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Content Marketing
Copywriter: Lee Bratton, Senior Account Manager, YouDirectories

Even Father Christmas keeps good content marketing records

Keeping good data records is it seems, important for all parts of life (even father Christmas keeps a list).  Yet, according to a CMI study, 40 percent of those businesses surveyed who stated they did not keep adequate records of past content marketing, experienced quite poor results. Whereas 53 percent of marketing managers who state their content marketing was very effective actually kept good documents recording previous campaigns. Keeping good records of your content marketing strategy will also help marketing managers justify their work and communication plans.  

A brand requires brand marketing and brand marketing relies heavily on credibility

A brand requires brand marketing and brand marketing relies heavily on credibility. Consumers are receiving thousands of marketing messages daily from other brands competing with yours. Therefore, if your content marketing lacks credibility, seems insincere or out-of-touch with your target audience, then consumers will not have faith in your brand. To have credible content marketing, your SMM should have fresh messages that are unique and address a real concern your target audience might have. Messaging should carry brand imagery to reinforce brand association and show you understand the needs your target audience has for your product or service.  

Where you communicate is also an important factor in implementing an effective content marketing strategy

Where you communicate is also an important factor in implementing an effective content marketing strategy. This is called a distribution channel or media channel. Again, good record keeping is vital to assess different media used, times of use, content trialled, response rates etc. Without finding the right media to distribute your message, even the best content will fail in delivering ROI. YouDirectories are specialists in local search via business directory sites because we have good record keeping analysing each campaign for ROI. But also, because we have many local directories that deliver fresh content via media channels that work best for your brand and store location.  

Different consumers will not respond the same way to your message

With the right network of local sites and page authority backlinks in place; With the right record keeping and reporting ready to analyse results; With credibility established via planned content along brand guidelines; It then comes down to how relevant the content is for your ‘local’ audience.  Many brands forget that whilst the target audience can be classified by demographics and social-economic grouping, consumers vary greatly by location. Two ABC1 25yr old females, one in Bow, East London and one in Middlesbrough, will not respond the same way to your message. The content of your business listing must therefore meet the needs of your ‘local’ audience.  

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Good content marketing won’t happen overnight. But you can make measurable improvements if you ensure your agency is keeping good records of what content works and doesn’t work, if you ensure you have fresh content relevant to ‘localised’ catchment areas and if you adjust marketing budgets to fund the media channels that deliver greater ROI while withdrawing funds from underperforming media.  No local business listing campaign should have the same content for all stores.  Email us to discuss further.   Follow the YouDirectories news posts to see the next developments.  Glossary: CMI – Content Marketing Institute SMM – Social Media Marketing ROI – Return on Investment   Required reference: YouDirectories News Article, Dec 2017, London, Content Marketing.

YouCom Chatter
Copywriter: Matt Roberts, Group Account Director, YouDirectories

Elisa sits by her proud pumpkin cat!

There are a lot of talented pumpkin carvers out there and in this article we present some stunning and funny designs from our mystery shoppers and publisher/supplier contacts. First Place – (Photo above) Elisa (or Eli) helped mummy and daddy make the pumpkins this year including a very clever cat pumpkin that looks like her top!  WELL DONE ELI !  

Elisa’s mummy, Hasnaa, carved this Owl

Elisa’s mummy, Hasnaa, carved the Owl in the main photo, shown close up above;    

Elisa’s daddy, Robert designed these masterpieces

Elisa’s daddy, Robert, went a little crazy with some fabulous and very talented efforts (clown and Alien) and although they had to be destroyed after Elisa had a nightmare the night she saw her daddy’s scary artwork, it was the combined family efforts that wins first prize of £25.00    

Elisa’s daddy, Robert created these fantastic efforts

And the same pumpkins in the daytime proves they’re genuine.    

Mr K prefers to make a monster face than use a template

Second Place – “Mr K” is the cool superhero name of Eileen’s 9-year-old.  Mr K prefers to do a monster face than use a template.  Excellent Pumpkin grimace Mr K.  We look forward to what you create next year.  But it wasn’t only Mr K’s Pumpkin that won second place…    

Eileen’s original Tinkerbell Pumpkin created using a drill bit

It was a family effort again that won second place with Eileen’s original Tinkerbell Pumpkin created using a drill bit.    

Eileen’s Pumpkin created using a drill bit

And Eileen’s second attempt of a very pretty pumpkin (isn’t Halloween supposed to be scary Eileen?).  So, Eileen and Mr K win £15.00 for 2nd place.    

Third Place – goes to Dani for this Batman and Superman inspired effort

Third Place – goes to Dani for this Batman and Superman inspired effort with crazy teeth pumpkin in the background.  But this image alone wouldn’t have won without a little help from our furry legged friends…    

Bat girl and Spider Dog to the rescue.  Dani wins 3rd place

Bat girl and Spider Dog to the rescue.  Dani wins £5.00 for 3rd place.    

Lucy and her son Tyler are missing Disney and carved a Mickey Mouse Pumpkin

Lucy and her son Tyler are missing Disney and carved a Mickey Mouse Pumpkin.  Mum and son also carved Goofy, but the photos didn’t come out so well.  However, this effort judged with photos that we can’t upload, wins a duplicate third place prize (technically 4th place) of £5.00.  Well done Lucy and Tyler!    

Louisa's boys Oliver and Benjamin win the special prize

Group Account Director Award – Louisa’s boys were very keen for her to send their pumpkin efforts again this year.  The glitter pumpkin on the left is the work of 3 year old Oliver.  The scary face on the right is by 5 year old Benjamin!  Well done Benjamin!  They win the special Group Account Director award of £7.00    

Louisa's husband creates a special pumpkin tribute to Mansfield Town

Louisa’s husband and Life-long Mansfield Town fan sneaked his own design in between the boys pumpkins late one night, a carefully crafted pumpkin showing he’s a real football fan (no prawn sandwiches for him on match day).    

Petra created a colourful pumpkin with help from her 3-year old

One of our favourite pumpkins for cuteness factor was submitted by Petra having first been drawn all over by her 3-year old.  Very colourful.    

Laura’s daughter Sophie age 3 years helped her mum make the cat pumpkin

Laura’s daughter Sophie age 3 years helped her mum make the cat pumpkin and was very insistent on how it should look (an agency creative director in the making there).  Laura’s son Alfie, age 6 years, made the other pumpkin all by himself!  Well done Alfie!  And a very cute mini-pumpkin made by Alfie too.  We’ll be sending mummy some equally cute finger puppets because we’ve run out of cash prizes.    

Marie runs a creative and engaging blog and sent in this clever design

Marie runs a creative and engaging blog and sent in the above.  Excellent effort by Marie and family and worthy of highlighting here.    

Jackie made her first pumpkin for ages after her children previously made them

Jackie made her first pumpkin for ages after her children previously made them.  Placed at the entrance to her house by the looks of it, this spooky chap will scare off trick or treat visitors!    

Afra’s Owl pumpkin is uniquely adorable

Afra’s pumpkin is uniquely adorable.  Made with her 11 year old daughter who absolutely loves owls, this ‘Owl Pumpkin’ with it’s slightly odd eyes will bring a light and a laugh to even the darkest night.  And as Afra says, how many pumpkins do you see with feet?  Well done all!    

Hannah’s son Jaxon (with a little help from dad) carved this one

Hannah’s son Jaxon (with a little help from dad) carved this and clever mum made pumpkin soup for tea.    

Simple yet slightly sinister pair of pumpkins from Laura B

We end this year’s competition with a simple yet slightly sinister pair of pumpkins from Laura B. Thanks to everyone who took part.  Always remember if you’re making something anyway, give a competition a go, you might just win!   Follow the YouDirectories news posts to see the next developments.   Required reference: YouDirectories News Article, Oct 2017, London, ‘Pumpkins 2017.

Data Marketing
Copywriter: Lee Bratton, Senior Account Manager, YouDirectories

Love your data and it will reward your brand

Love your data and it will reward your brand.  In such a competitive global economy, data marketing is necessary for every organisation.  For local search advertising, the data brands have about their customers enable better keywords and rich content for improved Google results.  Data marketing can be split into two parts.  Historical data and predictive data.  Historical data most companies have (even if they don’t collect it very well).  It will include the name and contact details but also buying recency, frequency, monetary value (RFM); interests and other transactional data.  Predictive data will look at customer geo-demographics, lifestyle, propensity to respond to different offer types etc.  

Data Gathering should be a precise exercise

But brands can’t just gather data for the sake of it.  Companies must learn to ask the right questions.  Agencies will generally help marketing managers define the information they need because they work on many different brands all wanting to increase market share from brand marketing or performance marketing.  Here are some examples of ‘brands’ that know the data they need to meet their goal.  

MI5 use sophisticated computer programs to analyse data

MI5 will be using sophisticated computer programs to analyse social media feeds, CCTV cameras (where other systems interact like number plate recognition software), Oyster card data and many more, that will help their goal to keep us safe from terrorists.  

Tesco pioneered the use of supermarket data marketing as we know it today

Tesco pioneered the use of supermarket data marketing as we know it today with the first widely applied loyalty card.  They know what you buy, what time of day (or night) you buy, how frequently you buy, what promotions are successful for you and how your eyes look around a store.  They can then combine this with social media groupings to alter buying behaviour.  As consumers we are all happy to participate because stores like Boots give us good rewards.  But woe betide you buy hair loss gel for a friend, because you’re going to receive a lot of hair loss promotions over the next six months!  

Social Media sites like Facebook have face recognition software to analyse data

Social Media sites like Facebook will have similar face recognition software to the security services and are (as you read this) even now analysing your photos to find you ‘friends’, people who look similar to your family and friends which may make you click to connect with.  They also use contextual data targeting.  Announce to your friends you are getting engaged and advertisers searching to advertise wedding services will suddenly have you added to their list of targets to receive their advert.  Now you are bombarded with wedding photographer adverts (or pre-nuptial solicitor services for the more cynical).  

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It means ‘they’ really do know everything.  If the data is used for performance marketing, which YouDirectories specialise in, then the data will help generate better keywords and rich content to ensure directory listings appear for the most relevant searches in a certain store radius.  This will also mean competitor search results are pushed down the page and often to page two, so it has an added bonus.  Targeted copywriting in directories increases calls, click-through-rates (CTR) and improves conversion rates from call to sale and from click to sale (the latter being notoriously poor).  To learn more about how data marketing could work for you, email us below.     Follow the YouDirectories news posts to see the next developments.   Glossary: CTR – Click-through-rate RFM – Recency Frequency Monetary Value   Required reference: YouDirectories News Article, Sep 2017, London, ‘Data Marketing’.

Brand Marketing
Copywriter: Matt Roberts, Group Account Director, YouDirectories

80 percent of people work in the service industry trying to keep customers happy

80 percent of people in advanced economies work in the service sector.  The marketing of services is therefore more important today than ever before. Any economic activity that creates value or some sort of benefit for people at a defined time and location, is a service.  The RAC, AA or Green Flag provide the service of car breakdown recovery.  Enterprise rent-a-car, Avis or Hertz provide the service of a car rental.  Boots, Specsavers or Vision Express provide the service of an eye health examination.  In some cases, services are coupled to products, so in the last example, an optician having performed an assessment of your vision can then sell you a pair of glasses.  

The 8 P's of Service Marketing

The way services are marketed will be different to how products are advertised.  The traditional marketing mix of the four P’s (Product, Pricing, Place, Promotion), is extended for service marketing with 4 more P’s (People, Process, Physical Evidence, Productivity). If your agency understands each of these P’s, the content for your local area business listing or local search result will have greater impact for SERP (search engine results page) success and generate a greater number of sales leads.  

Service Marketing - Product

Product In services, the ‘product’ is intangible. When you produce it, you also consume it, for in producing the service it is often at the time it is ‘consumed’ by buyers.  The service offered can be much more customised than a product therefore but brands are wise to maintain a consistent level of service offering to maintain quality and brand reputation.  

Service Marketing - Pricing

Pricing Establishing the price of your service is harder than creating the price for a product.  With a product, a company can calculate the cost of raw materials, labour, staffing, overheads.  With a service, the company must calculate a price for the intangible offering provided with that service.  For example, when choosing a restaurant, you don’t just want to be given a service of food delivery.  You also want an ambience, a view, a mood setting. Service managers seek to reduce the effort customers spend obtaining the service, including time, mental or physical effort and negative sensory experiences such as a noisy room, bad odour, poor queuing system etc. This impacts on marketing.  

Service Marketing - Place

Place Products can be sent to the consumer, but services are linked to their place of delivery.  A relaxing spa will portray a better service sensory experience (added-value) in a countryside place than in a busy city.  If the place of your service is different to competitors or enhances the service, then this also can be considered in the service marketing message.  

Service Marketing - Promotion

Promotion All marketing campaigns require promotion and education to succeed (see the blue box in the above image). Promotion persuades consumers as to the benefits of your service over the competition, encourages consumers into time-specific action and educates them with information and advice for which your service can deliver.  Services can be very quickly copied and supplied by another firm so promotion is more important in service marketing.  This makes your SERP’s more important and the right localised content on your business listing advertising is key to whether your service gains market share.  

Service Marketing - People

People Brands must focus on reviews.  Many services depend on personal relationships between your staff and the consumers.  The type of interaction received by your customers will dictate if you can retain their custom and build your customer-base from word-of-mouth advertising.  Remember, customers largely judge the service received, by how your staff delivered that service.  Here is where an agency managing a Google Places review campaign is critical to marketing your service.  Also consider other review platforms such as Facebook, Feefo, Trustpilot and social-marketing channels such as a well-managed Twitter program (YouDirectories have over 18,000 followers with high engagement for each tweet).

Service Marketing - Process

Process A ‘process’ is a set of rules by which a service operating system works. A poorly created process will lose you customers by a slow, laboured service delivery.  Here is where our UX (User Experience) research proves useful.  Understanding how customers interact with you (and with your competitors) will identify weak areas in service delivery where your process can be revised and improved.  Remember, poor processes will also demoralise staff resulting in low productivity.  Pret have a very good process.  Rules for rules and all designed to ensure that the same standard of service is repeatedly delivered to each new (and repeat) customer.  

Service Marketing - Physical Evidence

Physical Evidence Services are intangible, you cannot ‘hold’ them.  There is little to associate with them other than feelings.  Most companies therefore try to link tangible things to their service to enhance their perceived service quality. This could be the appearance of the building (the red bricks in Pret, the warm browns in Costa, the black wood in Café Nero etc); landscaping; vehicles (the bright orange of RAC, the bright yellow of the AA, the green of Green Flag etc); equipment; staff uniform; signs; promotional literature and many more. This is why your hairdressers will have a well-designed waiting area with magazines, drinks and comfortable sofas for customers waiting for the service.  

Service Marketing - Productivity

Productivity Improving productivity is vital to keep costs low and make your service more competitive.  Brands must trade productivity against making cost reductions that result in lower service levels resented by customers (and staff).  If your service inputs are transformed into service outputs that add value to the customer, then this is a good addition to place in your business listing on directory sites.  Have this productivity feature stand out prominently in your directory listing when it is pulled back by Google into the first results page.     Follow the YouDirectories news posts to see the next developments.

Glossary: SERP – Search Engine Results Page UX – User Experience     Required reference: YouDirectories News Article, Jul 2017, London, ‘Service Marketing’.

Data Marketing
Copywriter: Matt Roberts, Group Account Director, YouDirectories

Design Personalisation makes our clients adverts stand out from competitors

At YouDirectories we focus on something called ‘Design Personalisation’.  We tailor client’s advertising to show accurate local content for stores, but we also have specifically designed adverts for a local audience and personalised messaging.  These adverts have a design that is unlike anything you normally see in Yellow Pages or online and will create customer engagement to drive higher call volumes (as you can see from these images).  

A YouDirectories Advert will engage your customers

To understand the ROI from marketing design personalisation, we should first look at hospitality marketing.  Hospitality is a collection of supplementary services that adds value to a purchase by treating customers like guests, providing amenities that anticipate the person’s needs during their interaction with the service/product provider.  Hospitality marketing ensures employees treat customers as guests, greeting them with pleasure when meeting them for the first time and when old customers return.  They are creating a personalised experience for each customer.  This creates brand loyalty in a fractious marketplace.  Pret do this very well.

Pret rated the highest on personalised interaction with customers

A survey of 4,500 consumers by Market Force, asked consumers to rate their satisfaction with their last experience at a coffee shop and how likely they would be to recommend it to friends. The data was averaged to rate each company brand on a Composite Loyalty Index.  Pret also rated the highest on seven of the eight critical drivers of satisfaction, primarily driven by ‘friendliness of staff’.  Courtesy for customer’s needs extends to all forms of marketing communication.  Face-to-face like in Pret, but also telephone and online interaction.  

Brands realise the importance of customer lifecycle marketing

Brands realise that the customer lifecycle is more important than short-term sales and seek to build customer loyalty to gain repeat business and upsell opportunities.  In the USA, hospitals make a lot of money from people because they don’t have a national health service free at point of use like in the UK.  They know the reason most families start using a hospital is to give birth and with so many birthing centres and hospital, they face stiff competition.  Stiff competition and a service/product that opens the door to further ‘sales’ opportunities will require hospitality marketing to make that service or product more personal to the customer.

74 percent of marketers know personalisation is good for business

To gain new customers, brands seeking to deliver hospitality marketing messages do so via data personalisation.  According to an Econsultancy study, 74 percent of marketers know personalisation is good for business, yet the same study reveals only 19 percent of marketers are actually using personalisation.  BMW improved sales conversion rates by 30 percent by personalising their media messages with customer’s first names.  BMW know that your brand begins to have added value in the customer’s mind when you design the adverts to create engagement via tools such as personalisation.  

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The search for competitive advantage in mature industries will come down to not where you advertise but what and how you advertise.  The creation of value-added services and supplementary services to make your product/service/brand stand out from the competition.  Managers must be aware of selecting the right mix of supplementary services and the right agency will help you to do that.  YouDirectories won’t just list your store details on websites with high user numbers, we focus on ‘personalising’ your store data to become relevant to the customer on a local level.  Good Design Personalisation is an effective form of local marketing.   Follow the YouDirectories news posts to see the next developments.   Data source: Survey by Market Force, a leading global customer intelligence solutions company.   Required reference: YouDirectories News, Jun 2017, London, ‘Personalisation.’

Consumer Behaviour
Copywriter: Lee Bratton, Senior Account Manager, YouDirectories
Marketing Tips by YouDirectories Many local business’s today are overwhelmed by the variety of local marketing choices available across desktop, mobile and tablet platforms. Many don’t know where to start which is where these marketing tips help.   At YouDirectories, we understand how every local business is trying its utmost best to attract as many local customers as possible. We can help businesses outperform their competitors through local search optimisation and directory advertising. Marketing Tips by YouDirectories Accurate & Accessible Information One of the most important aspects of local search is ensuring that your businesses information is consistent, accurate and accessible throughout the web.
  • 50% of business owners have listings for their business that are not accurate.
  • 70% of business owners say they don’t have the time to manage listings on all of the sites that consumers use.
  • Only 23% of business owners have a good sense of how listings drive traffic to their business.
  If your business information is outdated or appears in different ways in different places, it will not only lower your visibility in search it will make it difficult or even impossible for potential customers to find you.   Marketing Tips by YouDirectories Optimise Your Website Make sure that potential customers can find your business in search by listing all relevant information in the website title. Create individual pages for each business location as well as each product or service your business offers. This will raise the visibility of each in search, making it easier for potential customers to find exactly what they’re looking for. Use keywords and phrasing that potential customers are most likely to use. Include basic business name, address and phone number information on every page of your website. This not only boosts SEO, but also makes it easier for a potential customer to contact or visit your business.  We recommend more than this of course for a website needs a UX focus but these are the basic tips.   Marketing Tips by YouDirectories Mobile Friendly One of the biggest mistakes your business can make is not optimising its website for mobile. 50% of local searches are carried out on mobile devices. If a potential customer attempts to access your website via mobile but is interrupted by pages not loading, sizing issues or the inability to find information, they are more likely to go back into search until they find one of your competitors. 70% of mobile searches lead to online action within an hour. Mobile users that find your business online have a conversion percentage nearly three times higher than the same search done on a desktop or laptop. Why? Because mobile users are on the go. When a consumer grabs their smartphone to search, they have a specific intent in mind.   Marketing Tips by YouDirectories Visual Content A picture is worth a thousand words, and when it comes to capturing your audience’s attention, you want to take full advantage of every chance to communicate your message. Consumers today are attracted to photos and engaging videos, they also help to boost website SEO and improve visibility for local listings. Studies show our brains not only process visuals faster, but they retain and transmit much more information when it’s delivered visually. According to Brightcove, video on social sites generates 1,200% more engagement than texts and images.  Imagine what this could do to your business listing on a directory site?  But you need the right sort of video so talk to us to get it right.   Marketing Tips by YouDirectories Don’t ignore reviews If you want your business to appear prominently for localised searches, then you will certainly need to consider how your customers are able to leave reviews for your business online. The importance of accumulating genuine and honest reviews is increasing. People are looking for reviews on local businesses to determine if they are exactly what they want or try somewhere else. Customers are now sensitised to write reviews and publish them, especially after a positive service and experience.   For 7 out of 10 consumers, positive reviews inspire trust. This highlights just how important they are for a local business, and it’s clear that reputation management is something that cannot be ignored.   Marketing Tips by YouDirectories Over 20% of searches on Google today are from users who are looking for local information and 97% of all consumers are going online to look for local companies. Using the above tips can really help to engage your customers. 83% of people doing online local searches then continue on with a number of actions offline such as phone calls, emails, visits or even purchases. What’s interesting is how consumers are researching online but buying locally.   Contact us to discuss how we can help you enhance your customer engagement using the above great tips and much more! Follow the YouDirectories news posts to see the next developments.   Glossary: UX – User Experience SEO – Search Engine Optimisation Required reference: YouDirectories News Article, April 2017, London, ‘Local Marketing Tips’.

Mystery Shopping
Copywriter: Aqsa Muzaffar, Freelance Editor
Cuddling up to a Mystery Shopper When it comes to cuddling up with your favourite thing in the world, brands want it to be something that they sell.  An American Express study revealed that 70% of shoppers spend 13% more with businesses that provide exceptional customer service.  Every company wishes to have an increase in revenue but how does one know the value of the customer service provided by their business?   Mystery shopping companies send unbiased individuals into stores to provide feedback on key areas of the customer shopping experience. These can include:
  • Interaction of staff with shoppers
  • Types of products shown
  • Types of services offered
  • Speed of service
  • Store features such as security, cleanliness, store location or ease of access.
  • Opening and closing of the sale and compliance with company standards.
  YouDirectories Mystery Shopping Inspect what you expect Mystery shoppers behave in a certain way to gather information. These are known as “scenarios.” For instance, a mystery shopper at a jewellery store may enquire about different bridal bands being sold as part of an upcoming proposal e.g. type of gold and style. After the visit the shopper submits the results collected to the mystery shopping agency, who analyse the information to provide statistical data. This allows brands to compare against previously defined criteria.   YouDirectories Mystery Shopping Sainsbury’s, John Lewis, Post office and Metro bank all use the mystery shopping tool to analyse their stores. This helps to set staff bonuses and highlight any training issues. Jill Spencer a spokeswoman for ABa states “each day mystery shoppers spend up to 8 hours visiting 5 to 10 stores, plus another hour or 2 filling in detailed reports on every aspect of their visit.” They can take home up to £155 a day and are reimbursed for petrol and hotel stays. Shoppers are repaid any money they spend and as a bonus may be allowed to keep the products they purchase.   See your brand through the customer's eyes with YouDirectories Mystery Shopping A different perspective through the eyes of a customer. With the data analysed and appropriate action taken, brands can see numerous benefits from mystery shopping:
  • Increased customer satisfaction
  • Increased sales/profits
  • Employee satisfaction. Once an employee acknowledges their role in helping create a happy customer they can benefit from a morale boost. A new-found sense of confidence will make going the extra mile second nature.
  • Any deficiencies in the customer experience can be resolved before they are seen by actual customers.
  • Reduction in the cost of advertising.
  YouDirectories Mystery Shopping Want to use mystery shopping as a marketing tool for your business? This is a short article, but if the benefits we’ve listed give thought to creating a mystery shopping programme, here is what you need to do.  Speak with an agency (preferably us) to gain an idea of process and plans.  Find out which mystery shopping service fits well with your requirements and budget. When you are ready to begin, inform employees of your intention and the ins and outs of mystery shopping (no one would enjoy being blindsided after the campaign takes place). Identify your key reasons for starting this initiative. What do you wish to achieve? Having benchmarks will also allow you to monitor the effectiveness of the programme to your company.   YouDirectories Mystery Shopping Increased Revenue Mystery shopping can be used as one of the best ways to identify your current quality of customer service available to your audience. A professional in the world of mystery shopping can give your company guidance on raising standards of your employees resulting in a win-win situation for all.  Then there are the SEO benefits from having more positive feedback said about your brand on Google. Ultimately the best way to judge the benefits of mystery shopping is to try it out yourself.   Follow the YouDirectories news posts to see the next developments.   Required reference: YouDirectories News Article, Mar 2017, London, ‘SEO Mystery Shopping’.

Consumer Behaviour
Copywriter: Matt Roberts, Group Account Director, YouDirectories
Praying with my Dog
February is known to be the most depressing month. It’s grey, wet, cold, costs are higher and we’re stuck indoors more to see each other’s faults.  This is why YouDirectories decided to run a competition to find what motivates people and to share the positive in that which surrounds us.  A positive prayer is worth a ton of negative thoughts…  

Democracy Word Cloud by YouDirectories

We are living in a time of progress.  Events such as Putin in Russia, Trump in America, Assad in Syria, restriction of speech in China etc. make us worry for democracy.  But democracy is in no danger, it is in fact at an all-time high.  Peaceful government transitions occurred in 2016 in Morocco, Japan, Ghana, Iceland, Croatia, Ireland, Lithuania, Portugal, Serbia, Slovakia, Spain and yes even in the USA.   Gambia saw the end of a 22 year rule of fear by President Jammeh when he was beaten democratically by the opposition candidate Adama Barrow and after many attempts to hang on to power, finally left office.   African girls are better protected after a ban on FGM For the first time in 50 years, Myanmar had their first civilian leader, elected by the people.  Gambia banned child marriage in 2016 along with Tanzania.  Plus, the pan-African parliament gave their endorsement to a ban on female genital mutilation (FGM) across Africa.  These are most certainly good things to smile about.   Childbirth deaths and infant mortality falls by 50 percent A WHO report showed that since 2000, worldwide deaths caused by Malaria have declined by 60 per cent!  Deaths caused by AIDS have also fallen by 45 percent.  Mothers dying in childbirth have decreased by 44 percent since 1990 and infant deaths have fallen by 50 percent too.  We undoubtedly live in the best of times.   Did you know from 2016, people can now expect to live seven extra years on average compared to those born in 1990?   The WHO also told us in 2016 that measles has been wiped out from all the Americas and that polio could be wiped out within a year!  And in western countries, incidents involving colon cancer, dementia and heart disease are all decreasing.  So, we can look forward to healthier times too it seems.   Cute Squirrel demonstrates how our love for wildlife makes the world a better place How about those cute fluffy animals for you animal lovers out there?  Well, more than 20 economies have agreed £5.3 billion to conserve the world’s oceans.  2016 saw Wolves reintroduced to Europe (umm, shouldn’t this be in the list of bad things?) and the big bad grizzly is back in Yellowstone national park! Plus, green sea turtles, humpback whales and giant panda’s are now all finally off the endangered species list whilst the number of tigers in the wild rose for the first time in 100 years – How great are we for finally getting our act together to protect the creatures we share this planet with!?   World Ozone Day!  Put the date in your diary! These positive things we don’t usually get to hear.  The media seems to be full of doom and gloom.  But take the environment for instance.  For 3 years now, worldwide Co2 emissions did not rise at all.  China has decreased use of coal since 2014 and India has announced no intention to build new coal plants for the foreseeable future.  Acid pollution is at the lowest level since the 1930’s and guess what!?  The Ozone hole (remember that?) continues to shrink from our great efforts to do something about it and is expected to be fully healed by 2050. 🙂   We're spending more with a better standard of living How about money?  Well, the amount of people below the poverty line fell by 10 percent for the first time ever.  In the last 26 years, over 1 billion people have escaped severe poverty.  In the UK, the average household income grew at its fastest rate for the last 15 years.  Plus the numbers employed is at a record high of 75 percent (although this is weighted heavily against the young with most unemployment being seen among University graduates and younger people).  We also had the introduction of the national living wage to address inequality.  With the growth of digital media, we’re also able to go shopping at any time on any day, in any place.  Meaning we rarely go without things we want.  How lucky are we to live in this age?   The YouDirectories Calendar! At YouDirectories, we try to be just as positive with others.  We decided to send our clients, suppliers and mystery shoppers a free ‘Seize the day’ calendar of daily motivational quotes and positive sayings.  Because we understand that when good people come into your life we will all contribute to a happier, stress-free world, if we communicate and stay in touch with others instead of losing good friends.   Be the reason someone smiles today...  :) We asked our large online community if you knew what the most important thing in life is and gave you this video clip from the heart-warming comedy Holy Man which contains the answer:   We invited you all to enter a competition to win a copy of this DVD.  Entrants simply had to tell us what they live by to lead a positive life.   Here are the winners and all will receive a free DVD of this Hollywood film! ‘Make them understand with love.’   – Safia Qureshi’s words to her daughter Amber.  “In all interactions, I process life and people with this!!!” says Amber.   “For a good happy life, I live by smiling at everyone, engaging with strangers, selflessly helping others and making sure my family and friends are happy around me. This genuinely makes me happy – Leyla Preston, Brand Ambassador and Chief Editor of Motherhood Diaries.  Read more from her blog here:   “My motto is ‘Do what you love, love what you do’. Try to make most of your life about the things that you really enjoy and love and put effort and love into those things too.” – Petra Robertson editor of A Mum Reviews.  Read more from her blog here:   “Not every day is good but there is good in every day” – Sabina Green editor of MummyMatters Read more from her blog here:   “Try to live each day by the laws of love, the love of family, the love of friends, the more love we put out into the world the more we get back, in life, love, business, just use love and always remember and I mean always, You are good enough and never let anyone try to tell you differently” – Mandy Charlton, Travel and Commercial Photographer See her beautifully professional photos here:    “I live by always being honest not just to my family but anybody that I talk too and spending more time with my family.” – Amy Bryant, Kentucky, USA.   “I live life to travel to spend my days enjoying the time I’m not at work, enjoying time with my 9 year old. This year I’m enjoying taking him to Disney World Florida. As a surprise :)”Lucy Greens   And here’s a few more inspired words to hopefully restore some positivity to all of us; “A diamond is just a piece of charcoal that handled stress exceptionally well.” – Unknown   “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” – Theodore Roosevelt   “Let your hook always be cast.  In the pool where you least expect it, there will be fish.” – Ovid   “To love deeply & be loved in return, that’s a rare gift from God, everything else is just packaging.” – T. Tolis   “Trust in your dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity.”Kahlil Gibran   Follow the YouDirectories news posts to see the next developments.   Glossary: FGM – Female Genital Mutilation WHO – World Health Organisation   Data source: The Times columnist P. Collins.   Required reference: YouDirectories News Article, February 2017, London, ‘The Best of Times.

YouCom Chatter
Copywriter:  Senior Account Executive, YouDirectories
Pumpkin Entry: Master Benjamin Fryatt, son of Louisa Fryatt (with help from Daddy)
Photo Credit: Master Benjamin Fryatt, son of Louisa Fryatt (with a little help from Daddy)
  When is a pumpkin not a pumpkin? When you drop it; then it’s squash!  🙂 Pumpkins are pretty hard to ignore. After all they are huge and a lovely bright orange. You can find them just about everywhere this time of year, from your front porch to your daily latte. In the spirit of Halloween celebrations, we asked our mystery shoppers to enter a competition with us. We want to thank everyone who took part, we had a lot of fun looking at all the ways people can carve a pumpkin!  There were scary pumpkins and funny pumpkins, pumpkins with amazing animals carved and pumpkins with bugs on top, even a pumpkin that looked like Peppa Pig! They were all absolutely brilliant, we found it very tough to pick a winner, but we had to choose. The winners are as follows:
(don’t forget to click on the image to see a photo description)
  Elite mystery shopper Olivia Hack wins 1st Prize! First Place – Olivia Hack for this outstanding tiger. Olivia is one of our elite mystery shoppers, if you want to know more about becoming an elite mystery shopper contact me via the website contact form.  Olivia wins £25.00   Mystery Shopper Viki Marden wins 2nd Prize! Second Place – Viki Marden, this one scared us!  Viki wins £10.00   Maya Morgan's "spooky face" and personal effort wins 3rd place!  Well Done Maya! Third Place – Rebecca Morgan, we couldn’t resist Maya Morgan’s adorable smile (while trying to look spooky) and the amazing effort that she did on this pumpkin.  Maya wins herself £5.00 to spend on her favourite sweets (with mummy’s approval of course!)   Jemma McGowan wins the special group account director award for a memorial day pumpkin in honour of our fallen heroes. Competition’s don’t have a fourth place, but we have a Group Account Director Special Award and that goes to Jemma McGowan for a Poppy Day Memorial pumpkin in honour of our fallen heroes.  The special award wins £7.00  

Congratulations to the 4 winners!

Here are a few other entries that were on our shortlist but just missed out. Luka showed her brother a thing or two when it came to pumpkin carving and Mario added a boys touch for this Pumpkin dinner guest! The Larkin family made this one; “Luka and Mario loved carving pumpkins but it turned the pumpkin’s stomach.” (Luka showed her brother a thing or two when it came to pumpkin carving, but Mario added the boys touch of sauciness to this dinner guest)   Caitlin Teo made this scary cat! (mystery shopping mum Eileen supervised) Mystery Shopper Eileen Teo’s daughter Caitlin made a scary yet cute cat:   Kieran Teo made this scary pumpkin! (mystery shopping mum Eileen supervised) Mystery Shopper Eileen Teo’s son Kieran created this one, the triangle eyes are great:   Emma Easton's effort scared everyone in the office, we even had to get it approved to publish! hahaha (precision carving skills) Mystery Shopper Emma Easton, very scary!:   Florinela Nedelcu's beautiful Halloween cat is a well deserving entry (we can't wait to see next years...) Mystery Shopper Florinela Nedelcu, cute kitty, the whiskers are great:   George Laws and Son send us a stern faced pumpkin from Scotland Mystery Shopper George Laws, the eyes make this one look extra evil:   Georgia Knight makes what must be the prettiest scary pumpkin with this lace-style effort. Mystery Shopper Georgia Knight, the crosses above the eyes look like stitches eeeeek!:   Jacinta Zechariah's stunning designs seem to float in the air Mystery Shopper Jacinta Zechariah, such an excellent effort:   Katie Shacklock's Day of the Dead style entry has soft-touch lighting elegance, a Tim Burton touch of artistry. Mystery Shopper Katie Shacklock, the bug on top is just class:   Katy Mitchell's pumpkins made us laugh.. (the poor left pumpkin...) Mystery Shopper Katy Mitchell, the one on the left looks afraid of the one on the right haha:   Kerrie Haywood produced a stunning Witch pumpkin with this photo Mystery Shopper Kerrie Haywood, wicked witch:   Another intricately carved Pumpkin by Kerrie Haywood Another one from Kerrie Haywood, outstanding effort:   Lauren Hulme sent us a Peppa Pig special pumpkin made by mummy and daddy for their daughter (clever daddy!) Mystery Shopper Lauren Hulme, this was made by her husband for their daughter who is Peppa Pig crazy:   Our mystery shopper Leyla Preston has a wonderful blog ( where she shows her creative mind like this photo of a cute little pumpkin Mystery Shopper Leyla Preston, we loved this small cute pumpkin:   Scary Pumpkins from creative Leyla Preston! Another one from Leyla Preston, scary pumpkins:   Prize winner Olivia Hack produces a 2nd special pumpkin (this witch ate a lot of mince pies with a slightly large bottom!) Mystery Shopper and first prize winner Olivia Hack, this was another entry that was submitted, the hat and broom are awesome:   Petra Robertson makes Portuguese Jam from Pumpkins!  Now that's creative! :) Mystery Shopper Petra Robertson, not a pumpkin but we loved this entry. Petra makes Portuguese Pumpkin Jam:   Shane Walker knows how to create animated characters with his Pumpkins (cool eyes Shane) Mystery Shopper Shane Walker, the eyes stand out:   Are Shane Walker's Pumpkins  cool or what?  Looks like Disney's Monsters Inc. Another one from Shane Walker, we love the teeth:   Final entry from Shane shows forward planning and perceptual artistry to get the eyes and teeth just right. One more from Shane Walker, this one made us laugh:   Tamsin Mathias shows great talent with this very spooky pumpkin for little Esme (how clever is your mummy Esme?) Mystery Shopper Tamsin Mathias, spoooookyyyy:   Mystery shoppers are keen market researchers and online media experts who undertake a variety of work for our clients and those of our parent company YouCom Media.  Work includes online questionnaires, qualitative studies, focus groups, product reviewers and many more ad-hoc market research work which assists us in supporting our clients and their brands.  We have tens of thousands of online followers and enjoy building a fun online community of new friends and valued members.  This year we look forward to sending all Elite mystery shoppers a beautiful motivational calendar which will be our next event following the Halloween Pumpkin Carving 2016.  Thank you everyone! Follow the YouDirectories news posts to see the next developments.   Required reference: YouDirectories News Article, Oct 2016, London, ‘Pumpkin Competition.

Data Marketing
Copywriter: Sam Jones, PR Assistant, YouCom Direct

YouDirectories - Millennials Surpass Baby Boomers

‘Millennials’ say it’s OK to look different to others.
By the end of 2016, they will outnumber baby boomers.  Many marketing managers rely on the baby boomer consumer segment because they have higher spending power and equity.  Millennials on the other hand are the opposite averaging just 3 years in a job before moving on versus the baby boomer average of 7 years and of course they have less to spend. By the end of 2016, the U.S. Census Bureau predicts that Millennials will “…number 75.3 million, surpassing the projected 74.9 million Boomers.”  

YouDirectories - Many Millennials are still unemployed

Many Millennials are still unemployed, despite a growing job market. Fifty-three percent of HR managers stated it to be difficult finding and retaining millennial talent. One reason could be a more demanding attitude with a wish-list regularly including;

  • Flexible work schedules

  • More ‘me time’ on the job

  • Nearly non-stop feedback and career advice from managers.

  • They also want to be “No Collar Workers” and wear jeans to work

  • Open space without walled-in offices.

  • Regular pay rises regardless of merit


YouDirectories - Baby Boomers outnumbered by Millennials may be saved by Generation X

If baby boomers are soon outnumbered by the above millennials, what does this mean for brands? There are less Millennials in work than their baby boomer parents, with less disposable income on average. Millennials are up on technology which bodes well for brands adapting to ever changing developments as well as brands looking to sell online and tech items.  But millennials aren’t very good team players and are not as loyal employees as Baby Boomers. All brands need to develop contingency plans now, ready for this shift in power as the baby boomers fall from grace and favour.  Saviour may yet come from an unexpected source, a hybrid between a baby boomer and a millennial. The demographic referred to as generation X.  

Follow the YouCom Direct news posts to see the next developments.

Millennials – Also known as the Millennial Generation or Generation Y, are the demographic that follows Generation X. For more Info: Click Here.
Generation X – often abbreviated to Gen X, is the generation born after the baby boom following World War II. For more Info Click Here.
Baby Boomers – The Baby Boomers are the generation born following World War II. For more Info: Click Here

Required reference: YouCom Direct News Article, Jun 2016, London, ‘Dominant Millennials’.