The truth behind the stats

You know how it goes – an agency creates some content for a client that achieves a ginormous number of hits, and is therefore deemed an overwhelming success. But let’s think slightly deeper for once – how does this exactly deem the campaign a success?

There is a plethora of marketing people out there who judge the success of a digital campaign, be it on YouTube, Facebook or Twitter, by the number of hits, likes and retweets that it achieves.

They see success in the figures they’re presented with and the data only confirms what they’re doing is right. After all, the hits say it’s good – everyone has seen it, someone in Guatemala even downloaded it, therefore the campaign must be working.

This is a perfectly understandable reaction. If your film is watched by over a million people, it’s a success. Right? Well, no, actually it could still have been a huge failure.

To clarify, far too many marketers, both client and agency-side have become removed from their business objectives. More than that, they’ve become detached from why marketing exists.

If you are in marketing, then you are in sales. We are here to sell a thought, a product, a brand – and to convince the masses that ours is the best one. Anything else is pure waffle and is someone trying to justify their salary.

Earlier this year, Dove claimed the title of the most-viewed online ad of 2013, for ‘The Real Beauty Sketches’, which they inform us, has been watched over 114 million times and viewed in over 110 countries.

However, for all this, did it deliver a tangible ROI? IRI data shows Dove’s US sales up 1% in the four weeks ending 19 May, right after the 14 April Sketches release. That compares with a 3% rise to $1.5 billion for the full year.

Impressive, sure, but Dove’s global senior vice-president Steve Miles has some interesting observations. He said: “On something like this that’s about long-term Dove love, I would be much more interested in brand-health measures than short-term sales.”

For most of us, though, we’re short on time, we’re under pressure to deliver and while business results can be harder to attribute to a particular campaign (harder, but not impossible), online data can appear like a bright light shining down from above, as our saviour.

As Benjamin Disraeli said in the 19th Century: “There are three types of lies – lies, damn lies, and statistics.”

The point being that all data can be twisted and re-presented to say what we want it to. And make no mistake about it. This is happening.

It takes human intelligence to realise that a click or a hit isn’t real engagement, it’s just a hit or a click and that the person behind this interaction may not even like what they’ve seen.

But agencies don’t seem to be pointing this out to their clients. And they’re certainly not stressing the importance of genuine brand engagement. You know, where someone is actually interested in what you’re saying. Interested enough to find out more about and to buy, yes, actually buy the product, not simply watch a funny film about it.

Take the latest Paul Smith viral ( which shows two climbers tightrope-walking between mountain peaks in their underwear. While over 300,000 people have seen this stupefying stunt, how does it fit with the brand?

Do these partially naked funambulists reinforce Paul Smith’s positioning with their target demographic? Does it drive sales? What does it do beyond simple, old-school brand exposure?

I suspect the agency behind this film is frantically looking for the data to say that it was amazing, but in the end it will be the silence, or ringing of the tills that will truly define this campaign’s success.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m a huge advocate of data. It is an essential tool in any marketer’s arsenal and can help you find the right people and can ensure you achieve as many sales as possible. It’s just being regularly used by the idle to justify bad decisions and lazy thinking.

The trick is learning how to spot when data is being misused. Simple.

So when you’re next sitting in front of an agency, ask them, “What did this campaign do for sales?” If they come back with hits and clicks, then you know you’re sitting in front of those who are too focused on the stats and not concerned enough about your business.


Getting into Marketing

Innovate – Market yourself. Go beyond a CV where applicable. Take a look at these guys and what they have done to get noticed : Look at your strengths and treat it like a campaign, who is your audience and when and how you might connect? Don’t simply expect a recruiter to put your CV at the top of the pile. Let your personality shine through!

Be willing – Have you been offered a job that isn’t exactly what you are after? Embrace the opportunity and persist. You will find out what you like about it very quickly and more importantly what you don’t! People in marketing come from all walks of life and have an assortment of careers and first job stories to tell. It’s a necessary part of your working life adventure to embrace other cultures.

Ask, listen and respect feedback – This is the most valuable thing you can get when starting out. Stop focussing on money or benefits companies offer. You want a job, not a health plan! “How can you improve your pitch?”, “What are your weaknesses?” and “Are there any reasons you might not expect to be offered this job and what the perfect candidate looks like?”. Don’t be cocky. There are 100′s of other people wanting that same role.

Consider going regional – There is much focus on the bigger agencies in London when starting grads or entry level candidates are starting out, with a flux of career minded people looking to make their name at a big agency. However consider going locally, you could very easily be exposed to a wider mix of clients and potentially progress through the ranks quicker.

Endurance – This is one of the greatest industries to work in. All the rumours are true! So keep at it. Expect rejection and move forward, adapting and not losing morale. Once you get into the industry you will be grateful for how hard you tried. Keep front of mind by checking in with HR departments and contacts, building the rapport – but don’t be pushy or a pest. Ask them when the best time to get in touch is again. It shows you are keen to work there!


Firefox OS launches in Italy

MONK just helped launch the new Alcatel OneTouch Fire across Milan and Rome.

The Alcatel OneTouch Fire is the first Smartphone available with Firefox OS software, giving customers a smarter mobile web experience. The phone brought to Italy by Telecom Italia, will sport a 3.5 inch display, along with a 1GHz processor and a 3.2-megapixel camera. But its most exciting feature — and the one that will probably draw the curiosity of most of its early buyers — is its HTML5 OS developed by the not-for-profit Mozilla Foundation. Meaning more apps and variety for its customers!

Watch this space for more information on MONK helping Firefox OS setting the world on fire.


Don’t try to reach the many, rather try to reach the interested.

Social media. When it came only a few years ago, it brought with it huge figures of global audiences that marketers would be able to reach. Today the behemoth Facebook has 1.19 billion monthly users. Twitter a mere 500 million users and MySpace (yes it’s back) 36 million users. But for all these impressive statistics. what does the future hold for social media, brands and agencies?

Honestly, we’re on the cusp of change; unless of course you have ‘significant’ budgets with which to peruse these groups.

The reason is simple, these groups have started fragmenting.

While before there was kudos in joining the crowd and being ‘in’, now consumers are seeing the benefit in following micro-social networking groups.

So what is micro-social networking?

Imagine you get an invitation to a party. The invitation has come via a friend of a friend and they’re incredibly popular, so it’s one of those Hollywood parties that no one in the real world attends. There are thousands of people. Buffet tables are piled high with delicacies, every corner has another band, there are beautiful people by the pool, in the kitchen, and in every bedroom upstairs.

As you walk into the party, so you move about. Aimlessly you wander looking for people you know, want to get to know or conversations that you’re interested in.

You find a small group of people and standing on the edge, you say ‘Hi’. And before you know it you’re chatting away and this is the best party – ever. Not because it was huge, but because you found a small group of people you could talk with. People who are on the same wavelength as you.

And this is what’s happening online. Consumers are eschewing the larger groups in favour of smaller communities. And the concerns over privacy brought about by the likes of Facebook and Google+ will only exacerbate this.

And this is the challenge. No longer will catch-all social media campaigns suffice, we’ve gone full circle and brands are going to have to connect with their customers as they did decades ago; on a one-to-one basis. Yes, social media makes it easier to find these people and yes these conversations will flow like never before, rewarding both parties.

But how many brands are ready for this change? Because no longer will they be able to simply throw budget at the problem, they’re going to have to have the support of people who really understand their brand and the needs of their audience. You won’t be able simply to push brand messages out, rather you’ll have a flock of brand believers who’ll go online, taking their version of the brand message into the outside world.

Scary? Yes.

But it’s also incredibly exciting.

Because yet again, the marketing world that we inhabit is changing and those who embrace it quickly will get a march on everyone else.


Creative Director Mark Blaylock explores the argument for the end of the website. 

The website.
The shop window to your brand.
Through it consumers can see everything that you’ve got to sell.
And then, once you’ve enticed them in, they can buy, buy buy.
Now, who wouldn’t want this, especially as there are 360,985,492* people in the world who logon every day to look into shop windows like yours.
But let’s pause for a second.
Do brands, and everyone else for that matter, get shop windows simply because it’s what done? It’s the de facto position to take. Why wouldn’t you have a website that shows-off all your wares?

Let’s start by exploring the shop window analogy.
From a brand’s perspective, shop windows are fantastic. They give you the opportunity to present your goods in a controlled environment. And that’s the point. Control.
There’s a barrier between you and your customers.
Yes, they can see how wonderful you are, but they can’t get involved. But the world has changed – there has been a paradigm shift from outbound communication to inbound. But more about this later.

As of December 2012, there were 634 million websites in the world. Today there are ‘only’ 15 million Facebook pages for brands. So, with social media you’ve potentially still got competition, but it’s a lot less.

OK, so we maybe tacitly agreed that websites aren’t the perfect way for a brand to be projecting itself. It certainly isn’t the be-all and end-all.
So, what are the alternatives?

Social media gives brands a plethora of already built platforms from which to project their messages. A shopping mall that is already packed with potential customers and different soap boxes from which to share content. And this is the strategy that brands are taking toady. It’s creating and sharing content. Brands start the conversation, and then the confident and successful ones hand it over to their customers.

As JuiceBurst Brand Manager, Jon Evans explains, “In my opinion Social Media has become the default destination for consumers to make contact with a brand. Interestingly, what we find is that they also solve each others questions on social media so the role of the brand is to facilitate conversation rather than dictate it – what better than having your followers say how great you are rather than you!”

As Jon highlights, by letting consumers initiate this engagement, they feel positive about the brand and they can continue using the channels they are already comfortable with.

Let their searching for inspiration lead to sales. While they’re on Pinterest looking at shoes or clothes, they can Pin your brand so that others like them see it, while they go on to buy through eBay or Amazon. No website needed here.

Looking to get some research done on a new product launch. Post your question on Twitter. Sure the answer won’t be definitive, but you’ll get a quick straw poll and a good feeling for how well it’s gone. Imagine trying to do this through a website? The build costs alone would make it prohibitive.

Need to drive sales quickly with a sales promotion campaign? Get on one up and running, by yourself, with Facebook. They drive consumers to it with Facebook ads.

Yes, I know I’ve over-simplified, but the thing is, social media is free, it’s easy and above all it’s quick. You can try strategies out in hours. And here’s something that as a Creative Director of a growing agency I shouldn’t countenance, you can do it yourself. You don’t even need an agency. There, I’ve said it.
Go on. Have an idea and try it out. See if people get behind it. Be honest, tell them what you’re doing and why, and then see what happens. If you do it right, you’ll only gain more followers.

So am I exposing the end of the website? Yes, and no.

There are still a significant number of brands in a number of sectors that don’t want, or can’t have conversations with brand advocates. For these, the website is the perfect receptacle. It can also act as a conduit to the relevant social media channels. A fulcrum upon which you build a brand – not acting as the only point of reference, simply as one of them.
Jon Evans again, “In terms of a website we do see a role for it but as a trade communication tool to share brand assets and provide more in depth brand information that isn’t possible or relevant on social media.”

But for every other brand, there is a good possibility that you don’t have to go through the cost and stress of designing and building a website and then the additional expense of promoting your website, you can simply create a bespoke social media channel. And then all you’ll be faced with is the bill for manning your new social media channel. And that, is progress.

*Figure correct as of 2012 according to

MONK wins SMART Digital Brief

MONK have just been appointed by the charity Smart Network to help refresh and relaunch the brand.
Established in September 2000 to empower homeless and socially excluded people through creative activity and to engage them within the wider community they help these people to find pathways to social integration.
MONK are looking at refreshing the brand and are then looking at not only their online proposition, but also, more, experiential ways that they can connect with the public and to generate support.

Students Tour MONK

Students in Mark Peters’ International Marketing class got the chance to pitch their ideas on brand marketing to an international marketing firm while on a field lab in London.

Monk Brand Engagement is one of the fastest growing marketing firms in London, representing international clients like Research in Motion (the producers of Blackberry). While visiting the marketing firm, students heard from the founders of the company to hear their personal and professional stories of growth, and how they got to where they are today.

“I thought Matt’s life story was pretty inspirational,” said Barrett Corwin, a senior at the University of Denver majoring in hospitality. “He told us the story of his first day at work and how he didn’t really know exactly what he was doing. It’s nice to know that someone can have that much success and not know what they’re doing on their first day.”

After hearing presentations, the students were given a very special treat—Monk Brand Engagement had a contest to see which group of students could create the best pitch for a viral video promoting Pioneer’s new product, WeGo. The marketing firm also offered a prize to the winning group: 200 pounds.

A group of six students who won the contest came up with the idea to create a video that focused on a grandson visiting his grandfather in a nursing home, where the grandson introduces his grandpa to his new WeGo on his visit. After the grandson leaves for lunch, he comes back to find his grandfather has created a party in the nursing home’s cafeteria, complete with flashing lights, using the WeGo.

“They said we won on the ‘fun’ factor, just because it would’ve been so fun to film,” said Shelby Roper, a business administration junior from the University of Georgia.

The win was within one point from the other teams, added Peters.

“They were communicating that your ideas are valuable,” said Peters to his class. “They paid for your ideas.”

While the chance to see how international marketing works first-hand was invaluable, it also helped some students get a glimpse of what the future may hold for them.

“Getting a chance to actually see how an international marketing firm engages on a daily basis gives us a taste of what we could do in our careers,” said Sean Harrington, a junior from Bentley University.

After the tour, the students were encouraged to connect personally with the founders of the company by finding them on LinkedIn.

“A day with Monk Brand Engagement exceeded my already high expectations for engaging with a dynamic entrepreneurial international marketing firm,” Peters said. “The students were inspired to know appropriate entrepreneurial risk can have great rewards, although not without hard work.”

– See more at:

JuiceBurst has awarded its retained consumer marketing and social account to MONK

MONK has just started working for challenger juice brand, JuiceBurst part of Purity Soft Drinks.

The agency will be tasked with launching and supporting new developments across the brands portfolio in the next 12 months. It will also take responsibility for the brands social voice and promotion of successful mobile partnership with Blippar.

Direct Mail is dead. Excellent.

Now that direct mail has fallen out of favour, MONK’s Creative Director Mark Blaylock argues that there’s never been a better time to use it.

When was the last time you walked to your front door and having flicked through the small pile of direct mail, opened up something other than a bill from your services supplier company?

Remember, the joy of opening a lovingly crafted piece of direct mail from an automotive brand?

The delight at seeing a die-cut mailer from a cereal manufacturer?

Even the beautifully worded letter from a bank hoping to entice you into starting a pension?

This has all but faded into the mists of time.

And understandably it has been replaced by the new digital kid on the block.

And why not? It offers so much.

It is traceable and accountable.

The agency and the client can see where every penny goes.

They can turn it on or off as they see fit and as responses come in, so these can then form a part of a well-defined CRM strategy.

One that ensures the minimum attrition while delivering the maximum conversion rates.

It’s very now.

The brand and its Marketing Directors can pat themselves on the back that they’re doing everything they can to stay on trend and to keep themselves abreast with the latest digital strategies.

What’s more, they can achieve all this without the costs of postage or print.

So what’s not to like?

Surely this is the way forward?

Which is why everyone but everyone has digital at the core of their strategies.

Well for me this is lazy thinking.

If everyone is online, then that’s the last place I’d want to be.

Let’s put it


Cross-platform digital communication.

It’s now not simply good enough for us (creatives) to create digital campaigns, these also; and rightfully so, have to work online, on tablets and on mobiles. And naturally, these campaigns also have to be social.

But in our rush to ensure our clients are maximizing their digital exposure, are we missing a trick?

We’ve all gone digital.

So not only are our ideas having to compete with those of other creatives, but we’re also competing in the same space.

And that’s mad, isn’t it?

Which is why I think there’s never been a better time for good old direct mail.

You know, an envelope with a powerful message on it. A crafted letter where every word has been considered. A brochure even. Remember those? Brochures were what everyone wanted before PDFs and emails.

And my passion for direct mail is simple. And before you suggest it, it’s not because I’m a creative dinosaur, it’s because no one does direct mail anymore.

You’re not competing with anyone. Your idea will sit proudly, by itself, in someone’s hallway or on their desk.

Don’t believe me? Then can you remember the last time you got some proper direct mail? No. Well, that’s the point.

And with QR codes and AR you can use it to initiate a digital response, but here’s the thing, I suspect that not only will your response rates be higher than online, but the quality of the leads will also be better.

So as a responsible creative (that’s one who wants what is best for his clients), I think there’s never been a better time for direct mail. But please, ignore me, as I don’t want my ideas to have to compete with yours.