Tag Archives: Marketing

Professional Liverpool – Creative, Digital & Tech Sector Group Launch

The city of Liverpool has a vibrant and fast growing creative, digital and technology sector. Across the entire Liverpool City Region (LCR), there are many businesses who utilise technology to collaborate and work with partners and clients. However there needs to be a single unifying voice, to represent the interests of Liverpool’s creative, digital and tech community.

I was delighted to recently attend the launch of Professional Liverpool’s Creative, Digital and Tech Sector Group, at Roxy Ballroom in Liverpool. The purpose of this group is to provide a representative voice to the sector, and to raise awareness and promote it to the LCR and beyond.

Collaboration was the theme for this event, including the importance to businesses. This featured guest speakers who provided an overview of the group’s purpose and aims, along with why businesses need to collaborate. Led by Paul Furlong of Opus Media, who is the group’s chairman, the other speakers were Kelly Forshaw of Laduma, and Neil Atkinson of The Anfield Wrap, who gave some interesting examples of successful collaboration from their experiences in business.

The launch had a feel-good vibe to the atmosphere. With a warm, informal and quirky touch, there was plenty of networking, and collaboration with a packed-out audience feeling at ease, leading to hearty laughs and conversation. This was helped by the drinks, pizzas and chicken wings provided, along with the indoor golf, bowling alleys and table tennis.

I certainly hope the Creative, Digital and Tech Group is successful for Professional Liverpool and the region. Judging by the success of this event, I have great hopes for this group to encourage Liverpool’s creative, digital and technology community, and to collaborate successfully with other businesses and organisations. In these tough and digitally connected times, businesses and industry sectors can no longer afford to work within silos.

This means collaboration is the way forward for businesses and organisations, regardless of public, private or charitable sector position. This can only be achieved through open and honest communication, teamwork, and a willingness to listen and work together.

I was glad to have attended, as I am looking forward to learning more from future events. It was a pleasant evening and I would like to thank all the speakers, and everyone at Professional Liverpool and Roxy Ballroom, for coming together and successfully collaborating on a successful group launch.

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The Platform – Has Liverpool Got the Media it Needs?

There are so many media platforms in Liverpool today. From newspapers, online news and blog sites, the media representation of Liverpool has transformed beyond recognition.

At this month’s Platform event in Liverpool Science Park, I was delighted to attend and listen to an interesting debate, which looked at Liverpool’s media community. Led by representatives from the Liverpool Echo, BBC Radio Merseyside and Radio City Talk, this was a debate that was informative and engaging, with the panel and audience each having plenty to say. It was a lively discussion and at times very feisty!

Because media is a broad subject, this debate focused on how Liverpool is represented locally, where resources can be applied, the fairness of media coverage, and if any improvements can be made. The panel included Ryan McKernan from Agent Marketing, Paul O’Connor from Hit Search, Rosie Kenyon from Kenyons, Susan Lee from the Liverpool Echo, Pauline McAdam from BBC Radio Merseyside, Mick Coyle from Radio City Talk, and Liam Fogarty from the University of Central Lancashire.

I have learned plenty about the local media in Liverpool. For starters, print media is declining due to the fall in circulation, and fierce competition from online platforms. This means smaller print titles face a difficult and uncertain future, meaning some will cease to exist.

As a long-standing local newspaper, the Liverpool Echo continues to adapt and buck the trend for print media. This is through a combination of advertising revenue and their continued coverage of news representing all aspects of life in the city, including crime, politics and football. Indeed, I have learned the Echo recently saw a 60% surge in paper sales due to Liverpool’s recent dramatic Champions League semi-final victory over Barcelona, which shows how popular topics such as football helps to attract and grow audiences.

Advertising is also crucial for both traditional and digital media platforms. Whilst BBC Radio Merseyside is funded by the licence fee, others are reliant on revenue generated by advertising through audience growth, from the popularity of content created that connects and resonates with people. Therefore, to create and market content, it is important to know the target audience, and how to deliver and connect with them.

Despite the popularity of online platforms, I was also interested to learn that radio is still popular. Radio is a very simple concept that makes a connection with people and is also second to none when producing and delivering news, that relates to people in Liverpool. It also has the advantage of being continually able to rapidly adapt and produce content to fit the changing tone of these current times.

I also learned other interesting points related to Liverpool’s local media, which include the following.

  1. Engaging with people to get messages across.
  2. Need to be digitally literate and know how to use platforms properly.
  3. Plan what a campaign needs to do.
  4. Digital marketing is a very broad term.
  5. Know how to deliver content to a targeted audience.
  6. Content needs to tell stories that resonate with the audience.
  7. In negative stories, look for the positives.

Does Liverpool have the media it needs? Reflecting on what I have learned, I believe the media in Liverpool serves the city reasonably well. Platforms such as the Liverpool Echo, BBC Radio Merseyside and Radio City Talk produce content relevant to the city and its people, from local politics, public and mental health, environment, knife crime, government cuts, to other subjects such as football.

However, I also believe they can cover more stories related to the good things happening in Liverpool. These can include stories related to people, businesses, tourism and other topics. Indeed, there are several news websites such as Liverpool Business News, Good News Liverpool, My Planet Liverpool and The Guide Liverpool, which produce good quality content about positive things happening in the city.

I appreciate and respect that topics such as crime, local politics and football needs to be covered with limited media resources, as they are popular and helps sales. However, it is surely worth taking an occasional risk in covering other subjects, that may not get as much attention.

Is there any harm in trying?

In conclusion, I would like to thank all the panel members for their contribution to a lively debate, and to the members of the audience for their participation. My thanks also go to Liverpool Science Park for sponsoring the event. Finally, I would also like to thank Amanda Follit, Mick Ord, Garth Dallas and Steve Dickson, for organising a very thought-provoking discussion.

The Platform – Commercial Property in Liverpool

When attending networking events, it can be difficult to find one that focuses on quality of networking. This month I attended The Platform, which is a unique business networking event, in that it not only allows professionals to network, develop quality connections, and listen to top-level speakers, but it also allows them to talk about their businesses. It is the latter that separates The Platform from other events that I have attended previously.

Held at Hill Dickinson in Liverpool, the event’s theme looked at Liverpool’s commercial property sector. This included what the Liverpool City Region (LCR) has achieved, along with some of the shortcomings that can be addressed for the region to do better commercially. Being interested in what is happening in Liverpool, with regards to commercial developments and how the local and national economic landscape is changing, I was keen to find out more for myself.

To discuss Liverpool’s commercial property sector in detail, the event included a panel discussion featuring interactive questions submitted by attendees. The panel featured Sue Wrightthe_platform1-2 who is Signature Living’s Managing Director, Mark Lawler who is the Managing Director of Baltic Creative CIC and Alex McCann of Hill Dickinson. Each speaker talked about their businesses, and their opinions on the strengths and weaknesses of the LCR’s commercial property sector, which was interesting for me to learn about.

The discussion was a fascinating insight into the workings of the commercial sector of Liverpool. With the panel’s experience and knowledge, I discovered some interesting points about Liverpool’s commercial strengths and areas for improvement. These gave me plenty to ponder for myself, which I have included below.

  1. Despite economic uncertainty the commercial property sector in Liverpool is very buoyant.
  2. Investors are still coming from countries such as China and America to invest in the city region.
  3. Major successes include the growth of the Baltic Triangle, which has delivered 1500 jobs in the last five years.
  4. Liverpool has a fast developing digital and creative economy.
  5. 4% of economic growth comes from outside of Liverpool.
  6. Major infrastructure improvements in transport, telecommunications and others are needed.
  7. Getting the balance right between residential and commercial property is paramount.

From listening to the panel discussion, I gained a balanced understanding of Liverpool’s commercial property sector. What I have learned is the city region has a tremendous can-do attitude and massive appeal to global investors, evident from the development of the Baltic Triangle, and to the sight of massive cranes visible over the Liverpool skyline. Future developments such as the Ten Streets, Paddington Village and the Fabric District also bring many possibilities to transform the city region’s economy. Despite these currently difficult economic and political times, the city is looking ahead in an optimistic and positive mood.

I am also aware there is still plenty to improve upon for Liverpool and the surrounding boroughs e.g. Wirral, Sefton and Knowsley to realise their commercial potential. This means everyone in the city region need to not only come together, but to also have a single unifying purpose and vision that inspires, encourages and drives all to work together as one, for the greater good of the Liverpool City Region.

I enjoyed ethe_platform1-3verything about The Platform from start to finish. I loved the quality of the networking, the panel discussion, the conversations, and the plush surroundings. As a result, I am looking forward to attending the next Platform event, of which I recommend to any professional in business.

In conclusion, I would like to thank Garth Dallas, Steve Dickson, Amanda Follit and Mick Ord for organising the event, and to Sue Wright, Mark Lawler and Alex McCann for being such great and interesting speakers. My thanks also go to Hill Dickinson for hosting the event.

After Hours – Co-op Digital

Working in technology, I enjoy listening to the experiences of other professionals. These occasions allow me to learn from the experiences of others in technology, before applying them to my own work and sharing with others.

Recently I attended the first ever After Hours event at Avenue HQ, which was organised by Oh This Way (OH). This featured Gail Mellows and Matt Tyas of Co-op Digital, who talked about their experiences and how they have used the skills learned on their digital journey, to benefit Co-op Digital and their clients.

Listening to Gail and Matt speak, I picked up on several reoccurring themes. These included collaboration, experimentation, quality of content, and working with other people. These are very important themes required in every single industry, as well as in everyday life.

In addition, there were other useful pieces of advice, that l learned from the event. These correspond to the themes that I have already mentioned, and in the spirit of learning and sharing, I have included some of these below.

  1. Never assume what your customers want.
  2. Experiment with different ways of working.
  3. Use your skills from childhood (e.g. drawing, sketching with colours, or using Lego), to get your ideas across.
  4. Prototyping is the start of collaboration between designers, developers and customers.
  5. Duplication needs to be reduced as it causes inefficiency, is unfair on colleagues, and is ultimately bad for customers.
  6. Important to research thoroughly and involve everyone.
  7. Prototyping allows you to make mistakes safely, quickly and cheaply.
  8. Give teams the right tools to do their job.
  9. Content needs to be designed so that it is legible, readable and accessible to all.
  10. Content and customer needs dictate the design outcome.
  11. Good design should go unnoticed.
  12. Quality of content is perceived by how a customer interacts with it.
  13. What you leave out is as important as what you include.
  14. Use the right words and not more words.
  15. Learn from what succeeded and failed.

To summarise what I have learned, content needs to meet the requirements stated by the customer. This is achieved by using different working methods, techniques and the right tools, to constantly experiment with various scenarios, before creating content that meets the required outcomes. As well as the above, content needs to meet quality standards, be accessible to everyone, is user-friendly, and based on strong foundations of thorough research and robust testing, from all relevant parties.

In conclusion, I would like to thank Robyn Dooley and Victoria Murray of OH for organising the event. My thanks also go to Gail and Matt from Co-op Digital for sharing their experiences, and also to Avenue HQ for hosting the event. This was an interesting and very useful discussion for me, and I am looking forward to the next After Hours event.

You can find out more about Co-op Digital’s work by looking at their blog.

BIMA & Microsoft Roadshow Liverpool – Wednesday 2nd May 2018

Working in the IT industry, it is important to keep abreast of the latest developments. For me personally, I like to take an interest in how the changing technology landscape, affects both the economic and social society we live in.

Earlier this month BIMA North West in partnership with Microsoft held an event at Avenue HQ, which looked at the above. I was looking forward to learning more about how Microsoft is developing technological solutions, which will shape the future for businesses and agencies. In addition, I also relished the opportunity to network with other technical professionals and creative minds.bima_microsoft1

The event began with an introduction from Andy Kent of Angel Solutions and Ian Finch of Mando. Both set the tone, by talking about the innovative work of their agencies, and how emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML) and cloud computing are changing how businesses operate.

Andy and Ian were then followed by James Akrigg of Microsoft, who delivered an informative presentation. This looked at using AI to understand and translate languages, as well as Microsoft’s ongoing research to improve its capabilities, including image recognition and cognitive services (vision, language, speech, emotion and audio). All of this sounds like science fiction, but they are becoming more entrenched in reality.

Following this, the event split into separate workshops that were delivered by Microsoft technologists, Philip Harvey and Jodie Rodgers. Each presented various aspects of how technology and data can be used intelligently by businesses. This included looking at good practices of intelligent handling, storing, processing, and cleansing of cloud-based data from its rawest form, to accurately visualise and present it. By using these innovations, this provides businesses with the opportunity to identify areas of improvement, and create further value.

What impressed me about James, Philip and Jodie, is they were knowledgeable, friendly, and able to explain technical content in a simple and understanding tone. Coming from a technical background, I was able to understand the terminology, and it was wonderful to sit and listen to them talk about such exciting technological innovations. Quite simply I shall say, the possibilities to enrich and benefit businesses and society, are endless!

So what did I learn from the event? The answer is that I picked up so much in great detail about Microsoft’s Azure cloud solution and Power BI data analytics tools. There were also reoccurring themes from the event related to data and technology, which I have learned and included below:

  1. Data is the new oil!
  2. It is important to amplify human ingenuity with intelligent technology.
  3. Technologies have to be the right fit for a business.
  4. Ability to process data is a vital skill in the marketplace.
  5. Today’s software is becoming smarter.
  6. Before using data, it is important to sort, cleanse, organise and secure it.
  7. If harnessed intelligently, data can bring value to any business.
  8. Quality of data is important, and security is everyone’s responsibility.
  9. Humans prefer data presented visually.
  10. Data needs to be accurate, cleansed, simplified and presented in real-time.

Following lunch, there was an opportunity to take part in a boot camp. This involved taking a fictional case study and applying the knowledge learned from the workshops to devise a solution. Working as part of a team, I was able to contribute ideas, but also to listen and take in suggestions of fellow team members, before helping to present a solution to other attendees.bima_microsoft3

To conclude, I loved every moment of this event. From the speakers, networking and those incredible Microsoft tools, this has given me an insight into the future. It has also given me fresh impetus to learn and write more about AI, ML and cloud computing, especially Microsoft Azure, which I am looking forward to sharing in the future.

I would like to thank everyone involved with organising a terrific day. This includes Andy, Ian, everyone at BIMA, Angel Solutions, Mando and also to Avenue HQ for their hospitality. My thanks also go to James, Philip, Jodie and everyone at Microsoft for sharing their knowledge, technical expertise, visionary thoughts, and their smiles and humour.

If you would like to find out more, why not click on the link below:

https://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/partner/digitalagency/

Thank you for reading!

Social Media Meetup – Thursday 19th April 2018

Recently I attended Social Media Meetup, which was held at Launch22 in Liverpool. This was organised by Mark Russell of bmicro, and featured knowledgeable speakers in Peter Buglass of Objective Comment Consultancy and Edward Ridding of Umami.

I had never been to this event before, although others in my network had recommended it, through word-of-mouth on LinkedIn. Therefore as a blogger, I decided to attend the event, and see what I could learn. It was certainly worth the investment of my time and energy.

The event featured a brief talk from both Peter and Edward, who shared their professional experiences of using social media, as part of their businesses. Peter and Edward also gave their views on the recent announcement of JD Wetherspoons, closing down their social media accounts, and allowed the audience to contribute to the discussion.

From this, the discussion opened up a wide range of opinions, leading to other relevant issues surrounding social media. These included how organisations collect and use personal data, to provide personalised communications to their customers. A typical example is Amazon using data collected on customers, to send personalised ssm2_290418recommendations, based on browsing and shopping habits.

In addition, the event allowed the audience to ask each other questions, and discuss how to improve their online platforms. This was a good opportunity for me, to tap into the experience of the speakers and audience, who gave me some useful advice and pointers.

There was a real community feel to the event, as the audience was a diverse mix of professionals from different backgrounds, including entrepreneurs, digital marketers and bloggers. The bloggers I met included Jo Fitzimons who not only has a travel blog called Indiana Jo, but also a prosecco themed-blog called Visit Prosecco Italy. Another blogger I also met and was impressed by was Aditi Chawla, of Try New Today. Being surrounded by like-minded people, and a friendly dog called Buttons was very relaxing and pleasant, making this one of the nicest events I have ever attended, and one that I recommend to anyone.

If you have ever been to Launch22’s offices in Liverpool, I guarantee that it offers something completely different (in the words of Monty Python). As a co-working space, Launch22 has a quirkiness andssm1_290418 homely environment allowing for entrepreneurs and creative-minded people to launch their dreams. Such homeliness was evident, when I noticed a huge teddy bear in the office.

To conclude, I would like to personally thank Mark, Peter and Edward, and everyone at Launch22 for putting together an evening, rich in learning, delightful conversation, and for the popcorn.

I shall certainly be looking forward, to attending another event in the near future!

Professional Liverpool – Networking Lunch with Dean Currall

Marketing is crucial for businesses in every industry. From law, digital, construction, technology, manufacturing, finance and others, it is a key role shared by everyone. However one of the common pitfalls encountered are professionals talking about themselves and their businesses first, rather than listening and learning about what potential customers want.

I had the pleasure of recently attending a networking lunch organised by Professional Liverpool, which looked at marketing. The speaker was Dean Currall of Verb Marketing, who gave a presentation about how professional services can utilise marketing techniques, to develop fruitful and productive trust-based relationships.

There was plenty that Dean talked about, that really fascinated me. From the importance of giving solutions to customers, in the form of services and structured content, I found Dean’s presentation to be tangible and relevant for businesses, entrepreneurs and professionals today. In this era of digital technology, companies need to use the capabilities provided to tailor their marketing approach, in order to attract clients and promote their services.

In addition, Dean also provided other useful nuggets of wisdom, which I have listed below.

  1. You need to have a marketing strategy and objectives that are relevant, achievable and measurable.
  2. Create and give free content that resonates with people.
  3. Promote and boost content created and shared by others (e.g. blog posts, published articles and presentations).
  4. To sell content to boost your brand, you need to offer solutions.
  5. Your content needs to include tangible information.
  6. Become a thought leader and develop a relationship of trust.
  7. Do more seminars and blogs!
  8. Sell stories, experiences, solutions and benefits.
  9. Segment your content using a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) database.

From the points listed above, I was able to relate this to my blogging work, and how I constantly strive to create relevant and useful content, that resonates with people. Listening to Dean speak about structuring content, providing relevant information and how it needs to capture the personal attention of others, was a defining moment for me.

It also made me think back to a past experience, when I wrote and published an article about learning from failure, back in June 2016. When I published and shared the article, I discovered later on to my amazement, that it was viewed 88 times that year, which I was not expecting. Therefore I was taken completely by surprise with how the article struck a chord, and resonated with many people. It still surprises me today!

I was greatly impressed with Dean as a speaker. I not only learned plenty from him, but he presented and delivered his content, with a knowledgeable yet easygoing tone, that I could easily relate to and understand. In addition, I was also impressed with his knowledge of the mechanics involved with successful marketing. This has given me a greater understanding of creating and marketing my blog content.

A delightful bonus of the event was networking with familiar and new faces. These included Paul Trickett of Bathgate Business Finance, Agnes Fitzgerald of Irish Business Enterprise, Elaine Courtney of Courtney Reid, Jon Davies of Jon Davies Accountants and Simon Robb of The Alternative Board, amongst many others. Overall it was a pleasurable event, and I sincerely hope that everyone who attended also enjoyed Dean’s presentation, and found it to be as interesting and useful as I did.

I would like to personally thank Dean for sharing his marketing wisdom, and also to Alex Clark and Emma Rittenberg of Professional Liverpool, for organising a top-notch networking lunch.