This Wednesday, we were delighted to host our first ever event in Birmingham – the Midlands Marketing Forum. Bringing together marketers and business leaders from across retail, financial services, manufacturing and more, the event explored some of the hottest topics in marketing today – from digital transformation to automation and AI.
Croud CEO and co-founder Luke Smith, who hosted the event, said, “Digital and technology are two key growth areas for Birmingham and the Midlands, and Croud is proud to be part of the digital landscape – with our largest office based in Shrewsbury, and several of our clients headquartered in the region. We’re excited to continue growing our presence in the Midlands, and our inaugural Midlands Marketing Forum represents a key step in that.”
The event involved several presentations and a panel discussion around international expansion, followed by drinks and networking on the 25th floor of Hotel Indigo. For those who couldn’t make it, here are some of the key talking points from the event.
Bridging the gap between on- and offline
Joining up on- and offline activity proved to be one of the key themes of the event, with retailers and manufacturers alike recognising the challenges and opportunities involved in connecting the digital and the physical.
Topps Tiles kicked things off by talking about their complex, multi-channel customer journey, and the difficulties involved in showing the true value of digital channels such as PPC when most conversions take place in their network of 368 stores.
Google Ads store visits data has proven invaluable in starting to join the dots, allowing the retailer to understand which campaigns, keywords, and devices drive the most store visits. Using this data, Croud and Topps Tiles optimise campaigns, leveraging device bid adjustments and fine-tuning ad copy and extensions for particular keyword combinations, for example. As a result, Topps Tiles has see an impressive uplift in both online traffic and store visits, as well as combined on- and offline revenue.
Global manufacturer CEMEX described surprisingly similar challenges, and talked the audience through the business’ ongoing digital transformation journey. A key part of this journey has been the development of CEMEX Go, an end-to-end digital platform that allows customers to manage their entire experience with CEMEX through the app – from ordering online to tracking deliveries in real-time.
Marketing without borders
Next up was a panel discussion on international expansion and marketing’s role in going global, including panelists from Grenade, Google, CEMEX, and West Midlands Growth Company.
One of the key themes that came out of the discussion was the importance of getting an in-depth understanding of each new market, and localising rather than simply translating. Juliet Barratt, CMO and co-founder of Grenade, shared some of her own lessons from her company’s meteoric international growth – including thinking about how your brand translates overseas, right down to your actual company name – did you know that ‘Grenade’ means ‘pomegranate’ in French, for example?
It’s also vital to be aware of any cultural nuances before launching into a new market. Juliet shared an example of Grenade attending a trade show in the Middle East with a female athlete and being extremely restricted in what they could do due to local customs.
Our panelist from Google also highlighted the vast range of tools available to help businesses that are going global – including their own Market Finder tool, which provides insight into potential markets ripe for expansion of your business, based on search volumes and other key metrics. Croud also has a handy guide to 9 export tools you need in your digital arsenal.
The future of our sector
Rounding off the event, our very own Kevin Joyner, Director of Planning & Insight at Croud, discussed some of the latest developments in media, technology and the law, and what they might mean for the wider marketing sector.
One of the key takeaways was that consumers are becoming not only increasingly tech-savvy, but also increasingly aware of their rights when it comes to personal data. At the same time, advertisers have more and more data, technology, and ways to be present in everyday life at their disposal. As a result, there’s unprecedented risk for advertisers to behave badly – whether that’s asking too much of consumers, being overly personal when it’s not expected, or selling instead of being helpful. As such, advertisers must strike a balance between not only capitalising on new tech, but also being honest, respectful, useful and human – in this automated age.
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