Benchmarking

One thing that drew me into the world of digital marketing, and remains one of the drivers of this area for all marketers, is the ability to see exactly what is working in realtime. Gone are the days when you would simply have an idea that something might work with your target audience and then pump some budget into a pretty design, buy a billboard for a week or hire a poor chap wearing a sandwich board to walk around town with your message on his chest. Now we can activate and evaluate within the time it takes to glance at a Google Analytics or Facebook Insights report and either edit, stop or adjust budget accordingly. The immediacy and transparency is fantastic and perhaps even makes you question why people might still spend so much on the dark arts of mass marketing on TV channels. Perhaps.

But it all starts from a level playing field. We specialise in benchmarking and auditing your existing communications against the industry and direct competitors, then optimising your efforts and focusing your resources directly at your business objectives. At the end of the day if your marketing doesn’t answer your business needs, it is irrelevant fluff.

Tidying Up Broken Windows

Perhaps a little behind on the reading list, but a good halfway through Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell, I wanted to make reference to the Broken Windows Theory he promotes. This is in fact the topic that pushed him to create a whole book around epidemiology, inspired by the sudden drop in crime in New York City and a theory to explain it. Instead of focusing on more visible police presence, the idea was to appeal to human nature by essentially tidying up and making mugging, graffiti and other criminal activity out of place. Direct action began on the NYC subway system by removing graffiti from 1984 onwards, removing vandalised wagons from service until they were cleaned up and once one was cleaned making sure it stayed that way.

Apart from deterring criminals from thinking they can take over uncared-for areas of the city this cleaning up also provided a real psychological boost for the residents, the people who just wanted to go about their everyday lives without threat. My favourite part describes how the police force used to let delinquents spend three days finalising their graffiti artworks on train carriages (day one preparing the canvas, day two outlining the “art”, day three adding the colour and details) before arriving with paints and other materials to completely eradicate it. Quite demoralising for the disaffected, but hey.

It made me think about some of the basic practices we put in place for clients when they embark on any project with us. After auditing the existing digital estate, we work together to decide on the essentials and focus on those channels and that content, anything off-message or off-target gets removed and all energy spent on sharpening and optimising the important components. This is a great exercise that leads to a massive simplification and makes conversations about starting a Facebook page much more meaningful – does it fit your marketing strategy, product, audience?

Over 6 months ago now Ashton x Ashton went through a major personal tidying up process, inspired by a joint reading of The Art of Tidying Up, definitely recommended for those of you looking to declutter in any way. Never mind subway carriages and petty crime in New York, do those 5-year-old misshapen socks still make you happy? Get rid. Twenty bin bags later, we were feeling much more streamlined and refined at #Minyhome.

Spreading Wings

Believed to be on it’s way down, I still like to pander to Google+ on occasion, especially enjoying the great Photos software. Shame it never took off outside the tech geek crowd because the UI, transparency and linking together of all things Google should have had more impact. Possibly the lateness of launch, losing out to ongoing upgrades from Facebook, Twitter and the myriad other startup niche channels.

Hello World!

Ashton & Ashton launches today – born out of experience, created to better serve customer needs in the communication space. The aim is to provide a measurable product that answers and exceeds the brief. This blog will act as a living hub of ideas across business development, sales and marketing plus any other factoids that cross our path in the meantime.

We are an enabler consultancy, often the gateway to a Middle East launch for an external brand. With a long list of reliable partners and suppliers, we take an agnostic approach to rollout as long as the very best job is delivered.

Check out the “about” page for our specialisms, but they are, in no particular order:

  • Digital estate planning
  • Inbound marketing
  • Content and channel strategy
  • Ambassador programming
  • Business development consultancy