22.04.2016 Five things I’m still thinking about after OI ’16

Yesterday, our senior communications executive Emma Croke attended the Online Influence conference in Cardiff. Here she blogs about her day and what she learned.

Five things I’m still thinking about after OI ‘16

Yesterday was a day of having information pushed on me, and I willingly absorbed it. Half a notebook of scribbles (how un-digital of me) later, I’m inspired and keen to change the world with my new digital learnings. While it would be time-consuming for me to write – and for you to read – everything I took away from the day, there were a few golden nuggets that I couldn’t stop thinking about on the way home. In fact I’m still thinking about them now and am keen to research more.

The homepage is dead – Simon Low, Buzzfeed

Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 13.25.13

A study by the New York Times showed that less and less traffic was going to the homepage of websites and recently some have declared the homepage to be officially ‘dead’.

Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 13.29.04

Think about it, how do you get to a website? Whether it’s through links to a specific page on social or a Google search that takes you through a side door, today there are many ways that allow you to skip the homepage altogether.

We spend all that money investing in making our or clients’ homepage attractive and easy to negotiate, but how many people actually use them? We should be spending more time and money thinking about how users get to our pages and focussing our efforts on those pages and routes.

Of course, this is not to say we should completely forget the homepage; people are still going there but maybe we should place less importance on it?

We need to embrace the mentality of start ups – Jeremy Basset, Unilever

Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 13.31.01

As your company grows you add more layers of management, maybe even introduce a board, but in doing so you lose creativity.

This is a natural progression, as a business gets bigger there is more risk involved. Jeremy Basset, director of the Unilever Foundry, wants us to put experimentation at the core of what we do and embrace the mindset of start ups. They have nothing to lose and everything to gain, and because of this they are pioneering innovation.

Now this doesn’t mean we need to introduce an experimental arm of our business, spending thousands. Jeremy pointed out that when he sat down with his team who were tasked to find solutions to business problems, every idea they came up with, a little known start up somewhere had already made great progress to achieving that idea.

And so the Foundry was born. This organisation brings together businesses with problems and start ups with solutions. Big corporations get solutions far quicker than they would if they were to employ an in-house team of specialists and start ups get the much needed funding to grow.

To embrace the start up mentality we need to work with existing businesses that have expertise, be brave and embrace the f-word – Failure.

There is a reason time appears to move faster when we get older – James Caig, True Digital

Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 13.32.37

You know that feeling we all get every now and then, when time seems to move quicker than it ever did before (how is it May next week?!)? Well there is a reason for it, as I discovered in James Caig’s session.

When we enter a job, our lives become more repetitive and one day blends seamlessly into another, unlike when we were children and every day was a new day of discovery. So, we need to introduce more new experiences in order to slow time down.

This does relate to marketing – see the next point – but this was such a mind-blowing concept to me that I felt it needed a point on its own.

Marketers need to offer more than just a product

As time passes so fast, we also feel like we don’t have enough time. It turns out we actually have a whole 26 hours a week to do with what we want, when we take away the time spent working, sleeping etc, but this is eaten up by technology – checking emails and social networks, pulling down to refresh, sending messages and playing with filters on Snapchat.

From 2005 to 2014, the average time we spend online in a week increased by over ten hours; we bookend our day with checking our mobile devices.

So how does this effect marketing?

Take a look at the Tedx Talk by Tristan Harris – Designing for time well spent. We need to start thinking less about how to sell and more about how to create ‘good times’ for our customers.

For example, the brand Couchsurfing changed its objective from increasing number of bookings to creating ‘Net Orchestrated Conviviality’ (marketing speak for net good times). It measured its success by the relationships created between surfers and hosts – putting the experiences of its customers first.

James said we should start using metrics that count, such as this, that actually add value to people’s lives. While I know this isn’t going to happen overnight, I’ll leave you with this quote from Paul Clark at Ocado for some more ideas as to how you can work with your clients to add more to their customers lives. Meanwhile, I’m off to make the world a better place…

“Ocado is a time travel business, we give customers the time back they would have spent traipsing around a supermarket.”