Every company has a perfect customer. And at Verdict Media Strategies, we’re all about finding and engaging with them for you. We design, target and measure your content by combining art and science – beautifully crafted and intelligent copy with analysable metrics. Reach out to me to see how VMS can benefit your business with intelligent insights and powerful tools to increase your business activity and sales. Call John Dryden on +61 4 8461 3508
Is social media worthwhile over Christmas break?……. 100%!!
With Christmas now less than a week away, many people are looking forward to a much-needed break. But should businesses be taking a break from social media over the holiday period?
Author and owner of PR firm CP Communications, Catriona Pollard said that studies have shown that some 60 per cent of Australians use the internet more than five times a day, and that 70 per cent admit to using their phone during mealtimes, meaning that “the digital world remains a prevalent part of everyday life”. And social media plays a central role in that connectivity.
“For this reason, it’s important that your business is maintaining a presence, with content in the pipeline, ready to jump into 2019,” the author said.
Social still gets used over summer: Facebook
Kaylie Smith, Facebook’s head of SMB for Australia and New Zealand, said that most people don’t stop using their social accounts when the holidays arrive, and that means businesses should be, too.
She told My Business that having a presence on social media post-Christmas “gives you an opportunity to boost sales among your holiday customer base”, while tapping into customers checking out post-Christmas sales or seeking ideas for spending gift cards they had received as presents.
“Business should defo be thinking about their social strategies over Christmas and the New Year, as holidays are a great time to introduce your brand to new shoppers and attract new buyers in volume,” Ms Smith said.
“I know by my habits that most Australians over the summer and holiday season always have their mobile phone within easy reach. We travel with the phone, sunbath with it and look at our apps throughout the day.
“People are spending on average over three hours a day on their phones, and mobile is the ideal way to reach them with relevant products and compelling offers.”
Benefits of staying active on socials over Christmas
Ms Pollard said that there are a number of business benefits to maintaining a social presence over the holiday period, even if your business will be shutting down. These include:
Getting in on the festivities
“Unless you’re the Grinch who stole Christmas, it can be fun to involve your business in the festivities of the season,” Ms Pollard said.
“This doesn’t mean your business needs to start planning an elaborate Christmas event; incorporating festive flair can be as simple as adding a holiday-themed cover image to your business’ Facebook page or sharing a few holiday-related articles on your Twitter.”
Maintaining a visual presence
Keeping your brand in the minds of customers is a year-round task, and the holiday period is no exception.
Ms Pollard said that if your business is shutting down, there are various tools and apps that allow for content to pre-scheduled, ensuring a fresh stream of posts continues throughout the shutdown period.
Your customers may be off work, too
Many people take time off over the holiday period, and it can be easy to forget that we’re not alone in doing so.
“With many people off from work, there’s an opportunity to drive high engagement levels over the holiday period,” Ms Pollard said.
“Whether this be through posting regular content, replying to customer comments and feedback or even offering a special, holiday promotion, your business will reap the benefits of audience interaction.”
Go to www.dmgsocial.com.au to find out how your business can benefit over Summer and into the business year of 2019! Speak with the Team at DMG Social today!
Credit: Original article produced and posted by ADAM ZUCHETTI on the 26th of November, 2018 on www.mybusiness.com.au
Spetses (or “Spice”, as the Venetians decided to name it back in the 15th Century), is one of a few island gems sitting pretty in the Argo-saronic Gulf, just west of the enchanting island of Hydra.
Here on Spetses, with an overwhelming fragrance of jasmine and pine, you are guaranteed to experience “la dolce vita”. Known for the important role it played in the 1821 War of Independence, it was here on Spetses that the revolution flag was first raised.
Long-regarded as a playground for the Athenian elite (many of whom have their summer houses here), and popular with the yachting crowd, the island also became famous thanks to the romancing of Aristotle Onassis and Jackie Kennedy back in the day. Not only is the island home to a picturesque harbour, lined with bougainvillea-clad 18th century mansions, it is full of natural beauty as well, with secluded beaches, pine-clad hills, ancient churches and historical museums scattered all over.
But the best bit? It is only a 2-hour fast ferry ride away from Athens and the mainland, making it very easy to get to. Given cars are forbidden (unless you are a resident), the best way to get around is by scooter or electric bike. The 5000 or so permanent residents generally do the same, bar the odd horse-drawn carriage as well.
With a perimeter of just 16km, this little island is packed with a whole lot of wonder and delight, and makes for a perfect summer weekend (or longer) getaway.
Where to stay?
For such a small island, there are some wonderful accommodation options on offer. We found these three to be particularly good…
The Poseidonion Grand Hotel
If you are wanting to go all out, look no further than the grand-dame herself, The Poseidonion Grand Hotel – home of Spetses glamour for more than 100 years. With its beautiful seafront location, overlooking the island’s lively piazza and out over water to the Peloponnese coast, this is old-world grandeur at its finest. The Poseidonion is an architectural delight – full of beautiful marble, decorative archways and lovely mosaic-tiled floors. Staff are friendly and service is sharp and efficient.
Take your pick from one of two swimming pools, a treatment at the day spa, or perhaps a sundowner in their lovely garden terrace bar. For the best room, we recommend choosing the Cupola Suite (for lots of space and its beautiful terrace), or the Pool Suite (for your own private plunge pool and garden), both have gorgeous views over the sea. When staying at the Poseidonion, you will be joining the links of Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe and Bobby Kennedy who all stayed there in the ’60s.
For something more ‘middle of the road’
Perfectly priced, this lovely apartment-style hotel offers a quiet accommodation option only minutes from the centre of town. Zoe’s has a lovely pool and a great breakfast each morning. You’ll get complimentary wine and cookies on arrival. Zoe’s Club cannot be faulted.
For something more budget-friendly
Twin House Spetses
With clean, simple rooms and a beautiful bougainvillea-filled garden, Twin House Spetses is a quiet, calm place to stay right near the centre of town. The best bit though is its super warm and hospitable owner, Eftychia. A kind local woman, Eftychia bakes delicious homemade pies for breakfast each morning, together with other local Greek morning favourites. The hospitality she offers is friendly, generous and super helpful (Eftychia even offered for me to use her bike for the duration of my stay). Very close to where the ferry arrives into, this is a great and affordable option.
Where to eat?
For the best gyros in town, head to Souvlucky. This local favourite, right on the water, is renowned for its amazing meat and delicious pita. We recommend ordering the ‘traditional giant’.
Orloff restaurant, also in the Old Harbour, is housed in an 18th century classical building and offers a chic taverna-style dining option on a lovely white stone terrace overlooking the water. They also set up a few candlelit-tables along the pier. Come here for all your very favourite and most authentic Greek dishes.
Ombra is all-white and very Italian. Great pizza and pasta, and a beautiful terrace from where you can look over the harbour. Request a table closest to the edge for the best view.
Vanilia Patisserie is a wonderful local patisserie in the centre of town, just behind the church of Agios Antonios. Try one of the island’s famous amigdalota almond sweets here.
You could also try dining at one of the many beach club restaurants. We like Kaiki Beach Club restaurant which is a little more fancy and has a cute bar next door with a great atmosphere. Or Zogeria beach, for its cute laid-back beach taverna.
Where to drink?
Nuovo 1800. This was our favourite spot for a sundowner. Just a short stroll around the water from the harbour, Nuovo 1800 has a beautiful terrace and lovely Italian food as well. Bikini is another great place for a drink, known for their delicious cocktails and dj beats.
For old-world glam, head to the Poseidonion’s “On The Verandah” for a sundowner in the hotel’s beautiful garden overlooking the water.
Vrelos beach is another great option for an afternoon drink with some good tunes, right on the beach.
For such a small island, there are so many stunning, sun-drenched beaches and little turquoise coves scattered all over, all easily reached by a single road that forms a loop around the island.
With the luscious and verdant pine-clad hills as the backdrop, these beaches are incredibly picturesque and all worth exploring.
Kaiki beach is one of the closest to town (if you are headed west), and is also known as ‘College Beach’, given its close proximity to the Anargyrios College. You might also hear it being called ‘Scholes’. One of the larger beaches, they have plenty of day beds and umbrellas and lots of watersports on offer. There is also a great bar and restaurant as well.
Ligoneri beach is beautifully peaceful and is made up of both sandy and rocks. Paradeisos is a gorgeous, and very tiny beach, that is reached by parking your bike on the side of the road and then walking down a little goat track to the bottom. It is calm and beautiful.
Zogeriá is a favourite amongst locals, mainly due to the fact that it is only reachable by taxi boat, hence making the setting even more magical with its backdrop of pines and olive trees. The water here is crystal clear and the beach is both sand and pebbles. Yachts like to stop in here, and there is a cute little taverna on the beach. Tsakona is also a stunning little cove, worth a stop.
Agii Anargyri is one of the biggest beaches on the southwest of the island, where you swim into a large cave (Berkiri’s Cave) where it is alleged that local Spetsiots took refuge during one of the Ottoman raids in 1770. The cave can be found at the western part of the beach, and inside (once your eyes adjust to the dark), you can find a sandy floor and stalactites.
Closest to town is Agia Marina (on the southeast of the island) where you will find a sandy beach and rather fancy beach club. You can also swim in any of the town beaches – the little sliver of beach just below the monastery Agios Nikolaos is popular amongst locals.
What else to do?
Visit the Agios Nikolaos monastery, located on the edge of the Old Port. Built back in 1805, it is rumoured that Napoleon’s brother once slept here. Check out the beautiful black and white mosaic-filled courtyard and white-marble bell tower.
Also worth a visit is the Bouboulina museum, the former home of Laskarina Bouboulina, one of the most famous Spetsiots so far – Bouboulina played a big role in the 1821 War of Independence and is the only female in Greek history to achieve the rank of admiral. The architecture here is delightful.
The Hatzigiannis- Mexis museum, housed in a beautiful 18th century mansion, is also worth a visit if you are interested in browsing relics and letters written in wartime during the 1821 War of Independence.
This article was proudly produced by Georgia Hopkins.
When discussing upcoming meetings, complicated projects or even a workplace conflict, it’s easy to fall back on well-worn phrases to get your point across. But according to bestselling management author and CNBC contributor Suzy Welch, this indirect and confusing language can easily do more harm than good.
“Business jargon is pretty much meaningless,” she tells CNBC Make It. “I mean, ‘shifting paradigm’ — really?”
Below, Welch highlights four business buzzwords that you should strip from your vocabulary today:
“Let’s take this offline”
Not all workplace conversations will be friendly. But regardless of whether or not you agree with your colleagues, Welch says you should never resort to the phrase, “Let’s take this offline.”
Using this business jargon sends a message that says, “We’ve reached an impasse and things are getting awkward, so I’m going to have a private meeting with a smaller group of people later to get what I want.”
Instead, Welch says, you should push through the challenging conversation and address whatever issue is taking place right in that moment.
“Empower” and “Ownership”
“Empower” and “ownership” are two buzzwords that Welch says have a “super high BS factor.” She emphasizes that you should never use the words together in a sentence like, “I’m empowering you to take ownership of this project.”
Instead, Welch suggests being more direct, and saying something along the lines of, “I am giving you the authority to run this project, and I will hold you responsible for its results.”
Once you say this, she says, the key is to actually hold that person accountable.
Most of us have heard someone toss this one around, as in, “That’s a great idea, but we just don’t have the bandwidth for it right now.”
Welch says this is one of her least favorite buzzwords, because it’s usually used to “gloss over your real reason for saying ‘no.'” Rather than beating around the bush, you should be honest about why something can’t take place and simply say some version of:
- “That idea doesn’t fit our strategy.”
- “We don’t have the money.”
- “Our competitors already do that better than we do.”
Regardless of how bad the truth hurts, Welch says that everyone prefers to hear it.
“I could go on and on, because, honestly, all buzzwords are bad,” she says. “Fight like crazy to banish them from your vocabulary, and you might be surprised how truly empowered you become.”
Suzy Welch is the co-founder of the Jack Welch Management Institute and a noted business journalist, TV commentator and public speaker. Think you need Suzy to fix your career? Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ben Small says “These beautifully designed homes with unmatched harbour views are a result of careful and thoughtful planning. Newcastle is one of the most visually stunning places in the world so the developers have made sure you can take in as much of it as possible. Hence the reason the double tower design which allows you to experience uninterrupted views of the harbour and the city. Partnered with exceptional design and quality construction, the aim is to create homes that you’ll never want to leave”.
One of the best parts of Stella is undeniably the views across this beautiful city. That’s why we’ve built a rooftop for residents to enjoy. With multiple seating areas and pergola style awnings, we’ve designed a decadent rooftop area for sunny days and starry nights
The property will suit first home buyers, investors and owner occupiers due to its excellent location and modern facilities with Sales by Urban Activation.
Designed for ultimate liveability, the spacious 1, 2 & 3 bedroom floorplans of Bowery give you room to live, relax and entertain in style.
94 Feet developed these fantastic Luxury Apartments that were in hot demand in 2017, with 35 sold off the plan by
the Urban Activation sales team says Matthew George.
HOME SWEET HOME Ideally located in St Kilda’s exclusive leafy east-end, the light filled apartments of Bowery will become your sanctuary. Bowery’s one, two and three bedroom floor plans feature spacious bedrooms all with built- in-robes and contemporary open plan living spaces within private balconies or oversized courtyards. Every residence has a full size kitchen, separate laundry, storage cage and one secure car park. With an elegant colour palette to select your finishes from, your apartment at Bowery will be your creation.
GETTING AMOUNGST IT Experience first-hand what makes living in St Kilda East so unique. Immerse yourself in the urban culture of St Kilda East by spending your Saturday’s at Alma Park tasting the eclectic delights of the Hank Marvin food truck market. For foodies and shoppers in the know, Bowery is just a hop, step and jump away from vibrant Chapel Street, home of some of the best hotspots in Melbourne.
CENTRE YOURSELF Zoned for comfort and positioned for lifestyle, Bowery is just 6km from Melbourne’s CBD, you’ll never look back from an easy city commute to work giving you more time for the finer things in life.
PERFECT PROXIMITY By car, bus, tram, train or foot, it’s so simple to get around St Kilda East. Enjoy the close proximity of popular haunts Chapel Street and Carlisle Street on the weekends for a relaxed brunch or fashion fix. After dark, head down to the inner seaside suburb of St Kilda and enjoy a cocktail or two by the beach.
The Urban Activation Team thoroughly enjoyed working on this project with 94 Feet, and were thrilled to sell every apartment off the plan before construction even commenced, and settled them all in 2017.
“Urban Activation continues to sell projects for developers around the country, and we look forward to speaking with you for any future projects” says Matthew George.
With new social media platforms popping up every day, how do you decide which sites your company should have a presence on?
In today’s business world, social media marketing is a strategy that no company can afford to ignore. With new social media platforms popping up every day, how do you decide which sites your company should have a presence on?
Below is a list of the top social media sites, along with the reasons you should—or shouldn’t—consider maintaining an active profile or page on each platform.
As the largest social media platform in the world with over a billion active users, Facebook is a social media platform that cannot be ignored. Unless your company is niche business that deals mainly on a B2B basis with a very specific and narrow type of audience, and doesn’t need to have a public way to interact with or provide content to your target demographic, your company should maintain a Facebook page.
Although most companies place Facebook at the forefront of their social media efforts, a small number of companies have decided to abandon Facebook in recent years. This abandonment is due to Facebook’s practice of modifying the algorithms that determine which posts appear on each users’ News Feed, which in turn has resulted in fewer company posts getting seen by a page’s followers.
Because of this, companies now have to spend money on Facebook ads or boosted posts to reclaim a prominent place in their followers’ News Feeds.
Having to “pay to play” for what used to be free has caused some companies to rethink or alter their Facebook strategy. That being said, only companies that have had considerable and measurable success on other social media platforms should consider leaving Facebook at this time.
Twitter focuses on brief, real-time communication, with almost 6,000 tweets posted every minute. Because of this, tweets can quickly become buried in a user’s Twitter feed. Due to this fast paced atmosphere, it is important to tweet at least a few times a day if you want to have any sort of visibility.
If your company doesn’t have enough content or commentary at its disposal to maintain an active presence on Twitter, you should consider focusing your company’s social media efforts elsewhere.
A major caveat to this rule applies to companies that frequently interact with their customers regarding questions or comments about their products or services. Twitter is the social media platform that customers are most likely to turn to when they have questions or complaints about a company.
Because of this, these types of companies should have a customer service specialists monitoring their Twitter account on a daily basis for any potential customer questions or complaints. According to a survey of Twitter users, 42 percent of customers expect to receive a response to a customer service complaint within one hour, so waiting to respond until the next business day could seriously hurt your businesses’ reputation.
LinkedIn is the most prominent social network for professionals. It’s an extension of old-fashioned, face to face social networking, and should be used as an avenue to connect with your colleagues, as well as potential business leads and referral partners.
If you run a B2B business, you should have both a personal and company profile on LinkedIn to increase the visibility of your company among other professionals in your field. Engaging in LinkedIn groups, both through posting and commenting on other posts, is another great way to build the professional reputation of individual members of your team.
Top-level members of your management team should also consider posting original articles on LinkedIn’s Publisher feature to improve the reputation and credibility of that individual, as well as your company.
Although Google+ is a platform that has never caught on in comparison to competitors like Facebook, the fact that Google+ is a Google product should make you still seriously consider investing time on this site. Content that is posted on Google+ is picked up by Google’s search engines in a way that content from other social media sites isn’t, so if you are looking to increase your company’s SEO, your company should be on Google+.
Another reason to have a profile on Google+, especially for local, service-oriented businesses, is Google+ reviews. Once a company receives five Google+ reviews, the number of stars associated with your business will show up directly on Google search results. Having a high rating on Google+ reviews will greatly impact the reputation of your company.
Pinterest is a visual platform in which people can “pin” pictures and other content to their boards. This content usually consists of products that the user likes, and therefore, is the leading platform for website traffic referrals.
If you run any sort of business that’s core business consists of products dealing with home decorating, fashion, recipes or any other product that is visually appealing—especially to targeting women—your company should have an active presence on Pinterest.
Instagram is currently the best platform to reach out to teenagers and other people that love a good image or short video. The difference between Pinterest and Instagram is that pictures shared on Instagram primarily focus on photos of people, landscapes, and the like as opposed to products, so companies such as travel companies, magazines or any other companies that have access to high-quality images of people using their products should be on Instagram.
Using any sort of stock photography on Instagram is considered a major faux pas and should be avoided at all costs.
Even though you should consider having a social media profile on each of the relevant platforms above for your business, remember that having an inactive social media profile might be worse than not having a profile at all. However, if you are busy and unable to consistently stay active on social media, then there is a variety of software available to help schedule posts such as Hootsuite, TweetDeck, SproutSocial, etc. Because of this, it is important to have a social media strategy in place before you set up your social media accounts.
Be sure set goals ahead of time, such as the number of times your company should be posting, tweeting or pinning per week. Once you develop your social media strategy, make sure you have the resources to properly execute your strategy.
If you find yourself unable to maintain an active social media presence with your current staff level, you should either hire a social media professional to manage your social media efforts, or enlist a marketing firm to manage your social media presence on your platforms. You can do yourself a disservice trying to do it yourself and doing it poorly, and consequently damaging your brand. Get it right from the start, work with a professional for a minimum of 90 days to learn and perfect your own social media craft.
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Client agency relationships: confessions of an ex-client
Posted on June 22, 2016 by Bruno Gralpois.
This post is by Bruno Gralpois, co-founder of Agency Mania Solutions, a premier service and technology firm specialising in helping large brand advertisers realise the transformational value of managed partnerships.
The uneasy truth about being a client and what it means to build lasting partnerships in today’s cut-throat environment.
I’d like to confess. Actually, I have multiple confessions to make. Four to be precise. No worries. This is not a remake of “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind” (2002), so they won’t keep you up at night.
Client agency relationship confessions
But if you’ve ever been a client, you too would have much to say. By now, we can all agree that the client/agency relationship is no longer what it used to be. Long gone are the days of long-lasting relationships where it took a major blowup for the partnership to be at risk.
Now, relationships are very fragile. So fragile indeed that the only thing that might keep an agency from walking over the deadly precipice of a separation is a performance improvement plan (PIP) and a 90-day termination clause, which is increasingly shorter as clients ask for more flexibility and are unwilling to commit long term.
I’ve had the opportunity to work as a client many times over and manage a complex set of relationships with incredibly talented agencies and their holding companies. Managing agency partnerships successfully is both an art and a science.
Because it’s both, it’s subject to many challenges, biases and other intangibles that are part of our daily lives. Ignoring them is risky. Acknowledging and embracing them is a first step toward overcoming most common challenges.
Confession #1: Most clients don’t understand the agency business.
That’s the reality. I was lucky to have worked at agencies before, but most clients have never had this experience. It puts them at a disadvantage because it’s hard to fully understand how agencies operate, how they manage their P&L and why they behave the way they do at times, unless you’ve walked in their shoes.
What can be done to address this? Some agencies do a very good job of sharing with their client the unique operational nuances of their business and how these might impact the relationship or how it’s managed. I always encourage clients to spend time at their agencies to experience firsthand the inner workings of the agency life.
Some clients organise agency days where client teams get to spend time with their agency counterparts in their offices. The better you understand the agency business, the better equipped you are to build mutually beneficial partnerships.
Confession #2: Too many clients think agencies are operating with fat or hidden margins.
Last year’s ANA survey, “Enhancing Client Agency Relationships,” demonstrated the huge gap in perception as it relates to compensation. Only 40% of agencies feel that their compensation arrangements are fair, while 72% of clients feel that they are.
One-third of agencies actually disagree or strongly disagree. It’s not new. The era of “Mad Men” in the 1960s, populated with alpha male characters like Don Draper, hasn’t helped and is still trailing in clients’ minds: agencies are perceived to be operating with fat margins that pay for the extra martinis.
The lack of transparency further accentuated by the recent debacle of AVBs and media rebates continues to fuel the perception that agencies are always finding ways to make up for profitability in ways that are not always clear to the client.
What is the solution?
Well, greater transparency around agency compensation and more accurate reporting go a long way to address this perception gap. Well-informed clients know that when agencies make reasonable profits, it allows agencies to secure and assign top talent, which ultimately benefits their clients.
Confession #3: Too many clients don’t know that they are bad partners.
Collaborating effectively with an agency is a skill set that most clients acquire over the years. They have the scars to prove it. And there are a number of benefits of being a great client. The work produces better results and you end up attracting the best agency talent over time. Everyone at the agency wants to work on your business, and as a result, the work continues to flourish.
What does it mean to be a good client?
Provide strong guidance. Set clear expectations. Encourage risk-taking and autonomy. Push the envelope. Challenge the work in constructive ways. Provide direct, timely and actionable feedback. Lead by example. And the list goes on.
Unfortunately, too many clients don’t know that they are bad clients. In the same ANA study referenced earlier, only 36% of agencies don’t think the client approval process works well, while over half of clients (54%) feel it does. Only 27% of agencies think clients provide clear assignment briefings to them, while 58% of clients think they do.
Open, direct feedback and 360-degree client/agency evaluations allow clients to learn the important role they play in building a productive relationship with their agencies, and how to become better clients over time.
Confession #4: Clients significantly impact how agencies behave or perform.
The most progressive clients welcome the opportunity to conduct self-assessments or get feedback from their agencies about their role in the partnership.
Many times, I’ve seen clients complain about the lack of strategic insight brought forward by the team without realising that their fee-reduction efforts may have led the agency to remove critical staffing resources that would be tasked to fulfil that role.
They may unintentionally do something that gets in the way of an outcome they desire. Is the client adequately training the agency? Is the client providing clear guidance and the resources needed for it to be successful? Is the client giving the agency enough time or access to resources to think proactively or innovate on the account? Is the client cutting budgets that might impact the quality of resources available to the agency?
Client decisions around agency assignments or budgets tend to have a domino effect on the agency relationship, which is felt later on and is likely to shape the relationship for the foreseeable future.
IBM’s Watson has changed the advertising industry, and Ad Agency Heads are denying it and burying their heads in the sand! It’s time to wake up and work with technology that is replacing known industry standards, experience and know how! Technology is changing the way we communicate, and we need to work with it, rather than deny it, please read this story below by Emily Tan
In October, lingerie retailer Cosabella replaced its digital agency with an AI platform named “Albert”. Since then it has more than tripled its ROI and increased its customer base by 30%.
Headquartered in the US, with ecommerce sites in the UK, Australia, Germany, France, Italy and Canada, Cosabella decided to engage Adgorithms (the creator of Albert) out of frustration with its digital ad agency.
“We know our brand best and communicating it to the advertising agency became time-consuming and difficult,” Courtney Connell, marketing director of Cosabella, said, declining to name the agency as they really were “very lovely people” who she had no wish to disparage.
Connell grew concerned when the retailer went through a flat quarter. “It was very scary, particularly when we enjoyed double-digit growth all the previous quarters.”
After parting ways with the agency, Connell looked around for alternatives and decided to try using an AI platform instead of building up a larger in-house team.
As a first test, Adgorithm’s Albert was tasked with identifying and converting high-value audiences. It was given Cosabella’s paid search and social media marketing efforts to manage and was allowed to autonomously execute Cosabella’s digital marketing efforts using creative and KPIs provided by the brand.
In the first month alone, Albert increased Cosabella’s search and social return-on-ad-spend (ROAS) by 50% and decreased its adspend by 12%.
On Facebook specifically, Albert produced a 565% increase in ROAS within his first month. By month three, Albert had increased Cosabella’s ROAS to 336% – a 155% increase over the previous quarter.
Overall, Albert’s work in the last quarter of 2016 contributed strongly towards the company’s 37% increase in overall website sessions, a 30% increase in new users, and 1,500 more transactions.
“After seeing Albert handle our paid search and social media marketing, I would never have a human do this again,” Connell said.
One of the biggest changes Albert has achieved, she added, was to grow the revenue Cosabella gained from social media. “Prior to Albert, only 5-10% of our revenue came from social media. Now, social media consistently accounts for 30% of our paid revenue. Albert’s success driving conversions on Facebook resulted in a 2000% increase in purchases originating from the channel.”
Agency versus AI
In terms of fees, Albert is no cheaper than an agency, Connell said. “An ad agency will charge 15-20% of your media spend. Albert charges 18% and had no monthly cost or implementation fee.”
Working with Albert has been seamless with no development or down time. “He doesn’t sleep, he’s fast, he doesn’t get into a fight with his girlfriend and lose focus,” Cornell commented, speaking of Albert as if of a favourite employee.
On Black Friday, Cornell recalls waking up at 2am in a panic, anxious that the campaigns Cosabella was running were not gaining the traction it was counting on. “But Albert was there, managing everything perfectly.”
Albert is capable of moving budgets into any of the areas he manages, and if ROAS is routinely above target, he’ll recommend a budget increase. “We’re meeting our KPISs across all channels,” Connell said.
There is a place for agencies in marketing, she mused, but it does not lie in managing paid-search, social and display campaigns. “I wouldn’t want a human to do this, it would be a terrible life. I do not see these skills as being relevant in future for a human.”
Working with an AI
Although Albert had no trouble getting to work, Connell and her team had a learning curve to navigate, she said.
“It required a mindset change. Don’t give the AI a set creative focus. Instead, give him [Albert] different elements. Albert tests different copy with different photos and spends the first couple of weeks optimising,” she said. “Once he’s optimised your campaigns he’ll start to make his own.”
Albert, she continued, is capable of creating micro-segments of men and women customers based on micro-patterns, turning the three broad personas the marketing team used in house into hundreds of finely tune personas.
“I would say that, what’s cool about AI is that it doesn’t think about people in the same way we think about people. What Albert does, he optimises for each microsegment that he makes. He wants to speak to the woman however she wants to be spoken to, and he’ll do it with the brand assets he’s been given,” Connell said. “For example, if you described a human or an object you’d list about ten things. AI will understand subtle manoeuvres that humans would not deem relevant most of the time. And he never forgets.”
It would be a mistake for marketers to try and set audience target perimeters too rigidly when dealing with an AI, she commented. “This frustrated me too at first. But you have to give the AI the freedom to test and experiment. This way it can find micro groups of potential customers you have missed.”
Albert will also analyse the keywords used by competitors and suggest if the brand needs to start targeting those areas.
“He’s notified us that all our competitors are running promotions at a time we weren’t, so we should probably get on that. He has also told us that ads with humans perform 50% better than still life. So we should give him more creative assets with humans,” Connell explained.
One of the things Cosabella has benefited most from is Albert’s ability to detect “fatigue”: “He’ll tell us when he feels a creative concept is ‘fatiguing’, that is, its click rate is going down and interactions are dropping.”
Connell is so pleased with Albert that she’s currently testing another AI platform specialising in website management. “Otherwise it’s funny. Here we have Albert doing all this awesome stuff for us, but once the consumer lands on our site it’s bye-bye Albert.”
AI platforms are designed to be intensely specialised, she explained. So instead of trying to turn Albert into more of a multi-tasker, Adgorithms has identified partners to work with. “We’re working out a handshake between Albert and Sentient, the AI we have on our platform.”