In this article, we are going to talk to Bruce Bullock, Group Director of Product at Mediahuis Ireland. Bruce discusses the critical role of digital marketing in the launch of Ireland’s newest price comparison website, Choosy.ie.
My job is to launch new digital businesses into the Irish market place for Mediahuis, Ireland’s largest publisher. The Start-Up Studio team looks for opportunities to build on Mediahuis’s reach and create high growth business opportunities. We evaluate the merit of any new business by looking through three lenses; Customer, Business and Capability. In other words, will the customer love it, does it make business sense and is it within the realm of business in which Mediahuis operates or could add value? One of those businesses that passed this assessment was Choosy. Choosy is a price comparison site where customers can compare deals and save money on energy, broadband, insurance, mortgages and much more.
When a business is successfully assessed, it moves to Proof of Concept (POC) stage and then on to Minimum Viable Product (MVP). At this point, three out of the Four P’s (price, product, promotion, and place) are present. That is, we have our product, we know the price and we know the place. So now we must think about the final P; promotion. How are we going to get our product known and how are we going to get potential customers to engage with us? This is where digital marketing was so critical in Choosy’s launch into the Irish market.
Our long-term strategy is to create a strong and trusted brand which is the favourite place for customers to switch their household bills. In time, we want SEO to be our number one source of traffic. This will be achieved with in-house experts and using our association with The Irish Independent. However, first we needed to establish the brand and to deliver short-term traffic to order to test our assumptions and create some revenue.
From a brand point of view, we used a mixture of traditional media, including print and radio, coupled with a strong social media campaign. We employed paid social adverts as well as organic posts to deliver consistent brand messaging and achieve reach, in a cost-effective way. Whilst keeping our overall messaging consistent (Trust, Simplicity, Saving Money), we were able to test some different creatives (i.e. versions of the advertising) and see which worked best.
As it’s very expensive to measure Brand awareness in the traditional ways, we use Share of Search as good proxy. This enables you to measure progress. Be warned, however, don’t expect amazing results straight away, it can take years to build a strong brand. If you have decided to enter a market that already has strong players, don’t be surprised if you only gain a small foothold in the early days. In fact, a small foothold could be a very good result indeed.
In terms of activating our customer base, we focussed on display advertising (ads on other people’s websites) and PPC (Pay Per Click) advertising. Whilst display and PPC may not pay back immediately, it is important to have goals against which you measure the response of your target market. Often these metrics are not directly commercial (conversion). Initially, you might want to target CTR (click through rate) and compare the creatives to see which perform best. A/B testing is very straight forward in digital marketing and it is something I would always recommend. However, do be careful not to test too many ideas at once so that you don’t confuse your messaging (and indeed yourselves).
There is a temptation to try too many things, to constantly change the messaging, the platforms, the channels and the creatives that you use. Try to avoid doing this as you can find yourself quickly moving away from something that was effective. You need to give your campaigns time to work before you chop and change. Be careful not to overreact to both successes and failure. One of the great things about digital marketing is that you can test hunches and ideas. Use data to inform your decisions and remember to always measure, measure and measure again.
If you enjoyed this article, why not watch Bruce’s full masterclass in our Diploma in Digital Marketing.