Tag Archives: digital marketing

Five minutes with… TLA Email Manager Kristian Brown

Email marketing plays an important role in how we connect brands with in-market consumers.

We sat down with email marketing manager Kristian Brown to discuss his career to date, the role of email at TLA and what’s next for the channel.

How did you get involved in Email & Digital Marketing?

I’ve been interested in marketing and business since an early age. I had an excellent Economics teacher at school, and I then went on to study Economics and Business Studies at University. I started off volunteering at a Theatre school building email campaigns, then moved on to other Marketing roles around the North West before starting at the The Lead Agency in 2015.

Tell us about of your role at TLA

Started at TLA back in August 2015 – I’m the first email manager so I’ve been the only person to manage the email marketing side since then. I’ve brought in A/B Testing, email series, personalization and segmentation, automation and many other best practices.   My role has evolved to include landing page conversion rate optimization which involves A/B testing to increase the number of website enquiries. So my role is varied and involves a lot of building and optimising email and landing page campaigns, managing automations, data management and working with publishers. It’s also important in my role to keep on top of latest innovations and best practices. I work closely with Design, Development, Compliance and of course the rest of the Digital Marketing team.

Current state of email

How do you feel GDPR has impacted email marketing?

GDPR was a very daunting time for email marketers across the EU. In general I think a lot of people expected the worst – that email marketing would die and email marketing lists would be decimated. But the reality is that GDPR has been very good for email marketing, with quality improving massively to the point where email as a channel has gained increased importance. At TLA we’re big believers in the quality of our data, and working with our compliance team to ensure all our practices were compliant was a good challenge. It’s not only led to increased engagement, improved deliverability and revenue but ultimately happier email subscribers.

Why do you think email marketing and conversion rate optimisation is so important?

Like I just mentioned, quality is one major aspect. There’s no other marketing channel as good as email that allows you that personal touch with your loyal customers at a time that suits. There’s also massive reach, with over 3.7 billion people using email. It consistently delivers excellent ROI, it’s an open channel which is highly measurable and optimisable. I think email is here to stay, and with advanced automation and other innovations I believe email marketing is imperative for every company to take seriously.

Conversion rate optimisation is equally imperative for a company like The Lead Agency as it helps us grow significantly. It helps us lower our acquisition costs, generate higher quality enquiries and create a better experience for our customers.

What are your key tips for successful email marketing?

Long gone are the days of mass emails being acceptable. So at The Lead Agency we really try to understand our customers, tailoring each campaign to their needs with advanced segmentation. We optimise each email for performance, create automated campaigns that tie in with customer’s journey and try to be more personal with campaigns that our customers appreciate and value. It’s also important that the messaging is consistent, ties in with other marketing efforts and that your interactions with the customer are relevant and timely.

Future of email

How do you see email marketing evolving?

I think everyone in the email marketing industry is eager for more advanced technology like interactive emails and proper video embedding that works for everyone. Personally, i’m eager to try AMP for email, which should allow for greater innovation in our campaigns in the not too distant future. Also looking forward to see how AI can improve email marketing and the associated challenges that will come with it.

What do you think are the main upcoming challenges?

Being increasingly personal with our customers is a great challenge. We always seek to ensure our customers get the right message at the right time with information that is relevant to them. So we’ll continue using advanced segmentation, personalisation and automation in order to build this out further with more complex nurture programmes. Technological advances such as dynamic content and increased integration with other platforms should help with this going forward. Email also faces ongoing challenges such as staying on top of the latest trends, improving the quality of our data and customer insights, and doing what we can to improve deliverability.

What changes would you like to see in the email marketing industry?

Harmonisation across the different email service providers so that emails work better for everyone. More innovation in email can’t come soon enough, and i’d like to see much more integration of email campaigns and data with other channels and platforms to improve their performance. I’d also like to see email marketing finally get the respect it deserves. Every year there are predictions email is dead and every year the stats show how valuable an asset it is. It is a channel consistently worth investing in as it delivers ROI, quality and growth year after year.

Drop us a line to find out more about the role of email marketing at TLA.

Five minutes with… TLA Head of Digital Marketing Paul Court

Next up in our Q&A series we have Paul Court, who leads digital execution strategy for our clients across all verticals.

Paul joined TLA just over 18 months ago from Time Out, where he held the position of senior digital marketing manager. Prior to that he was part of an extensive digital acquisition team at lastminute.com. 

Here, he talks about the role of digital marketing at TLA, the passions that drive him and the future of performance marketing.

What is the role of your department at TLA?

The marketing department is the voice of the customer, so we must work to understand customer pain points and connect the most relevant client with that consumer. We work across all channel activity to drive the most effective and cost-efficient results for our clients.

What have been your biggest projects from the first half of 2019?

In the first half of 2019, the biggest project I’ve been working on is a digital transformation project around our proprietary audience platform. We’re building out a best-in-class platform that can connect audiences with client campaigns to deliver performance. I’ve been setting the 5 year vision for the platform and working on a 12 month execution plan to realise that vision.

What area of your work are you most passionate about and why?

I’m most passionate about team progression and enabling all members of the team to progress in their careers. Digital Marketing is a vast landscape and there’s lots of opportunities to find the role that suits you best so working with the team to help identify and pursue that role means that they’re working in the most effective way, which in turn delivers results for the business and for our clients.

What are your predictions for your profession and/or industry?

Digital marketing is constantly evolving, always at a rapid pace so any prediction is difficult. A few things that stick out are:

  • The continuous move to ‘performance’. Marketeers are becoming savvier about where to put their money. With the rise of big platforms in FB, Google etc. performance accountability and execution has never been easier. Traditional display, through programmatic means has operated in an opaque manner for too long and transparency on what any given activity is delivering will continue to be key.
  • The rise of the big platforms has led to data silos and a war around data ownership. Walled Gardens in Google/FB/Amazon etc. mean that cross channel measurement becomes ever more challenging and there’s even more financial pressure on publishers who don’t always have the scale of a big corporate to compete.

How will they impact the way we do things at TLA?

Platform X will be our attempt to solve this industry’s wide problem, bringing performance and accountability whilst appropriately rewarding publisher contribution. It’s an exciting time for the digital marketing ecosystem as people continue to get more au fait with data and the impact it can have on digital execution effectiveness.

Where do you get your inspiration? Are there any books, blogs or websites you would recommend?

I tend to listen to several podcasts to keep up with the latest goings on in marketing – we tend to listen to Ad Age Ad Lib, AdExchanger Talks, The MadTech Podcast by ExchangeWire on a regular basis as well as consuming the latest content from Medium, the Drum and Digiday.

Finally, what advice would you give to someone just starting out in the digital marketing industry?

I have no regrets about getting involved in digital marketing, I’ve had the opportunity to work with some of the biggest brands and clients across several interesting projects. The piece of advice I’d give to aspiring digital marketeers is to try and get involved in as much as possible. Understanding the whole marketing and data ecosystem gives you a fantastic grounding in wider business performance and will set you up for a fantastic career.

If you’ve got a question for the TLA team or want to know more about what makes us tick, why not get in touch?

Five minutes with… TLA PPC Manager Dan Potter

Ever wondered who are the people behind the technology and campaigns TLA produces? In a new series, we’re grabbing five minutes with members of the team to shine more light on who they are and what inspires them.

First up is Dan Potter, who joined the business in 2015 and manages our paid media campaigns. Here’s what we learned in our five-minute catch-up.

Hi Dan. Let’s start with an important one. Which sports teams do you follow?

Unfortunately, I’m a lifelong-suffering Evertonian (thanks Dad). I’ve also got into American football over the last couple of years and follow the New Orleans Saints (the least Everton-esque team I could find).

What TV series or film should we be watching?

I feel like it’d be too obvious to say Game of Thrones here, but… Game of Thrones.

If you had two weeks off, where would you go?

Japan. Absolutely no doubt. I’ve always been fascinated by the unique cocktail of ultra-modern technology, rich culture and traditions, and crazily beautiful natural landscapes. Plus the sushi, obviously.

Want to join Dan in the PPC team? Why not get in touch and apply today! 

Which TED talks (or equivalent) have you seen that you recommend we watch?

I’m going to cheat here because it’s not a TED talk, but I’d highly recommend giving ‘Cambridge Analytica – The Power of Big Data and Psychographics’ from the 2016 Concordia summit a watch. It’s a fascinating yet terrifying insight into how big data was leveraged alongside laser-targeted ad messaging to influence the Trump US election. It’ll make you never want to use the internet again.

Which websites do you visit daily?

I can’t remember the last time I went 24 hours without going on Instagram or YouTube. Workwise, PPC Hero post a lot of useful content and industry news daily. I’m also a big fan of Copyhackers, they teach you how to use the power of words to influence our highly susceptible human brains and drive action.

Which entrepreneurs do you admire and why?

I’m a big fan of Elon Musk. He’s not your typical entrepreneur that spotted a gap in the market or found a way to monetise their passion. He’s someone that’s driven by a genuine desire to change the world. He’s totally self-made, a massive risk taker and relentless in chasing his goals to an obsessive degree. Pretty much the poster boy for innovation and pushing boundaries.

And finally, what aspect of your work are you most passionate about?

I love the opportunity to be creative – and with digital marketing you’re able to actually see the direct tangible results of what you do. It’s super satisfying when some outside of the box thinking comes off.

If you’ve got a question for the TLA team or want to know more about what makes us tick, why not get in touch?

TLA shortlisted at PMAs for Ford lead gen campaign

We have been shortlisted for Best Lead Generation Campaign at this year’s Performance Marketing Awards (PMAs).

The recognition arrives for our successful campaign on behalf of Ford, working closely with the automotive giant’s media partners Mindshare and GTB.

We were appointed to created a five-month lead generation campaign in August last year with the aim of generating high-quality, in-market leads for its full range of vehicles.

We reached and engaged car buyers in high volumes as they researched their new car purchase and qualified each one digitally and offline to identify the right buyers for Ford.

The campaign generated strong metrics across lead volume, marketing opt-ins and conversion rates (based on follow-up survey data), helping Ford achieve its targets and catching the eye of the PMA judges.

Henry Mitchell, account director at GTB, said: “We set The Lead Agency an ambitious target for the number of leads we required over a five-month period in order to ensure our investment in the lead generation channel would be worthwhile and hit ambitious year end lead targets. The team’s commitment to our goal, flexibility to meet our requirements and support throughout the campaign has been excellent.”

We’re immensely proud of the campaign and pleased to have been nominated at the PMAs. We’ll discover our fate at the ceremony taking place on 30 April at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel.

The Lead Agency awarded Google Partner status

We are delighted to announce that The Lead Agency has achieved Google Partner status, demonstrating our expertise and knowledge of delivering high-performance Google Ads campaigns.

Google is selective about its choice of partners, reserving the status for businesses with a growing client base and revenues, Google Ads-certified employees, the ability to deliver and maintain successful campaigns and impressive client retention.

Having been added to the search giant’s roster, we now have access to a broader range of marketing materials, training, special offers and the Google Partner Community – all of which will help us to identify and implement more ways to help our clients to grow.

Google Partner

Paul Court, TLA’s head of digital marketing, said: “It’s a great achievement for TLA to be recognised as a Google Partner meaning we can drive more expertise in Google products, not only for our digital marketing team but also for our suite of clients as well.

“Going forward, being included on Beta programs in the digital space, access to the Google Partner community and invitations to additional training resources and events means that TLA’s ability to execute all digital campaigns continues to greatly improve.”

For more information about our Google Partner status and how it can help drive incremental sales for your business, contact us today.

Acquiring the Driving Generation: 8 important stats about millennial new car buyers

Within two years, 40% of new car purchases will be made by millennials – a generation of early adopters and natives of the digital world.

As competition for market share in the new car market remains fierce, engaging this lucrative audience is vital for advertisers and agencies.

So, who are they and how do we reach them?

For starters, let’s clarify who we’re talking about. Millennials – or Generation Y, as they are also known – refers to people born between 1980 and 1996 (give or take two or three years depending on your source). They follow Generation X (1965-1976) and baby boomers (1946-1964) and precede Generate Z (1997 to present day).

The Driving Generation

Millennials are becoming known in the industry as ‘the driving generation’.

According to a study by MTV, millennials drive 72% more miles than baby boomers, and 18% more than Gen X. Spending longer on the road is perhaps why millennials are reported to have little interest in ‘flashy’ cars, but instead are in market for reliability and practicality.

Compared to baby boomers, millennials tend to take longer to decide on what car to buy, an average of 15.7 vs 16.9 weeks. The Gen Y/millennial consumer also considers a wider range of vehicles during their research. This suggests that their decision is malleable and can therefore be influenced, if approached at the right time during their buying journey, to ultimately find the car that is right for them.

Despite the lengthier period in market, millennials are keen for convenience. This generation grew up in a time when convenience was emphasised, whether that be via increased digitalisation, technological advances or innovation – simplification and convenience is a consistent theme.

What do your millennial consumers expect?

Millennials have grown up in a world of choice-paralysis. Numerous products from numerous companies and numerous ways of paying for them.

Ultimately, because of their wide range of options, it is essential to guide your millennial consumer along the right path and ensure that the process is as simple, easy and accessible as possible.

Quality of service and products are of high importance to millennial consumers. With the rapid speed of online connectivity, news can travel fast. Thus, meaning that despite how long it may have taken to build it up, brand reputation can be crushed quickly, and perhaps unjustly, due to poor customer experience during the buying phase.

The typical millennial car buyer expects a transparent approach to business proceedings. Clarity of information requests and honesty is important to consumers during a high-stake, high-expense purchase, such as buying a car. The consumer expects a good standard of customer service, and failing that, a quick response to minimise disappointment and rectify any issues.

The growth of digitalisation

Third-party sites are the most commonly-used platforms for automotive shopping, with 78% of shoppers using them as part of their search.

Furthermore, 88% of millennials take to the internet to research their car purchase. Exploring the reliability and practicality of cars is much more accessible and easier when done at the click of a mouse, with the immediate response of a chatbot.

The growth of digitalisation and connectivity has also allowed social media platforms and innovative technology to form an empowered generation of new customers. Millennials are demanding cars that are stylish and practical, with adequate tech features that will help them to stay connected.

This audience has grown up in an age where technology continues to improve at a rapid rate. They are, as a result, quick to embrace digital innovation, giving a distinct advantage to brands that lead the way.

Ultimately, there are big opportunities for advertisers and agencies that can meet millennials’ technological expectations and provide a credible, transparent and quality service.

Communicating with millennials

With 59% of millennials following a brand on social media before purchasing a product, and 81% viewing their twitter account daily, it’s a sure indicator that social media is one of the most effective platforms for targeting millennials. It therefore comes as no surprise that millennials are twice more likely as any other generation to turn to social, rather than phone or email, when communicating with a brand.

It’s clear that millennials prefer to engage online, whether that’s via social media or digital messengers, such as chatbots. When it comes to chatbots, 60% of millennials have used them, 70% of those report positive experiences, and of the millennials who have not used them, more than half say they are interested in using them. Chatbots link seamlessly with millennials’ expectations, bringing instant gratification, conversational engagement, digital connectivity, and convenience.

Through pioneering the use of innovative tech and intelligent targeting through popular digital channels, we can target the consumer with the right message at the right time. By adapting the wording and approach based on the consumer, website they are visiting and product of interest, we can tap into the buying journey of the millennial car buyer.

8 stats you need to know about millennial new car buyers

  1. By 2020, 40% of new car buyers will be millennials (Brandwatch)
  2. Millennials drive 72% more than Baby Boomers, and 18% more than Gen X (Advantage Tec)
  3. Millennials tend to take longer to decide what car to buy, an average of 16.9 vs 15.7 weeks compared to Baby Boomers (V12 Data)
  4. 88% of millennials use the internet during the research and shopping process when buying a car (Brandwatch)
  5. 56% of millennials say they would rather clean their homes than negotiate with a car dealer (V12 Data)
  6. 59% of millennials follow a brand on social media before purchasing a product (SproutSocial)
  7. 81% of millennials view their twitter account daily (SproutSocial)
  8. 60% of millennials have used chatbots, 70% of those report positive experiences, and of the millennials who have not used them, more than half say they are interested in using them. (Forbes)

Learn more about how our technology has made us a market leader in digital customer acquisition.


The Age of Transparency: How consumer attitudes have changed, and why brands must do the same

From GDPR to social media, the world of information has changed. And so too have consumer attitudes, with increased awareness and interest in data protection, ethical behaviour and transparency.

GDPR, the most recent and highly-publicised change, has perforated the public consciousness as well as the business community. Consumers are now more aware and therefore more cautious over how their data is being used than ever before.

The new regulation was put in place to ensure a higher standard of consumer consent. Yet, despite the heavily publicised lead up, it was reported that 60% of EU businesses were still unprepared for GDPR when it came into effect on 25th May.

However, the shift in consumer attitudes goes far beyond GDPR compliance. Consumers now want and even expect businesses to be transparent about their intentions across the full spectrum of business activities.

Transparency, consent, authenticity and trust are central to affirming all-important long-lasting brand relationships but they remain a challenge for many organisations. A study carried out by measurement and analytics firm Integral Ad Science (IAS) revealed that 56% of senior marketing professionals cite transparency as a key concern in their advertising.

Transparency in marketing

There are many customer touchpoints throughout a consumer’s buying journey. Understanding and improving the points can enhance user and customer journey mapping. Yet, each one brings about greater risks for businesses if their intentions are unclear.

As our head of performance marketing Paul Court argues, “understanding all customer touchpoints and ensuring that compliant and transparent activity is consistently demonstrated will lead to stronger results”.

Social media is a great example with sites such as Instagram and Twitter allowing for direct contact to be made between a consumer and a company. Consumers can even go so far as connecting with company directors (if they so wish), thus demonstrating an even higher level of openness, transparency and cultural awareness.

Transparency in culture

But transparency is not a tactic to help companies attract consumers. Authenticity is key and that must ultimately come from within – a company’s core values and culture.

According to the American Psychological Association’s (APA) 2016 Work and Well-Being Survey, only 51% of respondents feel their values match their employer. Failure to be clear and ethical in business proceedings has a negative effect on staff, leading to decision-making that can damage the external brand image.

A company’s core values should be in harmony with not only their staff but with their consumers’ attitudes, cementing a clear and mutual understanding of honest and ethical proceedings.

Transparency in data

Considering all of this, GDPR should not be viewed as a blocker, but as an opportunity to affirm the relationship between your brand and your consumers. Transparent companies will be able to disclose the fair and ethical reasons behind their regulatory processes, building trust in the process.

Research carried out by Forbes showed that when a company uses data in a relevant way and can be trusted, the customer is more willing to share their data. Offering reassurance and providing customers with the real reasons behind information requests online will therefore nurture the brand-customer relationship.

The assistance of third-party companies in that endeavour, whether that be in lead generation or other parts of the business, must be founded upon responsible and ethical practices. Partners must be committed to putting transparency at the forefront of their business proceedings to ensure that the delicate trust between brand and consumer can be strengthened even further.

To learn more about our transparent approach, read what ASE Global had to say about our GDPR compliant leads.

ASE Global endorses The Lead Agency for its approach to GDPR in automotive lead generation

ASE Global, the automotive accountancy and business services company, has provided a strong and positive endorsement to The Lead Agency for its commitment to GDPR compliance.

The auditors described our approach as “remarkable” following a GDPR Readiness Assessment that reviewed our core compliance documents and relevant activity – including our data mapping, privacy statement and technology.

Kevin Symm, data protection and compliance officer for ASE, said: “We have been working with hundreds of businesses in the automotive space, ranging from household names with 10,000s of staff down to small companies.

“We’ve seen the full range of practices – good and bad – that those businesses have in place but in no one business have we seen as many good practices as at The Lead Agency,” he added.

ASE has been providing audit and accountancy services in the automotive industry for more than 40 years, working in more than 50 countries, with brands such as Audi, BMW, Volkswagen and Ford. Its GDPR team, which was established following the announcement of the new regulation, has provided GDPR assistance to in excess of 700 retailers and a number of national and international manufacturers in the last 12 months.


In its official assessment of The Lead Agency’s approach, ASE said: “There is a clear ‘top-down’ commitment to compliance which drives all associated activities. Internal focus has been on compliance. However, this has been conducted with an eye on the customer, to keep them informed and up to date in as transparent a manner as possible.”

We have gone to great lengths to prepare fully for the new legislation; from what ASE described as “comprehensively undertaken” data mapping to an “excellent” privacy statement. In addition, we have built our proprietary Client Portal, which provides a complete audit trail of every consumer’s journey from beginning to end.

Commenting on our preparation, Kevin said: “The levels The Lead Agency has gone to and the things it has implemented – such as the client portal, policies, procedures and documentation – go as far as anything we’ve seen for how companies can minimise the potential for something to go wrong and then maximise how quickly any potential issues can be discovered and acted upon. It really is impressive.”


“What’s particularly impressive,” said Kevin, “is that the work undertaken by The Lead Agency goes far beyond what the new legislation requires. The company is in a very good place.”

“The right attitude is evident from the top-down at The Lead Agency. It’s clear that there is a real and determined commitment to GDPR and how it can be used to make the business better.”

The report concludes: “Internally, The Lead Agency’s policies are sound, staff are appropriately trained and there is commitment to ensure compliance does not suffer over time. Externally, customers can provide their personal data to the business confident that the processing it is subject to will be compliant.”

For more information on The Lead Agency’s automotive lead generation services, contact the team today.

PMA nomination follows campaign success for BMW

We have been nominated for a prestigious accolade at the Performance Marketing Awards 2018 (PMAs).

Our work for BMW and its media partner MEC Global has been shortlisted for Best Lead Generation Campaign – a hotly-contested category that recognises the most innovative and impactful activity in customer acquisition.

The nominations were revealed this afternoon in association with event sponsor Impact Radius and can be viewed in full via the PMA website.

We’ll have to wait until 24 April to discover whether our campaign has earned the top prize when the performance marketing industry gathers at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel for the ceremony.

Microsoft’s global agency director, Adrian Cutler, called judging this year’s entries an “incredible experience”.

“Cutting edge thinking really came through on the entries, they were not afraid to push the boundaries of what is possible with creative flair, a key focus on challenging the norm shone out,” said Cutler.

Justin Thorne joins TLA to lead digital team

As we continue to extend reach within each of our verticals and improve the efficiency of our lead generation processes, we have appointed Justin Thorne as our new head of digital.

Justin (left) has joined us from neuromarketing company Lab, where he had spent three years and was responsible for leading its performance marketing teams. Prior to that role, he held senior marketing positions at Kenshoo and SmartFocus.

At TLA, Thorne will lead a team of digital channel specialists, UX designers and CRO specialists in creating intent and technology-led, lead generation campaigns.

His focus will be on developing strategies that help us connect with and nurture in-market consumers within automotive, property and education.

Justin’s arrival follows the appointment of Antony Neill as performance manager, who joined us from a technology business within the Bibby Line Group earlier this year.

Commenting on their arrivals, TLA’s CEO Anton Hanley said: “We continuously look for ways to improve the services we provide to clients and consumers, which includes recruiting people who can bring something special to our team. Justin and Antony have a wealth of relevant experience in marketing roles; but more importantly, they have the skills, enthusiasm and ideas to implement positive change within the business.

“Justin will help us extend our market reach, so that we connect with more of our clients’ potential customers at different stages of their buying journey; while Antony will drive performance improvements across each stage of our process to ensure the leads we provide are of the highest quality.”

Our growth is set to continue with a number of other exciting vacancies now live within our careers section