DMX Digital Marketing Conference, (OBAMA, OLYMPICS, a NUDGE and ……??)



DMX Digital Marketing Conference was the first year that  The Marketing Institute (Ireland) have held this conference. Their aims were to condense the best of digital marketing and connect marketers with new thinking and practises.  In the quality of the speakers and breath of subjects covered, they certainly succeeded in holding an excellent event. ( If I were to offer one piece of constructive criticism, I would  say that while the Aviva is undoubtedly one of the world’s top rugby stadiums, as a conference venue, it leaves a lot to be desired)

These are a few random observations on the day’s highlights, for this attendee.. 



‘Lessons from the Obama Campaign’

-Teddy Goff, Digital Director for Obama Election campaign 2012

Email Marketing for POTUS!

He led the mass email team, writing and editing fundraising, recruitment and messaging emails and developing communication and segmentation plans. Teddy related how one email campaign alone, rose over $2m. This was achieved by split testing their emails into 18 different segments in order to achieve the optimum results.

Key takeaways:

  • Teddy stressed that email was a key component of the overall digital campaign.
  • He emphasised the importance of testing subject lines ( A useful tool for testing your own subject lines is Free Spamchecker Tool by )
  • Teddy’s campaign raised $690 million and registered more than 1m people online.
  • His team built followings of 45m and 33m people, respectively, on Facebook and Twitter and generated over 133m video views

Teddy 20110420-rob-lowe-10-300x205

 As I watched Teddy relating his experiences of working with President Obama, I was seeing Sam Seaborn (Rob Lowe) from The West Wing TV series!



‘Doing it right – how the Olympic and Paralympic Games became digital by default’

– Alex Balfour, Head of Digital for London 2012 Olympics

When this campaigns started in 2006, there were still more dial-up than broadband connections in the UK. Facebook was 18 months old and Twitter was yet to be born. This illustrates the short timeframe in which social media has come to permeate our lives. As the whole marketing landscape evolved over the subsequent 6 years, this campaign became digital by default.

Key takeaways:

  • Over the 6 year span of the London 2012 Olympic campaign, Alex’s  team delivered 80 websites, mobile apps, such as 1.86m Facebook Likes  and 1.9 m Twitter followers for 48 Accounts.
  • Google Doodles produced massive website traffic


Alex related some awesome statistics. For a detailed breakdown check out this Slideshare



‘The Mighty Nudge: The Future of SEO, Social Media & Content Marketing’

By  Rand Fiskin ,CEO & co-founder of SEOmoz

The Nudge

Rand spoke a lot of sense about the effectiveness of the nudge rather than the beg, borrow or steal approach to influencing consumers with tricks and interruption marketing

This method resonated with me as being very much in line with Hubspot’s Inbound Marketing approach.



Fewer choices … more actions (Don’t make me think !)

Towel1            OR              towel2


Book ‘Nudge’ by Cass Sunstein and Richard Thaler


Just a few of the many other great presentations:

‘’Inbound Marketing: The Art of Not Sucking’

-Kieran Flanagan, Marketing Director (EMEA) at Hubspot

Kieran spoke about how Hubspot ‘create marketing that people love’.

Kieran Hubspot

Their CEO and co-founder, Brian Halligan, did, after all, coin the phrase ‘Inbound Marketing’

Other platforms that are ‘inbound’ in their approach are Marketo, SEOmoz, and ExactTarget).

Click to view Kieran’s entertaining  Presentation

(Also, see my previous blog :  ‘Dublin – Digital Hubspot of Europe?’ )


‘Get the culture right and the tweets will look after themselves’

-Martin Thomas, Author of ‘Crowdsurfing’

Key takeaways:

  • Martin stressed that the challenges facing organisations seeking to embrace social media are not technological but cultural
  • Social merely dramatises the weakness that impede most modern organisations, which include excessive bureaucracy and lack of trust in employees
  • Sorting these things out will mean that social media will look after itself.


Slideshare Link to Martin’s presentation


‘Generating ROI from Social Marketing’

– Rebecca Quin – Wildfire

Rebecca spoke of the rise of the social consumer and how effective social media marketing delivers on concrete business objectives. She gave a number of real life examples of how several organisations are succeeding in social.  Her presentation was based on Wildfire’s downloadable strategy report: The Road to ROI – Building a Strategy for Social Marketing Success


Key takeaways:

  • 80% of consumers try products based on peer suggestions, while 74% encourage friends to try new products.
  • ‘Google + is Google’s fastest growing product ever ‘

As this company was recently acquired by Google, and due to the generous peppering of references to Google products, I tweeted and received the following reply 



So that was Obama, Olympics, a Nudge….and look what I spotted on the hallowed grounds of the Aviva :



Dublin : Digital Hubspot of Europe?

Hubspot’s co-founder and CEO, Brian Halligan, opened his keynote talk at the launch of their new European HQ in Dublin, by showing us a picture of his Dad. Mr Halligan (Snr) got all his information from his favourite TV stations and newspapers. These were the channels through which advertisers marketed to him (by ‘interrupting’ his viewing and reading)


Our parent’s generation received their media information from the traditional channels of television, radio and newspapers, so marketers targeted them through these media. Marketing has had to change radically to deal with how we receive information today. Marketers now need to reach and influence us through alternative channels, mainly online, such as our social networks, email and search. 

Outbound v Inbound

The term ‘Inbound Marketing’ was coined by Brian Halligan in 2005 and was an evolution of the concept of ‘permission marketing’, popularized by marketing thought leader, Seth Godin. Inbound marketing promotes a company by earning prospective customers’ attention. The viewers are drawn to a company’s website by downloading their useful content. This can be in the form of free eBooks, blogs, podcasts, whitepapers, enewsletters and social media.


Outbound Marketing uses the more traditional interruptive marketing approach of ‘buying attention’ using TV and radio  adverts, cold calling , direct mail, telemarketing and email marketing. Interestingly, those platforms using email progressively are ‘inbound’ in their approach, (e.g. Marketo, Eloqua, and ExactTarget).

Hubspot’s mission is ‘to replace the world’s annoying, interruptive marketing with marketing that people love’.  Their lead intelligence tools help to generate leads and convert them into customers.

Brian Halligan, who was named by Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2010 & 2011,   mentioned  Steve Jobs’ Influence on Hubspot. He also expressed his admiration for Amazon’s business model, in the smart way that the more often he visits the site the more personalised it gets about offering suitable products to him. (The meeting rooms in Dublin’s European HQ are aptly named after those inspiring entrepreneurs, Jobs, Bezos and Branson)

Founded in 2006, Hubspot has more than $100M in VC funding from investors that include Google Ventures, and Sequoia. With over 450 employees, the company grew revenues by 82% in 2012 alone, to $52.5m

Why Hubspot ?

At the launch of their new European HQ, in Dublin, Ireland, we heard some interesting inbound marketing stories, from Hubspot users, Brightfire in Scotland.

Why Ireland?

When I asked Brian why they choose Ireland for their European HQ, he admitted that the tax incentives were attractive. He also cited the talent in Ireland as another big advantage. He stressed however, that Hubspot wants to do more than simply establish a presence here, but rather to move up the value chain by building product. They are establishing a strong team of engineers in Dublin and R&D will be a major component of the 150 employees that they plan to have here, within the next couple of years.

So, with digital pioneers like Hubspot joining Google, Facebook, Twitter and many others, in choosing Ireland as their gateway to the massive European market, Dublin truly is becoming a ‘digital Hubspot’ between ‘Boston and Brussels‘ !

* Disclaimer: I provide marketing services to some of the companies mentioned -P.C.

President Bill Clinton Guest of Honour at JP McManus All-Ireland Scholarship Awards

“Nobody ever got anywhere by expecting tomorrow to be like yesterday.”

Last weekend was my second time been privileged to witness a speech by President Bill Clinton. Both occasions took place in my native city of Limerick, Ireland, The first occasion was fourteen years ago, when I was amongst a crowd of 40,000 who turned up to greet him. At that time he was two years into his second term of office, as the 42nd US President.

He was then still dealing with the repercussions of the Monica Lewinsky scandal. While his sexual indiscretions were far from appropriate to his high office, his major error of judgement was to lie and deny his affair, when he initially had the opportunity to do so. He did, however eventually, admit his untruths and publicly apologise to the nation and his wife. Unlike President Richard Nixon before him, however, despite being caught out in his deception, he managed to finish his full second term. In many ways, Clinton’s sex life was scrutinized more than his career accomplishments, of which there were many , not least of which being that he presided over the longest period of economic expansion in American history, culminating in a budget surplus of €265 billion in 2000.

Last Saturday, I was amongst just 600 guest at the University of Limerick, where President Bill Clinton was guest of honour at The JP McManus Annual All-Ireland Scholarship Awards.  Mr McManus, one of Ireland’s most successful  businessmen,  presents these awards to 125 students from every county, North and South to a total annual value of €3.4 million.

On introducing the former US president, Mr McManus referred to the fact that it was very appropriate that he should be guest of honour at this All-Ireland Award ceremony, as he had been so instrumental in overseeing the Northern Ireland peace process, without which, this 32 county element of the awards, may not have been possible.

Mr.Clinton spoke of how he himself benefited greatly from scholarships , firstly to Georgetown University ,in Washington DC and later on to University College, Oxford, before later returning to Yale back in the US. He referred to Ireland’s current economic challenges, but that they will pass and we will again prosper. He stressed the importance of overcoming adversity and avoiding becoming victims, of our circumstances. He gave the example of Nelson Mandela , who after many years in captivity on  Roden Island, on gaining his freedom and eventually becoming President, he invited his former captors to join him in ruling South Africa.

He went on to talk about the freedom and opportunity that education offers and the need to remain positive about the future, as the current recession will pass but education will endure and “Nobody ever got anywhere by expecting tomorrow to be like yesterday.”

President Bill Clinton at JP McManus All-Ireland Scholarship Awards Limerick,Ireland.

Among the guests were ;

American Ireland Fund Chairperson, Loretta Brennan Glucksman and CEO Kieran McLoughlin.

Businessmen; Dermot Desmond, Denis O’Brien and John Fitzpatrick.

Also present were the current and past Presidents of the University of Limerick, Don Barry and Roger Downer, as well as Dr Martin McAleese, Tim O’Connor and Ian Hyland,

Politicians; Irish Minister for Finance Michael Noonan  and Housing Minister Jan O’Sullivan and Northern Ireland Minister for Employment and Learning Dr Stephen Farry; and Northern Ireland Minister for Education John O’Dowd.

From the world of sports were local heroes, former Irish rugby captain Keith Wood and Munster and Irish rugby star Paul O’Connell.


So how did last years’ Christmas campaign go? What would you do differently? These questions and more are the ones to ask of last years’ campaign to make the most of the holiday season for your store. Campaigns that are left until the last minute often look that way and rarely produce results that are meaningful. If you did run a campaign last year, now is the time to review the results and the approach taken. Ask tough questions about each part of the campaign and decide what can be done to improve it.

It’s also a great time to ask questions of your customers. Getting product reviews now can help shape your inventory or order plans and add to your customer’s preferences. Perhaps your customer took up cycling and is now in the market for a new helmet or bike? This is good to know if you are a sports retailer, right? Carefully construct a survey that will update your customers’ preference and product feedback; then use the survey results in the campaign. Be sure to thank them for their feedback with a coupon or discount.

Protip: Use the Dynamic content feature in your email platform so that the message contains the data stated in their preferences.

If you have not done so already, make sure you are collecting data from your customer at POS and by that, we mean both online and offline. Coupons and special offers that are specific only to the Holiday season should be considered today and incorporated into the Holiday plan. Once they have opted in to your email communications, you can keep them up-to date on new deals or offers especially on the countdown to the Holiday season.

An email series is a great way to automatically remind customers on a schedule. The Advent calendar and Post office deadlines are popular scheduling guides as they are a credible source for delivery times. Use these to remind subscribers that by acting now, they can save money and avoid any shipping delays.

Protip: With an email series it’s easy to set a schedule ahead of time and autosend different messages over the season making sure that no one gets the same message twice.

Now what about Facebook and Twitter? Timely posting is important and make sure it coincides with your plan. There are tools available to do this and of course you can post to Twitter/Facebook directly from most email platforms too.

It’s a common schoolboy mistake to assume the endgame of your Holiday season marketing is Christmas Day. Including Thanksgiving, Boxing day/St Stephen’s day and New Years are all important milestones in the Holiday season too. Looking back at last years’ email campaign, you will have noticed that many of your subscribers opened the email on Christmas day. So do not forget to include a series of emails over the holiday for Boxing day and New Years deals.

Protip: Look at your email analytics dashboard to determine which days were most active for your campaign. Use this information to create an even better schedule this year.