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Digital Marketing Day 2019 – A Round-Up

Last Thursday, on the 26th September, we welcomed over 60 people to the Toffee Factory in Ouseburn for our much-anticipated Digital Marketing Day.

Our aim for the day was to encourage as many people as possible in the marketing space – from students, apprentices and those who are interested in the subject, all the way through to marketing managers, founders and creative directors – to come together in one space and learn from a variety of speakers about different topics within digital marketing.

As we had hoped, we had a vast range of attendees, including students and apprentices, freelancers, graphic designers, lecturers, marketing executives and managers, business owners, and more. We’re hoping that having this range will enable us to host more ‘targeted’ events at specific groups of people at certain levels in their career, in order to make the events more relevant as a whole.

We kicked off the day with a talk from Geoff Phillips, Director of Canvas Marketing, titled ‘Why the Demand Marketing Funnel is Relevant to Your Business’.


Geoff began by covering the marketing activities associated with each section of the marketing funnel. For example, events and sponsorships, PR and SEO fall into the ‘Awareness’ and ‘Interest’ sections at the top of the funnel. He then explored the difference a % makes when looking at how many potential buyers move through the funnel, and how much your bottom line could improve with some tweaking of this funnel.

I found this talk particularly interesting as it gave me a stronger understanding of the marketing process.

With these things in mind, he took us through developing a value proposition and how to shape a good experience that results in leads and customers. The final strand of the talk focused on how to align your marketing with your overall business strategy – by identifying the core strategic pillars of your business and outlining the marketing activities associated with these pillars.

You can access Geoff’s presentation here: Digital Union – Marketing Funnel Pres follow up slides.


Following this, we had a panel discussion focused on the topic of ‘Next Generation Marketing: How Do We Adapt’., moderated by Dan Appleby (MD of Drummond Central), and including Kari Owers (MD of O Communications), Simon Lister (Marketing Director at END. Clothing), Lisa Eaton (MD of Unwritten Creative), and Gilbert Corrales (Co-Founder of Leaf Grow).

The panel was insightful and gave an understanding of different approaches and opinions.

The panel discussion covered the following topics:

  1. How can we keep on top of the newest technologies, algorithm updates, and platforms?
  2. Marketing to young people – How do we grab their attention? Is social media still the way forward?
  3. What are the best tools and tactics to adopt in order to keep up with the changing nature of marketing, and not fall behind?

After lunch, we welcomed Ade from Make It Pop to deliver an exciting ‘Design Thinking for Marketers’ workshop. Packed with laughs and curious questions, Ade used their very own design-thinking card game, Make It Pop, to present the audience with a series of marketing challenges.

Everyone was split into groups and were given a different combination of cards, each of which presented their own challenge. For example, one group had to come up with a marketing campaign around the idea of a ‘Redeem coupon for scarecrows made to look like your ex’. Another group had to come up with a ‘Company mascot for Doritos Fake Tan’!

The workshop was incredible – the highlight of my day.

After Make It Pop, Nick Varley from Websand, an email marketing software company, presented ‘Let’s Stick Around: A Seminar Around the Importance of Customer Retention’.

Retention is the single most important thing for growth.

Nick kicked off the presentation with the simple question of ‘Who are your customers?’. Once you have identified all of the information you have on your customers, you can develop a focused prospect journey to improve your conversion. Typically, 70% of your email list are prospects, and remain prospects until you develop this focused journey.

Over 80% of your customers never buy from you again – without a retention strategy, you’re missing out on a lot of potential profit. Nick expressed the importance of refocusing your marketing strategy so that it not only targets new customers, but existing customers too. He ended with some great tips on how to improve your customer retention – including having a separate marketing strategy for those who have already bought, understanding your customer’s behaviour, and think like a hairdresser (keep them coming back).

You can access Nick’s presentation here: Final copy of Retention Presentation for DU 2019 (1)


Our final talk was given by Helen Precious from Wordnerds, focused on AI within Digital Marketing. She began by explaining what AI actually means and how it has been used in the past, present, and how it could be used in the future.

DEFINITION: The capabilty of a machine to imitate intelligent human behaviour.

She explained where we may have already seen AI being used in our day-to-day lives, and its relationship with artificial intelligence, machine learning and deep learning.

AI is a hot topic right now in digital marketing and the woman delivering the session was great!

Helen then went on to talk about how it is difficult for marketers to change and adapt to new technologies such as AI, as “2 out of 3 marketers state that they are “marketing for the present” rather than “preparing for the future”.” In fact, “promoting your business has never been harder”.

She presented the audience with a series of difficult questions that we may all be asking ourselves, including “Why has brand sentiment decreased across our social channels?” and “Why are customers not engaging with our content anymore?”

The 3 top uses of AI in marketing include:

  1. Content personalisation
  2. Customer insights
  3. Building a business case for targeting decisions

Ultimately, this all builds better CX. You can access Helen’s presentation here: AI for marketing


Overall, the day was packed with some great takeaways and practical tips for our audience. This event will hopefully allow us to design and host more focused events in the future, dialing in on topics that were deemed popular on the day and had the most response online.

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