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Thursday 23rd January 2020

Digital Marketing Meetup #7

Sheffield Tap

Ash Young, Declan Reilly, Naomi Davies & Stephen Kenwright

Sheffield DM kicked off 2020 in style with the busiest digital marketing meet-up since we started back in November 2018. We wanted to start the new decade with something a little different, so instead of the usual format we paired another fantastic presentation with our first Q&A discussion panel!

Here’s how it all went down at Sheffield DM #7.

Ash Young: Starting and Scaling Successful eCommerce Side Projects

Our first special guest of the evening was Ash Young, Managing Director of Evoluted and one of the Sheffield DM organisers.

For his entertaining and engaging talk, he told the audience the story of how he took a simple (and decidedly un-sexy) idea of selling Car Mats online, and turned it into a highly successful eCommerce venture.

Ash told the Sheffield DM audience about the various tricky decisions he had to make in order to grow the project, as well as a series of challenges he overcame.

Pricing makes all the difference

Being competitively priced makes all the difference. Car Mats was experiencing sluggish growth until a standard price of £19.99 was introduced - from there, sales grew spectacularly.

Driving growth with Google Ads

Because of its immediateness and measurability as a marketing platform, Ash chose to promote Car Mats exclusively through Google Ads (known back then as Google Adwords).

Growing margins through customisation options

Despite huge sales, profit margins were slim, with an average profit of just £1.01 per single standard unit sold. Tax, marketing costs, product purchasing and handling costs meant that there wasn’t much money left over once a transaction was complete.

Ash was able to grow this margin significantly by offering a variety of customisation options, which proved very popular among customers. These options included custom colours, embroidery and more.

Each of these options was subject to an additional cost, one that was clearly good value for the customers.

Don’t try and do too much!

One of Ash’s main takeaways, and recommendations for those wanting to try a similar project, was to use your time pragmatically and to not try and do too much yourself!

Don’t overdo the ad targeting!

In the pursuit of absolute granularity in Google Adwords, Ash found himself building out keywords targeting car mats for some luxury vehicle models (such as Ferraris of which there were only 40 in the UK) which simply didn’t need targeting. You can try and target too much, and that’s a real time zapper!

Sheffield DM Q&A Panel Discussion

For the main event of the evening, our audience got to hear the thoughts of three experienced and successful local digital marketing minds.

  • Declan Reilly - Head of Search at SEO Works
  • Naomi Davies - Freelance Marketing Consultant specialising in Luxury Fashion
  • Stephen Kenwright - Co-Founder at Rise at Seven

For the discussion, our panellists answered five questions, covering the past, present and future of digital.

  • How has your area of digital changed in the past 5 years? Where do you expect it to go over the next 5?
  • What is the biggest challenge you anticipate the marketing industry to face in the coming years?
  • Is there anything in digital marketing that you hope will finally end in 2020 or the next few years?
  • Who do you think is making the greatest advancements or the biggest impact on digital marketing at the moment, and what are they doing?
  • Finally, you've all achieved successful careers in various areas of digital marketing. What advice would you give to fresh marketers or those in the early stages of their careers to supercharge their own success over the next 5-10 years?

Each panellist brought a unique insight from their own experiences across different areas of digital marketing and across a huge range of industries, with key takeaways including:

  • SEO is becoming more intertwined with other areas of a business’s digital presence than ever before. Marketers need to be able to respond to this and it’s likely we’ll see SEO teams becoming a central hub with other areas encircling it;
  • As the web becomes more privacy-focused following consumer-pressure, marketers will find it more difficult to track traffic sources and conversions effectively;
  • TikTok is currently an unspoiled paradise for creative opportunity. Well, until all of us descend on it to start talking about our respective brands…
  • For marketers early in their careers, try to block out the noise of everyone telling you to learn to code, or become a data scientist, etc, etc. Instead, go back to basics, become amazing at a few things and most importantly, learn what makes people tick both internally and externally to your organisation. Building qualitative practice into your culture is how you’ll truly succeed in the future.

Sheffield DM #8 - Thursday 19th March 2020

We’ll be back in March with an awesome evening focused on pay-per-click marketing.

At our usual hangout in the back room of the Sheffield Tap, we’ll be joined by speakers Rory Jones, Product Manager at Sheffield-based startup Tutorful; and Greg Holland, PPC Strategist at Impression over in Nottingham.

You can register for the next event right now. As always, it’s free to attend and there will be a free drink with your name on it!