Last week, the fantastic marketing event, On
the Edge, took place in the Radisson Blu Hotel in Manchester.
Attended by marketers, business owners and PRs alike, the event
offered insight from key experts in the marketing industry about
how digital is shaping the sector and helping it evolve. And here
at The Candidate we were delighted to be the headline sponsor!
Guest speakers included Nick Bamber, head of digital media and
innovation at ASDA, John Bower, digital innovation specialist at
Hallmark Cards, Stefan Casey, business innovation manager at The
Retail Institute, and Louise Fowler, marketing director at First
The interactive event followed a slightly different format to
the normal structure of a conference, and after each speaker slot
attendees were asked to get involved in round-table sessions. The
round-tables discussed a question relevant to the topics covered by
that particular speaker and after each session, attendees were
asked to move to a different table in order to mix with other
professionals in the sector and discuss their thoughts. This
enhanced opportunities for networking and meant there was a real
conversation between marketers concerning the key themes emerging
throughout the afternoon.
In case you missed the event, here are a number of key takeaways
we wanted to share with you:
Linking online marketing to in-store
Nick from ASDA pointed out the strengths and weaknesses of
digital marketing and using it to engage with consumers and promote
In particular, he discussed the difficulty of measuring the
results of social media, especially for bricks and mortar stores.
If you put two completely different posts on your Facebook wall and
they both get a great response, for example, there is no way to
tell which might have contributed to a boost of customers going
into a store.
For an online business, you can measure traffic to the website
and see when it corresponds with specific social media posts, but
with bricks and mortar stores it can be much more difficult. Nick
pointed out that this should in no way prevent marketers from using
digital channels as marketing tools. It might be difficult to
attribute exactly where results are coming from, but generally the
use of tools like social media boost customer engagement, which is
likely to result in increased sales.
How new technology could shape marketing in the
John from Hallmark Cards discussed how marketers can
successfully integrate new technology into their campaigns and
strategies. Augmented Reality (technology that superimposes
computer-generated images into the eye line of the user) is
something that has been around for years, but soon, with the help
of products such as Google Glass, it could be something marketers
exploit to reach consumers in new and exciting ways.
He did point out, however, the uncertainty that can come with
this technology at its current stage and what this means for
businesses. Brands can jump to create something that will work well
with these technologies (some bigger brands no doubt will be doing
so already), but there is no certainty that consumers will be as
excited about these tools as their developers.
Round-table discussions seemed to mirror this. With many
contributors being start-ups themselves, they pointed out that it
is likely to be implausible for smaller businesses to use this as a
marketing tool as they may not be able to afford it. Consequently,
is it something that realistically will only be used by large
businesses with big budgets?
Does customer loyalty exist?
Louise discussed the issue of customer loyalty, and how a brand
can gain it.
Through being authentic and ensuring services are unrivalled by
competitors, consumers, she commented, are more likely to be
engaged with your brand and as a result can become more
First Direct, she said, is unique in that it is the only bank
that works solely online and over the phone, meaning these are the
only ways they can be contacted by customers. This, she said, gives
them a unique opportunity to offer a service to customers that
can't be matched by other banks. Customers contacting the bank will
be put straight through to a real person, no matter what time they
call, rather than going through a lengthy options process that is
often used by other businesses.
Feedback from customers suggests that this is working, and the
bank has been voted the UK's most loved bank.
What are the main drivers for the retail industry in
Stefan talked about the ways that marketers can optimise new
tools to boost their bottom line.
Generally, by using multi-sensory engagement, Stefan explained
that brands can grab users in a different way which will ultimately
maximise ROI. He gave the example of clothing store Hollister,
which pumps out a fragrance in its stores that customers then
attribute to the brand. eCommerce brands that don't have bricks and
mortar stores can also make the most of scent in their marketing.
Wrapping products in scented paper before posting them to customers
is another way to use this tool to grab their attention in a
Whether it's augmented reality, multi-sensory engagement, or
social media, using different tools to reach customers is the most
effective way to increase engagement, and through this, build a
customer base that may not have been reached with previous
With marketers increasingly integrating digital into their
strategies, the landscape is changing significantly. The On the
Edge conference was extremely insightful and feedback from
delegates and attendees suggests there is a real thirst for events
like this, which get attendees really involved in conversation. At
the moment, it is more important than ever for marketers to get
their heads together and find ways in which new tools can be
optimised for brand promotion.