Tag Archives: marketing

Tesco – who, what, when, where, why?

28 Jul

By Tim McKane


Tesco is in the news again. Sales are falling, they are being hit by the arrival of Lidl and Aldi. The ‘big box’ out of towns stores which can be over 100,000 square feet are already out of date in the digital age, as more and more people go online to search and buy a wider range of goods. (Remember how short a time it is since people were saying that they would not buy on line?)

There are numerous changes in the market that will be impacting on Tesco. But I think that it is an old marketing element that has caused a lot of their problems.


Brands need clarity. People need to know that a brand will deliver a solution. The core value of Tesco when it was moving with a head of steam to become the largest retailer in the country by some way, was that they were the best value grocery stores with a great range at the best prices.

But that has changed. A visit to the store in Knocknagoney, recently refurbished tells us all we need to know.

Walk in the front door and you are met with all sorts of new in store shops. A phone shop. A beauty and pharmacy area. Clothes. Toys. Kitchen equipment. Electrical goods. Books. Videos.

But I want a loaf of bread.

And for that I have to walk to the very back of the store. So guess what. I am not going to drop into Tesco unless we need a number of items. I do drop into Tesco, and I wander around looking and browsing the wide range of goods, but how many TVs do I need?

The mind of the consumer is the life blood of a brand, and that is where Tesco need to fight the fight. Lidl and Aldi are delivering groceries at low prices. Simple.

If I were managing Tesco Knocknagoney, I would be thinking about putting the groceries at the front of the store. People are not stupid. They know that they are being sold to, but the main reason for going to Tesco is to buy food, not other goods, so don’t try to sell them first. Yes the margins are better, but if you start to lose your core brand values, it can be a real struggle to get them back.

Offline or online – it is still essential to stay true to your brand – and that is where Tesco have lost their way.


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…

Love Valentine’s Day? Not really

20 Feb
love bacon this valentine's day

Mmmmm bacon

Valentine’s Day is a time to show your love. Reach out to that special person and show them they mean something to you. I love Valentine’s Day. But…

Why do marketers keep gate-crashing the party? I saw a tweet from a supplier yesterday which had me laughing and checking the amount of rubbish in my inbox. It said:

“If you sell spark plugs or skiing equipment or horse saddles and you send me a Valentine’s message, I will block you”

Some swearing may have been removed from this quote!

Who Loves Me? Everyone

In my inbox yesterday I had Valentine’s messages from HubSpot, ShortStack, AppSumo, Nestle, Optify, Love Rugby League, Starbucks and iTunes. Do you know how much I love all of these brands? That’s right, not one bit. I find some of them useful, I even like receiving some of the content they send me, but I don’t go to bed at night dreaming of them. And worse, I can’t even remember what any of them were selling to me yesterday.

Stand out from the crowd

If you’re looking for opportunities for your brand to stand out, is Valentine’s Day really the right time? Do you have a message that is relevant, memorable and will cut through the noise, because if you don’t, why bother sending it?

When you’re planning your marketing activity, certain times of year jump out as “must do” – you can name them all because the seasonal aisle in the supermarket is usually taken over by them. Christmas, Valentine’s, Easter, Mother’s Day, Fathers Day, Hallowe’en, Bonfire Night… there’s a commercial opportunity in all of these and more.

But look at your brand first: what does it stand for, who is it appealing to, who buys your product? There’s no need to waste time on a nice to do campaign when you could spend more of your precious time focusing on the must do campaigns.

Andi Jarvis

You can find Andi on Google+, Twitter or LinkedIn

Microsoft can go and Scroogle themselves

13 Feb

Avid users of Facebook may have thought that there was no greater digital indignity than being fraped. Well, you may want to look away, as the chances are you’ve been scroogled. You may even be the subject of a jolly good scroogling as you read this.

Microsoft has launched a new marketing campaign that (not so subtly) cuts to the core of what they believe to be Google’s lack of respect for users’ privacy. The debate focuses on ads that appear when you log into your Gmail and are served as a response to the type of emails you’ve been receiving (something which Microsoft Outlook claim not to do). The Gmail ads service is also related to your Google searches and behaviour across other Google services. The perceived invasion of privacy is the issue.

The Scroogle Campaign

Firstly let’s take a look at what cynics have been saying about the Microsoft Scroogle campaign, via Twitter:

James Young‏ @welcomebrand is unimpressed with the new Microsoft website (so much so that he pluralises “lol”):

#Scroogled will go viral not because it’s about privacy but because people will lolz at the design work
& copywriting? http://Scroogled.com

DCUInstituteOfEthics ‏@DCUEthics is an ethical man who can’t spell “campaign”, but we know what he means:

Microsoft fair and unbiased campagne against @Google http://www.scroogled.com #scroogled what
about governmental access to Skype/Hotmail?

Ross‏ @Hypn sounds both saddened and disappointed:

http://scroogled.com is without a doubt the most desperate and pathetic marketing attempt ever. Bad
Microsoft, so so bad. #scroogled #fb

Juan Marquez ‏@jmquez thinks Microsoft are desperate:

What do companies do when their competitors are more innovative and offer better services?
#scroogled is a good example of this #fail

Over at scroogled.com (don’t make the mistake I did and miss out the d), there is a video in which a man is being served “full service bankruptcy” ads after his friend emails him to say “Hey Jeff I’ve been to that new pie place so many times we may have to take out a second mortgage”.

See the video here.

I’d be more concerned about the nosey lady looking over his shoulder and the physical health of his friend (don’t spend all your money on pies kids).

Are keyword ads really that tenuous?

Being a modern man I often receive emails from my mum that end with the sign off “love mum”… Why am I not being served ads about loving mums? (Probably because only family-safe ads appear in Gmail… thanks a lot Google!)

I rarely receive an ad that hones in on particular keywords however. Most are relevant to a broader theme. The email below is about a marketing summit and the ads are generally about digital marketing services

Most email providers are able to search through the keywords in your emails anyway – it’s how they check for spam. It doesn’t mean that there is a crack team of email-peepers, sitting in a darkened room and cackling deliriously as they absorb all of your inner-secrets.

As Google says “Ad targeting in Gmail is fully automated, and no humans read your email or Google Account information in order to show you advertisements or related information.” That’s not to say it isn’t all being stored in a massive data warehouse, ready to bite you on the bum when judgement day comes – but life’s too short to be worrying about judgement day.

And let’s not forget, if you don’t like receiving ads, you can also change to the HTML reading version or change your preferences.

Websites have long been able to track user movements across the web. The EU cookie law implemented last year made way for slightly more transparency, but how many internet users truly know how their behaviour is being monitored and what it is being used for?

Paul Rubin, a professor of economics at Emory University in Atlanta argues that internet users are richly rewarded for their personal data and that ultimately the data is used to help make a better internet experience.

What does this mean for marketers?

An Experian report in November 2012 showed that Google’s market share in the UK had dropped below 90% of all searches for the first time in five years (to 89.33%).

But before you go closing your Gmail accounts and ripping up those “I heart Google” tee-shirts, the gap between Google and its competitors is still colossal. The closest challenger is Microsoft’s Bing, up to around 4.71% market share. Google still has 18 times more searches than any other search engine in the UK.

For digital marketers, this means that the vast majority of your customers will continue to trust Google if the ads they are served are relevant. It’s therefore in Google’s best interests to make sure that the most relevant ads are displayed.

The reality is that for businesses using Google as a marketing tool, the challenge continues to be one of relevance. How do you attract relevant traffic? The data is there to help you to do this and (as a by-product) the majority of web-users experiences will also be one of relevance – from finding cheap flights, to discovering products and services they never knew they needed.

We’re all adults here, thanks Microsoft… which is why I’m off to look at some mother-loving websites.

How relevant are the ads you see in you Gmail? Do you care?


Who should manage your social media strategy?

22 Jan

Who manages your social media?

Social media etiquetteI made a presentation at BizCamp Craigavon last weekend based around my blog about the re-launch of MySpace and how to decide what social media channels a company needs to use. There was a varied audience – public sector, voluntary sector and a number of SMEs.

Regardless of the size of the organisation, they all had similar problems – how to effectively use social as part of their marketing strategy. However, one thing that varied across every company I spoke to was who manages social.

Marketing, PR, brand managers, receptionist, work experience, the ‘young person’ in the office, owner/manager, sales… it seemed that every company had a different idea of where social should sit.
So where should social media sit?

This isn’t necessarily a problem. It’s better that social sits with someone who has the time, understands the channel and wants to see it work. But, and this is a big but, it shouldn’t just sit with someone who shows an interest, it should be in the hands of an expert.

I often ask companies if they would let the work experience student make their TV ads. Or their radio ads. Or design their brochures. The answer is always no. Would they let the ‘young person’ in the office go on TV and talk company policy to the evening news? Absolutely not.

So why let these junior staff make public statements on their behalf?

What does social media cost?

The mantra I try to preach to companies is this:

“Social media is free, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t cost anything”

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn*, Pinterest, WordPress etc etc… they’re all free. Account sign up takes seconds and hey presto! you’ve got a potential audience of billions all eagerly awaiting your company’s announcements. Unfortunately it doesn’t work like that. You need to invest time in content: free up staff to create and curate stories, develop infographics and/or produce video that your market might be interested in.

Content marketing

Your company needs to work on a content strategy for each social channel and think like publishers, not marketers. No one really cares about your organisation’s corporate social responsibility, interest levels are low about your new packaging and press releases are only useful to the press. As Tara Hunt mentions in this superb blog, there is no magic content wand.

It’s not easy, but it’s best to adopt a ‘less is more policy’: if you can’t feed the social media beast content, don’t let it out of the cage. It’s better to do one channel well, managed by someone with authority and company knowledge, than have five channels with thin content managed by the wee man on reception.

You can’t afford to just DO social; you have to BE social to succeed.

Andi Jarvis
You can find Andi on Google+, Twitter or LinkedIn

* Yes, I know, LinkedIn has a paid version, so does WordPress, but they are free forever if you choose.

The Digital Space lets brands be…well brands…

26 Nov

I have worked with brands for many years. I have read so many definitions of a brand that it is difficult to sort the personality from the ambition, the assets from the engagement.
The digital age is a time for brands. The opportunity to get together with customers, engage with them, tell them stories and respond to their needs has never been better.
Good brands have always been good story tellers. They let people know about their heritage, their skills, the workforce and the products. Christmas is a time for b2c brands, and for many the arrival of the Coke lorries, the Marks and Spencer and John Lewis tv ads, along side the tree and the nativity, make the season come alive.
But those are still big idea driven ad campaigns. The opportunity in the digital age is to send out numerous small stories. I recently toured a factory in the food sector, and couldn’t help getting excited about the opportunity to tell multiple stories about the brand. Their suppliers each have their own story, from different countries, involving real people and characters. The manufacturing process was amazing, with machines in a sparklingly clean factory, producing and packaging the product. Machines from Germany and Italy, from companies with stories to tell that would be interesting to consumers.
Brands have always wanted to mean more to their customers than simply the name of the product. The logo is a means of identifying the brand, which itself carries around all the practical and emotional experiences created by brand interactions.
Show a class of school pupils the Mercedes logo, step back and be amazed at their level of knowledge about the company, from its geography to the positioning in the market.
Now those school kids are on line, researching their homework, talking to friends, listening to music, reviewing films, playing games, using multiple social media channels, sharing photos and entering competitions.
The challenge for brands is to play in that space, to be engaging, but once that has been achieved, to keep going, by telling interesting stories that encourage interaction.