Tag Archives: advertising

Memoirs of a Marketing Man

24 Jul

By Tim Mckane

1 – How I got my start….nepotism…

Cookstown Sausages Image

I was sitting at the dinner table in May 1968. It was sunny (wasn’t it always). There were butterflies flitting in and out of the open windows, and bees buzzing around the roses that were beginning to bloom. The shafts of sunlight showed the midges having a great time.

We were sitting down to a salad. A real salad, not one of your new fangled comes in a pot with lots of peppers. This was a hard-boiled egg, a tomato, a slice or two of ham, some lettuce, there was only one kind of lettuce, green and floppy, some new potatoes and dollops of salad cream.

Dad looked up.

“Guess who I was talking to today?”

I guessed. Bobby Charlton. No, Dennis Law. No. The Queen?

“George Best”

No. Impossible. No-one spoke to George Best. He was a God. He was the superstar of Manchester United. He had scored in the European Cup final a couple of weeks before. He had beaten Scotland single handed. He was my one and only hero.

“He’s agreed to do an ad for us. Cookstown Sausages.”

The rest is history. I got to meet George, in Newtownards at a Northern Ireland training session. He was a nice guy, and I was very nervous and small (that changed, the last time I met George I was my fully grown 6-4).

But when Dad talked about the ads that he made, he would always bring it back to the reason for Cookstown paying George £500 and for the media time on UTV.

Sales went from five tons a week to over 100 tons a week.  Ivan Bell, the sales manager at the time, told me about saying to the van drivers that if George scored (a goal) to tell the shopkeepers to remind the Mums, and they would buy another packet of sausages.

I started work when still at school in the afternoon. I worked in the summer, doing anything that was needed, including reception, answering calls, driving the van to the papers to deliver the copy. I learned how to use the bromide camera (high tech).

Yes, I got my opportunity through nepotism, but I also put my time in. I didn’t put on a suit until I was 24, and by then knew all about production, media and creative (Letraset anyone?)

And I knew the secret. It is all about sales.



A Simple Guide to Twitter Advertising

22 Jul

By Viki McAdoo

Facebook has become the social media advertising king in recent times but Twitter has started to challenge it in some pretty interesting ways. I’m going to give you a quick crash course in how to get your mind around Twitter advertising.

Twitter Advertising Blog

Set up your credit card details and you’ll get £25 free advertising credit from the powers that be at Twitter!

There are a couple of options for campaign types on Twitter, I’ll explain them below.

Twitter Advertising 2

Promoted Tweets are…

Like regular Tweets but they get a little boost. They come up in Twitter feeds like normal Tweets but have a little “promoted” symbol below them. Of course they can still be retweeted, replied to and favourited. They will reach more people and are great to encourage click-throughs to your websites or can promote events your business has coming up, plus a lot more.

photo credit: opensourceway via photopin cc
Twitter Advertising Promoted Tweet

Promoted Accounts are…

Suggested Twitter accounts that users may be interested in but do not follow yet. You’ll spot them under the “who to follow” suggestions. They are great for reaching potential followers who have a real interest or affiliation with your brand. Promoted accounts are about seeing the bigger picture – rather than just aiming for numbers of followers it is about gaining followers who will drive leads and purchases further down the line.

Twitter Advertising Promoted Account

App instalments & engagements are…

Tweets which focus on promoting either the download of apps or the engagement of users through their apps. They offer users the chance to download the app if they do not already have it, or open it if they have already downloaded it. These are great for targeting people who already have an interest in similar apps and are likely to download your app.

Promoted App

Once you have selected what type of ad is going to produce the best results for your aims fill in the relevant details like campaign name and you start and end dates. If you choose to do an app instalment campaign there are a few extras you’ll need like the app ID which would will get here:

App ID Twitter Advertising

At this stage you will also have to choose between App downloads OR App engagements. For a lot of companies app downloads may seem like the obvious choice but it all depends on what stage you app is in its product life cycle. Promoting it to users that have already struck up a relationship with your brand can be a great way to reignite fresh interest and increase active app users.


Targeting on Twitter is a little different to the targeting you may do for other digital marketing methods. There are four choices for targeting on Twitter:

  • Keywords
  • Interests and followers
  • Television
  • Tailored

Not every option is available for each type of advertising but I’ll give you an overview.


It is always important to select your location carefully. For each campaign I would set the location to Northern Ireland, rather than waste impressions on people who are outside the target area.

Watch out for this each time you are setting up a new campaign.

Twitter Location Setting

If I was a Garden Centre and I was trying to advertise on Twitter, this is how I could use each of the methods…

Targeting using keywords

This is basically using keywords on interests, topics people Tweet about or topics people engage with to grasp and audience that will have an interest in your product. So for my florist I would use:

  • Flowers
  • Gardening
  • Garden
  • BBQ
  • Lawn

To find out more about Broad matches and Phrase matches click here and learn about match types.

Targeting using interests and followers

It is beneficial to target users on their specific interests but to target followers takes a little thought. Before delving into this it is worth researching competitors on Twitter as well as people of public interest in the area you are targeting. For my Garden Centre in Newtownards I would target the following:

Twitter Targeting using followers

The box on the right hand side give lots of useful information about how the targeting will affect your campaign.

#TopTip make sure you put as @ sign and the exact user name of the account you want to use.

By then adding in an interest category can broaden your reach…

Twitter Targeting Followers and Interests

Targeting using television

Targeting using television can be a great way to reach emerged used who are already interested in your topic but it is also a clever way to think outside the box (excuse the pun) and think about users other interests that may not be directly linked to your product. I have used a mixture of gardening TV shows, a TV personality and soaps to reach potential new customers in the area.

Twitter TV Targeting Advertising

Targeting using tailored audiences

Tailored audiences can be used to reach audiences by outlining potential and existing clients. You can base these lists on web browsing behaviour – such as people who have visited the barbeque section of the Garden Centre site, – email address or Twitter IDs – all which may already be managed in a CRM system.

The further customisation of your campaign can be done in a couple of ways, these are outlined below:

  • Customize where Promoted Tweets appear (users timelines or search results). This will depend on
  • Limit targeting to specific devices (iPad, iPhone, Android etc.) This is useful when promoting App instalments for specific devices and impressions are not wasted.
  • Limit targeting my gender
  • Limit targeting by language
  • Limit targeting by excluding list audiences (using email or Twitter ID lists)


Twitter offers you a couple of budgeting options

Twitter Advertising Budgets

It is always good to put in a total budget even though it is optional. This help keep campaigns within budgets and is more manageable. Daily budgets are required and by setting them alongside a total budget you can calculate the possible length of your campaign.


Standard: Your ad will be shown as evenly as possible throughout the day

Accelerated: Ads are shown as often as possible from 00:00 onwards. This is very rarely a useful pacing technique unless your aim is simply brand awareness.


For Promoted Tweets and Accounts you will also need to select the Tweet you want to promote. Doing this manually ensure you are promoting the message you want to and are creating a campaign all based around the same promotion. You can also do it automatically for Promoted Tweets. This lets Twitter promote up to five of your best recent Tweets with the highest engagements. However this doesn’t mean you will get the best results or the message across that you want.

The key to setting up a successful Twitter campaign is clearly outlining your aims before you start and then working out which targeting method will get the best results for you. This can take a while at the start but advertising on Twitter is a great method for reaching potential clients who have already expressed an interest in either your type of product or the general area you work in.





Creativity – a challenge and an opportunity.

23 Jun

Tim McKane

So there you are…in a small café in Malaga, sipping your coffee and anisette, when a small man walks in carrying some paintings. He approaches and opens a canvas. The painting is weird. It is all angular people, who look nothing like real people. There are bits of noses and eyes distorted around the canvas. It is terrible.

Except it is by Picasso. He has taken formative painting and turned it on its head, and if you had bought that painting for a few pesetas, your family could now retire in total luxury, as the painting would be worth millions.


Being creative is a challenge. Buying creative work is an even bigger risk, as your points of reference have to be put on the back burner. If you are looking at, or hearing something totally different, completely new, you will find it hard to absorb it and enjoy it. Creativity is difficult to enjoy. The critics hated early Picasso. They didn’t know what he was up to, and so rejected it.

In digital marketing the challenge is now to create new and relevant content, but is it to be creative in the nature of art, literature or music. Television advertising has been pillaging the popular music canon for years now, taking songs that are well known and attaching their brand. (I have hear Whole Lotta Love by Led Zeppelin and Darling be Home Soon by John Sebastian – the Joe Cocker version is worth a listen – during the World Cup, for Dior and McDonalds.)

With online content marketing there is a huge challenge to get people to look at, listen to, or read your content (like this blog). If I went off and tried to write like Joyce wrote Ulysses, then you wouldn’t have got this far.
Is this blog actually creative? Well, I am creating is, as it didn’t exist until I typed….thi…s…letteR.
But creating something is not necessarily being creative, as in proposing a new idea, challenging normal thinking, or inventing a new piece of technology.

People will read things that are of interest to them, but will remember if they are well written, original in their thought process, and come at a different angle. Your customers will want you to engage them, and therefore you will need to know what they are interested in learning, and reward them for spending time with your brand. Simply pushing sales messages will not do it, you need to push engagement that will lead to a sale.

Here are five tips to creating content.

1. Take some time to think about your customers – actual ones, people you know, and think about how they interact online.

2. What are they buying your product for, how can you help their lives. I wrote an ad once – “When John Smith installed Unibol Software, his golf handicap went down three shots” the benefit to John was more time, less worrying.

3. Tell a story or two. Like I just did. In number 2.

4. Look at what your competitors are up to. Do something different.

5. Take a risk. Being bold creates memories. Put a man in a gorilla suit, behind a set of drums, with a Phil Collins track, and sell chocolate.

How to quickly make more of mobile visitors using apps

29 May

By Jonny Cameron

Most new clients we work with still aren’t making the most of visitors from mobile devices. There are more of these visitors, yet they are buying less.

Look at your website analytics. For most ecommerce businesses we have worked with in the past six months, mobile traffic exceeds desktop and even tablet traffic. But look at the conversion rate. The pattern is clear, unless the site is responsive to mobile devices, mobile traffic will have a higher bounce rate, spend less time on the site and visit fewer pages than desktop traffic. So, it’s either time to design your site specifically for mobile or look at new ways for mobile visitors to interact with your brand.

Smart phone usage

The Appoggiatura

In recent years the heading to this section would have been “get appy”, “be appy” or “shiny appy people”. But look at me, like a smart arse I’ve been on dictionary.com and found a big word starting with “app”.

Anyway… get an app version of your site made! 

People are downloading apps like never before. As mobile internet usage continues to dramatically increase, having an app makes sense if you’re an ecommerce business.

Earlier this year Apple announced that nearly 60 billion apps have now been downloaded in total and there are over a million in the Apple app store, with an average of 25,000 to 30,000 added every month. There’s big competition to get your app noticed, but there are loads of people to market your app to.

For businesses selling online, the message is clear! Get an app, and do it soon. Then market it properly, here’s how.

Promote your app with paid search advertising

The more downloads your app gets, the more visibility it is likely to receive in the Apple store and Google Play store. In order to get more downloads you’ll need to promote it.

One of the quickest ways is paid search advertising and with Google’s recent changes they’re making it easier than ever to target the right customers, including:

  • Advertising your app within other apps. If people have already downloaded a fashion app, the chances are that they’ll be interested in yours.
  • Promote it in search results for mobile devices only. This is a great way to serve an ad that links to your download page when a potential customer searches for something relevant to your product or services.
  • Use app-promotion ads to link directly to the Google play store or the Apple store. These only show on mobile devices and give you the option to include a title, description and price.  This represents a real opportunity to show reviews and persuade people to download.
  • Measure! You can of course track download performance, see which ad types, channels and networks are leading to more downloads.

There is also a value in serving ads  to people that have already downloaded your app. This could be to request a review or remind them that they’ve downloaded! Recent studies indicate that only 16% of people use an app more than once. Usefulness is obviously a big factor here, ecommerce apps in the fashion industry are always more likely to be used than the farmyard animal noises app.  The more reviews you get, the more visibility you are likely to have in the app stores, not to mention the more likely you are to persuade others to download.

Good old fashioned online PR

Use your existing network to spread the message, review the app and take up any offer of a free trial you might have. If you’re a company with an existing email database, let them know. If you have an engaged social media community, offer them a trial or a period for free if they review it. If nothing else you’ll get some valuable feedback.

Find journalists, online experts and social media influencers that have reviewed similar  apps. They might be more likely to review yours and let people know about it.

Show people how it works

Demonstrate how your app works using a video demonstration. This can then be promoted on video channels, but it also gives the app greater credibility and removes more barriers to people downloading it. Visuals of what the app looks like will also work.

Creating an app may seem like a luxury, especially if you’ve only just revamped your website. But if your mobile traffic isn’t converting, it’s time to invest in the future.

photo credit: JD Hancock via photopin cc

Microsoft Scroogled Again

21 Mar

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. If you heard an almighty thump recently coming from Redmond, Washington, it was probably the sound of Microsoft falling from their high horse.

Email Wars
The Softies have spent considerable time and effort recently painting themselves as the good guys to Google’s bad guys in the Outlook.com v Gmail war. Jonny wrote in depth about it here, but in essence, they championed their “we don’t scan your email” approach whereas “evil Google” do.



So far, so good. Except no one told the marketing department that Microsoft do scan your inbox and, worse, actually have people read your mail. Where’s the ethical high horse now?

Microsoft have been going to great lengths to tell anyone who will listen that they’ve done nothing wrong. The T&Cs of Hotmail, Outlook.com’s predecessor, allowed them to read the bloggers email and they were looking for someone stealing corporate secrets.

Maybe that makes it all OK. But if you position your company as the ethical white knight, you can’t throw that positioning out of the window because it’s a bit inconvenient.

Much like when Google admitted scanning emails for marketing purposes, this revelation is unlikely to lead to millions of users dumping their accounts and switching service. But there is a salient lesson in there for marketing teams and corporate culture.

Brand lesson
Your brand isn’t just what’s written on your posters, published on your website or rolled out in marketing campaigns with amusing titles. It’s the sum total of what people think and feel about your company when they see or interact with your firm.

Microsoft have fallen into the trap of operating in silos (maybe that’s inevitable with over 100,000 people in the company) but it doesn’t have to be this way.

When you’re developing your digital marketing, remain authentic to what your company is and what your company does. Just because you’re operating on social media doesn’t mean you have to start talking like da kidz. We’ve got a name for that here at Navajo: putting a baseball hat on it. And we don’t like it!

Be credible, be authentic, let your brand emerge from within the company and reflect back at your stakeholders – customers, shareholders, staff – what it means to them. Don’t try and chase cheap column inches or get one up on competitor with short term gimmicks because, as Microsoft has shown, that’s a good way to find yourself scroogled.

Ireland, Digital Marketing And The Big Bang

20 Mar

Okay. I’ll admit it. The Big Bang makes my head hurt.

So when I hear that the people who seem to have a level of creative thinking (one that makes my development of a number of good, indeed prize winning, advertising campaigns seem somewhat mundane) talk about the beginning of the universe, I get lost.

For example, where did the Big Bang happen thirteen odd billion years ago? Apparently that is the wrong question, as it happened everywhere at once, or something along those lines. And what did it bang into? Don’t go there…

Ireland Inspires The World

So here is my take on it, inspired a little by the #irelandinspires video on YouTube.

The Irish, both North and South, have expanded like a big bang across the world. Starting on a small island with a tiny population, we now see that there are millions of Irish people spread across the world, particularly in the US. Everywhere you go there will be someone who knows someone who knows you…if you are from Ireland. (Other people from other countries don’t believe this – but it is true).

Space Invaders

The expansion of digital and social media has mirrored the expansion of the Irish. The video game Space Invaders gave us the first hint of things to come. In one summer every player knew the cheats. How, before the internet? Simply by word of mouth (we are talking 1979 here). People exchanged information that must have come from one person working for Atari, and it exploded around the world. In Belfast, Fergie brought it back to us from the US.

Now you have connections everywhere all the time. Facebook, Twitter, Google, LinkedIn, Instagram, Whatsapp, Tumblr and more are the multiple big bangs of communications. You can trace these. From a bedroom in Harvard, an office in California, a garage in Idaho (I think I made that one up). And like the Big Bang they are expanding at an exponential rate, with more people spending more time on more forms of communication than ever before.

So we start with the Universe, go to Ireland and end up with digital media – what does it tell you?

That I wrote a blog inspired by two things; St. Patrick and a tremor in the first trillionth of a trillionth of a second…

What a difference democracy makes…

8 Nov

Barak Obama has been re-elected.
At Navajo we are pleased. We have a natural affinity with Obama, and his slightly liberal position on most things, in the context of being American and all that.
But what I really like in the American election is the high intensity of the engagement between candidates and the electorate. People travel for hours to listen to speeches, they join pressure groups, they engage on social media and blog sites, they gather for the results and whoop and holler.
The news media in the UK like this, They talk about it, and to people in the US about it. The turnout in the election this month was slightly short of the record of 2008, but that is seen largely as a result of Hurricans Sandy on the East Coast states.
But the same media in the UK also take a unified position that the amount spent on the campaigns is somehow wrong. They seem to think that the money goes up in smoke, rather than being spent and entering the economy (a common mistake when discussing marketing spend).
So could there be a correlation between the amount invested in the campaigns and the engagement across age, gender, social and geographic boundaries. Maybe, just maybe, the use of advertising and digital communications, with messages often about specificc policies and actions, gives the American people a much better understanding of the issues that they are being asked to adjudicate upon. Perhaps by spending time and money talking to the voter, and using the channels that they will see, the US system is better than ours.
At our last election one of the biggest talking points was falling participation. Perhaps there should be a look at the barriers to advertising that exist in the current system.