Want to work with Deeson Group?


At Deeson Group we’re hiring.

We work across digital and print to deliver top quality projects for an exciting range of clients that includes big names like Johnson & Johnson, ITV and Robbie Williams.

At the moment we’re recruiting to three roles:

Online Producer

Our project managers / producers work with clients and the internal teams to deliver high quality results on time, every time.

They liaise with clients, help specify features and provide accurate estimating and planning information.

A combination of deep industry experience combined with planning and analysis skills is required to provide leadership to both clients and project team.

You’ll have credible commercial experience in delivering comparable digital projects, ideally using an Agile (Scrum) methodology.

Digital Designer

We’re looking for a designer with a portfolio that demonstrates your ability to create something special. Versatility and flexibility are important, as well as a real passion for design and creative thinking.

Specifically you’ll have experience in:

  • translating requirements into a user interface via wireframes
  • working with UX teams
  • creating stunning web layouts in Photoshop
  • building responsive front-end templates
  • collaborating with development teams to integrate front-end code into CMS templates

Digital Marketing Executive

We are seeing increasing demand for integrated digital marketing services from our existing clients and from new clients. This new role will help us provide a broader range of digital marketing services including on and off-site SEO, analytics and online advertising.

We’re looking for someone that is:

  • great at web analytics and evaluation (ideally with Google Analytics IQ)
  • knowledgeable and comfortable with Google Webmaster tools
  • Google Adwords certified
  • visible and credible on social media
  • interested in social media, content marketing and the next big thing
  • comfortable with data, analysis and evidence-based thinking
  • able to communicate effectively with clients and colleagues through written reports, blogs, presentations and conversations
  • always researching trends, analysing and communicating knowledge to with clients and colleagues

All three roles are based in Canterbury and salaries are negotiable.

Plus we’re a friendly bunch to work with. And do groovy stuff like our recent charity picnic.

Interested? Drop us a line at web-recruit@deeson.co.uk and introduce yourself.

Digital neanderthals, marketing and the shiny new things


I was talking last week to a friend who’s a qualified children’s football coach.

He was explaining to me the difference between coaching five year olds and coaching eleven year olds.

At age five the biggest challenge is to stop all the team members chasing after the ball at once. The idea of positions, tactics and linking together as a team aren’t worth thinking about at that age.

Yet coaching a team of eleven year olds is a different matter. There’s a different maturity to work with as a coach which means there’s greater potential to coach different skills and disciplines.

I was reminded of this conversation when I spotted a blog post on David Taylor‘s Brandgym site over the weekend.

In “insights from a(nother) digital neanderthal” he talks about how the marketing industry has rushed headlong into social media, much in the same way as the five year olds chase the ball in a football game.

He uses some entirely sensible statistics to back up his views and I can’t dispute the statistics David uses.

And he’s right that our profession does have a tendency to over-emphasise the value of shiny new things at the expense of a more disciplined and rigorous assessment of the old and the new.

But I’m not sure the analysis of the reach of different marketing channels tells the whole story.

What it doesn’t do is consider the changing patterns of media consumption and interaction.

As Ofcom’s Communications Market Report puts it:

Huge growth in take-up of smartphones and tablets is creating a nation of media multi-taskers, transforming the traditional living room of our parents and grandparents into a digital media hub.

The challenge for marketers is to really understand the complex multimedia landscape and how to compete effectively for audience engagement

That’s about more than understanding marketing channels, whether they’re new or old.

It’s about understanding audiences and how they engage with content, however it’s delivered to them.

That is why the content-led approach, while it has fallen victim to the marketers’ love for the next big thing, remains a sound strategic basis for marketing in the complex digital lives of most audiences.

Understanding how audiences receive, interpret, understand and share content is the right way for marketing to remain relevant and effective.

The challenge is to cut through the marketing hype around content marketing and determine what’s effective and why…as well as to behave more like the eleven year olds rather than the five year olds as well.

Free communications and marketing event in Canterbury


Socialbury is a monthly free knowledge sharing event for communications and marketing people in Kent. It’s run by Kent communications and marketing agency Deeson Creative where I’m now based as director of communications and marketing.

Following on from the success of the monthly Socialbury breakfast event, we’re extending the Socialbury concept to include a new evening event – it’s called Socialbury Lightning Talks and takes place on Wednesday, 28 May in Canterbury.

Socialbury Lightning Talks is an opportunity to hear six great 10 minute communications and marketing presentations in an informal setting with like-minded professionals (as well as having a beer at the same time).

We’re really excited about the line-up for 28 May:

The event is completely free and takes place at the Gulbenkian at the University of Canterbury. It starts at 7.30pm and there’s plenty of free parking on-site.

If you’d like to join us at Socialbury Lightning Talks next month, you can bag your free place now.

And if you’re planning on coming along let me know so I can pop over and say hello too (tweet me @simonwakeman)


Every business is a digital business


Here’s an interesting (and quite long) piece of thinking from Accenture on the relationship between digital and business.

The overall argument that’s put forward is:

Becoming a digital business is no longer simply about how we incorporate technology into our organizations; it’s about how we use technology to reinvent those organizations to get out in front of the dramatic changes that technology is creating.

You can download the full report here.

Screenshot 2014-03-25 20.57.05


They pick out six trends worth noting in this space, namely:

  1. Digital–physical blur: Extending intelligence to the edge
  2. From workforce to crowdsource: The rise of the borderless enterprise
  3. Data supply chain: Putting information into circulation
  4. Harnessing hyperscale: Hardware is back (and never really went away)
  5. The business of applications: Software as a core competency in a digital world
  6. Architecting resilience: “Built to survive failure” becomes the mantra of the nonstop business

The section on the digital-physical  blur and the rapid growth of edge-enabled devices particularly caught my eye.

It’s this space that is likely to yield the greatest innovation in the business to consumer marketplace as the “internet of things” moves beyond the early adopter phase.

The technology will create the opportunities for new user experiences with digital in contexts that simply wouldn’t have existed previously – and that’s an exciting space to be experimenting and innovating in.



Do you want to be Head of Communications?


Do you fancy doing my job – or strictly speaking the East Sussex part of it?

Well here’s an opportunity. I’m moving onto exciting pastures new next month, so the job of Head of Communications at East Sussex County Council has just been advertised.

It’s a great local government communications role based in Lewes, East Sussex. Here’s the full advert:

This is an exciting time for communications and marketing at East Sussex County Council.

Following a major review, we launched our new communications team last year. We aim to provide a modern, flexible and responsive service which helps to deliver the Council’s priorities across all channels using the latest communications and social marketing techniques. We have a client-focussed team that has recently been awarded the Public Relations Consultants Association (PRCA) Communications Management Standard accreditation.

The Council works in partnership with Medway Council as part of the Bluewave communications partnership. This helps provide resilience for both teams, sharing campaigns and experience and developing opportunities for providing communications services to other local public sector organisations..

We are seeking an experienced communications and marketing professional to lead the East Sussex team and share responsibility for developing and managing the partnership with Medway. If you combine experience of delivering strategic, evidence based communications and marketing activity that has real impact, with leading and developing teams, this could be the next role for you.

For more details and to apply visit Access East Sussex Jobs. The closing date is Sunday, 13th April 2014.

Image credit:  “Cuckoo Bottom, Lewes” by Jonathan Tweed

Time spent on digital media now exceeds TV


Spotted a useful bit of research from eMarketer earlier in the week that looks at how long UK consumers spend on different media types each day.

The big headline is that the rapid growth in use of mobiles means time spent consuming content using digital devices now exceeds the time spent consuming content via television:



The research counts time spent using multiple channels simultaneously separately – so an elapsed hour spent dual screening between TV and online counts as one hour for each channel.

You can find more details on the research findings and methodology here.


How to be a great marketer and stand out from the crowd


A few weeks back I spent some time at a major marketing show. Over the years I’ve always noticed that the largest stands in the highest visibility locations typically belong to the latest trend to hit the world of marketing.

This year was no exception with a plethora of firms offering a variety of technologies bringing together marketing automation, campaign management and social media. The systems on offer from the likes of Adobe Marketing Cloud and ExactTarget are pretty compelling and give the marketer an impressive range of tactics to deploy easily through a powerful web-based interface.

But this started me thinking about the value of skills and knowledge in delivering marketing campaigns. The capabilities of these kinds of systems mean that a generalist marketer has at his or her fingertips the power to implement campaigns that not that long ago were the preserve of some pretty niche specialists.

This commoditisation of the technical skills to implement marketing campaigns is an interesting phenomenon.

It means a greater emphasis on the strategic and analytic side of the profession. That’s the space that marketers have to differentiate themselves in to stand out from the crowd.

Think about it like this: I’m a keen amateur cyclist and enjoy riding my bikes on the road and on the trails.

I like to think I have the basic all-round bike handling skills to be able to cycle most places (although my cycling companions may disagree).

One day I could go to a velodrome, hire the same kind of professional bike that an Olympic cyclist would use and then make a pretty valiant attempt to spin the pedals and make it round the track in one piece.

I’d be able to do it at a basic level, but my lack of ability, skills and training to perform at the level of the Olympian would be pretty obvious. I’d be using the tools of a high performer but not be able to perform at a high level.

The new generation of marketing tools are much the same.

They mean that anyone can place pretty complicated campaigns across multiple platforms and produce detailed analysis. They can set up complex, rules-based campaigns using conditional logic and path analysis. And they just need a fairly basic level of skills to be able to get started.

But in the same way that if I rode Chris Hoy’s bike I wouldn’t be setting world records round the track, having a powerful marketing tool at your fingertips won’t make you a great marketer.

It means to be a great marketer, there’s a greater emphasis on being able to spot opportunities, conceive great ideas, interrogate data intelligently and think creatively.

You need to understand a broader range of marketing, relationship and network theories than ever before.

You need to be thinking about what the latest advances in neuroscience mean for marketing effectiveness.

You need to live and breathe multi-channel marketing and know your target audience inside out.

And you need to have a wide understanding of the broad strategic context in which a particular activity is deployed. Customers don’t live in isolation from the outside world and neither can the work of marketers.

The power of the tools available to marketers mean that anyone can place technically complicated marketing campaigns but that doesn’t mean anyone can place great marketing campaigns. And where great marketers can really shine.

Image courtesy of 24oranges.nl

Flight MH370, crisis public relations and social media


The tragic mystery surrounding the Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 has captured the airwaves worldwide since 8th March.

As the story has changed in real time since then, there can’t be many communicators who haven’t looked at what’s happening and wondered how on earth they’d handle such an unprecedented crisis situation.

But sometimes it’s hard to draw meaningful conclusions on a particular public relations or marketing issue as it’s rare to have the same information as those practitioners making the decisions. There are almost always things that outsiders don’t know that affect professional decision-making in ways those outside the situation don’t know.

It’s all too easy to highlight what could have been done differently with the benefit of hindsight and at a safe distance from the crisis situation.

But a couple of posts on the public relations and social media side of the crisis caught my eye as they provide helpful insight for communicators on what they can learn from how communication is being handled.

Jane Wilson, writing in The Drum, provides a strong analysis of the challenges that this complex and unprecedented crisis presents for communicators:

I sense that this combination of lack of precedence, highly complex interdependencies between Malaysian agencies and international partners, the absence of traditional tracking sources on board and a lack of coordination within the airline have led to public confusion and poor public relations. Even the best PR team may have buckled in these circumstances.

She also draws out several useful insights that communicators can learn from how the PR around this crisis has evolved. You can read Jane’s full article here.

Meanwhile Deeson Group‘s Emily Turner takes a useful look at the day-to-day practicalities of digital and social media in times of crisis and uses examples from the MH370 crisis to illustrate this well.

She identifies seven things that Malaysia Airlines have done across their digital portfolio in response to this crisis situation. You can read Emily’s full article here.

Custom barcodes as a call to action


Spotted this six sheet ad at Canterbury West station on my way to work this morning:


Being a bit of a marketing geek, what caught my eye was the inclusion of a bar code as a call to action for the poster:


I’m a cynic when it comes to the use of QR codes in many forms of marketing collateral, so I took a closer look at what this bar code was for.

It turns out you to use it to access the George Michael album on Amazon, most users would need to:

  1. Go to the app store on their mobile
  2. Download and install the Amazon app
  3. Scan the bar code
  4. Finally arrive at their desired content in the Amazon app

Or they could save themselves the hassle and use the URL as an alternative call to action:

  1. Open the web browser on the phone
  2. Type in the 25 characters of the URL
  3. Arrive at their desired content on Amazon’s mobile site

I can understand there are strong commercial reasons why Amazon would want people to use their app rather than the browser route, but I can’t see a compelling reason why a customer would use the barcode call to action instead of the URL from this poster.

My instinct tells me that users will naturally default to the simpler URL route, but it’d be fascinating to see some data on how different calls to action like these perform on a single advert.

Generational differences


Ipsos MORI has a fascinating piece of research looking at the generational differences in society called Generations.

It looks at four generational cohorts which have increasingly differentiated characteristics across a variety of metrics:


As the introduction to the full report sets out:

We’re at a key point in the influence of different generations on our society. We now have four sizeable and culturally quite distinct cohorts co-existing, as the chart below shows. It’s easy to miss this point when we discuss our national demographic profile, because we tend to focus on how the population is ageing. That is undoubtedly true – but it’s also vital to understand that the current old are still dying out, and they have very different values and attitudes to our future old.

In his book The Pinch, David Willetts talks about how we’re at a point of “generational equipoise” , where the median person is around 40 years old and can expect to live to 80. We’re also at a point of balance between generations – and changes in how much each makes up of the population are driving significant shifts in the national balance of opinion.

What particularly caught my eye was the data on internet usage shared by Bobby Duffy (@bobbyipsosmori), which highlights the rate of growth of mobile access which is something I seem to end up discussing most days now. In particular it’s striking how the usage of mobile is different across the four generational groups that the research looks at:


The full internet and technology section of the analysis is here. It’ll be interesting to see how this cohort-based analysis develops in the future.