Each week Pearlfinders investigates a particular issue that is affecting brands' marketing spend. Below you'll see recent reports, with links to trial access of Pearlfinders if they're of interest.
The evolving role of procurement in agency decision-makingWhile agencies’ ability to effectively engage with procurement departments has improved in recent years, it’s never an easy job to adapt a pitch you’ve carefully crafted for a Marketing Director so that it resonates with a procurement professional. This week, Pearlfinders spoke to four marketing services procurement decision-makers at some of the UK’s leading brands, to understand how the role of purchasing is changing, and how agencies need to modify their approach to new business to have the best chance of securing new clients.
Activation of Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games sponsorshipThe 2014 Commonwealth Games will be held in Glasgow next July, showcasing some of the world’s greatest athletes. Sponsors of the Games are naturally keen to make the most of this major marketing opportunity, and capitalise on the public’s taste for British sport following London 2012, however challenges remain; a recent report by YouGov showed that nearly three-quarters of Scottish consumers couldn’t identify a single sponsor of the event. We wanted to speak to some of the event’s key sponsors to find out how they’re leveraging their partnerships, and the role being played by agencies.
Screen media in the retail sectorThe technology may have been around for some years, but in-store screen media has really come of age in 2013. As brands look to emulate the success of trailblazers like Burberry while sidestepping the wrath of privacy campaigners most recently concerned with Tesco’s use of facial recognition software, the opportunity for agencies that understand omnichannel and screen media is huge.
Membership cards in the entertainment sectorIn recent years, consumer appetite for discounts, deals, and loyalty schemes has been steadily growing. While interest in the likes of Groupon may have peaked, paid-for membership cards for both individual destinations and multiple brands have continued to grow in popularity, as brands look to deepen engagement with their best customers, and savvy consumers look to save money on regular entertainment.
Digital marketing in the automotive sector2013 is proving to be a big year for digital marketing in the automotive sector. It’s predicted that 2.2m new cars will be sold in the UK in 2013, up 8.8% on 2012, and car brands are jostling for position as the most technologically innovative. We took the opportunity to speak to marketers at four car brands to explore their priorities in web design, mobile and social media.
Seasonal PR for alcoholic drinks brandsThis quarter, in the run-up to the festive period, is the strongest for wine, beer and spirits brands. As brands deploy this year's campaigns, we wanted to gain insight into their key challenges and objectives. What will they be doing to maximise coverage and get the most value from their campaigns?
Where the work is - Pearlfinders Index Q3 2013The full data from Q3 2013 - Pearlfinders tracks decision-maker sentiment to gauge the buoyancy of each area of marketing.
Marketing electronic cigarettesTobacco companies have reportedly spent over £11.5m marketing 'smoking deterrent products' this year in the UK alone - including e-cigarettes and nicotine patches - beating last year's £13.6m record. As the EU considers whether electronic cigarettes should become classified as a medical product and the UK prepares for them to be licensed as medicine from 2016, Pearlfinders wanted to interview the marketers behind some of the leading e-cigarette brands and challengers.
Packaging design for retail own-brandsAs own-brand ranges account for more and more of consumers’ grocery and household goods spend, innovation and competition is intense. Shoppers are increasingly keen to save money, acting as a catalyst for this trend. Focusing on packaging design and branding, Pearlfinders has spoken to retailers to discuss plans for their own-brand ranges, the challenges they face, and what agencies need to understand to win more own-brand work.
Graduating to the FTSE 100Last week, the latest revisions to the FTSE 100 came into effect, with three companies joining the index. Six companies were placed on the reserve list, to join in the event of a corporate action occurring before the next review in December such as a merger, acquisition, delisting or suspension.
Market research in the retail sectorThe retail sector has shown some promising signs of late, with strong high street sales during the July heatwave, and online sales up 18% in August. For this week’s briefing, we wanted to find out how marketers are adapting to changing consumer habits post-downturn. Specifically, we wanted to find out what insight they are seeking moving forwards, and what market research techniques they think are most useful.
Marketing trends for personal fitness brandsAround one in six UK adults regularly attends a gym or fitness club, and while obesity levels are also rising, interest in health and fitness becomes greater and more sophisticated each year. We wanted to speak to major players in the gym and fitness industry to understand how they are developing branding, services and strategy to attract, retain and develop customers.
SEO in the travel sector78% of all holidays booked in the UK last year were booked online - a 47% increase from 2008. With summer holidays coming to an end, many of those going back to work will be starting to plan new trips, and travel brands will be fine tuning their SEO strategies to capitalise on this.
B2B relationships in the telecoms sectorThis week we took a closer look at marketing and PR in the thriving UK telecoms sector. In particular, we wanted to gain a better understanding of the tools utilised by B2B brands, and how they are looking to forge new and deeper relationships with clients.
Marketing and PR in the UK’s Cleantech SectorMuch has been written about the UK’s opportunity to carve a niche as a “low-carbon economy”. Driven by regional centres of innovation such as Cambridge’s “Silicon Fen”, the country’s leading innovators are aiming to capitalise on this – a recent study suggested that the UK currently ranks fourth in global cleantech innovation (behind France, Japan and China), although this is down a place on last year.
Digital marketing in the retail sectorThis week we took the opportunity to speak to four retailers at which ecommerce plays an integral role, to gain insights on their approach to web design, mobile, search and social media. We were interested to understand these brands’ priorities and challenges; how web activity is being tracked and improved, what the likely areas of spend will be going forward, and digital decision-makers’ agency preferences.
Helping Law firms find their voiceAs established law firms come under increased competition from challengers, and continue to wrestle with translating often hundreds of years of history and reputation into modern online content, finding the right voice, tone and way to tell their story can be a struggle.
Brands targeting new parentsFollowing the birth of HRH Prince George of Cambridge last week, brands targeting new parents will undoubtedly enjoy a higher profile over the next few months. According to Mintel’s latest report on the topic, the UK baby food, drink and milk market recorded a 53% leap in value sales between 2007 and 2012 to reach £617m, up from £403m in 2007.
Winning work in the arts sectorArguably, nowhere is competition for work more intense than in the arts sector. It may not always be where the largest budgets can be found, but arts clients offer scope for greater exposure for an agency and rewarding projects. Aside from fierce competition, the other obstacle to winning work is the fact that major projects may need to be tendered, leaving new business teams wondering how to get on the shortlist with these organisations and ultimately win work.
Rebrands revisited – catching up with the class of 2010No matter where your agency specialism lies, there are always projects to be won in relation to a major rebrand. From design, strategy and concept through to execution, multichannel implementation and comms to stakeholders, new business professionals should take every opportunity to get their agency involved as early as possible.
Where the work is - Pearlfinders Index Q2 2013The full data from Q2 2013 - Pearlfinders tracks decision-maker sentiment to gauge the buoyancy of each area of marketing.
Experiential marketing for soft drinks brandsWith summer finally upon us, we took the opportunity to speak to marketers at some of the UK’s biggest soft drinks brands to discuss their approaches to experiential marketing. We wanted to find out what these brands aim to achieve through sponsorship and events, and the role agencies play in implementing these campaigns.
Watch brands - balancing traditional and digital channelsWith the development of “smart watches” from the likes of Sony and Samsung, and Apple’s trademarking of the term “iWatch”, luxury watch brands can expect a new wave of competition. Analysts have predicted that the global watch market will maintain growth, with sales expected to increase another 30% by 2017.
CRM and loyalty marketing at UK travel brandsA recent study revealed that almost two-thirds of UK consumers are planning to increase their spending on holidays once the British economy stabilises into a period of steady growth. In order to capitalise on this, travel brands need to ensure they’re maintaining investment in marketing to existing customers, building loyalty and driving retention and development of customer relationships for when spending on travel increases.
Consumer Technology – market research, shopper marketing and insightConsumer technology brands live and die by their ability to innovate and respond to changing trends in entertainment and lifestyle. The loss of some notable high street retailers, and the mass adoption of smartphones as an entertainment hub have changed the marketing landscape for many in the sector – how are they adapting?
How can banks engage young people?From attracting the best staff to engaging with potential lifelong customers from an early age, it has always been important for banks and building societies to appeal to young people. Recent scandals in the sector have done a great deal to compromise banks’ reputations, meaning these brands need to work harder to win the trust of younger audiences. Branding, advertising, PR, research, CRM and social initiatives all come into this process.
What’s next for the leading social brands?As certain elements of social media strategy and execution are increasingly brought in-house, and more and more agencies claim to be able to help brands with social, it’s becoming harder to achieve cut-through with marketing budget holders. Pearlfinders wanted to get a better understanding of where the opportunities lie in this area, and what talking points are likely to be most effective when approaching brand-side marketers.
Trends in property PRAs the media consumption habits of their key stakeholders and clients fragment and migrate online, property companies are reviewing how these audiences can be most effectively engaged across all channels of influence. Stakeholder and community relations via social and digital media need to be considered, along with traditional press coverage, lobbying, media relations, events such as topping out ceremonies and openings, CSR and PR to attract investment.
Design and branding for healthy food brandsOne of the fastest growing, most buoyant and innovative segments in the FMCG sector is health food brands. Recent years have seen the likes of Innocent and Dorset Cereals become firmly established as shopping basket mainstays, as Kraft, Coca-Cola et al have flooded the market more and more with their own healthy products. The market is maturing and crowded with alternatives, and yet from start-ups to global giants we continue to see new additions.
Mobile strategy in the restaurant and casual dining sectorWhen deciding where to eat, customers are increasingly likely to first consult one of the many recommendation apps on their smartphones such as toptable, TripAdvisor or Urbanspoon. Restaurants are therefore keen to ensure their mobile strategy is as effective as possible.
A seamless customer experience – ecommerce for apparel brandsParts of the apparel sector have been slow to commit resources to online activity, particularly to ecommerce, due to the concern that the online shopping experience won’t match the high standards of service and brand experience found in-store. But as the likes of ASOS, NET-A-PORTER and Boohoo have made customers comfortable doing much of their shopping online, other brands need to catch up or miss out.
Marketing children’s products in 2013Analysts have expressed the opinion that while demand for traditional toys may be stagnating, they should now be viewed as part of the broader “play” industry including video games and apps, which are seeing phenomenal growth due to families’ enthusiasm for tablets and smartphones. Children’s brands are increasingly treading a fine line with their online marketing - where does the product end and entertaining content begin?
New approaches to digital in the automotive sectorGlobal automotive brands have a huge and ever growing demand for digital services. Due to the highly specialised expertise required to create and execute campaigns and content across web, social and mobile platforms, managing supplier numbers, costs and performance is an ongoing challenge for marketing budget holders in the sector.
Where the work is - Pearlfinders Index Q1 2013The full data from Q1 2013 - Pearlfinders tracks decision-maker sentiment to gauge the buoyancy of each area of marketing.
The digital strategy of Asset Management firmsTypically traditional in their activity online, asset management firms increasingly need to consider the place of digital in their marketing strategy. While networking, outdoor advertising, print and events all remain relevant to these brands, the behaviour and expectations of both professionals and high net-worth individuals they are seeking to attract and retain are changing.
Branded Content: Food retailersBranded content is a huge area of investment and innovation for brands, none more so than food retailers. Once confined to in-store magazines and loyalty newsletters, the range of agencies and brand-side decision-makers involved in implementing and developing content strategy is diversifying rapidly.
Brands sponsoring music festivalsWhile brands such as O2 and Barclaycard have moved away from traditional music festival sponsorship, and onto standalone initiatives like O2 Priority and Barclaycard Unwind, having a presence at one of the UK's larger music festivals remains a popular choice among consumer brands looking to reach an engaged and relatively affluent audience.
Advertising in the retail sectorWith online advertising growing at a significant rate each year in the retail sector, we asked what this means for more traditional advertising channels, such as television and print. Do these still have the same impact for retail brands, or are they shifting their marketing strategies online to engage directly with consumers?
The impact of the Retail Distribution Review on financial brandsThe FSA’s Retail Distribution Review (RDR) came into effect on December 31 2012, and applies to all advisors in the retail investment market, including banks, product providers, IFAs, wealth managers and stockbrokers. As part of the new rules, financial advisory firms will have to explicitly disclose and separately charge their clients for their services, describe their services as either independent or restricted, and adhere to consistent professional standards.
Market research at FMCG brandsWith an ever-increasing number of new food brands and products on the market, it's clearly an evolving space. As brands jostle for attention on the shelves, marketers recognise the need for a genuine understanding of the consumer and what appeals to them. Whether that's from the perspective of NPD, packaging design or in-store promotions, these decision-makers are increasingly interested in new techniques.
PR and events in the broadband marketWith a 5.7% increase in broadband penetration in 2012, compared to the previous year, demand for superfast services is growing. As consumers become more "tech savvy", however, so are their expectations from broadband providers. With innovations in superfast broadband and 4G connections coming to the fore, providers are vying for consumers' attention in an increasingly competitive market.
Experiential tactics at car brandsThe automotive industry generates around £50bn in annual turnover for the UK economy, but it also contributes the largest share of exports and helps position British manufacturers on a global stage. As brands look to build engagement with new audiences – as well as loyalty with current customers – marketers cite experiential activity as an integral channel.
Corporate branding in the energy sectorWith the energy industries contributing 4.4% to GDP in 2011, it's clearly an important sector in the UK's economy. With an increasing number of new entrants to the market, in the form of renewable energy firms backed by growing investment, standing out and gaining market share is an ongoing challenge for marketers.
Grey marketing in the travel industryWith over a third of the UK population aged over 50, the 'grey' market presents a huge – and growing – pool of potential customers. In particular, the travel sector is well placed to capitalise on this target demographic as semi-retired and retired professionals, often with a higher disposable income, look for holidays that cater for their needs.
SEO in the retail industryWith a growing number of consumers checking products and offers online before making a purchase in-store, marketers must ensure they're visible across multiple touchpoints. The message from digital decision-makers is that search marketing is key, but the challenges are continually evolving.
Packaging and design at luxury skincare brandsWith consumers becoming more health-conscious, one category that has seen particular growth is skincare that promises to be natural, detoxifying or anti-ageing. As more niche products enter the market, however, it's increasingly challenging to stand out on-shelf. Marketers must build brand loyalty through a strong brand and packaging that reflects their luxury credentials.
Branding in the beer industryAs cask and premium bottled ales continue to bring new consumers to the category, there are both opportunities and challenges for brands. In order to capitalise on this growth, they need to differentiate from competitors and communicate their USP through branding.
Evolving challenges in youth marketingWith an estimated 20% of the UK population aged under 16, it's a demographic that presents both opportunities and challenges for brands. The rise of digital technologies increasingly creates new touchpoints for marketers, but at the same time, many industries are increasingly regulated.
Where the work is - Pearlfinders Index 2012The full data from 2012 - Pearlfinders tracks decision-maker sentiment to gauge the buoyancy of each area of marketing.
A view from procurementThis year the IPA announced new guidelines for the use of procurement-led e-auctions, and there's been criticism that creative skills are increasingly commoditised. We asked procurement decision-makers across commercial and public sectors for their views.
Marketing at the UK's fastest-growing brandsLast week the Sunday Times published its annual Fast Track 100, which ranks the UK's fastest-growing small businesses. These are privately-owned companies with minimum annual sales of £5m, which have shown the greatest rate of growth over three years.
Charities look to harness mobile marketingBuilding a mobile presence is fast becoming a priority across all sectors. According to a study by the IAB, 69% of smartphone users feel it's crucial that brands have a mobile-optimised website, while charities in particular have been criticised for lagging behind with digital development.
CRM: Consolidating customer dataCRM is an evolving field, as marketers seek to improve their understanding of consumers and bring data together across platforms. We've found more brands are grappling with the challenge of collating data and successfully applying it to tailored customer comms.
Challenger banksAfter another year of bad press for mainstream banks, small to mid-sized financial services companies expected to reap the benefits of an inadvertent marketing campaign - and their own efforts to position as more ethical and customer-led.
The structure of e-commerceThe UK is home to the world’s second-largest e-commerce market, behind the US, according to e-tail trade association IMRG. It predicts that by 2013, global business-to-consumer sales will pass €1 trillion, and the total number of internet users will increase to 3.5 billion from around 2.2 billion at the end of 2011.
Nostalgic MarketingA return to nostalgic advertising creative, slogans and products has proven an emerging trend, as heritage brands play on their history to strengthen consumer appeal. Nostalgic marketing is one way to reignite emotions in tough economic times, with the explosion of the “Keep Calm and Carry On” message serving as a prolific example.
FMCG challengers: Small food brands seek visibilityWhile global FMCG giants and own-label goods tend to dominate grocery sales, the increasing diversity of consumer tastes is opening the door for a range of new food products. Speaking to six FMCG brands, we uncovered several opportunities for small agencies.
PR in the Travel & Leisure SectorThe ever-increasing pace of communications is having an effect on the travel and leisure sectors, raising the importance of PR for all areas of business operations as the go-to department to navigate changes in the media landscape.
Events in the Pharmaceutical IndustryThe pharmaceutical industry is a powerful force in the UK economy, and it's continuing to generate employment and investment opportunities. It employs around 72,000 employees in the UK, and according to the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, generates more economic value than any other sector.
Where the work is - Pearlfinders Index Q3 2012The full data from Q3 2012 - Pearlfinders tracks decision-maker sentiment to gauge the buoyancy of each area of marketing.
Social Media 2013As we enter into the final quarter of 2012, we took the opportunity to ask marketers where their social media priorities lie for the coming year. New research by eBay predicts that in the next two years the value of social media for the retail sector will more than double, soaring from £1.5bn to around £3.3bn. In a discipline that’s constantly evolving, what are marketers’ predictions for 2013?
Loyalty marketing & the value of mobileCreating customer loyalty against competitors has always been a goal for brands, but it's a particularly important one in a recession, when price can undercut habit for consumers. The CMO Council found that 96% of the UK population is now a member of a loyalty scheme, while 64% belong to three or more. In addition, 32.3% of consumers said the recession made their participation in retail rewards schemes more important.
Search and mobile marketing in retailWith some 3bn searches conducted on Google every day, the decision-makers we speak to are aware not only of the power of search marketing, but of its increasing complexity. Google is set to roll out another Panda update, saying webmasters should expect "some flux", while another question for marketers is whether to invest in mobile search.
B2B PR & MarketingIn the past, B2B marketing centred largely around reaching out to prospects via outbound marketing, using direct mail, advertising and telemarketing in speculative approaches. But in today’s crowded marketplace of services, B2B marketers are leveraging the value of inbound marketing, using expert content, social media and PR to gain customers’ interest.
Engaging the youth marketBrands that capture the attention of 18- to 24-year-olds can gain a lucrative and brand-loyal audience. Yet with the clutter of youth-orientated digital content, promotions and events out there, companies are increasingly challenged to find unique and engaging platforms that can win over this brand-savvy demographic.
Marketing in the motor industryThe UK's car industry is hailed as a driving force for economic recovery, as export sales improve and leading names from Jaguar Land Rover to Toyota commit to major production investments. According to the Society for Motor Manufacturers & Traders, the sector saw a 22% rise in production in July 2012, compared to 2011. Things are looking positive for marketers – but the challenge will be to sustain global demand in the long term.
Consumer Insights: balancing new & traditional techniquesIn a discipline with an abundant array of methodologies, how much do market research decision-makers value new technologies over tried-and-tested techniques? Deloitte has predicted a prominent increase in 2012 of the use of functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) – a new technology that uses MRI scans to track neurological responses to brand communications and products.
The Olympics: Harnessing a renewed enthusiasm for sportLondon 2012 delivered record viewing figures for the BBC, with 51.9m people watching at least 15 minutes of coverage – 90% of the British population. While the public remembers a "home advantage" Olympics where Team GB won the most medals since 1908, sports brands and organisations are considering how to convert this rejuvenated enthusiasm for sport into business growth.
Apps & areas of interest in mobile marketingNew technology is continually promising to change the way consumers shop for and engage with brands. We've found a big appetite for mobile marketing, but the big questions are still whether apps can enhance a brand long-term, or make a real difference to the bottom line.
Digital AnimationWith multiple uses across mobile apps, TV ads, online games and banner ads, digital animation is a popular way to produce unique creative assets without the constraints of live production. To find out more about the objectives of this niche area of digital and how it is sourced, Pearlfinders spoke to a range of companies in the FMCG and automobile sectors
PR: between creativity and traditionThe Cannes Lions creative awards in June were followed by a wave of criticism for the PR industry, as PR specialists again failed to receive an award in any category. While communications professionals debate its supposed lack of creativity, how much do brands actually look to PR for creative flair?
Where the work is - Pearlfinders Index Q2 2012The full data from Q2 2012 - Pearlfinders tracks decision-maker sentiment to gauge the buoyancy of each area of marketing.
Brand activation: sampling & experientialIn a climate where many brands are finding their ATL budgets squeezed, experiential marketing can offer one of the most cost-effective and engaging solutions for driving sales. A 2011 study by the Event Marketing Institute revealed that 58% of consumer said they purchased a product after attending a branded event.
Retail: Driving growth onlineThere’s no denying that e-commerce is a rapidly growing market, as a platform that presents consumers with unbeatable convenience, choice and value for money. Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that 12% of all UK sales are now made online, and the e-commerce sector grew by 9% between January 2011 and 2012.
Challenger brandsWhile brands that enjoy a market-leading position have the freedom to invest in wide-reaching ATL campaigns, challenger brands across all sectors are forced to be more resourceful in their allocation of budgets. How does this affect their overall strategy, and what do challenger brands see as the best approach in rivalling their competitors' coveted visibility?
The strategic role of social mediaOf the all the changes to media consumption habits in the last five years, the rise of social has been one of the most dramatic for the marketing industry. The 2012 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, which surveyed nearly 4,000 marketers, found that 59% are using social media for six hours or more each week, while 33% invest 11 or more hours weekly.
Direct marketing: A fresh look at challengesAs a discipline traditionally dominated by post communications, direct mail still boasts an impressive response rate – in the last year, 48% of Britons said they'd responded to a piece of direct mail. Yet with so much moving online, how much direct marketing has now transitioned to email and mobile, and to what effect?
Tracking appetite for product placementIt’s been just over a year since paid product placement was legalised for UK productions. The law was overturned in February 2011, although product placement in films and foreign television programmes had been permitted on UK TV for some time. While we've been tracking advertisers’ reactions to the change, a string of brands including Nokia, Morrisons and Henkel's Schwarzkopf have experimented with placement deals on prime-time TV shows.
Corporate & employee eventsIn an economic climate that has forced many companies to tighten their belts, corporate hospitality and events decision-makers are expected to battle for a share of budgets. With the rise of digital, have face-to-face communications taken a backseat in the broader mix? Or is there an opportunity to tap into event marketers' appetite for new technologies?
Content marketing: finding the right voiceBrands continue to vie for customers’ attention with targeted content, using everything from apps to magazines to give their brand a legitimate voice in consumer conversations. Even B2B companies are increasing their spend, with research by the Content Marketing Institute showing that 60% of B2B marketers plan to increase their content marketing budget this year.
Assessing objectives in mobileAs mobile becomes an increasingly integrated part of the way that consumers search, shop and share, brands are eager to harness the enormous potential of this channel. Location-based mobile marketing presents a huge opportunity for brands, with research showing that 69% of UK mobile users are happy to share their location in return for relevant content.
Challenges and priorities in market research
Effective market research remains a priority for brands looking to stay ahead of the curve, and to justify new investments with convincing data. Whether it’s to monitor brand health, guide new product development or test creative concepts, decision-makers across the board say intelligent consumer insights are at the heart of successful initiatives.
Museums: Exploring interactive and digital designIn recent years, traditional exhibition design has broadened to involve a wide range of multi-disciplinary design practices. Encompassing graphics, lighting, diverse structural interfaces and digital media, leading museums are striving to create an increasingly interactive multimedia experience to satisfy visitors’ growing expectations.
Consumer PR challenges in the travel sectorAfter 2011 saw 24 registered travel operators go out of business, and a market reduced by one fifth since 2008, this is a challenging year for the British travel industry. Results from the Office for National Statistics show that overseas travel grew 0.8% in Q4 2011, following four years of decline - but these visits were shorter and less expensive than in pre-recession years.
Engaging youth audiencesToday’s youth market is said to be more tech-savvy, more career-focused and have a higher propensity to spend than previous generations. Yet it’s not plain sailing for youth brands - over a million Britons aged between 16 and 24 are unemployed; more than at any time since 1992. Recent studies also link “aggressive marketing” by youth brands to last summer’s riots, arguing that advertising puts undue pressure on young consumers.
Innovation & sustainability in packaging designAs FMCG brands face pressure to reduce their carbon footprints while attracting customers, the focus is on packaging to provide both commercial and environmental solutions. We explored global and regional priorities at these FMCG giants, and uncovered a live opportunity for UK agencies to support a snack packaging redesign for a multinational food and beverage company. Others discussed how rebrands and redesigns are managed, and what the top challenges are.
Where the work is - Pearlfinders Index Q1 2012The full data from Q1 2012 - Pearlfinders tracks decision-maker sentiment to gauge the buoyancy of each area of marketing.
Priorities in digital design & usabilityAs brands strive for a presence across multiple digital platforms, digital design and usability testing stand out as prominent areas of opportunity. New devices, interfaces and consumer habits call into question tried-and-tested principles of design, increasing the need for comprehensive UX testing. For companies that rely on e-commerce or m-commerce, a smooth and enjoyable customer journey is a fundamental priority.
Growing audiences for green brandsIt’s been a long time since consumers were first encouraged to make environmentally-friendly choices, and the eco-conscious trend has ebbed and flowed over the past decade. While ten years ago, buzzwords such as “eco” and “sustainable” would position a product ahead of the curve, truly inventive brands now need to do more to stand out.
Balancing search and digital mediaWith Google set to release a new algorithm that will detect and impose penalties on over-optimised websites, now is the time for marketers to consider priorities in search. While securing visibility on search engines is still a top priority, questions remain over the balance with PPC, and how search translates onto mobile devices.
Globalising media planning and buyingWith the media landscape in a constant state of development, the UK's biggest advertisers are continually seeking to maximise the impact of available channels. While TV viewership has increased steadily, consumer habits are changing, digital technology is evolving and publications are coming and going. Pearlfinders spoke to decision-makers among the top 100 global media spenders, for advice on prospecting, procurement and priorities.
Corporate sponsorship in arts & culture2011 saw widespread cuts to public arts funding, leading Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt to call for a year of “corporate giving” to soften the blow to UK artistic institutions. However, last year corporate funding of the arts decreased for the fourth year in a row - its rate is now lower than that of 2004. Pearlfinders spoke to some of the UK’s biggest sponsors of arts to get their thoughts on the role corporate sponsorship plays today.
Balancing online, social and mobile commerceFaced with continuous changes in technology and consumer expectations, e-tailers are under constant pressure to keep up with developments and convert them to profits. As digital platforms become more complex, the need to integrate channels and ensure a consistent brand experience across the board is high on the agenda.
CRM: driving loyalty across channelsWith the continual development of marketing technologies, brands' CRM strategies are adapting to explore more sophisticated ways of engaging their customers, learning about them and driving loyalty - a valuable goal in a challenging economy. We spoke to a range of CRM marketers across the travel, leisure, finance, retail and charity sectors to gain an understanding of these evolving priorities.
The role of TV in a digital ageWith economic pressures and a growing understanding of consumers' media habits, it's long been expected that digital will win budgets from TV and traditional advertising channels - where tracking is more vague, results aren't immediate and spend is harder to justify. We spoke to some of the UK’s top advertising spenders for their perspective on the balance between TV and digital.
High street retailers develop in-store experienceWith the high street still struggling, and Mary Portas’ recent review highlighting a need for improvements, many retailers are taking a fresh eye to in-store experience. Emphasising that “high streets must be ready to experiment, try new things, take risks and become destinations again,” the review questioned a reliance on tried-and-tested methods.
Recruiters highlight the importance of thought leadership to brand positioningA new careers website launched in the US last week is pioneering the use of video CVs and video screening in the recruitment process. We spoke to a variety of recruitment companies to get their perspective on the potential of this medium, as well as their thoughts on marketing priorities for the coming year.
The year ahead in commsThis year, PR pros are looking forward to a year for rebuilding integrity and trust, focusing on the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the London 2012 Olympics. We’ve spoken to PR decision-makers across the retail, FMCG and telecoms sectors for their thoughts on agency preferences for the year ahead.
Skills sector scales up marketingWith record levels of unemployment in the UK – the worst since 1994 – the skills and training sector has been one of the few to benefit from the current economy. Helping Britons gain qualifications or get back to work has become a lucrative business. For agencies, traditional services like print and design are likely to be wrapped up by procurement, scaling up PR and digital – in particular, mobile and social media – is a focus for marketers in 2012.
Financial firms gear up for social
It’s safe to say the financial services sector is naturally risk-averse, and correspondingly marketers are still cautious in their approach to social media. We spoke to marketers across the industry for their views. We found that while we found that many have set up internal committees or formed social media teams, negotiating legislation that surrounds the promotion of financial products remains a sticking point.
Where the work is - Pearlfinders Index Q4 2011The full data from Q4 2011 - Pearlfinders tracks decision-maker sentiment to gauge the buoyancy of each area of marketing.
Priorities in CRMCustomer relationship marketers are facing what could be one of the biggest years in CRM. Despite warnings of data overload, as the Big Data challenge comes to the fore, social CRM has the potential to revolutionise brand communications. To understand the potential challenges and priorities for brands looking to maximise customer communications, we’ve spoken to brands across the financial, travel, motor and retail sectors.
Retailers consider future of the high streetLast week, TV personality and retail expert Mary Portas released a government-commissioned review of the state of the UK high street. Retailers across the country are still struggling, with footfall outside London said to have declined by at least 10% over the past three years. We’ve spoken to a number of retailers for their thoughts on the future of the high street, and how this could affect marketing strategies.
Partnership marketers discuss priorities for 2012Having spoken with decision-makers across the travel and leisure industry it’s evident that there are no hard and fast rules when considering strategies for 2012. While partnerships do appear to be taking a greater role in the marketing mix, as decision-makers seek to better integrate their brands with people’s lives, agencies need to consider the broader business goals of each.
Autumn Statement: Marketers’ reactionsIt’s clear that many SMEs are still getting to grips with the implications of the Autumn Statement. Decreases in corporation tax will undoubtedly be a long-term advantage for businesses, but it’s felt that these measures are likely to benefit the bigger players and the startups, leaving medium-sized firms on unsure footing.
Marketers consider NFCHaving spoken with marketing decision-makers, we’ve found that there are many unanswered questions with respect to NFC. Decision-makers are focusing their attention on “getting the basics right” with mobile and social media, to ensure there’s a solid basis for any future developments.
Mobile Search for 2012From the conversations we’ve had, it’s evident that there’s still a level of scepticism around the impact of mobile SEO. While the importance of mobile as a channel and the need to see it fully integrated into the mix for a seamless user experience is undisputed, the relevance of search is less keenly felt.
Mobile in market researchWhile new methodologies are always hitting the market research space, their perceived worth by research professionals doesn’t necessarily match the hype.
Experiential and events in 2012For brands looking to make some noise in summer 2012, there is going to be a great deal of additional clutter on the experiential scene. Aside from the usual host of festivals, events and sporting fixtures, the London Olympic and Paralympic Games will dominate between July and September.
Prospecting tactics in commsFor perspectives on how brands are negotiating the shifting comms space, how traditional PR fits with online, and how agencies are used to implement these strategies, Pearlfinders spoke to decision-makers across the motor, FMCG and travel sectors.
Priorities in mobileFrom the conversations we’ve had, it’s evident that while there are a host of opportunities available to marketing decision-makers using mobile technology, there are more fundamental issues to address in the first instance.
Big Data: Marketers consider CRM, loyalty and social mediaFrom the conversations we’ve had, it’s evident that while data decision-makers are thinking about the potential impact of vast amounts of customer information, their concerns aren’t focused on which tools to bring in to deal with this, but which questions to be asking.
Where the work is - Pearlfinders Index Q3 2011The full data from Q3 2011 - Pearlfinders takes the temperature for each area of marketing.
B2B MarketingB2B marketers have long been fighting the reputation for producing lacklustre campaigns that are traditional in focus and slow to adopt new technologies. While this is perhaps now an outdated view, we’ve taken the opportunity to talk to a number of major industrial businesses for their thoughts on the current state of marketing in B2B sectors.
Talking points in packaging & brand design The UK Packaging Awards next month will recognise retailers and products for packaging innovations and sustainability over the past year. As CSR comes into ever sharper focus for brands, and products have to work harder on the shelf, we’ve taken the opportunity to speak with some of the nominees for their thoughts on priorities in design and branding at the moment.
Priorities in social commerce for UK retailersRegarding social commerce, it’s clear that marketers hope to be approached with strong creds and a real business understanding, rather than “fuzzy measurements". While smaller, more nimble retailers have found it relatively easy to start selling through Facebook, for more complex businesses an F-commerce launch is still years away
SEO in the travel industrySix months ago Google launched the Panda update to its search algorithms, designed to reduce the rankings of low-quality sites and increase the visibility of high-quality sites, rich in original content. While the intent is positive, for some brands the reality has been a significant drop in traffic. We’ve spoken to marketing decision-makers across the travel industry for insights into how they – and agencies – should be adapting.
The new breed of casual dining chains planning growthThe recession's lasting impact on the UK high street is well-documented – according to recent research from the Local Data Company, one in seven shops is now boarded up across the UK, while vacancy rates are up to 30% in areas like Dudley and West Bromwich. For current perspectives on the UK casual dining sector, Pearlfinders has spoken to five up-and-coming restaurant brands.
New challenges in customer experienceAs touch points for brands to interact with customers – and customers with each other – diversify with technology, the need to create a consistent experience across all channels is becoming a greater concern for both marketers and customer service representatives. We’ve spoken to decision-makers at finance and retail brands for their views on the challenge.
Priorities in PRWhile there is a sense that PR agencies should broaden their offer and skill set across channels – and for the decision-makers we spoke to there is a continuing drive for the integration and alignment of all communications, both traditional and digital – there remains a need for separation between paid and earned comms, in order for brands to top up their “trust bank”.
Scotland gears up for 2014
The 20th Commonwealth Games will be held in Glasgow in 2014. The event will be the biggest of any kind to be hosted in Scotland, drawing 6,000 athletes and officials from 71 nations. The period between 2012 and 2014 is considered a “golden opportunity” to present Scotland to the world - we’ve spoken to marketing decision-makers for insights on sponsorship and PR initiatives around these events, as well as their agency preferences.
Higher education marketing to commercialiseAs prospective university students brace for tuition fees of up to £9000 per year, the institutions themselves face a new marketing challenge. It’s not yet clear how the move will affect demand, but what’s certain is that both sector competition and student expectations are set to rise.
London Fashion Week 2011The fashion industry is gearing up for London Fashion Week, this year held September 16-20. Taking a wider look at sponsorship, a lack of new compelling properties coming to the market was highlighted as a challenge by decision-makers we spoke to.
New messages in green marketingThe Sunday Times has released this year's list of the UK's 60 Best Green Companies. The "green list" looks both at environmental policies and the extent to which they're adopted by staff in a practical context, ensuring real responsibility whether the business is large or small, with a high or low impact.
Casual dining sector to build on growthFor the high street restaurant, understanding the consumer is naturally a priority, but one marketer said the fast-casual industry – which until the recession did very little marketing – still has a lot to learn. For agencies looking to push into new verticals there are lessons to be learned from retailers, supermarkets and FMCG brands.
Where the work is - Pearlfinders Index Q2 2011The full data from Q2 2011 - Pearlfinders takes the temperature for each area of marketing.
Next generation social media monitoring The power of Twitter has become clear in recent months. While privacy battles have long raged in celebrity circles over its impact, the website's role in thwarting super-injunctions and mobilising the masses in response to revelations over News Corp’s journalistic practices has been historic. Pearlfinders has spoken to marketing decision-makers for a sense of current thinking on social media – and brands' expectations of agency partners in changing times.
Online dating: marketing tactics in a competitive sectorWhile strong growth is being seen across the dating industry, competition is fierce. For decision-makers we spoke to customer acquisition is relatively straightforward, but retaining those conversions and ensuring they utilise services remains a challenge. Marketers are turning to the agency world to help them get creative with PR and digital.
Content marketing: The next stepsAmong those we spoke to, the emerging theme was one of integration and collaboration. The crossover between IT, marketing and customer services departments is increasing, and when it comes to platforms, according to one marketer, “social media and digital are on a collision course". For agencies that can encompass this company-wide view in their communications, then, there’s an opportunity to gain traction.
Recruiters prioritise PR to tackle brand differentiation challengeAlthough the recruitment market is seeing more available jobs, there are other problems to tackle with the quality of candidates. Recruiters are competing for the top prospects – leading marketing decision-makers to reassess brand strategy and PR, prompting new business opportunities for agencies.
An integrated approach to experiential While events have previously been seen by many as a bolt-on, for the brands we spoke to it’s now about integrating experiential with the wider marketing mix. Rather than working in isolation, events specialists need to be “part of the bigger picture”.
Casual gamblers drive industry interest in new mediaFor the gambling industry, the stalwart business drivers have long been betting, poker and casino gaming, but the landscape is changing. Whilst operators have historically relied on serious gamblers, the casual player is now the focus.
The role of procurement post-recessionThe old adage of 'magic versus logic' – and how to pitch your offer to marketing and procurement teams, respectively – is well known. But how relevant is this school of thought today?
Social media challenges in financial servicesFor agencies, speaking with authority on the intricacies of the financial world is essential. Although consumer confidence is beginning to return to the market, decision-makers are unwilling to disrupt the status quo. At the same time there is a belief that social media can give financial firms a competitive edge when dealing with a more sceptical consumer – transparency is key.
Luxury marketers embrace digitalWhile in the past, there was a sense that appearing in the digital space was “too mass market” and carried the risk of devaluing a luxury brand, there is now a new opportunity for agencies to take a strategic role as brands toe the line between exclusivity and driving sales.
Modernising CSRWith so many government efficiency agendas in place, noncompliance has the potential to be more costly in penalties than not, so sustainability has naturally taken greater precedence in wider business models. But this has left CSR in an uncertain space. Some say it’s now defunct, while others insist the difference is mere semantics. For comms specialists in the field, the shifts in corporate perspectives is creating new opportunities.
Legal shakeup prompts new opportunities for brand strategists For a profession that has already been shaken up by the prevalence of personal injury specialists, the further evolution of consumer legal services is prompting firms to revisit core brand values, as known consumer brands gear up to take market share from long-established players. Where law firms now need to take a more customer-focused approach, for agencies there's a unique opportunity to break into professional business services.
Third sector looks to integrated strategies to commercialise messaging In a turbulent global environment marred by natural disasters and civil unrest, charities are vying for increased donation from a public facing a squeeze in personal finances. For marketers working in the third sector, budgets are coming under heavier scrutiny, as are the services of agency partners. The need for game-changing brand marketing initiatives is, however, securing the role of agencies.
Travel marketers seek to restore confidence through digitalThis time last year, almost two million travellers had their holiday plans disrupted by the ash cloud crisis. Now, year holidaymakers are expecting more from their travel providers, while the companies themselves are expecting more from their agencies.
Market research: Evolving new business practicesISBA's publication of a market research guide for clients comes as procurement departments are playing an ever-increasing role in consumer insight operations. Pearlfinders has spoken to companies across the utilities, retail, FMCG and financial services industries, for perspectives on the evolution of the procurement of market research services, as well as the next areas of investment.
Where the work is - Pearlfinders Index Q1 2011The full data from Q1 2011 - Pearlfinders takes the temperature for each area of marketing.
Challenges in building a sporting legacy For sports marketers and agency partners alike, the Olympics is undoubtedly a rare opportunity for the promotion of sports, but a consequence is that they're battling to stand out in the crowd. Pearlfinders spoke to six of the UK's sporting associations to understand the challenges and platforms for engagement sports marketers can capitalise on, in the run-up to 2012 and beyond.
Trade unions: The need for relevance in the digital eraWith up to 500,000 job losses expected in the public sector over the next five years, the union movement is in a unique position, with the potential to mobilise and support popular opinion. Illustrated by its impact across the Middle East and Africa, the political power of social media is unquestioned, so why are the UK's trade unions slow to revolutionise comms?
Changing priorities in packaging design Many UK consumers are still making purchasing decisions on a budget, so packaging has to work harder to convince shoppers to buy in just a few seconds. Nevertheless, while cost-effectiveness is a big driver, expectations are now ingrained that packaging will be sustainable and recyclable.
UK brands experiment with product placementAs of the 28th of February 2011, product placement is permitted in UK television programming. The move is seen as essential by many, as an alternative revenue stream for broadcasters in an increasingly challenging media market.
Managing social media in sportDigital media has been a game-changer for fan interaction in sport. But as social media offers new opportunities for clubs and sponsors to converse with fans, it’s the players who are finding themselves in hot water, and over the past few months Twitter has been a major fixture of the back pages.
Is mobile search a turn-off for UK brands?Industry pundits have once again hailed 'the year of mobile', with smartphone shipments overtaking those of PCs for the first time and the major operating platforms are jostling for business. So why are brands cautious about pushing the development of mobile search?
The Royal Wedding 2011: Can the honeymoon period last for British heritage?The wedding of Prince William to Kate Middleton on 29 April 2011 is being hailed as the media sensation of the decade. While employees are eyeing the additional holiday and the younger generation looks forward to its first Royal Wedding, brands are also gearing up for the big day.
Where the work is - Pearlfinders Index Q4The full data from Q4 2010 - Pearlfinders takes the temperature for each area of marketing.
British Brands AbroadWelcome to our final quarterly special report of 2010, which looks at the marketing decisions involved with launching a British brand to global markets - and on the other side - the opportunities and challenges that surround supporting international brands that are hoping to establish a foothold in the UK.
Where the work is - Pearlfinders Index Q3The full data from Q3 2010 - Pearlfinders takes the temperature for each area of marketing.
London 2012 Tier 2 SponsorsAs the build-up to the London 2012 Olympics gathers pace, we've spoken to senior marketers at every one of the event's second tier sponsors about their involvement and activation plans.
London 2012 Tier 3 Sponsors(September 2010) Following the opening of volunteer applications for the London 2012 Olympics, Pearlfinders has spoken to marketers at Tier-3 sponsors of the Games. These partners provide services to the event with limited monetary exchange. This does not mean, however, that significant sums are not being spent leveraging the tie-ups.
Where the work is - Pearlfinders Index Q2The full data from Q2 2010 - Pearlfinders takes the temperature for each area of marketing.
Generation MarketingWelcome to our third special report of 2010, which investigates brands that focus their marketing on either a senior or a youth audience.
Music FestivalsWelcome to our second Special Report of 2010. This time we've chosen to look at music festivals and the increasingly sophisticated approach that brands use to exploit them. According to eFestivals founder Neil Greenway, there are 630 festival-type events taking place in 2010.
Where the work is - Pearlfinders Index Q1The full data from Q1 2010 - Pearlfinders takes the temperature for each area of marketing.
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