How Zoopla is building a new marketing strategy as pandemic hits property listings- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Zoopla felt the ramifications of the coronavirus immediately. New listings on the property search site dried up overnight as transactions across the UK ground to a halt. Somewhat controversially, the UK government is now trying to get the housing market moving again and has encouraged buyers and sellers to resume their pre-lockdown plans, including viewings. For Zoopla, the last six weeks have sparked a reappraisal of a marketing strategy that was only just beginning to bear fruit.
“Naturally, like every sector, we’ve felt the impact of the coronavirus,” says head of consumer marketing Richard Houston. He joined Zoopla last June following a career agency-side, including a decade at Wolf Ollins where he was managing director and global principle.
Houston’’s first stint as the client in control the budget hasn’t been an easy one. He walked into a company ready for change. Having just appointed a new chief marketing officer in Gary Bramall and gone through a £3bn buyout from venture capital firm Silverlake, bosses had begun the long process of overhauling the brand.
Its then small marketing team was bolstered with top hires from the likes of VCCP and Havas, as well as marketing execs from brands such as Amazon. Houston says it was “fusing the best of the agency and the brand world” as well as ushering in new agency support in the shape of Lucky Generals in a bid to tighten its grip on the competitive market.
In the marketer’s first few months there, Zoopla experimented with a new comms strategy, trying to find a balance between its “rational” marketing that gave people the facts and figures about moving home and the “emotional” brand building activity where it wanted to show it knew how important a decision it is in a person’s life.
This culminated in a major marketing campaign that launched on Boxing Day and told people ‘We know what a home is really worth’ and included a series of executions narrated by BBC star Diane Morgan.
It also created a “Zoopla diploma” where first time buyers could go through a step-by-step guide on what they would likely experience along the way. Over 100,000 signed up to the course, with Houston saying it is just one example of the kind of activity it was focusing its marketing budgets on.
“It’s a statement of intent really. The last 12 months have been a really exciting rollercoaster, but we’re not orientating around what Zoopla can be in the future. A lot of the stuff we’ve been doing in the last three to six months has been mini proof points of things we think we can do better in the future.”
But now, that future is looking very different. Until last week, people using its services was down 40% compared with pre-lockdown levels. As estate agents closed their offices, the usual plentiful supply of houses and flats coming to market also dried up.
“There have been about 373,000 transactions held up in the pipeline, which gives you a sense of the scale of the impact and how many transactions were affected,” explains Houston.
So Zoopla halted all major marketing activity and made changes to what channels it would prioritise in an effort to reflect the cataclysmic effect the situation was having on the housing market.
“I would categorise that as being resourceful, smart and lean in terms of budget. I won’t go into specifics, but we’re being balanced and responsive. We’ve tried not to overreact but instead be conservative.”
Despite demand being at a record low, Houston knew the company needed to continue to communicate with people as best It could. With big above-the-line activations out of the question, it instead challenged agency Lucky Generals to come up with a “nimble, low cost” idea that would get people engaged with the brand on social and help them when they are spending more time at home.
“There was pressure to react quickly and we could have had a kneejerk reaction,” recalls Matt Gainsford, strategist at Lucky Generals. “We could have just paid someone to do another yoga class or cook along and that would have kind of been answering that need in some way. But we saw people were building forts on Instagram and Facebook and we felt that could be linked to Zoopla – people building homes within their homes. It gave us permission to reward what people were already doing.”
And so a competition – which is still ongoing – launched to encourage people to submit their best pictures of the forts they’ve built, along with an estate agent style caption describing their structures. Over 900 people have participated so far – a number impressive enough for Houston that he’s mulling how it can continue to use social to better effect as the market begins to recover.
“Since the announcement on Wednesday, search is up by 139% versus the last four weeks,” he says. “We’re optimistic with that news.”
And while there’s been some controversy over the decision to allow the public to view a stranger’s property but insist they still socially distance from close family and friends, Zoopla is nonetheless beginning to ramp up its marketing activity to explain the situation to wary buyers and sellers.
It hosted an exclusive conversation with the UK’s housing minister on its blog, while its content marketing team has been in overdrive trying to help people make sense of the new rules.
“We’re using our in-house research and insights team to really help people understand the impact of the government changes, the health of the market and the potential outlook over the next nine months,” says Houston.
“What we’re trying to do with any of our strategic thinking and marketing planning for the rest of the year is to pull back to the fact that this has been a really disruptive time for people, particularly if they’re trying to move home. In the immediate period, we’re just trying to make sure people can move in a safe way. So anything we can do to make clear the government guidelines…that’s the number one priority.”
But, as time goes on and normality resumes, Houston admits that the marketing plan Zoopla set for 2020 may no longer be relevant. “We have to have a bit of reflection on who is most likely to move further down the line. That’s going to be a significant bit of work for us.
”In the medium to longer term, we’ll have wait and see and base it on the trends we’re seeing in the data to give us confidence to re-enter the market with campaign activity. One of the benefits of being a digital business means we can really see how people are browsing and searching, and that will inform our marketing approach.
“For example, the rental market has bounced back a lot quicker than sales. So that might mean we really focus differently on what we talk about and who we help.”

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The why, what and how to building a better future for programmatic- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

With Isba’s study revealing that 15% of digital ad spend is unaccounted for, a statistic from the PwC-produced report that prompted headlines, Damon Reeve, chief executive of The Ozone Project, offers his first-hand insight into what this means for the programmatic sector.
The results from Isba’s Programmatic Supply Chain Transparency Study, carried out by PwC and in association with the AOP, have practically self-penned the industry’s headlines for the past few days.
“Missing billions”, “big holes”, “the unknown delta”, “mind-boggling” – perhaps not the usual words used to describe a positive first step, yet that’s exactly what this report represents. If, as an industry, we want to create a more sustainable, future-proofed environment for digital advertising we must first acknowledge that things aren’t working as they are. These results certainly speak to what many people already know, and reinforces the need for change.
As we look to create a blueprint for that change, it is a great step forward that it has been driven by advertisers and publishers – as the principal architects – alongside their respective trade bodies. Reversing the trend of disintermediation by programmatic tech vendors, and working together to find their voice, albeit of frustration, is one of the best outcomes of this study, and why it must be a first step and not an end in itself.
In the interests of disclosure, The Ozone Project is an advertiser-led business created by publishers and was developed to tackle many of the issues highlighted in this report. We see ourselves as a significant catalyst for the shift towards a more grown-up advertising environment, one less willing to accept the past shortcomings of programmatic.
The answer is not just what to do next, it’s how we do it
As we entered the 2020s I was convinced we would see an adult programmatic self emerge; still with lots of growth and development ahead, but also less wild and irresponsible than the younger child of the 2010s. Given some of the research in this report was produced in Q1 2020, it’s clear there is still much to do before a more mature self emerges. Nine weeks of Covid-19 isolation has given much time to reflect, and it seems how we go about change will be as important as what we change.
Firstly, collaboration must be front and centre. Through their trade bodies, advertisers and publishers have highlighted some of programmatic’s most persistent problems. An astonishing insight from the report is the confusion over whether advertisers and publishers have the right to access the log data for campaigns they are running. The answer to that question should not require consulting a legal department.
The programmatic supply chain should genuinely work in the best interests of publishers and brands. Together they must build on this work to address one of the critical recommendations from the report; standardising terms and conditions for buyers and sellers, while creating consistent data taxonomies and data sharing rules. This first step will help close the somewhat unhelpful gap that has developed between advertisers and publishers within programmatic advertising.
Secondly, while transparency is at the heart of this study, it isn’t something to fix, it is a way to behave. The ‘opacity by design’ approach that has challenged the sector for years represents institutionalised behaviour that will require a concerted effort to correct. Being open, authentic and human in terms and conditions will be deemed important qualities, rather than hiding the ‘unknown delta’ in technical terms and jargon that almost no one understands. Patience has been worn paper-thin amongst advertisers and publishers, and in this new future we will see vendors and partners selected on operating principles as much as technical capabilities.
A starting point for what to do next
The insights and recommendations from the report itself provide a framework for where future focus must be directed.
As already mentioned, standardising terms and conditions through Isba and the AOP is an obvious next step to remove much of the friction and confusion that exists today. It took PwC more than nine months to receive the information for its analysis, with an often ‘round the houses’, confused approach to who could give permission to use the data.
Brand safety has been high on the marketer agenda during these challenging times with a specific focus from Newsworks’ #BackdontBlock campaign. This new analysis should enable further grown-up conversations around brand safety generally, particularly as the study’s advertisers appeared on an average of 40,524 different domains. That’s not a misprint. 40,524 different websites. How many websites do you visit on a regular basis? Even looking beyond the first page of the Comscore top 3,000 yields some very random websites. Only 19% of campaign impressions were delivered on premium publisher domains, with the vast majority appearing on other websites and the unregulated long-tail of the internet. Responsible advertisers will no doubt be asking questions about where their advertising is going, and what exactly it is funding.
Next, the ‘unknown delta’ needs to become known. In an automated world, one would expect any margin for error to be reduced, and therefore any major gap is concerning. While many have offered thoughts as to why – from currency fluctuations to the compound impact of rounding through the supply chain – it’s important to remember that this 15% ‘unknown delta’ appears in the very small proportion of data that could be matched for the purposes of the study. If this reflects the ‘best of the best’ – major advertisers working with the most premium publishers – the 15% delta will be significantly bigger with smaller sites and smaller advertisers that weren’t measurable.
A final point not specifically called out in this report but to me is inferred in every insight and recommendation, is aligning incentives for each participant in the supply chain to the value they provide. And this extends to the agreements brands have with their media agencies. It will be very difficult to move to a trusted grown-up programmatic ecosystem if each actor is trying to game the system, whether through opportunity or necessity. Remove the incentive for opacity and we build an advertising environment that we all want. It’s on advertisers and publishers to build on this study and remove these incentives.
“The market is damn near impenetrable.”
In last week’s Financial Times, the frustration of Phil Smith, Isba’s director-general, regarding the programmatic world couldn’t have been more obvious. Yet with some time to reflect and digest, what is becoming increasingly clear is that this first-of-its-kind collaborative study has already laid great foundations for building a better future for digital advertising.

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Washington in talks with chipmakers about building US foundries – Hardware- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

The Trump administration is in talks with semiconductor companies about building chip factories in the United States, representatives from two chipmakers said.
Intel is in discussions with the United States Department of Defense over improving domestic sources for microelectronics and related technology, Intel spokesman William Moss said in an emailed statement.
“Intel is well positioned to work with the US government to operate a US-owned commercial foundry and supply a broad range of secure microelectronics”, the statement added.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC), on the other hand, has been in talks with the US Department of Commerce about building a US factory but said it has not made a final decision yet.
“We are actively evaluating all the suitable locations, including in the US, but there is no concrete plan yet”, TSMC spokeswoman Nina Kao said in a statement.
Intel CEO Bob Swan wrote a letter to the Department of Defense in late March in which he expressed the company’s willingness to build a foundry – a term used in the industry to reference a chip factory – in partnership with the Pentagon.
“This is more important than ever, given the uncertainty created by the current geopolitical environment”, Swan wrote in the letter dated March 30 and seen by Reuters on Sunday.
It comes amid increasing diplomatic tensions between the US and China during the coronavirus outbreak, with both sides trading barbs over who is to blame for the spread of the disease after already being involved in trade tensions for almost two years.
“We currently think it is in the best interest of the United States and of Intel to explore how Intel could operate a commercial US foundry to supply a broad range of microelectronics,” the letter from the Intel CEO added.
The Trump administration’s discussions with chipmakers were reported earlier by the Wall Street Journal, with the report adding that TSMC also has been talking with Apple, one of its largest customers, about building a chip factory in the United States.
TSMC declined to comment on the talks with the iPhone maker.
The Journal had also reported that US officials are looking at helping South Korea’s Samsung Electronics, which has a chip factory in Austin, Texas, to expand its contract-manufacturing operations in the United States.
The US Commerce Department, Samsung and Apple did not respond to requests for comment on Sunday.

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Building Microservices with Spring Boot & Netflix OSS- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

There are multiple ways to implement microservices, but this article will focus on building microservices with Spring Boot & Netflix OSS.
Microservices are all the rage right now and multiple projects have switched to using them. And, although, microservices are not the right fit for every use case – if they suit your project’s needs, then by all means use them!
So, put a pot of coffee on and get comfy! Because, this is an in-depth, comprehensive outline to help developers building microservices with Spring Boot and Netflix OSS.
Here’s an outline of all the elements I’ll be delving into:
1. Monoliths vs. Microservices2. Netflix Microservices Tools & Code Example3. Discovery Service4. Review Service5. Movie Service– Feign Client– Hystrix Circuit Breaker6. API Gateway7. Conclusion: Building Microservices with Spring Boot is Like Building Any Other Application – with Some Added Sugar
1. Monoliths vs. Microservices
Netflix was an early adopter of microservices. Way back in 2009, the company started their transition from a traditional development model with 100 engineers producing a monolithic DVD rental application – to a microservices architecture with multiple small teams taking up the end to end development of hundreds of microservices in tandem. They did all this to keep up with their booming demand. This resulted in Netflix engineers deploying code thousands of times a day.

When and if a microservice breaks, developers intervene to fix it without affecting the integrity of the entire system.

Most web applications are generally structured around a few components – controller, business-logic, & database. Even with a clearly structured modular architecture, you can’t split the application deployment. So, it must be packaged and deployed as a whole.  In the case of microservices, everything can be divided in the smallest part possible – independently packaged then deployed.
Monoliths’ Advantages

Easy Development

Easy Testing, with everything you need in one package – from UI to database.

Easy Deployment, all you have to do is package the entire project & deploy one binary file

Easy to scale horizontally, by adding multiple instances on multiple machines.

Monoliths’ Disadvantages

The application can become very large, very quickly – and it can become difficult for a developer to maintain a mental image of what the application is doing.

The size of the application can slow down start-up times.

On each iteration you must deploy the entire application, even if there are changes only in a small part of the app.

Every change can introduce more bugs. The impact is not fully understood because of the fuzzy mental image.

Reliability – a breaking bug in one part of the application can bring down the entire app and not just one functionality.

As the project becomes larger and the team increases, making it sometimes hard for developers to work independently & without conflict.

Monoliths are not flexible in terms of team diversity or technologies used and are skeptical about adopting new technologies or updating libraries since any change will affect the entire application at tremendous costs.

Microservices Architecture comes with the ability to split the monolith into small and interconnected services – with their own logical structure and technology freedom.
The most notable difference between monoliths and microservices lies in the database layer. Microservices suggest that every service has its own database instead of sharing one. This is a great thing for a service because it can use a database provider that best suits its needs. But, it can also result in data duplication.
Microservices rely heavily on the gateway pattern – responsible for monitoring, metering, authentication, load balancing, forwarding, etc. So, the end users (mobile app, desktop app, web app) don’t directly call the service. Instead, they go through an entry point.
Microservices’ Advantages

Reduced complexity of an application by dividing it into smaller problems. (Divide et Impera)

Calls for independent, flexible teams free to choose the best technology stack that best suits them and the product.

Easily integrated with CI/CD environments.

Can be scaled independently. So, if the business needs just one feature to be scaled, microservices can scale just that part – not the entire monolith.

When a bug occurs, it will affect just one or a few systems – instead of the entire application.

Microservices’ Disadvantages:

Added complexity with inter-service communication, separated database pattern & testing.

Harder Database transactions, because changes need to be made in databases owned by multiple services.

Testing can be more difficult.

Harder to implement changes across multiple modules because of coordination across multiple teams.

Deploying is harder because there are multiple binaries, but this process is made easier with modern cloud infrastructures.

 
2. Netflix Microservices Tools & Code Example
Now, let’s see how microservices are created and how they interact with each other using spring-boot, spring-cloud, and Netflix OSS to implement a minimalist microservices demo application.
There are two core services – movie-service and review-service, that will implement a simple movie library and a review system holding reviews for movies.
Beside the core services, there are also two more – discovery-service and api-gateway.
The discovery-service is a server that registers every service in our system. It allows us to call endpoints from another service within our cluster by service name instead of URL.
The API-gateway implements the front door of our application, a single-entry point exposed to the exterior that forwards requests to the back-end system.
We’ll be using Spring Cloud Netflix – which integrates Netflix OSS with Spring Boot, enabling auto-configuration for technologies found in Netflix stack. 
3. Discovery Service
To keep this example as straightforward as possible, let’s use just two microservices in our demo. Keep in mind that in a real project there may be tens or even hundreds of independent services and all need to communicate with one another to share data and events.
In a monolithic application, this communication was simply solved by a method call to another module. But, in a microservice environment we need to make an API call to another service.
Easy peasy, you say? Just use the other service URL and fetch the data with RestTemplate. While that works fine in this demo, what happens when you have 100+ services – all deployed in a cloud environment, all with at least two running instances on multiple machines and dynamically assigned IPs?
Suddenly, this becomes a lot more complicated because we can’t simply hardcode the service URL in our code. This is where a discovery service comes in handy. It works like this – every service has a unique name assigned in the project, through spring application name property. When a service marked as a discovery client starts, it gets registered with the Server Registry that keeps track of every service in our environment. And, when we want to call another service, we just use the service name. The discovery server is responsible for calling the appropriate host-name and port for that server.
The implementation is nothing more than a simple spring boot web application. Make sure to define the spring-cloud dependency management and release train. This way, you can ensure every spring-cloud dependency you’re using is on the same cloud version and is compatible.

Then, add the eureka server dependency to the pom.xml

…and enable the server configuration in the spring boot application.

Because this is the discovery server, we need to specify in application properties that this service doesn’t need to register with the discovery server itself. We do that by setting the `eureka.client.register-with-eureka` flag to false. The 8761 port is the default port for the Eureka server. As you can see, this is the beauty of Spring Cloud Netflix. It makes it so much easier to configure a Netflix OSS technology in Spring Boot using annotations and configuration properties.

After configuring and running this service, if you access http://localhost:8761/ , you will see the eureka dashboard. At this point, we don’t have any service registered with Eureka, so the Applications list is empty. But in the General Info section, we can see some general metrics like available memory, memory usage, instance details, among others.

 
4. Review Service
The `review-service` provides a REST API that allows CRUD operations on reviews of movies. It’s minimalist in form, but the focus is not on the complexity of the project. The focus is in the architecture and how to connect services. When the service runs, a default set of reviews is created and saved in an H2 database.

To register with the eureka discovery client, we need to enable the configuration in our spring application.

Then, we set a unique application name in our cluster. We can also let spring assign a random port (using the 0 value for the port) for our service to show that it doesn’t matter because the host and port will be fetched from discovery client and we will use the name to access the service.

 
5. Movie Service
The same goes for the movie service. We have an ApplicationRunner bean to initialize our H2 database at start-up with some movies.

Then, we enable the configuration in our spring boot application and assign a unique port and name in the properties file.

After starting the movie and review service, if we access Eureka Dashboard again – we can see them in the application list.

Because we’re working with independent services, we need to make http calls from one to the other. One solution is RestTemplate, but there’s a better option. Netflix Feign Client is a rest client that can use the service discovery to call services. Spring Cloud makes it very easy to implement one. We just need to define an interface whose implementation will be provided at runtime. Start by adding the feign dependency to movie-service pom.

Then, enable the configuration in spring boot application class.

The hateoas dependency and `@EnableHypermediaSupport` are used to tell Feign how to deserialize the hypermedia data we receive from review-service. Now that we have all the configuration in place, we can move forward to the implementation.
All we need to do to create a feign client is define an interface. The @FeignClient annotation works like @RestController and the name parameter represents the unique name for the review-service. Then, we define the endpoints as we would in any rest controller – the only difference being that this is an interface.

To use this feign client, I created a rest controller to retrieve a movie by id with the reviews inside. We can see that we just inject the feign interface and use it like a jpa repository. The implementation will be provided to us at runtime.

Then, if we call the `/api/movies/{movieID}` endpoint, we should get this result:

 

Hystrix Circuit Breaker 

Hystrix allows you to implement fallback logic for your feign clients. So, in case something breaks in the feign call – the request will fall back to default behavior. OpenFeign dependency and add hystrix to the classpath. You need to tell spring to use hystrix circuit breaker, using the `@EnableCircuitBreaker` on the spring application class.
There are two ways to define fallbacks. The difference between them is that the second one will give access to the underlying error that broke the circuit. To implement them, you need to define either a spring bean implement, the feign client interface or a bean that implements the `feign.hystrix.FallbackFactory` interface.
Option 1:

Option 2:

 
6. API Gateway
We’ve reached the stage where we implement the front door of our project. The gateway pattern allows you to define a single-entry point to the entire microservices architecture. The gateway will route all incoming requests from users to the specific backend service and can perform additional operations like validation or authentication.
For this implementation we will use Netflix Zuul. To do this, I created another application called ‘api-gateway’ that registers to eureka service discovery and has the spring cloud Netflix Zuul starter in the maven pom.

…And the configuration defined in spring boot application class.

All the routes that need to be redirected are defined in application properties – we need to make sure we use the service name as the route key and the path as its value.

So, in the example above, the request to the `/movie-service/movies` will be forwarded to `/movies` endpoint on `movie-service` service.
Using this pattern, we can isolate our services in a closed network, with no access from the exterior. Only the api-gateway can be exposed and can serve user requests, implement authentication, rate-limits, and other features – allowing backend services to focus on their function in a decoupled and independent fashion. 
7. Conclusion: Building Microservices with Spring Boot is Like Building Any Other Application – with Some Added Sugar
Every architecture has its cost. There is no one-fits-all solution to its problems. You have to understand the business, plan for the future, and select the best architecture that suits those needs.
That’s not to say that microservices are always the go-to solution, but they might just be a great fit for complex, fast-growing applications. On the other hand, the monolith architecture can be a better fit for a lightweight application. In the end, every microservice is based on the monolith principles.
The code I used in this demo for building microservices with Spring Boot and Netflix OSS can be found on GitHub.
Please feel free to leave your questions in the comments, where I’ll gladly answer them!
 
Read also:
Beware of the Microservices Architecture Hype
How to Start Your Java Project Quickly on AWS?
 

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Building customer relationships during uncertain times: ecommerce insights amid Covid-19- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Investing in relationships with consumers has never been more critical to the growth of e-commerce businesses. As the Coronavirus crisis deepens, new data has found, 90% of consumers say they are now shopping more online. What we are buying and where we are buying it from is also evolving, says Joe McCarthy, director of performance marketing at Klayvio.
Talking to Tempemail Network editor, Chris Sutcliffe as part of Tempemail Digital Transformation Festival, McCarthy revealed the macro trends that are developing in e-commerce consumers begin to adjust to their new normal. The data is taken from two surveys launched by the marketing platform in mid-March, one focused on consumer and another on commerce brands, and combined with data from its 30,000 customers. Watch the webinar on demand here.
What are the emerging ecommerce trends?
“People are being forced to shop online to get what they actually need, and that is one the largest trend we have seen,” says McCarthy. “It presents such a unique opportunity for e-commerce brands. Customers are really searching for them right now to get the products they need in their daily lives.”
Food and beverage sales rocketed in the early days of the lockdown, but so did sales of beauty and cosmetics and apparel and accessories. Demand for toys and hobbies soared as consumers looked to entertain themselves and, when as the schools closed, their kids. At this point, speciality products, including electronics and jewellery, were considered low priority.
A second significant trend – the “new essentials” – appeared when consumers were asked what they intended to spend on in the following two weeks. According to McCarthy, this new category includes products in health and fitness, kitchenware, home office equipment, skincare and toys and games.
Jumping forward, Klayvio’s data for April shows that electronics are “starting to pop right now”. The survey shows that 25% of respondents under 45-year-olds see it has an impulse purchase as they seek new forms of entertainment. Sales of homewares and DIY materials are also rising as people update their homes and take on projects they didn’t previously have time to do.
Spend has increased across almost every vertical, even those people claimed they would not spend on, with some sectors performing better than before the Coronavirus. According to McCarthy, some of this is attributed to consumers getting over the initial shock of the pandemic. However, it is also due to a 58% growth in the number of individual shoppers in the UK using e-commerce brands.
The changing consumer behaviour
Consumers are also turning to independent retailers to source products they need, but also because of concerns about larger retailers fulfilling orders. Usage has risen from the low 20% to nearly 40%. Consumers are also open to trialling new brands as they hunt to get the products they need.
McCarthy sounds a note of caution, however. “When asked the real reason that they were changing their buying behaviour, 70% of consumers told us that the top reasons are product availability and free shipping.”
McCarthy says that direct to consumer brands are in a strong position to capitalise on this wave of new e-commerce consumers. He highlights Hummingbird Bakery, which has had to close stores but is investing in its relationships with customers by sharing its most popular recipes. He says: “It develops a little of loyalty and a warm feeling that everyone can use just now.”
The brands that are doing this well are already reaping the rewards, he adds. “We use this average number that a brand grows at 15% year over year. That’s like the traditional growth we use internally for e commerce businesses. We see in some cases, businesses growing at 40% or 50%, compared to February. That’s two years of growth in a single month.”
How should brand communications adapt to these changing times?
McCarthy says brands should take this opportunity to review their communications, especially automated messages, to make sure everything sounds the right note for the current times.
He advises concentrating on three key areas – communicating with empathy; sharing good work within the local community or with first responders and generally be sensitive and aware.
The other trend is communicating effectively, he adds, particularly when you consider that availability and free shipping are driving many purchase decisions. McCarthy highlights US toilet paper subscription service Who Gives A Crap. While the service was quickly unable, it was upfront about its lack of inventory on its website. Instead, it asked customers for their email addresses so it could let them know when stock arrived—a simple but effective communication.
Ecommerce brands should view this time as a unique opportunity for brands to invest in lasting relationships with new consumers as well as in deepening relationships with existing customers.
He concludes: “You have customers who know you, and who are ready and willing to purchase from you again. There are so many people out there discovering new brands; you have an opportunity to create those new relationships. There’s just tons of value right now. “
Watch the webinar on demand here.

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Virtual team building activities enhance remote team collaboration- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

When working from home, constant communication is crucial in building connection and team spirit – perhaps now more than ever.
In this article, I’ll be outlining some ideas for virtual team building activities to enhance remote team collaboration among colleagues.

PentaTeam – Together but apart, we’re doing our best to continue working and have fun.

Working from home comes with a long list of perks – custom environment, no office politics, your choice of work attire (hello, sweatpants and fuzzy socks!). But in light of the recent Coronavirus pandemic, where an extended period of isolation isn’t our choice, it’s up to us to stay healthy and connected to friends and colleagues.
Loneliness is often pinpointed as one of the leading downsides of remote work and can cause disengagement – which, in turn may influence a downturn in job performance. So, making time to check in and maintain social bonds not only combats loneliness, it helps teams align on a professional level and increases productivity.
Communication Tools for Remote Team Communication
Effective communication is of the utmost importance in a project management life cycle. On an average, one out of five projects fail due to lack of communication between the project manager, team members, and stakeholders. With everyone working from home, especially in times of crisis, the risk of poor team collaboration is elevated.
Fortunately, there are plenty of communication tools on the market that will simplify remote team communication – you just have to find the communication software that works best for you and your teams.
At Pentalog, when communicating with clients – we use Slack, Zoom, GoToMeeting, and Sococo. For secure file sharing, Owncloud is our choice. Among colleagues, we prefer connecting via Skype and Microsoft Teams.
Like many of you, we appreciate these tools because they give us easy access to video conferencing, messaging, threads, file & screen sharing, and past and current data. I personally love the touch of my own virtual outdoorsy background – since it’s the closest I can get to a beach these days.
How to Engage Colleagues
Each team has their own, different communication needs. In our current work situation, our colleagues who act as Scrum Masters, Product Owners or Team Leaders have free reign to establish when and how many meetings they think teams should hold during the workday. We’re Agile, so we adapt! We always have!
Most of us have already penciled in a few extra informal meetings to check in with team members, share our thoughts and worries, or even play games. We all deserve to relax a bit after a hard day’s work!
In general, we all have short daily meetings where everyone gets the chance to speak. Sometimes, in the case of large teams it can be slightly more difficult to keep up. But, the effect on people’s morale is priceless – it feels good to be heard, supported, and appreciated.
Not everybody is comfortable opening up like we’ve been doing recently. Some people need a different approach.
Help your Introverted or Shy Co-Worker
Try a series of icebreakers. Don’t be afraid to be the first one to reach out – ask how they’re feeling these days, take some time to find out about their struggles or impediments, or simply just let them tell you what they did last weekend. Your introverted co-workers will recognize and appreciate you taking the time to check in.
As for your shy colleagues, a better connection will lie in establishing rituals. Schedule a bi-weekly coffee and chat. Or, make a note to exchange your latest Spotify and Netflix playlists every few days.These online meetings are a substitute of the office coffee breaks we used to enjoy, so try and keep them as informal and friendly as possible.
Many of our colleagues have already made it to the next level with the help of the virtual team building activities – they’re gaming together.
Virtual Team Building Activities
#Gaming
I don’t know about you, but at Pentalog – we enjoy spending time together outside the office. We’ve already formed so many memories from our PentaPuzzle nights, PentaOpen tournaments, PentaBike competitions, etc. So, if we can’t physically meet – we’ll do just fine online.

Some of us play Drawasaurus, a drawing & guessing game for phone, tablet or PC. Players take turns each round to draw a random word while their opponents try to guess the word. Faster guessers score more points and the drawer is rewarded for each person who guesses correctly.
Other colleagues play boardgames directly from their web browsers, such as Saboteur and Carcassonne. “Exploding Kittens” is another fun game that can be played on smartphones. It’s for five players and can be downloaded for a fee, but it’s not at all expensive.Some of our coworkers enjoy participating in quiz competitions at night. Whatever the content of your virtual team building activities, the purpose is for team members to feel connected.
At most of our agencies, there is at least one dedicated channel to share funny memes and jokes. We’ve also created a 24/7 open Teams channel where everybody can join in and “spend time” on audio/video.
Our colleagues in Guadalajara have even planned a remote Karaoke session. It’s something I might even be looking to establish myself. Until then, some of us share the tune of the day to boost our mood. Others are picking a different themed outfit for each day (i.e. black & white, dots & stripes, national costume, mountain climber). Some teams take ten minutes before they break each night to share their daily gratitude point in working from home. As you can see, we’re not short on ideas for remote team communication!
#Volunteering
We have always strived to have an impact in our communities. Now, when the young and healthy can really make a difference, I’m proud to see my colleagues stepping up to the plate. Whether it’s supporting NGOs or our medical staff, distributing food, buying what the elderly need, donating blood, giving a hand in managing a website functionality or developing some data visualization tools/ppts, it’s important we each play our part!
#Foreign Language Classes
Luckily, we can take advantage of free language courses provided by Pentalog and we have some pretty great teachers! The courses take place online, in groups at the same level of language proficiency – another great way to get to know each other better, interact, and learn a new skill while we’re at it.
Recently, for our colleagues with children, we launched PentaKids as an option to keep the little ones entertained while learning a foreign language.

#Surprises Knocking at Your Door!
For many, it’s been over a month now of strict isolation and many of our colleagues have had to celebrate their birthdays at home. However, we tried to send them our best wishes with online celebrations, sending virtual hugs and birthday gifts. We’re thankful for our courier companies and remain in their debt for making these little surprises possible.
Empathy = Key to Efficient Team Communication
A little empathy and compassion in confronting difficult situations like the COVID-19 crisis can go a long way in helping those we work with feel more at ease.
By checking in on one another we can feel connected even while we’re apart. This way, we continue to do our best at work, stay motivated and focus on the positive, even in these uncertain times.On the same topic, you can also read:
The Future of Remote Work: How I Discovered the Benefits of Telecommuting
Work from Home Productivity Tips: Doing Your Best Work Ever

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‘Stay home’: how brands are building on governments’ lockdown efforts- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

As the world adjusts to its biggest behaviour change in known history, brands are finding they have a crucial role to play in hammering the message home that staying indoors is a matter of life and death.
“The government will always be the most important source of trusted advice at a time of crisis and brands have to act in complete support of that advice,” contends Neil Henderson, chief exec of St Luke’s. “However, brands can use their particular tone of voice to help their audiences understand the message.”
Where Wetherspoons and Sports Direct have drawn scathing criticism for continuing with business as usual (and forcing their employees to do the same) other brands such as Coca-Cola to McDonald’s, Time Out and Nike have been using their clout to help and support people as they lockdown at home.
But will advertisers’ effort have any impact or will it fall on deaf ears?
The need to stay home
At this moment in time, society (especially in the UK and US) is divided between those taking extra measures to stay out of harm’s way with their stash of toilet roll, and those continuing on with their day to day.
As it turns out the coronavirus is far more sophisticated and contagious than scientists first forecast. While one person infected with the common flu has the ability to pass it onto a further 40 people, with Covid-19 that number has the potential to rise as high as 59,000.
Though they’re selling out, a bottle of hand sanitiser will do little to arm people against the saliva of a Covid-19 patient (which, by the way, harbours half a trillion virus particles per teaspoon).
“At a time like this people are looking for answers, solutions and help,” Henderson continues. “Brands that can provide any of these in a sincere and informed way will be welcomed and listened to.”
In a campaign shared widely on social media this weekend, the respiratory team at the Belfast Health Trust did an excellent job at issuing an impassioned plea to the public to socially distance to save thousands of lives.
Sacrificing the rare time off they have during this hectic time, doctors, nurses and physiotherapists filmed a hard-hitting video that highlighted the potentially catastrophic effect of coronavirus on families across Northern Ireland.

It’s not just health professionals issuing pleas to the public, though.
Last week, Nike released its own ad push to express the importance of social distancing during this time.
It read: ‘If you ever dreamed of playing for millions around the world, now is your chance. Play inside, play for the world.’ Between them, Nike’s leaders, the Nike Foundation and Nike have committed $15 million to Covid-19 response efforts.

Viacom, meanwhile, has used its vast array of talent to get the word out – teaming up with the Ad Council for an #AloneTogether campaign. The dive looks to educate audiences on the importance of social distancing and drives unity through entertainment.
“It’s really, really important that we provide entertainment, but that we leverage our platforms to educate, inform and help,” explains Jacqueline Parkes, chief marketing officer and executive vice-president digital studios for MTV, Comedy Central, Paramount Network, TV Land, VH1, PopTV, CMT and Smithsonian Channel.
Concerned about the amount of younger generations ignoring warnings to continue going to bars, movie theatres and parties, Parkes explains: “We felt like it was incumbent upon us to really lead the conversation.”
“Our audience is very young, so we realised we could take advantage of this massive social following and create this digital-led campaign to really communicate the importance of social distancing and empower young people that they can actually be a part of the change to slow down the spread of this virus and slow the curve.”

Where before its job was to get people to enjoy their time outside the house, Time Out has aptly rebranded to ‘Time In’ in response to the spiralling coronavirus crisis.
Both the New York and London editions of the print magazine and website now sport the new branding in recognition of the far-reaching consequences of a policy of ‘social distancing’.
Its global editor-in-chief, Caroline McGinn, claims beyond this temporary rebrand pivot, its “loyal audience has fully embraced the focus on city content around supporting local businesses, providing inspiration and reporting news and initiatives emerging in the city.”
Adapting to this ‘new normal’, new content strands have been created, including ‘Time In Daily’, ‘The best of the city – straight to your sofa’, ‘Community inspiration – how city dwellers are helping each other’, and ‘Time In Festival’, showcasing live venues and artists who are streaming their gigs, shows, exhibitions and cultural resources for free right now.

To ensure its message got across – Coca-Cola replaced its iconic billboard in Times Square, New York City, to spread health advice amid Covid-19. Standing out in iconic Coca-Cola red, the message reads: ‘staying apart is the best way to stay united.’

On Saturday (21 March) ITV paused live TV in the UK to bring a message of support to its socially distancing viewers throughout the coronavirus pandemic, with presenters Ant & Dec addressing the viewers to stay indoors, keep talking and look after each other.
Using the hashtag #BritainGetTalking and tagging @itv, Ant and Dec encouraged viewers to share messages of love and support across social media.
A selection of these messages will be played on ITV every day in an effort to keep spirits high across the country.
“I think there’s a real role for broadcasters and public service broadcasting,” states ITV’s director of social purpose, Clare Phillips. “We’re a public service broadcaster, just like the BBC and Channel Four.
“We all have an ability to reach so many people, and we want to use that scale and that platform to do some good.”
She explains that the initiative fell under the broadcaster’s five-year mental wellness campaign – Britain Get Talking. While the next stage was due to launch in May, ITV felt the need to bring it forward and brought this all together in just over a week.
“What I love about this campaign it’s got the ability to flex,” as Philips explains how it will expand during this time of isolation.
“As time goes on, ITV will find itself reacting to how the nations feeling, and the issues that they want to talk about. I think that will all come through as a campaign take shape,” she continues.

@gordonramsayofficial Not sure this is a recipe I can get behind @tillyramsay…..##happyathome##lifeathome##fyp##recipes♬ Cheryl – Yung Gravy

Given a large proportion of its users are Gen Z – a generation most likely to push back against staying indoors – TikTok has found it has an integral role in encouraging, and entertaining them while they do so.
It has therefore launched #HappyAtHome – a series of fun and educational live programs – that provide comfort to users as they embrace the responsibility of staying inside to stop the spread.
It has also set a number of hashtag challenges, including #LifeAtHome and #StayAtHome. TikTok has seen a significant increase in user engagement with videos and content creation during this time, with #StayAtHome garnering 600 million views and #LifeAtHome bringing in 2 billion views worldwide to date. TikTok has admitted that it isn’t paying creators to share it the hashtags.
“We see this as an unprecedented opportunity to come together as a community, understand how we are all still connected, and recognise the importance of helping to support, encourage and even uplift one another,” explains Doreen Tan, user and content operations manager at TikTok Singapore.
“We’re focused on supporting our users by providing accurate information and resources from public health officials, we well as continued support, encouragement, and uplifting videos that our community share with each other during this challenging time,” she adds.
Felt by all
In recent years, brand trust has been shoved to the top of many marketers agendas, as they figure out how best to get down with their consumers.
It’s hard to name another time when there has been a cause that has touched every single person in society. Though brands have endeavoured to get into the mindset of the issue they’re trying to help, whether it be for the LGBT+ community or black rights, the fallout of the coronavirus outbreak is one felt by all.
“There are lots of issues that coronavirus throws up, but it’s an interesting time because we’re all experiencing it at the same time,” Philips explains. “It’s not like you have to put yourself into someone else’s shoes and have to pretend, for example, you’re a first-time mum.”
“I know we all have different experiences and some of us are in a much more fortunate position to cope with this and than others, but that’s actually quite helpful in this situation because we’re all going through it together,” she continues.
But how to get the messaging right, when a lot of society turn off when they get told what to do.
“When Brewdog does sanitisers there is a particular audience that will pay attention in a way they may not have done if they saw a public information film or saw Boris on the news,” St Luke’s Henderson explains.
But he warns that the stay at home message needs to be backed up with education.
“This situation is not going to pass quickly and the temptation will be for people to relax and start to socialise, particularly when the weekend comes,” he warns. “Maintaining people’s motivation to remain vigilant is something all brands could be thinking about now.”
“The most vital messages to be elevating right now are those coming from the UK Government and the NHS, who are working so hard to fight the virus,” contends Clear Channel’s UK chief marketing officer, Martin Corke.

Earlier this week, following UK prime minister Boris Johnson’s stark televised address to the nation, the NHS unveiled the next phase of its expanded coronavirus public information campaign to reinforce his message.
As part of the media plan, the campaign is to appear across the UK via out-of-home (OOH).
“The audience that needs to see the ‘Stay at Home, Save Lives’ campaign right now are those who are ignoring advice and are OOH – right now, ours could be the most targeted medium for this PSA,” explains comments Clear Channel’s UK chief marketing officer, Martin Corke.
“We’re getting the UK governments messages live on screens as quickly as possible and we’ve been bolstering their campaigns with extra space to take the messages even further,” he continues.
Taking into account Coca-Cola’s Times Square billboard, the use of OOH has never felt more apt. It has a job to ensure the audience taking it in think twice about continuing their everyday outside.
“Now is only time in out-of-home’s (OHH) long history you’ll hear the industry actively saying stay indoors – don’t go out of home,” says Corke.
Henderson agrees, saying that while “every media channel is relevant – we need to get to every single citizen and OOH seems particularly important. While brands are turning away from OOH as people stay home those spaces are available to address the people who haven’t yet understood the message.”

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The ATO is building a big data platform to tackle tax evasion – Strategy – Software- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

The Australian Taxation Office is building a network analytics solution called ‘ANGIE’ to help its tax avoidance taskforce discern complex, multi-layered relationships between clients.
The solution, which will be underpinned by a graph database, is being developed as part of the taskforce’s data and analytics program.
The taskforce was setup in 2016 to crack down on tax avoidance by multinationals, large public and private businesses and associated individuals.
ANGIE – or the Automated Network & Grouping Identification Engine – will automatically identify and group clients to understand their relationship to one another.
It will allow the taskforce to detect “patterns of interest” and visualise new links between clients.
A “critical component” of ANGIE, as well as the ATO’s wider network analytics and intelligence capability, will be a graph database, which the agency this week opened tenders for.
A graph database is used to represent complex networks by storing data about entities (nodes) and their relationships (edges).
The approach to market follows advice from strategy consulting firm McKinsey, which completed a “high-level end-to-end design of ANGIE” last year.
Mckinsey found that “a native graph database would enable significant processing and performance speed, capturing more detailed information … across the organisation”.
The graph database, which is a first for the ATO, will allow the agency to capture, visualise and analyse “large and complex networks of relationships”.
Structure data will be pulled from the ATO’s Teradata enterprise data warehouse, while semi-structure and unstructured data will be sourced from its Cloudera enterprise data hub. 
The the graph database is also expected to be used by the global tax enforcement group J5 to “discover enablers of tax time”. The group is made up of revenue authorities from the US, UK, Australia, the Netherlands and Canada.
The ATO expects the cloud-based COTS graph database to be delivered from July in order to meet the project timelines for ANGIE.
“The ANGIE project timelines call for prompt integration of a graph database into the ATO – Q3 of this calendar year,” tender documents state.
It may also need to procure IT services to “assist with the installation and integration” of the graph database, though this will depend of the product selected.
The agency expects to award a five-year contract in May.

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Lendlease wins bid for $28m smart building grant – Strategy – Projects- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

A consortium led by industrial and research heavyweights including Lendlease, Monash University, the University of Melbourne and BlueScope has won a $28 million grant from the Australian government to establish a new research centre for smart building solutions.
The Building 4.0 Co-operative Research Centre will combine the government’s grant with $103 million from a total 30 industry, government and research partners to overhaul the way buildings are designed and manufactured in Australia.
Other backers for the project, who have been agitating for the CRC since July last year, include the likes of the Master Builders Association of Victoria, Salesforce, and Standards Australia.
It will focus on digitally-enabled solutions and new manufacturing products to develop a more tech-focused, collaborative industry that can deliver better buildings faster, cheaper and safer.
These efficiencies are expected to be driven by increased use of data science and artificial intelligence, which would enable further adoption of robotic and digital fabrication processes across all stages of a project’s lifespan, from development, design, production and assembly through to operation, maintenance and end-of-life.
Some of the outcomes the CRC hopes to achieve include:

30 percent reduction in project costs through digital technology and off-site manufacturing
40 percent reduction in project delays
80 percent reduction in construction waste
50 percent reduction in Co2 emissions for more sustainable buildings

Chief executive of Engineers Australia, Dr Bronwyn Evans, will chair the Monash University-headquartered CRC.
“The Building 4.0 CRC is going to be a really important factor in making sure we have a competitive future and we are addressing those broad sector needs,” Evans said.
Gavin Tonnet, Australian CEO of CRC collaborator Donovan Group, said that the CRC will be important for construction companies and their clients in visualising and realising buildings in real-time.
“The purpose is to transform the way that consumers and builders design and buy buildings by providing easy-to-use browsing-based software that allows them to custom-design, visualise and price buildings in an engineering compliant way,” Tonnet said.
Bill Ruh, Lendlease’s chief executive officer of digital added that the company’s investment in the CRC is essential to the research and development of solutions needed to meet its commitments to creating a safer, more sustainable industry.

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Let’s shut up about long-term brand building vs short-term sales, says British Gas marketer Jill Dougan- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

British Gas marketing director, Jill Dougan, says that marketers need to shut up about proving why long-term brand building wins out over a short-term sales focus.
Ahead of Tempemail Marketing Awards 2020, of which she is the chair of the jury, Dougan talks to Tempemail about the prevailing themes in marketing, what transformation looks like, and the conversations that marketers should be having to excite and motivate about the power of brands.
What are the prevailing themes in marketing?
For me, there are three big issues. First, data and trust. Consumers still don’t trust how large companies are using their data. And rightly so, in my view. We need to much more transparent with how we use data and prove that we deserve their trust. Then there’s the tug-of-war between creativity and businesses’ understandable short-termism, which I’ll cover more below. And, finally, there’s diversity and inclusion.
I think there are a lot of people in marketing who don’t recognise that being liberal and open-minded isn’t the same as running a diverse business. There’s still so much to be done in every area of inclusion from gender and ethnicity to sexuality and socio-economic diversity. There’s a wealth of talent and perspectives that still find their path in our industry blocked, and that directly affects our ability to do great creative work that represents our customers properly and talks to their lived experiences.
Some of the most powerful feedback that we’ve had about our most recent campaign has been about our attempt not just to show diversity, but to normalise diversity. To talk about real people’s lives rather than just trading in stereotypes.
What should everyone in marketing shut up about already?
I’d love us to be able to shut up about proving why long-term brand building wins out over a short-term sales focus. But it’s the argument that never goes away. Especially if, as now, it’s tough times for many companies. As marketers, we have to recognise that some of this is on us. We need to be better at making the argument that investing in creativity is the mainspring of long-term effectiveness. We need to be able to sell the longer-term vision in a way that speaks to the more commercial parts of our businesses – and to excite and motivate everyone about the power of our brands to drive consideration, not just conversion.
In the next few years, we’re going to see a lot of companies storing up problems for themselves as they cut budgets and redirect spending towards hitting quarterly numbers. As marketers, how we handle those conversations is where we really show our worth.
As a business, British Gas is going through a huge amount of transformation in the business. What does transformation look like?
For us, the transformation is all about how we organise around the customer. We’re bringing together multi-disciplinary teams with a remit to make the changes we need to deliver brilliant customer experiences across our key journeys. And we need to start every decision from the customer’s perspective and truly consider the impact the decisions we make will have on them. At a basic level, we want to move from selling the products we have to create the solutions that our customers need and want. You can see that in our new campaign – Here to solve – where we’re literally seeing things from our customer’s perspective and positioning ourselves as enablers.

But that’s just part of a bigger programme which encompasses changing how we direct and measure our work (see above) and breaking down the siloes in the company.
You have called the new British Gas campaign as a “seismic shift”, what does a good creative campaign look like to you?
I think we all know it when we see it; something that’s bold and truthful. It’s got to be original, exciting, inspiring, moving, funny – all of those things. But to really change people’s perceptions of a brand, it has to be authentic.
By nature, I think we’re all pretty cynical about most marketing – most of it is disposable nonsense, half an idea badly done, probably without the time or money it really needed. Sometimes you can see what the brand was trying to do, but haven’t quite pulled it off. Other times, the execution is impressive or artful, but you think to yourself, “that’s a bit of a stretch, you don’t really have a right to say that.” And, occasionally you see a campaign that gets it all right and there’s the recognition you get when something is so spot on that, the second time you see it, it seems utterly obvious in hindsight.
British Gas has its own econometrics team, what constitutes effectiveness for you?
We use all the standard sales-focused metrics you’d expect to show that we’re driving the most effective use of our budgets – sales, ROI, margin etc. We balance that with brand metrics, like awareness, consideration, NPS and Journey NPS.
For me, the challenge is to find metrics that focus the business in the right way and that measure what truly matters to the customer. In many large organisations, you’ll often find hundreds of different metrics in use, which can misdirect activity, distort priorities and, frequently, leave different parts of the business pulling in different directions.
We’re coming to the end of a business-wide metrics review, with the aim of reducing the number of metrics to produce a handful of measures aimed at directing everyone toward the same customer-focused outcomes.
The deadline for the awards has now passed and judging will take place soon. Nominations will be announced at 3pm on Thursday 12 March.
Partners of these awards are Modo25 and The Financial Times.

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