Category: Digital

Remember to look for the gorilla

Not a sentence I ever thought I’d be saying to a room full of people at work. But I did. Let me explain…

Sanctuary is implementing a new company-wide computer system (SAP) and I’m project managing the process of moving the data we have in our current computer systems over to our new one.

Man in a gorilla suit holding a banana
Can you see me?
Image from Costume Craze

Once the data has been moved over to SAP the business needs to check that what they thought had moved actually had moved, and that any financial balances are still the same. Basically that we haven’t gained or lost a few million pounds during the migration and that what we know to be a house in our existing system hasn’t magically become a garage in SAP. This process is called reconciliation and validation.

Last week my team and I presented this concept to the business. To keep it simple and get the key messages of: 1) this is really, really important and 2) you need to know what to look for when you’re reconciling and validating, we used this clip as the opener:


In the clip you’re asked to concentrate on how many basketball passes the team in white make, but a few seconds in to the game a gorilla walks across the screen, giving a little wave on his way.

About half of the audience completely missed the gorilla. They got the number of basketball passes right and had they been asked to spot the gorilla I’m sure they’d have seen it. If they’d known to look out for it, it would have been blindingly obvious.

So the point was, if you know what checks you need to perform on your data, what questions to ask, what to count, you’ll be more likely to find problems, whereas if you go into the validation process with little thought, you’ll miss the errors.

The same can be said for all things marketing and digital. When you’re proof-reading copy or checking print proofs you should be following a tried-and-tested process that will support you to find mistakes. For example when I proof-read I look for one type of problem at a time, so first I check sentence structure, then I work through the copy again and look at spelling.

With any Analytics programme you need to have an idea of what you’re trying to measure and why, before you start measuring it. A collection of numbers of site visits, bounce rate, or Likers is just a collection of numbers but if you’ve thought about its value it becomes insight which enables you to make more effective marketing decisions.

So remember, always look for the gorilla. Have some idea about what you’re trying to find before you start looking for it.



How to drive traffic to your website, using a lorry

My rather boring commute to work was improved this week when I stopped in traffic behind a White Logistics lorry. Truck number 54 to be precise.

On the back of the van was a brain teaser, tying into White’s ‘PROBLEM? SOLVED!’ strap line. I could clearly see one animal in the teaser but couldn’t for the life of me see the second:

Screen shot from White Logistics website showing truck 54 with a brain teasing illustration on it
The back of White Logistics’ Truck 54. Can you see the two animals in this illustration?

I was so annoyed with myself that I felt compelled to check the White Logistics website as soon as I got into work (don’t tell the boss). So White had successfully driven traffic (no pun intended) to its website.

I even told my colleague about it (poor girl). And had either of us been in the logistics industry or had a need for general haulage or Danish trolleys (whatever they are), White would have done a brilliant job of raising brand awareness and potentially converting to a sale. However neither of us fall into their target market.

So… in terms of driving traffic, White has done a great job. But it’s the wrong traffic. I am not a quality visitor. I am not going to convert. And even though I’ve ‘told a friend’ and even blogged about it, there are probably very few other people stuck in traffic behind a White Logistics lorry that would do the same.

I’m not taking anything away from the campaign- I actually love it. But… when considering referral strategies, make sure you invest in the ones that will drive the right traffic, the visitors that will convert into revenue. You don’t necessarily need a lorry to do this.



P.S. the two animals are a duck and a rabbit.


7 Barriers to Social Media in Business

Dilbert cartoon strip making fun of the fact that business social media policies can prevent social media implementation from working
Dilbert cartoon from

My friend sent me a link to this Dilbert strip this morning and it made me laugh. It got me thinking about how company policy or cultural norms can be barriers to successful social media marketing. Here are the top 7 barriers to using social media in business:

1. Trust

Dilbert captures it perfectly.

If you trust your staff to speak to customers on the phone, in emails, letters and in person, why not trust them to speak to customers on social media? I can understand some nervousness because social platforms are public and therefore the conversation is in front of the world, but nowadays there is nothing stopping a customer publishing your other communications to them on their own networks. At least if you’re involved in the conversation your opinion can be heard.

2. The wrong people

My personal view and the approach that is becoming more popular and is regularly being proven as best practice, is that customer service teams, NOT marketing teams should manage company social networks. Think about your call centre operatives- they are trained to the highest standards in customer care, they know how to speak to your customers and they know your products and services inside out. So if you give them a little bit more training, there is no reason why they shouldn’t be able to extend their skills to what is just another customer communications route.

3. Training

When social media is new to a business, it’s prudent to provide training on:

  • Processes for dealing with enquiries
  • Complaints and crisis management
  • Systems
  • The written word (spelling, punctuation and grammar) and
  • Tone of voice and communications style.

Appropriate training will deliver successful social media. It will also support you to manage staff performance.

4. Software/ systems

Even if you’re not ‘speaking’ on social media, every company should be ‘listening’ to what is being said about them. There are many excellent social media management systems on the market such as Hootsuite and Sprout Social. Here’s a really good infographic that compares the features of the top social media monitoring tools.

5. Time

One of the first questions I’ve always been asked when I’ve introduced social media to businesses, is “How long will it take each day?” There really is no right answer to this question. It takes as long as it takes. If you don’t set aside time, your social media will fail.

6. Management

Senior managers need to understand and embrace any change programme for it to become truly embedded within the company. Implementing a major communications change by introducing social media needs understanding and support from the top. Not every CEO has to tweet or become an ‘Influencer’ on LinkedIn, but it’s good if they at least comprehend the need for Social and its real measures of success.

7. Strategy

I think that say 3 years ago it was OK to just start tweeting and see what happened but that’s not the case anymore. Especially in organisations where social media management is shared across different teams who all need awareness of the overall goal and the activities involved in reaching it.

Successful conversations on social media rely on engaging content. Content doesn’t produce itself and it needs preparation and planning. Without a plan, how do you know if you’re achieving your objectives?

What other barriers to using social media in business have you come across?