Guest Blog Post - Dick Selwood - Goodbye to Electronics

After 40 years in the Electronics industry, we were sad to hear that Dick Selwood would be retiring. This is why I was delighted to receive a guest blog post from Dick looking back as the things he will and won't miss about the industry. We wish Dick the best of luck for the future, and hope he enjoys his well deserved time off!

 Goodbye Electronics 

Dick at CDNLive in Munich

Standing on the edge of retirement, I am wondering what I will and won’t miss about the electronics biz that I joined almost 40 years ago, firstly inside as a PR person and then, for the last 15 years, primarily as a journalist.

Things like trade shows leave mixed feelings. I loved the buzz of getting an event together and later, the interesting conversations when I was a vising hack. I won’t miss the tramp from one end of the Munich Messe. I won’t miss the poor, newly appointed, PR executives from large PR companies who ring to set up meetings at shows, without knowing what their client is talking about, or even what their stand number is. I won’t miss the press conferences that are only set up because “We always have a press conference at embedded world / electronica/ fill in here”. I won’t miss the marketing robots who start their PowerPoint with the background to the company – in one case a company I had worked for -  and cannot deviate. I will miss those stand meetings where the spokesperson understood what they were talking about and was happy to expand the conversation into a wider context, as they knew that I wasn’t covering news as such but using the event to do a snap-shot of the industry. There are some people where I deliberately set up meetings to get their views on the bigger issues, rather than their current news – Release 4.1 might be great for the people who built it and their existing customers. I have often felt sorry for the PR escort who saw the conversation between me and his spokesman disappearing off into areas that were not on the agenda. I will, however, miss the PR people who are on top of their client and its technology, but know when to step back and let the specialist speak to me, and made sure the client followed up on promises for more material. I particularly admire those individuals who have said, “We have X and Y at the show, but if you are busy, go for X and we will sort something out when Y has something more interesting to say.”  They are doing a better job for Y than the company might appreciate.

I will miss learning about new technology and how it is making an impact on people’s lives. I won’t miss the announcements that make navel-gazing look almost visionary, nor the press releases where you can see where entrenched interests in the company have forced in their opinions (I used to write them -remember). I sympathise with the stress over composing  the opening statements”  -  X, the world leader in pink boxes shipped when there is an R in the month” and in re-writing on a regular basis the corresponding footnote setting out why X is so marvellous. I long ago realised that companies with a stock market quotation have Investor Relations people pushing for a stream of announcements to keep the analysts and the investors happy – it is no longer paper cuts and an over-flowing re-cycling bin, but only a sore finger from pressing delete.

And a familiar cry – I won’t miss the releases from companies who have bought or subscribed to a list of technology journalists, and then blasted out releases of very marginal interest to an electronics specialist (blue tooth barbecue thermometers anyone?). Even worse – since I have been working for a title based in Portland, Oregon, I used to receive regular releases from the US Navy about the achievements of Portland natives in the service and from the organisers of cowboy poetry competitions. These are more than balanced by those professionals who ring/email and say, “I know you ae inserted in safety and security. Would you like to talk to X in advance of their announcement?”

I won’t miss some of the self-opinionated people who would have told God where his designs were wrong.  But I will miss the many interesting people in the industry, who have wider interests, and don’t see the IoT as the most important thing in the world, and these come from all parts of the business

Goodbye electronics – and good luck.

 


Guest Blog Post - Ian Poole -Secrets of Making a Good Video on a Budget

Following on from the well-received 'Does Video Work'  guest blog post written by Electronics Notes editor Ian Poole; I was more than happy to receive a second blog post from Ian, which explores the secrets of making good video on a budget.

Secrets of Making Good Video on a Budget

In our post a couple of months back I looked at whether videos were worth doing. Videos can be a great way of getting a message over, but sometimes they can look bad if they are not well made or at the other end of the scale they can be hugely expensive. So are there ways of getting a good video on a budget?

There are lots of things you can say about making a video, but one of the pieces of advice that was given to me and has stayed with me is that there are two important aspects to any video: lighting and sound. If you can get these right, then the video is going to be much better - get them wrong and the video won’t be a success and people will quickly move on.

So what equipment is needed.  Yes you can have a huge video camera on a large tripod with a couple of large lights and a huge fluffy microphone and two or three people to operate it and carry it around. But all of this is not really needed for most of the videos that are to be posted on the Internet. There are some very high quality videos that have been posted on YouTube and they have been made with quite modest equipment.

There are many YouTube video bloggers or vloggers that make technically very acceptable videos so it helps to take a look at what they use.

In terms of the camera some use a camcorder, and there are some very good camcorders, but a lot use DSLRs and many others just use a mobile phone. So let’s take a look at them in turn.

Today most DSLRs come with HD video capability and some can even capture 4k, although unless you ding a lot of post processing, this is not normally much use. Virtually all current DSLRs have the ability to take external microphones and also for headphones to monitor the audio. Even comparatively modest DSLRs are going to be able to provide video that is more than good enough for YouTube.

Mobile phones can also provide a good option. In recent years phone manufacturers have invested a huge amount of development into the phone camera technology. The latest phones give clear crisp video and the image stabilisation is second to none. I once heard that a BBC engineer looking at some footage shot on a modern phone was definitely broadcast quality.

The mounting used for the camera can also help. The wobble-cam video of years ago is definitely out of vogue now. The natural solution for most video shots would require a tripod. Fortunately as the cameras tend not to be too heavy, unless you go for a really top end DSLR, and they can be mounted on a very light tripod. If you don’t want to pan or have any other fancy capabilities, some of the really cheap tripods are light and easy to carry as they are plastic. They can be more than adequate.

For mobile phones you can get tripod attachments, but you may also want to consider a gimbal. These are handheld devices and hold the phone in place. They link to the sensors on the phone and keep it steady, straight and level as well as enabling smooth panning and other capabilities.

Audio is the next challenge. Forget the on-board microphones as they don’t have the quality required for video and they pick up too much surrounding sound as they are too far away from the subject. Even if you are in a quiet room, they pick up too much echo. There are several options. A good handheld microphone can work well. Go for a reasonably priced one from a well known brand and you cannot go wrong. For interviews an omnidirectional microphone is normally best. Most microphones for singing, etc, have a cardioid response and this may not work so well if the person talking is slightly off the main response.

Another idea is to use a shotgun style microphone. These can be mounted on a DSLR and are directed in the direction of the camera. Again, go for a known brand and you should be fine.

Lavalier or lapel microphones also work well. They have the advantage that they will be close to the speaker and won’t have so much background noise and this can be particularly useful when interviewing at exhibitions and conferences.

More information about microphones for video can be found here.

Lighting is the last issue. This is not quite so critical as it used to be as the camera technology helps out a lot. May be the first requirement is to position the interview in a place where there is plenty of light - not too much backlighting otherwise the speaker will be in shadow and the background will be blown. Also, these days it is possible to buy relatively cheap LED video lights that fit onto the camera on the hot-shoe. These can be used to provide fill in light or occasionally provide the main lighting. LED lights provide a really convenient solution, but make sure you have some spare batteries with you as they can quickly and suddenly run out of juice.

Just a few ideas for better videos. Check out some of our videos on our Electronics Notes YouTube channel.

 

 


The GDPR Questions You Should Ask Your Agency

At Napier, we’re not offering a service to magically guarantee GDPR compliance. It’s just too complex a topic to be able to offer any kind of standard solution that will work for more than one client. The regulation is also so wide-ranging that as a marketing agency, we can’t tell you what to do, or even whether you are compliant or not. We are, however, keen to help our clients ensure compliance with this important new regulation, and have had some great conversations where we’ve been able to give both advice and support that simplified the work imposed by this new regulation.

In a nutshell, the new regulations will come into force on 25 May 2018. Between now and then it is therefore crucial for companies – and their marketing teams – to change the way ‘personal data’ is obtained, stored and secured, to ensure compliance. GDPR, of course, extends well beyond marketing, but we will focus on the impact on marketing activities as this is where your agency should be able to give advice.

As every company has a slightly different situation, we thought it would be worth listing the questions you should be asking your agency – they should be able to give you answers that are informed and helpful, but if they can’t help you can take a look at our comments below.

Is there an easy way to ensure GDPR compliance?

Some very small organisations probably will be able to achieve compliance without much effort, but large organisations will need to spend a considerable amount of time. A recent survey by Trustarc found that 1 in four companies with over 5000 employees expect the cost of GDPR to exceed $1M. Even companies in the 1000-5000 range are budgeting eyewatering amounts, with 1 in 5 of them expecting to spend more than $1M.

Does GDPR affect me?

GDPR is a very wide-ranging regulation. It affects any organisation processing (or gathering) data about EU citizens, whether or not the organisation has servers, offices or employees in the EU. This “extraterritoriality” of the law may prove difficult to enforce for organisations that have absolutely no presence in the EU, but it means that almost every large organisation is going to be impacted by GDPR.

What are you doing about GDPR?

Your agency should have a good GDPR compliance plan, otherwise how can you trust them to advise you? The work the agency has done might also save you a little time too!

Another factor is that data processors have specific legal obligations. If your agency isn’t going to meet those obligations while processing data for your campaigns, it could open you up to prosecution, as the “data controller” (i.e. the client in this case) has a responsibility to ensure processors comply with GDPR.

What are the GDPR rules for how long I can keep data? Does GDPR require opt-in marketing communications?

GDPR doesn’t work by defining timescales, and this is why it’s impossible to provide a straightforward list of requirements that you need to meet. GDPR requires organisations to look at the personal data they hold and determine the right way to handle it. Although there are best practices emerging, organisations need to make decisions for themselves.

GDPR doesn’t even require opt-in for marketing communications, despite what you might have heard. You can claim that direct marketing is a “legitimate interest” for your organisation, allowing you to use an opt-out policy, but you must make sure that the justification is documented clearly.

Are my marketing activities compliant? If not, how do they need to change?

Your agency should have a good idea of whether your current campaigns would need to change to be compliant. They should, at least be giving you advice on where they can see potential issues.

Do I need to delete contacts from my database?

This really depends on how you have used your database. For example, if you’ve not conducted direct marketing to a contact for some considerable period, it’s going to be hard to claim that there is any relationship to justify direct marketing in the future. Although there was some talk about grandfathering existing databases (i.e. you can keep anyone who was in your database before GDPR came into force), the final regulations did NOT include this provision. So, you must consider whether your current databases are compliant.

Does GDPR mean I have to stop email marketing, unless a contact explicitly opts-in?

There is a common misconception that email marketing is going to be decimated by GDPR. In fact, you can claim that direct marketing is a “legitimate interest” of the business, justifying sending emails to a contact without explicit consent. Yes, the regulations really do say, “The processing of personal data for direct marketing purposes may be regarded as carried out for a legitimate interest.”

However, it’s not quite that simple. Firstly, data subjects have the absolute right to object to processing (to opt out), and if you are using direct marketing as a legitimate interest, you’d better make sure that this is very easy to do. Furthermore, you must balance the right to privacy of the data subject with your legitimate interest of direct marketing to decide whether claiming the legitimate interest is reasonable. And this is where things can get very tricky!

How do I know if I can claim direct marketing as a legitimate interest?

The simple answer is to refer to the GDPR text, which says:

At any rate the existence of a legitimate interest would need careful assessment including whether a data subject can reasonably expect at the time and in the context of the collection of the personal data that processing for that purpose may take place. The interests and fundamental rights of the data subject could in particular override the interest of the data controller where personal data are processed in circumstances where data subjects do not reasonably expect further processing.

There is no hard and fast rule! It does mean that organisations will decide to interpret this part of GDPR differently, depending upon their perspective and the level of legal risk they are prepared to take. Whatever happens, if you want to claim a legitimate interest, then you need to have clearly documented rational for doing so.

What’s all the talk about transparency?

One of the key elements of GDPR is the need for transparency. If you collect data, you need to be absolutely clear about how you will use that data, and you can’t use the data for any other purposes. This means that your privacy policy better be up to date, and you cannot get away with catch-all uses of personal data such as “any other business purposes”: we’ve seen this sort of clause on privacy policies, and it clearly fails the requirement for transparency. So, although it’s not the most exciting page on your website, you should be reviewing your privacy policy now!

You also need to make sure that it’s very clear how the data will be used when you collect it. We anticipate most companies will choose the use of an opt-in check box when collecting data to enable documentation of consent by the data subject, but stronger approaches such as double-opt in are also likely to be popular.

What rights do the contacts on my database have?

These contacts (data subjects in the language of GDPR) have eight specific rights:

  1. The right to be informed
  2. The right of access
  3. The right to rectification
  4. The right to erasure
  5. The right to restrict processing
  6. The right to data portability
  7. The right to object
  8. Rights in relation to automated decision making and profiling

So, this means that any contact on your database can ask for the information you hold on them, demand errors are corrected, tell you to delete their data (have you thought about what you do with backups?), stop you processing their data or even ask for their data in a format that allows them to transfer the data to another system!

This has huge implications for marketing and CRM databases: not only must you be able meet the technical challenge of ensuring personal data is erased completely, but you also need to remember that anything on your database might have to be shown to that individual. If you don’t think this is a problem, are you sure that no sales person has documented their challenges in dealing with a difficult person at one of your major accounts in your CRM?

What about data security?

This is something that has been widely discussed: GDPR puts a lot of requirements on organisations to keep personal data private. If you’re hacked, or carelessly leave a USB drive on the train, you must report the data breech. You also must think about controlling access to your data through individual accounts and passwords.

How do I show I’m compliant?

The regulations are pretty clear about this. To show compliance, you must:

  • Implement appropriate technical and organisational measures that ensure and demonstrate that you comply. This may include internal data protection policies such as staff training, internal audits of processing activities, and reviews of internal HR policies.
  • Maintain relevant documentation on processing activities.
  • Where appropriate, appoint a data protection officer.
  • Implement measures that meet the principles of data protection by design and data protection by default.

Why can’t you just sort out compliance for me?

We’d love to be able to ensure our clients are compliant, but there are several reasons why this isn’t usually possible. So perhaps this isn’t really a question you should ask, although we understand many clients will want to ask it!

As a marketing agency, however, we simply don’t have enough visibility into our clients’ activities. Of course, we can review the marketing automation system to see whether there is clear documentation about the source and consent of a contact, but what about the excel sheets that the sales team have been emailing? A marketing agency is unlikely to be able to track this, let alone determine if it’s possible to remove someone from the email backup system (honestly, would you want your marketing agency messing with your IT systems?).

What about the lead sheets and business cards from the show last year that are sitting with the sales team? GDPR includes paper records, and an agency is unlikely to know what sheets of paper have been distributed.

So, it’s hard for a marketing agency to know everything that needs to be done, or for a client to give access to all the systems that contain personal data – which includes any folder containing files with contact details!

Some aspects of GDPR involve weighing the data subjects’ rights against a legitimate interest: we’re confident there will be many companies claiming direct marketing as a legitimate interest. Although we can give our opinions on how to balance these rights, so our clients are fully informed, in the end it’s a decision we believe they must make based on advice from their legal counsel, and one that should never be outsourced to a marketing agency.

What can you do to help me?

If you’ve read down to this question, you might be feeling a little depressed: there’s so much to do in just a few months, and we’ve said that you’re going to have to do the work yourself!

But don’t worry, your agency should be able to help you and take most of the hard work away. They should:

  • Give advice and information, although we’d always recommend using your company’s legal counsel as the highest authority on this (and any other legal matter).
  • Support analysis of the current situation. A data protection impact assessment (DPIA) is one process for helping organisations to identify the most effective way to comply with their data protection obligations and meet individuals’ expectations of privacy, and involving your agency in this process could save you a significant amount of work.
  • Provide a perspective on what policies you should adopt. The agency should be able to talk through things such as what your policy on retention of existing contacts will be, whether you will seek explicit consent from existing contacts, how you will ensure the number of databases is manageable and what your privacy policy should include.
  • Review the data collection processes and data that is visible to them. Although there will be some data that the agency can’t be aware of, they probably see a significant proportion of your marketing systems, and can review whether they are likely to be compliant.
  • Crunch the data. Your agency should be able to process data based on policies you’ve decided, or to ensure things like opt-out data is synchronised between systems (although really this should be happening already). We’ve crunched databases of 1M+ contacts for our clients: it’s really not that hard when you know how!
  • Help you to design-in privacy to your marketing campaigns. One of the principles of GDPR is that privacy should be designed-in, and there are a lot of ways to ensure this can be achieved.

In Summary

The bad news: GDPR is coming, and if you’re reading this blog post, it almost certainly affects your organisation. There is a lot of work for you to do before the legislation comes into force, and it’s highly unlikely that you can just call in a company to make you compliant.

The good news: although GDPR does place some onerous demands on marketing & information technology, as well as limiting what can be done with personal data, it is possible to comply and continue proactive and effective database marketing/marketing automation activities that drive revenue for your company. Although your marketing agency can’t do it for you there are many different points in the process at which they can help. There’s still time to meet the deadline if you’re able to call in knowledgeable help and support.

 

Request our Guide 'The New GDPR Regulations - A Study by Napier' 

Request our guide to find out how you and your marketing teams should be changing the way your personal data is obtained, stored and secured. Click here to request your copy.


Mouser's Graham Maggs - Marketing Expert Interview

Graham Supporting the Portsmouth FC Football Team

Graham Maggs, Vice President of Marketing EMEA at Mouser Electronics, is the latest marketer to take part in our marketing expert series. From Graham's view on the most-over hyped marketing tactic, to his favourite football team, we asked Graham a variety of questions to learn everything we could about our latest marketing expert. 

 

  • What are your biggest marketing challenges?

The biggest challenge for Mouser is ensuring the right information is provided to the right people. Mouser spends a considerable amount of time and money on building our customer databases, as it is imperative to ensure that we are not perceived as sending ‘spam’.

Of course, the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) rules that are due to be enforced in May 2018 mean extra challenges, but we see this as an opportunity to build better databases and forge closer relationships with our customers.

  • Describe the future of trade media – will it thrive or are there problems ahead?

I think it is a challenging time for media companies right now, as traditional advertising spend reduces and all companies look for more statistics. However, I believe there will always be an appetite for information, especially for media who become more interactive with their readers.

  • If there is one thing you could change about the electronics press, what would it be?

I wish the electronics press in general would include more live links within their copy. They should be less afraid of losing traffic from their site. Mouser is actively looking to increase its partnership (media spend) with media houses that include the active links that we supply with our PRs and other material.

  • What do you think is the most effective and least effective marketing activity you, or your company undertakes (in terms of ROI)?

The most effective is SEM leading to SEO through organic Google searches. However, you have to consider the activities that lead people to search.

The least effective might be considered print advertising – but then again, this is difficult to quantify because it is not really measurable. Again, we know that in some countries, print publications are very influential.

  • What is the most over-hyped marketing tactic?

Probably exhibitions. However, you do need a mix of marketing activities to achieve different goals at different times with different groups of individuals.

  • What was the best campaign you’ve run?

We did an excellent campaign with the Intel Galileo board through Elektor. We ran a competition and everyone who signed up got a Galileo poster. We had to print an extra 3500 more posters than we had planned.

  • Tell us about a campaign you ran that didn’t work, and what you learnt from it.

There was a UK show which we tried which had hardly any visitors – we learned not to exhibit again!

  • How does marketing for a distributor differ from the marketing done by manufacturers in the electronic components industry?

That is an interesting question. Traditional distributors will focus on image building, whereas manufacturers will probably look at introducing new technology and new parts. In that respect, with our focus on design engineers, Mouser is more similar to manufacturers as we also want to introduce customers to new parts and new technologies. So, we put a lot of emphasis on becoming a knowledge centre – offering white papers, design ideas, the design ecosystem – as well as letting customers know that we have huge, freely-available parts of course.

  • If there was one thing you could change about how agencies work with you, what would it be?

Sometimes it can seem that agencies concentrate more on winning new business than servicing what they already have!

  • Can you explain how you define and measure success for your campaigns?

At a basic level we look at the click through ratio, however, we have to understand that some promotion is not done for immediate leads/enquiries, but to build brand and image, which leads to long term growth. In that respect, Mouser has performed extremely well, with significant double digit growth, well above industry average and other ‘high service’ distributors month on month, quarter on quarter and year on year since we began in Europe.

Print, of course is even harder to measure, but we believe that there will always be a place for print.

When is enough ‘enough’? Again, that’s hard to answer, but we do believe in never repeating banner advertising – we always have new parts to promote, so we always keep our promotional subjects fresh.

  • What do you like to do in your spare time/hobbies?

It’s well-known that I do like holidays. Other than that, I am an avid Portmouth FC supporter, I play a little golf, love spending time with my grandchildren and I also read a lot.

  • What football (or any other sport) team do you support?

There is only one team – surely everyone knows this? POMPEY!!!! Portsmouth FC. Play UP Pompey; Pompey Play Up!

  • What other career would you have chosen if you weren’t in marketing?

Probably either the Navy, or teaching

  • How did you get into the electronics industry?

My mother was very keen on me not going into the Navy (see above!) so she pushed me to apply for apprenticeships. I was offered two, but chose an electronics post with Marconi, as that seemed very interesting with lots of potential. At Marconi I had the opportunity to try many functions, including purchasing, and this led to a position with distributor Swift Sasco. From there I moved to Philips and the Bourns, first in a sales role, then in distribution, eventually ending up as European distribution manager. Then, when Mouser was looking to build its European team, I was honoured to be invited to apply. It’s been a very rewarding time, building the team and helping to shape our future and I look forward to it continuing for many years!

 

 

 


electronics notes logo

Guest Blog Post - Ian Poole - Does Video Work?

With video quickly becoming a huge part of the B2B industry, I was delighted to receive a blog from Ian Poole, editor of Electronics Notes who explores whether video really does work for website owners in the electronics sector:

Does Video Work?

This is one of the questions that website owners in the electronics sector ask themselves. Possibly the way to answer this question is to look at the BBC and see the ever increasing number of videos on their site, and it would seem that the answer is that Yes, video does work on the Internet.

However, possibly the right question to ask is whether video works for me. The BBC has the advantage that they broadcast video on their TV channels and it is relatively easy to rearrange the format for the Internet, and also they have a huge audience. Websites run in the electronics sector typically have much smaller audiences and so careful consideration is required.

A well made video is expensive to produce. A typical figure for producing a video is about a man day a minute for a reasonably well produced video. This represents a large investment in time for even a short video.

Whilst it is possible to upload videos that might consist of a simple interview, and this can be done in a few minutes, these interviews typically only get a few views, often measured in hundreds at best, or that is my experience.

It is necessary to look at the aim of running videos. At Electronics Notes we have been wrestling with this problem, and as a site providing reference material we need to try to ensure some return on the investment in time. Monetising the videos on YouTube brings in a small revenue, RPM rates of between £1 and about £5 are the best that can be expected so it needs a lot of views to make a channel viable, especially when it may take a few days to make a video. Some people like Dave Jones at EEVBlog have honed their offering very well and his channel has a huge level of traffic of over 80k views a day!

A well-made video explaining a topic people are searching on can have a significant number of views. One of ours on phase locked loops  has served over 75k views since November 2016, and a couple of others have served around 30k views in a similar period, but not all have: https://youtube.com/ElectronicsNotes

Screenshot from the phase locked loops video                                                                                                                                                                      
Electronics Notes YouTube Channel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So what is the point of running videos? The major gain is that it increases engagement with the main website. There are some SEO advantages - with YouTube being the second largest search engine after Google itself, it is another opportunity to promote the website and the brand.

Also it increases engagement with the main website. A video embedded into the page enables visitors to understand the topic in the page without having to read through a lot of text. Having a topic explained on video is much easier than reading.

It is also worth considering how much to invest in developing a YouTube channel. YouTube channels providing a new video every week at the same time, as well as encouraging new subscribers to the channel and other SEO techniques for video will do much better. But the question to ask is whether this is achievable.

So really video should not be looked upon merely as a money generation opportunity, but another part of an overall offering. One that enhances the experience of the visitors and improves the content on the page. Whilst cost and monetisation may be two points to put into the equation,  it is necessary to look at the wider picture, and then it is not always possible to exactly calculate the return the video is giving, but with more organisations using video, it is good to use it where possible.


Napier's Email Competition - Winner Announced!

Recently, Napier's very own Fiona Challen, Emily Serna and Hannah Kelly took part in an email design competition for St Wilfred's Hospice.

And after a close vote we are pleased to announce the winner is... Emily Serna! 

  See Emily's winning email design below: 

 


Why I took a cheesy American sales course

I’ve just finished a sales course run by HubSpot. Sales? I’ve done this before in my career, so why should I spend time on another course? And anyway, wasn’t the American exuberance of previous courses enough to last me a lifetime?

Apparently not! And it’s for a good reason: marketing and sales are changing fast, and if I want to ensure that Napier continues to grow then I must keep learning. So, I decided to take the HubSpot “Sales Lion” course.

You’ll have guessed from the title that the course didn’t lack exuberance. HubSpot has all the enthusiasm and energy of a young start-up (despite being a major global corporation) and there was certainly no lack of this energy from our trainer Dan. Yes, it was sometimes hard to deal with all the super-mega-awesomeness, but the truth is that the course was good. Very good.

The premise of the course is that you should sell by helping. You don’t sell by selling, you sell by helping someone. It’s very much like the consultative sales courses that were all the rage in the last 1980s and 1990s, but the approach has been updated to reflect the change in the environment. Today marketing is responsible for much more of the customer journey than it was 20 years ago, with the internet enabling customers, particularly B2B customers, to manage much of their journey without having to talk to a sales person.

The course wasn’t always about fluffy things like “helping”. There was also a strong focus on metrics: something that we’re great at encouraging with clients, but like most agencies we can be less thorough when it comes to our sales and marketing.

The course was useful, and shows the importance of continuing to learn. I find it interesting that marketing moved from pushing products to helping with the introduction of content marketing, and now there is a similar focus for sales. I still haven’t worked out quite how HubSpot seems to help so many people: it could be because I’m just super-mega-stoked by the course, or it could be that the product is outstanding. I suspect it’s a combination of the two.

I’m going to be putting the training into practice. If you’re reading the blog and are not a customer, then maybe we’ll be talking soon. If you do get a call from me, please do let me know how well I’m doing. Hopefully you’ll find the conversation useful and will want to work with us. We’d love to work with you!


chatbot

We are developing chatbots. Have we gone mad?

At Napier we have a project to evaluate and develop chatbots. Yes chatbots for B2B! I have to admit that initially I was really skeptical, but now I'm involved in the development work. So bear with me on this.

Firstly here are the basics on chatbots, a short overview written by our talented intern, Amie:

 

What are chatbots?

A platform used as a way of communicating using a messaging service such as Facebook, the program mimics a conversation using artificial intelligence and the new way of interaction and reaching out to clients. The program responds to questions asked by a user and responds in the most conversational way possible. It’s another way of offering online assistance without the interruption of a phone call. An example is a weather bot, you would rec the weather whenever you ask, instead of having to search for it yourself.

Why use chatbots?

It’s the first time messenger apps such as Facebook are being used for more than just social networking, these apps are now being used MORE than social networks. This is a big turning point, the advice is if you want to build a successful business you want to build one where people are! Which is where chatbots come in.

How do chatbots work?

There are currently two kinds of chatbots, one that is based on rules – this type of bot can only answer very specific questions and can’t answer if the command isn’t written in a certain way. Chatbots that use machine learning are more flexible this bot has an artificial brain/intelligence. The questions don’t have to be so specific it understands broader language and doesn’t have to be a command. This style of bot grows its intelligence the more conversations it has with people.

 

So why chatbots for B2B? Developing a bespoke chatbot is expensive, so we're building on the Facebook Messenger Platform.  Facebook? Many clients have told us that Facebook messenger just doesn't seem the right place for a conversation with a prospect, and they also unsure that a chatbot will have sufficient intelligence. Things, however, are changing fast:

Embedding chatbots on your website

With Messenger Platform 2.2, Facebook is allowing businesses to easily embed a Facebook chatbot on their websites. Currently it's being trialed with a number of major beta customers, but we expect this feature to be available to everyone in the near future. This overcomes a significant obstacle for B2B companies by integrating chat into the website that provides the primary means of interaction with customers and prospects.

Can chatbots meet the challenge of B2B?

The final question is can a chatbot really deliver value in a B2B context? With the rapidly improving features available in tools to develop chatbots, we think they can. And we'd love to know your opinion: please try our chatbot by clicking here and let us know what you think. Email me at [email protected] to let me know if you found it useful or just annoying.


We're a Top 10 PR Agency!

Many thanks to the team at BestForWeb, which has named Napier as the number one PR agency in the South East, and a top 10 PR agency nationally. Check out our shiny badges below!

 

More information about BestForWeb

BestForWeb UK was founded in 2012. The company was acquired in 2016 by Deanna and Jarrod Hunt of Gilbert, Arizona.

At BestForWeb UK, we use an extensive research process to vet UK providers in Digital Marketing, PPC, PR, SEO, Social Media, and Web Development. To qualify agencies, we conduct agency interviews, assess social media activity, verify online reputation, analyse client reviews, and review their blogs for thought leadership content.


INBOUND 2017 Taught Me: The Importance of Look-Alike Campaigns

Most marketers are familiar with look-alike campaigns: rather than simply retargeting visitors to your website, you can build campaigns to reach people who match a similar profile. This lets you reach people who fit the profile of your engaged prospects and customers, hopefully making your advertising spend much more targeted and efficient.

Although the value of look-alike campaigns is obvious, INBOUND 2017 made it clear to me that many B2B marketers have failed to pay sufficient attention to look-alike campaigns. Perhaps this is because straightforward retargeting presents a large audience for most companies. Maybe it’s because of the excitement around CRM retargeting, which is one of the technologies taking account-based marketing (ABM) to a new level. Whatever the reason, INBOUND made me commit to giving look-alike campaigns the attention they deserve.

The first announcement was the integration of support for Facebook look-alike campaigns within HubSpot. Although it grabbed attention, we’ve seen some disappointing results on Facebook. One of the themes of the conference, however, was the move from relying on third party data, such as renting email lists, to the use of first-party data. More importantly, several presenters made it really clear that we’re undervaluing our own data.

By combining our own data with the vast stores of information at Google, for example, you can start doing some very clever things. “Customer Match” lets you use Google Analytics to create an audience profile, and then target similar people with display, search, Gmail or YouTube campaigns.

The real kicker is that this ability to target look-alike audiences transforms the economics of your advertising. For example, there are probably some highly competitive keywords that you have decided simply aren’t worth the money you’d have to bid on AdWords. When you’re focussing on a look-alike group that are much more likely to convert, the economics change and the cost of the keyword suddenly looks much better value.

Look-alike campaigns are just one way that people are reversing the traditional funnel and are using their own data to segment potential customers from a broad audience. This ability to better target advertising to generate awareness offers the prospect of a step-change in the ROI of your marketing budget. We’re certainly spending more and more time on using our own data to better target our advertising, and would love to help you do the same.

 

Why not take a look at other posts in our INBOUND 2017 Taught me Series?


hubspot logo

How HubSpot Cookies Work and Custom Opt-Out Systems

With the impending GDPR regulations, marketers need to review their cookie policies and ensure that they are compliant. There are many articles on the impact of GDPR on cookies (for example this article about The GDPR, Cookie Consent and Customer Centric Privacy), which give advice on what should be done, but implementation is not always as easy as it seems.

We recently worked with a large ecommerce company who was deploying HubSpot (we're a HubSpot partner, although we do work with a range of marketing automation systems). Most systems, including HubSpot, offer an automatically generated banner that allows users to opt out of their cookies, but with over 20 different systems generating cookies on the site, having to accept or decline this many notifications simply isn't a practical option. They've developed code to manage cookies, and allow a single button to opt-out of tracking, and so they wanted to incorporate HubSpot cookies into this system. Should be pretty straightforward, right?

Well the problem is that it's not entirely clear how HubSpot cookies work. We asked and got some conflicting information, so ended up running some experiments to analyse the behaviour of HubSpot to give the client the best possible solution.

This isn't a typical Napier blog post, as it's very technical, but we're pretty sure it's going to be useful to a lot of HubSpot customers.

What HubSpot Tells You About Cookies

HubSpot does have some good information about cookies. They have a page describing the cookies HubSpot uses for tracking, and an article describing how to enable the HubSpot cookie opt-out notifications. You have four options, described in the article as:

  • Do not notify visitors that your site uses cookies - Choose this option if your company does not have a presence in Europe. This option will let you collect visit history on your website visitors without asking the user for explicit permission. Please note that if the visitor is using a web browser that has cookies disabled, or if they are using a do not track feature on their browser, HubSpot will not be able to collect visit history for them.
  • Notify visitors that your site uses cookies - Choose this option if your company has a presence in Europe and you need to abide by the EU cookie laws. This option will display a banner on your website the first time someone visits your site.
  • Notify visitors that your site uses cookies and allow opt-out - Choose this option if your company has a presence in Europe and you need to abide by the EU cookie laws. This option will display a banner on your website the first time someone visits your site. It will prompt the visitor to consent to the placement of cookies on their computer. Once they consent, you will be able to gather visit history on that visitor.
  • Do not use cookies at all - Choose this option if you do not want to collect any visit information from your visitors and also abide by the EU cookie laws. Choosing this option will make the analytics and lead tracking portions of HubSpot unusable and is not recommended in most cases.

So the first and the last options are pretty straightforward: always track or never track, but what about the middle two? I want to be compliant with EU cookie law, so which one do I choose, and how do I implement an opt-out without using their notification?

Accepting and Declining HubSpot Cookies

The first thing we found was that the behaviour of the two "EU-compliant" modes is actually quite different. If you select Notify visitors that your site uses cookies, then as soon as the user visits the site, HubSpot drops tracking cookies. But the system doesn't track you individually until you click the accept button. So HubSpot is presumably generating anonymous data using the cookies, but not tracking what individual users do. The one exception we found was that when a user fills in a form, that page view is recorded. As this is necessary for processing forms, it's pretty sensible. As there is no opportunity to decline cookies with this notice, you can either ignore it, which will only allow anonymous tracking or accept, which then switches on individual tracking of page views. So this setting not only notifies the user about cookies, but provides an opt-in for tracking of page views (you're opted out of this tracking by default).

Selecting Notify visitors that your site uses cookies and allow opt-out as the notification option is very different. As the user lands on the site, no cookies are dropped. So you have to click accept to opt-in, and then the cookies are placed and the notification disappears. Opting out will place the __hs_opt_out cookie with a value of yes, and not place any other tracking cookies.

The __hs_opt_out Cookie

The __hs_opt_out cookie is interesting. It's placed on a users computer when they click the accept or decline buttons on any of the notifications. By placing the cookie, any further notification banners are suppressed, so once you've made your choice, you don't get pestered again. Pedants will note that it has an expiry of two years, so if we are being completely accurate, you will get asked again every two years.

The __hs_opt_out cookie seems to do a little more than this. Not only does it suppress the notifications, but when the value is "yes" it also suppresses individual page view tracking, whatever "mode" of operation is chosen for cookies. This means that if someone declines tracking, and then you switch from allowing opt-out to simply placing cookies automatically or just notifying, then the user won't be tracked until the cookie expires.

Creating Your Own Opt-Out Code

Creating your own opt-out code is simple. All you need to do is to set the __hs_opt_out cookie value to "yes" and remove the other cookies. Some PHP code to do this is shown below, using our domain as an example:

$cookie_name = "__hs_opt_out";
$cookie_value = "yes";
setcookie($cookie_name, $cookie_value, time() + (86400 * 365 *2), "/", ".napierb2b.com");
$cookie_name = "__hstc";
setcookie($cookie_name, "", time() - 3600, "/", ".napierb2b.com");
$cookie_name = "hubspotutk";
setcookie($cookie_name, "", time() - 3600, "/", ".napierb2b.com");
$cookie_name = "__hssc";
setcookie($cookie_name, "", time() - 3600, "/", ".napierb2b.com");
$cookie_name = "__hssrc";
setcookie($cookie_name, "", time() - 3600, "/", ".napierb2b.com");

With 86400 seconds in a day, the code sets a two-year cookie for opt out, mirroring the behaviour of HubSpot. The other cookies are removed by simply setting them to expire in the past. We've also removed the session cookies - although this might not be necessary, we've done this as clearing them seemed to create a more robust approach.

For more information about the cookies used by HubSpot, read What cookies does HubSpot set in a visitor's browser?.

Allowing Opt-In to HubSpot Cookies

Opting back into cookies is not as simple as it might seem - you can't just set __hs_opt_out to be "no". The easiest way we found to do this is to remove that cookie, which then triggers the appropriate notification based on the option you selected for your site. This ensures that all the cookies are created correctly, although it does need the accept button to be clicked if one of the two notification options are chosen. Clearing the cookie is achieved by setting the expiry time in the past:

$cookie_name = "__hs_opt_out";
$cookie_value = "no";
setcookie($cookie_name, $cookie_value, time() - 3600, "/", ".napierb2b.com");

Dealing with the HubSpot Banners

If you are creating an option to allow opt-in, or to decline cookies, it's likely you will be using one of the two HubSpot notification banners. You'll therefore want either the accept or decline button to be clicked to enable tracking or disable placement of cookies. You could leave it to the user to do, but this is not great UX, and often not practical. We talked to HubSpot and they suggested that rather than try to replicate the code on the buttons, we simply replicate a button click using JavaScript. The following code is a JavaScript function that clicks the accept button, and you can change it to decline cookies (if the opt-out notice is present) by changing hs-eu-confirmation-button to hs-eu-decline-button.


<script type="text/javascript" >
function acceptHScookie() {
if (document.getElementById('hs-eu-confirmation-button') !== null) {
document.getElementById('hs-eu-confirmation-button').click();
}
}
</script>

Hiding the Notification Banners

Of course if you are automatically clicking the buttons for users, and providing your own cookie notice, you don't want to show the HubSpot cookie notifications. This is actually super-easy to do, as you just need one line in your CSS:


div#hs-eu-cookie-confirmation{display:none;}

Forget about __hs_do_not_track

One of the cookies that HubSpot can place is the __hs_do_not_track. In our testing it wasn't placed at all - it seems to be an opt-out of all tracking, and can safely be ignored when writing code. If it is present, however, there will be no tracking of that user.

Summary

So it's perfectly possible to manage HubSpot cookies for users using your own code to improve their experience on your website. If you are happy for cookies to be placed when the user opts out of tracking, you can select either the do not notify visitors, or notify visitors options, although if you go with the second, then the user won't be tracked until the accept button is clicked (either by your code, or by the user).

If you want the user to opt-out of cookies being placed by HubSpot (other than the __hs_opt_out cookie, obviously), you need to select the notification option that allows users to opt out. You will also probably want to set up code to click the appropriate accept or decline button and hide the banner.

A Final Warnings

This information, however, is not official HubSpot documentation. Although the approach I've described is designed to be as future-proof as possible, you do have to bear in mind that HubSpot could decide to change the way their cookies work and break this code. And they are perfectly entitled to do this (although I do think it's unlikely).

The other warning is that this approach is not supported by HubSpot. Trust me, although HubSpot support is normally great they have no idea of how to manage the cookies. They are pretty clear that it's not something they support, but during the project we got incorrect information from support. Although it was just people trying to be helpful, it set us back a long way, so until HubSpot decides to support management of cookies, I wouldn't recommend discussing this with them.

I hope this is going to be useful to people out there. Please let me know if it is helpful or if you have any problems. I will update the post if I get any more information.


Electronics Weekly Guide Digital Galaxy

Electronics Weekly launches guide to digital advertising

Electronics Weekly has created a white paper titled The EW Guide to the Digital Galaxy, which aims to answer questions such as:

  • How do I get better banner performance and ROI without spending more money?
  • What are the top performing campaigns doing to get great consistent results?
  • What are the mistakes I need to avoid?
  • Which banner unit performs better & what should I invest in?
  • What can I expect & what are the benchmarks?
  • Should I be more focused on mobile?
  • How do I assess the effectiveness of a banner campaign?
  • Where do I start?

The guide was actually developed from a presentation Steve Ray, commercial manager at Electronics Weekly, gave at a Napier lunch event, and so we know how insightful and useful this white paper will be for marketers. Although the analysis focusses on the electronics industry, the conclusions will be valuable to marketers in any B2B technology sector.

The information is based on deep and wide statistical analysis from over two years of campaign and audience data. It includes case studies, valuable advice & tips, seasonal trends, campaign analysis, ad unit analysis, top/bottom performance trends and much more. The white paper is available to .


Phil Ling closes Cassidy Publications as he moves to the dark side

Journalist Phil Ling has decided to move to a marketing role at an agency, so he is closing Cassidy Publications. Phil was one of the most entrepreneurial journalists in Europe, frequently coming up with great ideas, which I think never quite achieved the success they probably deserved. He has also been a freelance writer which he will also give up for the security of permanent employment at the start of October

Phil explained the move to me, saying, "I’ve taken this decision because I feel the position is right for me and has come along at a time when I’ve decided to focus entirely on content creation services, so it was a good fit."

Although he is moving from being a partner for Napier to a competitor, we wish him all the best for this big career move.

 

 

 

A


Alix Paultre appointed power editor at AspenCore as Paul O’Shea retires

Highly-respected editor Paul O’Shea has retired from his role covering power electronics at AspenCore after 37 years in the industry. Paul began his career at Texas Instruments in 1980, a time that he recalls as being “when personal computers were only recently introduced and had hard drives with a mere 5-MB capacity and kilobytes of RAM.” He later went on to become editor for Evaluation Engineering Magazine, the groundbreaking VerticalNet (“It was the dawning of the internet age, and nothing would be the same as a result of the connected user,” he says), ChipCenter (later UBM’s Product Center), and EE Times’ award-winning Power Management DesignLine, which he began in 2004. O’Shea then joined Electronic Products Magazine, originally owned by Hearst and sold to Arrow Electronics in 2014 to become part of the AspenCore network, and in 2016, he launched the Power Electronics News website.

alix-paultrePaul will be replaced by the charismatic journalist Alix Paultre, who recently left Power Systems Design. With extensive experience of the power industry, he is one of the few journalists who could step into the very big gap left by Paul O-Shea, and his enthusiasm for power design literally etched into his body. We wish him all the best in his new role.


powerpulse 20th anniversary logo

Darnell Group expands social media presence on LInkedin

Darnell Group, publishers of www.PowerPulse.net and www.SmartGridElectronics.net is launching a new and improved social media presence to compliment the redesigned PowerPulse.Net website. Interestingly the focus is on LinkedIn, with the day's lead stories being posted to the company's LinkedIn page. The promise is that the page will deliver the hottest power stories before the newsletter is emailed, giving you a chance to be in the know before your colleagues.


The Napier Approach: Determine, Focus, Deliver, Enhance

The Napier Approach Explained

We believe that applying the right process lets our team do their best work. We often talk about our four-step approach: Determine - Focus - Deliver - Enhance. But what do we mean when we talk about these stages? Well we've created a video to explain why our approach is different from other agencies, and why it will help you achieve your marketing goals. Please enjoy viewing this new video!

 


video content marketing

Tip Sheet Explains the Facts and Figures of Video Content Marketing

Video content has been growing steadily over the last years, and has quickly become a must for B2B businesses. A massive 93% of marketers now use video in their campaigns, with 92% watching B2B videos online.

As no stranger to creating video content marketing, with our own Napier YouTube channel, we decided it was time to address the vast amount of data that explores the continual yearly increase in video marketing. Top industry sites and big players like YouTube, analyse video engagement and are more than willing to share their findings.

Our Video Content Marketing Tip Sheet highlights the key metrics and trends for video marketing, and we want to help you become inspired, to get started or freshen up your approach to video as a useful and realistic campaign medium.  From video engagement to social media and video, our Tip Sheet has all it, to ensure you use video content to your advantage.

Click here to download the full version of our Tip Sheet ‘Facts and Figures of Video Content Marketing’.

 

Understanding the Importance of Video...

Do you know about Napier's Video Editing Capabilties? Discover what we can do:

https://www.napierb2b.com/2017/07/napiers-video-editing-capabilities/


PCIM 2016 - Microchip

PCIM Europe 2018 Call for Papers Now Open

PCIM’s European Conference 2018 has launched its Call for Papers, inviting experts from across the industry to get involved.

The conference prides itself in forming a platform for experts to exchange specialist knowledge and learn about the latest results and developments in the field of power electronics. For 2018, PCIM has taken their call for papers one step further, inviting experts from the industry and academia to apply for a lecture or poster presentation, and become a part of the conference program.

The deadline for submissions is the 16th October 2017, and the winner will receive a best paper award at the PCIM Europe Conference opening ceremony, alongside 1,000 euros and a paid trip to PCIM Asia 2019 in Shanghai.

To find out further information and how to submit your paper, please click here.


electronics weekly logo

Electronics Weekly Cuts Frequency and Appoints New Editor

It's not a surprise, but it's still a disappointment that Electronics Weekly today announced that the print (and digital) magazine will be published on a fortnightly, rather than weekly basis, with the change coming in with immediate effect. The publication started sounding out opinion about this idea earlier in the year, and has taken the decision to "ensure the magazine's long-term future".

Electronics Weekly will now be published 22 times per year, instead of the 40 issues per year previously. We are promised that although frequency is dropping, there will be an investment in quality, with a commitment to a minimum pagination of 32pp for each issue. Higher-quality paper was also introduced as of the 28 June issue, giving the magazine a thicker (and hopefully more successful) feel.

We're promised that there will be no change to the digital or events portfolio, nor will the title change from its news-led approach to editorial content, although presumably there will be more analysis and less breaking news, reflecting the fortnightly frequency.

EW also announced that popular and long-serving editor, Richard Wilson, is to step down from the role of editor of the magazine as of 14 July and will take on a consultant editor role. Again this is not a total surprise, and we wish Richard the best in his future role. After many years of working with him, and previously pitching to him (and to be honest being rather intimidated by him in the early years) I will miss the frequent interaction with such a knowledgeable journalist. We're promised a regular column from Richard, as well as his input into the publication, so he will still be around, hopefully for many years to come.

Josh Brooks: Editor and Publisher Electronics Weekly
Josh Brooks: Editor and Publisher
of Electronics Weekly

Josh Brooks, who has been publisher of Electronics Weekly for the past two years, is to move into a combined publisher and editor role. This isn't quite as strange a move as it might seem: Josh has worked as a journalist and editor for several publications across industries including packaging, commercial printing, property, construction, urban planning and marketing. So he brings a wealth of experience, and I know he also has a huge enthusiasm to learn more about the electronics industry.

Josh told us, "I am greatly looking forward to the new challenge of editing Electronics Weekly. It is a title with a fantastic team, a strong brand and a wonderful heritage. Moreover, it operates in a market that is at the forefront of human endeavour and I am very excited to have the opportunity to cover that market and meet the people driving it forwards.

"Richard will be a very hard act to follow and I am thrilled that he will remain part of the team in his new role. Both I and Metropolis are extremely grateful for his many years of service to Electronics Weekly; and we look forward to working with him in the months and years to come. Equally, I am very much looking forward to working more closely with the fantastic journalists on Electronics Weekly's editorial team. It's a privilege to work with such highly-respected writers as Steve Bush, David Manners and Alun Williams, not to mention our many contributors."

The rest of the editorial team – web editor Alun Williams, technology editor Steve Bush, senior components editor David Manners and production editor Sue Proud – remain in place and are not affected by the change, which is good news, as it means Josh has a strong team who will be able to drive the magazine forward during this change. All of us at Napier wish Richard and the EW team the very best and look forward to the title remaining at the heart of the UK electronics market.


Do Circulation Audits Matter in 2017?

It wasn't that long ago that PR and advertising professionals in the B2B sector spent a lot of time pouring over the latest ABC or BPA circulation audit figures. Ten years ago, online media was still taking off and so print really mattered. Today things have changed, with many companies - particularly those from the USA - demanding that all advertising should be online because it is more measurable. Although I still believe effectiveness should be the main criterion for advertising decisions, and the majority of revenue for some publications is still print advertising, it's clear that across the world publications are inevitably moving towards online distribution.

But we're not there yet. Some people still read print and it remains an effective place for advertising. I'm not going to pretend that the average new graduate spends the same time reading print magazines as I did in the year after I completed my engineering degree, but without doubt some engineers still want to receive a physical magazine. In fact it can be argued that print readership is holding up the best among older engineers: the senior decision makers that advertisers so desperately want to reach. Many people also believe that publications are bulking up their print circulations by including less-valuable readers as "no one wants to read print now". Securing reader registrations is hugely expensive, so I can see the logic behind this, but a quick check of the latest audit will answer these questions. Despite this, I hear people mentioning circulation audits a lot less frequently: so do they still really matter?

I decided to take a look to understand what has happened over the last 10 or so years. I quickly found a copy of the BPA audit for Electronics Weekly from 2005 - just over 10 years ago. Has anything changed? You bet it has!

I quickly flipped through the media pack and was transported 10 years in the past when I saw the paper request form reproduced in the report. I also looked ruefully at the free circulation of 41,573 (and a further 329 PAID readers!), of which 21,393 received a hard copy of the magazine. This is somewhat larger than the current 23,861 circulation of which only 10,150 receive a print copy. I'm not pointing any fingers at EW: I picked them as they were the first circulation audits I laid my hands on, which is probably more of a reflection of the title's long-term importance in the UK market, and other magazines show similar trends.

What about the other things that are accepted truisms about magazines? The most striking thing was the Executive Management/Board Director category: this has jumped from less than 10% to 20% of circulation. Yes! If you want to target these senior decision makers, there are actually MORE of them receiving Electronics Weekly today than in 2005. So the theory that magazines are a great way to reach senior people today seems to be true. To be fair, the question about the time readers have spent in the electronics industry is no longer asked, so it might not be a reflection of older people wanting to read print; it might just be that reading Electronics Weekly gets you promoted more quickly! (EW circulation team - feel free to use that one).

Of course we all know that one thing that publications do is to send multiple copies to their advertisers. It's a cheap and easy way to bulk up circulation but, for Electronics Weekly at least, it's just not true. In fact the percentage of readers in sales and marketing roles is roughly the same today as it was 10 years ago - so the absolute number has been cut by about a half. So clearly there's no cheating there, and the percentage of readers who are customers is pretty consistent: at least it is for Electronics Weekly.

So what about quality. I have to admit that the "Service/Maintenance" category of EW readers has always confused me. It's a component magazine, not a repair and maintenance title, yet in 2005 around 4% of readers fell into this category that is probably not valuable to most advertisers. Perhaps this is where the publishers have got some easy circulation? Well no. In fact the number of readers in this title has been decimated, and is now just 2% of the circulation. That myth about lower quality doesn't seem to hold water any more!

Products that people use haven't actually changed much in the last 10 years. Today Power Supplies are the number one product over which readers have "Purchasing, specifying or design-in influence", with passives and then batteries following. In 2005 the order was connectors, relays & switches, passives and then power supplies. Life is, however, less fun today, with under 3% saying they influenced the purchase of business travel and entertainment, whereas almost 10% of the 2005 readership had that opportunity.

There is one major difference in the audits, other than the total circulation, and that's the number of readers who requested the publication in the last year. Today it's around a third, in 2005 it was 100%. Now this is where I have to admit that the reason I could quickly find a copy of the 2005 audit for Electronics Weekly was that they had just re-qualified all their readers. I think that the stats for previous years were similar, if not worse, than today. So maybe it's not a fair comparison.

I decided to do this analysis when someone sent me the following table of circulations:

UK electronics magazines circulation audits 2017
Circulation Audits - UK Electronics Titles 2017 (click to enlarge)

This shows the number of requested subscriptions, broken down by the age of the request. So almost all copies of Electronics Sourcing are sent to people who requested in the last year, whereas others are in single digit percentages. In 2005 advertisers would have paid a lot of attention to this table, so does it matter now?

I think it does. But there are some big caveats. Firstly this simple analysis doesn't discriminate between individual requested and company requested circulation (if you want more information on this, please email me and I'll write another post to explain). The top publications in the table have fairly high percentages of the less-valuable company requests. But even so, the difference is striking. Clearly some publishers no longer believe in circulation audits (despite paying not inconsiderable sums for the audit, whereas others are pushing hard to get "good numbers". Although the headline numbers only tell part of the story, and more analysis is needed, perhaps it is time for advertisers to brush up on their audit analysis skills.


Launch of New Publication - Electronics4You

Antonio Cirealla has recently unveiled his latest project, launching his new publication Electronics4You (e4y). The publication is based on the popular Scoop.it platform and is a multi-channel collaborative content marketing magazine.

Although it has a similar name to India’s publication ElectronicsForYou, Antonio’s magazine has been in the works since 2008, and since the end of Antonio’s co-operation with Tecnoimprese, he finally found the opportunity to devote the time needed to make Electronics4You into a reality.

The publication currently maintains two channels on the Scoop.it platform, with one focused on the Digital Transformation of Things; surrounding topics such as IoT, Blockchain, Cyber Security and Trends. The second channel will focus upon the Electronics Component Industry, and will focus upon matters involving analog, IP, Power, Automotive and Sensors.

With plans to further expand the publication into more channels, surrounding the subjects of connected cars, automotive and smart retail. Antonio is encouraging editors and press agencies to publish their own scoops, with a free account on Scoop.it.

These scoops from both Antonio and contributing authors will then be published ‘in cascade’ on social media accounts, including Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus, to ensure the publication is known by over 8,000 targeted contacts.


internet trends report 2017

Mary Meeker’s 2017 Internet Trends Report Revealed

On May 31st, the long awaited annual Mary Meeker Internet Trends report was unveiled (we also blogged about last year's Internet Trends report). Spanning over 300 slides, the report provides an insight into how the internet and digital services, are continuing to be increasingly vital to advertisers and marketers alike, as they strive to improve their advertising and marketing on social media platforms.

Digital ad spending was a key part of the report, which revealed advertisers as continuing to move their budgets online with a digital ad spend totalling $73 billion.  Google and Facebook are also dominating the digital ad spend online, as combined they account for 85% of total online advertising revenue growth between 2015 and 2016. This increased digital spend has created further pressure marketers to show that digital ads produce results, and this year the report has revealed that marketers biggest challenge on social media is measuring their ROI.

Further key findings from the report revealed how improvements in technology are making it easier to attribute offline purchases to online ad spend, and that although financial value of mergers and acquisitions in the tech sector during 2016 was down year over year the number of deals were up. It seems Ad growth is continuing to grow, and was revealed to be driven by mobile as smartphone shipments are increasing with nearly 3 billion users.

As the most important report on internet trends every year, it is encouraging to see how improvements in technology and online are constantly improving, as advertisers and marketers continue to rely heavily on digital services.

Read the full report to discover more about 2017’s internet trends.


selezione-di-elettronica

Selezione di Elettronica Celebrates its 60th Birthday

The Italian magazine Selezione di Elettronica is releasing a special issue in June, to celebrate their 60th year.

Founded in 1957, Selezione di Elettronica will mark this occasion with a special issue, celebrating the historical changes that the electronic industry has faced, including stories of important technologies which changed the design and presentation of companies and protagonists of the electronics industry.  The issue will also include analysis of the challenges of today and tomorrow, as the Internet of Things affects the changes in the market and distribution.

This special issue will be distributed to over 10,000 contacts, and will be further celebrated on June 14th, at Selezione di Elettronica headquarters in Milan.

 


PSD Power Systems Design

Alastair Winning joins Power Systems Design (PSD) as European Editor

Alastair (Ally) Winning has been appointed European Editor, PSD, further strengthening the editorial team at the publication after Jason Lomberg recently replaced Alix Paltre. Ally, who recently moved back to Scotland is a well-liked technical journalist who brings knowledge, experience and credibility to PSD.

 

After studying Electronic Engineering at the University of the West of Scotland, Ally has spent over 17 years in a variety of roles in Europe’s electronics industry including four years as Technical Editor at Premier Farnell element 14 and most recently, over five years as Editor of EPD Magazine.

 

Ally can be reached at: [email protected].

 


IET Innovation Awards 2017 are Open for Entry

The Institution of Engineering and Technology innovation awards for 2017, are now open for entry. These prestigious awards aim to celebrate the best innovations from not only the industry, but also academia. As they share the landmark work and developments taking place across vital areas of science, engineering and technology.

With a wide range of 15 categories to choose from, including transport, sustainability and cyber security. The awards cover every aspect of the engineering industry, with each category judged by a panel of individual and impartial experts. The deadline for entries is the 7th July 2017, and the shortlist will be announced in late September followed by a black-tie awards ceremony and dinner on the 15th November 2017 at the Brewery, London.

The awards offer free entry and are open to any individual, company or organisation with any idea, product or technology development. The IET innovation awards are quickly growing in popularity, attracting over 300 entries each year, with an increased 500 guests attending the ceremony dinner this year, to celebrate the successes of the shortlisted entries.

To find out more and to share your brilliant ideas at the awards, take a look at the IET Innovation Awards website for more information: www.theiet.org/innovation