Category Archives: Blog


Interactive marketing – what is it and why it matters?

Marketing is a constantly changing field; it plays a key role in raising brand awareness, generating new sales leads, building customer loyalty, and creating a company communications strategy both on and offline. One new trend in this field is interactive marketing, which is changing the way consumers engage with businesses.

lead_pho Thanks to social media, which has created much more intimacy and connection between brands and customers, there is now a greater expectation upon how much engagement should be available. Interactive marketing is another way of developing this, and is about responding to something that a customer specifically does, rather than taking a vague and blanket approach. It’s sometimes referred to as ‘trigger-based’ or ‘event-based’ marketing. The action is led by the consumer, who starts this chain of events off.

An example of interactive marketing can be seen when you go to a fast food chain and order a hamburger. This will be followed with another question, such as “Would you like fries with that?”, It sees the purchase of one product trigger another purchase.

lead_phoThis can again be seen on sites such as Amazon, when you put an item in your basket and the website generates a list of other possible buys with the headline “Customers who picked this, also bought…”. This relies on collecting and digesting visitor behaviour, and using clever algorithms and technology to show meaningful information to the customer. This may also see the site recommending products that relate to something you looked at months earlier, or placed an order for previously.

Interactive marketing is much more personal and tailored than other types, and therefore can help to drive up sales results and increase conversion rates. It can additionally play a key role in improving the overall customer experience. In putting the best suggestions or opportunities to your customers at all times, you are showing them that you have been paying attention to what they’ve been doing, ordering, and what they’re interested in. It builds engagement and brand loyalty, and makes for a more pleasant experience.

lead_phoIt doesn’t have to be time intensive on your part – no one at Amazon sits around watching your movements on the site, making manual suggestions. It is all tracked by computers.

Interactive marketing can be as straightforward as all other types of marketing, such as promotional merchandise. It can also lower marketing costs, because happy customers will naturally refer you and keep coming back for more. They will enjoy the personal experience. It can also increase sales, increase customer satisfaction, and build a clear sense of branding.

However, interactive marketing should come as part of a wider strategy, rather than being the only type relied on. Promotional products, for example, help to spread brand awareness with new customers that may not have heard of you before. Once they’re directed to your business or site, this is where interactive marketing can kick in. It also helps in recognising that not everyone is alike, and people need to be targeted in a number of different ways.

Lauren 1

A day in the life of our jet-setter, Lauren Alexander…

Hi, I’m Lauren and I have worked at Creative Emporium for nearly 6 years now. Yorkshire lass born and bred, I live in Saltaire with my fiancé Dominic.

My role has changed a lot since I started! Starting out as an Account Manager, I worked with great clients like Deloitte and the University of Manchester. I later moved into my current role as Client Services Manager, responsible for training all our CE sales staff on customer service processes, to make sure everything runs as smoothly and effortlessly as possible. I work to improve the service we offer clients by managing projects that focus on client interaction.

I also act as HR Manager across the group, fulfilling the need for the recruitment, induction and training of new staff.

My favourite part of my role is meeting all the new recruits that enter the business! Introducing them and helping to get them settled into their new roles. The business is fast paced and that means I’m always looking at new opportunities and working on new projects. I do this alongside our Account Managers and Executives, ensuring our team develops and we offer the best service possible.

I love planning and going on holidays! I went with a group of friends this year for a joint 30th celebration in Las Vegas and San Francisco. I’m also recently engaged and taking on the mammoth task of planning a wedding. I’m surrounded by Pinterest boards!

If I’m not planning holidays or my wedding, I’ll be exploring the new bars and restaurants that pop up around Leeds, it’s a great place to be at the moment. I also love a good crime drama or detective novel, but who doesn’t like a whodunnit?

For our next ‘day in the life..’ blog, I nominate Dave Lister, our systems and CO3 expert, in addition to self-confessed coffee snob!


Dark Social – why you can’t ignore it…

Since 2012 the phrase ‘dark social’ has been mentioned with increasing frequency amongst many marketing circles. It sounds like something you might expect to hear about in a Batman movie, but it’s actually all to do with your traffic, referrals and how you are able to track it.

lead_phoTypically businesses will have many different analytical softwares in place to help them see where people are coming from, how they’re finding out about your company, and who they’re sharing it with. This includes Google Analytics, which provides a very detailed account for users of their website and the impact social media can have.

However, dark social is a concept that Alexis C. Madrigal, senior editor at The Atlantic, introduced to refer to content that is shared in ways that cannot be measured by web analytics programs. So how does this work in reality?

augmented-reality-1853592_1920Essentially, you may see an article about the value of promotional merchandise or a list of the top 5 promotional products your company needs. A journey would have occurred for you to find this, which would be possible to track. For example, you may have googled a specific search term, or seen the link on social media.

If you were to cut and paste the link to this article or product listing and send it to someone in a messenger services, such as e-mail, SnapChat or Whatsapp, then you have just engaged in dark social. To the person whose link you’ve shared, you will look as though you are direct traffic, even though a referral process took place behind the scenes. Without recognising the impact of dark social, brands can be misled into thinking they’re getting more direct traffic than they actually are.

lead_pho The article or listing you have shared in a one-on-one capacity rather than through social media means there is traffic coming to your site that you can’t always effectively measure. It is thought by Radiumone that dark social accounts for 84% of consumer sharing. Much more is taking place in private, even though 90% of social marketing ad budgets – on average – is spent on social networks. Dark social typically occurs on mobile devices, with 62% of clickbacks happening this way.

It’s important for businesses to consider the impact of dark social when looking at their social media marketing strategies, and implementing trackable sources for analytical purposes. Dark social is, as the name suggests, a lot more about being social and shows an awareness in customers of just how much technology tracks movements. Recognising this social part of the web and how customers are communicating with each other can ensure your brand or links are getting shared more frequently, and with greater success.





A day in the life of our puppy loving Autumn Watcher, Emma Killingbeck


I’m Emma and I’ve worked at Creative Emporium for 3 and a half years now. I live in Huddersfield (HTFC!!!) with my boyfriend, and a Westie dog by the name of Magnus.

I spend my days at CE working as an Account Manager, assisting some of our biggest clients, including DPD, The University of Manchester and intu. Having developed great relationships with these brands, I work with them to come up with unique, interesting products to boost their promotional campaigns.

Looking after so many people who all want different things and have different time scales is certainly my favourite part of the role, however juggling all the different briefs can be quite a challenge!

The diversity of the role means I take care of everything from proactive sampling and sales, to managing stock and heading out to meet our clients face to face. In addition, I work closely with our design team to brief in new product ideas, as well as manage and develop our client’s online stores. Generally handling every single problem under the sun!

Outside of work I like to make sure I’m always busy seeing friends and family. If I’m at home there must be something wrong! Every night of the week you can find me out and about meeting friends or walking Magnus.

On the rare occasion you do find me at home I’ll spend an evening watching some good old TV, especially when there are Autumn Watch updates to catch up on!

Next up! I’m going to pick our uncanny Client Services Manager, Lauren Alexander!

marketing 1000 words

10 books every marketer should read

Marketing is constantly changing, and it is important for any marketer or business to stay abreast of this. Along with attending training days and workshops, you can also spend time reading great books that will offer real marketing insight and advice. But which do you opt for when there’s so much choice? Here’s our run-down of the top ten books you should be adding to your bookshelf…


1. Spin Sucks: Communication and Reputation Management in the Digital Age by Gini Gietrich

lead_phoThere’s a saying that ‘all PR is good PR’, but often being on the tail-end of negative feedback can actually be more of a hindrance than benefit. It’s important to always manage your reputation through your marketing; and with social media enabling greater communication amongst your customers than ever before, it’s important to find out how to achieve this balance – along with forming honest relationships with your customers.








2. Hug Your Haters by Jay Baer

lead_phoEmbracing complaints effectively can be a make-or-break for your business, so find out how to offer high-quality customer service and build marketing tactics that will keep your customers happy.









3. The Challenger Customer: Selling to the Hidden Influencer Who Can Multiply Your Results by Brent Adamson, Pat Spenner, Nick Toman and Matthew Dixon

lead_phoIf you’re selling into the B2B sector, this is a great book for navigating your customers and finding ways of tapping into new areas that you may not have already considered.









4. Buyer Personas: How To Gain Insight Into Your Customer’s Expectations, Align Your Marketing Strategies, and Win More Business by Adele Revella.

Understanding your customer can be hugely important, especially when deciding on what promotional products to use or how to develop your branding. It makes it less about guesswork and enables you to integrate more strategy into your marketing plan. This helps to bring discipline to your work, and build your outreach effectively.








5. The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini

lead_phoThis book has been revised many times over the last few years, constantly providing top insight into the latest marketing trends. It shows just how valuable it can be when you’re able to persuade your customer effectively, and apply a persuasive argument to your brand.








6. Marketing 4.0: Moving from Traditional to Digital by Philip Kotler and Hermawan Kartajaya

lead_phoReleased earlier this year, this book will help your business move into the hugely profitable digital arena. It will guide you on ways to influence your customer on their journey, getting them to become more aware and start acting. It contains plenty of practical advice and first-hand examples, showing how to boost productivity and redefine customer engagement.








7. Marketing In Less Than 1000 Words by Rob Burns

lead_phoAvailable as a Kindle edition, this book has been downloaded over 40,000 times. You can read it within 15 minutes, meaning you don’t need to spend hours devoting time to pouring over it. It remains inspiring and thought-provoking, covering the major principles of successful marketing and learning how to understand your customer.









8. Profitable Social Media Marketing: How To Grow Your Business Using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn And More by Tom Kitchen, Yvonne Ivanescu, and Luke Nicholson

lead_phoDigital marketing is just as important in reaching out to your customer as promotional merchandise. It’s time to tap into social media effectively to broaden your network.









9. Content Marketing Strategy Guide: Your Formula For Achieving Success Across Social Media, PR and SEO by Jonny M Buchan

lead_phoYour content plays a key role in how customers perceive and understand your brand. This is a light-hearted business book that is based on Jonny’s own experiences to provide you with a winning formula.









10. The Marketing Blueprint: Lessons to Market and Sell Anything by Jules Marcoux

lead_phoWhether you’re an entrepreneur or marketing manager, managing director or CEO, this book has everything you need to get to the next level, without spending a fortune. It’ll help you get the competitive edge over others with your product or service, and ensure you optimise better opportunities more effectively.











The top 10 marketing trends of 2017

When developing your marketing strategy, it’s always important to stay abreast of trends and developments. What’s new? What’s popular? It can all play a key role in helping to improve your performance and grow your brand.

Here are the top 10 marketing trends for 2017:

1. Mobile video

Mob_vidWith everyone wanting the next ‘viral hit’, video has surged in popularity. This has been aided by platforms such as Facebook, which automatically starts playing a video as you scroll over it on your news feed. In 2015, mobile video views accelerated six times faster than the number of desktop views. In addition to this, by Q4 of 2015, mobile views were the most popular way of engaging with video.

2. Interactive content

int_photoGetting your audience to engage with your content not only helps in spreading your brand message and building loyalty, but it can also help you capture very valuable information about your customers. For example, if you’re offering quizzes or polls, it’s possible to learn how they feel about key issues that could affect the way you market your brand to them. Even something as simple as a quiz about their personality type or where they live can help you understand how to target them and build up a customer profile for your marketing strategy. Ultimately this allows your clients and potential customers to enage with your brand before they have even thougjht about becoming a customer.

3. Promotional merchandise

mason jarsPromotional products are continuing to grow in popularity thanks to their ability to spread your message effectively while also remaining affordable. They’re a key way of sharing your branding with potential customers. Research suggests that, after receiving promotional merchandise, 85% of people will go on to interact or do business with the advertiser. Additionally, it holds longevity as a means of marketing your business – more than half of consumers will keep a promotional product for anything between a year and four years.

4. Influencer marketing

lead_phoWith everyone building their own brand on social media, blogging about their favourite products and experiences, and sharing all this with their ever-growing network, marketing is moving away from the traditional avenues. Rather than focusing solely on reaching magazines and print publications, paying for expensive advertising, brands are now getting influencers to share their products. Not only are they seen as thought leaders, but people who follow them also trust them. They have an intimacy with their audience as though it was a friend recommending a product to them. Typically, influencers will only work with brands that they genuinely believe in, which adds credibility.

5. Virtual reality

augmented-reality-1853592_1920Virtual reality headsets have truly hit the market in recent years, and can now be picked up costing anything from £14.99 (at ALDI), £119 (from Samsung), or £499 (from John Lewis). Given how accessible and popular they are, virtual reality offers a whole new way to share your brand message, and invite people into your ‘world’.

6. Artificial intelligence

gears-1236578_1920Algorithms truly are running the world – a lot more than we realise. They are learning patterns and behaviours that can mathematically compute the best way for a business to react. They predict powerful insights that can be used for analysis and strategy. Through AI you can help to make better, faster and more informed business decisions that will benefit your marketing, e-commerce and product development.

7. Native advertising

dreamcatcher-1030769_1920This is when content relating to your brand is featured by a publication or blogger and resembles standard editorial content but is actually paid for, essentially giving you full control over where your content is seen and who by,  online or offline. This blurs the line between advertising and content, but many people prefer this style of advertising as it feels more authentic, less intrusive and less aggressive. It gives more credibility and approval from the publisher to your brand than just a standard advertisement. It’s less intrusive, can be more informative about your brand, and has better returns than traditional banner or interstitial advertising.

8. Livestreaming

audience-868074_1920Facebook Live has changed the way we look at livestreaming. It has made it far more accessible and recognised than ever before. It’s a great way to connect with audiences in real-time and offers unique interactions and content for your brand. It also helps to show a face to your business, even if that face is an influential blogger or influencer wearing your promotional merchandise and talking about your brand or product.

9. Stories

book-1659717_1920Whether it’s Instagram stories, Snapchat, Facebook stories, they’re essentially all about creating digital stories for your follower that tracks the movements of your brand. This helps to give behind-the-scenes insight to everything you’re doing and make it feel more personal. Customers can connect with you, and feel as though they’re seeing a side to your work that is exclusive.

10. Targeted Data Driven Marketing

custom-2078503_1920With so much data available to us, it is easier than ever to make your marketing more targeted and personalised. Whether this is through adding customer’s names to your e-mails, putting names on products to help market them, or segmenting your audience in your mail-outs to target by age group, gender or geographical location, it’s time to reach people more directly. Customers are bombarded with information from hundreds of brands, so the more you stand out in your communications and connect with them, the better. In addition you gain analytical insight into where your content works and who it is best received by.




A day in the life of our beer-loving-beardy-wanderer, James Shaw


I’m James or Jamie (whichever takes your fancy), Group Marketing Executive and one of the freshest (hairiest) faces at Creative Emporium with a mountainous 2-month stint behind my desk. I’m a half-Irish, former ‘kind-of-cockney’ who has been absorbed by the delights of Yorkshire.



In another life, I studied Chinese-language at the University of Central Lancashire, often called UCLAN (among other things which I won’t repeat). Despite a Chinese major, I have had a passion for marketing since a 3-month internship I undertook in Taichung, Taiwan (臺中), before enrolling in University, which I hoped to eventually centre my career on. After a brief existence in sales, I managed to make the jump straight into the marketing deep end.

Our Group Marketing Manager, Hannah and I are shared between 3 different brands that come under the ‘Infinity Incorporated’ group of companies. The nature of a group wide role means we frequently vault between brands, personas and tones. One moment I can be devising a tactical marketing strategy and the very next nosedive into a brochure expounding the need for moisture wicked fabric on a dry-fit sports top (for the uninitiated, it absorbs your sweat).

While leaping between businesses like a bunch of one legged monkeys fighting over a bucket of marbles is certainly the most challenging part of my role, it’s also the most enjoyable! Keeping everyday varied and constantly facing new challenges means my role could be described as anything but dull. Coming from the decrepit world of Financial Services, where marketing is often stale and feels guided by rails, it’s a bigger plus than the Swis flag to be able to face situations where I get to use my brain and a dash of creativity.

In my own time I’m a lover of food and fine beers, and not so fine ones….in fact just beer in general. I’m always up for a pint and a chinwag, even though my mind (and wallet) is usually telling me no, but my body, my bodyyy is telling me yes. The rest of the time I can be found at the gym where I enjoy training strength to hit PBs and lift big.

I enjoy travel and with a Polish better half, I do a lot of it! We met while I spent around a total of 3 years living in China and Taiwan polishing those language skills to perfection. Travel broadens the mind, and while I’m not a convert, I came back from Taiwan and its heavily Daoist and Buddhist entwined culture with a much healthier view on life.

My secret nerdy passion is an obsessive love of history, I read as much as I can, whenever I can. One of my favourite lesser-known events is the Taiping Rebellion, which sprung up in the 1850s-1860s in central China against the ruling Qing dynasty. Pretty standard, except the whole rebellion and Taiping state were led by a failed local governor named Hong Xiu Quan who found Christianity and started claiming he was the younger brother of Jesus.

Mamas making hotcakes and I’m handing one out to our amazing Account Manager, Emma Killingbeck! You’re next!



Creative Emporium in Kenya

We want to share with you some of the recent work we’ve been taking part in to provide football kits to young players in Kenya, in collaboration with the Maji Safi (Clear Water) Projects charity and their Leeds based initiative ‘Freedom4girls’, who work to provide clean water and sanitary aid, education and improved living conditions for both urban and rural communities in Kenya.


Football in Kenya

For many young people in deprived areas in Kenya, access to sports and facilities presents a way to gain skills in a potentially life long career and in many cases, find a way out of what can be extremely poor living conditions.

With the founding of the Football Kenya Federation and admission to FIFA in 2007, football in particular has become a way for many young Kenyans to find a career path which doesn’t rely on their parents needing to fund expensive education fees for their children to have a chance at a future.


Our kits  

Maji Safi Projects wrote to us to introduce a new initiative supporting local gyms and football teams in deprived areas who could benefit as a community from access to better equipment and facilities.

The charity requested our help to supply kits for a local team in a poor rural area called Kikambala, around 30km from Mombasa.

We of course were honoured to have been asked to take part in a project to provide football kit to a local team in Kenya who had never had any. We created custom garments for each of the members in their team colours, blue for field players and green for their goalkeeper.

Each kit was personalised with the players name and number, with the aim of bringing each member together and creating unity through a kit tailored to their team’s colours and character.

Check out the Kikambala boys in blue below, before and after they received their new kit!

Africa_lads_1 edit (002)_edited


The team very kindly had a message for our Managing Director Darren Cohen, who oversaw the project:

Check out freedom4girls here:



Social media trends in 2017

Social media changes very quickly as a marketing channel, and marketers need to be aware of popular platforms and shifting strategies. It plays a huge role in business branding, growth and development. Facebook alone has (as of January 2017) over 1,870 million active users with an 18% market share, which is 7% more than WhatsApp. It’s a huge space in which you can reach your community.

Here are the top Social Media platforms for 2017:


lead_phoInstagram remains popular, with 600 million active users in January 2017. For your marketing on Instagram to be effective, it requires high-quality imagery. This can be done through hiring a professional photographer and image stylist, or using a really good camera yourself. Adding a strategic bio link is important given that it is the only website link you can have on your profile. Mixing videos and images can help add diversity to your content, and adding in calls-to-action can drive your potential customers into buying from you or following your brand further.

Using influencers or partnering with other brands to share your message can help you tap into new communities and add endorsements to your product. As with Twitter, it can be important to take advantage of any hashtags that are trending, as this will help your timely posts be found by people searching through topics. Emojis can additionally help to add character to your brand and connections with your audience. If you have any promotional merchandise or promotional products, Instagram can be a great way of sharing images of these. Featuring them regularly can help develop a sense of brand identity.

Follow our Instagram account, just search creativeempo!


augmented-reality-1853592_1920Following Instagram in popularity is Tumblr, which has 550 million active users. First launched in 2007, it doesn’t necessarily work for everyone. Typically businesses within the fashion industry, publishing/broadcast media, or large websites fare best on Tumblr.

While it is predominantly visual, Tumblr has more recently acted as a speakerbox for alternative views and opinions, with it’s extensive, highly-customisable blog offering becoming somewhat of an outlet and gathering place for frustrated groups, or those who often feel that their views are marginalised or wouldn’t be taken seriously in mainstream media.

Tumblr is home to a mixture of artwork, poetry, literature and political voicing, offering a diverse and engaging blogging solution.


gears-1236578_1920The age-old favourite of Twitter comes in behind Tumblr, and has 317 million users. In 2015 it was found that 42% of Twitter’s users follow brands, making it an ideal marketing opportunity for businesses. One way of capturing people’s attention is by posting images with your post on Twitter. If you post from Instagram, these images will just show as links. It is better to post the picture direct to Twitter. This will ensure your tweet gets a good amount of space and attention on people’s news feeds. It’s also important to be strategic with your hashtags and follow relevant individuals and businesses. Additionally, it’s crucial to engage with users and respond to any questions or feedback.

Follow our Twitter account, just search @creativeempo!


int_photoA growing Chinese social media application is WeChat, developed by the same company as China’s first Social Media platform,’QQ’. First released in 2011, by 2017 it has become one of the largest standalone messaging services globally. Reaching out to businesses and individuals in China can hold great value for a company looking to expand their outreach.

When looking to make an impact on WeChat, it’s important to be innovative and creative in your content but also invest in quality. Whether it’s videos or photos, the better you can make what you post, the more likely it’ll get shared. It’s also important you use the language that is native to those you’re looking to contact and offer plenty of incentives. Developing loyalty programs can help to convert followers into buyers, and ensure they continue to repeat custom over time, recommending friends and family too.

Along with these key platforms, there are many others to consider including Baidu Tieba, Snapchat, Skype, Sina Weibo, Viber, LINE, Pinterest, YY, LinkedIn, BBM, Telegram Messanger, Vkontakte and Kakaotalk. Whichever you choose, keep in mind that your audience is watching – closely. Make sure you plan carefully and only post your best content.



A Day In The Life of Our Dog Lover, Ebony Burnett

Hiya (in a broad York accent), I am Ebony also known as Ebs or Eboneezer Goode around the town. I have recently turned 23 and have been a member of the Uniforms by Creative team for just over a year and a half now. I studied Sports Marketing at the mighty Leeds Met and pretty much came straight into my role here at Uniforms. A very important point which everyone should know about me is that I absolute love dogs. Obsessed. I will stop mid conversation to look at a dog in the street (kind of strange) and admire its cuteness. However, no dog is as cute as my little puppy Paris. I am a Liverpool FC supporter and have been since I was little. Let’s face it – I can’t rely on supporting York City.

I am the daily point of contact for some of Uniforms largest clients, ensuring they have the best customer service experience possible! This includes dealing with both existing clients and any new sites which might arise, providing sizing expertise, pricing and suggesting a range of options to suit their individual needs. As well as answering any day to day queries and creating presentations for clients, I see all of their orders through from quote stage to the delivery of the order which I find very fulfilling. This role has allowed me to develop a range of different skills. My favourite part of my role is definitely being briefed on new projects, being given full reign to select different garments and branding options for clients, then devising these into a cheeky prezzie! I have to give a huge shout out to the Uniforms team; we are a great team that work so well together providing support and laughter at all times.

The most challenging parts of my role are the issues which occur with orders (as the production girls know, there can be many!), prioritising my workload and ensuring everything is dealt with in a timely manner. Particularly during a roll-out period, this is very difficult. The Uniforms team pride ourselves on excellent customer service so it is imperative we maintain that no matter how busy we are behind the scenes.

My hobbies include playing netball at least twice a week for two different teams in York, playing a fierce GA (basically a striker if you are more football minded), spending time with my cutie pie dog Paris and socialising with a bubbly glass of prosecco. I love travelling (once I get to the place as I suffer from terrible travel sickness). I recently went to Thailand for just over 2 weeks which was a great experience and I would definitely recommend to anyone. My team would say I am a hard-core Robin Cousins fan; I have a love heart shaped frame of him on my desk so I can aspire to be like him on a daily basis. My favourite song (to the annoyance of the Uniforms team) is definitely C’est La Vie by B*Witched. Yes I know, but it gets everyone on their feet and I have no shame!

To our new Marketing Executive, Mr James Shaw – you’re up next!