Paul Condron: Digital marketing is really kicking off

Tennent's Lager is set to make the beautiful game 'pitch-ure perfect' by allowing teams to capture video highlights (and lowlights) on demand on T5
Tennent's Lager is set to make the beautiful game 'pitch-ure perfect' by allowing teams to capture video highlights (and lowlights) on demand on T5
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For businesses large and small, online advertising and social media are now the biggest drivers says Paul Condron

By the time it takes you to finish reading this sentence, more than 40,000 tweets have been sent worldwide. Less than five years ago, it wouldn’t even have been 3,500.

With each and every second that passes online, 100,000 Facebook posts are uploaded, five hours of video are put on YouTube, 3,233 apps are downloaded, 40,000 Google searches are made and there are 830 swipes on Tinder. Those numbers keep increasing week-by-week.

“The digital revolution” isn’t restricted to social media. Wearable tech such as the Apple watch and smart home technology, including thermostats that can be controlled by your phone, are set to change our everyday lives forever.

As a public, we are more connected than we have ever been before. But what challenges and opportunities does that create?

Last week, marketing talent from throughout Scotland came together to discuss just that. Held at Drygate Brewery in Glasgow, Digital Day, Making Connections welcomed a sold out audience of 150 delegates, taking part in talks, workshops and panel discussions. The main question on everyone’s lips? How can brands, organisations and companies grab people’s attention in amongst the huge amount of digital noise?

Andre Campbell, global manager of digital marketing at Microsoft preached the need to “stand for and stand out”; that clear purpose and understandable, consistent messaging are indeed crucial – but not at the expense of creativity. Think imaginatively and grab people’s interest.

Lesley Eccles, co-founder of FanDuel, talked about the need to be nimble and adaptable online – and their experience shows us why. As a fantasy sport business that began life in Edinburgh six years ago, FanDuel is now worth more than $1billion. From a standing start, they are now the largest advertiser on US TV and the largest global advertiser on Facebook (they spent $17 million and $2m respectively last week alone). It’s a phenomenal achievement – but it hasn’t happened by chance. It’s squarely down to their ability to adapt, evolve and continually revise their core idea.

Eccles explained this as “minimum viable product”; that version one of a digital innovation should launch as soon as it is workable, and then be developed online in response to user feedback. To be bold, take risks and keep innovating – that’s the key when seeking success in the digital world. And as FanDuel prove, that digital world is without boundaries. Nowadays, talent isn’t just centred in Silicon Valley – it can be found everywhere and anywhere. Nowhere more so than Scotland

As marketing director for Tennent’s Lager, I’ve worked with our team to tap into that talent and think differently about how we connect with our digitally-savvy audience.

We’ve made our digital approach much more agile, building systems and tools to test content in the real world, giving us the ability to create, react and perfect what we do.

The bravest and possibly best example of this was Wellpark – a collection of 35 snappy, sharable animated comedy sketches. Each was created through an innovative collaboration between our agencies and a collective of writers, directors and animators with many specially written to react to events in the real world as they unfolded – for example, a send-up of the Fifa scandal, conceived, written, animated and publicised in less than five hours.

In just a few weeks, we generated more than 3.8 million online video views and a global reach of more than 1 billion. Engagement rates more than doubled the UK average for alcohol brands and we grabbed headlines in places like the New York Post and Fox News. Importantly, the campaign resonated with our target market, driving a rise in brand scores for Tennent’s Lager.

We’ve also brought digital innovation to football – an arena Tennent’s has played in for more than 40 years. We set out to create Match of the Day style highlights for ordinaryfive-a-side players through an innovation called T5s that brought real life and digital together. By hitting a button on the pitch, digital technology allowed players to capture the last 20 seconds of their playing action, instantaneously available to watch and share on social media or via a dedicated app.

T5s is now in three venues/centres throughout Scotland, with another five in the pipeline. Around 1,250 players enjoy it every week and over 20,000 clips have been generated, resulting in 14 million views. It’s also helped us generate new business as five-a-side centres look to install T5s technology, linking it to the post-match pint.

Nothing about Wellpark or T5 is traditional when it comes to marketing, but that’s exactly the point. Consumer expectations and the role of digital in our everyday life has shifted forever. It’s time for brands – and the marketing that surrounds them – to reflect this.

Paul Condron is marketing director at Tennent Caledonian Breweries and council member of the Marketing Society