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Getting Ready for a 2021 Rebrand?

They say hindsight is 2020, and as 2020 is quickly approaching hindsight, it’s time to think about what the future holds for your company and your brand. Some would say this has been a dark year for the world of business and want to start off on the right foot for a brighter tomorrow, and they’ve done this with a fresh-faced logo.

Many companies have taken the rebrand plunge this year and created or commissioned a new logo. From Popeyes to Google, we’ve seen a massive trend towards brighter, bolder, and more lower-case logos. And while there are overarching trends, not everyone can agree on what the best practices for new logos are.


One of the best ways to distinguish your brand is with a special colour. Tiffany blue is instantly recognisable, Gucci can be expressed with a certain combination of red and green, Jay-Z owns a shade of blue (but that’s not the most useful). Recently, we’ve seen brands go one of three directions when it comes to the use of colour in logos. First, some brands are reducing the amount of colour in their logo or removing it altogether. This year, TripAdvisor removed all the colour from their logo, leaving just the outline of their owl and wordmark and occasionally reincorporating their iconic green. Popeyes removed their extra shades of red to just a single orange logo.

Alternatively, tech companies have been shifting toward primary colours. Google changed all their icons to incorporate all four primary colours. Microsoft, eBay, Slack, Monday, and other tech sites followed the trend. Traditionally, fast food regularly incorporates red and yellow, while social media heavily uses blue. There’s a whole psychology behind brand colours that we can go into later, but what we’re seeing this year is that fewer colours are being used.

Verdict: the world is moving toward fewer colours, and we’re right there with the trend. But it’s not just about using fewer colours, it’s about using colours intentionally. Every colour you use in your logo needs to not only mean something but needs to carry forward into the rest of your brand.


Gradients, or the gradual fade from one colour to another, have been on their way out for almost a decade. When the iPhone first came out in 2006, it changed the design world forever. Every icon and menu and button was full-to-the-brim with drop shadows, bevels, glare, and of course gradients. These graphic overlays tried to convey a sense of depth and tactile touch, recreating physical buttons on a cold, flat screen. But when iOS 7 booted up in the fall of 2013, the design philosophy known as skeuomorphism (making everything look real) was thrown out the window in favour of simple, subtle gradients. And today, that’s what you’ll see on your iPhone. You’ll notice that the iMessages on the top of the screen are a slightly lighter blue than the messages at the bottom of the screen. On the other hand, Instagram changed its logo two years ago, from a skeuomorphic, stylized camera to a simple outline on a gradient, and received a hefty amount of backlash.

This year, we see the gradient going in two directions: yes gradients and no gradients. Durex, in addition to rounding off the silhouette of their logo, removed the blue/light blue gradient in favour of a single deep blue. Meanwhile, Cadbury leaned into their namesake and replaced their iconic purple with a gradient that looks like gold foil.

Verdict: are gradients in or out? We say: out. Unless you’re going for an old-school logo, keep to solid colours. Not only are gradients on their way out, stylistically, but they can make it more difficult to keep your logo consistent across digital and physical media, plus it’s harder to pin down your colours if they’re constantly shifting.

Car Logos

Another use of gradients that fell out of style this year was specifically for the automotive industry. Toyota, Nissan, and BMW have changed their logos into flat, digital designs, instead of their traditional car-emblem-style logos. These changes were largely made to indicate a streamlined future, featuring electric cars, with Nissan and BMW are rolling out their logos alongside new electric vehicles. Due to the dimensionality of emblem-style logos, this has mixed results, depending on the complexity of each logo. Audi has already changed its logo, simply replacing the “metal” parts with black, which Toyota followed. BMW (and other companies like Alfa Romero) have the option of retaining colours in their future-syle logos.

Verdict: we’re holding our breath on this one. BMW recently released a concept with the transparent logo on the car. Sure, it looks futuristic, but the clear plastic makes it look significantly less substantial than your traditional emblem.

Brand Unity

When you have multiple brands, you, of course, want to make sure you can stay consistent while still being visually diverse. Unity has always been an important tenant of branding, and this year is no exception. You want your logos to evoke the same feeling without being precisely the same. An easy way to do this is to reuse colour schemes and general design motifs. Two examples we can look at come from Google and Instagram. Both have a set of app icons that feature the same colour scheme, and the same abstract outlines. But both brands have performed wildly differently. While Instagram kept their shapes diverse, Google opted to reduce all their icons to the same, rectangular shape, making them indistinguishable at first glance.

Verdict: especially with brand unity, diversity is incredibly important. We suggest keeping one element completely free when creating a family of logos. If you’re keeping the style and colours consistent, change up the shape, like Instagram. If you’re keeping the shape and style consistent, change up the colours (within your palette of course).


The biggest flaw in Google’s redesign is that it removes any symbolic value that the icons may have had. Instead of an envelope, the Gmail logo is now a multicoloured letter M. Instead of a page with (indications of) words, Google Docs is just a rectangle, whose outlines take away from the indication of a page with a folded corner (the symbol used across platforms to represent word documents). Instead of a camera for Google Meet, we have an image strikingly similar to Google Docs and Google Calendar. 

Instagram on the other hand, retained enough detail in its Instagram and layout icons to indicate a camera and, well, a layout. But they were also able to create distinctive icons for Boomerang and Hyperlapse, which don’t have real-world equivalents (except boomerangs, but it’s different). 

My favourite example of symbolism in a 2020 rebrand comes from Both and used to feature a starburst coming from their name, while this was distinctive, it wasn’t unique to nor representative of what services they offer. Now, both logos merge the first letter of each service with the silhouette of an open book (an open dictionary and thesaurus respectively).

Verdict: a picture is worth a thousand words. If you can pack symbolism or hint at a greater message in your single icon, that can do wonders for your brand. Not everyone has the luxury of a symbol like Nike, where the shape is meaningless without the attached brand. So for startups, we suggest symbolism that relates to your name or to the service that you offer.


All of these different changes are just examples of one overall trend: simplification. Whether it’s removing extra colours from a logo (or removing all colours, like Go Daddy and Trip Advisor), removing imagery like PetCo, or replacing stylised lettering with a single font like Thrillist, the overall trend for 2020 (and perhaps into 2021) is simplification.

But simplification isn’t just a stylistic trend, it’s also a practical one. The way we interact with the brands around us is getting smaller and smaller. Recently, Google Maps has added an option to search for specific franchises, featuring a tiny, barely visible logo. We can see an example of Starbucks, whose logo is recognisable here, even if most of the details are lost. Staples, on the other hand, doesn’t have a logo optimised for this new use case. Their new “staple” logo may fit in the frame, but wouldn’t be recognisable without the wordmark next to it. Logos or wordmarks need to be discernable when they’re very small and very far away, the best way to do this is to remove as much detail as possible (see the Starbucks example) and use bold shapes and colours to convey your brand.

So when you’re designing a new logo for your company in 2021, remember to keep it simple, keep it bold, and keep it bright. Look at your designs from 20 feet away and see if they still make sense. Look at your images in isolation and see if they still tell your brand’s story. If you have multiple brands, line them up and see what doesn’t fit, then see how long it takes to find what you’re looking for. You customers will be looking for your brand in a sea of logos so help them find it quickly and easily in the coming year.

Co-operational ecosystem resolves the local digital marketing clash between HQ and stores

Mobilosoft, the innovative software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform designed to centralise local digital marketing is expanding its my.mobilosoft platform to Australia and New Zealand after a successful trial.

My.mobilosoft is designed specifically for retailers with franchisees or independent store owners under a brand umbrella so that key operational functions, namely reputation management and presence management, can be performed efficiently and effectively via a central ecosystem.

Mobilosoft CEO, Georges-Alexandre Hanin, says the ecosystem is co-operated by brands and local franchisees (or store owners / store managers) eliminating a common pain point for businesses with multiple locations in multiple areas.

“We see business models like this struggle with local digital marketing around the world,” says Mr. Hanin.

“It comes with the fact that over the last two years franchisees have been more advanced than brands on local digital marketing, meaning that they have created their local pages on Google, Facebook, and even a local website. And these pages do not always respect brand guidelines. We also see franchisees and brands competing on local Ads buying (Google Ads, Facebook Ads) resulting in higher acquisition costs for both”.

In a market that is characterised by an increasing use of digital, consumers are demanding an enhanced web-to-store experience. The my.mobilosoft platform and related tools are extremely well adapted to the “new normal” where COVID has meant adjusted store hours across states and suburbs, as well as unexpected stock shortages, are a daily challenge for retailers.

In Australia, meeting customer expectation requires store management teams to maintain numerous platforms like their Google My Business listings and reviews, Facebook pages, and their own store locator. Mobilosoft makes it possible to manage all of these with a single tool.

“Mobilosoft allows brands to seamlessly maximise the visibility of local Search,” adds Hanin.

“With more than 50 per cent of all searches made on a smartphone on Google being local searches, stores need to be visible in the first three results and soon in the first result (as voice search is increasing).

“When properly managed a page location can dramatically increase on-line presence and drive more traffic inside stores. As it is more and more complex to manage and takes a lot of time, a local digital marketing platform is more than ever necessary to outperform the competition,” says Hanin.

Australia’s leading auction marketplace, Pickles, has been using my.mobilosoft to manage its 30-location network of used vehicle sales outlets.

“Mobilosoft has helped us manage all our branch presence information on a single platform and improved our local SEO rankings,” says Pickles Chief Executive Officer, Bruce Maclennan.

Aside from managing location data, Pickles has utilised the platform to push out campaigns to its network and to manage incoming reviews, ensuring head office and the branches are accountable for the management of Pickles’ reputation.

This approach endorses Hanin’s view that brands should stop doing local digital marketing from the head office.

“Retailers and service providers should create a performing ecosystem where they can support local store managers (franchisees) doing their local digital marketing themselves.

“Brands know about digital marketing and brand guidelines, local knows about local sales plan and promotions. Brands should provide content templates and local should activate according to what happens locally,” adds Hanin.

To facilitate their regional expansion, Mobilosoft has formed a strategic alliance with Refinery Lab PTY LTD, a marketing advisory firm that assists in the design and deployment of the Mobilosoft solution for Australian customers. Learn more about our Mobilosoft location marketing offerings.

Amazon Alexa Skill Growth Has Slowed. Is That a Good Thing?

Amazon’s Alexa voice platform is used for more than interacting with Amazon itself to purchase items – much of the value it provides to consumers is from a wide ecosystem of “skills”, apps published by third party developers.

When Amazon’s Alexa platform was first introduced, the number of skills available grew at a rapid pace. In addition to developer rewards for high utilization, this was nurtured by their developer advocates, as well as a wide variety of skill templates they made available. These templates made it easy to publish simple skills like trivia and facts of the day. They’re the kind of skills that are fun to use once or twice, but unlikely to retain users for daily engagement. Over time, the appeal of building skills went more mainstream, and the ecosystem came to include hobbyists and major companies that wanted to add voice functionality for their customers. These efforts to grow the skill ecosystem worked – Amazon has said that there are over 100,000 Alexa skills globally.

Now, it seems that growth in the ecosystem of skills is slowing:

[W]hen you evaluated new Alexa skills introduced per day in the U.S. in the first half of 2019, the rate was 58% lower than the 2018 rate. In all of 2018, new third-party skills grew at the rate of 85.0 per day in the U.S. The figure fell to 38.2 new skills per day in 2019, an annualized decline of 55%. The growth rate tells the story.

Is this a good thing, or a bad thing? All new ecosystems want to see their content grow at first – drawing in new users, as well as new developers whose content contributions could become more robust over time. However, over time, the ecosystem of Amazon Echo skills was likely to hit some constraints. There are only so many different ways to build a very common app like one for weather, horoscopes or alarms (and many of these are already offered as a first-party app by Amazon, undercutting any third-party skills that would have to be installed). And the templated skills that were so popular initially were bound to run into redundancy issues. But you don’t want to see an ecosystem stall. From here, there are two major directions Amazon could go:

  • Further incentivize developers. With more ways to monetize skills and reward utilization, small developers will continue to innovate.
  • Offer more support for major applications. Customers are very familiar with interacting via a voice channel, and post-COVID, hands-free interaction has even more appeal. Right now, most people – even those of us who develop skills! – would be hard-pressed to name a sophisticated skill we use every day on our Echo devices.

Overall, a decline in skill growth may not be a bad thing, if it results in higher quality skills despite an overall lower quantity being generated. We look forward to seeing what continues to be developed on this platform in the future.


Voice Network ‘Hacking’

If you have been in the telecommunications industry for long enough you would have heard of voice call hacking. In the good old days when there were only circuit switched services namely, PSTN and ISDN, voice call hacking was a big problem.

There was one make and model of PBX that was known to be vulnerable. That PBX included remote maintenance via dialing-in on a telephone number reserved for that purpose. Hackers would find out or guess the number ranges in use on the PBX and then program a computer to dial every number in the range(s) until they identified the remote maintenance number. Then they hacked whatever pin or similar security code was used at which point they could take total control of the PBX. Normally, they used the PBX to switch calls to international destinations. A couple of African countries figured prominently as well a couple of countries in Asia.

In some cases, the hackers set-up calling card businesses off the back of a hacked PBX.

To give you an idea of the seriousness of this issue I can describe a couple of cases within my direct experience.
In one case a large corporate customer was hacked between Christmas and New Year. The hackers only had the use of the PBX for a couple of days but ran up a bill of $800k. One of the employees of the corporation had been set up with an alert on his mobile that would have warned him of unusual usage; however, he had turned it off. The employee got fired and the corporation paid the bill in full. In another case I was directly involved in, a small business ran up a bill of $400k due to hacking. This debt was compromised because it would have sent the customer broke.

Then, there was the case of the customer who hacked himself. We detected unusual call traffic which looked like hacking. Various attempts were made to contact the customer to get his permission to bar all calls. All efforts to contact him failed. It was decided to bar the service without the customer’s approval. An account manager was sent out to the customer’s premises, and bingo, it was vacated. It then came out that the customer was signed-up without anybody meeting him. It all became clear at that point – the customer was the fraud.

When IP voice came on the scene, SIP and VoIP, some people claimed it couldn’t be hacked.  Unfortunately, this is not true, any network can be hacked and there is now plenty of material on the web relating to IP voice hacking.

So, what should you do?

  • Ask your provider about alerts. Alerts are built by studying the calling patterns that occurred in real hacking cases and then setting up programs that look for calling patterns that resemble the cases of actual hacking. If the alert logic is good and the alert operates in real time hacking should be identified quickly and stopped.
  • Carefully address the network security arrangements with help from security experts. A TEM professional can be useful for independent 3rd party review.
  • Certain types of call can be barred eg. all international.
  • On a different angle it might be possible to insure against the risk.

A TEM professional can be useful as a source of independent 3rd party knowledge to help ensure the customer obtains the right balance of risk and cost. Would you like a no-obligation audit of your existing contracts and how you can improve your security posture, reducing your potential liabilities? Contact us today.


What Does Australia’s NBN Mean For Telco Customers?

The NBN (National Broadband Network) has had a controversial history. Politicians have endlessly played politics with it as you would expect. The upgrade just announced is another example of the piecemeal, reactive approach that has plagued the project since its inception.

The fact is an internet connection in today’s world has taken on the same utility characteristics as electric power, gas and water. It is an essential piece of infrastructure a country like Australia needs to be internationally competitive.

It could be argued that:

  • much more money should have been spent on the project to make the solution ubiquitous fibre to the premise; instead a multi-technology approach was adopted leveraging the existing network and technology. As a result Australia’s competitiveness has suffered
  • it should not be another government monopoly – a better structure would have been a joint venture of carriers similar to an oil pipeline joint venture
  • it should be substantially funded by the carriers, but with significant supplementary government funding out of consolidated revenue (ie. taxation)
  • the rollout plan should not have been based on the location of marginal electorates
  • it should not be commercially hamstrung by preventing it from doing business the way the industry normally does business.

There have been strong currents of change running for a number of years in the industry:

  • the shift from analogue to digital
  • the shift from fixed line to mobile
  • the shift from voice to email and messaging
  • the development of OTT (over-the-top) applications such as Teams (formally Skype)
  • the shift to virtual, cloud-based solutions
  • the shift to flexible, mobile working arrangements.

COVID-19 has accelerated some of these currents to a huge degree, and just about everyone agrees things will never be the same at they were pre-COVID. It seems pretty clear the future will be one data network running all the user applications – voice, data, email, messaging, video, and quite possibly it will be for a fixed access charge with unlimited use. The NBN being built today with its mixture of fibre to the premise, fibre to the curb, coaxial cable etc etc doesn’t provide an ideal platform for this future world – to put it mildly.

So what does all this mean for customers today?

The main message is customers can’t sit on their hands if they are still using old technology like PSTN, ISDN, ADSL etc. When the NBN rollout reaches your site, you don’t have an option to remain on your current technology. At some point, if you don’t do anything, your services will be disconnected.

How do I know when this will happen?

If you take a superficial look at the NBN rollout plan, it looks like a detailed, comprehensive timetable providing certainty to customers. However, if you dig a bit deeper there are so many ifs, buts and maybes it renders the timetable virtually meaningless.

So what should customers do?

If you look at all this with a positive outlook you will see that the NBN is a great catalyst for customers to audit their current services and proactively move to NBN compatible solutions. In many cases customers who are too busy to review their telecommunications services in many cases are not fully aware that they have a large number of services they don’t need and have not used for years. The NBN disconnection plan should be used as an opportunity to save lots of much needed cash and move to newer technology that will help customers run their businesses more efficiently.

The complexity of all this can daunting. Even people inside the telecommunications industry struggle with acronym hell and the pace of change. A Telecom Expense Management (TEM) professional can speak to the carriers on behalf of the customer and translate what the carriers say into language the customer can understand.

I learnt somewhere that a good question to ask the wine waiter in a restaurant is: “which wine do you recommend to go with this meal – not necessarily the most expensive wine.” A similar rule applies to selecting your future telecommunications solution. Sales people will naturally try to sell customers the newest, biggest, most complex, most expensive solution (which is entirely rational because Sales people are generally coin operated).  A TEM professional can offer an unbiased view as to the most appropriate, most cost effective solution.

Would you like a no-obligation audit of your existing contracts and how you can reduce your overall telecommunication costs in the future? Contact us today.


COVID-19 Winners and Losers In the Telecommunications Industry

COVID-19 will result in winners and losers in the business world. The winners will be those that have evolved, as nobody really believes we will eventually return to the way we operated pre-COVID. For telco customers who are winners in their own sector, what telecommunications services will they demand more of, and what less? For telco customers who are struggling, what can they do to survive?

Demand has and will continue to rocket for cloud-based Unified Communications (UC) applications such as Microsoft Teams, Cisco Webex, and Zoom. This should create greater demand for ubiquitous high capacity broadband access services. It will also be a key driver in the take-up of both the NBN in Australia and 5G generally.

There will continue to be increased demand for mobile services generally. Additionally, users prefer to use the same devices everywhere they go and so there will be increased demand for bring-your-own device solutions. For example, in the office your mobile phone connects to the corporate WIFI and operates like a fixed handset. When you leave the office, your handset re-connects to the mobile network but delivers the same applications, seamlessly.

VOIP has and will continue to gain greater acceptance – both private network VOIP and VOIP carried on the public Internet. A question mark will hang over hosted PBX. There are some advantages offered by this product such as lower complexity to establish and maintain, and better security, but the customer needs to buy and maintain fixed handsets, which is a substantial cost and creates service management challenges. Security and disaster back-up will be increasingly important, but also much more complex. The demise of the old PSTN and ISDN will accelerate.

Where does telco expense management (TEM) fit into this picture?

For businesses that are doing well in the age of COVID-19 and so have money to spend on new technology and solutions, the available solutions have become much more diverse and confusing. A TEM professional can be an independent source of advice and ideas for customers. A TEM professional can help the customer implement the most appropriate and cost-effective solutions.

For businesses that are struggling, it is increasingly important to squeeze the maximum possible value out of their existing solutions. Factors such as the roll-out of the NBN mean customers cannot stay where they are. A TEM professional can help these cost conscious customers maximize their current infrastructure and so defer investment.

Would you like a no-obligation audit of your existing contracts and how you can reduce your overall telecommunication costs? Contact us today.


Telecoms: When is a rate not a rate?

Have you had this experience?

You thought you agreed a rate per minute with your service provider for your most used call types.

When you get your monthly invoice, you sum up the total charges for each of your commonly used call types, and sum up the total minutes for each call type, then you divide total charges for each call type by total minutes for each call type to get average charge per minute.

You notice the average charge per minute for each call type is a lot higher than the rates you thought you had agreed with your service provider.

You lodge a dispute with your service provider, but the service provider rejects your dispute on the grounds the invoice charges are correctly calculated in accordance with the agreement you signed with them.

You are pointed to the fine print in your agreement which states calls are rated and billed in 60 second increments.

This means if a call has a duration of 13 seconds, it is rated and billed as if it had a duration of 60 seconds. Likewise, if a call has a duration of 61 seconds, it is rated and billed as if it had a duration of 120 seconds.

This is one example of the type of pitfalls telecommunications service providers bury in their terms and conditions to confuse their customers.

A TEM professional has the knowledge and experience to make sure you are not blind-sided by devices like this. We read the fine print to ensure you have no surprises when the bills come in.

Would you like a no-obligation audit of your existing ANZ telecom contracts and how you can reduce your overall telecommunication costs? Contact us today.

Beware of LNP – There’s a Catch!

LNP stands for Local Number Portability. You will run into LNP if you want to change from one access provider network to another network but keep your existing telephone numbers.

The public network is a network of interconnected networks. To enable a calling party to be successfully connected to a called party, the public network switches need to be configured to route calls to the called party’s current access provider network.

If a customer changes access providers, and wants to retain the same telephone number, the public network switches need to be re-configured to commence routing calls to the customer’s new access provider. LNP refers to the process of changing access provider and re-configuring the network switches to ensure the customer continues to receive calls on the same telephone number.

So far so good, but what is the catch?

Broadly speaking, there are two types of industry solutions for number portability. One type is based on some form of call forwarding set up in the network switches. The other type is based on a central industry database where every call dips into the central database to find out which network the called party is on so the call can be correctly routed.

In Australia, fixed voice operates on a call forwarding type of LNP solution. Mobile number portability operates on a central industry database type of solution.

Call forwarding solutions are inferior to central industry database solutions because they tend to be very manual, slow, error prone and expensive for customers.

The typical charge to port one PSTN number is $7.27, and for an ISDN 100 number range the charge is $763.64. The actual charges depend on which service provider is involved, the quantity of numbers being ported, the complexity of the port and whether the port is undertaken during business hours or after hours. In the business market it is common for customers to have hundreds of PSTN numbers, and multiple 100 number ranges so the charges can be substantial.

The claimed intention of LNP charges is to recover the administrative cost of undertaking the porting process. The charges are substantial at least in part because of the cumbersome nature of the current industry solution.

A extra layer of confusion can arise when the customer’s current supply contract is with a reseller.

Let’s say the customer originally acquired services from carrier A. Then the customer changed supplier to a reseller B, who is a reseller of carrier A services, but also offers their own network services. Let’s say the customer’s services are initially transferred to reseller B via a billing churn. Then if the customer’s services are ported to reseller B’s network, carrier A will bill LNP charges on the wholesale bill sent to reseller B. Reseller B may then rebill the charges to the customer. The customer can be forgiven for being confused.

What are the take outs from all this?

It seems reasonable to impute an anti-competitive motivation because the high LNP charges to raise the customer’s cost of changing access network provider.

If the industry was truly competitive action would be taken to implement a better, more economical solution.

Customers need to be aware of LNP and the associated costs so they can effectively deal with it in negotiations with carriers and service providers. In short, the customer should require the gaining supplier to absorb the LNP costs.

For issues like LNP the services of a knowledgeable, independent TEM consultant can be invaluable. Would you like a no-obligation audit of your existing contracts and how you can reduce your overall telecommunication costs? Contact us today.

The market is HOT – are you doing everything you can to reach potential sellers?

Media home sale prices have increased 13% from 2019 to $319,178. Active listings fell 28% from 2019 to the all-time low and almost half of the home listed on the market are accepting offers within two weeks on the market. 

As we have heard from many real estate brokers and agents, it’s not the issue of finding buyers, it’s the limited access to sellers. Door to door is not feasible given the pandemic to inform homeowners of their real estate selling potential and tech is the way to go to engage these prospects. But how do you attract on-the-edge homeowners to sell their home? Data, metrics and social media are more important than ever, especially given current circumstances to help reach people and ListingLogic has the answer to getting all of these items under one, easy to use platform. We help realtors use social media to list their properties using a virtual showroom in which the REALTORs are able to communicate with potential buyers and sellers, all through Facebook and Instagram. It’s a cloud-based, programmatic ad tech platform to deliver cost-effective results with automation on Facebook. 

Need some more convincing? Reach out to us today and let us walk you through a plan to increase your buyer and seller leads in a painless and highly-effective way. 

What Gaming Can Teach Us About Digital Marketing: Part 3

If you’ve been following along with these posts so far, you’ll have everything you need to know to get started on your DnD or digital marketing campaign. Now that your campaign is running, it’s time to get to the “real” work. Your campaign isn’t just set and forget it, you need to constantly monitor your customers and players and how they’re interacting with your content and moving from encounter to encounter. In this post, we’ll talk about how to stay on your toes during your campaign and between sessions.

Your People

“Your audience is people” is a phrase that many marketers and DMs need to hear more often. When you review your campaign’s performance you’re often faced with a wall of numbers and, if you’re lucky, graphs. And it’s easy to fall into thinking about your campaign as a list of subsequent percentages. I know I do that all the time. Just because you planned and laid out everything perfectly, doesn’t mean that everything will work out. Getting down to the minutiae of your platforms and persona will get you most of the way there, but you can’t forget that every person who interacts with your campaign will have their own wants and expectations that may not match your outline. For example, let’s say a customer clicks on an ad to visit your landing page but leaves before converting.

  • Maybe they read through the landing page and decided what you were offering wasn’t right for them.
  • Maybe they looked at the form and thought you were asking for too much information up front.
  • Maybe they clicked on your ad accidentally, and quickly closed the tab without looking.
  • Maybe the content of the landing page didn’t quite match the content of the ad and it turned out they weren’t interested anyway.
  • Maybe they clicked to your landing page, fully ready to convert, but their internet was cut off by sharks chewing undersea cables (again).

Some of these are things we can adjust in our campaign strategy; some of them are out of our control. And even with the best measurement tools, some of these possibilities are unexplorable: Google Analytics doesn’t have a “Bounce because Sharks” metric.

When playing DnD, it’s easy to sit and ask your players what’s working and what’s not for them and their gameplay experience. But if your marketing campaign is going out to hundreds of thousands of people every day, you won’t have the ability to reach out to everyone who engages. Alternatively, if you have an opportunity for people to reach out to you, during your campaign, you can create these personal engagements. Now, we know from experience that the only people who will reach out to you unprompted are those who either really want your business or really don’t, those without strong feelings tend to hold back. But the opportunity for potential customers to reach out to you (presumably a real person) is always a good option for your campaigns. 

When it comes to email campaigns in particular, many platforms allow you to personalize your communication. While on the surface, this seems to solve the whole “your audience is people” issue, it can be a double edged sword. Before our intervention, one of our clients would place their customer’s name in big, bold letters at the top of their marketing emails. As a customer, I would see this as even less personal than not having my name on the email at all. When personalizing your emails, take a hint from the emails you send to your own team and clients. Do you include a greeting at the top or just a name? Do you sign off with your full name? With a full signature? As far as formatting goes, how much do you play with fonts and layout in your day-to-day emails? You can make your email campaigns personal by constructing them the same way you construct your one-on-one emails. In some cases, a big flashy email with bright-colored photos and giant text may be the best option. But don’t be afraid to dial it back to a simple paragraph sandwiched between names; even if it’s a mass email, those will feel more intimate to your customers. We have plenty of email tips and practices that we can share with you, later. This is just a reminder that treating your audience as people, instead of just numbers can go a long way.

Improvise at the Right Time

My favorite part about roleplaying games is the improv, hands down. But it’s only fun when the players are the ones improvising. When the DM is flipping through his manuals and calculating stats during the game, it can really drag the game down and the players disengage almost immediately. The same goes for your marketing campaigns. Everything in your campaign, every interaction, every followup, every asset, every word of copy, should be finalized before you hit start any campaign. We’ve found, when taking on clients, that anything that can go wrong on a campaign will go wrong, and you will be left interrupting your campaign to make fixes and adjustments, meanwhile wasting valuable time and potentially ad spend. This especially applies to platforms like social media where you can’t change content after it’s published. If you have to change something in that case, you’ll easily annoy your customers (see the section about repetition above). During your campaign’s run is the worst possible time to improvise. And since everything leading up to the launch of your campaign is researched and planned, any changes you make should be equally planned.

But that doesn’t mean that there’s no good time to improvise. In fact, the best time to improvise is during the planning stage. In DnD, the worst DMs are the ones that stick to the books or the premade stories and don’t stray from the source material. The best DMs are the ones that can integrate player feedback into their campaigns, but also take the time to do it properly. The digital landscape is constantly changing, so you won’t be able to keep up or stand out if you’re constantly following the rules, or even the trends. Many marketing platforms integrate a/b testing and even for those that don’t support it natively, you can easily compare data yourself. Use the testing tools to try new things, even things you may not think possible at first. Remember, your customers are not a number and neither are you. If you think something would grab your attention, odds are it’ll grab your customer’s attention too. While not everything you do has to be prescribed by numbers, just like any DM, you can’t ignore the numbers either. The numbers are your results, so if they say something is working, it probably is. If the numbers say something isn’t working, it probably isn’t. But you can use those results to be creative and enhance your future campaigns.