How city marketing is maturing to create global brands

From attracting waves of tourists and appealing to entrepreneurs, to keeping the message relevant for locals, marketers must strike a delicate balance to ensure their destination stands out on the world stage.

Isle of MTV Malta
DJ Sigala performing at the 2018 edition of Isle of MTV Malta.

Destination marketing is fiercely competitive. Countries and cities compete daily to capture visitors’ attention in a globalised world where international travel continues to boom.


Simultaneously, city marketers must also drive investment to their destinations, attract the next generation of entrepreneurs and ensure the city remains relevant for the local population.

Balancing these competing demands, city marketers should approach their task as they would a fully-fledged brand, advises former Creative England CMO Dawn Paine.

In January, Paine co-founded The Extraordinary Club, a collective aimed at propelling growth in the creative industries by challenging creative and digital SMEs to be “ballsy and ambitious” in their outlook.

She argues the post-Brexit devolutionary landscape means the conditions are perfect for the creative and digital sectors to flourish in cities across the UK.  Marketers should explore the concept of smart, connected cities, in particular imagining how future tech such as robotics and driverless cars will affect their city brands.

“Cities are like magnets in that they can both attract and repel, and there isn’t really an in-between state, which I find very interesting in terms of how one thinks about market disruption,” says Paine.

“The things that can grow a city are the things it is pulling in – new residents, visitors, business investment – so there’s that melting pot of people, ideas and money. The flipside, of course, is those cities that aren’t doing what they need to grow will see population decline, businesses relocate and economies start to shrink.”

Cities are like magnets in that they can both attract and repel, and there isn’t really an in-between state, which is very interesting in terms of market disruption.

Dawn Paine, The Extraordinary Club

She argues it is crucial for any city to attract, grow and incubate entrepreneurs by reimagining themselves as an innovation centre. To achieve this, city marketers must think beyond the posters and slogans to devise strategies that create “powerhouse brands”.

“I would like to see city marketing at the table with all the other huge global brands in the world. There is a huge piece of repositioning work, even in the marketing industry, in terms of actually recognising the economic impact of cities,” explains Paine.

“Therefore, there’s an onus within those cities to be bold and brave in terms of how they market themselves. Cities need to be much more fearless in how they differentiate themselves.”

Quick reactions

With Britain’s impending exit from the EU scheduled to take place on 29 March 2019, cities across Europe have ramped up the pressure with campaigns designed to lure entrepreneurs away from the UK.

In March, Transport for London (TfL) banned an outdoor campaign from the Normandy Development Agency that called for entrepreneurs to “vote with their feet” post-Brexit and relocate to Northern France.

Berlin Partner for Business and Technology has taken a subtler approach. Positioning the city as a place where “ideas spread faster”, the organisation is offering free tours to startups hosted by Berlin ‘insiders’ and has built a talent portal offering information about the city’s different industries, job offers and advice on how to relocate.

While other cities have capitalised on Brexit uncertainty, the Mayor of London’s promotional agency London & Partners has not crumbled under the pressure, explains director of business tourism and major events Tracy Halliwell.

London & Partners kicked into action amid concerns that perceptions of the capital would sour as news of the Brexit vote flooded in on 24 June 2016.

Overnight the team came up with #LondonisOpen. Describing it as a “Eureka moment”, Halliwell explains that London & Partners took the hashtag straight to social media, encouraging its partners to tell their own stories.

The campaign went viral, garnering the support of employers, universities, citizens and celebrities. On the first day alone, #LondonisOpen generated 17,813 tweets, while by the end of the first week the hashtag had reached 87 million people, generated 35,685 tweets and 4,530 online mentions or pieces of coverage. By 24 October 2016, #LondonisOpen had reached 326 million people.

“It was phenomenally successful and it unified the city behind a simple message. It meant that we’re open for business, open for students, for events, for diversity, for inclusion, because it meant so many different things to so many people,” says Halliwell, speaking to Marketing Week at the International Place Branding Event in Liverpool in June.

“People interpreted it the way they wanted, because it was simple. We used social media and it was so cheap, we hardly spent any money on it. It wasn’t some huge campaign and that’s the beauty of it.”

Proving the concept had longevity, London & Partners rolled out #LondonisOpen in response to last year’s terrorist attacks to convey the city’s resilient spirit and then again during the summer festival season to communicate that “London is open” for music and sporting events.

The rise of the city state

It is estimated that by 2050 over two-thirds of the world’s population will live in cities. Paine says this will force cities to reimagine themselves as brands rather than just destinations to be marketed. As a result, cities will rise in importance over nation brands.

The Extraordinary Club
Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor, Steve Rotherham, speaking at the inaugural meeting of the Extraordinary Club in June.

This opinion is shared by Mateu Hernández Maluquer, managing director of Barcelona Global, an independent collective of entrepreneurs, companies and startups.

“We share a vision that cities in the 21st century really matter. They matter more than nations. We tell our citizens, civic leaders, universities and entrepreneurs that Barcelona has an opportunity to do something, to be a better city,” explained Hernández Maluquer, speaking on stage at the Liverpool event.

“Our mission is to make Barcelona one of the best cities in the world for talent and economic opportunities. Talent attracts [money] in a much more effective way than [money] attracts talent. If a city like Barcelona is able to attract, retain and create talent, we have a great future.”

Barcelona Global hopes to help the city attract the best global talent by creating a programme to help the partners of people moving to work in Barcelona find jobs, as well as lobbying the Spanish government to relax taxation on freelancers.

Speaking at the same event, Marketing Liverpool director, Chris Brown, explained how his organisation is reinvigorating the Liverpool city brand, which historically has been more powerful internationally than domestically.

“Domestically, Liverpool’s brand was a busted flush and the further south you go in the country the more that negativity was ingrained,” he explained.

“We’ve spent a lot of time – probably too much time – trying to crack that particular issue and we probably got a bit too preoccupied with it. We have raised our bar, raised our maturity levels and we’re in a different place now in terms of what we’re trying to achieve.”

The focus is on building the pride, passion and belief of the citizens, adopting a “Berlin-style model” that sees cities as vibrant and ambitious places that appeal to all kinds of people. Brown explains that Liverpool is now attracting a greater number of major companies and as a result is retaining more young talent.

“We’re starting to attract much younger talent to stay in the city through creative and tech. They are creating product and an entrepreneurial momentum, which is bringing huge amounts of young visitors to our city and they’re consuming experiences in a very different way to how we thought,” he explains.

The top-down approach of officials deciding on a vision for the city is also changing. Marketing Liverpool’s focus is on creating a narrative that is based on collaboration rather than trading off an old-fashioned image of the city.

Taking a progressive stance

For Visit Scotland, expressing the country’s “multidimensional” progressive values means putting its people at the heart of all its marketing.

Charlie Smith, director of marketing, digital and brand, describes Visit Scotland as “marketing Scotland with Scotland” by giving a more rounded sense of the country as a culturally-rich, welcoming and innovative place to live and work.

“We talk about the warmth of our welcome and our natural assets, but now we’re also talking about the fact we’re an inclusive country, those progressive attributes, those culturally rich assets we have,” says Smith.

Visit Scotland has become even more rigorous in its targeting, mixing high-spec brand films aimed at the “curious and thoughtful” cinema market with smaller-scale pieces for YouTube.

The team also filmed 12 mini-documentaries depicting people who have moved to Scotland from other countries, talking about their experience of being entrepreneurs, academics, students and artists.

Smith describes people as Scotland’s best asset, which is why they are at the forefront of all Visit Scotland campaigns. He insists that no individual organisation has control over the marketing of a country and therefore it can only be done well when everyone rallies around a clear narrative. For Visit Scotland this is a message of welcome.

“It’s very genuine. It’s something that’s shared by our people. It’s something that the politicians agree with in Scotland, so we’re really joined up as a country to say ‘please come and live and work in Scotland. You add to our nation, you add to our culture, you add to our society’. It’s a great story to be able to tell,” Smith adds.

On a city level, Stockholm has taken a firmly values-driven approach to its marketing. Its latest campaign sees the Swedish capital talking up the fact that 50% of people living in Stockholm originate from outside the city, the fastest growing in Europe. The campaign also focuses on the fact citizens receive 480 days of paid parental leave, subsidised childcare and university education is free.

In March, the city marketers then collaborated with 60 companies to promote Stockholm as a place where women can be business leaders and prioritise their family life.

“We wanted to emphasise the fact that we have come a long way on the bumpy road to gender equality and you could say that the glass ceiling is a little bit higher up in Stockholm,” explains Olle Zetterberg, CEO of Stockholm Business Region.

“We have produced six unicorns [a startup worth $1bn] in a small city like this. It is very important for us to be more open and international to provide our fast-growing tech sector with people that can come and work in those companies.”

Ensuring maximum impact

For the Las Vegas Convention and Visitor Association (LVCVA) the only way to bring the ‘entertainment capital of the world’ to life is through activations, events and experiences.

Its entire marketing strategy is aimed an increasing tourism and positioning Las Vegas as a leader in destination marketing, meaning the team prefer to use immersive outdoor campaigns to highlight the sights, sounds and tastes of Vegas.

Las Vegas
The ‘See Vegas’ outdoor campaign takeover at Oxford Circus underground station.

Recent examples include the ‘See Vegas’ takeover of Oxford Circus London Underground station and the ‘Vegas: alter your reality’ activation at London Bridge, where visitors used VR headsets to view graffiti artist Insa’s interpretation of the city.

“Capturing Las Vegas in photos and videos never tells the whole story,” says Cathy Tull, LVCVA CMO. “Using new and innovative ways to connect with consumers, that is a reflection of Las Vegas, and why we created the first-ever destination VR art programme.”

The UK campaign is aimed at broadening the perception of Las Vegas as a destination for repeat visitors. LVCVA also recognises that the B2B market is a vital part of the destination’s development given that the city hosts close to 22,000 meetings and conventions each year.

Putting a destination on the map can also involves committing to a long-term partnership, such as the one between MTV and the Malta Tourism Board. Twelve years ago, the music channel and broadcaster launched Isle of MTV Malta, Europe’s largest free music festival, in the Maltese capital Valletta.

At the time, the tourism board wanted to shift perceptions among a younger demographic that Malta was a destination for older people and break into their holiday wishlist alongside the Balearic Islands, Turkey and Croatia. MTV wanted to find a location that could add a storytelling aspect to the live music experience.

“Malta was ripe for discovery, both from an artist perspective and importantly for the audience,” explains Russell Samuel, vice-president creative and integrated marketing at Viacom, the owner of MTV.

“We know from our audience insight that discovery of a new place and music experiences are big factors when they’re considering potential new holiday destinations. When they’re seeing their favourite star posting about the amazing time they’re having in Malta it becomes a genuine topic of conversation.”

Isle of MTV Malta
Paloma Faith performing on stage at Isle of MTV Malta 2018.

As well as creating videos and live streams about the festival experience, MTV focused on evergreen content about Malta as a wider destination, to maintain a year-round conversation with tourists and locals alike.

Last year, the relationship evolved into MTV Malta Music Week, a week’s worth of experiences that showcase the wider island across different venues and MTV sub-brands such as Club MTV and a reimagining of the iconic 1990s dance show The Grind as a Facebook Live broadcast.

Next, Viacom will launch a week of Nickelodeon experiences aimed at children aged four to 14. Scheduled to take place from 13 to 18 April 2019, the week-long festival is aimed at helping the Malta Tourism Authority stand out for families in the competitive Easter holiday market.

The success of the partnership is such that over the 12-year period, desire to find out more about Malta has almost doubled among MTV viewers (versus non-viewers), who are also three times more likely to holiday in Malta. Furthermore, the number of tourists visiting Malta aged 24 and under is up 120%, accounting for 25% of tourists visiting the island annually.

During the past five years alone the number of holidays being booked by MTV viewers has increased by over 70%.

“Of course, it’s not solely down to Isle of MTV,” Samuel acknowledges. “But when we talk to the Ministry of Tourism there’s an acknowledgement that it has definitely been the catalyst and the anchor around which they’ve been able to implement a successful youth tourism strategy and build this cluster of events to put Malta on the map.”


Amazon Tops List For Spending Most On Programmatic Ad Buys, Per Study


It may come as a surprise to many, but Amazon tops the list of companies spending the most on programmatic ad buys, according to a recent study.

MediaRadar, which offers detailed analysis on brands, released the results of a new study, analyzing the top programmatic spenders.

Amazon accounted for 10% of funds spend on programmatic when analyzing the top 50 companies spending on programmatic advertising in first-quarter 2018. The company spent about 1.5 times more than the next-biggest programmatic spender, Microsoft.

Marketers will spend more than $46 billion on programmatic advertising in the U.S. in 2018, with 86.2% of all digital display ads bought programmatically by 2020, estimates eMarketer. The research firm forecasts mobile programmatic ad spending will reach $32.78 billion, or 70.4% of all programmatic digital display outlays in the U.S. — this year.

To determine how much companies spent, MediaRadar used its platform to examine thousands of brands placing ads across the web programmatically in the first quarter of 2018. Then it compared those numbers to the year-ago quarter to determine annual changes across the category.

MediaRadar found that 75% of all brands buy online advertising programmatically

Wayfair took the No. 3 spot, followed by TaxAct, Charles Schwab, Weight Watchers, Spring, Coors Light, Geico, and Dell.

MediaRadar’s analysis also notes that 94% of the companies in the top 50 ran programmatic ad placements in the first quarter of 2018. Those companies include Walmart, Microsoft, and Verizon.

The amount spend on native placement of programmatic ads continues to rise too. Of the brands that ran native ads in the first quarter of 2018, 42% placed all of their native programmatically — up 10% compared with the year-ago quarter.

This Menswear Startup Will Recommend Clothes Based on Your Spotify Data: Eison Triple Thread thinks men will be drawn to their favorite artists’ styles.

Eison Triple Threads



It’s no surprise that shoppers’ taste in music is an excellent way to understand them — there’s an entire industry dedicated to figuring out what should play inside stores to get people to spend money.


Now, one menswear CEO in San Francisco wants to take the psychology of music a step further and suggest clothing for men based on their music preference.

Julian Eison is the founder of Eison Triple Thread, which sells custom luxury menswear. The company has been around since 2016, has a store in San Francisco’s Union Square, and counts NBA players Steph Curry and Damian Jones as fans. This week, it’s debuting an app that will recommend clothes from its collection based on users’ Spotify data.

“It’s a unique take on the recommendation engine that everybody else is using because you can infer a lot from people’s music choices,” Eison tells Racked. “We start with Spotify information to understand the emotions behind your style choice, and we’ll eventually get the looks that fit you best.”

Once users download the app, called FITS, they log in to their Spotify account, which gives ETT their listening data, since Spotify’s API is open for developers. (ETT is not working directly with Spotify, although Eison says the two companies have had “conversations.”) They are then prompted to take a lifestyle quiz, which will provide the company with information like what type of field they work in as well as their skin color. Eison says these types of information are important because “we can’t recommend you a suit if you work in a creative field, and we know different colors look better on different skin tones.”

Eison Triple Thread

From there, ETT’s algorithm sifts through a user’s Spotify data and pairs music genres and favorite artists with styles. The user then looks through these suggested outfits, denoting likes and dislikes with happy and sad emojis. Finally, he’s served up ETT pieces that Eison says will properly reflect his personality as well as personal style. And because all the company’s menswear is made to measure, users can further customize each product, like choosing color pairings or materials.

When ETT hit the market two years ago, its initial boast was that it used innovative 3D body imaging technology from a company called Body Labs to create made-to-measure clothes. Eison was optimistic — until Body Labs was acquired by Amazon. He realized the company was better off looking for a different way to discover style preferences than taking on the e-commerce giant.

The root of Eison’s idea for using listener data to determine style is the assumption that music lovers want to dress like their favorite musicians. Eison points to the industry of festival music fashion, and how brands cashed in by reflecting the aesthetic of a music event like Coachella and the big acts that perform there. While that business model mimics the shopping behavior of the masses, Eison believes it can get even more granular.

“A guy who was born between 1984 and 1988, likes hip-hop, and works in tech in San Francisco will probably like clothing that’s on trend, and so we’ll feed him looks based on that demographic and see what he responds to,” he explains. “If someone else likes upbeat music, was born in the ’80s, and listens to music from that time, we can gauge that his style is probably similar to Joey [from Friends]. People who listen to ’60s music like the Beatles will have suggestions like high-rise jeans and corduroy.”

Eison says people who listen to Drake will likely be served photos of streetwear, like fitted tees and velour sweatpants, while Lionel Richie listeners could be fed images of red ribbed sweaters and blue jeans.

He sees this type of service as a way to help men who struggle with finding their personal style, without having to go down the sometimes-impersonal route of subscription boxes. Of course, Eison adds, the system isn’t as simple as “Drake wears this, so buy that.” “While it’s one thing to extrapolate the obvious, we are looking at the deeper analysis such as cadence, tempo, mood, emotion, and how this pairs with lifestyle, occupation, and daily use,” he says.

Eison says this type of thinking comes from his fashion roots: His ninth-grade trigonometry teacher taught him how to sew, and he spent much of his high school days buying rolls of fake Gucci material from eBay and sewing it onto jeans, emulating styles he saw in Jay-Z music videos from the early aughts.

On some level, this makes sense. There’s an ongoing list of ways Kanye West’s sartorial decisions have affected his fan base (and his wife’s), while hip-hop artists in general have had colossal effects on fashion for decades. Many K-pop enthusiasts, too, emulate the sartorial choices of their favorite groups, as do country music fans.

But of course, the logic doesn’t hold up all the time. I listen to Haim, and while I consider all three sisters to be style icons (have you seen their outfits in Want You Back?!), I also have plenty of Grateful Dead and Phish playlists cued up on Spotify; I don’t necessarily subscribe to the eclectic style of either fan group. This approach relies on the assumption that there’s a correlation between someone’s music preferences and their style, but for many people, both areas of taste are constantly evolving; for others, one is stagnant while the other matures. Regardless, they just don’t always match up.

Eison maintains that the FITS app is able to add some nuance to the process, however, because the algorithm makes more fine-tuned recommendations the more it’s interacted with. “This is a more advanced way to recommend things to shoppers than by just saying, ‘Hey, someone bought this five minutes ago, you should too!’” he says.

ETT’s clothes aren’t exactly cheap — suits start at $500 and cap out at $1,000, and shirts are $149. But Eison says that his menswear, which is custom-made from measurements customers supply, are manufactured in the same factories in China as luxury brands including Tom Ford, Zenya, Balenciaga, and Gucci.

After he left his previous job in private equity in 2015, Eison says, he spent a year traveling around China and literally knocked on doors.

“I don’t think people were used to seeing a black guy in Shanghai looking to do business, and especially one that knew all about fashion patterns and supply chain, and so they immediately were like, ‘Who are you and what’s up?’” he says with a laugh. “But I am just a damn hustler and I said, ‘Hey, I got a dollar, do you want to do business? Because I have an idea to compete with the luxury part of the market with mid-tier prices.’”

Eison plans to raise funding for ETT in the fall, and wants to expand into casual clothing like streetwear. He admits the brand doesn’t exactly have name recognition or a big social media presence just yet, but Eison believes mining music preference data for fashion can eventually lead to future opportunities, like working with artists or music venues to sell tour merch.

It might be a long shot, but as he points out, “the music crowd is a segment of people who evangelize.” And so long as the Carters keep dropping music videos with fashion that make fans go wild, it could very well mean people will line up.

The future of customer experience: Trends and challenges in 2018

‘Customer experience’ (CX), as a discipline, is starting to mature. What was once a fashionable buzzword which drove organisational change has now become a routine category of management reports.

And though its no longer trendy, marketers are still tasked with improving CX, often in the headwinds of changing technology and shrinking budgets.

So what do marketers see as the future of customer experience? And what challenges do they still face when trying to improve it?

To find out, Econsultancy, in association with Epsilon, recently held roundtable discussions in Hong Kong with dozens of client-side marketers. At a table hosted by Bessie Ng, Head of Integration and Strategic Planning Director, H+K, marketers discussed the trends driving customer experience improvement initiatives as well as some of the frustrations they are still facing.

Results are summarized below, but before we start, we’d just like to let you know about our upcoming roundtable events in Bangkok on July 10th and in Mumbai on July 12th. Senior client-side marketesr interested in joining at these locations should click on the appropriate link and request a seat at the table!


1) Data is helping marketers deliver more sophisticated customer experiences

First off, participants indicated that data is helping marketers deliver more specific messaging.  By using behavioural data, marketers can now develop a channel strategy to speak differently with a prospective customer vs. an existing customer.

Another way in which data is helping marketers with CX is that instead of providing experiences based on ‘portrait sketching’, or using qualitative data based on demographic, marketers can now use data to do ‘reverse profiling’.

This means that marketers are

  • Capturing behavioural traits and reactions on the website
  • Identifying which prospect profile they belong to, and
  • Deducing how far down the purchase decision journey they are, as well

So by using data, marketers can paint a more realistic picture of who the target is and, through testing, deliver more relevant messages and experiences.

2) Front-line sales staff are becoming ‘data enabled’

Attendees agreed that, previously, the heaviest users and biggest beneficiaries of customer data were the eCRM and loyalty program departments.

Now, they assert, data is also being used by front-line sales staff as well. This helps them deliver stronger, more relevant sales pitches.

Doing so is important because customers feel that they are giving organizations a lot of personal data and so customer-facing staff should know what they want already.

Consumer expectations, in this area, have risen sharply and one participant spoke about the need for marketers to be able to deliver what the customer wants in three questions/clicks or less.

3) Chatbots on the rise

There is a growing sentiment that computer-based customer service agents, or ‘chatbots’, have not matched the high expectations set over the past couple of years.

Interestingly, though, attendees said that they still felt that algorithms to resolve customer queries were growing in popularity and that we will still see innovations in this area.

Others were keen to point out that chatbots will not, however, replace customer service staff who deliver trust, credibility and resolve complex issues. For high-touch industries, such as automotive, consumers may be ok with some computer-based assistance, but ultimately want to speak to a real person who understands their needs.

Yet many still felt that chatbots have secured a place in the customer service workflow though where the handover from a chatbot to human customer service lies was still an open question.


1) Data collection still in the dark ages

Participants agreed that most brands are collecting data through a traditional ‘give and take’ exchange. That is, brands give consumers something valuable for free – product updates, intelligence, incentives – and take valuable personal information, in return.

This exchange, however, is not ideal and attendees indicated that the model needs to evolve.

Instead, marketers need to be much more selective regarding what data they really need to serve the consumer. They should ensure that any data collected is to help deliver what the consumer needs instead of what messaging to blast at them.

Attendees said that most marketers still don’t get this, though, and they are still using data to tell the consumer what the brand wants them to hear, regardless of what the customer wants to know.

2) Regulations are holding back CX improvements

Marketers in Hong Kong, attendees agreed, are bound by strict data and privacy compliance policies which hinder customer experience improvement initiatives.

Participants from the finance and insurance industries indicated that regulation was particularly difficult for them. One eCRM specialist from a global finance company stated that their team is aware of customer pain points, but that they have their hands tied when they launch initiatives to improve CX. Instead of making material changes, they must spend time and resources just trying to justify what data collection they can do against regulations.

The table moderator noted that there were ‘lots of nods’ around the table when discussing this point.

3) Departments outside of marketing are not aware of the power of data to improve CX

Delegates reported that they were running into issues getting management to support data-driven experiments to improve CX.

One attendee pointed out that this challenge may be caused by the fact that marketers tend to make business cases for new initiatives instead of gauging whether management really understands what they are asking for.

The solution to this issue is that marketers should be educating the whole company about the power of data and how it will be the future of the company.

One suggestion was that marketers could bring in data-driven marketing experts to conduct training for all employees not just marketers. This approach had allowed one participant to break the impasse at their company and gain access to data which previously had been siloed.

A word of thanks

Econsultancy would like to thank our sponsor for the discussion, Epsilon, the roundtable moderator, Bessie Ng, Head of Integration and Strategic Planning Director, H+K, as well as all of the marketers who participated on the day and shared their views on the future of customer experience.

We hope to see you all at future Econsultancy events!

Jeff Rajeck

Published 4 July, 2018 by Jeff Rajeck

Jeff Rajeck is the APAC Research Analyst for Econsultancy .

“The Customer Journey Is an Infinite Loop” – Autodesk’s Dusty DiMercurio

by Dawn PapandreaJuly 16, 2018


If you’ve been a content marketer for a while, you are intimately familiar with the concept of the customer funnel.

Dusty DiMercurio, Autodesk’s Director of Content Marketing and Social Media, urges fellow marketers to forget about all that.


In fact, during his talk at ThinkContent New York 2018, he proudly declared that killing the funnel at his organization is what’s helped the content program to grow and flourish.

Dusty DiMercurioDusty DiMercurio, Director, Content Marketing and Social Media, Autodesk

“The funnel is not a sales marketing strategy – it’s to fill the oil in your car. At Autodesk, we killed the funnel because it kept everyone too focused on the transaction. There’s an opportunity for us to rethink the way we frame interactions with our customers. How we can think about what our customers’ needs are along the myriad of touch points and use that for a framework for what kind of content we should be creating?” he explained.

Screen Shot 2018-06-20 at 11.21.47 AM.png

So Autodesk, the software company known for its ambitious content marketing strategies, officially traded in the funnel for an infinite loop.

“When we create customers, that’s just the first piece of it. The hardest part is actually keeping those customers, and making sure they realize the value of their investment with us,” he said.

Here, a closer look at DiMercurio’s infinite loop content marketing framework, which has become so effective at Autodesk that it’s even being picked up by sales and support teams.

Content across the Customer Journey

customer journey_infinite loop_autodesk.png

Discover: attracting prospects

At this first stage (which you may know as “top-of-funnel”), it’s all about attracting people who may not know who you are, or even the challenges they are facing in their business or industry, said DiMercurio. The content at this stage highlights challenges and business risks, and offers advice and guidance. This content can also present what your company is doing to drive the industry forward and support clients.

Decide: guiding research

The decision phase is all about helping people research your products, said DiMercurio. It’s your typical product marketing, solutions, benefits, and value propositions that articulate the business impact your solutions can have. Case studies that back up these claims also fall into this stage. Here, you must consider the whole committee of people you have to convince to purchase, from procurement to IT and everything in between. Your content should be aimed at getting those stakeholders on board.

Buy: assisting purchase

Autodesk offers complex solutions and massive software packages, so this phase helps people figure out the right mix for their needs. DiMercurio said the content should answer the question: “What are some additional services that might help them get more value from their investment?” The content should also prepare customers for the onboarding stage.

Onboard: aiding deployment

“Once the transaction happens, that’s where the real relationship starts,” said DiMercurio. Especially since Autodesk shifted to a subscription model, “no longer are we selling one big package and hoping they come back in three years. They can vote with their wallet every month,” he said. Here’s where your content can assist customers with implementing and getting started with your product.

Master: maximize value

One of the best ways to help your existing customers realize the value they can get from your solutions is to repurpose some of the content you already created. “Marketers tend to love to create new, but so much can be done in recycling,” DiMercurio said. For example, case studies that you do in the Decide stage can be expanded into solutions workflows to help illustrate how companies use your products. “Study your most successful customers and make that information available to prospects and other customers,” said DiMercurio.

Renew: ensure retention

Regular check-ins with your tried-and-true customers can remind them that you care about their needs. For example, maybe there are features of the product suite that they own that they are not maximizing. “A huge part in our move to subscription and cloud is that we are able to uncover these insights,” DiMercurio said.

Becoming a Customer-focused Company through Content

To help unify your organization around a rallying cry of becoming a customer company, DiMercurio says these are the three different types of content you need to create:

Content that drives demand: for attracting and converting.

Success = creating customers

Content that supports success: for helping customers realize the value of your services.

Success = customer retention

Content that builds affinity: for personifying the brand and the vision of the company. This type is unique in that it is not local to any one stage of the journey.

Success = earning attention, which is a proxy for influence in your market

content for the customer journey.png

ShipTo: Carrefour lance le personal shopper et la livraison en 90 minutes

Carrefour lance le personal shopper et la livraison en 90 minutes
© Carrefour

La chaîne de supermarchés Carrefour innove. Un personal shopper choisit vos produits, un triporteur les livre à domicile dans les 90 minutes. « Les retailers doivent se différencier au niveau du service, ce n’est que le début », explique Jorg Snoek, fondateur de RetailDetail.

D’abord Knokke, puis Bruxelles

Le nouveau service s’appelle ShipTo et assigne un personal shopper aux clients. Celui-ci compile la commande et suggère des produits alternatifs si, par exemple, un article est en rupture de stock ou s’il existe des alternatives moins chères, notamment via des actions promotionnelles. Le service coûte cinq euros, un montant qui est entièrement reversé au personal shopper.


Lorsque la commande est complète, elle sera livrée au domicile du client dans un délai de 90 minutes. Le domicile doit se trouver dans un rayon de quatre kilomètres autour des magasins participants. Pour l’instant, seule la ville de Knokke participe au projet, mais la zone de service sera bientôt étendue à Bruxelles (à commencer par Watermael-Boitsfort et Uccle) et ailleurs si les résultats sont positifs. L’objectif de la chaîne est de desservir au moins dix-huit magasins d’ici la fin de l’année.


Carrefour dit vouloir miser sur des personnes qui souhaitent consacrer leur temps à autre chose que les courses et qui recherchent plus de confort pour eux-mêmes. De plus, l’appli ShipTo fournira également un service aux personnes qui, peu importe la raison, ne sont pas capables de faire leurs courses elles-mêmes.


Une place de marché et des services supplémentaires

L’ambition ne s’arrête pas là. Si la chaîne arrive à trouver suffisamment de partenaires, elle souhaite également pouvoir donner accès à d’autres magasins via ShipTo et transformer son appli en une véritable place de marché. Ces magasins doivent alors se trouver dans le même rayon autour de l’adresse de livraison. De plus, l’appli deviendra une place de marché pour coursiers puisque les clients ‘ordinaires’ pourront s’inscrire pour devenir coursier.


Le service ne procure pas de revenus supplémentaires directs à Carrefour, mais selon Snoeck, la chaîne n’a pas d’autre choix que d’exploiter l’élément service. Comme a déclaré cet autre gourou du retail, Rodney Fitch, lors d’une journée d’étude RetailDetail : « Il ne peut y avoir qu’une seule chaîne qui est la moins chère, toutes les autres doivent se distinguer par leur expérience et leur service. »


Nous connaissons le phénomène du blurring depuis un certain temps déjà (il suffit de voir Jumbo et ses marchés alimentaires), mais le ‘service de personal shopper’ est une idée relativement nouvelle pour les supermarchés. Ce service supplémentaire est néanmoins déjà en place dans d’autres pays : les magasins Spar, par exemple, qui aux Pays-Bas se rendent dans les villes pour aller chercher le linge, surtout celui des clients plus âgés.


Les chaînes et les marques doivent suivre

Les chaînes recherchent le Saint Graal de la prestation de services dans d’autres secteurs également. L’année dernière, Ikea a repris une plateforme permettant aux clients de trouver du matériel, mais également de réserver un bricoleur pour assembler les nouveaux meubles chez eux. Hubo fait la même chose en Belgique actuellement. « Même les webshops suivent le mouvement. Prenez Coolblue qui ne livre pas uniquement des appareils, mais qui les installe également, et si nécessaire, reprend même l’ancien exemplaire », constate Snoeck.


Même les marques se lancent dans cette voie. Pensez à la plateforme Helpling, une place de marché pour femmes de ménage … qui, (pas) par hasard, utilisent toutes les produits Unilever. Le concurrent Henkel ne reste pas non plus inactif. Les Allemands ont créé un service numérique de livraison de linge Dobbi qui vous promet de ne plus jamais devoir laver, repasser ou plier vos vêtements vous-même.


Le futur vient des Etats-Unis

Et ce n’est que le début, estime l’expert retail. La prochaine étape a été franchie aux Etats-Unis notamment.  Le client ne doit même plus commander lui-même. Il existe des livres de cuisine intelligents qui utilisent une caméra pour vérifier ce qui reste dans votre frigo et qui liste tous les autres produits sur une belle page. En appuyant sur le bouton, vous réservez tout ce dont vous avez besoin chez votre fournisseur habituel (exemple Peapod ou Amazon).


Ce dernier va encore un pas plus loin. Lors de la livraison de certaines commandes, Amazon dépose un second sac devant la porte. Ce sac contient des produits que le client n’a pas du tout commandé lui-même, mais dont le géant e-tail sait avec 90% de certitude que ces articles plairont au client. Dans les rares cas où ce n’est pas ce que client souhaite, le renvoi est bien entendu gratuit …

A Look Inside Tomorrowland: ‘It’s Beyond a Festival’

TomorrowlandTomorrowlandTomorrowlandThe festival welcomes 400,000 guests over two weekends
“It’s beyond a festival,” Armin van Buuren once told CNBC, “it’s a music festival combined with a theme park combined with a food festival combined with a cultural event.”
The world-famous DJ was speaking about Tomorrowland, which is taking place over two weekends, July 20-22 and July 27-29, in Boom, Belgium, welcoming 400,000 visitors in total. The second weekend was added last year as the only way of even coming close to satisfying the demand for tickets, which sold out in just an hour this year.
The maximum daily capacity is 70,000, which gives people enough space to dance, walk and move around the festival comfortably.
Just over half the festival’s audience is from Belgium, and the presale for Belgians starts one hour before the general onsale for the rest of the world. “We have a lot of people coming from Australia, around 4,000 per weekend, and then lots from the UK, Austria, Germany, Italy, Spain and then South America and India. Now, we’re also seeing a lot of people coming from China,” the festival’s press coordinator Debby Wilmsen told Pollstar.
Some 38,000 visitors per weekend stay at the festival’s camping site Dream Ville, which is the size of 128 soccer pitches and launches with its own dedicated welcoming event called “The Gathering” on the Thursday before the actual event. 32.000 festivalgoers travel via so-called Global Journey travel packages, which include flights, buses, trains and/or hotels. Brussels Airlines is Tomorrowland’s partner airline, and boasts a custom-designed Tomorrowland plane. According to Wilmsen, 240 flights from 83 different bring in some 11,000 people. This year, official Tomorrowland gate parties are going to get travellers hyped at 24 airport gates around the world.
This year’s lineup includes Carl CoxCharlotte de Witte, who will be hosting her own stage, San HoloOliver HeldensHardwellAxwell/Ingrosso and Steve Aoki — and that’s just a glimpse at the first day.
More than 1,000 acts are to perform over the course of the weekend, including Alison WonderlandDimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Armin van BuurenFatboy SlimTiestoAlessoPaul Oakenfold, in short: everybody who is anybody in the wider genre of electronic music.
TomorrowlandTomorrowlandTomorrowlandDavid Guetta taking a selfie at the 2017 edition
It’s the festival’s 14th edition, and founding brothers Michiel and Manu Beers have come a long way. The first edition welcomed 10,000 guests to De Schorre park, a recreational area in Boom, where the event still takes place today. Back at the premiere in 2005, Tomorrowland boasted five stages, not making use of the full site. That has changed. Today, the festival’s 16 stages take up the entire park.
“We cannot grow anymore. So the only solution we had was to double the festival,” said Wilmsen.
8,000 people and five stages at the inaugural edition does not sound bad at all. According to Wilmsen, one of the festival’s appeals from the start was the fact that it focuses on electronic music, but takes place in the day.
Michiel and Manu Beers, who are avid clubbers themselves, didn’t want to wait until 4 o’clock in the morning to see their favorite DJs anymore. So they decided to do a festival for clubbers, outdoors and in the middle of the day in a very bright and colorful setting. The concept had already proven a success in the Netherlands, where electronic music festivals like Mysteryland or Extrema Outdoor have been converting nightlife lovers to daytime dancers since the ’90s.
It makes for quite a different experience for the DJs too, who were used to playing during the early morning hours in dark and dingy basements. “Suddenly, they could play in the afternoon, so they started to bring their kids and wives to the venue. It was a more relaxed atmosphere from the beginning,” Wilmsen explained.
Even though Tomorrowland has maxed out on capacity, there are no plans of ever moving site. Said Wilmsen: “We have a contract with the park for the next 20 years. We really like to be there, because it’s in the center of Belgium. The airport is only 30 minutes away, we have lots of hotels in the neighborhood and ample parking space. What is more, the park is really charming.” Tomorrowland’s main stage sits in a natural bowl, surrounded by sloping meadows, giving the site an amphitheater feel, which was the main reason the Beers brothers chose the site in the first place.
TomorrowlandTomorrowlandTomorrowlandThe main stage sits in a natural bowl, surrounded by sloping meadows, giving the site an amphitheater feel
They started promoting Tomorrowland as part of ID&T Belgium. When the company sold to SFX in 2013, they decided to continue the festival independently under the new company name We Are One World. To this day, the festival is 100 percent owned by the two brothers, who come from a humble Flemish family (LiveStyle, the former SFX, has the first right on international festivals outside Europe and has a royalty on the festival’s ancillary business). They gained their first experiences as promoters when launching Antwerp is Burning in 2000, after going bankrupt with the event the year before.
And while there are no financials for Tomorrowland available, since it’s a privately organized event, it is safe to say that going bankrupt is not a concern anymore – not selling to SFX proved a wise move as well. “For Tomorrowland in it’s extremely important to stay fully independent,” Michiel Beers told Pollstar.
“We’ve built our festival step by step over the last 14 years, from 8,000 people in the first year to the global movement it became today. It’s our life’s work, which we are very proud of and want to keep on building for the next decades and generations.
“I’m convinced that being fully independent made us take the right steps and choices in creativity, organisation but also economic reality. For new initiatives, such as international festivals and ancillary business, we might need the right partner and have a very good relationship with a lot of big companies in live entertainment, but Tomorrowland is our little diamond, shaped from the heart which needs to stay as pure as possible.”
The Beers brothers employ 80 full-time staff in their Antwerp office, which grows to a crew of 12,000 during the event. In 2016, Tomorrowland was estimated to contribute €100 million ($117 million) to the local Belgian economy. It was the year the country’s capital Brussels was hit by a terrorist attack, causing all the festivals in the country to update their security strategies.
Apart from newly introduced government regulations, there wasn’t much Tomorrowland has to comply with, given that visitors’ safety has always been paramount at the event. A lot of investment went into the festival’s Event Control Center (ECC), which was established in 2012, before the brand expanded to the U.S..
New additions for the 2018 edition in Belgium include a live stage, a Hip Hop stage, and a new tent, called Atmosphere, a 32-meter-high, teepee-style construction boasting 120,000 LED, an immersive sound setup and 4,500 square meters of printed cloth. “We designed it ourselves,” said Wilmsen.
TomorrowlandTomorrowlandTomorrowlandThe festival takes place in the De Schorre recreational area in Boom, Belgium
Like each year, the main stage will be completely redesigned. The festival’s in-house creative team starts designing each year’s event in September in consultation with the production team. All materials are stored in a warehouse located in a village next to Boom, next to a large greenfield full of containers, filled with more materials. “Every year we try to reuse things, so we don’t have to throw them away. Sometimes you will see items from a main stage from three years ago on another stage,” Wilmsen explained.
Some of the elements used at Tomorrowland Belgium, and its no longer existing offshoots in Brazil or the U.S., will also make their way into the festival’s first winter edition, which is scheduled for March 13-15, 2019, in Alpe d’Huez, France. The makers say it’s going to be a totally new concept.
According to Beers, “we’ve always tried to create the perfect event we like to go to ourselves. Two of the most important ingredients in everything we’ve done since day one are: our unconditional passion and our endless hunger to create the ultimate experience in every aspect of the festival. Creating Tomorrowland is not a job for us – it’s really what we breath every day.
“My brother and I started in 2004 with a very small but highly motivated group of friends that are all still extremely important today. And I’m very proud that, although we’ve become a much bigger and more professional organization, I can still feel the exact same vibe and energy that we began with today, which is essential to keep exceeding expectations year after year!”
TomorrowlandTomorrowlandTomorrowlandThe festival is renowned for its creative stage designs
Update: the information about LiveStyle owning the international rights to the festival brand and has a royalty on all Central European events was added in later, after the original article had already been published.