Saturday 21 July 2018

AdLib: Making online visitors at home

Walsh PR managing director Caroline Heywood. Photo: Johnny Bambury
Walsh PR managing director Caroline Heywood. Photo: Johnny Bambury

Michael Cullen

Online is still evolving and rather than price, product, design, advertising and all the other issues marketers normally home in on, one currency may prove to be the biggest benchmark for success: customer experience (CX). As consumers choose one brand over another they ask: was value added?

Laura Pollard, managing director of new property search platform PerfectProperty.ie, was headhunted from Australia by investors to help start the business in Ireland - taking on established property websites Daft and MyHome. PerfectProperty.ie has a direct feed for estate agents to load properties coming on stream.

With a CV in real estate, marketing and tech, Pollard says her platform can offer a host of features and functionality advantages over its competitors. The focus is increasingly on user experience (UX), on creating seamless touchpoints and allowing visitors to negotiate sites with relative ease.  

Pollard says UX mapping and analysing available data, such as heat maps and variances in leave or stay metrics, is now a high priority in web development. Brand owners zoned in on providing a web or app experience.

However, too few focused on the less tangible metrics: customer experience (CX). To help correct that, marketers must talk to customers. Don't be afraid to send out what could be a pesky survey - you'll be surprised at the response. Avoid just sending it to customers you know had a positive experience. That won't tell you why the other 90pc chose to leave. If you legitimately have their details, then they are customers and their opinion could be make or break.

Remember to segment audiences, assess responses, be humble and honest and follow up. Pollard says marketing isn't just about reach and penetration, it's about whether every consumer who interacts with your brand feels valued, heard and better for the experience.

To better connect the brand and the consumer, Perfect Property launched a concierge service, providing home hunters with a personal consultant to hold their hand through the process. The initiative saw a trebling in daily sign-ups and allowed useful data to be legitimately collected in real time.

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Retailers, hotel and restaurants are being asked to sign up to the One for Ireland charity this bank holiday weekend and help raise funds in support of the 3,755 Irish children without a home. Backed by the Irish Youth Foundation (IYF), the drive sees retailers ask shoppers to add €1 to their bill when they pay at the checkout.

IYF chief executive Niall McLoughlin says around 800 retailers have pledged support, including BWG (Spar, Eurospar, Mace, Londis and XL), Applegreen, Starbucks and the Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU). The seven charities that stand to benefit are Focus Ireland, Simon Community, Irish Refugee Council, Sonas Domestic Violence Charity, Barnardo's, Novas and Merchants Quay Ireland.

Britvic managing director Kevin Donnelly. Photo: Aidan Oliver
Britvic managing director Kevin Donnelly. Photo: Aidan Oliver

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Three Irish marketers who made it to CEO and top leadership roles form the basis of the Marketing Society's May breakfast seminar. 'CMO to CEO: Why Marketing Matters' will discuss the power of marketing in driving business growth and show how the value of proven strategies allow access to senior management positions and boardrooms.

Lined up to address the event in the Royal College of Physicians on Kildare Street next Wednesday are Eir's newly-appointed CEO Carolan Lennon, Mary Lambkin-Coyle, professor of marketing at UCD's Smurfit Graduate Business School and Britvic managing director Kevin Donnelly who was named Marketer of the Year in 2012.

The Marketing Society Future Council's summer event, Shifters & Shakers, will be staged in Number 22 on South Anne Street on Thursday, May 24 at 6pm.

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Walsh PR has formed alliances with another two UK agencies through its membership of the Iprex global network of independent agencies. The agencies concerned are MC2 in Manchester and Yellow Jersey in London. MC2 specialises in private equity tech businesses.

Yellow Jersey's focus is financial, corporate and brand communications. The partnerships add to Walsh PR's ongoing relationships with London-based Mason Williams and The Communications Business in Edinburgh. Run by Caroline Heywood, Walsh clients include Astra Zeneca, Glanbia, Flahavan's, Dalata hotels, Air Canada Rouge, Dr Oetker and SVP.

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Staying with PR, Paul Allen & Associates is handling tech services group Version 1, whose marketing manager is Susan Grant. Version 1 develops Cloud, ERP and CRM business systems and provides data processing and online supports for car insurance quotes. Clients include Aer Lingus, the Houses of the Oireachtas and government departments in the UK and Ireland.

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And finally ... Carat has retained the Bank of Ireland media account after a review involving Mindshare, OMD, IPG Mediabrands and Accenture. Renault is once again working with Publicis in Dublin after a stint with the French group's London agency.

Michael Cullen is editor of Marketing.ie; cullen@marketing.ie

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