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Digital Marketing Checklist … Is your business in Denial, Digital or Disruptive?

Date: 2 December 2016

Digital Marketing Checklist ... Is your business in Denial, Digital or Disruptive?

If you missed that great digital marketing talk at the Best4Biz Conference in East Sussex recently, here’s a review of the event and the digital marketing checklist from keynote international speaker, Allister Frost.

How many of these digital marketing jobs are on your to-do list?

The Best4Biz conference in October 2016 had a packed agenda. After an initial welcome by Rupert Clubb from East Sussex County Council, the keynote speaker was Allister Frost . He was Head of Digital Marketing for Microsoft and recently won the UK Digital Marketing Personality of the Year. He now advises companies all over the world.

Allister’s digital marketing presentation was dynamic, thought-provoking and entertaining. It was very well received by everyone we spoke to and, importantly, gave East Sussex businesses a checklist of recommended marketing activities for future success.

But first – a question…

Is your business in Denial, Digital or Disruptive?

Allister reminded everyone that we must keep evolving. Technology brings perpetual change – unstoppable progression. Although some ‘old’ business techniques do still work, the reality is that there will always be new and old technologies – there is no end point. The children we are educating now will have jobs that don’t exist yet. The power of technology doubles every three years.

Much of the audience nodded their heads when he asked if we remembered having 28 day delivery for purchases from catalogues. Yet now, with online access, hyper informed customers and new technology, if you live within a certain radius of an Amazon delivery centre, you can have a drone deliver your parcel in about 28 minutes!

Businesses must now demonstrate how they are moving forward and making efforts to really care about their customers and solve their problems. With so much choice why should potential customers choose you? He suggested that helping is the new selling, along with laser targeting precise marketing communications. Digital marketing is a must.

Allister gave examples of companies that are in three distinct categories – which are you in?

Digital Marketing Checklist 2017 - Allister Frost at Best 4 Biz East Sussex - Blockbuster














  • DENIAL – remember Blockbuster? They were offered the opportunity to buy Netflix in 2000 but refused. Netflix offers a monthly subscription and provides streaming media and video on demand online and DVD by mail. There are no late fees. After years of success, Blockbuster went bust in 2010 due to the success of Netflix’s online business vs their costs of huge numbers of retail outlets and a business model built on profits from fees from late returns of DVDs.


Digital Marketing Checklist 2017 - Allister Frost at Best 4 Biz East Sussex - John Lewis













  • DIGITAL – a business that is embracing the new digital world. For example, even in retail, John Lewis has screens in store where you can see every piece of furniture with any of their fabric options. They can’t hold all that physical stock – but they can digitally.


Digital Marketing Checklist 2017 - Allister Frost at Best 4 Biz East Sussex - Blockbuster













  • DISRUPTIVE – a business like Netflix or Uber. A disruptive innovation is where there is a fundamental change in the way business is done. Uber offers a whole new world of taxi rides. A customer uses an app on their phone that can now integrate with Google Maps, pay by credit card or paypal (no cash required) and choose to play their Spotify music playlist in the cab.


Your Digital Marketing Checklist for 2017

Allister Frost’s ‘takeaways’ for business owners to improve their digital marketing were:

  • Build your business on solid ground – have a website with strong clear messages that answers people’s questions. Don’t build your business on a Facebook page. You are a tenant on Facebook. Your landlord could change the rules. Have your own website that you own and control. This is so important since, as we also often say to our clients, all other marketing is about driving traffic back to your website. (Note from Pearce Marketing – we totally agree and although Facebook is great in many ways, it should not be a substitute for a website. We help businesses with all aspects of cost-effective web design, content and optimisation.)
  • Mobile first – everything must work on mobile devices. (Note from Pearce Marketing – That means really works – there is no need to scroll side to side or zoom in to read text. You will drop down the Google search rankings if you are not mobile optimised. Visit this web page to see the ‘Mobile Friendly Test’ – type in your website address and click ‘Analyze’ to see what Google thinks of your website.)
  • Email Excellence – it may be seen as old school, but it works when it’s done well. It’s a very important tool. It can be read anytime, forwarded to other people, have targeted messages to segmented lists at specific times and create and build a long term relationship. (Note from Pearce Marketing – We recommend MailChimp as an email tool to many SME customers starting out with email marketing. It is free or low cost, plus you can see who has opened and clicked on certain elements of your email so you know who to follow up first. We can help you design a template, set up your lists and send out campaigns – and/or train you in how to do it. You can use Mailchimp or other email systems to develop lead generation/lead nurturing automated campaigns too.)
  • Be easily found – search engine optimisation (SEO) is vital – included voice activated search. (Note from Pearce Marketing – All too often we come across companies that have spent time and money on creating a website they are so proud of, but it is invisible in search results. The local SEO work we do for clients means your website is working hard for you as a lead generation tool by appearing high in Google search results.)
  • Targeted social media posts and advertising – target your posts to specific segments of your existing fan base for free and reach new potential customers via the paid marketing options. Really break down your posts and ads to target specific segments – by interests, location and more. Relevant and tailored messages will have more success. (Note from Pearce Marketing – Let us know if you’d like more detail on the incredible array of targeting options available on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter etc. We recently did a keynote presentation on this at a conference in Brighton. You can also utilise Facebook retargeting – that’s where your web site visitors see an ad from you when they next log in to their Facebook account.)

At Pearce Marketing we can help you with all these digital marketing areas. Please get in touch if you have any questions – read more about our services.

Best 4 Biz Round-Up

After Allister’s presentation he joined the lively interactive Question Time Panel session. The panel included Malcolm Diamond MBE (Chairman at TR Fastenings, operating globally from HQ in Uckfield), Nus Ghani, MP for Wealden, Huw Merriman, MP for Battle and Bexhill and Alex Storey from Google. Brexit, transport and other issues were covered with questions from the floor.

The next session included three shorter presentations:

  • the story of locally developed pioneering software from The NowScreen for hotels in Eastbourne (and now beyond)
  • how to differentiate your offering and build a business based on passion from Penina Shepherd at Acumen Business Law
  • success in overcoming the skills shortage by businesses and schools working together on The Enterprise Advisor programme, from Graham Marley at the Let’s Do Business Group and Causeway School.

A buffet lunch was then provided and delegates networked and visited the 28 exhibitors’ stands.

The afternoon programme included informative breakout sessions on:

  • how to handle social media activity by your employees from a legal viewpoint for your business
    Facebook as a B2B marketing tool
  • growing your business via sales into the public sector and overseas (UKTI aka DIT), along with opportunities for grant funding
  • Cyber attacks on SMEs – how digital criminals can target East Sussex businesses and how to protect your organisation.

Google Keynote Presentation

The final keynote speaker was Alex Story, Head of SME Partnerships at Google UK. He explained how Google wants to always give the best search results for all our micro-moments throughout the day, as well as enable us to naturally converse with devices.
Google can see that at:

  • 8 am many people want to know about the weather and travel situation
  • at lunchtime there are far greater searches on your mobile based on your location (for products, services, food outlets using google maps and walking directions)
  • at 6pm there is a 70% increase in “how to” type searches (people doing domestic jobs when they get home from work)
  • at 8 pm more people are shopping on their devices from their sofas and reacting to TV programmes.

82% of people consult their phones when in store and they have seen a 29% increase in conversion rate from ads on mobile.

Alex gave an example of how Google is now trying to answer questions before you ask. If you are texting a friend and talking about a Mexican Restaurant, it is possible for you to view a Google Now layer over the text message screen to see reviews and maps and phone numbers for Mexican Restaurants. No need to go off to separate restaurant websites – it’s all there to view and click on.

(You can set up Google Now so that it presents the information you find useful on ‘Google Cards’ that you can tap for more info or swipe away. Think of it like a personalised Google page on your most used information – weather where you live, your journey to work, the scores of your favourite football team – more information in this article)

Alex said businesses must be working smart on mobile:

  • be there (where their customers are)
  • be useful
  • be quick (immediacy)
  • connect the dots – provide a consistent message and be helpful. This means giving people information at the early stage of their research and ultimately taking them to a mobile-friendly and easy to use transaction environment.

He finished by mentioning Google Home – have you tried this voice activated smart speaker? It uses the new Google Assistant for two-way conversation. Say “ok Google” and then ask it to play a track on Spotify, add butter to your shopping list, let you know about traffic conditions for your route to work, answer factual questions, integrate with other home automation systems and lots more, without you touching a screen.

About Best4Biz in East Sussex

The Best4Biz Conference is only in its third year, but has earned a strong reputation for delivering an impressive line up of international business speakers, a Question Time style panel discussion with local MPs and business leaders, along with useful breakout seminars on a range of topics.

But that’s not all, there’s also a small exhibition area and great networking opportunities with 250 East Sussex delegates throughout the day. Plus there is more networking at the Best of East Sussex Business Awards evening event.

The event is delivered via a collaboration between East Sussex County Council and ACES, the Alliance of Chambers in East Sussex. If you are a member of a Chamber of Commerce or the FSB in East Sussex, you are a member of ACES. The event is all about inspiring business owners, sharing knowledge to grow your business and interacting with MPs on priorities for East Sussex.

The Best4Biz event has changed venue each year across East Sussex – last year it was the East Sussex National Hotel (near Uckfield) and this year it was the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill-on-Sea. We look forward to seeing the programme and finding out the location for 2017!

More free tips and advice on digital marketing

We hope this has helped! For more handy tips on digital marketing, traditional marketing, and social media, please see our blog and browse our blog categories. If you don’t want to miss future blog posts about marketing and social media, please sign up to our email newsletter (see right hand column). You can also follow us on social media – Facebook  Twitter  LinkedIn  Google+  You Tube  Instagram Snapchat. Don’t forget we can also just meet face to face too – we are based in Eastbourne and help clients across East Sussex and beyond.

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