Have you changed your focus?

Look back 50 years and marketing was a very different beast. Products had longevity, people invested in long life items, rather than the disposable society we are fast speeding towards. Audiences were naïve to what went on ‘behind the scenes’ and adverts were often viewed with trust and respect. The use of mass media was the only way to reach your target audience, but it worked. The brand was in charge of the relationship and the marketer sat in the driving seat.

Fast forward to 2018 and people expect more, much more. The consumer has taken charge. The focus has made an unusual shift, away from the product, and now lands firmly on the consumer and its interactions with the brand, both online and offline. Brands’ definition of success now encompasses the interactions and conversations taking place with users, and even between users themselves. Companies are striving for better engagement, which leads to a better understanding of its target audience, which comes round to improve the engagement further. It is a constantly evolving cycle, with the aim of building long-term sustainable relationships.

To achieve this engagement, communication with your target audience needs to be regular and consistent. It needs to reach them where they are, online or offline, and it needs to be truly interactive. One way messages pumped out to mass audiences are no longer going to win the brand race. Even with the best messaging and a great product, users want to get to know the brand in this interactive social environment before they invest their time or money.

As users increasingly interact with brands, and each other, online, it is becoming more difficult to control the image of your brand.  User-generated content, reviews, forums, social posts all have the power to add to or to subtract from your brand. The number of areas that users now expect a brand to deliver on is constantly expanding. To truly be a success a brand needs to have a strong online presence, be cost and time efficient, use an integrated approach to marketing, engage with its users, and that’s not to mention the principles and values that are now considered so important for a company to demonstrate.

With so many variables it can feel at times like it is an insurmountable task. This is just the new marketing normal. If you haven’t already now is the time to shift your focus externally, no longer is just about your product, its about your users and how you encourage them to build a long term sustainable relationship with you. And if you can pick up some advocates, and even super fans, along the way then you are on the path to success. It is time to align better with your target audiences core values and really become a customer-focussed business. How do you do that? This is where the marketer steps back into the driving seat. Don’t have a marketer? This is where you contact us!


Digital Culture

Stepping Into The Digital Culture

It seems like the term digital has taken over our lives. Everything from the watch on our arm to the fridge in our kitchen seem to have joined the digital revolution going on around us. How are we adapting to this new digital landscape and ensuring that our companies and brands are embracing it in the best way. The first step to truly immersing yourself in the digital world is to understand the developing digital culture.

Digital culture is a big step away from the business cultures many of us were used to. It is not confined by location, there are no physical boundaries, no socio-economic, racial or ethnic divisions. Digital culture is open to anyone with access to a digital device and an internet connection. We are increasingly augmenting our reality with the use of a variety of devices, moving from an analogue experience to a connected digital version. This growing and evolving digital culture revolves around a set of core values which we will review below.


Digital technology has changed the way we experience the world, particularly marketing, we have moved from passive messages to disruptive experiences, with digital devices now part of our every day lives. We live in a world of innovation where we are encouraged to experiment and innovate. To stay ahead of your competitors you need to embrace the opportunities that digital tech provides and push the boundaries, before someone else does.


The digital world is open to all that have the ability to access it. Putting aside that access issues display a level of socio-economic inequalities, the digital platform has flattened the playing field considerably. Any company who has access to the internet has the ability to reach millions of people the world over, something that would have been impossible for all but the largest corporate companies in the purely analogue era.


Digital technology has allowed us to become more responsive than ever. For companies, we can become receptive to the needs and wants of our target audience and adapt our offerings, messages and communications. Empathising with your audience is no longer is a luxury, it is expected.


With people becoming more tech savvy and far more security conscious the onus is on brands to become more transparent in their business practices. The internet gives people far more access to check every aspect of a companies culture, finances, and service to name but a few. Due to this shift in customer access companies have been forced to become more honest and trustworthy across all of their business functions.


Everyone has become an expert since the arrival of Google. The answer to any question is just a search away. No longer can you waste hours debating a matter over a drink, in mere moments the internet can resolve many a dispute. But what does this digitally driven knowledge mean for brands. The internet and digital devices have made brands infinitely more knowledgeable. The digital world has brought with it a more data driven knowledge for companies, specifically about their customers and target audiences. You can now analyse every visit to your website or like on your social page. It is allowing for far more personalisation and targeted content and marketing.


With the move into digital everything becomes faster. This is both a blessing and a curse. We all expect instant gratification now, with mail delivered in an instant, deliveries that arrive within hours, and on line access to almost any resource you need at your finger tips. Companies have had to become super efficient to satisfy its customer and stay ahead of the competition. Whilst challenging to maintain, this increased efficiency has been benefit for companies. It has allowed them to advance their services, becoming more agile to meet the needs of its ever more demanding customers. 


As we have said above it has become of top importance for companies to be transparent in their business operations. Customers are placing authenticity high on their list when it comes to choosing a brand to do business with. They also want to develop a relationship with the brand. Social media has opened companies up to a much more personal relationship with its customers, who now expect a two way conversation.


With so many touch points between a company and a customer, it is more important than ever that companies take a holistic approach to their external communications. There needs to be a fully integrated approach across the whole business to ensure that the key messages of the company are behind every customer facing moment.


These value should be at the basis of your companies online presence. By succeeding in these areas you are one step closer to be the answer to your customers problems. The digital world show no sign of slowing down, with new innovations being released almost daily these values will no doubt evolve and change over the next 10 years. If you are still getting to grips with this emerging digital culture and need some guidance get in touch with us now and we would be happy to help.




Influencer Marketing

The Power of the Influencer

The digital world is expanding by the second. With close to 47 million internet users in the UK alone, being able to reach your target audience is becoming increasingly challenging, especially when you are fighting for attention against hundreds of other brands. On Facebook alone, an average 2,000 posts a day are eligible to appear in a users news feed. How do you cut through this noise and reach the right people? An increasingly popular tactic is the use of influencers.

Influencer marketing is becoming increasingly popular with brands looking to create high value conversations with their target audience. Lets take a closer look at this popular marketing trend.

What is an Influencer?

The concept of using influencers is not a new one. Brands have long used celebrities to endorse and advertise their brands, think Kevin Bacon and EE. Whilst celebrities still hold a lot of value to brands, a new type of influencer is emerging across the social media space. No longer do you need to be famous to gain a following.

As the digital world evolves, its users are now looking for more than celebrity advertising, they want knowledge. Influencers can now be anyone who knows their area, be that fashion, film, engineering, food or even pharmaceuticals. People want to know what the experts think.  Social media influencers have developed a strong following based on sharing great content based on their expert knowledge.

What types of Influencer are there?

There are broadly two categories of influencer:

  • Celebrity Influencers – these influencers will generally have over 1 million followers and will normally be well know outside their areas of expertise.
  • Micro Influencers – these influencers will usually have between 10,000 and 100,000 followers and will be well know within their field.

The type of influencer you should target often depends on the type of company you are, including your size and budget. Very large well known brands will generally go for an A list celebrity who is well known to most of the population. SMEs, however, will more likely use a micro influencer who is well thought of in their field. Take a small fashion brand, for example, they will not have the resource nor budget to work with the likes of Kate Moss, however they could work with a fashion blogger who has 50,000 followers to get their brand in front of the right people.

How do I know which Influencer is right for my brand?

Research! You need to make sure you are working with the right influencer, one who’s followers have the same attributes as your target audience. There are 8 keys steps in creating an Influencer Marketing Strategy:

  1. Set Objectives – before you even think about which influencer is right for you, you need to know what you want to achieve.
  2. Know your target audience – research your audience, where do they spend their time on line, what content do they consume, who do they respect?
  3. Identify influencers – look at the popularity and expertise that they are offering, do they match with you brand.
  4. Engage – if you are approaching a good influencer an email is not going to get you far, they probably receive hundreds of communications and you will get lost in the crowd. Instead, engage with them and their content, show that you can offer them value.
  5. Understand – use your engagement with your target influencer to build an understanding of them. What are their needs and interests? What are they saying? How are they saying it? How do they feel about your brand? Start a dialogue with them, send them product samples, involve them in what your brand is up to, ask them for ideas. You need to have a two way relationship based on trust and respect.
  6. Rewards – be careful at this stage, ensure you know your influencer and why they want to work with your brand. Some influencers will be offended by the mention of direct financial rewards, others will expect it. It is important to understand their expectations and ensure the relationship is mutually beneficial.
  7. Content Co-Creation – don’t expect them to do all the hard work. You need to work alongside your influencer. Develop a content plan and strategy with them, they will be probably be very specific on the type of content they are willing to share and what, if any, calls to action they are will to use.
  8. Measurement – as with any part of your marketing strategy you need to know if your influencer marketing is a success.  Determine what your objectives are and how you will know if you have achieved them and monitor them regularly.

Do I need to work with Influencers?

This is very much up to you. As with many forms of digital marketing it is not a one size fits all. Much will depend on who you are targeting and how. However, it is worth bearing in mind that brands that have invested in influencer marketing have reported great results including double the sales of paid advertising and a 37% higher retention rate.

If you would like to know more about influencer marketing and how we can help get in touch with us now.


How to Speak Marketing Digitalk

With the increasingly digital world that we live in it can be hard to keep up with all the new terms that get banded around. This week we are taking it back to basics and giving the low down on a few of the digital terms that are commonly used.


Broadly, this refers to companies that use digital tech to sell their products. Any company where you can purchase their goods or services online on their website is classed as e-commerce.

Social Commerce

An extension of e-commerce, some companies have now introduced the ability to buy their products and services using their social media channels.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

Search engines have become one of the core sources of new customers for many companies. Google dominates the search engine market, with Bing! and Yahoo still trying to compete. The main aim of Search Engine Marketing is to appear on the first page of these search engines and attract searchers to click on your link.  There are two main types of Search Engine Marketing – these are Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Pay Per Click (PPC).

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

This is a natural process whereby your website is optimised through its content and structure to appeal to search engines. If you get this right you will organically start to appeal to your target audience and in turn to the search engine algorithms.

Pay Per Click (PPC)

This is where Google makes most of its money. While SEO can take time and significant input from internal resources, pay per click offers businesses the opportunity to appear at the top of the google rankings immediately. The catch, you have to pay for it. Many companies enter a bidding war to appear at the top of the search results for key search terms used by their target audience.

Social Media Marketing

The use of social media by businesses is becoming more and more prevalent. There are various levels of use by companies on social media from simply having a profile page to regular posting and sponsoring their content. Similarly to SEM, social media marketing can be both organic and paid for. With recent changes to the way that the social media channels deal with content from businesses the paid marketing across social media is set to become far more dominant.


There are, of course, a whole range of other digital marketing terms that we have not covered here and if you would like any further information on these or any other areas of digital marketing then get in touch.

The Changing Face of Social Media

The Ever Changing Face of Social Media

There are too many social media platforms now to keep track of, we all know the big players but there are a plethora of smaller networks out there too. Each platform works on it’s own algorithm and once you have got to grips with how it works, they change it again. It is fair to say that keeping on top of social media is now a full time job.

So, how can you ensure that you are getting the most out of your social activities? Here are seven steps you can integrate into your social media routine to improve engagement levels with your followers:


The most important thing to do is to plan out your activities. It can often seem tempting to just action social media activities as you go to allow you to be timely. However, this causes a lot of stress around what content to produce and when, especially when you are trying to produce things last minute. Put a content plan in place, even if it only covers the social platforms you will be using and the type of content you will use.

Check out our social channels and you will see a pattern, every Wednesday, for example, we provide a tip for our users. Having a daily theme can really help your stay on top of your social posting and ensure it is regular. You can also have a weekly focus. This week across HIIT’s channels most of the content is focussed on social media, last week was focused around mobile optimisation.

By planning in advance, you can also benefit by tracking and evaluating your activities to influence on your future plans. What posts and topics work and which ones don’t?


How much resource do you have to dedicate to social media? This includes time, personnel and money. It is important that you are able to sustain whatever plan you put in place. Social media requires regular and consistent attention, so start as you mean to carry on. Customers will often check a company out across social media and no page is better than an empty or sporadically populated one.


Whilst in essence posting on social media may seem very simple, there is a requirement for well structured engaging content. A picture of your product may suffice once or twice but social users expect much more than this, they want to get to know you as a brand on a more personal level. Alongside consuming your content, they also want to engage with you and that means dedicating the time to establish 2 way conversations with your  followers. Social media is not just a broadcast platform it is one that requires constant management.

Know Your Buyer

Have you taken the time to establish who your key buyer personas are? What do they want? Where do they go online? If you have you are one step closer to establishing a meaningful relationship with potential customers. By defining your key buyer personas you can target your content, to them, where they are looking and fit to their needs.

Consumers across social media have ever increasing expectations in terms of how brands communicate with them. There is growing expectation of more tailored communications and 1-2-1 focus. Whilst it is impossible to deliver this on a large scale across social, personalising content where possible shows a social awareness that consumers now expect.


This is what social is all about, sharing with your followers. The more you can share with users, the more in-depth becomes their relationship with you. Of course you want to share information about your products and services, but make sure you are also sharing about your company and those who make it. Behind the scenes snippets allow your followers to get to know your employees and give your brand a much more personal feel. The old adage people by people still applies in this modern digital age.


We have already touched on this, it is more important than ever to really engage with social media users. Use a relevant mix of content to engage with your audience and aim to build a community around your brand. Respond to user comments and posts on your social pages in a timely manner and start to build conversations. If appropriate to your brand, groups in social media work well to bring fans of your brand together and to entice potential customers into your brand community.


All communications by your company, both online and offline should be aligned. It sounds obvious but if you have more than one person working on your marketing, do they both have the same vision. Decide on your brand personality and tone of voice and ensure this is consistent across all your communication channels. Build a brand identity that is easy to identify wherever a person comes across you.


All of these steps needs to be considered in unison to put together a successful social media plan. If this all looks like a lot or you are concerned about having the necessary resource to manage your social media profiles then we can help. Get in touch with us today or visit our social media marketing page to find out more.