In this article, we are going to talk to Jayne Wilde, Head of eCommerce at Mediahuis Ireland. Jayne is responsible for Independent Shop, a marketplace that sells a range of products including e-bikes, kitchenware, homewares and smart-tech to customers of the Irish Independent and beyond.
Above all else, Jayne stresses the importance of establishing who exactly you are trying to target before starting any marketing activity. Building out a persona or pen portrait of the this customer is a useful exercise to help get you started. She encourages us to think about what their attributes are, their habits, where they hang out online, and what they do offline. This will allow you to select the channels and messages that will resonate with them the most, making your marketing campaign more effective.
Jayne: So I’m responsible for running an eCommerce platform called Independent Shop, from the Irish Independent brand. It’s a marketplace where we sell products to our customers that we source from a selection of suppliers in Ireland and Europe. We sell garden equipment, electric bikes, kitchenware and much more.
Jayne: I touch on kind of everything on a day-to-day basis. It’s quite a varied role. I’m responsible for sourcing products, contract negotiation, on-boarding new clients, dealing with the technical and security team. Then, there’s running the website. That is, merchandising, analytics, marketing and communications to promote the products. So, it’s an all-encompassing role.
Jayne: I usually start by trying to establish the campaign objectives. For example, are you trying to build brand awareness for an unknown brand? Or are you trying to drive a response to encourage a user to take an action?
Once you establish these factors, I think it’s critical to define the person you’re trying to target i.e. who the ideal customer is. I always find that quite helpful to create a pen portrait or a persona of that person(s). What are their attributes, habits, where do they hang out media-wise, what do they do online, what do they do offline? Thinking about this is a good way to plan on how to reach that person, you know where they are and what channels are most appropriate to reach them.
Jayne: For example, we recently started selling electric bikes through the Independent shop. We didn’t know a huge amount about the market, but we understood that there was a need and a want for electric bikes amongst our readers. So, I created some pen portraits. One was called Patricia, a lady in her mid-forties, a mother with children and has a certain amount of disposable income. She mostly engages with the Independent brands online, but sometimes she’ll buy a weekend newspaper, but she also checks independent.ie every morning to get her news. Patricia engages with us on Instagram and social media. So, knowing those insights really helped me plan how to reach her.
I split the comms into awareness comms and direct response-led comms. The awareness comms were basically targeted at using large formats in the Sunday Independent newspaper to drive awareness and drive those users to the top of the funnel. But then we reached out and caught up with her on social media with a more direct response-led piece of communications.
Jayne: I find that the most straightforward way for me to monitor a marketing plan is to understand the original objectives and then metrics on how our success is measured. For me, the metrics included bikes sales, first and foremost, but whether we were driving traffic to the site. Did we drive engagement and what was our bounce rate. Keeping an eye on the metrics can make sure you align to your objectives, and allow you to pivot if the metrics are not as expected.
Jayne: I think marketing trends definitely have an impact on what we do, from a channel selection point of view. However, I think it’s important to use the most appropriate way to reach that audience, be it an established or new channel. For example, there could be a lot of talk about TikTok and you might feel the need to use that channel because Marketing Week or Campaign says it’s the right thing to do. But you also have to remember who you’re trying to reach and why you’re trying to reach them and then think about what the most appropriate media or channel might be to reach them.
Jayne: The most successful campaign I’ve worked on was for the launch of electric bikes on the Independent Shop. Strategically, we knew who we were trying to reach. We knew how we were going to reach them. The campaign adopted a mix of traditional communications and digital. That mix was key to this campaign, especially from an awareness point of view. You can only get so much awareness through digital. Sometimes you need to adopt some traditional marketing such as print and radio, if and when the budget allows.
We also spent a lot of time with working with our colleagues in Mediahuis on the SEO of the site. E-bikes is quite topical at the moment and we wanted to make sure we appeared organically in people’s internet searches also. In fact, if I could spend more money in any one part of the digital marketing funnel, it would be SEO. Once the user has arrived at the site, it is essential that the content and usability of the site facilitates their objectives or learning more about the product or buying one there and then. Also, we had also spent a lot of time on reengineering the customer and redesigning the site to make it easier to use.
The bottom line of all this effort was that we sold over 1,100 bikes in 6 months. In fact, we sold out of the men’s bikes in two weeks. Definitely, that was the most successful campaign we’ve had thus far.