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Surviving Financially with an Emergency Fund

Erica Johnson

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The COVID 19 virus caused a worldwide pandemic unlike anything we had ever anticipated, and many people struggled with the stress that it caused (contender for understatement of the decade?). The virus meant many people continued to lose their jobs, making them unable to afford their cars, homes, and even grocery bills.

The lack of jobs available means those that would be able to bounce back have been left at home with nothing to do, and no money coming in. This is a sight across Europe, America, and Africa and something which many people were simply not prepared for in the slightest. 

Some of the fortunate few who had an emergency fund were able to rely on this during an extremely difficult time. Emergency funds are resources much like savings accounts where a small amount of money is set aside each month into the account for the cliche ‘rainy day’.

Because this is your own choice, you can set your limit, choose not to pay in some months, add more money in other months, and even stop paying in completely if you reach a certain amount. Below we’re going to take a look at some of the key questions you’ll ask yourself when creating an emergency fund:

How much money should be in my emergency fund?

Determining how much money should be in this emergency fund is up to you – but you’ll want to consider what it will be used for and how well it will cover you. WealthSimple recommends 3 to 6 months’ worth of salary in your fund. They say if you have 6 months’ worth of savings in your emergency fund, you are in pretty good shape.

Some experts believe having a year’s worth of savings is a better target, considering the pandemic we are experiencing and how long it has had an effect on our lives. Such long-term, life-altering global events have redefined what many now consider viable emergency fund time frames. 

Where should I keep my emergency fund?

Your emergency fund could be kept in a savings account, or if you want to try and make a bit of money off this account, you could choose an investment plan. Wonga, who recently wrote on this very subject suggest considering three key questions when choosing a location for your emergency fund:

  1. Accessibility (how quickly you can access your funds?)
  2. Interest (how quickly will your fund grow over time?)
  3. Fees (how much will this account cost month-to-month?)

This should enable you to choose a suitable place for your fund. A money market account might be a good option here, as you can transfer funds instantly and it has a pretty decent interest rate. But, you’ll want to research the options available to you in the current market. 

When should I use my emergency fund?

You may be tempted to draw on your emergency fund if you have a cash flow problem at some point. Drawing on the money for holidays or other expenses isn’t what the fund was designed for. You need to define what the emergency fund should be used for, and stick to these rules.

You may want to be able to use this fund if you lose your job, or perhaps it is if you are given an unexpected bill that your normal cash flow won’t be able to cover. It is your fund so it is up to you ultimately when you choose to use it. You may want to open this emergency fund with your partner or a family member so you are both accountable for it.

How can I reach my funding goal for my emergency fund?

Once you have the account and you have set the rules for it, now you will have to start filling the account. You might want to create a direct debit each month which slowly transfers money across into the account, building over time. You may have a savings plan in place that you could use.

Obviously, we have already been through one global pandemic so this emergency fund isn’t going to help you right now – but it could well give you determination for the future in sticking with your savings goals and not drawing on your emergency fund unnecessarily.

In time, you could have a pretty decent emergency fund saved up for in just one year. This can give you the confidence you need going into the future that you are financially secure should something unexpected happen – like a global pandemic!

Published November 19th, 2021

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

Courtney Shields

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

Courtney Shields

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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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Clevertouch creates European consultancy and empowers marketers with AI marketing automation

Courtney Shields

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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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