Author: Richard Maven


Richard Maven helps run the Econsultancy blog as well as contributing to our Buyer’s Guides and other reports. He’s has several years’ experience in the telecoms/media/ecommerce space, both in the UK and the Middle East.

Q&A: Neil Durrant of Submission Technology on cashback sites

With purse strings tightening across the UK, now seems an especially good time to own a cashback and reward site. 

So we’ve posed a few questions to Neil Durrant of Submission Technology,  which has been involved in cashback for five years and recently bought the domain for a “substantial” sum.

We ask Neil how cashback sites could improve their offering to consumers and merchants (including the challenge of tracking), and how marketers could get more out of them.


Q&A: ABN Amro's Popke Rein Munniksma on virtual worlds

As head of 3D experience at ABN Amro, Popke Rein Munniksma is experimenting with virtual worlds as an opportunity to promote the bank’s brand and cut the costs of internal meetings.

Here, we ask him about ABN Amro’s virtual world investments beyond the much-maligned Second Life, the challenges of gaining internal acceptance within his organisation and how he sees 3G technology being used within the firm’s existing websites.


Q&A: The New Football Pools’ Dominic Starkey on its digital revamp

The last few years have seen football pools operators’ once-massive audiences dwindle as the popularity of the lottery and online gambling has soared. But Sportech, the company which now owns the main pools players Littlewoods, Vernons and Zetters, is attempting to see their luck turn.

Last month saw the announcement that it would bring all three brands into one website - - as well as the launch of radically different digital strategy centred around ‘social betting’. The company has also been investing heavily in content, improved analytics practices and new channels on MySpace and Facebook.

Following all that, we grabbed a few minutes with head of online marketing Dominic Starkey to see how challenging the whole process has been...


Q&A: MORE TH>N's Roberto Hortal Munoz on comparison sites

Roberto Hortal Munoz is the head of e-Business at insurance company MORE TH>N , as well as being a very well received speaker at our recent Future of Digital Marketing event.

Here, we ask him about his use of comparison sites amid growing concerns in the sector over their value to brands.

We also dig into the challenge of sales attribution across different channels and the company's various efforts around online communities.


Offline high street retailers adopt cashback scheme

I was having a look around cashback site GreasyPalm this morning and it seems that the fast-growing affiliate marketing technique is going multichannel.

The site lists five companies that are offering rewards to members that make purchases offline - high street retailers Superdrug, JJB Sports and Halfords; cinema chain Cineworld; plus roadside restaurant outfit Little Chef.

All five are offering 3% cashback on transactions, GreasyPalm says.


eBay targets multinational brands, still stingy with data

I had a pleasant but brief chat yesterday with Christian Kunz, the man heading up eBay’s newly-announced international ad business .

The division, which will be headquartered in Bern, will oversee the management of advertisers' display and text ad campaigns across 25 international sites.

It will aim to further increase eBay’s already-rapidly-growing ad revenues; a small part of its business, but one that is successful enough already to have caused concern to some in its seller community.

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Q&A: Autoglass' Chris Smith on mobile development

This week, we speak to Chris Smith, online marketing manager at Autoglass, about the company’s bid to boost customer acquisition through a new .mobi site.

We ask about the pluses and minuses of mobile development and which mobile channels are best for generating ROI.


Irish tech etailer targets US

The last few months have seen a number of excess inventory retailers announcing plans to expand from the US into Europe, as they search for new clients and buyers.

However, Luzern Solutions, a Dublin-based firm that sells such goods via eBay, Amazon and ther online marketplaces, is looking to take them on on their own turf by heading over to the US.

The company's head of marketing Jackie Brannigan tells us how the web is shaping up as an overstock sales channel, and one that many manufacturers and retailers are still to exploit fully.


Seedcamp CEO plans fund for internet startups

Tech startups across Europe are currently preparing their entries for Seedcamp 2008, the annual contest that offers five or so winners the chance to secure early stage funding and advice from a panel of expert VCs (in return for a chunk of equity).

But any not making it may not have to wait for another twelve months to get their hands on the organisation’s cash.


Q&A: Dr Dave Chaffey on Managing Digital Channels

This week, we ask Dr Dave Chaffey, author of the new E-consultancy Best Practice Guide to Managing Digital Channels (published today) to run us through the results and insights arising from the report.

Dave is director of Marketing Insights and author of several best-selling internet marketing and e-commerce books. He was recognised in 2004 by the Chartered Institute of Marketing as one of 50 marketing gurus who “helped shape the future of marketing”.

Dave is also author of three other practical E-consultancy Best Practice Guides, including those on search engine optimisation and website design.

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Q&A: Bounty’s Andrew Thomas on marketing to Mums

Andrew Thomas is the e-business director at Bounty, the UK parenting club perhaps best known for the free stuff it hands out to new Mums in their post-natal wards, and regular correspondence thereafter.

Since joining in 2005, he’s been spearheading a campaign to expand its membership and boost loyalty via the web, including the development of online community The firm now says it has 700,000 members signed up online, and 2.1m+ overall. And last year, it was bought by Canadian company Kaboose to expand its portfolio of parenting websites.

Here, Andrew tells us about his online ambitions, including the impending launch of a new educational video site, the addition of new skills to its in-house digital team and potential expansion abroad.


Q&A: Jill McDonald on McDonalds’ digital marketing rethink

Jill McDonald Jill McDonald, McDonald’s chief marketing officer in the UK and Northern Europe, hasn’t wasted much time since joining the company from BA in 2006.

She was named as the UK’s top marketer at the Marketing Society Awards in June, having helped to breathe life into the business and instigated more “rigour and discipline” in the way it goes about advertising.

Now, she tells us, the same thing needs to happen in its online activities. She says she wants to “take a step back as a brand and look at how we should be using the digital space”, and recently commissioned what looks like a fairly wide-reaching review of its web strategy.

We talk to her about what that might mean for McDonalds and how it measures success in the digital world.

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