Two friends sit at a corner table in an atmospheric boozer. There’s a bit of banter, an appreciation of the singer-songwriter on stage and a serious moment of conversation over a beer mat. This January, the Anchor on London’s Bankside became the ‘Men United Arms’, complete with quiz nights, band nights, customised coasters and a bespoke ale on tap. This ongoing iteration of Prostate Cancer UK’s Men United campaign is working to raise awareness of the risks of this common male cancer.
“Distinctiveness is one of the big challenges for a small brand in today’s market,” comments Vivienne Francis, communications director at Prostate Cancer UK. “You need to think hard about how you achieve stand out and really connect: and that isn’t just about pumping out messages to people: it is about creating touchpoints.”
Prostate Cancer UK recognises the need and desire for men to share stories, whether that be in a pub setting, on social media, or through print and broadcast media. The charity is tapping into key insights into male behaviour and creating meaningful experiences in order to get the target audience to turn towards rather than away from the brand.
The Big Story
By bolstering a short-running TV campaign with digital activity and a raft of partnerships, Prostate Cancer UK aims to drive year-round engagement with Men United. Amplification of a moderate above-the-line spend is key to the brand’s strategy. “We are trying to do as much as those bigger businesses are on a much smaller budget,” says Francis. “So we focus on the amplification of the modest above the line campaign.”
As well as knowing how to work with a good narrative, the cancer charity understands how to leverage the power of partnerships. An affiliation with the Football League Managers Association translates into managers in the Premier League and The Football League often wearing a Men United badge to play their part in promoting the campaign. Corporate partner Deloitte uses its communications channels to promote the Men United message and therefore provides added reach.
Going forward it will be building the Men United campaign with additional networks of commercial and media partners such as radio station talkSPORT. It has recently brought on board transport operator First Group as a partner. Part of the value of that relationship is the £750,000 of free advertising space across its train and bus networks over the coming three years.
When to Automate
It’s not just charities that need to think cleverly about what and where to spend. With marketing departments across sectors stretched, the question of how to make the most of leaner budgets comes into sharper focus. Against this backdrop, the prospect of automating processes might become attractive: at a price, software can enable highly responsive automated campaigns that are also highly relevant.
The dilemma of whether to automate is one Andy Edge, commercial director for Odeon, considers carefully. He believes it is important to personalise to be effective but thinks it is not always necessary to spend large amounts doing so.
“Our budget is not huge – it is single digit millions – and it could be easy to spend so much money on systems and software solutions,” he comments. “However, when you have a relatively small budget, the strategy has to be about how you get the right blend of tools and techniques versus not losing sight of intuition and experience and belief.”
Edge puts stock in the need to be curious about the here and now and let that feed through into capitalising on emerging opportunities. “The downside of automation could be that the tools take away some of the intellectual brain power of marketing and you can easily fall into the trap of not looking ahead enough,” says Edge. “Rather than just being aware of what is happening, you have to always be asking what if and why: I am not sure we always spend enough time doing that.”
Getting Priorities Right
It is clear that the new rules of marketing demand that the function is both savvy and selective about any significant outlay. Online reservation specialist Bookatable has been able to weigh up the benefits of its marketing investment by using attribution models to track the user journey across multiple channels. In this way it has discovered which are most efficient at generating and influencing conversions and has thought tactically about where to deploy budget in order to achieve goals of awareness, sales and advocacy.
Being flexible so that it can redistribute budget easily is also important. For example, it has tried out a number of different initiatives for app marketing and then focused the budget on the best performing channel, redistributing based on platform and performance. For its iPhone app, Bookatable uses DBM (double-click bid manager) technology, which works very effectively at driving low cost installs.
However, this same platform has not been as effective for driving Android installs. “We’re constantly analysing performance to make sure spend is allocated to the best performing channels,” comments Joe Steele, CEO of Bookatable. “For example, we’ve increased our budget for Facebook as we’re seeing growing booking numbers with our app remarketing work.”
The brand has worked to optimise its strategy by analysing performance across channels and investing in the area where it generates most growth. “One key aspect of growth in our business and within the restaurant sector in general is mobile, and this is an area that we are looking to expand upon to reach new users and grow our mobile app community,” says Steele. “We’re also focusing on re-targeting existing users with tailored offers, which will help to drive conversion at a much higher rate, and allow us to be more efficient with our marketing budget.”
Brands of any size can learn a thing or two from Project Everyone, a small yet ambitious initiative which has built its brand identity around communicating the forthcoming launch of the UN Global Goals. Its aim is to tell everyone in the world about the UN’s ambitious plan for ending poverty and climate change by the deadline of 2030.
Project Everyone’s own target is to reach seven billion people within seven days, using every marketing channel it can. The overall strategy includes initiatives such as ‘The World’s Biggest Connection’, working with the five largest mobile operators to send a text to every mobile in the world. Other inventive schemes include the ‘World’s Largest Lesson’, working with TES, a massive digital network of teachers across 279 countries.
With two and a half billion of the world’s population online, cleverly engineered relationships with the world’s biggest websites and owners – Google, Facebook, Wikipedia, Amazon, Baidu and others – open doors and save spend. Project Everyone will be working with zeitgeist digital technologies such as Google’s Loon Balloon project, beaming broadband from the edge of the earth’s atmosphere to those in remote areas with no internet access.
Getting the word out this September is going to be a masterclass in marketing on a shoestring. Again, the watchwords are partnership and flexibility. “We are not attempting to buy any media as this would run to billions and so we are relying on brand, broadcast, mobile and digital partners to distribute our content for us,” explains Gail Gallie, creative lead of Project Everyone. “We are attempting to give the new goals as much reach as possible and we will take any reach opportunities we are given in whatever shape they are offered.”
As these brands prove, with credible goals, an agile strategy and fresh ideas, marketers can do a lot on limited resources. Some core principles of good brand marketing are constant: focus on the consumer, leverage the competitive advantage, keep an eye on emerging opportunities and be compelling.
Vivienne Francis, Andy Edge, Joe Steele and Gail Gallie will all be speaking at MWL’15 on 29th and 30th April. The event, incorporating paid-for conference The Big Debate and the free to attend Marketing Academy Boot Camp, features many opportunities to learn from top marketers.