Tag Archives: strategy

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 The ‘big box’ out of towns stores which can be over 100,000 square feet are already out of date in the digital age, as more and more people go online to search and buy a wider range of goods.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.


Affinity Matters

12 Feb

By Tim Mckane

Here’s the thing. The tendering process. What do you think of it? Is it fair? Are people really clinical in how they approach the assessment of the entries? Or are they influenced by having a relationship or knowledge of the people or company that is tendering. And can digital marketing help you influence the outcome of the process.

brand affinity

There was an experiment done in the US. Two groups of students were given identical maths problems to solve. They were unsolvable. The experiment was to determine affinity levels. The introduction to the tasks for group one described the person who set them and gave his birthday as being exactly the same as each individual in that group. The second group had no reference to his birthday.

So what difference did it make? That one small piece of information.

Group one, the birthday group, worked harder to solve the problems. OK. But how much harder? A little, a lot?

They worked 60% harder. That’s right. 60%. Harder, longer, more. Because they shared a birthday with the imaginary person named on the paper.

So how does that make a difference to a tender process.
We often get told by companies that search marketing, or being on social media, or having a strong LinkedIn presence would not help the marketing process as they are in a tender based industry. But if that small change shown above can influence people so strongly, then is it too much of a leap to say that creating awareness, and therefore affinity, could influence how a tender is marked.

If someone has been to your website, and to get there they will have had to find it, and spent some time finding out about you, or have been impressed by your enthusiasm for new business and the dynamic way you present your brand, then do you think it will make a difference.

If they then go to your LinkedIn profile and see the other people that work with you and the successes you have had in the past, will they move that mark up or down?

And your Twitter feed is up to date, and has really interesting and useful links to stories that they want to read.

You are creating affinity with people that you have maybe never met, but who might want to meet you.

And if you have invested in your digital footprint, and that tender that you thought was an outside chance has come in, then what value do you put on that marketing?

Digital marketing creates affinity. It starts at the top of the funnel with awareness, and then opens the doors to creating conversions, and making more profit.

photo credit: Celeste via photopin cc

Content Marketing – the view from a rock star

26 Feb

By Jonny Cameron

You may have heard of Radiohead? A British band formed in the early 90s, they’ve gone on to sell over 30 million records through harnessing the anxieties of misfit lead-singer Thom Yorke and later evolving and experimenting with a far more challenging sound that is unrecognisable from their earlier work (but people still take notice because it’s Radiohead).

Frontman Thom Yorke has gone on to become a poster boy for political disaffection with polemic views on the Iraq war, Tony Blair’s government and an album (Hail to the thief) that was named after his misgivings about the American Electoral system, which saw George W Bush sworn in.

What’s this got to do with content marketing you may ask?

In a recent interview with the Observer Yorke made the following provocative comment about content marketing:

“They would show us letters from big media companies offering us millions in some mobile phone deal or whatever it was, and they would say all they need is some content. I was like, what is this ‘content’ which you describe? Just a filling of time and space with stuff, emotion, so you can sell it?”

Whilst not being derogatory about content marketing as an industry, he does (inevitably) see the concept of creating something solely to sell as deleterious.

Let’s face it, marketing is about selling and content marketing is no different.

Whilst he is primarily a musician, Yorke is also (unwittingly) a very clever content marketer. It’s also, I’d imagine, slightly easier to espouse the “art for art’s sake” ethos after selling £30 million records and building up a loyal following of fans.

I don’t doubt that Thom Yorke is creating music for music’s sake first and foremost, unlike being commissioned to write a song for a mobile phone advert. But he’s clearly never had trouble writing music that sells.

Stimulating emotion

The keyword that stands out in Yorke’s quote is “emotion”.  As content marketers the vast majority of what we are doing is building relationships and authority through providing content on social media networks, blogging sites and email, that is both relevant and valuable. We’re generating content for existing customers and potential customers through prolonged engagement.

If your content is all about you or your products and services, the vast majority of people are going to struggle to be interested.

The Non-Promotion-Self-Promotion

For years Thom Yorke has been the master of the non-performance performance. The slightly aloof, avant garde enigma whose musical prowess can never be doubted because of its constant evolution. He could make a fortune by filling stadiums and playing songs from the mid-nineties, but he doesn’t. Why? Because he doesn’t need the money, perhaps?

Let’s also assume that being avant garde is in itself a good marketing strategy (As previously mentioned Radiohead have already sold in excess of 30 million albums, so they’ve been doing something right).

While everything that the band stand for points to being anti-establishment in some form or another, the reality is that capitalism (the sort of capitalism where content is a commodity) defeated the avant garde long ago by accepting it as another genre (not my words, someone else’s, but I’ve forgotten whose).

There is a vast audience out there for Thom York and Radiohead; of people who like politicised music; of people who admire an artist’s cantankerous approach to the media, giving every interview, appearance or public comment an even greater scarcity factor. It’s an approach that, for some, is the perfect antidote to the clean-cut, box-ticking and hoop-jumping that the endless churn of reality TV pop-stars go through.

It’s still a content marketing strategy

But, this approach is nonetheless a marketing strategy. The starting point is the music (the content) that in its own right is challenging, emotive and (in my opinion) pretty damn good. But the promotion of this content is something else.

Marketing techniques have ranged from giving albums away online and asking customers to pay only what they think it’s worth – to interviews, like the one at the weekend, where we (the Radiohead fans) relish the opportunity to see what our hero has been up to; to see what knew, noble cause he is adopting; to hark at his collaboration with other big artists as he spurns stereotype and continues to rip up “the rule-book”; to admire the description of him enjoying anonymity, despite the location for the interview being a busy Shoreditch café.

This newspaper article is a great piece of content marketing for Yorke, it is content marketing at its finest and while he may never admit it – one result will be that it will help him sell more things.

(source- wendmag.com)

(source- wendmag.com)

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.