NMPi Nominated in the Drum Marketing Awards!

After our exciting award wins at the Performance Marketing Awards and Drum Search Awards, we are delighted to have been nominated for the Drum Marketing Awards! The Drum Marketing Awards are international, and focus on marketing teams and their strategies of the year.

We’ve been shortlisted for Retail Marketing Strategy of the Year, once again for our work with Harvey Nichols. Our automation solution allowed us to unleash the power of Google Shopping. It saw us drive successful international activity where no other agency could.

We hope our luck from the previous awards carries over and sees us take home the gold.

The big day is the 30th of May and our fingers are crossed for another amazing evening

NMPi Wins Best Travel/Leisure/Sports Campaign at Drum Search

Following a highly successful evening at the Performance Marketing Awards, we are pleased to announce that NMPi picked up an award for Best Travel/Leisure/ Sports Campaign in last night’s Drum Search Awards!

Once again, it was our work with our amazing clients, East Midlands Trains, that saw us take home the gold. We were also highly commended for Most Innovative, based on our work with Harvey Nichols, and Industry Rising Star, for the very deserving Fred Maude.

It’s a huge honour for us to receive these awards, and we are incredibly proud of our teams. Their hard work and innovation are what drives NMPi forward, and these awards will be a springboard for bigger things in the months to come.

You can check out Fred’s response to winning Best Travel/Leisure/Sports campaign below.

NMPi Wins 3 Awards at the Performance Marketing Awards

NMPi are delighted to announce that we won 3 awards in last night’s Performance Marketing Awards, as well as receiving a highly commended.

Our work with East Midlands Trains and CJ Affiliates, “Winning Back The East Midlands From Trainline.com”, received both Best Paid Search Campaign and Best Travel and Leisure Campaign.

Our Google Shopping project with Harvey Nichols, “Unleashing Google Shopping through Automation”, won Best Use of Automation or AI as well as earning a highly commended in Global Excellence.

2017 proved an exciting year for NMPi, with 9 new offices being opened in 8 different markets. The wins last night were a perfect way to round off an amazing year for us. It doesn’t stop here though: we’re planning on making this year even bigger. 

The Marketing AI State of Play

Fred Maude, one of NMPi’s Performance Managers, led an exciting webinar looking into how to kick-start your marketing with AI, an introduction to the marketing AI state of play.

We start from a simple and obvious premise: everyone is talking about AI. From autonomous vehicles to Deep Learning, Cognitive Computing to machine learning, innovations in this field come thick and fast. However, according to the Gartner Hype curve, which demonstrates the promise of an emerging technology, many of our emerging AI technologies are either in the “technology trigger” or “ peak of inflated expectations” phases of their lifecycle – meaning many of these technologies are going to fail, or at least won’t be as successful as we think they’re going to be.

Despite this, it’s still going to be one of the most disruptive technologies over the next 10 years. So yes, you should be acting in this space, but you need to do so wisely.

Abilities and Applications

There are 4 main categories of applications of AI: communication, management, content, and targeting.

Much of the talk around communication capabilities is focused on chatbots and voice search at the moment. As we move forward, however, it’s likely that these will become integrated to the point where they are one and the same. Chatbots are a great way to improve customer service and open up communication without wasting resources. If you want to get started with chatbots today check out these companies: ManyChat, Chatfuel and Dialogflow.

In terms of content, AI can help save many hours when it comes to creation and curation. Beyond the obvious example of Facebook’s feed, you can plug tools like ByteDance into your website to help you to curate and push content to your blog.

You may question whether AI is creative and smart enough to create content. Well, several news agencies are already using it to publish breaking news pieces. Take a look into Cortex for a solution you can implement now. It allows you to produce photo, video and text content, as well as control scheduling and optimisation.     

Targeting is perhaps one of the more obvious places where AI can provide real support. Many are already aware of Facebook and AdWords, as well as the huge amount of SSPs which are available to use. There are likely hundreds of thousands of audiences available to choose from, but it is likely that there is overlap, and in many cases, everyone has access to them. This leaves us with a few problems:

  • Campaigns will lack granularity
  • Standing out becomes more difficult when everyone is using the same audiences
  • You’re at the mercy of external companies when it comes to defining audience quality
  • You’re never sure what might be coming along further down the line.

To improve the audiences we target and the way we target them, there are a number of options to choose from. One that has proved effective is 1PlusX, which combines your audiences and their behaviour to create new audiences with the help of their Deep Learning tool. They provide custom audiences, can build new audiences and use look-a-likes to expand your audiences, all at a quality defined by you. Most importantly for the current climate: the proposition will stay strong in a post-GDPR world.

Finally, management – particularly of data and analytics – can benefit from using the right AI tools. Finding the right tools can have a huge impact on growth, and most importantly, this is what the agency of the future will focus on. When investing in AI management tools, look for the following capabilities: Real Time Decision Management, cross-selling and upselling, understanding the voice of the customer, transforming web analytics into digital intelligence and marketing optimisations at speed.  

Action

Now that you know how AI ill progress over the next 10 years and key areas to look out for, here are the next steps you should take to prepare.

As a business leader:

  • Be aware of how potentially valuable or viable the technology you are considering could be.
  • Also be cautious of the maturity of the product that you’re considering.
  • Consider the ability of your stakeholders to tolerate and manage the risk.
  • Establish how you’ll integrate AI into your business: how people are going to work with AI, rather than be replaced by it.

As an individual:

  • Keep up to date with what the big AI players are doing, making sure you understand what’s going on and are adapting accordingly.
  • Get prepared for a greater rollout of AI, by taking some courses to add to your overall understanding.

A final thought: it’s not the tools that are the most exciting to Fred when he looks at the future of AI. We’re going to be able to understand patterns that we otherwise wouldn’t have been able to understand. Machine learning allows us to push the limits of what we as humans can see, so what secrets will soon be revealed?

 

A Day in the Life: Shalaka Darshane

We let one of our Partnerships Executives – Shalaka Darshane – loose with our Instagram account and asked her to give us a look a what a Day in the Life looks like for her. She was more than happy to oblige.  

9.00 The life of a salesperson involves lots of plate spinning: handling enquiries, planning pitches and taking calls, as well as plenty of out of office time meeting clients and networking. It can mean the days get quite busy! Today, I was heading over to a Webgains event in the afternoon (more on that later), so I needed to fit in as much as I could with only half a day in the office. Since NMPi works with clients across the world, my inbox mysteriously doubles in size overnight, but taking care of emails was made much easier by our charity bake sale for MSF (Doctors Without Borders). I started my day in the right way with a cup of tea accompanied by a brownie, and a cookie, and a slice of cake…

10.00 You can fit the day-to-day work of a salesperson into three boxes: prospecting, pitching and on-boarding. This morning, I was focused on the latter.   On-boarding is all about getting fully prepared for a new launch, so I had an internal handover meeting with the Display team to brief them on our new client and make sure everyone is confident in a successful launch.

12.00 A little break to respond to more emails then followed by a weekly catch up with my line manager. Everyone has a lot of support within their teams, and since the Sales team works on some pretty lengthy processes, it’s really important that we know where we are with all of our prospects and clients.

13.00 Lunchtime! Carrying on our fundraising efforts from MSF, we had a pub quiz over lunch. Since it was such a busy day, I was whisked away off-site before I could show off my trivia knowledge.

Time for our fundraising quiz! #dayinthelife

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13.30 Half the day over already. My colleague and I left the office for an afternoon of speed-networking with Webgains, an affiliate network we work with closely. Part of our role is to build relationships with key contacts so there were lots of friendly, familiar faces when we arrived. The event was hosted at The Fable restaurant in Farringdon and we received a goodie bag on entry – perks of the sales life.

The event starts with an ice-breaker quiz and, determined after missing our lunchtime quiz, I managed to win! First prize? A Lindt Easter egg. It tasted of success.

If you’ve ever been to a speed-networking event before, you’ll know that efficiency is key. It’s an effective and productive way of prospecting for new leads and business opportunities. We had 7 minutes with each client: we asked about their brand, ran through our services and got a sense of whether there is an opportunity to partner. With a short break for canapes in between, we’d perfected our pitch by the end of the day, but we were also tired from all the talking! It’s time for a few networking drinks then home time.

If this sounds like a dream day for you, we’re hiring for a Senior Business Development Manager! Apply here.

Best Practise: Google Shopping Feed

Google Shopping is one of the most profitable channels for retailers, predominantly because it’s so easy for consumers to use. Unfortunately, it’s not the easiest of Google tools for a brand to optimise, and a lot of your problems will stem from the quality of the feed. In our first dive into best practices, we’ll be going over everything you need to know about getting your Feed right.

The Basics

Your Google Shopping Feed comes from the Merchant Centre, and your actual campaigns come from AdWords. What makes it different from a regular campaign in AdWords, however, is that it doesn’t use keywords, but we’ll get into that a little bit later.

As you’re setting up your feed, there are a couple of things to make sure you cover. One of the biggest mistakes we find with Shopping Feeds is short product titles or ones that don’t include the brand for example.

Google Shopping doesn’t work like traditional Paid Search: there are no keywords to bid on. Instead, Google uses information from advertisers’ product feeds to match search terms to relevant products. You’ll need to make sure you’re actively including all distinguishers in your item titles and descriptions of your feed.

As any PPC expert will tell you: if things are performing differently, you need to split them out and treat them as such. Sizes and colours are the big players here. Add these distinguishers to the product titles, and you’ll likely see an increase in your conversion rates.

Other fields to ensure you have taken care of: brand, description, GTIN, product category (which is defined by Google) and product type. According to Google themselves, the product type is the second most important thing in determining which searches you show for. The product type is something which you define, so the more specific and granular you can be, the better you’ll perform.

On a final note, the feeds need to be updated as often as your stock is. Once a day is likely a bare minimum, but we work on feeds that are updated at least four times a day. It’s a constant labour of love, but it gets the job done.

Preparing your feed is key to performing well with Google Shopping, but what happens when you don’t have control over your feed?

Optimising delivery focuses on search query level bidding. In a similar way to bidding higher on specific keywords, you can bid up on the products people are buying or searching for. If you know certain sizes or colours aren’t performing as well, you can reduce your bid. If you know that your women’s clothes sell better than your men’s range, you can increase the bids to match.

Taking it a step further, you can place one product per ad group and follow product level bidding. This allows you to keep a much closer tab on what searches you’re appearing in. For example, if you have a child’s shirt that isn’t appearing in any child searches, you’ll notice this quite quickly with this campaign structure. From here, you can fix the problem within the feed, or you can negative it out. Negative keywords are far more effective when you set one product per ad group.

Imagine you have all of your shirts in one ad group. You find that a particular men’s shirt appears for the search “children’s polo shirt”. To stop this from happening, you add “children’s” as a negative keyword – but this means that any children’s shirt in that ad group won’t appear when you want it to. By placing one product per ad group, you are able to be much more granular and specific in your targeting; as well as being able to make the most of your budget.

When you’re setting up the product title in AdWords, make sure you’ve got the brand in the title, as well as any events which are coming up: “Valentine’s Day” or “Mother’s Day” for example. A little trick that has seen conversion rates improve massively is to include “for Her” in product titles for women’s clothes and “for Him” on men’s clothes.

Google Shopping can be tricky, but when done right it is hugely profitable for retailers and brands. If you need a refresher or want to show your colleagues, check out our one-page PDF with all of the tips you’ll need to nail your Google Shopping.