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Lorna Denby — discovering more than just the latest in digital

Lorna Denby| Freelancer | Sunnyside Red

Standing outside the British Museum on a very wet December morning, I was thrilled to have received a bursary to attend the AMA’s Digital Marketing Day 2018 which was due to start at 9.30am. As a freelance marketer, branching out on my own having established earlier this year, the bursary enabled me to attend this incredibly useful and inspiring day in London.

Attending the event, I gained a real insight into the inner workings of some truly remarkable organisations and some top tips from digital technology experts. It has made me even more excited to support small businesses through my consultancy and I will certainly be incorporating some of these learnings into my future work. Highlights for me were:

Anne Lise Kjaer’s keynote on futurism & storydoing was fascinating, focussing on societal needs and wants, the evolving digital society and the importance of integrity by not just giving lip-service to the message. She believes we are all global citizens, living in a new diverse and no-age society, this is something that really resonated with me. Anne Lise also discussed the fact that people are increasingly focussing on their wellbeing by turning to mindfulness.

Lucy Sinclair’s talk summarised how the Royal Opera House has moved from focussing mainly on their core super-fans to seeking new customers. They were too reactive and drastically needed to change by becoming more data-driven and using this data to inform their strategy. The way the marketing budget was spent was also overhauled – despite a smaller budget there was an increase in investment in marketing technology and the brand – but a decrease in promoting productions and individual shows. They focussed on 2 main areas: growing income while reducing costs, and growing reach. They spent the time working out where to spend the time, a huge undertaking for any organisation no matter how big or small, but well worth the effort. By taking the time to really look at what they were doing and strip everything back to become more data-led, more agile and less reactive they have increased their revenue by £2m, while also cutting costs.

In the final elective talk of the day, Chris Unitt from One Further gave a great summary of some useful external tools to use to gather data and insights such as Similarweb, Treejack and Usabilityhub. As a freelancer, tools such as these are not only great timesavers but also give you real results to take to clients.

The world of marketing is evolving and it’s exciting to see UK companies looking at the benefits and impacts rather than seeing marketing as “the department of colouring in”. Done well marketing can have a huge impact on a business of any size, so it’s great to be in a position to offer small businesses an insight into the benefits that marketing brings. was established based on many of the principles that were discussed and it’s been great to have this model validated as well as pick up some new ideas.

Would I recommend applying for a bursary? YES! Applying for the bursary was straightforward and made me focus on what I wanted to do with SunnysideRed. The biggest hurdle I had to overcome was self-doubt. It’s very easy to become isolated from the world of work as a new Mum setting up a business, but I’d encourage anyone wondering whether the AMA would support their application to try applying. I got so much out of the event including confidence, meeting some interesting people, sharing stories and ideas, and making some new contacts. Overall the AMA Digital Marketing Day 2018 was a really insightful event, full of top tips and interesting case studies, I hope to be back next year to learn more.

My 3 top benefits of attending Digital Marketing Day 2018 were:

  1. Insights from the Royal Opera House case study and their data-led, less is more approach to right-size their marketing.
  2. Networking and helping others with problems / giving advice.
  3. A number of the sessions confirmed that I am on the right track and increased my confidence in my marketing skills.