Guest Post: Digital Marketing is Dead

In today’s guest post, Lloyds Banking Group’s Digital Marketing Manager Myles Arkins, shares his #DLMLeeds experience, and some of the key takeaways from the masterclass.

Digital marketing is dead – A bold statement, but one that’s stuck with me ever since the recent Digital Leaders Masterclass in Leeds.

Going into the session, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I knew it was a collection of presentations from great agency minds, but I didn’t really have any expectations around what the content would be. A sales pitch? A generic overview of the current marketing landscape? Or some real thought leadership on the future of marketing?

Thankfully it was the latter and I have to say I was impressed. From advancements in search, to the perfect data/creative marriage, through to social and beyond, it was 3 hours of finely crafted content that made you sit up and take note.

The presenters were excellent, all really enthusiastic and fun, allowing the content to be effortlessly absorbed. Hats off to Tom from Epiphany who kept me engaged on search algorithms and attribution modelling – not really my bag, but fascinating none the less.

On a personal level, there were two presentations that really stood out. Coming from a content and social background, Alex from Bloom and Tom from We are social really made me question what I thought I knew and where we were heading as a brand.

Alex’s presentation on the future of marketing and content had a simple message at its core. There’s no such thing as digital marketing anymore – just marketing. Anyone still working in silos with internal digital specialist will get left behind and eventually disappear.

Going back to basics and looking at what your brand, service and experience means to customers is still of paramount importance. Getting lost in the technicalities and red tape around digital delivery will stop you focusing on what is important. Great content is great content, with digital just another channel for great marketers to deliver through.

Tom at We Are Social then gave us a glimpse into the weird and wonderful future of social and online. From logging on to watch people eat chicken, to renting out your walking boots for a £1, he somehow convinced us all it was just around the corner.

In truth, they were all guesses at what might happen– some wilder than others. But understanding how and what people are interacting with online right now is the best way to spot trends in the future. One particular trend Tom shared around “Conscious community” was of particular interest and the tools Tom shared to help implement these trends into our social and marketing activity, I’ve taken away and introduced to the wider team. Watch this space I guess….

On the drive home I certainly knew I’d been in masterclass. Mentally a little drained but my mind buzzing around how I could implement what I’d seen and heard into my work.

Myles Arkins – Digital Marketing Manger

Registration Open for #DLMLeeds

Registration is now officially open for the Digital Leaders Masterclass #DLMLeeds, which takes place in Leeds on Tuesday 3rd November 2015.

The masterclass will showcase a selection of expert insights from five industry leaders who will discuss the latest industry trends and digital strategies aimed at driving online marketing performance.

A limited number of ‘Complimentary’ delegate passes are available for client-side marketers upon request.

Register to attend #DLMLeeds


#BEMLeeds Review: Jennie Fisher at Provident Financial

Jennie Fisher, Digital Marketing Campaign Manager at Provident Financial, shares her own unique experience from attending last week’s Brand & Audience Engagement Masterclass #BEMLeeds, which was hosted at Elmwood’s office in Leeds.

We’re Marketers and we like to delight our customer by giving them tailored messages and products and services! Oh and we know everything about Marketing!

No. No we don’t.

We think we know everything and we like to put people in boxes and give *groups* of people tailored messages and products.

Identifying those groups used to be quite straightforward and I thought I really understood who I was looking at until I listened to a presentation by Dan Monteith and Tim Leonard from Elmwood.  Now I am questioning everything. And. It’s. Awesome.

No really!

I work in Financial Services.  We have one service (a short-term loan) which we provide to around a million people across the UK and Republic of Ireland.  Now whilst there are some similarities between customers they are not robots or clones.  They are all individuals and it was good to be reminded of that.

Just like it was good to be reminded that despite the numerous spreadsheets I look at, Marketing is still not a pure science.  Every day, regardless of which sector you are in, we are constantly trying to make people like us. Yes you can ask customers to say out of 10 how much they like you or trust you or feel something fluffy and warm inside about your brand and produce a lovely chart, but that’s just a snapshot of that moment in time.  Maintaining and building that fluffy feeling i.e. getting people to feel engaged with your brand takes time, data and a bit of a gut instinct, it seems.

Getting these reminders can be difficult though, especially if you happen to work and live in the North of England.  If you are in London, there are tons of opportunities to go and listen to a new viewpoint and discuss the latest trends or ideas with your peers.  If you are in Bradford, those opportunities generally come with a 6.30am train departure.

Not anymore!

I have had the opportunity to attend both Masterclasses hosted by John and I have come away from both with that “I knew that but I never thought of it like that…” a feeling which is great.  The last thing you want is to sit through three hours of PowerPoint and feel like you haven’t gained anything.  Ok so nothing that I’ve heard has been new to my ears.  Frankly, I’d be a bit worried if it was but each speaker has given me a new perspective on a topic that maybe I’ve not really thought about for a while. It’s been the inspiration for me to question not just why we are doing something but why we are not doing something.

And I didn’t have to get up at 5am to get it.

If you’d like to attend the Digital Leaders Masterclass, which takes place in Leeds on Tuesday 3rd November 2015, please click here to book your seat.

Digital Leaders Masterclass Set for October Launch

Following the successful launch of both Marketing Leaders and Brand & Audience Engagement Masterclass events in Leeds, I’m delighted to announce that my third production – Digital Leaders Masterclass, will take place in Leeds on Tuesday 6th October 2015.







Previous masterclass delegates include: O2, Asda, The Co-operative Group, Lloyds Banking Group, Arla, Warburtons, Sky Bet, Irwin Mitchell, JCT600, Taylors of Harrogate, Mamas & Papas, Premier Farnell, Joe Browns, JD Williams, icelolly, Superbreak, Victoria Plumb and Capita to name but a few.

If you’d like to get involved as a speaker or register your interest in attending the event as a delegate, please get in touch.



Strong Line-Up Confirmed for Brand & Audience Engagement Masterclass

I’m delighted to announce that the speaker line-up for the Brand & Audience Engagement Masterclass has now been confirmed with leading experts from Elmwood, Jaywing, WRG, Wolfstar and Igniyte  – presenting a series of engaging sessions on Tuesday 14th July 2015.

The masterclass in association with Network Marketing and the University of Liverpool will provide delegates with a powerful series of insights, strategies and tactics from five industry leaders who will share their latest thinking on brand and audience engagement.


  • Developing the right brand engagement strategy
  • Creating and promoting powerful content through owned, earned and paid media channels
  • Tactics for driving customer acquisition and retention through better online brand engagement
  • Measuring the effectiveness of brand and social engagement
  • How to deliver an engaging online user experience

Who’s attending?

  • Head of Marketing Operations, O2
  • Global Vice President – Brand Strategy, Arla Foods
  • Professor of Marketing, University of Liverpool
  • Marketing Director, Joe Browns
  • Marketing Director, Taylors of Harrogate
  • Global Marketing Manager, Mamas & Papas
  • Head of Community & Social Media Marketing, Premier Farnell
  • Head of Marketing, WageDayAdvance
  • Digital Marketing Manager, Irwin Mitchell
  • Regional Marketing Manager, DLA Piper
  • Marketing Manager, Yorkshire Water
  • Senior Manager – Brand Operations, Lloyds Banking Group
  • Customer Strategy & Planning Manager, Yorkshire Building Society
  • Customer Insight Manager, Asda
  • Marketing & Communications Director, Capita
  • Brand Activation Manager, Bettys & Taylors of Harrogate
  • Digital Marketing Manager, The Co-operative Group
  • Senior Manager – Online Content, Brand & Communications, TD Direct
  • Head of Customer Knowledge & Insight, TD Direct
  • US Marketing Coordinator, Pure Collection
  • Digital Content Coordinator, Pure Collection
  • Retail Development Manager, Warburtons
  • Brand & Social Media Manager, Superbreak
  • Customer Retention Manager, WageDayAdvance
  • Customer Retention & Engagement Manager, Satsuma Loans
  • Communications Manager, Xerox
  • UK Marketing Manager, Smoothwall
  • Marketing Manager, University of Leeds
  • Head of Marketing, Pets Choice
  • Social and PR Manager, Pets Choice

If you’d like to attend, please complete the contact form or call me on +44 (0)7796322894.

#MLleeds Round-up

The Marketing Leaders Masterclass officially kicked-off in style yesterday at Elmwood’s Leeds office with a fantastic show of support from some of the North’s biggest brands and marketing agencies.

The event in association with Network Marketing (Headline Sponsor) brought together a group of leading experts from the world of digital, social, creative, PR and consumer insight  – who delivered a series of insightful and thought-provoking sessions.

The senior delegation included representatives from brands such as Asda, Co-operative Group, Ernst & Young, Irwin Mitchell, Sky Bet, JD Williams, Provident, TD Direct, Wilko, JCT600 and Victoria Plumb to name but a few, as well as the CIM’s chair of Mid-Yorkshire Branch and Professor of Marketing Anthony Patterson from University of Liverpool.

I would like to personally thank all the speakers and delegates for taking part; Elmwood for allowing the event to be hosted at their beautiful office, Duncan McCallum from McCallum Layton for doing a brilliant job as the official chair, and finally Network Marketing for supporting #MLleeds as the official Headline Sponsor.

All speaker presentations can be viewed below via Slideshare

Please click here to view the extended commentary on the talk by Duncan McCallum, Founding Partner, McCallum Layton.

If you’d like to take part in the next scheduled masterclass which will focus on ‘Brand Engagement & User Experience’, please drop me a message.

Digital Word Of Mouth Marketing: Social Bookmarking

A Guide To Social Media Marketing For SMEs (Part 4)

Social Bookmarking sites provide a fantastic viral marketing weapon and like traditional word of mouth – plays an instrumental role in marketing effectiveness.

So far in my Guide To Social Media Marketing For SMEs, we have touched on the practical applications and benefits of using Twitter, LinkedIn and blogs – In this post, we will briefly look at some of the social bookmarking sites that you should be using as part of your integrated social media strategy.

Spreading the word…
Social bookmarks provide a fantastic route to market for your business and should be used to promote your brand communications, thought leadership articles and special reports in addition to any other information that you feel is quite useful to share. The way in which we communicate and share knowledge really has evolved over the last 5 years and social bookmarking sites have played a key role in how we now do things.

Blast from the past…
I remember in the old days (a few years back), when you had a feature report that was published online – basic practice would have included: getting the report on your website, adding it to your email signature and using it as a special feature in your client newsletter. However today, we live in a world where information can be global within minutes – creating an enormous opportunity for how we share knowledge/communications.

The benefits of bookmarking…

Social bookmarking sites should not just be viewed as a handy little tool for allowing you to manage your own information online, but should be embraced as a powerful media weapon that can play a major part in your social media strategy. In many ways social bookmarking sites operate like a marketing distribution channel for your business and like any distribution partner – you need to select the most relevant partner/s that will provide you with the greatest market reach for what you provide.

Add the WOW factor…
Remember, developing/selecting the content that you wish to promote and identifying the most effective channel for sharing this content is just the starting point – you must invest time/resource into how the end product will look (so that your content has the WOW factor) and will stand out. If you don’t already have an in-house creative/multimedia designer, then it is a good idea to look at getting support in this area as presenting reports etc using audio/visual effects can make a massive difference!

Key players…

For the purpose of this blog post , I have not included Twitter, LinkedIn and Blogging sites below as we have already covered these in detail in parts 1-3 of my guide to social media marketing (and we already know that we should be using them as part of our marketing strategy). The below are some of the most popular bookmarking/information share sites:


If you enjoyed reading this post, please feel free to share it with your friends or colleagues using any of options below.

10 Basic Tips For Negotiating More Effectively

Blog Post Published on Kent Business TV (May 2011)

Last week’s third episode of The Apprentice (UK) left me amazed at how poor the candidates were at negotiating. Apart from one candidate called Jim (who actually looks a possible winner) – the others did not appear to understand the basic principles of how to get a better deal when negotiating.

This short blog aims to provide a number of practical tips on how to get a better deal when negotiating and draws upon my own experience of working across a number of challenging market sectors: retail, fmcg, electronics, distribution, market research and media.

Know what you want…

Identify exactly what it is you want to buy/source and find out where you can get it. There are many supplier directories now available online and your industry media partner’s magazine or website will help point you in the right direction. Don’t forget to use WOM (word of mouth) – ask your personal business contacts who they are using and get some background on their experiences in dealing with certain suppliers.

Know your budget…
This is common sense, but it is perhaps the most important variable – there is no point wasting your time trying to source suppliers and items which are clearly too expensive. It is critical that you keep in mind the budget that you have available and try to use your negotiational skills to maximise it. If you are quoted a price, never leave it on the table without a challenge – you have to work hard to get a good price, so be prepared to put the effort in.

Do your homework…
Establish the market cost structures for the service/products that you wish to source. A good marketer will always have an excellent knowledge of how much it will cost for advertising, event sponsorship, promotional items, printing collateral, design labour costs etc – using their previous experiences to help provide them with clear market benchmarks for negotiating. The price you pay for anything will always be dictated by the market value (what people are prepared to pay for it). It is important to get at least 3 competitive quotes from different suppliers as this will give you an idea of the price differences.

Know the market conditions…
The current economic climate means that buyers are in a very powerful position to negotiate and suppliers are under more pressure than ever to get that order. The rise of social media marketing is clearly putting pressure on industry media partners as brands’ can now implement PR and marketing campaigns without any cost to their business – this means that marketers are in a strong position to get a good bargain when negotiating advertising, events, webinars, advertorial and contact lists to name but a few (this should be used to your advantage).

Look at the bigger picture…
When looking for a special deal, always remember that building a long-term relationship with your supplier will enable you to secure a better price – make sure you emphasize this when negotiating. Suppliers will want to work with you on a price if they believe there is going to be a long-term relationship at stake. Even if this is not the immediate case, you can still sell the idea that you are working towards the selection of a number of partners for the future.

Ask for what you want…

Too many people skirt around the issues when trying to haggle over a price, make sure you ask exactly for what you want and make it clear up-front what you are prepared to pay for.

Timing is everything…
If the supplier thinks that you will be able to do a deal quickly, they will try harder to get the right price for you. Everyone is trying to get an order on the books and if they can see that something will be agreed today/tomorrow – you might just get that great price!

Use charm with integrity…
Use your personality, enthusiasm and charm to give you an advantage when negotiating. Getting a fantastic price on something really can be influenced by the emotional/rapport factors in play – being polite, friendly, genuine and direct can work, but do it with integrity.

Stay in touch…
A good marketer will stay in touch with all his/her existing/potential suppliers as part of the relationship building exercise. This will serve 2 basic purposes: it allows you to stay up-to-date with all commercial market opportunities/pricing points and it will always help you develop a better long-term relationship (which helps every negotiation for the future). It is also worth catching-up with your contacts near the end of the month to see if there are any last-minute opportunities as most sales professionals will have a monthly target to achieve (your chances of getting a better price will be improved if they need a quick sale to help them out).

Draw upon experience…

Demonstrating that you are a good buyer will help promote your credibility within the negotiation process i.e. if you have spent £xx in the past 12-months sponsoring a number of events, then you will be in a stronger position to negotiate on that next event.

I hope you have enjoyed reading this blog entry and remember this post is just a basic outline of the key variables which I believe to be important – there will be others! Feel free to add your own comments and suggestions.

If you found this blog interesting – please feel free to share it!

The Benefits Of Blogging

A Guide To Social Media Marketing For SMEs (Part 3)

In parts 1 and 2, we have already looked at some practical applications of using tools such as Twitter and LinkedIn as part of an integrated social media marketing approach for your business and in this latest installment – we will take a look at why you should be using a blog as an additional tool to compliment your social media strategy.

What is blogging?
Quite simply for the purpose of this basic guide, a blog is a way in which you can communicate and share your personal thoughts and views on the web using a personalised blogging website to host all your content.

Blogging has become a very popular marketing and thought leadership tool over the last 5 years and is used quite heavily by leading industry experts to share their views on topical issues.

The Power Of Blogging…

Thought Leadership
Everyday, we are trying to demonstrate to our customers/prospects that we are experts, market leaders and the best at what we do, whether we are providing a product or service. Blogging is a fantastic vehicle which can allow you to cement this position as it can provide you with enormous online reach.

To become a thought leader, you can use your blog to share your expertise and experience by publishing your thoughts and commentary on a number of topics i.e. key industry issues, market trends, customer insight, product/service developments, topical news stories, best practice, industry events – the list goes on (you get the idea).

It is important however that you keep your blog up-to-date, interesting and relevant. If you have a great idea for a blog, make sure to get in contact with your industry media partners to share your thoughts as it common practice for some of these to be published on their own website or published as copy within their magazine (if it is a great blog/thought leadership article). This means that you get great copy for your website, your client newsletter to endorse your position as an expert in your industry and also gives you additional credibility for your blog which you can share with millions online.

Boost Your Web Traffic / Online Presence
A blog is another great way of bringing more traffic to your company website as it provides enormous online reach. Creating a topical or interesting blog post that is supported with relevant tags (keywords associated with your post) means that more people will be able to find your contribution quicker. To help bring more visitors to your company website, make sure to add lots of links within your blog post (adding your preferred landing page url) as this deliver more traffic and potential new clients to your website.

If you develop and effectively maintain your blog – delivering great content, adding relevant url links and ensuring your blog is supported with the correct tagging – you will make it easier for people to find you, your company and your content online and within the blogosphere.

To support your web traffic further, you can directly post your blog to your LinkedIn, Twitter and other social media sites. This is good practice in general and compliments your social media profile, whilst creating content that should be of interest for your customers and prospects.

Powerful Copy
Your website is a shop window not only for your existing clients, but also for potentially new ones. A blog is a great prop for your website and will give you an opportunity to generate more traffic as long as your content is thought-provoking, interesting and relevant. Giving people a reason to return to your website is always a good marketing tactic and sometimes a compelling blog which is updated each day/week can support this activity, as your visitors might be keen to read your latest entry.

Real Time Insights

The beauty about having a blog is that you do not need to be a website developer or designer and you certainly do not need to wait days to have your content published online. A blog provides real-time insight and commentary in an engaging way that allows people to get involved in the subject/topic.

You visited an industry seminar and were not able to contribute to the discussions that were taking place in which a number of interesting prospects were in attendance. A blog will give you the means to comment on anything that you agreed/disagreed with and also provide you with an opportunity to share your own views on a burning issue that you feel passionate about. Once you have created your blog post and added your tags and relevant url links to support the entry – you can share your post instantly using your various social media accounts (LinkedIn, Twitter etc) which will in addition to making your blog visible within the blogosphere, will also allow you to reach a further audience within the social media networks that you are registered with. Remember, sound out your local media partner as the post may be something they can use in their own magazine or online features section.

Get Started
There are quite a number of blogging sites available to get started and the below are just a few to point you in the right direction. Once you have decided which one you want to use, simply register and get started! At first, it will take some time to experiment, but once you become familiar with the blogging process – you will soon become an expert.

Moveable Type

In the next installment (Part 4) of my blog – A Guide To Social Media Marketing For SMEs I will be focusing on the benefits and applications of social bookmarking.

If you have found my blog interesting and helpful, please feel free to share this post with others via the below social bookmarks.

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