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Changing the Narrative on Women and COVID-19: Four Female Entrepreneurs Disrupting Traditional Industries

Erica Johnson



The past 18 months have not been kind to women and gender equality. A study conducted by McKinsey & Company has indicated that the COVID-19 pandemic could set women back half a decade as the number of people leaving the workforce to tend to domestic and child-care duties falls heavily on women’s shoulders. But now is not the time to right-off your future, but rather see this as a calling card to action.

While the crisis of gender equality is real, what is also true is women forging their own path and walking away from corporate structures to innovate and disrupt industries that have remained the same for too long. Here are four female entrepreneurs disrupting traditional industries and inspiring a new generation of CEO’s.  

 Natasha Chadwick

In 2017, Natasha Chadwick launched the award-winning NewDirection Care in Bellmere, QLD, a $30+ million residential care community that is changing the face of what ‘aged care’ means both domestically and soon to be international, with its innovative MicroTown™ model. 

Natasha’s ground-breaking model seeks to create a community that allows residents to live in homes according to their lifestyle, not their diagnosis, and are supported to be as independent as possible. 

She has been an outspoken advocate of improved care across the industry, most especially during last year’s Royal Commission hearing into Australia’s aged-care industry. I can’t understand why we accept as a society that someone who is living with a brain disease should be locked away. It’s a diagnosis, but it doesn’t stop people from living”, says Natasha speaking about her frustration with the current model of care.

Natasha was the winner of the 2019 Telstra Australian Business Woman of the Year award and she has not let the COVID-19 pandemic damper her entrepreneurial spirit. 

“We were on a growth pathway before COVID-19 hit and we had planned to launch our expansion in 2020 with a licensed product, but we simply had to change direction. However, now, in 2021 we have decided that we can’t put it off and we are moving forward.”

 Danielle Johansen

In late 2019, Danielle Johansen launched her AI-driven fashion platform Threadicated, a bespoke styling service shipped straight to your door. Danielle recognized a gap in the market while out shopping for her mum. 

“I was in a clothing store one day and I spotted a sign advertising their styling service,” she said. “But when I inquired about purchasing the service as a gift for my mother I was told it was only offered in-store. 

“As my mum lived hours away from the store, it got me thinking personal styling should be available to everyone no matter where they live, or where they shop. And when I saw no one in Australia was offering an online styling service, I decided to do it myself.”

And while she couldn’t predict a global pandemic, she also couldn’t predict the massive effect this would have on the way consumers shop. Australia Post recently reported that online shopping had grown 31.8 percent for the 12 months to 30 June 2021. That was good news for Threadicated. Danielle suddenly found herself with a thriving online business, tripling her sales year on year and in a position to take her business to the next level. 

Sharon Williams

 Sharon Williams is the founder and CEO of Taurus Marketing and a veteran in the brand, PR and marketing space. After 26 years in business, she remains the leading voice on brand strategy and the first agency to coin the phrase ‘personal branding’ and create a trademarked process around it called TaurusProfile™.

But like many firms, the global COVID-19 pandemic saw the hardest year yet in Sharon’s 26 years running her own business. But rather than burying her head in the sand, Sharon decided to follow the advice she had been giving her clients and refresh the Taurus brand. The ‘Going For Gold’ campaign, complete with a new gold logo was launched at a poignant time, a few weeks before, the Tokyo 2021 Olympics. 

Speaking about her decision to rebrand, Sharon says: “We have made the decision because reinvention, or as we call it – a refresh – is key to brand longevity. Brands and leaders have to be clever and reinvent to stay relevant.

Sharon continues to innovate with the recently launched TaurusCrypto©, Australia’s first PR and Marketing agency offering crypto marketing as a dedicated service.  

Robyn Foyster

For the past two decades, award-winning journalist and consultant, Robyn Foyster, has been shaping the female narrative. She was the first (and only) person to edit and publish Australia’s three biggest flagship magazines – The Australian Women’s Weekly, Woman’s Day, and New Idea – and her websites Women Love Tech, The Carousel, and Game Changers celebrate women professionally and personally.

In early 2020, Robyn was riding the wave of a successful app launch – Sweep – the world’s first AR shopping app designed to bridge the gap between the online and offline retail worlds and revolutionize the way consumers shop and how retailers market their discounts.

And then, well, COVID-19 happened and suddenly brick and mortar retail took a backseat to online shopping, making Sweep effectively redundant. 

Robyn cut her losses quickly and went back to the drawing board. She decided to take a big swing and launch InProfile, a boutique agency that helps time-poor CEOs build their personal brand, something she knows a lot about.

 “I knew I had to build something that existed online and I was already being approached by my network to provide advice on personal branding, so it made sense to monetize it,” Robyn says. 

InProfile is a strategic thought leadership agency that helps clients craft their own unique message into compelling multi-media content. “We work with seasoned CEOs as well as emerging entrepreneurs to deliver campaigns that build credibility and grow authentic connections. It’s an exciting space right now and I’m so proud of the content we are creating for our clients.” 

Published November 11th, 2021

Sales & Marketing

‘Bullish’ marketing industry plans to boost spending power in 2024

Courtney Shields



‘Bullish’ marketing industry plans to boost spending power in 2024

UK marketing leaders are gearing up for a ‘bullish’ 2024, with more than 70% planning to boost digital budgets this year, new data shows.  

Following four years of economic flatlining and commercial pressures for many of the UK’s top marketers, 2024 is expected to see a resurgence in industry optimism, with increased investment being directed in key growth areas including AI, websites, SEO, broadcast and podcasts, as well as email and content marketing.  

The data from more than 500 UK marketing leaders, commissioned by search-driven content agency No Brainer, is available to in-house and agency marketers now. The first report is called the 2024 eCommerce Trends Report

In addition to No Brainer’s findings, a recent Statista report indicates the eCommerce market is set to reach a projected £100b ($124b) in the UK for the first time in 2024, and eComm marketers are poised to make 2024 the year they seize a greater share of consumer spending.  

The report by No Brainer also reveals significant spending growth in key areas of marketing, with many marketing decision markers saying they intend to invest over 60% more than they did in 2023 in the following areas: 

  1. AI: 64% to increase spend by as much as 60% 
  2. Website: 64% to increase spend by as much as 60% 
  3. SEO: 62% to increase spend by as much as 60% 
  4. TV, Radio & Podcasts: 59% to increase spend by as much as 60% 
  5. Email Marketing: 58% to increase spend by as much as 60% 
  6. Content Marketing: 57% to increase spend by as much as 60% 
  7. Digital PR: 57% to increase spend by as much as 60% 
  8. Influencer Marketing: 56% to increase spend by as much as 60% 
  9. Organic social: 56% to increase spend by as much as 60% 
  10. Paid search: 55% to increase spend by as much as 60% 

Some of the highest budget increases came from marketers working in sectors including Education with 69% increasing by up to 60%, Finance with 64% increasing by up to 60%, and Retail with 56% increasing by over 40%. Only 14% of marketing decision makers said they’ll be dialling back on budgets in 2024. 

Gary Jenkins, Director at No Brainer, said: “Four years of rising costs, inflationary pressures, and squeezed budgets has made life tough for UK marketing leaders tasked with delivering growth, but we’re expecting to see that turn around in 2024 with many taking a more bullish approach in terms of spending power. 

“This is great to see, and not just because we play in this space, but because if businesses of all sizes are serious about recovery and growth, then investing strategically in the right areas of marketing is crucial. Sadly, in challenging times, these are the things that can often be the first cut.  

“When every penny matters, like it has in recent years, then there’s a laser focus on marketing leaders proving the value of every pound they spend, and quite rightly. It’s got everyone challenging the ROI of their spending across every marketing sector, and the same rule should apply with these increased budgets.  

“It’s about putting them to best use. A solid, strategically planned marketing strategy can unlock new audiences, drive more revenue from existing ones, and drive more brand loyalty and advocacy, so it’s still a case of spending smart, even if spending more.” 

Interested in hearing leading global brands discuss subjects like this in person? Find out more about Digital Marketing World Forum (#DMWF) Europe, London, North America, and Singapore.

Tags: budget, Content Marketing, seo, spending, websites

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Sales & Marketing

Why social listening platforms can’t listen – and how SocialVoice is looking to step in

Courtney Shields



Why social listening platforms can't listen - and how SocialVoice is looking to step in

The market opportunity for brands who get influencer marketing right is huge.

According to Goldman Sachs, the creator economy is worth around $250 billion (£205.4bn) today. By 2027, it could hit $480bn (£394.5bn), in line with predicted growth for global digital advertising spend. In line with this trend is an increasing preference for brands to use nano- and micro-influencers in their campaigns. The State of Influencer Marketing 2023 Report puts this at 39% and 30% respectively. With the rise of trends such as FinTok and others front and centre, no longer is there a subject which cannot be touched by an influencer; someone passionate, authentic and knowledgeable enough to earn consumer trust.

Getting the right influencers, in terms of what they say, how they say it and how many people they say it to, is therefore vital. Indeed, an entire martech sector has mushroomed in the form of social listening. Yet Nicholas Greig, chief revenue officer at SocialVoice, has a problem with the term.

“Social listening platforms can’t listen,” explains Greig. “All they can do is scan the metadata.”

While social listening tools can look at hashtags and comments, crunch engagement rates, and look at the sentiment of the written word, SocialVoice believes there is no tool currently on the market which can get ‘inside’ a video and analyse the voice. Until now.

The aim of SocialVoice is to enable analysis of an influencer’s past activity, through every frame of every video on every platform. Tone of voice can be analysed, beyond the written word, to assuage fears around brand safety as well as brand fit. This can go from the usual sentiment analysis to understanding personal versus corporate tone, to extrovert versus introvert, to liberal versus conservative. “Because we’re moving to nano- and micro-influencers, we’re not bringing them in for shoots anymore, so we’re relying on the quality of their recording,” explains Greig.

From a technology standpoint, it will not be a surprise that AI is at the heart of the solution, with three primary facets; deep analysis using machine learning tools, statistical approaches to identify pattern correlation across time-based events, and processing at speed. Almost two thirds of those polled in the State of Influencer Marketing report (63%) plan to use AI in executing their influencer campaigns, with two thirds of those brands using it for influencer identification.

What this looks like in terms of product is the Influencer Integrity Report, the first go-to-market effort from SocialVoice. The analysis of time-based events and processing at speed is combined so brand managers can input the influencer link and then get a report soon afterwards backed up by industry standards – toxic and profane content is based on GARM (Global Alliance for Responsible Media) metrics – and headlined by an overall trust score (left).

In the example MarketingTech saw, regarding a well-known influencer in the skincare industry, a specific brand appeared 273 times based on hashtag and written word analysis. For video scripts, the brand appeared 3648 times (right). Tone of voice noted variance between neutral and joyful.

Greig believes this will solve a fundamental industry problem. “We realised that there were some very big problems in the world of influencer marketing that, despite its growth, were affecting uptake from industry sectors such as banking, or from industry sectors where compliance and conservatism was more prevalent,” says Greig.

“These problems come around the fact that not a single influencer discovery platform in the world can be trusted to do proper vetting, or background checking, of the influencer,” adds Greig. “Checking influencers takes hours, and they can’t go back and check everything that an influencer has ever said – so they cut corners, they look at a random sample of videos, and then they go into a campaign [with a] lack of trust in whether the influencer has any hidden surprises in their background.”

While it remains early days, Greig notes that the trust score is the key element for customers on board thus far. The company has trademarked the term ‘trust my voice’ in anticipation not just of this, but for future cases beyond the brand and agency side. “One of the ways where we see this going forward is that influencers themselves on their profile will have a ‘trust my voice’ link,” offers Greig. “They’ll have that from a software as a service perspective.”

SocialVoice is exhibiting at the upcoming DMWF Europe event, on 21-22 November in Amsterdam, with something a little more enticing than usual. Those who visit the stand will have the ability to have one free check of an influencer of their choice – so the company has a strong bet on their value proposition.

“I think it will shock people as to just how limited the information is they have to make right decisions, and just how open they are to problems,” says Greig.

“We are still very much in a concept [phase],” he adds. “It’s going to be very difficult for anyone to compete against us. It’s not just the AI ability, it’s the scale of what it is that we’re doing; it’s the ability to do it at speed and do thousands of influencers at the same time.”

Insert picture credit: SocialVoice

Photo by Daniel Gaffey on Unsplash

Interested in hearing leading global brands discuss subjects like this in person? Find out more about Digital Marketing World Forum (#DMWF) Europe, London, North America, and Singapore.

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Sales & Marketing

Clevertouch creates European consultancy and empowers marketers with AI marketing automation

Courtney Shields



Clevertouch Marketing, a marketing technology consulting and service provider, has formed a new strategic team to drive customer conversion from martech across its European client base.

This, in conjunction with new AI product development in its proprietary Momentum software, will bring productivity in martech to the forefront, at a time when marketers need it most acutely.

As Clevertouch Marketing changes its overall name to Clevertouch Consulting, the company has created a senior team focused on client revenue generation, customer insights and conversion metrics. The team is also investing in the development of new powerful AI marketing tools.

The development of ContentAI, a feature within Clevertouch Consulting’s Momentum software, ensures artificial intelligence is driving maximum productivity within Clevertouch customer marketing teams. It allows the rewrite of email and landing page content, greatly improving the capabilities of marketers and reducing the time it takes to launch assets. ContentAI is backed by a unique persona toolset that allows marketers to ensure generated content fits the tone and personality of the teams and the business. Momentum is used by leading brands such as Fujitsu, Atos and British Land.

To support this, Clevertouch Consulting has strengthened its leadership with a mix of promotions and hires. Elaine Webley has been appointed as COO and CMO to lead operations and marketing strategy, having previously served as Managing Director and Client Services Director. Stuart West, previously Vice President International of BrightTALK, will hold the Chief Revenue Officer position and lead the team across its services and SaaS products. Jamie Burrell, responsible for the company’s consulting services, will take the position of Chief Strategy Officer, and CEO and founder, Adam Sharp, will provide ongoing leadership and market insights. Lucy Larner also joins Clevertouch as Chief Financial Officer after fifteen years in various SMB finance roles.

Adam Sharp, CEO at Clevertouch Consulting, said: “Economic times are tough, and as marketers we all have to sharpen our focus on revenue delivery, customer conversion and productivity within our day-to-day activities. We are committed to investing in the most advanced marketing products and services, driving the efficiencies created by AI, but also backed by a super strategic team to give clients the best possible business outcomes.

“Our name change reflects the changing nature of the business and the desire for clients to bring the martech capability in house, with the support of Clevertouch Consulting to optimise their investment.”

Interested in hearing leading global brands discuss subjects like this in person? Find out more about Digital Marketing World Forum (#DMWF) Europe, London, North America, and Singapore.

  • Duncan MacRae

    Duncan is an award-winning editor with more than 20 years experience in journalism. Having launched his tech journalism career as editor of Arabian Computer News in Dubai, he has since edited an array of tech and digital marketing publications, including Computer Business Review, TechWeekEurope, Figaro Digital, Digit and Marketing Gazette.

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Tags: AI, Clevertouch, consultancy, Europe

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