Why The Way You Track Conversions Could Be Damaging Your Campaigns

Why The Way You Track Conversions Could Be Damaging Your Campaigns - Arianne Donoghue, Epiphany

As part of our build-up to next week’s Paid & Biddable Leaders Masterclass in Leeds, Epiphany’s Arianne Donoghue examines the area of campaign tracking, and how marketers can use cross-channel data to maximise their results.

One of the biggest challenges in marketing in recent years has been around tracking the value and efficacy of our campaigns. I believe that our focus on last-click conversions could be significantly damaging our marketing, but not in the way you think. This isn’t about attribution, after all.

As someone who’s worked in paid media for over a decade, I know that one of its biggest attractions is measurability – the way we know exactly what return we generate and can optimise to further increase it. However, one of the biggest flaws is the focus on last-click – which we know can lead to more of a focus on bottom-of-the-funnel activity, rather than looking at the top of the funnel and the initial interactions that customers make. We see this at a basic level in the performance of brand vs non-brand keywords and the sometimes poorly perceived value of Display campaigns.

While last-click and attribution are definitely part of the problem here, I’d like to suggest that our quest for ROI can also make things worse in some instances. Let me explain.

The Wrong KPIs

Let’s say that you’re running a Display Prospecting campaign. That sits pretty squarely in the top of the marketing funnel – most likely in the Awareness/Research stages.

Why The Way You Track Conversions Could Be Damaging Your Campaigns - Arianne Donoghue, Epiphany

Ultimately, what is the goal of a prospecting campaign? Eventually, we want it to drive sales/revenue, but this can take a long time – sometimes well beyond the scope of a regular 30 or 90-day cookie window. This is complicated further by the need for robust impression tracking in Analytics to understand when a sale has been driven.

However, if we really think about it, the goal of the campaign, particularly in the short to medium-term, is to find new users who are unfamiliar with your brand and bring them to the website for the very first time. Once this is done, you could argue that prospecting has done its job and it’s now over to Retargeting and Paid Search to get that user to the point of conversion. Yet, rather than assess this campaign’s success on how many new visitors it drove, we use the KPI of our end-goal conversion.

Not Enough Conversions

Another instance where the approach can cause problems is in optimising Paid Search campaigns. Often, marketers may be trying to optimise their paid search campaigns without enough conversion data to make reliable bidding decisions.

This issue is more prevalent with non-brand keywords, which are less likely to drive last-click sales anyway. It doesn’t mean the keywords are adding no value – in fact, we know that if we paused these terms, we’d probably be losing conversions further down the line.

The Solution

How do we fix this? I believe the solution is to have a greater focus on micro conversions when it’s appropriate to do so.

What are micro conversions?

“Micro conversions are activities that users frequently engage in before purchasing. Sites commonly have several kinds of micro conversions, e.g. email sign-up, created account, PDF download, extensive site browsing”

https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/2665210?hl=en

The value of micro conversions is also something Avinash Kaushik wrote about extensively almost ten years ago – I highly recommend reading this blog post he wrote on the subject.

Avinash believes, as do I, that looking at micro conversions in addition to macro ones allows us to better understand the behaviour of the distinct personas who use your site; it forces you to look at more of the multi-channel picture. When we ignore them, we’re saying that we don’t value the users who spend significant time on our websites, or those who signed up to receive emails, or even those who went to the trouble of creating an account. Just because they’re not ready to buy right now, it doesn’t mean they never will and we should look after and value these users.

Of course, with some of our marketing efforts we can create remarketing lists that specifically target these users to help bring them to the point of finally converting. But the credit for those macro conversions would go to the later activity – as it arguably should do, as the job of those channels is to drive conversion. But we would still be undervaluing the activity that drove the micro conversions because we just don’t value them as highly.

Attribution

I know I said this post wasn’t about attribution and it’s not – mostly. Thankfully the increased use of attribution and data-driven models, in particular, is helping to address this issue. Data-driven attribution looks at all of the micro conversions and assigns macro conversion value based on the part that every interaction played across the whole journey.

Still a challenge, however, is the fact that few businesses are set up to use data-driven attribution to help shape their use of channels and budgets. Analytics and Attribution solutions that offer impression tracking can be expensive and not all solutions offer a data-driven model to work with. What can you do if that’s the case?

Firstly, ensure you have goals set up to track your micro conversions and assign a value to these. Report on them as well as your macro conversions and consider using traffic and brand awareness increase as KPIs for certain types of Display and other upper-funnel activities. In the vast majority of businesses, most customers won’t convert on their very first interaction with a new brand – so our measurement and reporting should reflect that.

With more and more businesses understanding the need to look at the whole customer journey, I believe this approach enables us to better judge the success of our marketing campaigns, and the impact they have, at the right point of the customer journey in the right way.

*Feature image source: digitalmarketinginstitute.com

Author Biog: 

Arianne Donoghue, Epiphany - Official Chair at Paid & Biddable Leaders Masterclass, Leeds

Having started off her digital career client side over a decade ago, Arianne has worked for both agencies and brands in-house, specialising in search. She is now back agency side supporting on biddable media digital strategy. A regular on the conference scene, she’s also an editor and contributor at popular site State of Digital.

Arianne Donoghue is the Paid Media Development Manager at Epiphany, and will be leading a session on ‘Using Cross Channel Data to Help Your Campaigns Work Harder’ at next week’s Paid & Biddable Leaders Masterclass in Leeds.

 

Official #PBLEEDS17 Programme Goes Live

Programme for #PBLEEDS17 goes Live

With just 3-weeks to go until the Paid & Biddable Leaders Masterclass kicks-off in Leeds at Royal Armouries Museum, we’re delighted to confirm that Loud Mouth Media’s Founder & Managing Director – Mark Haslam, will deliver our keynote talk.

In his keynote presentation ‘Beyond the Click: Creating Lifetime Value with Digital Advertising’, Mark will discuss the strategy he recommends to go beyond the click in digital advertising. From creating the perfect audience to capitalising on website visitors, he’ll be revealing the latest in digital advertising innovations.

Delegates can also expect an action-packed agenda on the day with a series of engaging roundtable sessions delivered by industry leaders – Epiphany, Journey Further, Crafted, Adthena, Home Agency and Search Laboratory.

Full programme details for #PBLEEDS17 can be found here or you can view our official event brochure below.

 

 

Jet2, Plusnet, First Direct, Irwin Mitchell, Damart & Sky Bet Set for #PBLEEDS17

Latest Delegates Confirmed for Paid & Biddable Leaders Masterclass, Leeds

We’re delighted to welcome on-board our latest batch of delegates – Jet2, Sky Betting & Gaming, First Direct, npower, Leeds Building Society, Irwin Mitchell, Damart, Plusnet, Sykes Cottages and Cotton Traders, who’ve confirmed their attendance for our upcoming Paid & Biddable Leaders Masterclass, which is the 9th event in the Marketing Masterclass Series.

Live Delegate Registration Tracker

The masterclass in association with Epiphany, Journey Further, Adthena, Home Agency, Crafted, Search Laboratory and JV Recruitment will take place in the stunning Wellington Suite at Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds on Tuesday 5th September 2017.

Session Highlights Include:

Delivering truly integrated biddable campaigns with better ROI

Overcoming the key challenges brands face with integrated biddable campaigns

Unlocking the power of paid social

How to measure paid social campaigns effectively

Biddable media for the moments that matter: Delivering the most relevant message, to the right person, in the right place – at the right time

Our industry leaders will share their latest thinking on the critical issues and trends that are shaping the ‘Paid Search, Biddable Media and Social Advertising’ landscape through a series of engaging roundtable sessions. We’ll also be announcing some exciting news in the coming week in regards to our keynote talk!

We only have a limited number of delegate seats remaining for the masterclass, so, if you’d like to join us, please register and secure your seat here.

 

Registration Open for Paid & Biddable Leaders Masterclass

Registration for Paid & Biddable Leaders Masterclass - Leeds

If you’d like to join us at the Paid & Biddable Leaders Masterclass in Leeds on Tuesday 5th September 2017, registration is now officially open.

After successfully launching the last five events in Manchester, we’ve decided to return to Leeds for our next masterclass – so that we can continue to expand our geographical reach and make the roundtable-based events as accessible as possible.

We’ll be adding further details in regards to the venue, agenda and industry leaders very soon.

The event in association with Epiphany, Journey Further, Home Agency, Search Laboratory, Adthena and JV Recruitment will be the 9th masterclass in the rapidly growing series.

Register To Attend

Preview: Data & Insight Leaders Masterclass

Preview: Data & Insight Leaders Masterclass - Manchester, UK

We’re just 2-weeks away from the Data & Insight Leaders Masterclass in Manchester, and with a fine selection of the industry’s leading thinkers in attendance – It promises to be an action-packed experience.

The masterclass, which will be held in the Walters Suite at the 5-Star Radisson Blu Edwardian, will kick-off with a keynote presentation by The Fragrance Shop’s Customer Marketing Director – Nicola Travis.

Keynote Details…

Using data for competitive edge has become increasingly complex with a wealth of providers, options, channels, challenges and more and more data in our organizations. How do we start wading through the data lake, stay afloat and focus on progress without sinking?

Nicola will discuss three areas of data and insight with a focus on potential solutions for some of the challenges faced in retail today. This session will put the challenges in context and look at ways to win with cross-channel customers, the loyalty landscape and the key measures involved. Using examples from today’s retailers, Nicola will discuss the use of analytics in the business for strong CRM.

The Big Issues…

Once Nicola’s presentation is finished, delegates will be able to enjoy a series of engaging roundtable sessions which will examine some of the industry’s key issues including: Joined-up data, single customer view, attribution analysis, smarter targeting strategies and driving data & insight performance.

The masterclass in association with Home, Search Laboratory, Aquila Insight, GI Insight, Greenlight, Black Swan Data, Whitecap Consulting and JV Recruitment is the 8th in the Marketing Masterclass Series.

Using Data To Knit Together a Single Customer View

Using data to knit together a single customer view - Wojciech Bednarz at Greenlight Digital

In today’s guest post, Greenlight Digital’s Wojciech Bednarz, examines the key challenges facing marketers, as they strive to harness multi-channel data in an effort to develop a single customer view.

One of marketing’s greatest hurdles is fragmentation; customers are becoming increasingly difficult to define, and as brands are looking to improve segmentation and targeting more and more, it’s key for marketers to marry their data to create a single customer view.

But where to start when it comes to breaking down all this data to truly understand who their current and new customer is? Data management services are fast becoming the solution, combining interaction, descriptive and behavioural data to help brands understand what makes their customer tick. And with such valuable data comes great responsibility for marketers – they need to ensure that it’s used to improve customer experience and truly tap into their needs. Through this customer-centric approach, marketers can then impact brand perception and brand value as a means to support business growth in the long-term.

Making sense of all the data

Tapping into rich data resources which hold first-party data sounds like a no brainer, but surprisingly there are few marketers who capitalise on this resource. The reality is that many brands don’t know how to make sense of the data available on their audiences nor can they merge cross-channel data, making it difficult to create meaningful insights on how to optimise processes. This ultimately leads to a disjointed experience as well as inconsistent reports due to data coming from multiple channels.

There are many reasons for this, such as the technologies in play which are often siloed across separate departments. These include search, display, social media and more, which effectively results in fragmented insights on audiences and their behaviour. When it comes to reporting, Facebook Audiences differs from AdWords, as does Twitter from Display, so aligning data is inevitably overwhelming and incredibly difficult. And that’s not even the end of it – there’s also an analytics layer of technology which reports behaviour on the site, user engagement and source to name a few.

This is all well and good, but none of the above – apart from social media channels due to their audience-driven nature – offer more insights into who the customers are, their interests or how they spend their free time.

The most reasonable thing a marketer can do is to try to get a channel and technology agnostic data management platform (DMP) which can take audience science to the next level. This opens up new possibilities, bringing customer data from all channels to unprecedented granularity and building a fuller picture of who they are, what channels they engage with and what their demographic characteristics are. The most important aspect of this technology is that marketers can immediately act on the findings and help optimise all aspects of digital marketing campaigns on the fly.

Capturing the cross-channel experience

With increasing usage of mobile devices in the last couple of years, cross-channel marketing strategy has become the holy grail for many digital marketers who are trying to figure out the best way to approach this conundrum. While more than three devices per user is already complicated, it seems 2017 will bring even more complexity to the world of multiple interfaces per user reality, as it’s not only screens marketers need to consider, but also the growing universe of IoT devices, such as smartwatches and voice-controlled devices such as Amazon Echo.

In fact, Google is predicting that in the next two years, a third of searches will be initiated by voice. On top of IoT, VR is beginning to make waves, alongside the growing capabilities of AI, all of which will drastically change how people consume media and, thus, behave on devices.

With consumer technology moving so quickly, so does the technology digital marketers can use to understand them. The data management solutions are becoming more agnostic and can pick up any signal with the ability to stitch together information from other devices based on machine learning to determine if they belong to one person or many. For example, Greenlight’s Data Management Platform allows data collection across devices and interfaces to process it all as one user ID. This has tremendous implications for ensuring that marketing efforts deliver the best possible experience for customers. Being able to identify the ownership of devices with more confidence will allow for more precise messaging, and thus more effective campaigns, leading to better CTRs, lower costs and better ROI for clients.

Data-driven marketing is here to stay, and will become a standard modus operandi in the foreseeable future, particularly with the increasing usage of AI and machine learning. This will result in a higher degree of automation of marketing activity and a greater focus on data and its interpretation, elements which will be key factors of success for brands going forward.

*If you’d like to learn more about this topic, you can catch-up with Wojciech at the Data & Insight Leaders Masterclass in Manchester, where he’ll be delivering a session on –  Joined-Up Data to Deliver a ‘Single Customer View’

Author Biog:

Wojciech Bednarz, Greenlight Digital - Data & Insight Leaders Masterclass, Manchester

Wojciech has over six years of experience in digital marketing, four of which he has served at Greenlight. During his career at Greenlight, he’s worked on various international clients such as RS Components and Nespresso alongside others. He joined as part of the Client Services team, where he was responsible for delivery of SEO, paid search and display activation campaigns.

He was particularly focused on data-driven strategies which involved advanced analytics, data modelling techniques and manipulating large data sets. In his current role as Data & Insights Senior Strategy Manager, Wojciech is responsible for advancing Greenlight’s Data Science & Audience Insights department, which involves managing the implementation of the DMP technology across the agency to deliver cutting edge audience insights, data-driven attribution models and advanced activation strategies through data analysis.

Registration Open for Data & Insight Leaders Masterclass

Data & Insight Leaders Masterclass, Manchester 2017

If you’d like to join us at the Data & Insight Leaders Masterclass #DLManc17 in Manchester on Tuesday 4th April 2017, registration is now officially open.

As marketers continually struggle with the wealth of data being produced, and try to overcome the many challenges of turning this data into actionable insights, we’ve decided to turn our focus to launching the Data & Insight Leaders Masterclass.

The masterclass will provide a unique learning experience, bringing together a diverse selection of the industry’s leading ‘Data & Insight’ thinkers in one room – To generate discussion, and share knowledge. #DLManc17 aims to equip delegates with a series of useful tips and strategies on how to harness complex data, and use it to drive conversion, customer experience and marketing performance.

The event will be held at the 5-Star Radisson Blu Edwardian in Manchester, and take place within The Walters Suite (9am to 1pm).

Register To Attend #DLManc17

Spotlight: Optimise your Site for the Most Important Local SEO Ranking Signals

In today’s guest post, Bubblegum Search’s Matt Cayless, shares his ‘Top Five’ SEO tips for improving Google local ranking performance.

Google search is constantly changing, but in 2016 and beyond we’re seeing some significant and challenging changes taking place for local search in particular. Is your local business prepared?

What is local SEO?
Local SEO is the process of optimising your online presence to increase visibility to local customers. For businesses that operate in specific areas only or who have bricks and mortar premises, local SEO is an incredibly valuable method for promoting their services. From restaurants and hairdressers to plumbers and lawyers, local SEO can help a huge variety of industries to tap into their local demographic.

What’s changed in local SEO ranking factors for 2016?
Until 2016, local SEO offered huge potential for businesses looking to draw in business from local search users because their sites were easily distinguishable from non-local organic listings in the SERPs. However, in 2015 Google changed the way it presents local search by reducing the number of local listings displayed.

This means that local businesses have to seriously amp up their local SEO efforts to increase the chances of being listed in the pack of top 3 local results. Although search users can click “More places” for more local results, the reality is that this extra click simply reduces visibility for businesses who haven’t made it into the local pack.

Optimise your Site for the Most Important Local SEO Ranking Signals - Matt Cayless

Not only that, but Google has also started to include ads in the “More places” results, which means that businesses relying on organic ranking have paid listings to compete with.

Our top five local SEO tips to improve Google local ranking
To maximise your chances of local SEO success, you need to pay attention to the leading ranking signals for local search – these five essential tips are a great way to get started.

1. Nail on-page signals by thinking of potential customers
Although there are some technical aspects to getting your on-page local SEO right, the most important thing you can do is craft content that provides all the information your potential customers need to choose your business. This will tell Google how relevant your website is. There are two key areas for on-page local SEO ranking signals: geography and services. You need to be clear what services you have on offer, and where you can provide them.

Aside from meta data, headers, images and quality content which are essential signals for all SEO, you should try to include the following on each of your web pages:

• Title tags which include your service, location and brand along with relevant keywords
• Google map showing your location
• NAP (name, address and phone number), preferably with Schema markup so that Google can immediately identify your contact information
• Testimonials, accreditations and external reviews to show credibility
• A site structure which makes sense, particularly if you cover multiple areas or have several offices, for example, www.domain.com/areas/county-1/

2. Create a Google My Business page
A My Business page helps you to claim your brand and address and reinforces your services and locations. It is crucial for local SEO success, so be sure to set up and verify yours ASAP. You can optimise it by:

• Keeping your NAP accurate and up to date, along with your web address.
• Choosing the right categories for your business to ensure you show up for relevant searches – try Googling local competitors to find the most appropriate category.
• Writing a compelling business description which sums up your services without worrying too much about keywords, which could be detrimental.
• Getting a minimum of five reviews, and making sure to reply (politely!) to all, even if they’re negative.

3. Build citations and be consistent
To assess your geographical relevance, Google likes to validate the information on your website and My Business page with information from around the web. The first thing to do is ensure your NAP is consistent everywhere, including on your social pages – even a little discrepancy like using a phone number with the area code in some places and without the area code in others can reduce the validity of your business information. Be sure to always use the same business name, too, so if you tend to switch between something like “Cake 4 U” and “Cake For You”, choose one and stick to it across the entire web. You should be just as consistent whenever you build new citations, too.

What is citation building? It’s the process of building a series of mentions of your business information on other websites. Note that this is very different than link building; links to your website aren’t always necessary when building citations, providing that your NAP information is correct and consistent. Citations basically help Google to validate your business name and location, so the more you can get from well-established and reputable sources, the better. Start with directories like yell.com or your local chamber of commerce, and use a local citation finder like BrightLocal to find more citation opportunities.

4. Get reviews
When you get reviews on your Google My Business page, your listing in the SERPs will be given a star rating that will definitely help you stand out amongst the competition. It’s unclear whether reviews affect the actual positioning of URLs in the SERP, or if they simply help to highlight listings and drive click-throughs; most likely it’s a combination of both. Either way, reviews are vital for local SEO success, so you need to know how to improve Google reviews and make the most of them.

First things first – get the reviews coming in. The best way to do this is to ask your customers for them. You could include a link to your My Business page in invoice emails, or display information on how to leave a review on a menu or business card. Be sure to engage with your reviewers too to prove that you’re acknowledging feedback properly. Respond to both good and bad reviews, taking time with the bad ones to apologise and deal with the customer’s complaints. Reviews showcase your customer service skills as well as endorse your business, and the way you deal with negativity says a lot about your service, so don’t panic about less than perfect ratings – just work on putting things right.

5. Use relevant geographic keywords
It’s natural that if you operate within a specific location you’ll talk about it in your web content, so be sure to include geographic keywords into your site. However, as with all types of keyword optimisation, don’t be tempted to cram them. A good strategy is to include your NAP on every web page so that your location is naturally mentioned (be sure to mark it up with Schema), then add extra mentions of the location sparingly throughout your content.

When researching your keywords, be sure to use tools that allow you to filter by location and category, like Google Keyword Planner and Google Trends both do. Look for long-tail keywords that are as relevant as possible to your business’s location and service offering, and be sure to create content around them that is genuinely relevant to the query.

If you’d like to contribute a guest post, we’d love to hear from you.

Author Biog:

Optimise your site for the most important local SEO ranking signals - Matt Cayless

Matt Cayless is the Director of Strategy at Bubblegum Search an SEO & Content Marketing Agency. He is an expert in search engine optimisation having worked on campaigns for some of the world’s biggest brands. When he’s not chasing the Google algorithms he enjoys training for marathons while remaining fearful of carbohydrates.

Keyword Clusters: Revealing Profitable SEO Opportunities

Keyword Clusters: Revealing Profitable SEO Opportunities

In today’s guest post, Blueclaw’s Digital Strategy Manager Sam Raife, outlines the need for greater focus on keyword clusters, when it comes to developing an effective SEO strategy.

All of the team from Blueclaw loved being part of last month’s Search Masterclass. It was a great venue and an event that was filled with digital marketing leaders from a whole host of different backgrounds.

However, even with all this professional diversity, one of the issues that came up time and again was the need for SEO leaders to have a greater input on strategy, and the problematic focus on individual rankings as the dominant (or only) measure of SEO success.

The problem with using rankings as a measurement KPI is that people tend to focus on the success or failure of a single ranking.

Taking a straightforward, mainstream product, let’s consider the keyword “Blinds”.

This keyword is responsible for 90,500 searches a month in the UK according to SEMrush. That is a lot of searches.

It is easy to see why anybody would get fixated with that. Move me to position 1 for this and we get more sales. So far so simple – but there’s more to the story.

Moving from Keywords, to Keyword Clusters

As an SEO professional, you know that the term “Blinds” is important, but you also know that the sum of the search volume of other related phrases such as “Roman Blinds”, “Window Blinds” and “Roller Blinds” has a combined total search volume much larger than that of just “Blinds”,

More than this, you know that more specific terms such as these are a good buying signal, and so visitors who arrive on the site from these keywords are more likely to convert.

This is a basic example, and one that most people will be able to understand, but what about when you consider FAQs, or long-tail phrases that are 5+ words that still have valuable search volume?

Making the case for looking beyond single keywords requires a change the focus and knowing you have a way of building content that will help capture a greater spread of terms and traffic.

Creating Content to Target Keywords Clusters

Planning out content to accommodate long tail keyword clusters can be done by following a straightforward process:

  1. Document the core topics, issues, queries and problems that your target customers might relate to your product or service.
  2. Compile each of these topics into grouped areas of similarity.
  3. Expand the central topics using keyword research from the tools you are most comfortable using.
  4. Use competitor research and some internal soul-searching to establish the content that you are most effective at producing for each keyword cluster.
  5. Create and write the best possible content you can, aligned to keyword clusters.

This is of course an abbreviated overview of a task that can be challenging – we all know companies often struggle to produce great content on an effective schedule for SEO or any other purpose.

Making the justification that these long tail phrases are just as if not more important as part of a genuinely strategic SEO and content plan than a main target keyword can be a challenge – but there are tools and approaches that can help.

Data-driven Strategy with The SEO’s Pro’s Friend: Excel

The number of analytical tools and platforms available to SEO professionals today is getting higher by the day but one of the best (though least pretty) is found on pretty much every desktop – Excel.

Combining analysis from tools like SEMrush and aHrefs with the long-established (though powerful) functions of Excel is a winning way to ground your keyword strategy.

Pivot tables in particular are an effective way to explore the cumulative impact of your target keywords, opening up scope to plan using clusters of keywords rather than individual ‘vanity’ keywords

To adopt this approach yourself, we have built an Excel tool that SEO professionals and marketers can use, based on a simple but powerful combination of pivot tables and a SEMrush csv.

Just follow the instructions on the spreadsheet, paste your data and hit refresh. The template will help you do the analysis detailed above, and help build the case for targeting keyword clusters – not individual keywords.

Click here to get the Keyword Cluster Tool

The fact is, small individual ranking movements don’t matter if you are making regular progress to increase the average position of these pages and the rankings associated with them across a valuable cluster of keywords

Of course, if you have any questions about SEO, how to use SEMrush or the tool, read more here or write to us at contact@blueclaw.co.uk and we’ll be happy to help. Any and all feedback appreciated!

Author Biog

Sam Raife - Blueclaw

Sam Raife heads up the ‘Offsite Strategy Team’ at Blueclaw. In his role, Sam supports and develops campaign strategies that deliver tangible uplifts in rankings, traffic and revenue for his clients.

 

Delegate Review: #SLManc16 @Etihad Stadium

Search Leaders Masterclass - Etihad Stadium

In today’s guest post, Sarah Boustouller, Head of Marketing at Stephensons Solicitors LLP, reflects on her #SLManc16 experience and  shares some of the key takeaways from the day.

I was fortunate to continue my ongoing learning journey last week when I attended the Search Leaders Masterclass, produced by the Marketing Masterclass Series. The morning event was held at the stunning Etihad stadium, a great venue for discussing the cutting-edge topic of notable change in search.

In my role as Head of Marketing at Stephensons, I strive to attend events and conferences that truly help me to make a strategic difference in steering my team and ensuring best practice in what we do as an in-house team. I also seek to maintain Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM), Chartered Status each year through continued learning and encourage others in my team to do likewise. It can however, be hard to find events that do not deliver ‘me too’ content that is already widely available.

Delegate Review: #SLManc16 @Etihad Stadium

The Search Leaders Masterclass, was different in its approach to other events I have attended. The event started with a keynote opening that was delivered by Andrew Halliday, Head of SEM at Satsuma Loans. This was fascinating because it provided me with a snapshot concerning how Stephensons’ appointed Search Engine Optimisation supplier/partner, Hitsearch works with us to deliver a technical audit at regular intervals. I gained some key takeaways from his talk.

The most insightful was his explanation in relation to the combination of tools that should be used when conducting a technical audit. Andrew explained that when you look at server logs combined with third-party tools such as DeepCrawl then you can gain the most accurate picture. The server logs will tell us, which pages google is crawling the most and crawling the site tells us where ‘404 redirects’ and other technical issues are identified. Combined this gives optimal insight. I gleaned other specific pieces of information from his talk to look out for.

Delegate Review: #SLManc16 @Etihad Stadium

The organisers at the event encouraged the delegates not to sit with any colleagues they know and we sat randomly at a number of roundtables. Again, a great method of learning and networking. I am always keen to hear from others outside of the legal profession, in marketing roles. Other sectors can often be early adopters of online marketing activity and therefore they act as predictors in terms of looking at what might give a competitive edge for the legal sector and Stephensons in the future. This is particularly true of e-commerce brands. It was great to have on my table a real mix of those in very technical roles from a cross-section of sectors.

Delegate Review: #SLManc16 @Etihad Stadium

A series of roundtable discussions then unfolded. Each roundtable was visited by a different agency who chose a key topic/challenge to discuss with the group. From this I took away several nuggets to inform my thinking moving forward. The discussion group chaired by Blueclaw is in line with our current online content strategy so it was great to have some reinforcing points. I also particularly enjoyed the next session, by Search Laboratory who spoke in part about attribution for online channels. Return on Investment is a topic close to my heart! Being able to demonstrate it helps demonstrate the power of Marketing, so the models they spoke about will make me think further on sharpening our own in-house techniques further at Stephensons.

The roundtable discussions fostered a relaxed atmosphere which allowed those with different levels of technical knowhow and different experiences derived from their sectors to be exchanged. We will continue to work into our Marketing training plans attendance at these events moving forward. Great morning.

*The Search Leaders Masterclass was produced in association with Home Agency, Search Laboratory, Branded3, Blueclaw, Greenlight Digital and Adam.

Author Biog

Delegate Review: #SLManc16 @Etihad Stadium - Sarah Boustouller

Sarah joined Stephensons in 2006 and became a Partner in 2013. During this time Sarah has been heavily involved with the evolution of Stephensons’ brand. In her role as Head of Marketing and Partner, Sarah manages a growing in-house team and provides marketing support to the departments across our ten offices based throughout the North West in Manchester, Leigh, Bolton, Wigan, St Helens, Altrincham and London.