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Advertising on Social Networks

Last year Respose One conducted a survey of UK adults to examine the relative effectiveness of different advertising media in driving consumers to visit a company’s website and ’seriously consider making a purchase’. Advertising on social networking sites ranked marginally above unsolicited email and unsolicited text messages when it came to encouraging customers to visit an advertiser’s website.

Some saw this news as the storm clouds brewing over social networking as an advertising medium which most thought of as being used by a difficult-to-engage youthful market anyway. However a year on and the outlook seems far sunnier.

The IAB (Internet Advertising Bureau) posted information yesterday about the growth of web 2.0 based on a recent report by Nielson Online. The report indicated that social networking is now more popular than email among web users around the globe and I for one use these sites to communicate with friends and family more than I use email.

Member community sites, such as blogs and social networks, are now the fourth most popular website category in the world and are growing twice as fast as categories such as search, portals, PC software and email.

The Nielson Online report also showed that Facebook is by far the most popular social network in the world and reaches 3 out of every 10 web users in the main economic markets including the UK, USA, Brazil, Spain, Italy, France, Australia, Germany and Switzerland. Figures from Facebook suggest that they have more than 175 million active users in total which means that nearly 3% of humankind is on Facebook!

Visiting social media sites acoounts for 1 in every 11 minutes of time spent on the web with the fastest growing user demographic being the 35 to 49 year olds (my demographic group………..).

The UK market also stood out as being a nation of ‘early adopters’ as the report also revealed us Brits are the most likely to access a social networking site from a mobile as our need to be in touch now extends to when we are ‘offline’.

With two thirds of the world’s online population accessing blogs and social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace, Bebo and Twitter it would be unwise for brands to exclude these from the marketing mix. Although the initial results from using this media have been far from exciting it is clear that with the broader demographic take up and the wealth of freely given data to enable targeting and segmentation; social networking is likely to be the next big thing……… again.

Last year Respose One conducted a survey of UK adults to examine the relative effectiveness of different advertising media in driving consumers to visit a company’s website and ’seriously consider making a purchase’. Advertising on social networking sites ranked marginally above unsolicited email and unsolicited text messages when it came to encouraging customers to visit an advertiser’s website.

Some saw this news as the storm clouds brewing over social networking as an advertising medium which most thought of as being used by a difficult-to-engage youthful market anyway. However a year on and the outlook seems far sunnier.

The IAB (Internet Advertising Bureau) posted information yesterday about the growth of web 2.0 based on a recent report by Nielson Online. The report indicated that social networking is now more popular than email among web users around the globe and I for one use these sites to communicate with friends and family more than I use email.

Member community sites, such as blogs and social networks, are now the fourth most popular website category in the world and are growing twice as fast as categories such as search, portals, PC software and email.

The Nielson Online report also showed that Facebook is by far the most popular social network in the world and reaches 3 out of every 10 web users in the main economic markets including the UK, USA, Brazil, Spain, Italy, France, Australia, Germany and Switzerland. Figures from Facebook suggest that they have more than 175 million active users in total which means that nearly 3% of humankind is on Facebook!

Visiting social media sites acoounts for 1 in every 11 minutes of time spent on the web with the fastest growing user demographic being the 35 to 49 year olds (my demographic group………..).

The UK market also stood out as being a nation of ‘early adopters’ as the report also revealed us Brits are the most likely to access a social networking site from a mobile as our need to be in touch now extends to when we are ‘offline’.

With two thirds of the world’s online population accessing blogs and social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace, Bebo and Twitter it would be unwise for brands to exclude these from the marketing mix. Although the initial results from using this media have been far from exciting it is clear that with the broader demographic take up and the wealth of freely given data to enable targeting and segmentation; social networking is likely to be the next big thing……… again.

Jason Edge

www.nexusdp.co.uk

How to use email marketing to retain your customers in the recesssion by Oli Christie, creative director, InboxDMG

As the recession bites, it’s harder than ever to acquire new customers – especially if budgets are shrinking – so marketers need to make the most of those customers they already have.

Now is a good time to focus on retention marketing. And if you need cost-saving as well as effectiveness, email marketing programmes can deliver impressive ROI.
It’s all about targeting and relevance.

No other direct medium allows you to deliver such highly personalised, relevant content, all of which is instantly trackable and measurable, and with a quick turnaround providing you with a strategic and a tactical tool.

Here are top 10 email marketing tips for retaining customers and increasing customer value:

1. Less is more:
Keep copy short. Don’t fill the available space just because it’s there. Keep it simple and concise to deliver drama and message clarity. Your existing customers know what you do, so you don’t have to remind them in every message. They’ll want you to get to the point quickly.

2. Stand out from the crowd:
How many emails arrive in your inbox every day? A McAfee report last year revealed that unprotected inboxes receive an average of 70 unsolicited emails every day. Stand out is obviously crucial, but not always given enough attention. Build a strong identity and style so that your existing customers can spot that relevant message even in a crowded inbox.

3. Deliver your brand creatively:
Avoid being overly formulaic in your creative approach. Brand consistency is good for immediate recognition, but be prepared to surprise and delight through creative visual treatments. If you’re building templates, why not build creativity in. Don’t be dull, keep your customers interested.

4. Use attention grabbing headlines:

Make sure the headlines within the email are relevant to the recipient and contain enough drama to generate immediate response. Think of them as newspaper headlines – short, attractive lines to lure the reader into the stories.

5. Clear message positioning:

Think about the positive of the ‘fold’. Know that you’ve got less than 3 seconds to generate a response. The key message has to appear early and high, with supportive content lower down. Don’t be shy. If the content is well-targeted, even sales messages to existing customers will be received as a form of customer service – you can afford to be upfront and get to the point quickly.

6. Make it even more relevant:
This is probably the single most important piece of advice. You need to learn about your customer, capturing data from email responses, online behaviour and profiling questions. You then need to show your customers that you’ve ‘listened’ by using your knowledge to build relevant and personalised communications. Target content and offers based on what you know about the individual customers. Customers want one-to-one communications so well-targeted and segmented emails will get double the response, or more.

7. Keep it clean:
Defensive systems designed to spot and reject SPAM are very sophisticated. If your list is scattered with bounce-back addresses, duplicates and unsubscribes, your stats will suffer and so will your ‘sender’ reputation. Use services like Return Path analysis to increase deliverability and therefore, ROI.

8. Use the subject line, it’s very important:
This along with your ‘sent from’ email address, is the first thing your customers will see. It’s important! Keep it concise – 40 characters or less is best – putting key info at the start of it. Avoid subject line personalisation as you need to avoid appearing like SPAM at all costs. Oh, and don’t forget to test, and retest, and test again…

9. Tune in and get the tone right:
These are existing customers you’re talking to, so make sure you acknowledge it. Use the data you have about previous transactions and reduce the formality. The copy tone has an enormous effect on customers’ perceptions about your brand and brand affinity, so spend time developing your ‘house style’ and language.

10. Timing is everything:
Finally, there are good times and bad times of the week, and day, to despatch your emails. Again, more testing is required, as it will vary depending on your business sector and product. As a rule of thumb, aim for the first half of the week – plenty of time for your customers to react before the mental cleansing effect of the weekend.

About InboxDMG Established in 1999, InboxDMG is one of the UK’s leading, award-winning specialist digital communications agencies. InboxDMG specialises in digital customer relationship management, providing clients with insightful, engaging and results-driven digital solutions that build brands and long term one-to-one customer relationships and is a member of Digital Marketing Group, which specialises in digital marketing.


Contents is king in the men’s market

Established in the 90’s against a backdrop of Brit-Pop and New Labour, men’s magazines such as FHM, Maxim and Loaded were once the staple of every self respecting teen and twenty-something male. But the latest ABC figures reveal a publishing sector on its knees, haemorrhaging readers and facing an uncertain future.


So why has a magazine sector that once captured the male Zeitgeist so perfectly and counted a readership in the millions, come to the edge of collapse?Before the rise of online content and social networking sites such as Facebook, the rise of Google and YouTube; magazines such as Loaded, Maxim and FHM almost bottled the essence of “lad culture”.

It’s hard to remember any other group of publications, past or present that so perfectly captured an audience. A recipe of witty, informative, agenda setting editorial and a constant stream of scantily clad celebrities made these titles every media planner’s dream publication; enormous targeted readership and a great branding.

So what has gone so badly wrong? Well there are several reasons. First remember that the lad’s mag heyday was pre-Google; before YouTube, Facebook and now of course Twitter.The internet has elbowed the glossy monthly or even weekly men’s mag aside as an agenda- setting source of entertainment. Why tell your mates about something you read about in Loaded, they’d heard about online three weeks earlier.

The painful fact for magazines is that cool news or “did you see that” content has a far shorter lifespan, perhaps measured in days or hours rather than weeks or months. As a result the influence they held as the print gate keepers of information has diminished.

Second, in general the sector has failed to keep pace with changing times and is still too reliant on editorial content and style that was popular ten years ago. The lads mag is out of step with the realities of the content market. Whilst unfair to say success of FHM etc flowed purely from the amount of bare flesh they exposed, it was a big factor. In an age where porn can be accessed so easily for free online, it’s inevitable that lads should ask why they should bother paying three pounds for a magazine.

Male attitudes have also moved on. The timeless, universal appeal of tits and arse still hold true, but, there’s been a gradual shift in men’s attitudes over the last ten years. Gone are the days where men were proud to fly the “lad” flag. Today most twenty-something males are probably too embarrassed to read such magazines in public for fear of the negative social connotations associated with them.

Neither maturing with the readership of the 1990’s nor attracting the new ipod generation, the lad mags now find themselves in no-mans land. Unlike the women’s lifestyle sector, where there’s a natural progression in terms of the magazines you mature into, (for example as a teen you might read Sugar, before moving onto Grazia in your twenties and Red in your thirties) men have found no middle ground between the brash content that appealed to their younger selves and the high-brow editorial or apparitional cool offered by the likes of GQ.

The winners have been titles that have continued to deliver content (especially expertise or opinion) that is not easily accessible elsewhere. Specialists such as Men’s Health, Golf Monthly, Q or Total Film (or examples that are on the rise) have inherited the lad audience, defining it by interest group.

With the high water mark of men’s magazines well and truly behind us, and recent ABC’s charting a precipitous decline is the genre of the general “lad mag”, even in weekly form dead and buried? Well, clearly some are still alive and well, for example you cannot ignore Nuts! with an ABC of 234,034 in February.

Having said that, publishing contracts aside, I’m not optimistic. It can’t be long before the monthlies are all but gone and the weeklies may face a similar fate in a year or two. The brands are of course attempting reinvention online, but will they survive in that form alone with so many alternatives online?I expect specialist titles to continue to thrive and for “quality” titles aimed at the more discerning reader to survive with a solid readership. Perhaps the answer to the survival of the general men’s mag lays in a return to journalism that offers entertainment the British lad simply can’t get with a quick Google.

Dennis Perks, Press Manager, Total Media

About Total Media

Total Service: The service and results your deserves


Total Expertise: With all the knowledge you need from digital and direct to international

Total Media: The independence to think and act freely for youVisit www.totalmedia.co.uk

How Important is A Website in the Marketing Mix?

I was doing a little online research for a client recently when I stumbled
across a little snippet of information on the New Media Age website
which was quoting some research by Rawnet.

It stated that 86% of consumers have researched a company online
before deciding to use it and 78% have been put off from dealing with a
company because of poor processes on its website. The study of more
than 1,962 UK consumers found 74% would be more likely to deal with a
company if it had all the relevant information on a single page.

It shouldn’t come as any gteat surprise as all of us have
experienced that disengaged feeling when the home page loads and it
looks home-made or worse still; over-designed. Thankfully the big brands have hordes of dedicated web monkeys to keep there sites at the cutting edge and full of content but some companies further down the brand food-chain just don’t get it. I don’t want to name any names………………………………..

If you want to see how bad things can get check out http://tiny.pl/bwwp – ‘the world’s worst website’ which points out the real no-nos of any brands online presence. Then check out http://www.arngren.net/ for a genuine commercial website that has to be seen to be believed.

The benefit of the web to any brands marketing activity goes without question but getting it wrong is far worse than having no web presence at all.

Jason Edge

www.nexusdp.co.uk (we’re in the process of rebuilding it so no need to comment!!)

2009 – The Year of Search…

Comment by Pete Fairhurst, Information Architect, 3Sixty

As Google continues to advance its search services, 2009 is already looking like a landmark year for search – particularly for Google users. With its desire to provide ever more relevant results to each individual, Google will finally launch its much-lauded “personal search” service later this year. Reading some of Bruce Clay’s comments on the web about this very subject, its hard not to get excited about what Google’s offering will mean for the consumers and the advertising industry alike.

By recording a user’s previous searches and click-throughs, Google hopes to offer a more personal and relevant experience. How this will work isn’t entirely clear, but each time a user performs a search, Google will inspect a user’s search history to better establish what they’re really looking for.

For example, say a user searches for “java”. This could mean a number of things: the popular drink, the holiday destination or Sun Microsystem’s popular programming language. Google will take into account a user’s search history before presenting what it believes are results the user will find the most interesting.

Google will also then record the user’s behaviour with these results – whether they click through once or twice and don’t come back (meaning they have found what they wanted), or if the user tries a slightly different search to find something more appropriate. All of which will continue to feed back into the user’s personal search profile, ready for use next time they perform a search.

While this is all largely speculative at time of writing, this rumour has been causing ripples in search engine optimisation circles – particularly with those experts who charge for precise, guaranteed placement within Google’s search results. If each user gets a different set of results based on their individual tastes and interests, this could have a potentially devastating result on positional search engine optimisation.

However, in reality this should actually prove the opposite for the user; the quality of results returned should noticeably improve, meaning better visibility for more specialised businesses. Sticking with our previous example (“java”), specialist small tour operators could see a marked improvement in their search result performance.

There is also the continued question of Google versus personal privacy. Whether users are willing to have Google store their search history in detail remains to be seen. As an aside, Google has been offering a “save my search history” option in user’s personal Google accounts for a number of years now; utilising this data to improve their search service for the individual is merely the next logical step. Google is also likely to offer “personalised search” as an option under each user’s Google account settings, so it likely that it won’t be a “service by stealth” as some parties have feared in the past.

Above all, personalising search in this way promises to bring as much benefit to business as it does the end user. It will be interesting to see how this development from Google progresses, and what impact – if any – it will have on the web at large.

About 3Sixty

Founded in 1995, 3Sixty (http://www.3sixty.co.uk) is a full service digital marketing agency run by Managing Director, Chris Thurling and Creative Director, Jon Waring. The agency takes pride in its experience and deep understanding of using the web as a communications tool for advertisers; its work emphasises simplicity, functionality and the aesthetic. With particular expertise in the travel, finance & leisure industries, 3Sixty is based in Bristol and is an active member of the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising and the Account Planning Group.

Getting customers to love your team

What makes teams like Manchester United so popular? Having talented players, a fantastic heritage and winning trophies all helps. Clever and innovative advertising doesn’t hurt either. But more important than these is the positive engagement marketers develop with fans and the experience it offers them. The owners of the biggest teams understand that careful management of their marketing, based on a complete understanding of their fan base across the globe, can inspire more than mere passionate support, it can create customer loyalty – and turn fans into brand advocates. It’s a lesson that applies to all marketing – making the customer experience a top priority is crucial if a company is to meet its business goals and stay in the premier division of its industry.


Customer service guru Ken Blanchard coined the term ‘raving fans’ to refer to customers who are so impressed by a company that they tell everyone else about it. Football teams routinely inspire that kind of response, but other companies can too. Think of companies like Apple, IKEA, Nintendo, eBay and Facebook, and it’s hard to separate your perception of the company from its community of fans and their passion for it


How can companies build that kind of relationship? The key is to understand the essence of the customer, what makes people want to be a customer, and what is it they share that the company serves. Building experiences that reflect this shared need and using it as a basis for communication provides a focus for marketing and re enforces why a business has customers in the first place. This core knowledge can then be enriched to serve the differences in group of customer. Marketers must talk to customers in ways that re enforces their shared needs, but alongside it demonstrate a real understanding of their specific and personal needs, then, delivering on it consistently.


With data integrated into a single customer view the information is consistent, accurate, up-to-date, and complete. This supports examining personal details, such as age, gender, family and relationships, and analysing it alongside purchase history. With this in place a business can take advantage of analysis to develop a detailed profile for each customer, allowing it to identify and group those individuals that are likely to be interested in similar messages. By ensuring customers only receive messages that are relevant to their lives, a company greatly increases the connection between itself and its customers. It shows it understands and is listening.


A major reason why the big sports teams are so successful is that they understand the importance of making fans feel like they are a part of the same organisation with shared beliefs and a common passion. Establishing what is common and shared can form a powerful part of regular communication, take a newsletter for example. This needs to go beyond keeping customers updated with what’s going on and the blasting sterile messages. It must re-enforce shared beliefs, however, also be personalised, recognising groups and individuals that need different message to stimulate positive behaviour.


Content can be personalised for each individual, so that they’re not only greeted by name, but they also see only those stories that matter to them and offers they will be motivated to act on. Content also needs to be timely, using what is known to recognise life changes, for example, that a customer have moved house, had a child, or changed their preference to be communicated via the web. These factors makes communication more compelling but it can go further. Communication can also be made interactive, for example, to encourage customers to share it with friends and family through digital medium such as email, the web or SMS. Appling this intelligence to communications can create campaigns that take on a momentum of their own. As customers feel part of the same organisation, they will spread the word, acting like advocates, ultimately providing access to people that aren’t customers yet.


At half time, the team on the pitch will gather to review the first half and make subtle and sometimes dramatic changes to formation or tactics. The best marketing teams do the same, at regular times during any campaign. A digital campaign is live and can be reviewed instantly. For non digital campaigns success can be created by watching which message variants generate the best response, what type of response is delivered, as request for information or straight to add to basket. When responses happen, what people did first, second or last are all required. By observing the combination of responses with behaviour and purchases campaigns can be refined and tweaked in light of this unspoken feedback from the customer base. Like all teams, sharing the information is vital, so that nothing get’s missed and everything is coordinated. Of course there is usually one captain, but as managers and coaches, marketers work as a cohesive team, each needing to analysis, understand and share their views, then take action to get the right result.


Marketing efficiency combined with customer intelligence makes it possible to forge a relationship between customer and organisation, fostering loyalty and dedication on both sides. As on the pitch, there are many different strategies that can be employed. In marketing the key is never to lose sight of the experiences customers want, crave and aspire to. Like a fan, a customer’s decision is underpinned by the knowledge that other people have a shared experience, using this and what you know about the individual will keep customer support and ensure they keep coming back for more.

ChrisjoinedsmartFOCUS in 1999, hehas led to theacquisitions of three companies: marketing software companies, Paris based AIMS Software in 2005 and UK based Email Reaction in 2006, adding long standing news & media marketing specialist Astech Intermedia in the USA in 2008.

About smartFOCUS Group plcsmartFOCUS (LSE:STF) is a leading international marketing software company that empowers marketers with the intelligence to drive high performance multi-channel campaigns and more valuable customer relationships. Its Intelligent Marketing solutions integrate offline and online data, analysis, campaign and performance management to deliver better targeted, more timely and relevant communications that increase campaign conversion rates and improve customer insight.smartFOCUS has over 700 customers and partners worldwide using its marketing software including AAA, ABN AMRO, ASOS, Center Parcs, EMI, Fig Leaves, Harrods, Hilton International, NSPCC, Société Générale and QVC.smartFOCUS is headquartered in the UK, with operations in the US, continental Europe and Asia Pacific. www.smartfocus.com


Brands need the feelgood factor in times of recession

The fact that the film Slumdog Millionaire swept the board at the BAFTAs this year (and probably will at the Oscars) is not coincidental to the economic climate.

Because, whether or not you agree with the critic who said it was ‘the feelgood film of the decade’, Slumdog’s uplifting ending struck a chord with the public, as the perfect antitode to today’s gloom and doom. Similarly, reality shows such as X Factor or Strictly Come Dancing, with their themes of triumph over adversity and provision of escapist enjoyment, are enjoying record audiences.

It’s not just popular culture that’s showing us which way the wind is blowing. People all over the UK cried tears of joy at President Obama’s inauguration – that had the feelgood factor too. And just look at the way February’s snow got everyone out throwing snowballs – people jumping at chance to enjoy themselves again.

In order to ride out the recession, depression (or whatever it’s being called these days), brands might need to tune into the feelgood factor too. The immediate response of many brands to the downturn was to focus on trust, reassurance or nostalgia in order to attract consumers. Banks sobered up, ditched the celebrities and started telling us our money was safe with them. Supermarkets focused squarely on price and discounting. And consumer brands such as Hovis returned to the past in their advertising, in campaigns designed to evoke familiar feelings of warmth.

But now we are seeing a second wave of marketing. Bright, lively campaigns – such as T-Mobile’s ‘Life’s for Sharing’ – are ahead of the curve, tapping into a new culture of fun that can still be had, regardless of cash. Virgin Atlantic’s ‘stewardesses’ campaign, however controversial, has a high-camp style that both entertains us and harks back to the 80s with an ironic nostalgia. In the US, Coke ran ‘feelgood’ spots in the recent Superbowl- and went down well with viewers.

In a downturn, people need entertainment to shake them out of their depression. It’s no coincidence that the 70s, with its three day weeks and winter of discontent, produced comedy geniuses such as Monty Python and the team behind Not the Nine O Clock News.

And the companies that are about entertainment – leisure, communication and lifestyle brands – could start to benefit. People who have been working hard over the last few years and have nothing to show for it will start looking to achieve more of a work/life balance, plus a more healthy and fulfilling lifestyle. There could even be a slower pace to life – more of a Continental feel – as the UK pendulum swings away from a focus on money and property.

Consumers will not stop spending – they will just spend on different things. While they may not be buying or selling houses, they will be renovating their existing homes, so DIY or decoration brands could benefit. And they will take care who they spend with – established, trusted retailers will benefit, while those who were already floundering will go the way of Woollies. Retailers that give us positive, uplifting messages will find returns on their investment.

2009 will also see the real beginnings of the build up to London Olympics in 2012, as well as the football World Cup in South Africa in 2010. Both events will provide a positive focus for consumers who see the economic chaos around them. Brands will start to capitalise on capturing the excitement of major sporting events, and this will encourage a change in mindset for consumers, who will start to shift from being mere spectators of sport on TV to actually taking part in live events.

But brands keen on associating themselves with sport will have to do more than simply badging events – it will be much more about involvement at the grassroots level. This approach will have much greater impact, because consumers will want to be more closely involved in the reflected glory of sporting achievement. Successful campaigns are likely to be more triumphalist, with direct association to successful athletes or footballers.

Many brands have floundered since the start of the recession, unsure whether to keep their heads below the parapet, play to their strengths or change their message. But perhaps all it needs is for marketers to start feeling good about their brands again, and consumers will start feeling more confident too.

About Gordon Bethell
Gordon Bethell became joint Managing Partner of gratterpalm in 2001, alongside Gareth Healey, having joined gratterpalm in 1996 as an Account Manager. In June 2002 he was a member of the management buy-out team which now owns the agency.
Gordon has two decades of experience in marketing, on both on the agency and client side, and has gained particular expertise across the retail industry. Before joining gratterpalm he directed the Staples account at communications agency Creative Communications. He has also worked for TMD Direct, as a media planner for clients including the AA, and began his career as an advertising executive for the tour operator Airtours and Eurosites. Gordon sits on the board of gratterpalm and is responsible for the day-to-day running of the business. Under his leadership, the agency has expanded from a staff of 45 to 120.

About gratterpalm
gratterpalm is the UK’s leading independent retail marketing agency. It delivers shelf-centred marketing campaigns through strategy & branding, packaging, digital, print, broadcast, creative, PR, events, direct response and point of sale for the retail sector. Clients include ASDA, DFS, M&S Outlet, Greggs, LA fitness and Umbro.
http://www.gratterpalm.co.uk/

Digital marketing success means more than shifting marketing spend

by: Graeme Foux

March 3, 2009 – In a marketplace weighed down by poor sales
performance, online appears be a rare silver lining. Time and again
companies report continuing growth online whilst faltering elsewhere.
Google recently demonstrated this resilience, posting positive earnings
for the fourth quarter of 2008.

For marketers faced with shrinking budgets and reluctant consumers, this
is one of the few bright spots. So you might think, accelerate the shift
in spend from traditional to digital marketing and everything will be
fine. If only life and business was so simple. Marketing Directors face
new and unfamiliar challenges to deliver a successful digital marketing
strategy. Firstly, the complexity of digital marketing and its rapid,
unrelenting pace of change is a culture shock to many traditional
marketers. Oh for the days of lavish advertising campaigns and huge TV
audiences. In digital, the audiences are more fragmented, the campaigns
require a greater mix of activities, and both the technology and
consumer behaviour keeps changing. Forget about a one year strategy,
digital marketing success requires careful measurement and constant
adjustments to marketing plans and thinking.

A second key challenge, often unspoken in the delicately balanced
eco-system between agencies and brands, is that there are insufficient
agencies with the strategic digital marketing resources that major
brands require. How many times have I heard Marketing Directors bemoan
the lack of new ideas coming out of their agencies. Curiously, in some
cases it’s the brands pushing the agencies to take on new digital ideas.

And of course it’s not just agencies that are racing to recalibrate
their capabilities. Whilst marketers enthusiastically debate the merits
of Twitter, Facebook and Youtube, the truth is that many traditional
marketers are struggling to understand how to respond effectively to the
social media phenomenon. In fact, brands have a major challenge across
their marketing and communications teams, not only to improve
understanding of the new medium of digital, but to make a mindset change
around consumer expectations and the competitive threat. With tough
economic conditions resulting in lower staff levels, this problem is
exacerbated.

At Knexus Digital, we’ve been working with brands on these specific
challenges. We’ve separated the needs of digital marketing teams from
traditional marketing and communications professionals. The former need
new and better tools to stay competitive and track rapid changing market
developments. With time at a premium, the tools need to be fast and
flexible. Knexus Digital has been developing a combination of content
and tools specifically to address that challenge. Meantime traditional
marketing and communications professionals, who may have limited or no
direct involvement in digital marketing, require content that will help
improve their understanding of digital marketing and how it will
ultimately redefine their own roles. Here we’ve designed content
packages that sit on a company’s intranet or extranet, providing latest
expert insights on digital marketing.

For Marketing Director’s, there’s a clear message here. You may well
need to target more of your spend towards digital marketing, but also be
prepared to change the way you operate and support your team to deliver
success!

##ends##

ABOUT KNEXUS DIGITAL

Knexus Digital, the essential digital marketing resource, delivers
latest insights and market intelligence to leading global brands. We
combine exclusive digital marketing content from leading experts with
innovative productivity tools to drive success.

Our rich programme of 450 + latest digital marketing topics is delivered
by 25 leading experts to suit the flexible needs of our customers –
ranging from 10 minute expert insights online to 120 minute offline
networking opportunities. Coupled with this, our powerful tools provide
effective networking & collaboration, blogging and reporting
capabilities.

In essence, Knexus Digital helps marketing teams acquire new skills and
insights to adapt to a fast-changing marketplace. In the face of global
competition and shrinking marketing budgets, we provide digital
marketing solutions in quick, easy and cost-effective ways.

ABOUT GRAEME FOUX

Graeme Foux is founder & CEO at Knexus, a media tech company based in
London.

Graeme has worked in digital marketing for the past 16 years, both in
Europe and the U.S. He is a successful entrepreneur, having built and
sold one of the pioneering internet consulting businesses of the 1990’s.
He founded Knexus in 2002 to focus on B2B social media, and is
responsible for leading growth in both its Knexus Digital and Knexus
Tech divisions.

Is moderating social networks a legal obligation?

Social networking continues to boom in popularity, but those businesses who choose to use this platform as a route to market their brand will always battle with the fear of being left wide open to bad publicity. This is exactly what can happen if user generated content (UGC) is not moderated effectively, but is reputational damage the only consideration for a business, and what are the legal implications for brands found to be taking an irresponsible attitude towards moderation?

Rob Marcus, founder of Chat Moderators, a company specialising in judging contributions to social media, comments, “The case for moderating to prevent brand damage is simple – if you don’t want to be associated with inappropriate, offensive or potentially abusive material then moderation will seem like a relatively small price to pay. However, some brand owners are confused about the legal obligations of moderating a social networking initiative. Over the past few years I’ve seen some cases of negligence caused by brands not effectively managing user-generated content (UGC) – but whether they face prosecution or not is where the uncertainty lies. There is more Law in this regard than just the Defamation Act, although that’s where most of our legal discussions begin.”

Duncan Lamont, a partner at Charles Russell legal practice, comments, “The law of defamation has struggled to keep pace with technology and, in particular, how people choose to use it. Parliament gave protection to websites which allow user generated content from libel but only if an item is deleted reasonably quickly when a complaint is made. But experience showed that frequently websites were too slow to notice what was going on or to respond to it. Very recently, the courts have taken the view that it is not proportionate to allow expensive libel actions over postings only seen by a very small group of people i.e. five or ten not thousands.

“However the Defamation Act is not the only problem for websites – people choose to speculate on the guilt or innocence of celebrities caught up in criminal law (potentially a Contempt of Court risk), republish copyright protected works, use obscene or racist language or other offensive slurs or material, all of which fall outside the protection of the Defamation Act 1996 leaving brands potentially exposed to damaging allegations that they tolerate discrimination, race hatred, or worse. Un-moderated sites are always at risk of being hijacked, and when things go wrong a critical media may well label as irresponsible any brand owner who was simply relying on their terms and conditions being complied with.” Marcus comments, “I believe it is the responsibility of social media owners to ensure that comments are “fair and decent”. From time to time, brand owners tell me that they’ve been advised not to moderate, in order to avail themselves of a so-called ‘section one’ defence under the Defamation Act – that of ‘innocent dissemination.”

The Defamation Act 1996 protects against the publication of libels in certain circumstances, not the multitude of other potentially offensive material that can be put on websites. Lamont continues, “Although with persistence and determination it is possible to identify the poster of offensive material and possible punishment meted out, it is usually the brand that suffers more from its inability to control the content. A particular problem for websites is privacy – a new area of law that did not exist when the Defamation Act of 1996 was enacted. Privacy invasions are going to be the subject of increasing damages awards, whether what is said is true or not. The invasive comment may be enough to justify a claim and this is something that may get through key word searches and require alert moderation.

“The law is likely to remain “publish and be damned” with no legal obligation for brands to moderate, in the same way there is no legal obligation on an editor not to publish material that is subsequently found to be objectionable. Editors and owners of websites have Article 10 Rights – freedom of expression. The law punishes what is published, not what might cause offence but then again might not. But as brands become increasingly aware of the power of their identities, and the damage that can be done by malicious posters, the likelihood is that there will need to be much more moderation, including “light touch” moderation on those prestigious sites people actually want to visit and have an expectation of honesty, truthfulness, accuracy, decency, fairness or any of these.”

Marcus explains, “All of our clients appreciate that their responsibilities extend beyond the Defamation Act. They are not concerned that by moderating they might be giving up a questionable defence to libel actions (that of being an innocent disseminator), as they know that moderation is the only way for them to manage their responsibilities to other laws (such as copyright, sexual offences and contempt) and to the quality of the user experience. It is impossible to deal with trouble-makers and bullies, or even to answer simple questions from an audience, without moderating. Owners of social media sites might be better off viewing moderation not so much as something that opens the door to litigation, but as an opportunity to enhance brand values by raising the quality of the user experience.”


Rob Marcus,Director, Chat Moderators