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How To Cut Through The Noise With Content Marketing



Content marketing is intended to pique interest in a business’s products or services, it involves creating and sharing digital assets (blogs, articles, videos and social media posts). A successful content marketing strategy will help your business drive conversions with higher quality and interested leads. It includes: • Understanding content marketing and why it’s important for …

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The impact of digital transformation on the martech industry



The Drum caught up with Marc Keating of Stein IAS to discuss his understanding of the emerging sector.

The Drum together with Stein IAS has been honouring the individuals who are pushing forward their business by using martech platforms, giving them a chance to speak openly about the changes in martech and have them recognised as Top Martech Heroes within the industry.

Keating spoke to us about the biggest martech trends from the past year, key challenges overcome within the sector and shares his predictions for 2019.

What are the biggest trends you’ve identified in martech in 2018?

AI has become one of the hottest trends in B2B this year, but its application within marketing beyond programmatic, personalisation and predictive data technology has been limited. The challenge for martech vendors now is how they embed AI and machine leaning capabilities within their stacks, beyond predictive data and analytics, which has been its initial application.

Also 2018 has been the year of ABM tech activation, as brands start deploying ABM platforms to activate intent data and deliver account targeted advertising and web personalisation.

This year, digital transformation has been higher on the agenda of most organisations, and as brands digitise their offerings and create new tech-driven service models and platforms, there has been more pressure on CMOs to transform the marketing function and GTM strategies. As part of this drive, immersive content experiences, AR/VR/MR, blockchain, AI/ML, personal assistants and chatbots are just some of the uses to address in 2019 and beyond.

What do you think have been some of the biggest challenges in effectively implementing martech in 2018 and how have organisations overcome these? (Or do you think they still have a way to go?)

At a strategic level, one of the biggest challenges that brands have faced is selecting and connecting the right tools to power their CX strategies. We’re seeing a rationalisation of the tech stack as brands begin to align technology investment more closely with the business and marketing strategy and overall integration goals.

2018 has also been the year of compliance as brands navigated the minefield of GDPR, which forced organisations to address their marketing, data, digital media/programmatic, content and tech strategies. In many ways, it has made organisations go back to basics by placing permission-based marketing at the heart of their strategies, with inbound, content marketing and contact preference centres driving effective data acquisition and nurture strategies.

At a more strategic level, GDPR has made organisations prioritise their data strategy in terms of how they capture, structure and manage first, second and third-party data for marketing activation and how they unlock data silos to build a 360-degree view of the customer. This has seen the wider adoption of data management platforms and an increase in the adoption of customer data platforms, which I believe will increase in 2019 as brands put the foundations in place to feed AI technologies with relevant data.

What new skills or practices, if any, do you think the industry will need to learn with the evolution of martech?

Over the last 10 years we’ve seen the rise, fall and rise again of martech and we are now entering an inflection point where the tech that has powered GTM and the CX will be very different than the emerging and disruptive technologies that will power it in the future. This is going to highlight and create skills gaps at all levels of the marketing and digital function and with a greater prioritisation of the stack and the deeper integration of tech across the customer journey, brands will also need to rethink their operational models and the teams and resources within them.

C-level marketers will need to adapt to a new lexicon as the tech stack layers of CRM, content management and marketing automation blend with predictive, AI and data science platforms.

At the practitioner level, talented individuals that understand the technology and have the strategic marketing intellect to align it with the marketing and business strategy will be in demand. Connecting the dots between the “Mar” and the “Tech” is where the biggest gap is. Designing “click to conversion” experiences that blend creative, content and media requires a new type of “CX orchestrator”. When AI and machine learning become fully bedded into the stack a new type of marketing architect will be born.

Where you do expect the martech industry to head in 2019?

2019 will see five rapidly evolving martech characteristics begin to become commonplace as we see the birth of the “cognitive marketing cloud”, enabling one-to-one intelligent experiences across the brand-demand continuum.


Today, creative and content are mostly built as complete executions, sometimes with multiple versions developed for each persona or segment. But a handful of marketing AI players have illuminated “tomorrow” by beginning to “atomize” creative: breaking complete executions down into smaller objects. Tomorrow, this ‘recombinant creative’ approach will be required to feed automated marketing and programmatic advertising systems capable of dynamically constructing millions of individualised experiences.


This is where increasing targeting precision leads to the ability to recognise an individual (based on big data) and craft a unique experience using recombinant creative and content. The next wave of individualisation will be far more dynamic, and work across many more touchpoints, orchestrated by AI and enabled by big data and by integration of the adtech, martech and emerging sales tech stacks.


A corollary to individualisation, adaptability in this sense is about re-defining buyer journeys in real-time based on automated analysis of audience engagement data. Tomorrow’s automated tools will need to adapt the buyer journey path at every stage and turn, driven by their digital body language. Instead of being limited to a single channel, there will be a new kind of ‘adaptive campaign canvas’ across all channels and that adjusts in real-time.


Near-future marketing automation platforms will have adaptable campaign canvases and experiences that build themselves. A self-learning AI platform will compile disparate elements together to create the ultimate real-time, adaptive, optimised experience for each user.


Future multi-channel adaptive campaign canvases will adjust the entire buyer path in real-time, not only based on behaviour and profile data but also previous conversion data for that target user profile. And they will continuously learn from all their previous interactions and get better and better and better at knowing when to convert, and what’s converting.

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The best campaigns of 2018 from The Drum Awards: early bird rates for 2019 available



The Drum Awards is launching its call for entries for 2019. The first eight competitions are already open to enter and you can get an early bird discount if you submit before 19 December.

Award-winning work takes time and consideration — and the best-of-the-best from your agency, brand or company could be earning well-deserved accolades and trophies.

Here are eight examples of those who have wowed and amazed The Drum Awards judging panel of industry experts in 2018.

Campaign: The Launch of Samsung Quickdrive:

Agency: Taylor Herring Ltd

Client: Samsung

The Drum Marketing Awards

Last November, Taylor Herring and Samsung launched a through the line campaign which led the entire marketing strategy for a flagship product launch.

Domestic appliances can be difficult to promote, particularly white goods like washing machines. The creative was firmly rooted in earned media and featured original research, a disruptive TV spot, a feature film, one of Britain’s greatest composers and a very smart washing machine.

Results included worldwide media coverage, the first social trends in Samsung domestic appliance history, a +10 point increase in positive sentiment, millions of views and a 238% uplift in sales.

The Making Of – Washing Machine – The Feature Film from Taylor Herring on Vimeo.

Members of the judging panel said: “We were really excited by this entry; the fact that this was such a different approach to a very functional product made us all feel that this could shake up this this sector within the industry and prove there isn’t just one way to market washing machines. A game changer.”

Campaign: Non-Consensual Sharing of Intimate Images

Agency: Republic of Media

Client: The Scottish Government

The Drum Digital Advertising Awards Europe

The Scottish Government gave Republic of Media an almost impossible task: deliver awareness and understanding of a change in law on Revenge Porn – a crime that can be taken lightly, but has significant consequences for both victim and perpetrator.

On a small budget, the target audience was young men who were experts in avoiding online ads they don’t want to see and Republic of Media needed to cut-through and encourage engagement with a Government ‘lecture’ message.

The campaign served to inform of the severe penalties people will face for sharing intimate images or video of someone without their permission.

Judge and commercial innovation director, Clear Channel UK, Cadi Jones said that the team made a huge impact with this campaign, despite a limited budget. “I was particularly impressed by their partnership approach with media owners to get buy-in to bend the normal rules on ad content to help to deliver this important message to the right audience,” said Jones. “They delivered spectacular results within the target audience. This ticked all the boxes for great idea, great planning, great execution – and as judges we wanted to see it recognised accordingly.”

Campaign: Just Like Us

Agency: WWF-UK, All Mighty Pictures, Time Based Arts

Client: WWF

The Drum Design Awards

WWF's ‘JustLikeUs’ campaign aimed to raise public awareness of the critical plight facing Elephants, and gain financial support for the chairty's work.

This integrated campaign was different in creative tone and approach, designed to reach the widest audience at such a crucial time.

With around 55 African Elephants being killed every day, WWF felt compelled to give a voice to Elephants.

Head judge and founder of Brand Inspiration, Glenn Tutssel said: “The judges were moved to tears by this piece of work. It was very emotive. A simple public awareness campaign that tells the story in a most amazing way, that raised our emotions to the limit.

"I was extremely well executed and directed to gain maximum awareness. A brilliant piece of work.”

Campaign: Shelter #NotInvited

Agency: Kastner and Partners in London

Client: Shelter

The Drum Chip Shop Awards

Kastner and Partners in London came up with an idea for the homeless charity, Shelter. It was a response to Windsor Council’s unjust treatment of the town’s homeless population with the Royal Wedding on the horizon.

The Drum Chip Shop Awards are a little different to the usual shows. Here, you have complete creative freedom and your entries don't even need to be executed campaigns.

Chairman of the judging panel and creative partner at Now, Remco Graham said: "The whole jury was unanimous in our voting of this for a Grand Prix. We were also unanimous in wanting to see it run. I wouldn’t have been surprised to see a good agency come up with this.

"What’s so great about the Chip Shop Awards is that you find nuggets of gold like this. Using creativity for good. For where it really matters. That’s why we awarded this piece of work the Grand Prix."

Campaign: Bedtime Stories and Exam Results

Agency: TBWA Manchester

Client: PAPYRUS Prevention of Young Suicide

The Drum Roses Awards

TBWA Manchester not only won one Grand Prix, but two for their work with PAPYRUS Prevention of Young Suicide.

Bedtime Stories was powerful online film launched on Safer Internet Day to raise awareness of young suicide and cyber bullying for PAPYRUS, a national charity for prevention of young suicide. It is part of on-going work around the shocking statistic that over 200 schoolchildren die by suicide every year in the UK.

The second campaign, Exam Question, highlighted how the stress and pressure of exams can lead young people to suicidal thoughts. Presented as exam questions, our messages around suicide each offered one simple answer – call PAPYRUS, a national charity for the prevention of young suicide.

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Judge Wayne Deakin, executive creative director, Huge said: "A lot of energy, clever thinking and a sense of addictive fun was in abundance from this years Grand Prix winner. I was surprised and engaged by the work. I don’t know if it’s right to use the term ‘Northern Powerhouse’ but that is what TBWA /Manchester was this year. Well done."

Campaign: Snaplications

Agency: VML

Client: McDonald's Australia

The Drum Mobile Awards

Snaplications is the instant job application that changed the face of recruitment for McDonald's – one of the biggest employers of young people in Australia. VML let young people seeking their first job apply with just personality, no resumes and no CVs required.



Campaign: TicToc

Agency: Bloomberg

The Drum Online Media Awards

TicToc by Bloomberg was the first and only global news network built for Twitter. They provide 24/7 coverage of breaking news, live events and top and trending general news. They are powered by Bloomberg's 2,700 journalists and analysts in 120 countries so that they can deliver a fast and interactive editorial experience for the next generation of on-the-go news consumers.

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Judge and editor-in-chief, HuffPost UK, Polly Curtis said: "TicToc is a beautifully simple idea that allows Bloomberg to be at the heart of the conversation, in a distinctively Bloomberg way. The design shouts Bloomberg, which telling the audience it’s doing something different. The use of Twitter is novel and appropriate. Exciting to see that there is still innovation on platforms we think we all know."

Campaign: A Data Driven Marriage

Agency: Peak Ace

Client: Kartenmacherei

The Drum Search Awards Europe

Kartenmacherei is amongst the leading greeting card providers in Europe. Trusting Peak Ace to take care of their core market to strengthen this position and even extend reach, the agency had complete freedom to do what they believed works best.

The campaign is a well-executed marriage of tech and creative which helped to increase Kartenmacherei overall performance in just 12 months. The data-driven approach can be seen everywhere from research to strategy, execution and the results.

Peak Ace


ZPG, director of paid performance media, Vincent Coyle, said: "Peak Ace used classic on-page SEO along with more creative approaches to performance content marketing to generate a great ROI for Kartenmacherei.

"A heavy use of data was used to determine the most effective landing pages and in turn on site conversion rate. It's a great example of a well rounded integrated campaign can make the most out of PR and SEO."

The Drum Awards is a global scheme that aims to identify the best practices, companies and people in our industry. It’s mission is to share that information with readers of The Drum – one of the worlds largest marketing platforms – to help them make better decisions.

Entries for the first half of 2019's awards are now open. If you have any questions, queries or need advice on your entry form, please contact one of our event managers.

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Transforming customer experience into an actionable marketing strategy: A guide



The workforce as we know it is changing and companies must be ready to adapt to fast change as we become ever more tech-centric. However, despite the digital noise there is one element that will always remain a constant requirement for success; delivering an excellent customer experience (CX) and maintaining a well-received brand image.

In our highly connected 'always on' digital world, CX combined with word of mouth is potentially one of the most powerful marketing tools for brands today, backed up by a study that shows 92% of consumers believe suggestions from people they know over any other form of advertising. Advancing technology is now allowing for these opinions to be voiced on a global scale across the likes of social media and review sites. With this opportunity to reach a wealth of potential new customers, brands which make themselves personable and their service customer-centric can work to set themselves apart from competitors, without the need for extremely elaborate marketing strategies.

CX at its best

Some successful brands are where they are today through the power of word of mouth alone, as opposed to costly advertising. One clear example is online clothing and shoe retailer, Zappos. The company has developed a reputation of having excellent service and with its ability to please customers achieved through first hand customer insights. The website has ensured that consumers are now loyal and return to buy products – ultimately driving customer retention and an increase in profit.

Ensuring customers enjoy experiences with a brand, the way businesses market themselves as well as the way they develop customer care campaigns can all help to create a sense of understanding and community amongst customers. For example, taking the time to make communication unintrusive, human and resonate more personally can be a key driver of quality CX. According to a survey on content marketing, the majority (80%) said delivering personalised content, for example personalised emails targeted to suit individual experiences is more effective than delivering ‘unpersonalised’ content to visitors. As a result of this, the customers that receive personalised content will most likely continue to use your product/service and endorse your business to others.

A great example of this executed effectively is Netflix’s email campaigns. Despite being one of the largest companies worldwide, Netflix has mastered the tactic of personal recommendations and suggests shows that are similar to what their customers have previously watched. As long as the brand has enough data to provide insights on this, this is a great way to be proactive in making the customer experience efficient, easy and seamless, which ultimately helps to nurture loyalty, as well as short-term sales.

Turning CX into actionable insights

Social media now also plays a particularly crucial role for brands looking to market themselves through good customer journeys. For many, it is now a core marketing channel with the potential to reach a wealth of new customers and can also be used as a research tool for understanding the problems in the customer journey and improving their experience. However, the solutions readily available to businesses now mean that these satisfied customer insights can now be taken one step further, to be measured and then developed into new ways to market their service.

The sheer volume of conversations taking place on platforms like Twitter and popular review sites make them an effective way for marketers to not only reach customers, but also enables for positive customer experiences to be published and interacted with. Integrating tools into these channels then also allows these insights to be turned into a research opportunity, highlighting customers pain points and allowing companies to improve overall experience.

The more customer insights a business receives about their product or service, the more you learn and understand your customers patterns and trends associated with your business. With customer insights coming through as data in a variety of forms – mainly structured and unstructured, businesses can put the insights together, whether it be big or small and gain a clearer picture of your customers’ way of thinking and how they can dramatically enhance and boost customer experience.

There are however, some challenges that brands can be faced with when it comes to using customer experience to inform their marketing strategy. Companies can often spend a lot of time gathering and measuring customer insight data they receive and meticulously mapping all customer pain points to try and tailor their marketing to overcome these customer perceptions. Using solutions to make this process as efficient as possible can help brands to maximise the opportunity to turn CX into new avenues for growth.

Through the likes of analytics tools, which offer insights into the sentiment of direct engagements with a brand from the public across various digital channels and customer relationship management (CRM) systems, companies can gather and measure their interactions with current and potential customers, understand them more effectively and ultimately use organic insights of endorsement and satisfaction to fuel their marketing approach.

With technological advancements increasing daily, it is becoming a lot easier for companies to weave in their customer insights and turn this into an intelligent marketing strategy. Brands must now realise the influence that customer experiences has on consumer decision-making today, if they are to succeed in using it to market themselves in our increasingly digital world.

Interested in hearing leading global brands discuss subjects like this in person?

Find out more about Digital Marketing World Forum (#DMWF) Europe, London, North America, and Singapore.

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