Off the back of our Digital Skills Course: Digital Marketing, we were asking you to send in your Digital Marketing questions for our expert at Accenture.

We had some great questions sent in, so many in fact, that we’ve separated the responses into two halves! For part two, our expert Aliyah will be answering digital marketing questions on mobile apps, display advertising and allocating budget. Read part one, Content Marketing and SEO here.

Aliyah is a Digital Manager within Accenture Interactive. She has over 8 years of digital marketing experience covering mobile websites and apps, PPC, SEO, affiliate marketing, display advertising, digital strategy, e-commerce and web and campaign management. She has a wealth of experience across many industries including media and publishing, financial services, the public sector and home shopping.

We are developing a mobile application which allows members of the public (consumers) to find local discounts on their high street. The platform will allow our customers (high-street businesses) to host their profile, products, marketing campaigns in a digital fashion. We are currently validating our business model, by trying to get opinions and support from our customers (which are high street businesses). What is the most effective way of achieving this, we have recently tried cold contacting (visiting their high-street store) and trying to reach them on email. (Christopher Franklin)

a) What medium should the material we are presenting be in (leaflet / business card / video)?

A video would be very powerful to demonstrate your product and should definitely be produced. People often ask for a PowerPoint presentation as a leave behind so this would be beneficial as well. A business card probably wouldn’t include enough information for the customer to remember you, but a leaflet with website info would be a good trigger.

b) What content/messages should we be portraying when presenting material to business owners (about us / how the business works / benefits for them)?

Highlighting the benefits for them and their customers is key. They need to understand how your product is going to help them and if it will increase engagement with their end users. An about section, description of the product, contact info and your story is very important. You want the companies to build a personal connection with you – so telling them who you are and why you created this product is key. Being transparent about next steps – as in when you are planning to launch, access to an mvp, user testing plans etc. is helpful too.

c) How else could we get face to face time with potential customers (High street businesses)?

You need to ensure you are talking to the right people in the first instance. If the company is a chain then you may need to go via their head office to find the right contact. LinkedIn can help with this – search for the person’s business title or name if you have it. Once you know the type of person you need to speak to (ie Partnerships Director, Director of Business Development, etc.) chances are it will be the same type of person you need to speak to at each large company. There is an app/website at which gives you the person’s email address if you know their name and company. Once you have the contact, email them about your product and say you would love 15 minutes of their time, you’ll be in their area on x day and would be very interested to meet. Cite other similar companies to theirs that are already on board so that they feel like they don’t want to miss out.

If it is a small business on the high street or a one-man shop, go into the shop and ask to speak to the owner or ask for the contact details or name of the owner. You can also refer to other similar apps as an example of what you are trying to achieve, but ensure that you emphasise how you are different and what your USP is.

d) How should we use social media to interact / engage with our target customers (business owners)?

Depending on how ready you are to reveal your product idea, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are all great ways to showcase your product so that companies can see what you are doing. Ask to follow various companies and post relevant information, especially about your app. You could also try Facebook adverts to target a very specific audience.

e) We are thinking about doing a marketing day on our first target high-street, this would consist of us talking and demonstrating our mobile application to potential consumers. Do you think this is an effective way to get consumer insight and interest, considering this will cost up to £1,000 / day? What other ways are there to get high levels of consumer (public) exposure in a cost-effective way?

It depends on how this marketing day will be held and who will attend. Will it be in conjunction with a popular event that businesses have already signed up to attend? Are there mostly small businesses on this high street or are there chains that may not send the most relevant person to your marketing day?

Is it possible to get some PR (articles, etc) written about your product to generate interest? You could reach out to someone credible in the industry and ask if they would be willing to test your app and write an honest review online – perhaps if they have a blog, etc. You could also ask the store workers if they would be happy to participate in user testing of the app, with some sort of incentive attached, and that would create a channel for WOM. The marketing day would be worth it if you can guarantee the right people would attend and ideally get some PR off the back of it. You could always write your own press release and send it on to publications who may pick it up. People are very interested in start-ups, seeing what they are doing and helping them succeed.

How do you create a 'campaign' for Banners? I am looking into starting a video business and it would be great to know how to market videos - would you use something like Keyword Research again? How do you see what your competitors are doing? (Alistair Clarke)

Search for your competitors online and see what comes up – then you can get an idea of how they are promoting themselves. There are some free or low cost tools that can show you what others are bidding on – check out this page for ideas. If it is a video production company then targeting places like YouTube and Facebook would be advantageous and possibly sites relevant to the industry you focus on – ie weddings, corporate events, etc. 

Is there an unfair advantage of companies that have huge amount of money to market compared to the smaller person like me? How do you manage to compete with them?

There will always be people with larger budgets than yours, however if your product is good and niche, then there should be an audience that is interested in it. You need to be able to effectively communicate your USP so people know why to choose you over others. You could always go in with better terms – price, etc to attract users in the first instance. Offer curated content such as relevant articles to create a following. Ask users for their opinion on how to improve your product and what new features they would like to see. Engage and add value and the customers will come.

My question is around allocating digital marketing spend for a start-up. My initial intention was to just get on with Facebook Adverts as I have seen how effective they can be in the past. But I am now wondering whether it would be more effective to either split or transfer this intended spend towards Adwords. I’m not convinced we’re in a place where banner ads would be an effective spend yet, but perhaps you could advise. As always, the budget available will be verysmall to begin with as I’m trying to prove it’s worth in generating leads and (eventually!) sales. It’s a business selling young artists' work in case that helps. (Bobby)

I would advise splitting the budget between FB adverts and Adwords. The point is to test and learn – so trying both will give you an idea of what works best and how you should split your budget going forward. I would avoid banner ads as they don’t usually yield as high of a conversion rate. You’ve probably already thought of these ideas but renting a stand at a market would give your brand exposure, participating in a pop-up shop and also using sites such as Etsy and Not On The High Street.

Need to understand how can one come up with better strategy for different industry
- Somehow with digital
marketing everything is too cluttered, how does a new brand make any impact unless their campaign goes viral or involves a celebrity. (Amrita Sarkar)

The best way is to have a very small target group. The more niche and specific the group of people, the more relevant your product/service will be to them. Get a few of them on board (ask them to test out your product for free) and they can spread the word for you (via blogs, WOM, etc). Once you have a following then this will organically grow. Keep in regular touch with people that are interested in your product and offer additional curated content (articles, etc) that are relevant and helpful to your audience. You want to ensure they keep coming back for more and value you as an expert in your field.

How can one best optimise low budget campaigns, I understand there is no set methodology to follow. But what would you advise.

  • Social media – FB, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat
  • Write your own press releases and send them to relevant publishers
  • Create videos of your product and post on YouTube
  • Test out FB adverts and Google AdWords
  • Ensure your SEO is up to scratch – hire someone or learn how to do it yourself (at least the basics)
  • Attend events where you can showcase your product
  • Let people try it out for free and ask them to write about it
  • Network
  • Give out memorabilia or sponsor an event so that your brand is front of mind

How do you always ensure that your ads hit the right target group all the time? (Farah Ramlee)

I assume you are referring to digital ads, so filling out the target profile asked of you (ie via Facebook adverts for example) is the best way to hit your target group. There is usually some spill over into other groups but this is hard to avoid. It doesn’t hurt to have a conversation with the company you are advertising with to ensure they target your profile group and to see if there are additional ways to achieve deep targeting.


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