers could be considered a micro influencer. Most people have a network of around 500 made up of friends, family and personal connections, but it’s when this network expands beyond this and develops into an ‘audience’ that the potential to influence materialises. You often find that people with slightly smaller networks tend to have more conversations with their audience,” says Solberg Audunsson, the company’s co-founder. “12,000 followers is a good number for you to start to see genuine back-and-forth interactions because people realise they’re more likely to get a response than if they were messaging Kim Kardashian.”

Time and Tools

By their nature of being lower-key than the likes of Zoella, micro influencers can be more difficult to identify. This can make the process of... Continue reading

Younger Users Willing To Part With More Data For A Better Customer Experience

Last week on the blog we discussed customer experience and the gap between the business perspective and the customer perspective. This week as YouGov research is released by marketing agency Epiphany, we see that the younger generation have a desire for a positive customer experience; so much so that they’re willing to part with even more personal data.

For under 25s personalised search and targeted advertising campaigns is simply part of everyday life online, via search engines, websites and of course social media. Here are some of the key findings:

32% of the 18-24 year olds surveyed use social media for research with the intent to purchase, compared to 13% of 45-54 year olds. 25% of 18-24 year olds reported using video content on sites like YouTube for detailed product and service research. 10% of younger people reported making a purchase after clicking on a Facebook ad, while only 6% of older respondents claimed to have done so. 55% of those aged 18-24 watch video on their smartphones daily – but only 8% of those aged 55 and over said the same. 19% of 18-24 year olds are willing to share more personal data to allow for more targeted marketing, while only 11% of 45-54 year olds agreed.

“The research has uncovered some interesting behavioural themes that I expect we’ll see develop and come to the fore for marketers in the next couple of years,” said Tom Salmon, MD at Epiphany. “Certainly, the move towards younger generations researching and purchasing on social media offers a valuable opportunity for brands to look beyond search, and assess their priority of this channel as a sales driver.”

With the younger generation showing more of a willingness to actually click on ads, they are a... Continue reading

Closing The Customer Experience Gap

Starcom’s recent Media Futures report revealed a number of interesting customer experience (CX) statistics, based on businesses in Austraila.  The diagram below highlights businesses, by sector, and the percentage difference from where they rate their customer experience and where their customer’s rate their customer experience. So for example airlines rate their customer experience 61% higher than customers rate their own experience with the airline. This means there is a huge expectation gap between businesses and consumers.


David Thodey, Former CEO Telstra explains in the report that “for any organisation, really being externally focused, really understanding the value creation that you have and therefore what the customer view is, is really essential.” The report explains that businesses are still prioritising the value of the transaction over the customer experience. It identifies personalisation and data to be a key part of this, and the need to use data to uncover real human motivations.

Marketing Week took an in-depth look at Marks and Spencer, Hyatt and some other big brands to see what could be learnt from these brands in terms of customer experience. Global director of loyalty, customer insight and analytics at M&S Nathan Ansell said “We have made changes to our structure that help provide a more seamless customer journey. For example, we have integrated each channel’s merchandising operations so there is greater ‘symmetry’ across the experience for customers. We are moving to a ‘self-serve’ model for data, so that the business can use the valuable insight from the customer team more easily and make more informed decisions leading to an even better customer experience.” However Ansell also stressed the importance... Continue reading

Is Your SME Contributing to the UK’s £10bn Adspend?

UK adspend grew to 10.3 billion in 2016, that’s up 17.3% and the fastest growth in nine years. Figures were released this month by IAB UK and PwC that show that mobile, unsurprisingly, plays an integral role in this growth.

With almost half of UK internet time spent on mobile, users are watching more and doing more on their mobiles and advertisers need to tap into this. The key digital ad formats were set out as video, social media, content/native, display and search. All formats show mobile adspend as the high-riser, but it’s mobile video spend that’s grown the most.

Adspend as the way forward, or an over-investment?

“The rise in people consuming mobile and video content has accelerated digital’s growth rate to its highest level for nearly a decade,” said the IAB UK’s Chief Marketing Officer, James Chandler. “Reaching the £10bn threshold has been made possible by brands breaking the mould, trying innovative formats and making the most of video to reach and amaze people. It’s impossible to ignore the issues the industry is facing at the moment, but digital never stands still and these figures are testament to the long-term strength and power of digital.”

However, Mark Jackson, managing director at MC&C, said marketers should be wary of over-investing in digital. “It is important that advertisers match the media consumption patterns of consumers, and with 48% of UK internet time now spent on smartphones there’s no doubt brands will continue to invest in mobile advertising,” Jackson said. “However from a performance perspective, marketers should be wary of over investing in digital and reaching the point of diminishing returns as a result. True performance media... Continue reading

Is a Rise in Confidence Leading to a Rise in SME Entrants?

Hampshire Trust Bank and The Centre for Economics and Business Research recently released some research into SME entrants in the UK since 2010. The report broke results down into sectors and found the three sectors which demonstrated the highest growth were technical and professional (39%), information and communication (33%) and business services (25%). Some of the other key findings also include:

The services sector witnesses a 19% increase in SME entrants in the sector Overall, UK SMEs see a 17% rise in new entrants since 2010 Services SMEs show strong levels of confidence in their sector

It seems that the sectors with the highest number of start-ups entrants are also feeling more confident about the long-term economic prospects of the industry they operate in. Three in five (59%) accountancy and IT and communication firms say they feel optimistic. By comparison, 57% of medical and health services SMEs feel confident about the future, 5% higher than the national average.

Stuart Hulme, Director of Savings at Hampshire Trust Bank, said: “According to our latest UK SME Savings Tracker report, services SMEs, namely health and medical firms, have a significant amount of cash in business savings accounts, which is encouraging and we believe shows that these organisations are confidently planning for their future.

“Our SME Growth Watch report highlights the vital contribution of SMEs both within the services sector and indeed across all sectors to the UK economy, and the rapid level of growth being demonstrated by some of the nation’s smallest businesses. These figures should be viewed as encouraging for the government, demonstrating the widespread resilience and ambition of UK SMEs.

“At Hampshire Trust Bank we provide consistently competitive business savings accounts... Continue reading

What We’ve Learned From The Tech Nation Report

The 2017 Tech Nation report was released last week by Tech City announcing the UK as the tech capital of Europe. The report discusses key findings relating to investment, talent, collaboration, growth, jobs and productivity.

The Prime Minister Theresa May introduced the report by saying; “Today more than 1.5 million people are already working within the digital sector, or in digital tech roles across other sectors, while the number of digital tech jobs across the UK has grown at more than twice the rate of non-digital tech sectors. From analysts to web developers to software architects, these pioneers of our digital economy are at the forefront of a great British success story.”

There are some interesting, insightful and encouraging findings, so we’ve picked out some of the highlights.

1) DIGITAL TECH INVESTMENT: In 2016 UK digital tech investment reached £6.8billion, that’s 50% higher than any other European country

2) DIGITAL TECH TALENT: The UK is home to 8 of Europe’s top 20 universities, more than any other European country

3) DIGITAL TECH COLLABORATION: London hosted 22,000 Meetups in 2016, that’s three times as many as in Berlin, Amsterdam or Paris

4) DIGITAL BUSINESS GROWTH: The turnover of digital tech businesses reached £170 billion, an increase of £30billion in just five years

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Making An Innovative Idea Global

Offering a solution to a problem is often where a start-up idea begins. To become a disruptor or offer a product or service that’s truly unique the idea has to be fresh, innovative and well-considered. In this article we’re going to take a quick look at an excellent example of a start-up that is disrupting on a global scale.

A Truly Disruptive Idea

What3words began when Chris Sheldrick travelled the world touring as a classical musician. He discovered that there are many areas across the world without an official address system. Home locations would be described along the lines of “past the hairdresser, four houses down on the left, between the pump and the bush” leaving visitors, deliveries and even firefighters struggling to reach their destination. For those who have travelled to areas of the world where this is an issue, such as sub-Saharan Africa, Mongolia, Costa Rica and the favelas of Brazil, you may understand why this is such an issue. Those who haven’t, you may never have even realised this was a problem that existed.

What what3words does is assign a three-word combination, like “table fork spoon,” to every three-meter square across the globe. There is no time and resource wasted trying to pinpoint exact locations of homes and doors, or any complicated latitude and longitude coordinates. This provides any and every area of the globe an ‘address.’

Consumers can use the what3words app for free for navigation, but their developer software is licenced out as a revenue stream. Courier services in Brazil are using what3words to bring e-commerce to the favelas for example. The start-up has also partnered with a number of humanitarian agencies across the world, such as Diaconia, a microfinance subsidiary of Norwegian NGO Mission Alliance. People living in Liberia without... Continue reading

Why Corporate Social Responsibility Makes Sense For SMEs

Corporate social responsibility is generally something we relate to large businesses employing hundreds of people, after all these organisations have more of an impact on society. However, growing SMEs may still employ staff, deal with freelancers, clients, partners and the wider community. Any business’ activity will in some way affect the environment, the economy and society.

As any business grows, so will its footprint, and it’s corporate social responsibility that will determine whether that footprint is positive or negative. You’ll often find a company’s values will display the responsibilities most important to them, such as a commitment to being green, or giving back to the environment. Investing in staff gives them the opportunity to grow and develop, and even engage themselves in corporate social responsibility. Smaller, day-to-day to day changes are easily made such as stocking fair-trade tea and coffee in the kitchen, or using other eco-friendly products where possible.

Giles Fuchs, Co-Founder of Office Space in Town explains, “a considered SME corporate social responsibility policy is key for any ambitious business hoping to grow and can no longer be an afterthought. A business’ commitment to corporate social responsibility is now a benchmark by which to measure its appeal – younger workers have ranked corporate social responsibility as a key criterion of an employer, clients increasingly consider it as of equal value as cost and investors more and more want assurances that their investments are socially responsible.” 

As part of Office Space in Town’s CSR they encourage staff to get involved in community work, and they can take time out of work to do so. Giving purpose to a role, particularly for Millennials is increasingly important, as Simon Sinek explains in his popular video asking ‘the millennial question.’

Involving your SME in CSR can be on a large... Continue reading

A Boost for The UK’s AI Sector

The Government this week have been announcing details of their new Digital Strategy which aims to boost the digital economy and help to plug the digital skills gap. Artificial Intelligence is set to add £654 billion to the UK economy by 2035 so it’s no wonder the AI sector plays a key role in the strategy.

Business Secretary Greg Clark said, “Innovation is at the heart of our Industrial Strategy and the launch of the Government’s Digital Strategy underlines our commitment to this vital sector. By supporting British businesses and investing in dynamic fields such as robotics and AI, we will help put the UK at the forefront of global innovation.”

The Digital Strategy’s proposals are expected to include:

A major AI review led by Wendy Hall and Jérôme Pesenti to identify the critical elements for the exciting technology to thrive and grow in the UK. It will consider how Government and industry could work together to back this technology, which could inform a sector deal. The UK is already a world-leader in the science underpinning this technology and the sector has the potential to grow further, from early research to commercialisation. Government is also expected to confirm a funding boost of £17.3m from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to support the development of new Robotics and Artificial Intelligence (RAI) technologies in universities across the UK.

Some of the world’s most innovative AI companies are already based here in the UK, putting us in a great position to become a world leader in this fast moving and competitive sector. AI is increasingly creeping into our everyday lives, and helping all sorts of people with all kinds of things, including voice recognition on smartphones and the likes of Google Home, driverless cars, data insights... Continue reading

Purpose Driven Leaders Are Taking on Disruption

The rise of tech-savvy, innovative start-ups and a business environment that is changing so fast is part of the reason we’re hearing so much about disruption. Digital disruption has a key part to play in this phenomenon, but it’s not all about technology. Culture, leadership and the ability to innovate, or indeed disrupt your own organisation, are all weapons against the threat of disruption, or even tools to lead a successful disruption within your marketplace.

Nancy Altobello is Global Vice Chair of Talent at EY, overseeing the recruitment, development and retention of more than 230,000 EY employees in 152 countries. In a recent Q&A session Nancy discussed the need for purpose driven leaders in an era of disruption.

Taking Advantage of Disruption

The word disruption sounds bad, it sounds dangerous. However in a business context it’s like any potential threat, the challenge is to make it into an opportunity. Nancy describes the importance of defining how you can take advantage of disruption, how can it be exciting for your organisation, and your customers? By embracing potential changes and anticipating what’s around the corner it will allow you to use disruption as a positive force to achieve.

Purpose Driven Leaders

In order to see an organisation through a time of change or disruption, a leader must not simply tell you what to do or how to do it, but always take the time time to explain why. This is the essence of purpose driven leaders. It takes someone with the mindset to inspire a team, collaborate and include all involved to give a real purpose to what they do and why they do it.

Traits to Tackle Disruption

The ability to build trust with the whole team will allow leaders to do this most successfully. Teams are so diverse these days... Continue reading