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Scottish Borders Tourism Conference 2013 - Be digital, your customers are

I was delighted to talk at the Scottish Borders Tourism Conference, hosting a session titled “Be digital, your customers are”.

Inbound marketing is a hot topic at the moment, along with content marketing. It’s a huge opportunity for small businesses to increase their visibility and convert customers.

  • get found
  • engage and nurture
  • convert

The slides have been made available via VisitScotland, however the Speakerdeck version is the one that was presented on the day.

There are plenty of talks available, including my own, so feel free to go check them out.

View the “Be digital, your customers are” slides from Speakerdeck.

You can also view the slides for other talks on the VisitScotland website.

Google Adwords certification study guides (fundamentals / advanced)

Updated: 17/06/2015 (Google Partners Program)

Looking to expand your Google Adwords knowledge? Whether you manage Google Adwords campaigns on a daily basis, or are just learning to learn, a Google Adwords Certification can help. The certification will help with your understanding of paid media terminology, how campaigns work provide a method for you to show potential employers what you can do.

Thus, a lot of people look to the Google Adwords Certification to help with this, as they bundle study guides with certification. To help you with your exams, I’ve listed some Google Adwords Certification study guides that will help get you through both the Fundamental and Advanced Search Advertising exams.

It is possible to pass your Google Adwords exam without the need for physical guides or online revision packages. However if you do need additional help or would like something for your desk, this book is a great starting point - Google AdWords For Dummies book.

So, where do you sit the exam?

Introducing the Google Partners program.

  • Google Partner Exams are now free! This means you don’t need to pay for your Adwords exams anymore.
  • The new Google Partners website is designed to allow you to revise and sit the exams, all via one portal.
  • Resources from 3rd parties tend to be out of date and don’t match the current Google Adwords Interface, nor the exam material. They do still provide value however and will no doubt be updated post launch of Google Partners.
  • Google resources are at times a different from the interface, however you can bank on the Google material matching the exam.

In short, things are become a whole lot more clean when it comes to revision resources. Digging around for Google Adwords Certification study guides for your Fundamentals / Advanced Search exams is far less important post Google Partners launch.

##1. Official Google Study Guides

The Google Partners area provides all the initial steps to get you up and running. You will be able to access to seminars, study guides and much more. Essential for you kicking off your Google Adwords Certification study.

##2. Google Adwords Help Centre

The Google Adwords Help Centre help resources for terminology and a run through ranging from basic setup and basics to billing. A strong resource for referencing as opposed to studying for your exam directly.

##3. Google Adwords Interface

The Adwords interface will give you the best exposure possible help for you to pass your exam. You will need a valid Google account alongside a name, address and credit card. Don’t worry, you can remove your card once you are setup.

The real value is assigning budgets and getting some campaigns live. Google regularly provide vouchers of around $50 to new customers via email to get people up and running, so look out for these in the days after activation. The Adwords Coupon page is also useful and currently has £75 free for a £25 spend (Confirmed live Jan 2014).

##4. Google YouTube Adwords Playlist

Various videos on anything and everything Adwords. You can find a specific playlist for all the introductory videos for adwords via the link below.

##5. Other Websites

Please note, these are additional resources that are pretty out of date. However they do provide a bit more context for you if you have additional study time available.

I would also recommend downloading the free uCertify trial, as they do offer an extremely robust package with a decent number of questions available for free.

Good luck and let me know how you get on with your Google Adwords study!

Attendance @ Jump digital marketing event

I had the pleasure of attending the Jump digital marketing event in London yesterday, as part of the E-Consultancy Festival of Marketing. Jump is all about creating a joined up consumer experience. Talks ranged from user experience to psychology and its impact on digital marketing, a real mix of extremely interesting and thought provoking topics.

##Up close and personal, engaging your target audience anytime, anywhere Expedia

  • Made an early and accelerated move to mobile via an acquisition. The team worked relatively independently of the main organisation in a separate physical location (San Francisco). The result? They moved quickly and freely in many instances from their central head office in Seattle - driving forward their mobile offering in a relatively short period of team.
  • Expedia identified early on that responsive design wasn’t the best choice or their objectives, as they felt the ability to create unique experiences for difference screensizes / and usage enviroments trumped all other considerations.
  • Positioning mobile prominently was important for them, integrating it in with internal KPIs and offering unique deals to consumers.
  • TV campaigns are built around their mobile offering, with dedicated ads produced to highlight unique functionality and features.
  • Optimisation does not live on traditional search channels anymore. A focus needs to be paid to presentation within mobile app stores. This includes icons, descriptions, reviews and driving downloads.

##More channels, more opportunities, delivering personalised service in a digital world American Express

  • Some huge partnerships for American Express over the last couple of years. A fascinating take away from the Facebook partnership; the majority of card holders who synced their details with Facebook had actually opted out of email communication from the organisation.
  • Their newest TripAdvisor partnership involves checking payment histories to confirm reviews are by people who have actually stayed at the venue - extremely interesting review trust indicator.
  • Others partnerships included Xbox Live (Game progress / rewards) and Twitter (Tweet to buy, Tweet for discount).
  • Cultural change within the organisation a big focus, with importance placed upon people using the digital platforms the organisation is trying to drive forward. Others important areas included revisiting internal guidelines, throwing away job titles for brainstorming, simplifying processes and encouraging a start up ethos operating under the company philosophy.

##How to improve conversion Redeye

  • Statistics galore from this white paper overview. Due to the amount of statistics and the presentation being publicly available in the near future, I’ll refrain from sharing specific stats, but will however hopefully update this post with a link once available.
  • Most common (and important) testing is A/B - with the least common (but still important) being personalisation. Specific tests within A/B that proved to be quick wins included modifying CTA buttons and descriptive text.
  • A critical consideration for organisations planning to kick start testing in this area is to define testing roles and to prioritise.
  • Need justification for carrying out UX experiments? Get someone in front of a camera and give them some key tasks to perform on your website. It may well be the best justification you will ever have for senior management to take note and listen.
  • download PDF

##Using social media to engagement customers and maximise promotions Yo Sushi!

  • An interesting presentation from a brand keen to be presented as fun and vibrant - focusing on buzz building as the primary mechanic.
  • Customer service is a critical part of their social presence, resolving complaints on the channel of the customers choice, in turn seeing some great online feedback.
  • Using social as a source of insights about their customers, collecting and passing on feedback for various areas of the business to improve the way they operate. This included things like new store opening.
  • An engaging campaign involved visiting offices with Sushi at the request of workers - in costume and with plenty of food!

The above is a tiny account of the event, as Jump spanned the entire day (with the Festival of Marketing on all week). To wrap up, I thought I would include a video from the final psychology session, describing “social proof”.

You can find out more about Jump on the Festival of Marketing Website.

Nestle & Google Android KitKat announcement

Hot off the press this morning was the news that Nestle and Google have forged a partnership, branding the new version of Android KitKat. You can read more on the background of the announcement on the BBC News website.

Currently knee deep in website migrations myself, I began to ask myself if their overhaul of the consumer http://www.kitkat.com/ website had been well thought through, or just a bit of an after thought. Huge coverage for both brands in online and offline media was the main goal, but what about the overall site experience for people arriving at the KitKat website from search? Unfortunately at this early stage it is an experience riddled with broken links.

Having a look at the results highlights plenty of links serving 404s, alongside links to different locale versions that have no practical use on the newly relaunched website. In addition, the legacy WAP site is redirecting for a homepage query, but any lower level pages result in 404s.

With this said, it is a fantastic design and build, with some crazy creativity to make this happen on the part of both Google and Nestle. The results have seen some crazy coverage online, with plenty of links for both parties (not that they need them!).

If anyone has any of the Android KitKat chocolates, feel free to pop them over to the office - I’m here all week =)

Turing Festival 2013 highlights

I was lucky enough to attend the Turing Festival in Edinburgh on the 24th and 25th August 2013. Turing took place over a 2 day period towards the tail of the Edinburgh Festival, meaning the city was still in top form. The talks were diverse and interesting, with many speakers using technology as a foundation, as opposed to being the subject itself. This made the festival feel more dynamic, interesting and engaging than your run of the mill event.

##Talks attended

  • Five Startups go mad in Edinburgh
  • Future of Money
  • Digital Distribution
  • Digital Marketing & Growth Hacking
  • Festival Keynote by Neil Stephenson
  • Future of Music

##Future of money highlights;

  • Sandra Alzetta from Visa gave a extremely grounded speech. She placed a large focus on mobile payments on smartphones, alongside contactless plastic cards. She was keen to highlight the future is both mobile AND plastic, with each having a place in the Visa vision of the future of payments.
  • Mike Hearn from Bitcoin (and Google)’s speech had to be one of the highlights of the festival. Mike’s talk was extremely wide ranging, featuring Google driverless cars and explaining a potential bleak outlook for anyone who doesn’t work in the creative sector. He presented a vision for the future focused on a TradeNet and it’s autonomous agents - all removing the need for human involvement in more manual, repetitive tasks. A future where machines will run their own businesses, competing in a marketplace against each other for human business. A fascinating insight! He also mentioned some background and ideology on Bitcoin, but this was really overshadowed by everything that preceded it.

Social reviews don’t make that much sense, says Mike Hearn of Google. Lots of spam and strangers #turingfest — Andrew Girdwood (@AndrewGirdwood) - August 23, 2013

The future of money by Visa Europe. Trust. Completely agree. Money doesn’t do public betas #turingfest @NJones — Calum Shepherd (@calumshepherd) - August 23, 2013

Visa Europe forecast 50% of their transactions by 2020 will be mobile #turingfest — Calum Shepherd (@calumshepherd) - August 23, 2013

##Digital distribution highlights;

  • The highlight of the digital distribution talks had to be DJ Powers from Valve. He gave insight into the Steam eco-system and their recent developments in community contribution. Team Fortress 2 is one of their most recent success stories, seeing a marketplace built out around digital products and official community updates - launched for the entire player base. A success story included a hat seller (for in-game characters) who achieved 6 digit profits for his creations.

Team Fortress Community Update biggest grossing hour for them after launch. Awesome #turingfest — Calum Shepherd (@calumshepherd) - August 23, 2013

##Digital marketing and growth hacking

Brian Doll from GitHub was first up, reinforcing the need for great marketing to follow a simple philosophy:

“Build Something, Tell People”

This was an interesting concept that caused split opinion in regards to how easy this is to implement in a large scale organisation. None the less, an ideal that everyone should aspire to. Plus, he had a great animated GIF used across both his presentations!

  • Andrew Girdwood, a former colleague from my time agency side, was presenting his thoughts on the future of digital. A compelling presentation covering native content, examples on how companies are now founded around video seeding / testing and mobile real time bidding.
  • JP Rangaswami from Salesforce was quite inspiring. I didn’t manage to take any notes from the talk, but came away throughly impressed with his ability to tell stories and bring the audience with him on a journey through technology.

“Living infographics”. Steven Drost from Stipso explains how text can become more than a sum of its parts #turingfest — Calum Shepherd (@calumshepherd) - August 24, 2013

Focus on tribes. Focus on communities that already exist’s Brian Doll from @github - Calum Shepherd (@calumshepherd) - August 24, 2013

If you would like to find out more, check out the Turing Festival website.