In our recent podcast, we welcomed Duncan Copeland, Account Director at Fresh Egg - a Digital Marketing Agency who are driven by customer experience. Seeing as every business is promoting to a desired audience and customer putting them first seems like a no brainer. However, this isn’t always the case - it’s easy to develop tunnel vision after building or working in a business for a number of years and more often than not, we begin to market to ourselves rather than the customer. During lockdown, Duncan advised many of the brands he works alongside to take the time to pause, take stock and measure their marketing efforts in order to attack the rest of 2020 with a clear set of objectives. And he’s the man who is helping to guide and implement their new strategy.
Welcome, Duncan! Now. Just to begin with, I feel I can’t go any further without mentioning one of my favourite facts about you - the fact that you are highly allergic to eggs and work for a company called Fresh Egg. It will never cease to amuse me.
Thanks for that lovely intro, I can’t help but think that's the only reason you’ve invited me on. You lured me in under the guise of wanting to talk about digital marketing but really it’s just to make egg jokes isn’t it?
Absolutely! Now I’ve scratched that itch, can you tell us a little about your career in marketing and how you came to work for Fresh Egg?
I actually started my career working in-house, mostly in e-commerce roles across a couple of different sectors. I was lucky in a way because in the early part of my career, the roles I had were pretty broad which gave me a tonne of hands-on experience in all different kinds of marketing disciplines. I wrote content, oversaw paid campaigns, I ‘optimised’ for SEO (back in the good old days of keyword stuffing), I ran email marketing and got to work on a bit of above the line as well. This gave me really good grounding both in terms of the technical side but also the types of challenges in house digital teams face.
That experience set me up really nicely for when I joined Fresh Egg in 2015, as a Senior Account Manager at first before moving into my current role as Account Director. Day-to-day I’m working really closely with our clients to help them plan and implement their digital strategy - that can be one or two work streams but often multi-channel. I also get to work really closely with the talented teams to execute that work and ultimately ensure we’re delivering value to our clients.
Probably laughing about eggs
You work alongside a wide range of brands in different industries so you’ve probably had an overarching view on how lockdown has affected different businesses - I’m sure some have thrived and others have struggled to maintain their original offerings. How’s it been?
It goes without saying that this has been an incredibly challenging time for many businesses. There’s some that have been forced to close the majority of their operation and on the other hand, we’ve had some clients dealing with unprecedented demand - which is a challenge in itself, albeit at the other end of the spectrum.
We work with a number of charities who have experienced an interesting shift. Their challenge has been the fact that most of their physical fundraising - whether that’s stores or fundraising events - has been cancelled. They’re having to rely even more heavily on digital fundraising in order to keep the much needed money coming in. We’ve been A/B testing things like different messaging as part of donation asks which has been really successful in driving an increased volume.
Audience behaviour has changed hugely too. I’ve been chatting to brands and other agencies recently discussing the extra value in TV advertising at the minute, where some larger businesses have scaled back spend there. Likewise, there’s value in digital inventory too, particularly as consumers are spending more time watching tv, and more time online vs before the pandemic.
The emphasis on becoming more present online has meant some brands have had to change and adapt their strategy very quickly. Your mission at Fresh Egg is to develop audience-first strategies, do you have any examples of clients you’ve helped to do this over lockdown?
An audience-first approach is something we’ve been huge advocates of for a number of years and it’s central to everything we do, but it’s never been more important than in the current situation.
We’ve been working with the London Estate Agent Group KFH since 2015 so we’ve already helped them ensure they’ve got an audience-first strategy in place. That strategy had to adapt massively in March as lockdown started to take effect. Their branches were forced to close temporarily at the start of lockdown so the original strategy - which normally focuses on driving quality leads to the front line of the business had to be drastically different.
Rather than lead generation activity, we switched up our approach so that everything was focused on assisting customers in whatever way we could. To do that effectively we gathered insight into how their key audiences were searching online and the type of information they were after - and then created content that answered those needs. It sounds simple, but it was really effective not only for providing well researched advice to existing KFH customers, but also expanding the reach of their brand by driving new audiences to the site via search.
One of the content pieces created for KFH
We also used our A/B testing software to adapt some of the on-site UX, with the overarching aim of making key journeys really accessible. Ultimately we knew people we going to be either looking for information about coronavirus and the property marketing or getting in touch with the business - so we made sure that was front and centre during the peak of lockdown.
But this is an approach I would recommend as part of any search strategy. It’s vital you understand what your customers’ needs are, their pain points at various stages of their journey. Then you need to make sure your on-site content matches that intent.
I’m a firm believer that although change (especially sudden change) might be difficult to manage, it forces you out of your comfort zone and inspires new direction. We’ve seen restaurants switch to home delivery, the fitness industry has gone online and almost everyone has had to adapt in some way. How have you and your clients approached the change in strategy going forward?
I think one of the positives to come out of this is the speed at which some of those changes have happened, and how customer behaviour has changed. Things that might have taken five years to change naturally have happened virtually overnight. One of the big things for me that’s really important with all the change happening, and strategies changing and adapting all the time is having a really good handle on your data and measurement strategy.
Understanding what success looks like and how you’re going to measure it is key. One of the tools we've been using effectively to do that is Data Studio - we use this both internally and externally to create reporting dashboards. It's Google’s free data visualisation tool and comes with loads of out of the box connectors to programs like Google Analytics.
What this program allows us to do is take all the data across different platforms and collate it into an easy view dashboard. It's so simple to use and we find it's the perfect tool to expose stakeholders to the data they need to see when reporting, especially at the moment when clients are more tuned in than ever to their stats and marketing activity. It's takes technical data and turns it into a simple and digestible set of insights which is ultimately what people want to see.
For those looking at their marketing strategy and wanting to ensure it’s along the right lines for the next twelve months - do you have any tips on how to measure their current activity in order to make changes?
I think in terms of how I’ll be approaching it, it’s really about those key fundamentals when creating a digital strategy.
- Understand your audience and their needs
- Use that insight to put a strategy in place to meet those needs
- Measure and refine using the tools available to you
One overarching thing I think this whole pandemic has highlighted to me and the teams I work with is the importance of being agile in your marketing, and getting content/enhancements or whatever it is you’re working on out as quickly as possible.
Podcast produced by Let’s Talk Video Production.