How to use language to foster stronger, happier, more productive relationships.

Words: Simeon de la Torre, SIM7.

The language that an organisation uses in its content, copywriting and comms influences not just how it is perceived, but how it makes audiences feel. It’s a complex, nuanced arena, but there are a handful of golden rules to remember around using brand language that’s appropriate and inclusive.

First up: what’s DEI?

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) aims to make everyone within an environment, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, ability, gender or sexual orientation, feel supported and welcome.

Why is it better to use inclusive language?

According to Deloitte, companies that embrace inclusivity and inclusive language have 22% lower turnover rates, 22% greater productivity and 27% higher profitability. Externally, those companies have 39% higher customer satisfaction.

Rule #1 Avoid certain ways of identifying people

Only use race, gender, gender identity, ability, age, sexual orientation, etc. to identify people when strictly necessary, otherwise doing so can draw attention to something about someone’s characteristics that might make them feel different or excluded.

Rule #2 Use people-first language

People-first language prioritises the individual. This is an especially useful point to remember when talking about people who have disabilities.

For example, it’s better to say ‘a person with a disability’ than ‘a disabled person’. The former implies that the disability is a secondary characteristic rather than a defining one. But as mentioned in #1, it’s best to simply avoid mentioning disability unless relevant or strictly necessary.

There are a few exceptions to this point. The deaf community, for instance, generally prefers the term ‘deaf person’ to ‘person with deafness’. If in doubt, it’s best to ask.

Rule #3 Be wary of connotations

Terms such as ‘sexual preference’ or ‘preferred pronouns’ can be problematic. ‘Preference’ implies choice, and that can create a false impression. It’s best to err on the side of caution and use the terms ‘sexual orientation’ and ‘pronouns’ instead.

Rule #4 Avoid inappropriate references

Try to avoid using terms such as ‘bipolar,’ ‘OCD,’ ‘ADHD’ or ‘ASD’ as metaphors, especially in a jokey context. These are real disabilities and disorders. Using their names to refer to things they aren’t can offend people who have them.

Rule #5 Use gender-neutral language

Yes, you may often use language with a specific audience in mind, but pronouns are generally best avoided.

When making a hypothetical point – ‘if he or she went for a walk’, for example – the ‘he or she’ clause is unnecessary, and including it can make non-binary, gender non-conforming or genderqueer folks feel excluded.

When in doubt or when using a pronoun is necessary, ‘they’ is a good choice. It’s gender-neutral and can be used to refer to an individual or a group, so has all bases covered.

Rule #6 Avoid universal phrases

Jargon is often best avoided and it’s a good idea to think before using idioms – not all translate well across cultures.

Rule #7 Avoid using your group as the reference group

Using your group as the reference group can imply it’s the norm and that other groups fall outside that norm. Terms like ‘non-white’, for example, imply that white people are the norm and everyone else, a deviation.

It’s best to take care when saying…

Guys

This term is best avoided when speaking to or referencing a group that contains non-male members.

Good alternatives: ‘Folks’, ‘you all’, ‘everyone’, ‘team’.

Girls/ladies/gals

If she’s over 18, she’s an adult. And take care when saying ‘ladies’ and ‘gals’, these terms can be patronizing. Good alternatives: ‘Women’, ‘people’.

Handicap/handicapped

Today, ‘handicapped’ is considered impolite.

Similarly, when talking about people with disabilities, avoid using terms like ‘afflicted by,’ ‘victim of’, ‘suffers from’, and ‘confined to a wheelchair’. ‘Challenged’, ‘differently abled’, and ‘specially abled’ are best avoided too.

Good alternatives: ‘Disabled’, ‘person with a disability’.

You might also consider…

Mentioning pronouns

Including pronouns – he/him, she/her, they/them – in email signatures can help non-binary, transgender and other folk feel more included.

Trigger warnings

If you’re going to publish content  that has the potential to trigger people, it’s a good idea to add a trigger warning to that content. Forewarning people about potentially offensive content can help prevent causing offence.

Writing for web accessibility

People with certain disabilities can have difficulty navigating online content. We can all help ensure the content we create is accessible. See our designing for accessibility cheat sheet for useful tips.

Keeping up-to-date

Inclusive language best practice is constantly evolving. Periodic refreshers are a great way to stay up to date. Taking a moment to think about how the language you’re going to use is inclusive often goes a long way, too.

To learn more about creating an inclusive brand, visit https://sim7creative.co.uk/ or get in touch with Sim (he/him): [email protected]

In an era where businesses are increasingly expected to prioritise social and environmental impact alongside profit, Disruptive Thinking has taken a bold step forward by achieving B Corp certification. This certification marks a significant milestone for team Disruptive, reinforcing their commitment to fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace, minimising their environmental footprint and dedicating themselves to ongoing improvement.

Disruptive Thinking’s Founder, Yiuwin Tsang said “When founding Disruptive Thinking, I knew I wanted the business to be a force for good. Our company motto is “Good work for good people” and it’s really nice to join the ranks of other businesses who share the same vision, under such a well-regarded standard.

The decision to pursue B Corp certification was driven by a deep-seated belief in the power of business to drive positive change. As a team who pride ourselves on being forward-thinking, becoming a B Corp aligns so well with our core values of empathy, integrity, and sustainability.

“One of the key benefits of being a B Corp is the opportunity to collaborate with like-minded businesses and organisations. We can’t wait to meet other B Corp organisations at local meetups – come over and say ‘Hi’ if you spot any of the team!”

About Disruptive Thinking

Disruptive Thinking is a small team with deep expertise in Marketing, Business Growth and CRM. Our team take on a variety of projects, from designing marketing strategies and executing delivery, to establishing sales processes, to delivering workshops and events. 

We’ve worked with accountancy firms, agencies, startups, law firms, publishers, universities, the creative industries and healthcare providers – supporting them on strategic planning and execution across their sales, marketing and delivery efforts.

We work with any size of organisation, from large corporates through to startups, plus public bodies and not-for-profits. Our motto is doing good work for good people. We’re proud of the quality of work we deliver, and ultimately want to work with clients who are also passionate and driven about what they do.

Got any questions? Just want to connect? Reach out to the team at [email protected]

Specialist CRM agency Flourish was celebrating Thursday 18th April following the announcement at the Campaign Media Awards that their work for Pai Skincare had won ‘The CRM and Media Award’ category.

Award judges described the campaign, which utilised first party data to inform a media strategy which ultimately increased conversion and reduced CPA as, “…clever, rock solid.”

The achievement was even greater as Flourish was one of only six agencies up for an award that didn’t come from the Campaign Top 20 (Campaign School Report Billing 2023). Flourish’s Managing Director Ian Reeves commented: “I’m so proud of the team, but I’m not surprised by the win. With stricter privacy regulations in the UK and EU, and the death of cookies, first party data is becoming increasingly important. It provides marketers with ways of reaching customers with more relevant and engaging comms – something CRM specialists like Flourish have been championing for decades!”

Pai is a ‘clean’ skincare brand selling products direct to consumers via their website. Offers are a vital tool in securing a sale, but Pai wanted to reduce their CPA which had crept up over time.

The award winning work utilised Ometria’s Predictive Attributes to identify customer behaviours and classify them as active, at risk or lapsed. The ‘pot’ customers were put in determined the content of the email journeys they would then receive – with offers as a last resort.

In addition, instead of offer / discount messaging, web visitors were retargeted with product ads focusing on quality, to build brand value. Demographic data gained from CRM meant that only visitors who were most likely to buy were retargeted.

Flourish’s Managing Partner and Head of Media Steve Davis said: “This work shows how powerful media strategies driven by CRM insights can be. This campaign was absolutely transformative in terms of reducing CPA and increasing conversion for Pai and demonstrates the ROI agencies like Flourish can deliver for our clients.”

 

Notes for editors

Flourish is an independently owned, specialist CRM agency based in Bristol. Platform agnostic, the agency works with the tech clients have in place to deliver data-driven customer journeys to OPTIMISE, ELEVATE and ultimately TRANSFORM their clients CRM.

For more information contact Ian Reeves, Managing Director [email protected].

We’ve all heard the stereotype that business-to-business marketing is corporate and serious. More suited and square than boldness laid bare. Nothing like the glamour, humour and heroism of its B2C counterpart.

Because there’s no place for great, inspiring creative when you’re dealing with engineering, manufacturing, technology or professional services, right?

Wrong. Wrong on all counts, in fact.

“…it’s as much human-to-human as it is business-to-business…”

Even B2B marketing is all about making the right connections with people. So it’s as much human-to-human as it is business-to-business (the reason we’re always reiterating the importance of a marketing mix that balances brand building with lead generation).

As an agency that provides B2B marketing services to a range of clients within manufacturing, financial services, legal, healthcare, and many more industries, we’re no stranger to finding creative, innovative ways to add allure to corporate, industrial and even technical communications.

It pays to be brave

Research shows that B2B marketing should be just as, if not more, eye-catching, quick-witted and creative as B2C. In a recent LinkedIn study 69% of B2B marketers agreed that B2B purchasing decisions are as emotionally driven as B2C, and 39% said they use storytelling, humour and emotion to help make their campaigns resonate with their audience.

“…80% of B2B customers expect to have a buying experience with the same level of personalisation as B2C marketing…”

In a 2023 study, 92% of CMOs ranked creativity a top priority. And it may seem obvious, but even in B2B marketing, our audiences are made up of people – the same emotionally driven decision-makers as B2C audiences. Sure, they might also be looking for stats, social proof, solutions to very specific problems, and metrics such as ROI. But that doesn’t take away the appeal of striking creative.

“…there’s nothing safe about the ‘sea of same’ B2B marketing channels can become…”

In fact, you could argue it’s even more important to consider the psychology behind your creative decision-making. There’s certainly makes a strong case for personalisation. In fact, according to 6Sense, 80% of B2B customers expect to have a buying experience with the same level of personalisation as B2C marketing.

The takeaway? Being brave can help you stand out from the competition. And it really does pay.

What makes B2B creative stand out?

Here are a few examples of clients we’ve worked with where we’ve used creative techniques to generate impressive ROI and results.

Daikin Sustainable Home Network

The world is on a race against time to reduce carbon emissions and limit the devastating effects of climate change.

Specialists in heating and cooling solutions, Daikin developed the Altherma heat pump as an alternative to fossil-fuel boilers – one with a significantly reduced environmental impact. To promote these benefits, the team needed a stand-out B2C campaign.

With a predominant focus on B2B products, Daikin had very little consumer presence in the UK and needed to persuade a broad audience to invest significantly more money to install a heat pump into their homes compared to a standard boiler.

We developed the Sustainable Home Network identity to align with Daikin’s renewable energy mission. We then created a multi-step, multi-platform campaign.

We developed an overarching message: ‘Be the energy for change” – the thread that ran throughout our persuasive ad campaign. At the heart of the creative was an aspirational vision of a comfortable, low-carbon lifestyle.

The campaign went to market on brochures, LinkedIn and social media advertising, national press and PR. We also developed a TV commercial, and Daikin even featured our designs on their fleet of installer vans.

The results?

The Energy for Change website attracted more than 216,000 visitors in three months

13,382 brochure downloads

1,887 requests for an Altherma heat pump to be installed

‍Phil Robinson, Creative Director:

“Great creative and B2B marketing aren’t always synonymous. We’re all so engrained in the traditional patterns of B2B thinking and speaking that creativity is often lost in the front-of-mind commercial arguments we’re inevitably drawn to.”

“But make no mistake – high-impact creative is essential if your B2B marketing is going to be effective. It’s the one sure-fire way to move hearts and minds.”

Epson Heat-Free Campaign

Known globally for its best-in-class printers and innovative office printing solutions, Epson needed a powerful brand campaign to promote the benefits of using Heat-Free printing technology.

Epson printers don’t require any heat in the ink ejection process, so they consume less energy. They provide improved performance, increased productivity and reduced environmental impact – which became the driving force behind our campaign.

We used cinematic shots of an Olympic skater to carve the key messaging from our campaign into beautiful ice forms. The powerful video content – paired with photography from Epson’s National Geographic collaboration – told the‘Heat-Free’ story beautifully.

The footage became the bedrock of our visuals, allowing us to draw emotive, evocative comparisons between the technology and its eco-credentials.

The results?

We saw 10% YoY growth in sales volume for the business unit from campaign launch.

Luke Waterman, Art Director:

“We work hard to create campaigns that stand out from the crowd. There’s no benefit to blending in – no reward for being professionally overlooked. But there should be a reward for the audience. So we aim to deliver the right visual cues that provoke an emotional response, be it humour, shock and awe, an empathic association, or simply aesthetic value – but (hopefully) it’s never vanilla.

“I think what we do well is to tailor our clients’ message to reflect the needs and interest of the audience, getting the visual look and feel just right to make marketing materials more relevant and interesting.”

Panasonic TOUGHBOOK

Panasonic TOUGHBOOK pioneered the rugged computing market. Its laptops, tablets and handheld devices are designed to withstand the harshest environments in a range of industries, from the military and emergency services, to manufacturing and industrials.

An already well-established brand, TOUGHBOOK wanted a campaign that resonated with its diverse target audiences. It needed to reach multiple sectors and countries, so being translatable was key.

And so TOUGH is’ was born.

The messaging was developed to empower and relate to both the key-workers using the products and the devices themselves.

We formed emotive headlines such as ‘TOUGH is staying strong in mission-critical moments’ and ‘TOUGH is being where you’re needed most’ that would evoke a sense of what it’s like to work in these rugged environments, as well as demonstrating exactly how impressive and robust the technology needs to be. High-octane, dramatic photography brought this vision and the words to life for a striking campaign.

We introduced Video Ask to track the enquiries that came through from the campaign and to engage the website traffic.

The results?

63% of people engaged with the Video Ask interface

43% of people answered at least one question

20% of people finished the journey and completed required action

Robbie Masters, Senior Copywriter:

“It’s a misconception that B2B marketing is dull. But actually it can get samey if businesses aren’t careful. Our clients are doing brilliant things, producing ingenious products, and having a positive impact on people’s lives every day.These are stories worth telling.

 “It’s our job to unearth those hidden gems, highlight the benefits and find creative ways to tell the brand’s story. Sometimes that’s more challenging than in consumer marketing, where the drivers are desire or aspiration. If anything, great B2B marketing can demand more creativity, more of a human touch, and more emotion – not less.” 

So next time you reach for the safe option – whether it’s the same-old image library, your slightly vanilla email template or an ultra-light-touch website refresh –consider being brave and trying something new.

Because there’s nothing safe about the sea of same B2B marketing channels can become.

If you need help bringing a creative spark to your B2B marketing, we’re just an email away. Get in touch at [email protected]

To celebrate International Women’s Day, we are officially funding a second round of creative and marketing support to businesses dedicated to levelling the playing field for women.

Last year we offered creative support to a local business dedicated to making a positive impact for women in the South-West. The Women’s Work Lab based in Bristol, addresses the motherhood career gap by providing skills-based training to mums on benefits, enhancing their employability. Headed up by an all-female team here at Oakwood, we reviewed their brand identity and created evolved messaging and a new visual look.

Once again, we are interested in hearing from individuals, organisations or businesses who are led or owned by women who are committed to celebrating women’s achievements, championing women empowerment, calling for positive change to advance women, taking action to educate and raise awareness of women’s equality and those who are actively fostering and creating more inclusive workplaces, communities, or practices for women; to help drive forward the important message of this year’s International Women’s Day around inspiring inclusion.

If you think this sounds like you, please apply here: https://oakwoodagency.com/insights/iwd-2024

And don’t forget to spread the word!

Whether you’re a new start-up or the proud owner of a family-run bakery, the digital world can feel like a jungle of jargon and ever-shifting goalposts. But do not worry, my digital adventurers! Today, we’re embarking on an excursion to unravel the mysteries of SEO, minus the patronising tech language.

The ABCs of SEO: Cracking the Code

The wonderful world of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is all about making your website stand out in the eyes of search engines. Consider it as cleaning up your internet presence so that Google, like the most popular kid at school, can’t help but notice you.

Starting with keywords, those sneaky little things that people enter into search engines while looking for something, you need to know which ones will get you a nudge and a wink from Google. Then there’s on-page optimisation, which entails making your titles and meta descriptions both informative and appealing.

Next, don’t forget about backlinks, which are similar to online street cred; the more trustworthy sites link to yours, the more Google believes you’re the best. Last but not least, your site’s user experience must be slicker than a charmer’s chat-up lines, with mobile-friendliness, quick loading speeds, and material as fascinating as a natter at the pub.

For individuals looking to learn the fundamentals of SEO, check out Mastering SEO Fundamentals for Newbies. It’s similar to your trusted map to buried treasure, but in this case, the treasure is massive amounts of web traffic.

2021’s Plot Twists in the World of SEO

SEO isn’t something you do once and then forget about. Google wants to keep us on our toes with its continuous upgrades. And, like fashion trends, if you don’t keep up, you’ll rapidly appear as out of date as socks and sandals.

This year, Google has been busy tweaking the machinery with algorithm improvements, putting an even more focus on the quality of your content and the experience you provide to your users.

What’s the latest in the 2021 SEO scene? You have Google’s Page Experience Update, which focuses on topics like loading speed and mobile friendliness. And don’t underestimate the growing relevance of local SEO. With more people looking for neighbourhood delicacies, it’s a no-brainer to improve your local listings.

Curious about this year’s shake-up? Have a gander at the Beginner’s Guide to 2021 SEO Changes.

Navigating the SEO Sea Change: Google’s Latest Shenanigans

Change is the only constant, they say, and Google’s recent upgrades are as consistent as rain on a British summer’s day. Navigating these shifts does not require casting a magic spell; rather, it requires maintaining a steady hand on the tiller and adjusting your sails.

For example, Google now prefers websites that offer an excellent user experience (UX). This implies that your website’s usability, mobile appearance, and loading speed are more important than ever.

If you’re feeling a little lost, check out the link to Navigating Through Google’s Recent SEO Updates – it’s your go-to compass in the ever-changing world of SEO.

Finessing Your Site: SEO Tweaks and Twiddles

Think of your website like a store. You wouldn’t have a confusing layout or useless service in a physical store, and the same is true for an online storefront. SEO finesse begins with simplicity, such as crystal-clear navigation, a plethora of persuasive and instructive content, and some clever keywords scattered throughout like fairy dust.

From there, you may go into details like as image optimisation (ensuring that images aren’t so enormous that they slow down your site) and ensuring that each page has a specific function.

If you’re itchin’ to start enhancing your digital habitat, snag some pearls of wisdom from Enhancing Your Website’s SEO: The Basics.

Unlocking SEO Secrets for the Novices

Even the most daring adventurers require a guide while exploring new territory. And in the wilds of SEO, it pays to have a reliable ally who knows every nook and cranny of the terrain.

BrisTechTonic is not your typical SEO agency. We’ll take you under our wing and decipher the enigmatic hieroglyphs of Google’s algorithms with sophisticated knowledge and a pleasant wink. Our desire is to help your company advance in the search rankings with a plan designed specifically for you.

Eager to get the gears turning on your website’s SEO potential? Look no further than unlocking your future success with Unlocking SEO Potential for Beginners.

So, if you’re ready to unfurl the sails on your SEO voyage, why not book in for a discovery call? We’ll chat about your needs and plot a course for your online triumph. Until then, keep your wits about you and your SEO sharp!

Welcome to the digital labyrinth, where SEO mysteries are more complicated than Spaghetti Junction on a Friday afternoon. But do not be afraid! We’re here to light the way for your online adventure, much like a trusted flashlight in the depths of Wookey Hole.

Spotlight on SEO: What’s It All About?

Imagine SEO as the High Street of the digital world. It’s where you set up your shop (a.k.a. your website) to get the most footfall. Only, in this bustling metropolis, footfall is driven by the all-seeing eyes of search engines. Now, let’s Discover the essentials of SEO with our beginner’s guide and turn browsers into buyers!

The Building Blocks of SEO

Before you start building your digital empire, you should learn the fundamentals of SEO for your new firm. Here is the groundwork:

Keywords: These are the ‘Open for Business’ signs that catch your attention. These are the terms your prospective clients are feverishly putting into Google.

Content: The king, queen, and the entire royal procession. Quality content not only engages your target audience, but it also pleases Google.

Meta Tags: No, not a new superhero team, but important text snippets that inform search engines about the content of each page of your cyber castle.

Backlinks: These are your high-street recommendations. The more credible the source, the higher your street cred in the digital hood.

Brewing up a Digital Presence

SEO is similar to a superb Bristol brew in that the appropriate ingredients must steep together to produce the ideal cup of tea. So, let us jumpstart your digital success with this simple SEO guide and propel your brand from startup to superstar.

On-Page SEO: Your Shop Window

On-page SEO is about making your store as attractive as possible from the start. This entails having a clear indication (your title tag), an appealing display (your photos and formatting), and an attractive pitch. It’s where you can learn about SEO: A beginner’s tutorial for those looking to impress passersby.

Off-Page SEO: Spreading the Word

Off-page SEO is the equivalent of positive gossip; it’s how you get people talking about your business in the outside world. Earning backlinks from credible sites is like the local newsagent saying, “That’s a fine establishment!” It’s an important step towards unlocking the secrets of SEO for your growing business.

Navigating the SEO Journey

As any wise explorer knows, a map is essential. Let’s plot the course to Navigate the world of SEO: A starter kit for small businesses, marking the key destinations and avoiding the peckish trolls lurking beneath the bridges.

Local SEO: Claiming Your Turf

If your company is the large fish in a small pond, local SEO guarantees you don’t slip away. It’s about claiming your area on ‘Google My Business,’ and ensuring that when locals search ‘near me,’ your shop appears as a beacon on their digital map.

Technical SEO: Under the Hood

Consider technical SEO to be your tech team working in the background. They’re responsible for guaranteeing that your site’s rigging does not collapse during the performance. From loading times to mobile responsiveness, the unsung hero keeps the show running smoothly. By paying attention here, you will ensure that you start your SEO journey with our thorough beginner’s guide.

Stirring the SEO Cauldron

When you combine creativity and statistics, you have the recipe for online enchantment. It’s time to make your mark online with practical SEO ideas for new businesses and create a website that Harry Potter would be proud of.

Analytics: Measuring Your Magic

Once your potions are bubbling beautifully, you should test their potency. Tools such as Google Analytics allow you to see how your audience interacts with your material. This knowledge allows you to fine-tune your spells for optimal effectiveness.

The Power of Patience

Remember that in the world of SEO, patience is more than a virtue; it is a requirement. Results may not be immediate, but with a persistent technique, you will see your online riches grow.

Ready to make your digital aspirations a reality? Embrace these simple SEO methods for new businesses and watch your brand ascend the ranks of Google’s enormous library.

For those willing to learn the intricacies of SEO and move their organisation forward, the adventure is only beginning. Remember, you don’t have to go through this digital journey alone. If you want to learn more about SEO for your growing business, schedule a discovery call. Together, we’ll devise a customised plan to make the Google gods smile upon your website.

Based on ADLIB internal data and knowledge, here is a UK-wide sector talent and skills overview for the Marketing & Digital employment market.


SECTOR OVERVIEW

The UK is home to a wide range of businesses, from a booming start-up scene, to established SMEs, an ever-evolving spectrum of specialist marketing agencies, and large blue-chip corporates. Whilst lots of businesses are choosing to grow their marketing resource in-house, marketing agencies play an essential role to organisations which call upon them for specialist consultancy, and to handle their heavy-lifting.

Many businesses regard Marketing as being fundamental to their success as they evolve and react to changing audience behaviours. The number of  marketing vacancies in the UK fell by 41.8% in the first half of 2023 compared to 2022. Although that’s a big drop,  there was a 40% rise in the number of marketing vacancies the year prior,  so overall 2023 finished in a slightly better place than in 2021.

From conversations with ADLIB’s client base, agency and client side, the consensus is that the market is steadying. 2024 remains a tough market for some, but with new budgets around the corner, there is an optimistic outlook.

 


TALENT OVERVIEW

Demand for digital marketing skills continues to rise with most generalist marketing candidates having good digital expertise too. Ai is appearing on a range of job specs, from SEO Executives to Communications Managers, and Tik Tok is prolific among B2C marketing job specs where social media is a core channel. Trending tools include the likes of Braze, Salesforce Marketing Cloud and Canva.

Talent gaps are filled with candidates relocating to the key marketing hubs such as Brimingham, Bristol & Bath, Cardiff, Leeds, London, Manchester, and the M4 corridor, drawn to what these locations have to offer. With a vibrant scene that attracts students and graduates, there are talented juniors ready to step into their new Marketing careers.

There are also lots of great DfE-funded bootcamps available to a range of individuals including unemployed people, career changers and those looking to upskill. These are available across a range of locations, with the aim of upskilling talent who wouldn’t ordinarily have access to the training often required to enter a career in Marketing.

No matter the sector you’re in, be that Retail, eCommerce, FMCG, Professional Services, Financial Services, Manufacturing, Tech, Sustainability, Social Impact, or Charity, there is huge competition for talent. Although remote and flexible working has enabled businesses to attract talent from a wider geographical pool of candidates, there is also a greater number of opportunities available to candidates, often with inflated, London-weighted salaries being offered, even to those outside of the London area.

Compared to 2022, which was very much a candidate’s market with some of the highest rises in salaries of recent times, salaries have on the whole begun to level out. However, competition for the best talent still remains fierce.

Candidates remain picky with many of them opting only to apply for businesses that are purpose-driven, and offer an inclusive culture. Businesses are having to work harder to make their employer brand stand out.

According to APSCo business development, client relationship management and events skills are currently highly sought after, with a 54% uplift in demand for these skills when compared to last year. This is indicative of agency hiring which has remained a cornerstone of ADLIB’s placements for 2023.

These roles have overtaken digital expertise, which has dropped to the second largest segment, although this change could be driven by the increase in expectations for general marketers to have some form of digital abilities.

In contrast, the areas that have had the smallest uplift year on year are management and design, up 16% and 12% respectively.

By region, it’s no surprise that London remains dominant with 59% of the vacancies nationwide. The South East the second largest region, constituting 9.54%.

Remote-first roles seem here to stay too, with 6.1% of vacancies being location neutral, where people are no longer required to be based from the office full-time. This represents a 6x increase on pre-pandemic figures when around 1% of jobs were location neutral.

 


EQUITY, DIVERSITY & INCLUSION

 

Cannes Lions 2023 winners demonstrated that creativity can help make brands more inclusive. In Kantar’s The State of DEI 2023: What Marketers need to do to close the inclusion gaps, it was reported that advertisers are feeling more confident in inclusive representation related to women, race and ethnic groups, and in some cases, disabilities too.

This is echoed in Kantar’s Media Reactions study, which suggests over 6 in 10 marketers are confident about their organisations’ advertising avoiding stereotypes, including gender balanced content or inclusive and diverse representation, and notably confidence in producing racially balanced content has increased by 12 percentage points. However, that confidence is slashed in half when it comes to LGBTQ+ inclusive representation.

The Global DEI Census Report by the World Federation of Advertisers provides some key insights to what’s happening internally within organisations in the Marketing industry:

1 in 7 people say they would leave the industry on the basis of lack of diversity, equity and inclusion, which increases to 1 in 6 for women and LGBTQ+, 1 in 5 for ethnic minorities, and 1 in 4 for respondents with a disability.


72% of respondents said their company is actively taking steps to be more diverse and inclusive.


1 in 2 said things have improved in the past two years, but 3 in 10 said that things were the same.


According to the census, we haven’t moved the needle on inclusion. The Global DEI Census Inclusion Index score is 63% which is -1 ppts change compared with 2021.


 

The most common forms of discrimination being age, gender and family status:

Women, LGBTQ+, ethnic minority and disabled respondents still have worse experiences than their counterparts:

The Agency Collective and Hallam produced their second report about how representative agencies are of the UK population, which concluded that:

Minority ethnic groups are underrepresented

All minority ethnic groups, particularly the Asian demographic are underrepresented in the workforce and even more so in management positions.

Leadership teams are still dominated by men

There are more women than men in the workforce, however not enough women are making it onto the leadership teams.

LGBTQ+ representation is positive 

Minority ethnic groups underrepresented 

Inclusivity

Not enough agencies are making reasonable adjustments for employees who are neurodiverse or have a disability. There is a lot to be done when it comes to agencies making reasonable adjustments to aid inclusivity in this area.


SKILLS IN DEMAND

TikTok

It’s no surprise that the majority of B2C marketing roles which include social media as a core channel, ask for knowledge and experience in TikTok specifically.

Ai

Whether you like it or not, Ai is revolutionising the marketing field. From automation to personalisation. You’ve even got the option to use Ai to help you write a post on LinkedIn. According to the 2023 State of Marketing AI Report by the Marketing Artificial Intelligence Institute:

We’ve seen Ai popping up in job descriptions for a range of roles including SEO Managers, Content Creators, Digital Analysts and Marketing Communications roles.

Automation, CX and Insights

According to Unlimited Group’s CMO Barometer 2023 90% of participants stated that they were using automation tools to improve their return on investment – data science, analytics, CRM, digital platforms and martech are most commonly named among techniques. The race to wholesale digital enablement is ongoing, with the C-suite of marketing pooling most of their focus and resources into tech.

B2B vs B2C, In-house vs Agency, single-channel specialist vs generalist:

As with last year, many of the marketing roles today require strong content and copywriting skills. There is still high demand for digital acquisition skills such as SEO, PPC, CRO, and Performance marketing in general.

SMEs tend to be fond of candidates who have a broad range of skills including creative tools like Canva, InDesign and Photoshop.

B2B businesses are utilising the lead generation skills of marketers through email and automation, content marketing and CRM, particularly within the SaaS world. HubSpotSalesforce Marketing Cloud and Braze are common tools included in B2B marketing job descriptions.

We’ve seen a steady volume of “Growth Marketer” opportunities within the Tech start-up / scale-up space. Although the 2023 economic climate was tough for many Tech businesses which may rely on funding, the hands-on nature of a Growth Marketer combined with the ability to test, learn and develop a medium-to-long term strategy means this has remained a key skill set in the start-up/scale-up world.

The Agency market has remained steady with salaries remaining high as businesses compete with one another to hire the best talent. We’ve seen a rise in the number of B Corp certified agencies. The UK B Corp community is growing faster than ever. There are now over 1,500 B Corps in the UK, with over 85,000 employees. which is hugely positive for the sector and people and planet too!

Agencies that haven’t already done so, are going the extra mile to differentiate themselves in a noisy market with revamped careers pages, EVP documents, and a greater emphasis on their social impact, non-financial benefits package, and employee wellbeing.

 


CONCLUSION

Whether you’re a hiring manager, business owner, or a candidate looking for their next career opportunity, there is a steadying market out there with some sectors finding it hard and others seemingly unaffected. With that comes stiff competition so it is important that you stand out and for all the right reasons, with inclusion being a core part of your EVP. Choosing a recruitment partner that is embedded in your sector, shares your values, and understands the importance of EDI will give you a massive advantage both from a hiring perspective and from a job-seeking perspective.

We’re excited to see what 2024 brings for the Marketing Recruitment sector! If you’re an employer or a jobseeker, and you’d like to work with us, get in touch.

Mentor Digital is delighted to announce an expansion of our Digital Marketing services and the launch of a newly designed section of our website to showcase our new and improved offering across SEO, PPC and analytics.

Since adding ex-Google Strategist Dan Watt to our ranks as Digital Marketing Director last year, we have seen fantastic growth in both the amount and scope of digital marketing projects that we are working on for our clients.

Whilst delivering best-in-class, SEO optimised websites in Umbraco has been part of Mentor Digital’s offering for many years, our expanded offering sees us providing expertise across the entire digital marketing spectrum. Our services now include:

Paid media: including media planning and forecasting, campaign auditing and campaign build and management across paid search, paid social, video and display.

SEO: including website auditing, technical SEO, content strategy and production, inbound marketing and SEO migration consultancy.

Analytics: including Google Analytics 4 auditing and setup, Google Tag Manager auditing and tracking implementation and bespoke, real-time Looker Studio reporting dashboards.

We’re excited about what the year ahead will hold for our digital marketing team and our clients alike as we continue to expand our portfolio of work. If you would like a no obligation appraisal of the current SEO performance of your website, or an expert assessment of whether you could be spending your digital media budget more effectively, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Dan and his team.

 

User experience (UX) comprises a vast array of principles and practices that help visitors navigate your website effectively, engage with your content, and progress to a desired outcome or transaction.

Businesses are becoming more and more savvy to the benefits of user-centric design and embracing the customer experience. But some are still overlooking certain elements of the user journey (thereby deprioritising the customer) – and to their detriment.

 

The perils of poor UX

If an overly complex checkout process can deter 27% of potential customers, consider how many are likely to drop off before they even reach a buying decision. So, while it may seem fussy to agonise over clicks or the wording of your calls to action (CTAs), these seemingly small moments along the user journey can make a huge difference.

So, now that we understand the scale of the problem, how can we go about creating a streamlined user experience based on best practice and customer-centric design principles?

First, let’s define some key terms:

Optimising website navigation

Website navigation is the backbone of your user journey. Without effective menus, buttons, and links, your site would have no direction. These elements should guide users to the information they need, and onto the next logical step.

Effective navigation can significantly enhance the usability and accessibility of a website.It also enhances customer satisfaction, improves engagement, and can lead to better conversion rates.

So how can you ensure your website navigation meets UX best practices? Here’s a simple framework (and mnemonic) you can use: SASS ME

Simplicity

An uncomplicated menu structure facilitates quick information retrieval and task completion.

Accessibility

Employ readable fonts, contrasting colours, and strategic placement to enhance visibility.

Signposting‍

Clear, easy-to-read labels and buttons (with calls to action (CTAs) like ‘Contact us’ or ‘Request a quote’) provide users with direction and an understanding of what to expect.

Sitemap

Website navigation isn’t solely about your users. A sitemap needs to be readily available so that search engine crawlers can navigate it effectively too. It can also be a great place to start when planning your information architecture.

Mobile optimisation

With over half of internet traffic coming from mobile devices, navigation should be touch-screen friendly for effortless tapping and responsive browsing across every device size.

Engagement

Your navigation menu isn’t the only way your users jump from page to page, so use your content blocks and CTAs wisely. A more engaging user journey encourages longer sessions, improves conversion rate, and makes navigation intuitive and enjoyable.

Understanding the user journey

Setting out the perfect user journey involves understanding and mapping out how users interact with your site from their first visit to the final action you want them to take. This could be making a purchase, requesting a quote, registering interest, or getting in touch.

The goal is to create a seamless, intuitive, and satisfying experience that guides users towards each of your desired outcomes.

Best practice for setting up an effective user journey:

By following just a few simple steps, you can create a watertight user journey that minimises bounce rate and maximises conversions.

1. Understand your audience and create personas

Start by understanding your target audience. Research their needs, preferences, pain points, and behaviours. Then, create user personas to represent different segments of your audience. This helps in tailoring the journey to different user needs.

2. Define user goals and business objectives

Identify what users want to achieve on your website (e.g. find information about your services, buy a product, read industry news) and align these goals with your business objectives (e.g., increase sales, generate leads).‍

3. Map the current user journey

Analyse the existing path users take on your website using tools like Google Analytics, heatmaps, and user feedback. Identify any pain points, bottlenecks, or areas where users drop off. You’ll also want to consider how users will enter your site (homepage, landing pages, blog articles) and optimise these entry points.

4. Tailor content and simplify conversion

Ensure your content addresses the needs, desires, and questions of your users at each stage of their journey. Crucially, minimise the number of steps needed to complete a conversion (e.g. making a purchase, signing up for your newsletter, or getting in touch) and ensure forms are simple and easy to fill out.

5. Optimise for different devices and channels

Ensure your website is responsive and provides a seamless experience on desktops, tablets, and smartphones. Consider how different channels (social media, email, ads) impact the user journey and optimise accordingly.

6. Incorporate feedback loops

Use surveys, user testing, and analytics to gather feedback on the user experience. Regularly review this feedback to identify areas for improvement. And finally: test, test, test!  Constant testing and optimisation will ensure your site stays up to date, your users enjoy the best possible experience and you’re ahead of any issues or bugs that may arise.

By prioritising UX, businesses can ensure higher levels of customer satisfaction, but also engagement, trust and loyalty, leading to increased conversions and retention. So, investing in a meticulous, user-centric design approach is not just a best practice, it’s a strategic must.

If you would like a free consultation to discuss your website’s UX contact us at [email protected].