5 Key Takeaways From the Digital Marketing Exchange 2016

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The latest edition of the Digital Marketing Exchange took place in London last week, offering attendees two days filled with insightful presentations and networking opportunities for leaders in various industries.

Here are the key takeaways from the event, from the likes of Facebook, Bupa, Schneider Electric and Zurich Insurance Group.

SEE ALSO: Digital Marketing Trends 2016

Mobile and Visual Imagery Are the Future of Communication

Luke Gregory, Head of Digital Marketing EMEA at Facebook, shared his thoughts on the future of digital. He believes that consumer behaviour is changing and brands must ensure that they are personalising their experiences to each customer. Facebook’s ideology is that the business is about people, not software. Their understanding of behaviour is what moves them forward.

“We are in the period of mobile. It’s not around the corner, it’s happening now,” he said. Last year, there was more time spent on digital than linear TV. It took TV 60 years to reach a billion households, it took mobile just five years to do the same.

People are spending a staggering amount of time on mobile. In 2011 people spent 9 hours on average a day on mobile, but in 2015 this grew to 15 hours. And, did you know that the the average Brit checks their phone 85 times a day? This creates an expectation for brands and getting mobile wrong has almost become unforgivable.

The way brands and customers are communicating is changing, offering opportunities for brands who evolve quickly. 67 per cent of people say that they expect to message chat with businesses in real time and 53 per cent say that they are more likely to buy from a business that chats with them.

A number of channels, in particular Facebook, are moving towards visual imagery. Our brains process images 60,000 times faster than words. Visual elements such as emoticons are actually starting to overtake the use of text. This presents a huge opportunity.

There has been a 616 per cent growth in Facebook mobile video views between 2012-2015. There are now eight billion video views on Facebook with one hundred million videos consumed every single day. The brands that move away from product specific promotions and adopt a story telling approach will be favoured in a competitive advertising space.

In addition to this, customers consume messages through video very quickly. In order to advertise most effectively, brands should communicate their most important message towards the beginning of a video.

Trust and Emotional Engagement Drive Success

Monika Schultze, Global Head of Marketing at Zurich Insurance Group, delivered a highly engaging presentation around the importance of storytelling. In the insurance industry, consumer trust levels are very low. Customers pay a high price for a product with no real tangible value. Social media gives insurance companies an opportunity by talking to customers beyond just buying and selling products.

Storytelling is an art and there is evidence that if you connect with customers emotionally, you can achieve measurable business results. However, connecting with customers emotionally does not necessarily build trust. Trust is built only if the brand and the customer experience work together.

The Social Media Marketing Paradox

Ulrika Haug, Head of Product Marketing at Lithium Technologies, spoke about the challenges around social media. She said that It has become harder and harder to deliver engagement and conversion on social networks.

Choosing the right social media tool can help increase engagement and should offer proactive advice to marketers on how they can leverage previous social media success. Advising marketers on the best times to post, topics their audience are more interested in and identifying loyal fans are all examples of features a social marketing tool should offer.

The Rise of Data and Expectations

Richard Levy, Marketing Director at Moneygram, believes that we’ve moved away from assumptions with data, allowing us to understand what the customer looks like. Moneygram, segment their database into very relevant segments, based on the amount of data they have, targeting individual customers only with content that they are interested in. “Marketing can now prove itself,” he said. The results will be positive or negative, but what data has allowed us to do is understand what works and what doesn’t.

Robin Williams, Head of Digital Analytics and Data at Johnston Publishing said that the fact that marketing is now measurable has raised the expectation from various department and senior figures within an organisation. Marketers are expected to prove to finance that their marketing budgets are justified.

Content, Content, Content

Content marketing was an integral part of the topics and sessions presented at the Digital Marketing Exchange. Head of Digital at Bupa, Alex Spyrou, shared that there is certainty ambiguity around content marketing. There are many metrics you can use to measure performance, but it can be challenging to justify why you actually do it.

The way he justified content marketing within Bupa was to express the significance of the impact it has on SEO value as well as the potential revenue gain from ranking in a higher position. Bupa ranks in the top position for the word “health insurance” and he used this to communicate the reasons for placing budget on content creation. Without creating compelling content, that is well optimised for SEO, they may not rank so highly for such keywords, which would reduce the number of traffic coming to their website and result in a decrease in the number of potential leads and revenue generated.

Giuseppe Caltabiano, VP Marketing Integration at Schneider Electric, shared his challenges of how to increase the number of marketing generated opportunities in a competitive market place. Interestingly, to demonstrate the importance of finding new ways to engage, he used an example that the first ever banner advertisement had a click through rate of 44 per cent and now on average banner ads get a click through rate of 0.17 per cent.

Is there a better way to engage? Yes, it’s called content marketing, he said. It is the brand that gives customers the most useful information who will win. Major B2B organisations develop specific content hubs to attract a specific audience. Schneider Electric have created a blog, which consists of content around various areas to attract new visitors who are not yet customers and may be in the “awareness stage” of their journey. They can then nurture these new visitors through remarketing to get them further down the journey to purchase.

Giuseppe added that they add all brand related content to their site, so that they can be found by existing customers who have more familiarity and trust with the brand. He recommended using content rather than products and services around advertising campaigns because this is the direction in which marketing is going and what customers expect to see.


The Digital Marketing Exchange provided professionals with key learnings in this fast paced industry. My favourite quote from the exchange was one by Luke Gregory stating that “We are in the period of mobile. It’s not around the corner, it’s happening now”. This is something that we as marketers need to take seriously. Mobile is not a separate channel, it is what that impacts the success of all other marketing campaigns and channels.

If you have a search or social campaign and your users link to a website that doesn’t provide a fantastic mobile user experience then you risk frustrating customers in an era where expectations and competition are higher than ever.