I’ve been in Liverpool today for the 2014 CIM Northern Conference – a great day with some really useful insights from the speakers. Here are some of the ones I thought were great:

 

Everton Football Club (Richard Kenyon and Robert Elstone speaking)

Everton have been using social media to engage with local communities and fans with great success. They have used offline activities such as “Blue Crimbo” which included impromptu Christmas parties in the houses and streets of fans and tea parties amongst other things which have been great in generating exposure. When launching the Umbro kit technical partnership they used 11 key fans who use social media heavily to drive the launch, engaging them to spread the word which rapidly led to national media coverage.

However, the best examples, for me, came from their use of social media in difficult situations – when a match had to be cancelled at short notice earlier this year a fan who had travelled to the UK to see his first “live” Everton game had tweeted from the stadium before learning about the cancellation – they managed to find him and give him a tour, meeting some of the team which turned a potentially negative incident into positive media exposure. Similarly when they launched the new crest there was a fan backlash which they brought in expertise to help with and managed to turn to engagement – although the CEO said the main thing he learned was never to change the crest of a football club!

 

Tendering (Steve Sawyer of Shipley speaking)

Tendering isn’t something I have had much exposure of, but there was so much to learn from this talk to use in many areas, starting with this fact to justify why it is important to get right:

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The other key points were:

  • Compliance – make it easy for the readers to find things
  • Responsiveness – do we know why they are asking these questions? And, ensure you include an Executive Summary
  • Strategic focus – why us? What do we do that is different?
  • Competitive focus – why not them? Showing what we do differently to our competitors
  • Succinct and structured writing – make sure that it is well written and ties in sales, marketing and the proposal message
  • Visualisation – remember that a picture is worth a thousand words with the proposal looking good and being easy to read

This was followed by a 4 box approach to connecting with customers:

  1. Vision statement
  2. Statement of compliance – introduce hot buttons
  3. Discuss each hot button – solution and benefits, note your discriminator and trade-offs, provide proof
  4. Provide value proposition (or price) – and summarise the next steps (SOAP – Selling On A Page)

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7 Laws of Innovation (Tom Lindley of Mars Corporation)

This was a fantastic talk from a really passionate employee working in the petfoods division of Mars. Whilst I haven’t noted all the 7 laws one thing he emphasised was that “Customers are not in love with my brand” – we all have to remember that customers will buy something else if they can’t get our brand. A main are of innovation he emphasised was the requirement to look for transformational insights – looking at ways to do things differently from others in the sector (which was a bit of a theme for the afternoon overall). A second main point was collaboration to gain innovation with a great quote – “No one is cleverer than everyone”, if we all work together the results will be much better than any individual will achieve on their own.

Here are the 7 laws on a slide, sorry for the quality, I was sitting too far away really:

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Inbound Marketing (Mike Kirwan, Latitude group)

The insights into digital marketing were great here, starting with the point that we need to get on the right side of Google to get digital working for us. The importance of digital was highlighted by the digital ad spend which has grown from £825m in 2004 to £6.3bn in 2013 in an almost linear way, showing no sign of slowing, but importantly mobile now accounts for 17% of spend. Emphasising the point about being different, paid search on mobile is currently only used by companies at half the level of that used by agencies – highlighting an opportunity to be seen through an under utilised channel.

Mike’s summary was that for successful inbound marketing we need:

  • Continuous investment in paid search and other online channels
  • Better understanding of ROI from individual marketing channels and a combination of channels
  • Focus on conversion ensuring marketing spend is not wasted
  • Consider opportunities to test different tactics to those of your competitors

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Really looking forward to day two tomorrow!