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

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

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

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

What Design Trends Should We Be Looking Out For This Year?

For small businesses it’s vital to keep ahead of the crowd and be up to date with design trends and new ideas that could help you innovate or reach new customers. The Drum recently spoke to a number of experts to discover their thoughts on the hottest design trends to watch out for this year. They’re talking VUIs, empathy, the speed of living, and old fashioned ‘good ideas!’


Hana Tanimura, senior designer, Google Creative Lab

Traditionally, design has been synonymous with some kind of visual output. But that is changing quickly, and I believe that designing ‘invisible’ interactions will become increasingly important in the future.

Voice user interfaces (VUIs) haven’t always been successful at creating genuinely useful experiences for people. But machine learning has advanced by leaps and bounds in recent months, which has in turn enabled huge improvements in the field of natural language processing. These technological developments have fueled a rapid evolution in VUI design, and we’re beginning to see designers grapple with the possibilities that a hands-free, eyes-free interface can offer. (While voice interactions aren’t appropriate for all situations, I believe they will become more and more commonplace as we continue to expect technology to work for and around us in a more seamless way).

Alan Dye, co-founder and creative director NB Studio

Michael Wolff, a good friend of NB and a collaborator on many projects, introduced Nick [Finney, co-founder] and I recently to this wonderful quote by Maya Angelou.

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”.

I believe that creating work that makes people feel something is what branding is all about. And it’s what NB have been doing for the past 20 years. Being... Continue reading

More Women in Tech Could Mean a Big Boost for European GDP

Across the EU there is a lack of women in tech and ICT roles. In fact, women make up only 18% of the ICT industry in Europe, compared to 48% in non-ICT sectors. This map, very interestingly, shows the percentage of women in tech across Europe. The UK come in at a below average 17%. Bulgaria, followed by Estonia and Romania come in top and Luxembourg has the lowest percentage of women in tech at 11%.

This issue may stem from the fact that women are much less likely to choose to study a technology or ICT related course at university. The figures show that out of 1000 women in Europe with BA degrees, only 29 of them studied in the tech field. It’s also true that women who do go on to work in this sector are less likely to hold high-level positions and become managers.

This all may sound rather negative, however women are paid more fairly in the tech sector. So this may not only encourage more women into the sector, but may help towards closing the gender pay gap which we still hear so much about in the UK. There is also a huge skills gap across the EU, with an estimated gap of 800,000 jobs requiring specialist ICT skills. Taking all this into account the European Commission has stated that European GDP could be boosted by 9 billion Euros a year if more women... Continue reading

How Close Are Small Businesses To Going Completely Cashless?

We may be closer than we think to our first ever cashless day according to Wired. Sweden is particularly close with only 20% of transactions made in cash in 2014, and with e-commerce continuing to grow strongly.

Finance Technology is a hot topic right now, not only in terms online sales, but in-store purchases too. It’s now easier than ever to be a market trader and accept cashless payments via various contactless payment devices, so perhaps small business is leading the way?

Speeding Up Service

In the US the popular salad chain Sweetgreen is soon to make the move to cashless with payment only via their app or by card. Sweetgreen co-founder Jonathan Neman told Business Insider “[going cashless] started with an imperative that we’ve always had at Sweetgreen: How do we simplify things?” The company believe going cashless will speed up service by 10% as well as reducing the threat of robbery or theft.

Plastic, Mobile and Apps

India and Canada also have cities where going completely cashless sooner rather than later look likely. Bus companies here in the UK have spoken about plans to roll out cashless systems within the next few years. Going back to the Sweden, The Guardian recently reported that “Swish, a hugely popular app developed jointly with the major banks including Nordea, Handelsbanken, SEB, Danske Bank and Swedbank, uses phone numbers to allow anyone with a smartphone to transfer money from one bank account to another in real time.”

The younger generation has grown up with card and app payments as commonplace so this is only likely to fuel the trend further. MasterCard said contactless spending in the UK had more than tripled in the past year, and The Evening Standard reported that it could be... Continue reading

What a Smartphone Needs To Be For Google Daydream Compatibility

Google Daydream is the combination of Google’s new VR headset and virtual experiences. Not locked to specific devices, all you need is a compatible Android phone. The constant development of VR is exciting and there is much discussion and review about how new technology like this could completely change certain industries.

So to begin with, some of the benefits of the Google Daydream (courtesy of a review by Digital Trends) that set the technology apart in a competitive market are;

Daydream content is high-quality Remote has a long battery life and is ergonomic Daydream View is comfortable to wear Easy to use Affordable

So if you fancy getting involved and purchasing a Google Daydream headset (it also comes with remote control) here’s what is required of your smartphone.

Now, the Google Daydream site currently recommends two phones, the Pixel obviously being one, and the Moto Z the second. There are also other Daydream ready phones on the horizon such as the Huawei Mate 9 Pro, the Asus Zenphone AR, and the ZTE Axon 7.

Essentially your phone needs to be able to “handle a pair of 60fps streams and a very low latency and persistence rate. This means the phone can display VR without jittery images, without motion blur that could potentially disorient you” –

To handle Daydream a phone needs to have the right combination of specifications. It’s not enough to have some high-spec components and not others. For example, this is why the Huawei Mate 9 is not Daydream compatible but the new Mate 9 Pro will be.

Amit Singh, the VP of Business and Operations for Google VR said; “The combination of performance needs a few things in the stack. The right GPU, Android N and above, and OLED display. There are others,... Continue reading

How Personal Assistants are Changing SEO As We Know It

In a recent video update from Distilled, a leading marketing agency and SEO, we learn about the strong link personal assistants have with SEO. The obvious link is there of course; one use for personal assistants is to ask a question and have them search the web. However, there is way more potential for these apps than simple search alone.

As Distilled explain, the main players in the intelligent personal assistant space include Apple’s Siri, Google Now, Amazon Echo, Microsoft Cortana, along with up-and-coming competitors Hound and Facebook M.

Rather than a search engine simply finding a list of possible answers to your questions, the huge potential for these apps is to anticipate your needs before you even need to ask. The advantage of Google and other big players is data. A certain amount of information can be ‘assumed’ based on demographics such as sex, age, location, occupation etc. but it takes more to really understand an individual (see our blog on retargeting for more on this.) What personal assistants like this are aiming to become is your ‘best friend’ so they truly know what you like and don’t like, what you want and when.

Google already offer advanced and personal search features – such as searching through your own private photos, your emails or appointments, and it’s likely that this will be a key part of personal assistants of the future. Google is known as a search engine, but think about their involvement in the Nest home device and driverless cars and the term ‘personal... Continue reading