Digital Marketing Conference: afternoon session review

Tuesday, 16th July 2019

Blog by pro-manchester comms manager, Mel Hill

Opening the afternoon sessions at our Digital Marketing Conference was Lee Chapman, Brand Experience Manager at CYBG plc.

Lee is responsible for transforming Yorkshire Bank’s customer experience with their new B Works facility on Market Street in Manchester.

“Digital marketing is just marketing, it’s just the world that has gone digital,” says Lee.

“For me, the big change isn’t digital it’s what people want from a brand that has changed. You need to start with great products that put people first. Find out what makes you different and then own it.”

Lee’s putting people first strategy has helped Yorkshire Bank to create a hugely collaborative space for SMEs to use on Market Street free of charge, which is utilised by the digital community.

How can SMEs capitalise on Manchester’s collaborative digital community?

That’s the question that the panel I hosted, consisting of Mike Pye – Mike Pye + Co, John Kershaw –  M14 Industries, Eve Jane Deasy – Freelance PR Consultant and Rebecca Bishop – Buump Active answered.

Rebecca secured funding from Sport England for a new app which helps new or expecting mothers tap into local exercise opportunities in their area. An app is often a long-winded and difficult project, so how did Rebecca and John successfully work together on it when they didn’t directly work together?

“I took time employing the wrong people when my time could be spent elsewhere,” says Rebecca. “With John’s experience I knew he knew what did and didn’t work on apps, and I think a level of trust in other people’s skills is required in order to get a project successfully of the ground.”

John reiterated this: “When I created Bristlr [a dating app for people with beards] I learnt a lot – what went right and also what went wrong. With Rebecca, our communication has been excellent and for me that’s what’s really worked.”

Communication is key

Mike Pye set up his own business that helps businesses to utilise the skills of freelancers. Communication is key when you are a freelancer not working side-by-side with your co-workers each day. “In Manchester there is so much talent your business can benefit from that you don’t necessarily have to recruit on a permanent basis,” says Mike.

“Mancunians want to see other people succeed and thrive and I think that’s what sets us apart a little.”

Making traditional industries digital

Eve Deasy has come from a tradition PR background in-house and has had to hone these skills in order to move with the digital world we are now part of, but how did she adjust to coming off the payroll and fending for herself? Eve says: “It was a strange cultural shift at first, but in PR you learn all about communication, and that’s something I’ve had to use for myself as well as on paper.

“I know I’m an excellent communicator, so I use that skill in order to build relationships with my clients and I’ve seen the reward.”

It’s not just PR that has had to make a shift into the digital world. Steve Hough from Regital, the country’s only digital platform partner, discussed how traditional advertising has had to move with our obsession with digital.

“In old adverts, you bought a billboard, were the only advertiser on there until your contract ran out and that was that. Digital billboards came in, and you had less ‘air time’ but they were more than twice as effective,” says Steve.

“Making ads digital hasn’t come with its issues. 90% of the data we have created has been in the last two years. In marketing, often we try to utilise this data too much and we don’t engage with the creative community we have. You can be as clever as you want with ad placement, but if you haven’t thought about the creative they you aren’t going to engage people.”

Building great relationships with your agency

Our final session of the day was a lively panel hosted by Dan Nolan, Managing Director of theEword and included AJ Handley-Rowe – Marketing Consultant, Sian English – Head of Multichannel at seventy7 and Sarah Glynn – Marketing Manager at Kuits Solicitors.

The panel discussed how to build a great relationship with your agency.

Sian believes people often just use agencies to complete a project, rather than take advantage of the creative minds your agency employs: “Often you have employed an agency because you haven’t got the capacity for a creative team. Agencies can provide you with content and be the ‘doer’ but you should use them to think for you too. Have a healthy balance and don’t be stingy with your budget.”

The latter point making it clear which side of the fence Sian sits on. Sarah Glynn is Marketing Manager at Kuits Solicitors and while a large company, the team is only small and therefore employs an agency for various reasons including web development and graphic design.

How difficult is it to build rapport with your agency?

“We utilise the skillsets of our agency well I feel,” says Sarah. “As a business we’re moving away from the opinion that you only get value from people when they’re sat a desk working five days a week, so why would we expect an agency to be on it 24/7? I do expect to know when they’ll be working on what we need doing and when I’m likely to receive it, though.”

Cost is a huge thing that comes into play when using agencies. How can you ensure you’re choosing the correct one that is giving you the best value for money?

AJ Handley-Rowe is a freelance marketing consultant and has previously worked in-house and in agency. Cost is something that came up on both sides of the fence. “The powers that be often think about just giving social media especially to an intern and expecting great results.

“Social media has become a huge skill in the modern day and these young people need guidance and nurturing in order to thrive. It comes down to the fast, good cheap triangle. You can be cheap and fast, but it won’t be good, or cheap and good but it won’t be fast etc.”

The Digital Marketing Conference was the latest in a long line of sector group events. If you’re interested in getting more involved in our sector programme, please get in touch with our Sector Group Manager Ilona Alcock [email protected]