Ira Dubinsky, Head of International Marketing at British retailer Marks & Spencer (M&S) and a London Business School alumnus, discusses the digital trends shaping his company’s advertising strategy with Julian Birkinshaw, Academic Director of the Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship. They are joined by Anja Lambrecht, Associate Professor of Marketing at LBS, who teaches and researches digital marketing and online advertising.
Digital marketing tools give companies such as M&S the platform to analyse individual customers’ interests, demographics, purchasing behaviour and future spending habits, according to Dubinsky. With that data, businesses can customise and personalise every consumer’s online shopping experience. They can also establish which channel to use when targeting certain people.
These techniques were employed by M&S in late 2017 when planning its Christmas advertising campaign featuring Paddington Bear. Aside from creating a TV ad that tied in with the latest Paddington movie, the retailer also developed several digital adverts for its YouTube, Facebook and Instagram audiences.
Advances in technology may have given businesses more marketing channels, but they still face an age-old problem: knowing how many people actually buy their products or services. Dr Lambrecht says companies use A/B testing to see whether, for example, their advert encourages more consumers to spend money with them. However, it’s difficult to establish how many of those people purchased based on the advert alone.
Other topics covered include the nuances of marketing in different regions, sensitivities around using people’s personal data and how algorithms select adverts based on web browsing and search history.