Robert Farrell’s Spider story!

August 4th, 2016

Cool, calm, clear and concise are the tips given by our latest judge to feature in the eir Spiders blog. Spoken like a true tutor, Robert Farrell details the specifics of what the judges are looking for and how your websites, platforms, services and campaigns can wow them. Listen and learn!

  • Prepare a really good entry:
    • Follow the headings and criteria provided.
    • Be detailed and don’t waffle.
    • Be specific; provide the relevant budget figures, metrics, results, etc.
    • Don’t get an intern or junior exec to write this, assign it to a mid-level professional and treat it like a report for senior management.
    • Provide the relevant information such as link to website, log-in codes to platforms, etc.
  • Run a great campaign:
    • Use a structured method including clear objective setting, correct channels, appropriate budget, correct metrics, ongoing monitoring and optimisation.
    • Be bold and different, customers respond to new or creative campaigns as do the judges.
    • Build your staff’s internal skills. Education & training is one method but don’t be afraid to use external agency support as this too can be a great learning opportunity.
    • Involve the customer in in all aspects from market research to creation of user generated content. Modern marketing is not about the product or brand it is and customer centric.

With degrees and extensive experience of marketing and strategic management, Robert also holds a passion for education and how technology is transforming the ways we learn and how it’s done. Robert is the digital marketing tutor with the Digital Marketing Institute and supports students in over 70 countries worldwide. His advice is sure to be heeded – even here at Spiders HQ we are working with Robert to bring a digital dimension to our Spiders workshops with a webinar series (stay tuned for more!).

Heralding the Best in eLearning and Education as his favourite category, Robert’s passion for education does not come without pragmatism. He acknowledges the value of this category as it allows for the spotlight to be put on a topic that is seldom given the limelight outside of the academic and training sectors. “The eir Spiders brings eLearning into the view of the wider industry and adds its stamp of legitimacy to it.” This importance of this category lies in the fact that it is all about training – education is the means by which our employees and employers can learn the new skills required by the demands of the digitally-dominated world. Although Ireland lags behind our American counterparts in terms of how we can utilise technology to improve our learning and training, i.e. eLearning, Robert is confident than we can catch up, and the Spiders is a great way of showcasing some of the most impressive examples of eLearning out there.

A desire to keep up to date with best practice in industry, build his professional connections and be part of something bigger is what attracted Robert to the eir Spiders judging panel. And although he has only been on board for two years now, he has already had the opportunity to witness the yearly improvements in entries and the ever-growing calibre of quality and diverse campaigns, not to mention a web of contacts whom he can call upon when required. A place on the judging panel means exclusive access to the longest-running tech and digital awards programme in the country. “I have been given a behind-the-scenes view into some of Ireland’s most successful campaigns and how our most successful brands and agencies work.”

It’s not all about the big players though, admits Robert. The beauty of the Spiders lies in the fact that it is the quality of the campaigns that are being judged, not the quantity earned by their respective creators. Companies big and small across a wide range of categories are on a level playing field. Here at Spider HQ, we are all about celebrating digital excellence whatever the size of the sector or the service. We believe that by recognising and rewarding the tech and digital efforts of our country’s organisations, we are encouraging them to continue their work and providing the motivation to ensure that the digital landscape of Ireland thrives even further.

When we talk about size, Robert explains how it is even more prevalent to praise the efforts of those who have done it themselves without huge budgets or agency support. “These organisations or start-ups may be struggling with daily operations while trying to define their long term plan, events like this can motivate them to keep going and build their credibility in markets.”

And praise is exactly what is given on the night – the Spiders represent a chance to recognise and reward digital excellence but they are also an opportunity to bring together a host of industry professionals, newcomers and veterans. They are a chance to reflect on the contributions brought to our lives by their tech-savvy creators. It is always a guaranteed goodtime in which the winners and non-winners alike share in the success.

And the last lesson of this blog post takes the form of some wise words from Robert for any of you starting out online and looking to the Spiders for motivation and inspiration.

  • Do your research, understand your target audience, their needs and motives, the channels they use to find out information and have a clear understanding of how your product/service supports their lives or adds value.
  • Pick 3 organisations that are in your space (but they don’t have to be in Ireland) and completely understand how they are successful. Use this to chart your own plan.
  • Understand your competition and substitute but don’t play a ‘me too’ approach, dare to be different (in the ways that matter to customers) as this can set you apart.
  • A great product/service is NOT GOOD ENOUGH. You also have to be known and liked by your target audience – this is the role of marketing and advertising
  • Know your strengths and play to them. Know your weakness and plan accordingly, if you are useless at accounting, get an accountant. If you don’t understand marketing, get a mentor or agency to assist.
  • Get advice & support from everywhere you can. The local enterprise office and Enterprise Ireland are there to support. Also attend industry events, conferences, meet-ups and the Google breakfast briefings etc.
  • Don’t be afraid to fail, it is one step closer to success!

Get your entries in and good luck!