REPORTING & RETORTING

MARKETING TIMETABLE

Topical tip: Creating and then sticking to a marketing timetable will help keep you and your business focused and on the road to success. But be sure to review and update your courses of action on a planned basis.

SAVVY VIEWERS

The UK’s television viewers are the most technologically advanced in the world, undertaking more online watching and being the most likely to use tablets for catch-up TV. This is a small sample of findings published in Ofcom’s international market report for 2015. The research covered 17 countries, including Australia, France, Germany, Japan and the USA.

SOFT NEWS

Media software specialist Cision, headquartered in Sweden and with offices in Europe, Asia and the USA, is to acquire 60-year-old press release distribution business PR Newswire in a deal thought to be worth over $840 million. PR Newswire will become a division of its new parent.

UNDERSTANDING

Topical tip: Marketing services agencies are at their most effective when they have a thorough understanding of your products or service, sectors served, business culture and long-term aims. You will need to provide a clear and purposeful brief before agreeing workflow and costs.

ALWAYS GETTING BETTER

Budget airline Ryanair continues to benefit from consumer focused repositioning after posting a 17% growth in customers during the last year. Passenger numbers are close to 100 million. Ryanair has replaced its ‘For better or worse’ strapline with ‘Always getting better'.

FEELING CONFIDENT

Topical tip: Today’s consumers go for brands with a strong story line, an engaging identity and a commitment to deliver on promises, helping them to feel confident about their choices.

RECORD MONDAY

Cyber Monday, November 30, was a record Monday. It saw more than $3 billion of digital sales in the United States, making it the biggest online shopping day ever. Sales increased by one-fifth compared to last year: commerce via smartphones and tablets accounted for 27% of the total. Amazon was the leading retailer on the day.

DRIVERLESS

In Japan, a newly-formed company called Robot Taxi has announced its intention to trial fully automated taxis by early next year. Longer term, the plan is to provide driverless services for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

COMPATIBILITY

Topical tip: Choose your business advisers, marketing or otherwise, with care. Mistakes can be costly. Make a thorough assessment of their skills, track record and compatibility with your own ways of thinking and working.

BRAKE ON ROYALTIES

It has been reported that Messrs Clarkson, Hammond and May will not receive royalties from BBC TV’s impending two-part Christmas special, narrated by comedian John Bishop and comprising a series of ‘Top Gear‘ clips from the Clarkson years.

EASY AS ABC

Britain’s Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) is consolidating its print and digital figures. It is about to launch its first monthly news titles report that will include circulation figures plus online traffic details. ABC’s move has been broadly welcomed by the publishing and advertising industries.

ADDING IMPACT

Topical tip: Add a few well placed, well worded and well produced signs to your in-store displays, making sure they are succinct and impactful.

SWEET RESULT

Maltesers has overtaken Cadbury’s Dairy Milk to become the UK’s best selling chocolate brand, according to market researchers IRI. With sales of £49.7 million in the year to September 2015, it pulled ahead by over £5 million. Maltesers is one of six Mars UK brands in the survey’s top 10. The others, in order of sales, are Galaxy, Snickers, Mars Bar, M&Ms and Twix.

BLACK CAB HAILED

Transport for London and the capital’s Transport Museum have published the results of their survey of 10,000 Londoners to find transport’s favourite design icon: and it’s the black cab. The famous taxi beat the classic Tube posters of Frank Pick into second, with the original Tube map third.

UNFRIENDLY PERSUASION

Topical tip: Journalists will make their own, professional judgements on whether or not your story is newsworthy, so don’t be tempted to try persuading them otherwise if the take-up disappoints you.

DEMANDING SPORT

Consultancy PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has published a new report, claiming that media rights for top sports are in more demand than ever before. PwC projects that sports media rights will increase at a compound annual rate of 7.2%, topping $20 million in the next four years.

MOBILE MOVES

A Zenith Optimedia study claims that mobile advertising will overtake newspapers by next year, becoming the third-largest medium behind television and desktop internet – grossing over $70 billion. The report also forecasts that desktop will take top spot and 36% of advertising market share by 2018.

KNOW YOUR CUSTOMERS

Topical tip: Ahead of spending time and money on a new brochure (for example), be sure that you know your customers. What’s the most important benefit your product or service can take to them? What problems could it solve? If you’re not sure of the answers, you need to go and ask before you start the brochure project.

ITV AND UTV

ITV will pay £100 million for Northern Ireland’s UTV Media and its suite of television stations. The takeover follows UTV Media’s heavily loss-making venture into the Republic of Ireland, which failed to attract expected audiences.

BEERS BOOTED

The UK’s largest supermarket chain Tesco is dropping products from the world’s fifth biggest brewer, Carlsberg, as it continues to reduce the 90,000 items on its shelves to a target 65,000. Tesco said that customers are confused by the size of the current range.

BIG APPLE

Apple and Google top the Interbrand most valuable global brands list for the third year running. Coca-Cola has retained third place, followed by Microsoft and IBM. Apple’s valuation surged by 43% in the last 12 months, to over $170 billion. Google has risen to $120 billion.

WATCH YOUR LANGUAGE

Topical tip: Talk to your target audience in a language that they can understand. Are they male or female? Young or old? What are their perceived needs and interests? Put yourself in their shoes, involving them on their terms, not yours.

TAXING FACEBOOK

Facebook paid a mere £4,327 in corporation tax to HM Revenue & Customs last year but gave out bonuses totalling £35.4 million to its London-based staff. Average remuneration for the company’s 360 UK employees was £210,000.

BILLING BILLIONS

According to research company eMarketer, advertisers worldwide will spend almost $600 billion in 2015, up 6% on last year. Around 32% of advertising is in the United States.

MEATLESS DEAL

Quorn, the British meat-free foodstuffs business, has been bought by Monde Nissin of the Philippines for £550 million. Monde Nissin sees Quorn as a building block in its plans to become a $1 billion public company.

NO DISTRACTIONS

Topical tip: Television adverts, typically a mere 30 seconds in length, require you to keep your concept clear, your narrative focused and the visual impact uncluttered, avoiding any distractions for the viewer.

AROUND IN CIRCLES

Global consumer products giant Unilever is calling for more accuracy in the measurement of online advertising. It asserts that until better tools are developed, the industry will “keep running around in circles.”

BENDING IT FURTHER

London School of Marketing analysts have claimed that the Beckham brand is worth £500 million. Comprising David’s football-related income, the family’s wider brand endorsements and Victoria’s fashion enterprises, upwards of £40 million is being generated annually.

WALL STREET ABROAD

The ‘Wall Street Journal’ has launched a new broadsheet edition and updated its digital version in preparation for a renewed sales push in Europe and Asia. Content additions will include a markets digest page, featuring all major global indexes and expanded analysis.

FREE FALL

Research by eMarketer indicates that if previously free apps are charged for, take-up falls away dramatically, on average by 56%.

GETTING TO GRIPS

Topical tip: Your offering might well have a myriad of outstanding qualities, each one brilliant. However, if you present your information in any format demanding immediacy you’ll be lucky if followers get to grips with more than one pointer: if that. Be ruthlessly selective in what you say.

GONE IN A FLASH

Amazon has announced that it will no longer accept advertisements produced in Flash format and is adopting HTML5 as its standard. Recently, Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome blocked Flash. HTML5, used by Apple iOS and Android, guarantees that adverts will appear with consistency across mobile, tablet and desktop.

SCORING IN THE EAST

Football’s Manchester United plans to increase revenues through an agreement with HCL Technologies in India, aimed at developing a better digital experience for Asian fans. The club estimates that more than half of its supporters live in Asia and seeks to provide “the right content, to the right fans, at the right time, in the right language”.

COPING WITH DEMAND

Topical tip: It is important to make sure that your business is geared ahead of time to cope with increased demand resulting from any successful advertising campaign or other promotion.

I WILL SURVIVE

Animal welfare charity Blue Cross is launching an advertising campaign created by M&C Saatchi. It stars a Lurcher called Baxter, shaking the chains of his uncaring owners before venturing out on to city streets, singing Gloria Gaynor’s 1970’s hit, ‘I Will Survive.’ Television, the web and print will be used.

MOBILE MONEY

Global mobile advertising revenue increased by 65% to $31.9 billion in 2014, up from $19.3 billion in the previous year, according to combined data from HIS Technology, the Interactive Advertising Bureau and its European subsidiary. North America advanced the most, up 78% year-on-year.

ONE IN SEVEN

Facebook has topped a billion hits in one day for the first time. In a blog post, founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg boasted that “one in seven people on Earth used Facebook to connect with their friends and family”. Founded in 2004, the social networking service has achieved phenomenal growth and revenues last year were almost $12.5 million.

GRAB THAT JOURNALIST

Topical tip: If the first sentence of your press release fails to grab the journalist, he or she will be unlikely to read further, so make sure that the most important element of your story is right at the beginning.

CHEERS

Britain’s Beer Alliance. which includes the nation’s largest brewers, is concentrating its marketing on social media to target mass market consumers who are not habitual beer drinkers. It has introduced the strapline ‘There’s A Beer For That’.

MEASURING UP

Major changes to how newspaper and magazine audiences are measured will be introduced in 2016, taking account of multi-platform digital media. The new Publishers Audience Measurement Company will replace the 1956-founded National Readership Survey.

SPRAY AND PAY

Topical tip: When distributing editorial material, stay clear of using spray and pray tactics. Target tightly. Personalise the covering e-mail wherever feasible.

BUSY

Transport for London has awarded what it considers to be the world’s largest bus shelter advertising contract to JCDecaux, the Paris-based multinational. JCDecaux will sell space across London’s 4,900 shelters from January, 2016. The bus network carries 6.5 million people per day.

DRONE ZONES

Amazon is pushing for designated ‘drone zones’ to provide low altitude space for its fleet of unmanned air vehicles. Up to 200 feet high would be given over to low velocity traffic. Aiir from 200-400 feet would be reserved for high speed deliveries over greater distances.

FRAME OF MIND

Topical tip: Any event that you sponsor should have an appropriate theme for your brand and be capable of attracting attendees relevant to your needs. Then, the occasion will reach genuine prospects whilst they’re in the right frame of mind to consider what you are offering.

AGENCIES TRIMMED

Global consumer goods business Procter & Gamble has cut the number of advertising and marketing agencies on its roster by 40%, making savings of around $300 million on fees and production costs this year.

HUFFING AND BUZZING

Mainstream online news providers – the BBC and CNN included – are under an increasing threat from digital-born outlets such as The Huffington Post and BuzzFeed, according to the Reuters Institute. Traditional broadcast news audiences have dropped by 7% in the last two years, it is reported.

WORST EVER

Microsoft has posted its worst ever quarterly loss, $2.1 billion, attributed mostly to the cost of purchasing the Nokia mobile business. It hopes that a new cross-platform operating system will push it back into profit.

DOING IT NOW

Topical tip: E-mailer subject lines that communicate urgency or scarcity persuade readers to act straightaway. Of course, only use them when there really are deadlines or limited availability.

FT GOES EAST

"Pearson has been a proud proprietor of the Financial Times for nearly 60 years. But we’ve reached an inflection point in media, driven by the explosive growth of social and mobile,” said the company’s chief executive, after offloading the FT Group to Asia's largest business media organisation, Nikkei, for £844 million.

STANDING OUT

Sainsbury’s has started an overhaul of the design and layout of its supermarkets, hoping that the latest mobile technology will help it stand out from discounters such as Aldi. Among changes will be self-scanning to allow payment via smartphones and higher in-store visibility for fresh food. Earlier this year, Sainsbury’s recorded its first loss in a decade.

FREE TO ROAM

The European Union has pledged to outlaw mobile phone roaming charges by the summer of 2017, slashing the cost of data and downloads for many travellers.

TURNED ON

Topical tip: Advertising in any medium is most effective when it concentrates on a simple message. With radio, this is not optional, it is a requirement, for it’s not possible to include additional information in the background or small print.

YES PLEASE

After lengthy negotiations and a 97% ballot majority, the National Union of Journalists has joined entertainment trade union Bectu in accepting ITV’s latest pay and conditions offer. A projected 2.2% pay rise is the main outcome.

STREAMING AHEAD

The Official Charts Company has reported that UK music streaming soared by 80% in the first half of 2015, showing the platform’s prominence ahead of the entry of the Apple Music digital subscription service. Sales of vinyl also performed well, up 20% in the same period.

COMPELLING TONE

Topical tip: Writing effectively requires an ability to absorb and question the requirement; to create the concept; then to execute it in a compelling, precise, economical tone that’s true to the corporate culture. Unless you can do all of that, brief a professional writer.

WALMART WATERMARKS

US shopping goliath Walmart is developing new watermarks for its on-sale products and these could replace barcodes as the default method of pricing goods.

WORTH MORE?

Research by The Agency Works suggests that two-thirds of advertising and marketing services agencies are over-servicing their clients, leading to reduced profitability. Recommendations are that agencies should “monitor spending, stick to calculated rates and value their worth”.

PARTNERS

Topical tip: Partnerships can be a most effective means of tapping into the customer base of other businesses in order to help grow your own. Try finding complementary, but non-competing, promotional partners.

READING LESS

In a new survey of media consumption in 65 countries, Zenith Optimedia has reported that the average time spent reading newspapers is down by more than a quarter in the last four years. Over the same period, internet use increased by about 12%, but television continued to be the most popular of all media.

BILLION DOLLAR MARK

Manchester United has become football’s first $1 billion brand, now valued at $1.2 billion and the most valuable football mark in the world, ahead of Germany’s Bayern Munich.

NEWSROOM LOSSES

Newspaper publisher Trinity Mirror is planning to shed 45 editorial posts. The West Midlands will lose 25 journalists, Scotland 20, in the name of preparing for “the multi-skilled newsroom of the future".

PROVIDING INSIGHT

Topical tip: Including quotes in your press releases can help journalists, but use them to impart insight, not information. Quotes are useful for expressing opinions and should sound natural and jargon-free, just as per the spoken word.

BRANDED

Mobile network Vodafone has been named the UK’s most valuable brand, ahead of HSBC and Shell, in the latest Brandz report reflecting the opinions of almost three million consumers worldwide. Globally, Apple came out on top, followed by Google and Microsoft.

COMMERCIAL GROWTH

Better advertising revenue at commercial broadcaster ITV has surprised analysts, who were forecasting poor results. Net income rose by 14% in the first quarter of this year, reaching £665 million.

MARKETING MERGER

The Direct Marketing Association and Institute of Digital & Direct Marketing have merged and claim that the new organisation is the largest marketing trade body in Europe, serving a £14.2 billion industry and workforce of over half a million.

CUSTOMER NEEDS

Topical tip: Products and services are selected by purchasers' overall perceptions of the supplier, not merely by clever headlines, compelling imagery or high-sounding mission statements. Place customers’ needs at the centre of every activity.

OUT OF TUNE

It seems there is no stopping BBC Radio One's plunge in the ratings, with the station shedding another 800,000 listeners over the past 12 months. The total tune-in slipped to below 10 million in the first quarter of 2015, according to Radio Joint Audience Research.

HANDS OFF THE NEWS

The Chartered Institute of Journalists (CIoJ) has welcomed a statement by Sir Anthony May, the Communications Interception Commissioner, calling for judicial authorisation to be sought before journalists’ contact data can be accessed. Recently, claims the CIoJ, there’s been a sharp increase in unwarranted police interference.

AOL PREMIUM

Verizon, the largest mobile phone network in the US, has bought former giant of online communications AOL for £2.8 billion, a 17% premium on AOL’s share value. Of particular interest to Verizon is AOL’s advanced digital advertising technology.

CHAIR LEADER

The Advertising Association has appointed James Murphy as its new chairman. Murphy, founder and chief executive of the Adam & Eve DDB agency in London, will be expected to “enhance engagement with members, brands and media to better influence politicians and opinion formers."

ONLINE SALES

Topical tip: If social media is your online PR, then e-mail marketing is your online sales force. Pay particular attention to making the mailer’s all-important subject line as appealing as possible, without falling foul of spam filters.

ELECTION CHATTER

The Conservatives were the most discussed political party on Twitter during the course of General Election polling day, receiving almost 40% of all voting-related mentions.

INVASION

The price war in the wake of the shopping basket invasion by German discounters Aldi and Lidl has taken £532 million out of UK supermarket tills, according to consumer information specialist Kantar Worldpanel. Aldi and Lidl now hold 5.4% and 3.8% market shares respectively.

TUNED IN

The UK government says that a further 182 digital radio transmitters will be built by the end of next year, increasing local DAB coverage to more than 90%. Funding is by government, the BBC and commercial multiplex operators.

CREATIVELY STRATEGIC

Online business network Linkedin has studied the language of its marketing members in the UK to find the most overused descriptions of themselves. Top buzzword was ‘creative’ (hardly that, then). Next came ‘strategic’, ‘motivated’, ‘passionate’ and ‘driven’.

IMMEDIATE BENEFITS

Topical tip: Among the advantages of outsourcing is that you only pay for the services you need and for as long as you need them. You are able to reap immediate benefits from the bought-in expertise.

GOOD TO KNOW

Car manufacturers BMW and Daimler, watchmaker Rolex and internet giant Google have topped the Reputation Institute’s list of companies with the best reputations in the last year, based on innovation, governance and citizenship.

SPOKEN HERE

International marketers beware: the top three most spoken languages still only apply to 25% of the global population. Mandarin is at 14%, Spanish 6% and English 5%, although with English as the most popular second language it is spoken to some degree by about 15% worldwide.

EXCLUSIVITY

Topical tip: Wherever possible, sales promotion should reflect and enhance the feel of the product or service. Promotional property value is created by putting across a message in such a way that it sounds exclusive.

YOU'VE CLICKED

Mobile advertisements will continue to proliferate, soon overtaking desktop equivalents, reports Marin Software. Clicks strongly influence online and instore purchases. Latest figures show that 62% of social media advert clicks come from smartphones and tablets.

REFRESHING?

Global brewer Heineken has decided to combine the roles of its most senior marketing and sales managers into the new post of chief commercial officer. The intentions are to curb what it sees as duplication and to lower costs.

BONDING

Topical tip: Assiduously collecting data about who makes up your target market will boost your marketing content efforts and help you bond with your audience and its influencers.

ATTENTION SPAN

The BBC World Service has introduced a one-minute news update designed to keep people up to speed with global events and appeal to what are considered to be short attention spans of young audiences. The bulletins are being updated twice every hour, around the clock.

LEADING NOWHERE

According to a recent study for Harvard Business School, 71% of qualified sales leads are never followed up. Leads given attention are touched just 1.3 times on average.

PROMISES

Topical tip: Be warned that many advertising, marketing and PR agencies promise what they think their clients or prospects want but then cannot deliver. The best agencies and consultants are transparent about their propositions.

BANK ON THIS

The British Banking Association has pledged support for the UK creative industry with a new toolkit to help small agencies evaluate and access funding: from the banks and alternative lenders. The fast growing creative sector employs one in 12 of the UK workforce.

EXCHANGING THREATS

Facebook has launched ‘ThreatExchange’, a platform to tackle malware and spam attacks by encouraging fellow social media giants such as Pinterest, Tumblr, Twitter and Yahoo to share threat information.

GREEN APPLE

Ireland and Denmark will be the direct beneficiaries of a new €1.7 billion investment by Apple. The building of a carbon neutral data centre in each country, scheduled to be operational by mid-2017, will be Apple’s biggest European project to date.

VALUES

Topical tip: Educate your staff, no matter what their role, to give them a clear understanding of your brand’s values and the ability to communicate them to others convincingly.

MASTERFUL PR

Public relations is seeking to be one of the first sectors to offer master’s level degree apprenticeships under a UK government scheme floated recently. Industry body the PRCA has applied to develop the new qualification in partnership with universities.

GOOD TIMES

‘The Times’ has been named UK newspaper of the year for 2014 at the annual Press Awards. There was particular praise for its investigative work into the sexual exploitation of children.

IN CONTROL

Topical tip: Selective and personalised e-mail marketing puts you in control of your network and allows you to build an increasingly valuable asset.

LESS GOGGLING

Figures released by Thinkbox indicate that total television watching in the UK fell by 4.5% last year. The total watching on tablets, however, rose by 17%. Commercial TV accounted for 65.8% of viewing and an average 45 adverts a day were seen per person, marginally down on 2013.

DISTRESS CALLS

The Direct Marketing Association has welcomed UK government reforms making it easier to punish firms using nuisance telephone calls and “causing damage or substantial distress”. They could be fined up to £500,000 as part of the clampdown.

MEET AND GREET

Topical tip: Invite existing customers to meet with you at the trade show. Even if they are not planning to attend the event, an invitation serves as a useful relationship builder, reminding them about who and what you are.

DIGITAL DENSITY

New numbers from Radio Joint Audience Research (Rajar) show digital radio accounting for around 38% of UK listening hours. The BBC expects to expand its digital network to reach 97% of the population by the end of this year.

TWITTER PARTNERS

The promoted tweets service at Twitter is being expanded beyond its own platform for the first time through partnerships with Flipboard and Yahoo Japan. Twitter has also agreed to allow Google access to its data in return for improved tweet rankings.

MAKE CHOICES

Topical tip: You can do anything, but you can’t do everything. You must make choices in your business. Choose what to do, then do it well. Select agencies to assist you with what they do best.

OFFENSIVE

The UK Crown Office has issued new social media guidelines that allow use of satirical or mildly offensive content but warns that hate crime, stalking and threats of violence are illegal and open to prosecution.

DARKENED MIRROR

Cost-cutting newspaper publisher Trinity Mirror is closing two more weekly titles, the Crosby Herald and Formby Times on Merseyside. Continuing falls in advertising revenues are cited as the major factor.

PHONE CHINA

Profits colossus Apple sold more iPhones in China than in the United States last year. China accounted for 36% of Apple’s global sales.

NATURALLY

Topical tip: Content that is well written in a natural style will produce a higher Google ranking than material that's stuffed with specific keywords. It will also lead to a more positive response from readers.

YOU CAN BET ON IT

Four of the UK’s largest bookmakers – Coral, Ladbrokes, Paddy Power and William Hill – are co-operating over a new TV advert to promote responsible and safe gambling by their customers. Similar messages are being pushed out across newspapers, radio and online.

ALL CHANGE

The marketing communications sector was involved in almost 1,000 mergers and acquisitions in 2014 and around 150 were in the UK. The deals worldwide added up to $23.6 billion, according to research by Results International.

FERTILISER

Topical tip: Social media is the fastest-spreading fertiliser in the marketplace garden. How and where it is applied, however, must be integrated into a structured communications plan if it is to be an effective contributor to growth.

BIG BROTHER BOOS

Media watchdog Ofcom has revealed that reality shows Big Brother and Celebrity Big Brother were Britain’s most complained about television programmes in 2014.

WORLD OF OPPORTUNITY

Leading Kent accountancy practice Creaseys will host an international trade seminar entitled ‘A World of Opportunity' on February 26, open to exporters and importers in south-east England. Creaseys is a PR client of Alan Page.

NO ESSAYISTS

Topical tip: A press release is not an essay. Answers to the who, what, where, when and why all go into the opening paragraph. Often, the addition of a headline, date, clearly marked ‘end’ and contact details are all that will be required.

CLOUDY SKY

UK media regulator Ofcom is inviting comments into whether Sky should be required to offer its Sky Sports channels to other broadcasters. Ofcom is seeking to ensure wider availability of sports content, football in particular.

AWARENESS

Topical tip: It is not enough to give customers excellent service. You must make them aware of the quality of service they are receiving: constantly.

NEW LODGINGS

Client Essential Marketing Solutions has expanded into new offices at Lodge Lane in Derby. Another client, Impact Initiatives, is taking a further floor in its south London building. Both agencies are preparing for continued growth.

MILLIONS MORE

The Office for National Statistics has stated that over 38 million adults in the UK (76%) accessed the Internet every day last year, up from 17 million in 2006, when directly comparable records began.

IT WON'T BE LONG

Amazon has announced a pilot ‘Prime Now’ service, offering one-hour deliveries on tens of thousands of goods to New York residents. The plan is to roll out the service to further US cities this year.

CALL TO ACTION

Topical tip: Treat your QR code just like any other promotional device, by ensuring that there is a clear call to action, telling your customer or prospect what to do next – and why. QR codes help bridge the gap between offline and online marketing.

NEW YEAR REWARDS

Best wishes for a rewardingly productive 2015 and beyond to those many agency and direct clients; to creative contributors and other partners; and to business friends around the world.