Taking a dose of our own medicine: IMD London 2018 review

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Taking a dose of our own medicine: IMD London 2018 review
Posted on May 24, 2018 by Braden MacDonald

Reading Time: 3 minutes

By Jennifer Redfern (originally posted on RWConnect)

‘The strategic advice we give our clients is how to be better marketers, so we have to at least be efficient marketers ourselves.’

This comment, made by Greg Clayton, Managing Director of Kadence International during the agency panel of Insights Marketing Day London on the 11th May, emphasises an important industry-wide problem – the ironic fact that market research companies rarely practice what they preach when it comes to their own marketing. Despite helping clients make marketing decisions every day, companies avoid investing either time or money in their own marketing efforts. This is even though they are fundamental to business growth, recruitment and, ultimately, the perception of the industry overall.

Insights Marketing Days were conceived by Greenbook to address this problem and, with the support of Keen as Mustard, have been running in New York, Chicago and London since 2014. So far over 575 MRX industry members and marketers have attended these practical events. IMD returned to London last week, and covered topics such as web optimisation, content marketing, email marketing and media relations. The event also included a panel of senior clients from, Barclaycard,BBC Media Action and Coca-Cola as well as a panel of agencies such as FreshMinds, Kadence International, B2B International and PRS IN VIVO.

Here are some of my key takeaways from the day:

  • Some clients do read your emails – A big supporter of email marketing, Maciej Partyka, Global Head of Consumer Insights at Barclaycard, explained that he appreciates and tries to read all the emails he receives from agencies. This is how he finds out the research options that are available to him
  • Approach and impress clients with knowledge and thought leadership – Clients are interested in companies that offer them something new and different to the companies they’re already working with. So, as Begonia Fafian of Coca-Cola explained, use an exciting proposition to teach a client something new and attract their attention
  • Avoid irritating your clients by following some simple rules – Don’t contact multiple people from the same client company at the same time; don’t call your client ‘Pepsi’ when you’re actually contacting ‘Coca-Cola’; and no matter how desperate you are to do business with them, don’t stalk them
  • A strong content strategy will provide you with the tools and avenues to avoid marketing clichés Keen as Mustard’s Adam Warner presented on the importance of good content. Implementing this strategy relies on ‘cohesion, repetition and consistency’ and it should run through everything
  • Use personas to get to know your clients’ needs – Create real people with real personalities and characteristics to make your segments more relatable, impactful and memorable. B2B International’s Conor Wilcock explained that this process will allow you to know your customers better. This process can require a lot of research to a make them accurate and anecdotal experience is useful to inform them
  • When writing for the media remember ‘telling not selling’ Northstar’s Jack Miles advised the audience that articles for publications should inform the reader rather than pitch to them. Establishing yourself as a thought leader instead of a salesman will please editors and also be beneficial to your company in the long term
  • A rebrand, when necessary, can help your awareness, your differentiation, and brand loyalty – E-Tabs’ rebrand gave the company the opportunity to reassess its values, personality and aesthetics and helped re-establish them as memorable, unique and likeable.
  • Get creative with your exhibition space at events – From green screen photo booths, to free coffees and Guinness on tap, Lightspeed’s Wiepke van der Wal had plenty of ideas for getting event-attendees immersed in your booth
  • Email marketing may not be new and exciting, but it remains incredibly relevant for generating B2B leads – 91% of people use their emails daily and emails have a much higher open rate than social media. Also, unlike social media, they can be targeted. Miriam Shaviv from Brainstorm Digital explained that there are five key email types that you should be sending – these are relationship building emails, engagement emails, authority emails, pre-sell emails and selling emails
  • Your website is not a time capsule, it needs constant nurturing to help it grow – Your website should not be a perfectly preserved artifact from the day it was made and instead should evolved continuously depending on data. Use Google Analytics to track your traffic and to see which pages are most popular. You can also use UTM codes to track your promotions
  • The risk of not using social media is greater than the benefit of using it – Social media may not often be responsible for generating direct sales, but you don’t want to miss out on a channel that has the potential to help build a positive reputation for your company

In her opening remarks, Keen as Mustard’s Lucy Davison pointed out how important it is, in a world of respondent fatigue, increased competition and ‘free’ data, for the Market Research industry to improve its marketing. By inspiring companies to try new marketing ideas, or even persuading them to improve on techniques they’ve tried before, market researchers can practice what they preach and showcase the value of insights.