Julie Atherton Technology for Marketing

Julie Atherton Technology for Marketing

NATALIE TURNER [00:00:13] Hello and welcome back to Technology for Marketing day two. I’m Natalie Turner  with Disruptive Live and today I am joined by the lovely Julie Atherton. She is the founder of Small Wonder. How are you feeling today?

JULIE ATHERTON [00:00:25] Good. I’ve had a really good day, actually, on a panel this morning. And, yeah, looking round. It’s been fun.

NATALIE TURNER [00:00:31] Oh, amazing, fantastic. Well look, tell us a little bit about you and your company and why you’re here today.

JULIE ATHERTON [00:00:37] Okay, so I started my company about four years ago. It’s a marketing consultancy. And I started it after working sort of 12 years brand side and then another 15 years running and working for an agency. So it’s a really exciting thing to do to run your own business. Lots of challenges but, you know, after working with lots of big brands like Nissan, ASOS, St John Ambulance and others, I now am able to work as a consultant. I teach. I’m a tutor for the IDM in social media and content marketing. And I’ve written a book on social media strategy. So really, varied portfolio of things that happen.

NATALIE TURNER [00:01:18] Wow, that’s incredible. You’ve got so much experience. I mean, what’s your favourite part about running your own business?

JULIE ATHERTON [00:01:25] So I think it’s about taking experience that you’ve grown up, you know, generated over many, many years and being able to go into companies and not have to solve all their problems, but actually to be able to look at it from an external perspective and say, oh, well, this experience from here is really, really useful for you in this space. And I think because I’m working with students and young people a lot I do quite a lot of lecturing as well within universities. So I see the whole gamut of how people engage with marketing, whether that be as students, whether that be as CEOs, CMOs. And I’m able to bring all that together. And it just feels really exciting because I meet new people every day.

NATALIE TURNER [00:02:07] That does sound really, really good. So what have been the key, you know, the integral part of working towards your success? What strategies have you used?

JULIE ATHERTON [00:02:16] So I think it was about really understanding where there was a gap in the market, where that where it felt like I could add value but I also enjoy doing what I do. So one of those things was about recognizing that a lot business owners a lot of CMO’s finding the agency relationship and they don’t get to see the senior people once the pictures over. So actually, my business is built on relationships. So all of my clients are people that I’ve either had a business relationship with in the past or that they’ve come to me through recommendation or I’ve run a training course for them and somebody in their team has to been to that. So it’s all built on personal relationships, which means that social media is a really good way of keeping those relationships going until you are at the point you want to work with those people or they are at the point where they want to work with you. So it’s been a real mix of those things, really.

NATALIE TURNER [00:03:12] So what changes in social media behaviour have been prevalent to you?

JULIE ATHERTON [00:03:17] So I think we have people have become much more keen to have smaller private groups so much less posting, publicly shouting out about what they’re doing and much more about talking privately with smaller groups, smaller communities. And that’s all flies in the face of kind of social media advertising. But I think it is the right way to go. And if you’re if you’re talking to a younger demographic, they’re very worried about leaving a digital footprint. They don’t want to be posting publicly. Lots of them have been burned either because their accounts been hacked and things being posted that they don’t like or they’ve done things that they regret and put them in the public space. So I think that that move to a more private, more intimate relationship, more personal relationship is really, really important. And I really believe that in marketing we’re not trying to change people’s behaviour. What we’re actually trying to do is harness the natural behaviour that people have in those ecosystems and hopefully facilitate them using it on behalf of our business or our brand. So actually that means really understanding how that consumer behaviour is changing and starting to think about, well, why would somebody want to engage with me as a business or brand? Why would they want to be part of that story? I think digital the IPA have done some really interesting research actually on effective marketing effectiveness. And they’ve seen that there’s been this move with digital to move to results and sales and all of those things. And those are all really, really important. But in social, you need to build a brand presence, you need to build brand longevity. You need to have a reason why somebody wants to see those marketing sales messages from you. And that goes into know different content, private communications and more effort really I think.

NATALIE TURNER [00:05:15] Yeah absolutely, I mean, we talk a lot about social media. There’s obviously a lot of different platforms to be used. How do you think each one should be treated differently and why?

JULIE ATHERTON [00:05:25] So I think it’s too simple to think about the platform as the way that you behave. The way you behave is the how your audience behaves on that platform. So Snapchat have done some really interesting research into friendships and how that works. And so therefore how different generations and different communities behave within their platform and on other platforms. You think about a platform like Facebook, which is omnipresent, but certain audiences will be using Facebook oldschool you know posting, using it as a photo album, you know, sharing all they’re doing with everybody but other other groups, other communities particularly the younger generations will only use it for video messaging and groups. So although they’ve got a presence on Facebook, they don’t exist in terms of a relationship potential on Facebook for a brand. So I think a business needs to think about where’s my audience? How do they behave in this environment? And then what do I need to do to communicate with them effectively in a meaningful way about things that they’re interested in that we both care about. To build that kind of connection. And then later, then you can start to do that selling. So I think it will be more audience dependent rather than channel dependent.

NATALIE TURNER [00:06:42] So, I mean, what do you think the common themes are, the common mistakes other organizations make when using social media platforms and how they don’t differentiate between the different platforms.

JULIE ATHERTON [00:06:53] Yeah, I understand what you mean. They talk about what they want to talk about. So they tell people that they are what’s news about them. So there’ll be loads of businesses and brands today, who’ll be posting about the fact that they were here and what they did here and how great it was being here today. And that’s kind of fine because they will tell people that they were at this event, which is a really important event to be at. There’s lots of networking and things going on. But actually they could tailor the outtakes they took from the event for their different business audiences and make it more relevant to them. So suddenly then being at this event becomes important to that individual, not important to becomes important to their customer, not just to them. And I think that’s the thinking. It’s like content needs to be mutually exciting. Not I’m really excited to be doing this because actually, why do I really care? And if I’m a busy person, which most people in work today are, I haven’t got time or the headspace or the interest space to give to that kind of content. So I think that’s the biggest mistake that people make. Don’t look at what I post in case I don’t do it right now.

NATALIE TURNER [00:08:07] Well, although I definitely agree with what you’re saying, I do want to talk about an individual, which is you. Because you’ve got your book.

JULIE ATHERTON [00:08:15] Yes.

NATALIE TURNER [00:08:15] Being launched next month. So, yeah. Let’s talk about you and more about your book.

JULIE ATHERTON [00:08:20] Okay. Brilliant thank you yes, so I have a book, Social Media Strategy, which is launching next Thursday, the 3rd of October. And the reason I kind of wrote it was because I really think that social is a really grown up, those based channel those platforms are really grown up, top table ways of us connecting with our consumers and our customers. But most of the time, the strategy isn’t joined up to delivery. And so I wanted to do something that was really gave people an accessible way to talk about social and a way to implement it in a meaningful way. And I think the biggest challenge there is is that social media doesn’t talk the language of the boardroom. So people in the boardroom talk about sales talk leads their talking about driving brand value and social media very often it’s talking about likes and engagement and interactions. And I think their needs to be a way to translate those two things across so that social has a place of top table. But also so that these poor people who are running the social for their organisations are able to articulate what they need and the benefit their bringing to the business at that top level. And so hopefully that’s what it helps people do. Theres loads of interviews with great practitioners ,some brands in there, some case studies and tools and templates so you can just go and deliver it for yourself afterwards.

NATALIE TURNER [00:09:42] That’s amazing, I’ll definitely be having a read of that sounds really good.

JULIE ATHERTON [00:09:46] If you DM me I’ve got a discount code I can send.

NATALIE TURNER [00:09:48] So in regards to Small Wonder. What is the future looking like.

JULIE ATHERTON [00:09:55] So I mix a kind of combination of things I want to do in terms of bringing some voluntary work that I do. I sit on the board of a number of organizations, really do a lot of mentoring work with young people trying to break into marketing, particularly women. So I mix a combination of that with really driving forward social and integrated marketing for my clients. And that’s kind of fun. So it’s a it’s a real combination of things.

NATALIE TURNER [00:10:25] Amazing. Well look thank you so much, Julie, we have actually run out of time. We probably run over actually.

JULIE ATHERTON [00:10:29] I  know.

NATALIE TURNER [00:10:30] But you’ve been fantastic to talk to so thank you so much for joining us.

JULIE ATHERTON [00:10:32] Thank you, I really loved it.

NATALIE TURNER [00:10:34] So that is all from us for now. However, don’t go away. We will be back after a very short break. See you in a bit.