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From marketing leader to TikTok sensation

Jake Britten is a South Wales TikTok sensation, as well as Head of Marketing at one of our e-commerce clients, DVS. Jake first looked into TikTok as he wanted to know what all the fuss was about, having watched his step-daughter spend hours on the app during the first COVID lockdown in 2020. We sat down to ask Jake about how digital technology has changed over his career, and where he’s focusing his time, effort and resources in next year’s strategy.

N: Jake, tell us about your career so far? 

J: I began my career as a Housing Benefits Officer but soon realised it wasn’t for me. At the age of 22, I enrolled at Bristol University to study Business Management with a focus on Marketing. While my time at university was fun, I still struggle to see how the theory applies in my professional life, but it’s undeniable that my degree significantly enhanced my employability and opened doors. I then secured a role as a Marketing Admin at a small business in the automotive industry. 

Subsequently, I took a bold step to secure a position at DVS. While I may have ‘embellished’ my experience on my CV, over the past decade, I’ve proven my worth. Today, I proudly serve as the Head of Marketing, overseeing all marketing initiatives and leading a team of four talented marketeers. 

At DVS, we specialise in distributing CCTV equipment and services to the security industry, ranging from cameras to comprehensive security systems. My journey from humble beginnings to a leadership role shows the power of continuous learning, and seizing opportunities for growth. 

N: How has the role of marketing evolved over the last 10 years, and what do you consider the most significant disruptors in the field? 

J: Over the last decade, the biggest change has got to be the rapid expansion of social media. Staying ahead in this dynamic environment demands a constant immersion in emerging social media channels. It’s crucial not only to understand these platforms but also to discern how they can be leveraged to engage with your target audience effectively. 

However, managing communication on social media can be challenging, given the plethora of channels and interactions. From direct messages to untagged mentions, the volume of incoming data can be overwhelming. Yet, this surge in connectivity has also facilitated a shift towards more interactive and personalised communication. At DVS, we’ve embraced this shift by fostering direct dialogue with our customers through an active private Facebook group, enabling us to gain invaluable insights into their preferences and needs – no development happens without significant consultation with our core customer base! 

Another game-changer in recent years—and one that will undoubtedly continue to shape the future of marketing—is the integration of AI. Despite some scepticism regarding its ability to deliver personalised interactions, the key lies in understanding how to harness its full potential. At DVS, we’ve already begun implementing AI tools, which have significantly enhanced the efficiency of our marketing operations. The remarkable pace of AI development means that its current capabilities represent only the tip of the iceberg, promising even more groundbreaking advancements in the near future. 

N: Have you experienced any major fails where you’ve had to cut your losses? 

J: Our venture into podcasting, for sure. While initially well-received, we quickly realised that the return on investment was unsustainable. Podcasting is a highly competitive market, and without a clear and compelling reason for listeners to tune in, our efforts fell short. We initially relied on our personalities to carry the show, which garnered some success at the start but eventually fizzled out. 

After about 12 months, we made the tough decision to pull the plug. Despite achieving a decent number of listens, the time and resources required to maintain the podcast outweighed any benefits. We hadn’t fully grasped the intricacies of podcasting until later stages, which made the endeavour even more time-consuming than anticipated.

The initial success of the podcast led to unexpected demands from suppliers and customers who wanted to participate, creating additional pressure to continue. This unintentionally created a burden as the behind-the-scenes workload increased substantially for my team. 

In hindsight, it’s clear that we underestimated the complexities of creating a podcast and the ongoing commitment required. For anyone considering entering the podcasting realm, I would strongly advise thorough planning and consideration beforehand to avoid similar pitfalls. While our podcast journey was an educational experience, it ultimately taught us the importance of planning and realistic expectations in marketing endeavours. 

However, despite that, I’m not saying it won’t be back, so watch this space! 

N: What’s been your favourite DVS campaign to date? 

J: My favourite marketing campaign to date has got to be the one where we sent a catalogue to space! Admittedly, it wasn’t the most successful campaign, and I attribute that partly to my timing – we launched it on April 1st, so many people thought it was just an April Fools’ joke, and, to be fair, incorporating playful and unexpected elements into our brand strategy isn’t anything new – we’d pulled similar stunts before, like the IKEA flat-pack cameras the year prior. 

Despite the initial setbacks and the legal hurdles we had to overcome, the space catalogue campaign stands out as a highlight for me. It marked a departure from our usual day-to-day marketing efforts and required considerable effort to pull off. The process of retrieving the footage from space was lengthy, but ultimately, it was a project I felt immensely proud of. It’s moments like these where the support and encouragement from the DVS team really shine, they’ve consistently championed innovative ideas and continue to do so. 

N: And finally, what do you see the next trends being? 

J: The biggest marketing trend of 2024 revolves around the evolution and dominance of short-form video content. While this trend isn’t entirely new, its significance has skyrocketed, especially in comparison to long-form content like YouTube videos. Don’t leave it behind! 

In today’s fast-paced digital landscape, where attention spans are dwindling and social media consumption patterns have shifted towards platforms like TikTok and Instagram Reels, the challenge for marketers is to capture audience attention within a matter of seconds. 

Short-form videos have become the go-to tool for sales and brand promotion. They need to be concise, captivating, and deliver the unique selling proposition (USP) within the first few seconds. Unlike long-form videos, which are more instructional and informational, short-form videos serve as quick sales pitches, highlighting the value proposition of a product or service succinctly. 

However, simply creating short videos isn’t enough. Marketers must develop a strategic approach to their short-form video content. Understanding audience behaviour, consumption patterns, and the fleeting nature of attention on social media platforms is crucial. Every second counts, and marketers must craft content that resonates almost instantly to maximise the algorithm. 

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