Digital Leadership, local government digital

Will the revolution be digitised?

I had a great day on Saturday 23rd January at #ukgovcamp – the wonderful life affirming unconference of enthusiastic geekery bringing together approximately 200 politicians, civil servants, local government officers and technology suppliers.

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Forty sessions were pitched and presented covering subjects as diverse as #blockchain, #dataprotection, #APIs, #OpenData, #agile etc etc the complete list can be found here.

Alongside the more technical focussed sessions it was great to see sessions on “How to bold”, building empathy in government and why we hate the voluntary sector (which was about how public sector can understand and then commission VCS more effectively).

In the penultimate session I found myself in a small group discussing “Will the revolution be digitised?”or how important and useful are digital services in the real world where budgets are being cut?

We discussed a real rural village in the North West which had been affected badly by flooding due to cuts to the promised flood defences. The community was now facing cuts to bus services and closure of its community centre.

We had a really fast paced and creative debate about how to turn round the apathy and the lack of insight that the collective and compound affect of such cuts on a rural community.

Digital can help in lots of ways and we decided that one option would be to encourage secondary school media studies pupils to interview older people and share their videos on youtube and promote those videos through facebook & twitter.

There are also digital resources such as that can be used to learn how to launch and run a really effective media campaign and to connect good causes with individuals and businesses that want to help.


A brilliant session, and a brilliant day topped off with a very friendly and busy #beercamp at St George’s Tavern. Looking forward to 2017 already!



Digital Leadership, Digital Marketing, Email marketing

Is email dead or the missing jigsaw piece in your digital strategy?

“Email is dead. Email is boring. No one opens email.”

“There is no point investing marketing budget in email, it just gets stuck in spam filters”

So say some. But don’t follow the herd – before you wright off email marketing as a waste of time and money – let’s look at the facts – after which  you will be wanting to make sure that email marketing is a key part of your digital marketing activity.

Anyone with an Amazon account will be familiar with their daily email from the masters of digital business. If those emails didn’t influence customer behaviour and encourage us to go back and convert browsing to purchasing, then Amazon simply wouldn’t do it. So the first lesson is that email marketing encourages customers to come back to your site.  At the other end of the digital business scale is Watchfinder, who specialise in high value secondhand watches. Their average sale is £3500 and typically only 1% of customers purchase on the first visit. Email marketing is critical in building a relationship and encouraging customers back to the website.

The second lesson is about personalisation. Customer behaviour has changed hugely over the last few years. The old broadcast marketing methods are no longer suitable for the better informed and more sophisticated customers of today. We need to find away to build authentic engagement. I love the way this video “the breakup” makes the point. And going back to Amazon, emails will typically refer to your previous browsing or purchasing history, or related products which gives the impression of a company that understands customers. Certainly Amazon doesn’t just rely on email marketing alone, the content that you see on the homepage is bespoke to you, based on purchasing & browsing history also reinforcing that impression of understanding.

It’s simply not true that people ignore Email. Message open rates are typically above 20% across all industries and public sector email performs even better at up to 48% for the best performers. Importantly transactional email where people have signed up to receive email, for example after visiting your website sees open rates on average of 45% on and 72% for the star performers!

But it is no use people just opening email, we want them to respond to the call to action. Well here again email performs brilliantly against other forms of online and offline marketing engagement with click through rates of 27.8% on average for public sector services.

This all sounds great but this is expensive right? Well the return on investment for email campaigns is an astounding 2500% according to the Direct Marketing Association UK, or in other terms for every pound spent £38 is generated for businesses serving consumers! And relatively speaking email marketing is cheap – if something doesn’t work it can be changed quite quickly at minimal expense compared to off line marketing.

The puzzling thing is that according to the DMA even though marketeers know that email marketing works companies are not spending time personalising and optimising this channel – and that is your opportunity if people are leveraging £38 per £1 from unoptimised email marketing campaigns – what could you achieve with a little thought and planning?

Email marketing needs to be central to your digital marketing and your multi-channel marketing strategy – get it right and see your business thrive!


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Digital Leadership, local government digital

Digital Leadership – ADBL


We all need to refresh our skills and ensure that we are using the latest tools. I signed up to study the Diploma in Digital Business with the  Academy of Digital Business Leaders last summer.

The great thing about the course is that it uses multiple ways of helping you gain the skills required to be an effective digital leader – including encouraging you to reflect, think and share in the open.

One of the issues that we are all wrestling with are that the old broadcasting marketing methods are no longer suitable for the better informed and more sophisticated customers of today. We need to find away to build authentic engagement. I love the way this video “the breakup” makes the point.


I will be developing this post over the next couple of days as I take on more learning.