Award-winning digital marketing and customer experience agency

Another high-profile win for Novacom. Here’s why.

Another high-profile win for Novacom. Here’s why.

Novacom has won Best B2B Digital Marketing Agency 2019 in the high profile 2019 UK Enterprise Awards, adding this to a growing number of prestigious awards picked up in the past twelve months.

We believe that what any of our clients will tell you is how the team at Novacom work hard to lead in the markets in which we operate, rather than follow client industry trends.

They’ll tell you how we deliver accelerated transformative digital marketing experiences, measurable, high performance customer engagement and ultimately, return on marketing investment.

But why?

The answer is simple, but not visible: our team have worked hard to gain both ISO 9001 certification for digital management, allowing us to follow given processes and workflows that deliver predictable financial performance and client return on investment in the digital campaigns we launch.

We’ve gained ISO 27001 certification for data security – one of only 0.05% of companies globally to achieve this – meaning when you work with us, you’re GDPR compliant and every system we use is independently audited for security regularly.

Behind these ISO certifications are other accreditations and marketing platform approvals which means we can go all out to deliver powerful client success, with global legal compliance and with industry-leading security.

That doesn’t sound particularly glamourous, does it?

No, but when this level of global legal compliance and security is mixed with award-winning creative thought, communication and innovative multi-language, multi-cultural delivery, it puts our clients on the fast track to market leadership across the world.

And we keep moving. This latest award comes during a year of accelerating change at Novacom, which includes further innovation and evolution in the service offer and business development across an expanding international office network.

This growth includes new geographies with offices in Frankfurt, Germany and New York City, USA, further supporting Amsterdam, Netherlands, and Cambridge, UK operations.

So, while we like to talk with our clients about the more glamourous, creative award-winning stuff we do, it’s the commitment to straightforward, process-driven global management that keeps everything real.

We believe that what any of our clients will tell you is how the team at Novacom work hard to lead in the markets in which we operate, rather than follow client industry trends.

Business to person marketing in the business to business space: does it work?

Business to person marketing in the business to business space: does it work?

The business to business (B2B) marketing community often claims that it’s a harder market to work than the business to consumer (B2C) space. Personally, I’ve never quite bought into this point of view, because in both cases there’s a common denominator: humanity.

That is to say, whether you’re communicating with a B2B or B2C audience, they’re all human beings and I’m sure would like to be treated that way. And if you follow the smart money, I think you’ll find the B2B focus is now on a very personalised business to person (B2P) approach.

The B2C-B2B crossover

If you look at the more advanced B2C digital marketing models, they have evolved to focus on their target audiences in a much more personalised way, because prospects and customers now don’t just hope for service with transparency, they expect it from brands.

And this B2B audience aren’t simply B2B prospects, because in their leisure time they are also B2C consumers who are used to being treated as valued, known customers whose wants and needs are understood and catered for in every B2C communication they receive. That’s B2P.

B2P and personalisation: how does it work?

B2P marketers spend a lot of time creating a clear profile of their prospects and customers (buyer personas) and developing websites with highly structured analytics systems, designed to report precisely what these personas search for and look at when they visit.

This process continually builds on and modifies these personas so that they always reflect the very latest prospect buying trends and behaviours so that all email communications, website landing pages and all other prospect communications are hyper-personalised.

This is what B2C customers get through B2P, so why can’t B2B marketing deliver this to customers too?

B2P: how can it work in the B2B space?

OK, so B2B marketers are not selling shampoo and at least if they are, it will be in industrial quantities. But does that mean B2B marketing has to be equally industrial, non-personalised and detached from B2B prospect and customer needs?

It doesn’t. By using the same techniques B2C marketers use to build buyer personas and website development processes to deliver accurate analytical data, B2B marketers can achieve the same level of marketing and sales success B2C marketers expect with B2P.

Remember, before they got into work this morning, your B2B target customer was actually a B2C consumer, being treated like a human being, probably through B2P, on a sophisticated B2C brand website; so to succeed, all you need to do is do the same.

Fast track to success

There’s only one difference that needs careful awareness when taking this B2P route in B2B marketing: you really aren’t selling shampoo, but something that may be of high value and high technology, and may require specialist marketing content to deliver sales using B2P.

But if you have an agile, open-minded digital agency, who truly understand your products, technologies and marketplace, switching channels from slow-burn B2B to fast-track B2P will deliver marketing return on investment (MROI) with loyal, engaged B2B customers, sooner.

This process continually builds on and modifies these personas so that they always reflect the very latest prospect buying trends and behaviours so that all email communications, website landing pages and all other prospect communications are hyper-personalised.

written by Will Yates,
Client Services Director at Novacom

Content marketing: 5 ways to win B2B hearts and minds

Content marketing: 5 ways to win B2B hearts and minds

B2B content marketing sounds like a rather self important label for old-school copywriting, and in fact many content marketers were at one time copywriters. So, what has changed, and is content marketing really any different from copywriting?

The answer is yes it is, and today it really has to be.

Because to ensure your website stays visible on an overcrowded Internet, with any guarantee of your marketing communications being read, and to create customer trust, engagement and loyalty, your content needs to work very hard indeed.

The reality is that today, prospects and existing customers don’t have the time to read lengthy copy; they want information quickly, and in these crowded and unreliable markets, where anecdotes often pass as facts, they need to have complete trust in your brand before they’ll even consider buying from your enterprise.

Here’s five steps you can take to win over these elusive B2B prospects, and convert them to loyal customers.

1. Understanding your audience

Where old-school copywriting and content marketing vary most is in the level of understanding content marketers must have of your target audience in order to communicate with them effectively.

That is because unlike ‘static’ copywriting, content marketing is not the beginning of a one-sided monologue; it’s the start of a real conversation which will grow and become ever-more personal as engagement develops, so knowing what your targets want to hear is critical to success.

This level of insight requires careful research which will allow you to create a profile of your ideal customer, known as a buyer persona. This profile or persona is the very target you will need to engage with and convert to make a sale, and the process is as relevant to B2C as it is to B2B marketing

2. Building engagement

To build engagement with your prospects and existing customers, B2B marketing content must be proactive and be served not only on your website but across different platforms such as email marketing or, more effectively, via a marketing automation (MA) programme.

This proactive approach means that you can reach out to prospects through email in a way that starts to build value into the conversation as recipients begin to recognise that you are thinking about what they want and drawing them back to your website to offer them more information.

3. Personalising the conversation

As this communications programme progresses, so your understanding of prospect and customer buyer personas will grow, and your marketing content in both email and website content will become ever-more closely targeted to each individual recipient’s needs.

As you analyse recipient feedback and continue to build on your buyer personas, this personalisation process develops further as email and web marketing content guide your target audience through the sales journey, to conversion and sales.

A sale in the B2C space may be as simple as a mouse click, but in B2B, this conversion point is most likely to be a call to a meeting, because while your B2B prospect may have already decided on your product or service, high value transactions will normally be concluded face to face.

4. Creating trust

While this email and web marketing content will be guiding prospects and existing customers on the buying journey, to ensure these individuals convert and buy from you, there has to be a strong element of trust in both your enterprise and your products.

This is where good content marketers, and great marketing content win out over static content, as it is the interactive nature of dynamic communications that create an understanding of your company, its products and ultimately develops trust in your offer

5. Sustaining long-term loyalty

If your content marketers understand the buyer personas they are talking to, and can resonate with them throughout the buying journey, your target recipients will learn to trust your company and at the end of the journey, buy from you or set up a meeting to close a B2B deal.

Having built a level of trust through content marketing interactivity, this relationship can be sustained and grown over time through light-touch nurturing emails, guiding recipients to new products on your website, or even third-party websites with published comparative reviews between your products and others in the marketplace.

This light-touch nurturing, and the ongoing offer of relevant information will help build the long-term relationship you need to sustain loyalty, and place your company front of mind when your audience thinks about the type of products you offer.

And that’s the true difference between static, one-hit copy and dynamic, interactive marketing content. Marketing content is produced by skilled content marketers who work to learn how your customers think and know how to develop a conversation with them that ultimately engages and converts prospects to loyal brand advocates for you and what you have to offer them.

If your content marketers understand the buyer personas they are talking to, and can resonate with them throughout the buying journey, your target recipients will learn to trust your company and at the end of the journey, buy from you or set up a meeting to close a B2B deal.

written by Will Yates,
Client Services Director at Novacom

GDPR: what is it and why should you care?

GDPR: what is it and why should you care?

In recent years data breaches, hacking, data theft and online fraud have emerged as massive issues at both the corporate and governmental level, exposing targets to extreme financial instability and nation states to political or defence vulnerabilities.

Anthem Insurance, Home Depot, Adobe and the UK NHS have all been hacked or even had data physically stolen and whichever way, the impact on data privacy is significant as sensitive personal data is released into the public domain.

Data security: how big is the issue?

Over the past year, the UK has suffered the greatest number of data breach incidents in the EU, with 63 by end-Q2 2015; way above Germany with 8, and the Netherlands with 6.

Interestingly, in these breaches 8.3 million records were exposed, which is only 3.4% of the global total of 246 million: the US accounted for 49% of all records compromised, with Turkey at 26%.

The first half of 2015 also shows a 10% increase in data breaches on the same period a year previously, while the number of records stolen reduced by 41%. This may be due to a smaller number of mega-breaches but very likely indicates varying regional security and data protection compliance.

Cohesive trans-EU protection

The current EU Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC is about twenty years old, and is from a very different time.

As technological evolution accelerates exponentially so security gaps, critical issues such as trans-national operation, developments in social networks and cloud computing have evolved and are not covered in a legally cohesive and meaningful way.

The new EU-wide General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will transcend any local data privacy laws and will be designed to provide a more comprehensive and wide-ranging legal framework, which will deliver much tougher personal data privacy legislation.

What is GDPR?

GDPR is a Regulation with which the European Commission intends to strengthen and unify data protection within the European Union (EU), and is designed to also address the export of personal data outside the EU.

The Commission’s primary objective with GDPR is to simplify the regulatory environment for international business by unifying the regulation within the EU, and unlike a Directive, it does not require legislation to be passed by governments.

What GDPR means to you

The proposed new EU GDPR data security programme expands the scope of EU data protection law to all non-EU companies processing the data of EU residents. It synchronises data protection regulations throughout the EU, making it much simpler for non-European enterprises to comply with these regulations.

While the precise wording of GDPR and financial penalties for transgression have yet to be finalised, GDPR has a very stringent data protection compliance administration with severe and rigorously imposed financial penalties of up to 4% of global gross revenue or €20,000,000 – whichever is greater – for non-compliance.

What about your external vendors?

While this EU-wide regulation relates to the data owner – the entity legally accountable for the data -laws relating to data management, processing and security will also impact on your enterprise if there are contraventions by third party vendors, such as your digital marketing agency.

This means that you, and your enterprise must be confident that such third party vendors have the required legal know-how and competency in current EU Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC as well as upcoming GDPR.

The most resilient verification of this is that your agency has ISO 9001 certification for data management and very importantly, ISO 27001 data security certification.

Where do you seek assistance

Surprisingly, help is very scarce. My agency, Novacom, has both of these critical certifications so I was surprised to learn that according to ISO’s own statistics, only 0.06% of registered UK organisations (that covers everything from government departments to banks) were ISO 27001 certified.

And it’s even less prevalent in the US, one of the EU’s top trading partners, at 0.0036% of all registered companies. Given that trade often means data transfer, transferring data to a potentially unregulated destination could prove to have very serious legal and financial impacts on you and your EU-based enterprise.

Action points

The current EU Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC legislation is generally little understood in many areas of the EU, and in many respects quite poorly enforced. But with the recent growing number of data breaches, and GDPR coming soon, this situation will change very quickly.

GDPR and rapidly increasing cybercrime incidents mean companies must start taking data security seriously to mitigate security risks much more effectively.

This means not only auditing current internal security and data privacy procedures, but now ensuring your third party vendors offer the same high level of security.

Over the past year, the UK has suffered the greatest number of data breach incidents in the EU, with 63 by end-Q2 2015; way above Germany with 8, and the Netherlands with 6.

written by Will Yates,
Client Services Director at Novacom

Multi-language B2B market development: beyond words

Multi-language B2B market development: beyond words

The European Union (EU) is the world’s largest economy, towering over the US, China and India respectively by quite a long way, and its growing commercial integration makes it a great and highly accessible marketplace.

But by US standards, the EU is the new kid on the Federal block, emerging in the 1950s and over 160 years later than our American cousins. So there’s a long way to go to reach US levels of integration in commerce and governance, and even further to go in unifying business culture.

24 languages, one B2B market

And while the most widely spoken language in the EU is English, which is understood by 51% of adults, there are 24 official EU languages, but in practice only two – English and French – are in wide general use.

But unlike our closest rival in the super-economy league table – the US – where there are just two languages, with the most widely used being American English and Spanish the second most common language, spoken by approximately 35 million people, the EU presents some unique complexities.

Not just lost in translation

At first sight, it may seem that translating your website into some or all 24 languages may ensure deeper federal market penetration, but the reality is that language itself is just one barrier to these markets.

The other issue – and an equally significant one – is business culture. In short, what will engage and persuade in one regional business culture will not necessarily deliver the same market penetration and performance in another.

In-depth research is key

What this means is in order to communicate effectively with EU B2B target markets, a clear understanding of the business culture is key. And that covers everything from how products are sourced, selected and purchased, to how they are utilised locally.

When this is understood, then developing a close understanding of effective in-region marketing strategies, and how these may be applied needs careful consideration and implementation. Here, in-depth market research will save a lot of time and money.

Streamlined regional prioritisation

This in-depth market research will give you a clear insight into your target EU markets, and there will be considerable differences in both strategic approach and communications campaign format, which could, in theory mean 24 versions of the same communication.

The simple fact is that this would become prohibitively time consuming and expensive very quickly, so from this research needs to come some detailed strategic market analysis, including phased prioritisation of the most lucrative regions.

Re-interpretation rather than translation

With this phased regional prioritisation in place and using your regional market research, you can now start to assess communications for the selected regions, and while the initial communications should be developed in English, this will need to be re-interpreted rather than translated for in-region use.

Content development in English – the most common EU language – is important as it allows each translator to work from a common text in a language he or she will most likely be fully fluent with. And content re-interpretation rather than translation also offers other communications opportunities.

It’s not what you say, it’s the way you say it

Content re-interpretation allows local, in-region translators to interpret marketing communications in way that resonates with the local market, channelling and guiding prospects and customers, and fully optimising engagement in all local markets.

This re-interpretation means that using the central core messages and brand values developed in the English language version content can be precisely targeted to maximise market impact and penetration in specific regions.

Multi-language SEO

Local language search engine optimisation (SEO) will be critical to optimising regional website visibility and therefore should be implemented as a part of the local content re-interpretation programme.

This process will call heavily on the re-interpreted content which, if developed properly, will contain all relevant phrasing in the on-page content, and this can be very simply applied to metadata.

Lucrative and diverse markets

When entering lucrative but highly diverse markets like the EU, guidance from a digital marketing agency with not only local but pan-European experience is essential.

Formulating a strategic EU market development plan and partnering with an experienced agency in prospective high value markets such as Europe offers great potential for solid long-term business growth.

At first sight, it may seem that translating your website into some or all 24 languages may ensure deeper federal market penetration, but the reality is that language itself is just one barrier to these markets.

written by Will Yates,
Client Services Director at Novacom

Is SEO still critical to B2B website visibility?

Is SEO still critical to B2B website visibility?

SEO – search engine optimisation – has been a constantly evolving search return performance methodology which is generally implemented as part of website content strategy and development to optimise website visibility.

Put simply, key words, then key phrases, then content structure, and now incoming links and social media association have all played their role over time in gaining and maintaining buoyant website search rankings and site visibility.

Is B2B SEO still relevant?

The simple answer is yes, and to ensure effective website visibility in the crowded markets of today, your search terms need to be absolutely current, relevant and mainstream, even with specialist B2B audiences, who may be searching highly specific products or services.

And, given the potentially highly focused nature of B2B SEO on-page language, it is wise to get help from your digital agency if they have SEO expertise, as at the very basic level search terms will need careful research and review ahead of any on-page content development.

But is SEO really the end of the website visibility story? In my opinion, no it isn’t.

Can you drive traffic in inbound marketing?

While the smart digital marketing money is on inbound marketing, with searchers discovering you, your brand values and sincere approach to customer support, you still need visibility to make all this happen.

Otherwise, for all intents and purposes, you won’t exist unless your SEO on your website is absolutely stellar.

What this means is that – counterintuitive as it may seem – certain forms of Internet advertising are critical in optimising SEO effectiveness as it also drives inbound traffic, allowing your site to offer links to other useful information, both internally and externally, and attract more inbound linking from visitors.

You need to get out more

This internal and external linking is very effective in SEO and the more traffic that can be driven through this route, the greater improvement and effectiveness there will be in your website SEO and search visibility. Traffic is very important in the SEO equation.

But for visibility it’s win-win, because as well as increasing search rankings, you’re also visible through the advertising itself, and this visibility can be further optimised on multiple levels by selecting other relevant marketing channels.

Optimised inbound marketing

Remember, this is still all about SEO and we’re still coming at this from an inbound marketing perspective, but what we are now doing is turbo-charging SEO through a greater Internet advertising presence.

And to further turbo-charge SEO, other relevant channels can be employed, such as – but not necessarily exclusively – pay per click (PPC) and retargeting are just two examples.

Success means joined up thinking

But, as with everything, there is of course a health warning , for good sleep buy ambien online . Because, while there is no doubt that SEO can be driven very powerfully through the resultant effects of such channels as PPC and retargeting, you need a very robust, coherent and cohesive marketing communications strategy to deliver it.

So, this methodology needs to be planned and implemented carefully across selected channels with a high level of marketing agility and dexterity to join outbound, inbound and SEO dots.

If you take this route as part of a compelling, engaging and cohesive marketing campaign, you will have developed very powerful brand awareness with a top brand, product or service visibility.

Remember, this is still all about SEO and we’re still coming at this from an inbound marketing perspective, but what we are now doing is turbo-charging SEO through a greater Internet advertising presence.

written by Will Yates,
Client Services Director at Novacom