Recent projects

Here are some of the things I’ve been doing recently. Drop me a line if you would like to talk about how I might be able to help with your ecommerce marketing, analysis or planning.

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Bob Books produces personalised photobooks, calendars, posters and framed prints. You download their free software, drop in your photos, and a week later a high-quality book (softback or hardback) gets delivered.

I was asked to do a couple of days a week of marketing support to identify new opportunities, exploit the existing customer database more effectively, improve conversion rates, establish the LTV and thus an effective CPA, and put extra promotional plans in place. This included changes to landing pages, new partnerships, extra content on the site and an analysis of PPC effectiveness to cut back on unprofitable activity. I also took a more rigorous approach to market segmentation so that promotions could be better tailored to different customer groups.

Results were that sales were up on the year, revenue had increased significantly and yield was much higher. On all measures the 4th quarter of 2014 was the best that the company has ever achieved.

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A couple of projects for the publishers of Radio Times, BBC Good Food, Top Gear and other titles.

First I was asked to analyse potential gains and costs for a range of changes to the company’s ecommerce platform, plus a risk assessment of various competing approaches. This formed the basis of an investment plan put before the main board last autumn.

Another analysis was on the company’s current renewal system, suggesting changes that might either improve returns or which could save money. My recommendations suggested that there were high six-figure savings to be made over the next three years, plus associated improvements in retention rates and circulation growth.

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Prior to the main launch of the new Guardian Membership scheme a lot of external research and marketing plans had been commissioned, and a great deal of comparative studies constructed. I was asked to look at all of this work and sense-check some of the conclusions.

This resulted in the team being able to question many of the approaches that had been suggested by the external agencies and formulating more coherent test plans for the ‘pre-launch’ activity. These plans have had promising initial results and are in the process of being rolled out as the membership campaign movies into its most critical phase.

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After redesigning their ecommerce site www.hearstmagazines.co.uk, Hearst were keen to exploit all opportunities to boost traffic and sales and I was asked to look at their use of affiliates as, despite big growth in sales overall, the contribution of this source was lower than it had been for some time.

I identified a number of opportunities for growth, several significant cost savings, and suggested a plan of action to maximise sales.

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Dovetail Services are the subscription bureau owned by Dennis Publishing and Immediate Media. Rather than continue with a lot of brand advertising in a market that knows them well, they have decided to boost the content on their website to position themselves as the experts in their field. I was engaged to write guides and blog posts that could be repurposed for different channels – microsites, newsletters, blogs and offline.

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The London Society is a membership organisation dedicated to London’s built environment – a forum for debate on how to make the capital a better place in which to live and work. Although with an illustrious history stretching back to before WW1, it had become a bit moribund in recent years. A new committee was elected in 2014 to breathe new life into the Society, and I was brought in at the end of 2015 to help professionalise some of its activities. This has included setting up new membership and events booking software, improving communications and website content, budget control and planning.

Memberships are up and margins have improved, and the Society is on track to have increased its paying members by over 40% by the end of 2016. The medium-term plan is to more than double this number over the next three years.

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