Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Digital marketing spend on the increase?

Or so you might think. But is this really true?

With the current economic climate and lots of chatter on the web about digital being easier to measure with better ROI then it must be true, right?

At Idealogy, we are a multi-service agency offering cross media solutions throughout all media types, from online to print through to PR and consultancy. It’s certainly true to say that the digital aspects of the business have grown substantially in the past 10 years, and in the past 2 years this has seen a 250% increase in the department size! So, if you ask what has driven this then the answer has to be client demand. Without this the business wouldn’t grow.

Now, having said that, we need to keep in perspective that the traditional media lines are eroding. No longer can we, nor should we, separate offline from online, DM from email, PR from Bloggers. It’s all about fully integrated campaigns combining multiple media channels for the best client results.

But still, it’s certainly true to say that the online spend of businesses across all markets is changing and increasing. The adage that online ROI is easier to measure is certainly true and the proof that email is usually more effective than DM is much easier to demonstrate. These points, alongside the economic climate in 2010, mean that clients expect better value for money with effective results. Then, throw into the mix the social media boom and we understand why digital spends are increasing across the board.

Now, once you say these things you need to back them up with facts and figures - it’s no use us pointing to our own business and harping on about this. So I took it upon myself to Google/Bing some stuff and see if my thinking was substantiated by real figures. The results are pretty compelling!

This shows it quite clearly, marketing budgets increase.
 But it’s just one blog…
Credit to http://blog.hubspot.com

So I found this 46% of companies increasing spend with 1000 surveyed and then this about digital shift in marketing budgets: -

And then I just kept finding them: -

So I came to the conclusion that I must be along the right lines!

Having said all that and read these facts/figures does this mean that we are going to see a dramatic decrease in other budgets, or perhaps a rethink about how budgets are set and allocated - the latter I would think (hope).

Whilst there’s no hiding the increase by many clients in the digital/online arena perhaps it’s time for everyone to take into account the eroding ‘line’ between above and below and start to assign marketing investment by market, product and objective rather than by media. Surely this is a more effective way of planning the marketing budgets than the old ways of 2005? Idealogy think so, and hopefully over time we’ll be able to help our clients think this way too. It provides a much better and effective way of looking at the yearly plan.

So onwards and upwards for digital in 2010/2011 or perhaps we should now say onwards and upwards for campaign integration in 2010/2011!

Posted by Simon Johnson

Friday, 24 September 2010

A Walk in the (National) Park!

Scribble a logo, bung out a website and ta-daah. You have a brand. And no customers – because, quite frankly, you've missed the point. You need a brand that reflects the product or service and appeals to the customer. You need to do a bit of research and have a discussion or three. You need to develop a brand. Not churn one out. Idealogy developed a brand recently with New Forest Hotels (NFH), a group consisting of four hotels in, you've guessed it, the New Forest. It was their 21st birthday and they wanted to update their image to reflect their new found maturity, their coming of age, as well as their ongoing investment in their hotels.

We kicked off with a BrandPrint™ workshop, where Idealogy's consultants met with key management from New Forest Hotels, including the hotels' managers. We discussed the existing brand, commercial goals, brand objectives, customers expectations, new and existing markets and how to target them, as well as additional routes to market, then followed this up with a chat about the individual hotels' personalities and physical attributes, and their competitors. In short, we established exactly who the hotel group is, where they fit, and where they want to be. It's also how we came up with the key phrase that sums up New Forest Hotels: True quality, naturally delivered.

Donning cunning disguises, account managers Anna Ecuyer and Nick Hart went undercover as a couple who were planning their wedding. They turned up at the group's main competitors and took notes that formed the basis of the competitor audit boards. These colourful boards allowed NFH to analyse what areas could be improved upon.

The next stage was to implement all the findings and create the logo. This forms the basis of the corporate identity so the debates over this were long and involved. Leaves from local trees were considered elements, as were silhouettes of forest animals, but in the end the butterfly with its four colours to reflect the changing seasons and the four hotels in the group was chosen. It provided the continuity that existing customers would ‘hang on to’ (the old logo included a butterfly) while showing a contemporary, forest-inspired face to new customers.

The completed identity document was then presented to a broad spectrum of the staff and the customer touchpoints were discussed, noting where improvements could be made and how staff could help bring the brand to life for their customers. We wrapped all this up with a guidelines document for current and future staff to refer to, ensuring consistency of style.

So there you have it, that's how a brand is developed. It takes a little longer than five minutes, but then we expect it to last longer than that too. A bit like the New Forest, in fact.

To find out how we used this information to develop a website that reflects the brand perfectly, as well as to discover what customers and staff think about it, then check back in a few weeks for the next update.

Posted by Anna Ecuyer

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Another tool in the box

We're expanding our tool set and from next week D-Media will be able to speed up it's development of desktop AIR applications and web-based Flex applications with the arrival of the new Adobe FlashBuilder 4. The ability to interface with and create apps for social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter will be enhanced too, and what with Apple's recent decision to support iPhone authoring straight from Flash CS5, next year could prove to be very interesting.

Posted by Paul Skinner

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

On yer bike, pedal-oh’s

  1. Green conscious eco warriors and anti-oil activists?
  2. A bunch of guys and girls who want posh bikes on the cheap?
Actually we’re a bit of both, but mainly one of the above (surely it’s the first one?).

As the Idealogy team make the most of the company’s new Cyclescheme association – allowing tax deductable cycle purchase for getting to work – expect to see Soutans on Specializeds, Chops on Cubes and Crouches on Konas real soon! We’re even thinking of trading Daz’s company car for a tandem so we can pick our clients up from the train station in style! Of course, it’ll be stabilizers to start with for Baby David, but he’ll get there too!

You can also expect a cycling mission some time in the future, as we look to raise some dollar for ‘charidy mate’. It’ll happen real soon; all we need to do is get our bikes, get fit, plan a route, pick a cause, sort some sponsorship, pack the Mars bars (again we’re open to sponsorship here) and hit the road. Phew… tiring just to think about it, better get the kettle on and have a biscuit.

Posted by Nick Hart

Thursday, 9 September 2010

iDespair* - A cautionary tale of online ordering with one of the world’s biggest e-commerce systems

The story has a simple, and some might say touching, beginning. A fathers pride at his daughter’s successful bid to go to University and his fear that she might walk off with the home computer, leaving her parents adrift in a seemingly empty world of cyber chat.

So, the task was to procure her a laptop with all of the software she would need for the next 4 years. What could be simpler? And where would the best Student deals emerge? I had to look no further than Apple – and here was my opportunity to migrate another family member into the Mac world, another nail in the coffin of PC Gates. I jumped at the chance – order a laptop for a new student and get a FREE iTouch. That would mean a net saving of over £150 on the price of the, lets be honest here, more expensive but perfectly suited MacBook. I felt the moral justification swelling in my bank balance.

Ah! The online Apple Store. What temptation. What a dangerous place to send a middle-aged man without proper assistance. I browsed and I shopped and then I shopped some more, and before I knew it I had a shopping list as long as my….well, it was quite long! So I stared at my credit card, a bead of sweat trickling from my hair line, and then, there it was – the Apple Credit Finance link – a gleaming phone number that would take away all of my problems, at a better APR than VISA…happy days!

I dialled and got through almost immediately to my guy Gerry, talking to me from sunny Austin, Texas, US, and telling me all about his pending holiday to see his folks in Idaho (wherever that is!). And that was the moment that life, as I knew it ended! Apple, ably supported by Gerry, Catrina, Lloyd and a cast of thousands at Barclays Credit Finance, successfully managed to destroy my perception of Apple over an 8-week period.

Lets cut to the chase here – I have recently cancelled my order in a rather robust and loud conversation with the unwitting Apple Europe employee, when he asked me to re-make my order and finance agreement for the 4th time, 2 days after my third delivery date had expired. But here is a brief summation: -

  • I placed an order for over £1800 worth of stuff at the start of July, and because of a conflict in some of my address information (the billing address was different to the shipping address) I had to make 2 orders and go through 2 finance agreement questionnaires on the first day. Finance denied because of this conflict
  • 2nd Order finally approved when I changed the shipping address to match the billing address
  • 2nd Order cancelled on shipping day when Apple discovered that I live on an Island
  • 3rd Order placed and new finance agreement completed and mainland shipping address re-reinstated
  • 3rd Order then modified on line by Apple to state that shipping would be agreed at Shipping date
  • 3rd Order cancelled by Apple 2 days after due shipping date because we hadn’t agreed a shipping address, which, if it was to the Isle of Wight, would also be cancelled because the VAT rate was different on the Isle of Wight (?)
  • Apple dude phones me to remake 4th order and …well you know the rest.
So, what did I do? I walked 150 yards to the Apple Store in West Quay where a very helpful Store Manager listened to my tale and promptly sold me almost all of the stuff I wanted with a generous 15% discount. Why didn’t I do this before – good question? The truth is, the online offers got me in and encouraged me to make further purchases before the e-commerce kicked in and we all hit a wall.

So what’s the moral here? Well, if a business that boasts billions in online revenues based on 59p here and £7.99 there can’t join up the dots on £1800 orders then effectively they are the Computer world equivalent of Poundland. And I shouldn’t be so lazy when the real solution is so close. Just get off your ….!

* All reproduction rights to iDespair will go to the Steven Barnes Foundation for the impoverished supporters of Nooneshandonthetiller.com the forum for disillusioned Southampton FC supporters

Simon Johnson as IT director would like to distance himself from these comments as he is an avid Apple fanboy :o)

Posted by Simon Dover

Monday, 6 September 2010

The Great North Run

Plaster sales and expletives have spiked in Royston since staff from Safeline X-ray started training for the Great North Run.

The team of ten will be running the 13.1 miles from Newcastle to Gateshead on 19 September, and have already raised more than £1000 for the charity SCOPE.

To donate some dosh to this worthy cause go to: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-web/fundraiser/showFundraiserProfilePage.action?userUrl=X-ray&isTeam=true

We wish Daniela and the rest of the Safeline X-ray team the best of luck.

Posted by Paul Wright

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Simon elopes!

Simon Johnson, our digital media director, left for his holiday on 5th August. It was summer. It was expected. We carried on working. Then, on the Friday, we got a text from him saying he'd eloped. We stopped working, tied cans to his chair and messed up his desk. We may have been denied a stag night, but we like to think we made up for it.

So, congratulations to Simon and his lovely wife Mel on their marriage in St Austell, Cornwall. We've seen the photos (Mel's best friend and family happened to be camping nearby so they acted as official photographers) and we're looking forward to their party in a month's time when we can celebrate in style.

Posted by Idealogy