Marketing Heroes: a q&a with the Digital Marketing Coordinator at Walkers Shortbread

In our second installment of our Marketing Heroes interviews, we spoke with Michael Mortimer the Digital Marketing Coordinator at Walkers Shortbread.

Michael has worked in Marketing for over 7 years, specialising in Digital Marketing for the majority of his career.

Please tell us about your brand…

Where do I start… A well-loved brand filled with such rich history and heritage.

It all started over 120 years ago in 1898, when twenty-one-year-old Joseph Walker decided to open the doors of his own village bakery with a loan of £50 and the ambition to bake ‘The World’s Finest Shortbread’.  £50? I know… a lot of money back then I believe!

121 years on and we are still owned and run by the Walker family with the third, fourth and fifth generations of the family all well-involved in the business.

Though the family have added many new products to our range during the last century, every product holds to those original values of quality and natural goodness.

Walkers Shortbread is renowned for high-quality products, starting locally many years ago, then across Scotland and now globally, as we export to over 100 countries.

We are nestled in the scenically stunning Scottish Highlands in the village of Aberlour, alongside the River Spey with additional production facilities in Elgin.

What are your main roles and responsibilities at Walkers Shortbread?

The main purpose of my role is to manage and maintain Walkers Shortbread’s online presence through multiple channels — via search, website, social media and email marketing mostly. This involves creating written and visual content and then analysing and reporting content performance across these channels to internal stakeholders.

Other areas of responsibility include photography, videography and creative design to support cross-business needs.

What is your main marketing focus and goals for 2019?

My main focuses and goals for Walkers in 2019 are to continually grow awareness and engagement of our brand and products, especially in countries where our digital following maybe isn’t as engaged as it can be.  In countries where we ship to from our online shop, the goal is always to grow awareness and sales on

Another focus this year has to be within our email marketing channel, focusing on building our email following back up post GDPR and then building a successful and engaging customer lifecycle from the point of sign-up.

How important is email to your marketing mix and how much of your budget is allocated to this?

Email marketing is very important to us, especially in helping us to generate sales on our online shop. We always generate higher volumes of traffic and sales to our website when we carry out campaigns.

We do a lot of email campaigns around online promotions, new product development launches and have recently started to work more on email automation, personalisation and segmentation.

Email is a very cost-effective marketing channel for us with strong ROI.

What are the main challenges you face as a marketer?

I have to say the new GDPR legislation has brought some challenges to my role in the last 12 months, but I think the challenges of most marketers is generating and maintaining a good flow of traffic and leads to your website, and then ensuring that your website performs to meet consumer needs and expectations.

There are so many platforms for marketers to publish and promote their content so initially it can be hard to know where to focus your efforts. It’s a never-ending case of trial and error, seeing what works well and what doesn’t.

What are your 5 favourite marketing tools?

Hmm… Pure360 platforms of course, especially PureTargeting!

I would also have to say Google Analytics, Facebook Business Manager and website performance tools such as Nibbler. On the creative side of marketing, the Adobe Creative Cloud Suite also helps me a great deal in my role.

Which other marketers inspire you and why?

I will be honest and say that I don’t have a standout favourite…

What I prefer to do is continually follow well-known marketers and digital agencies, attend webinars and conferences, read the latest trends and e-books, keep up to date with the latest inspirations in Digital Marketing.

However, if I had to give one shout it would be Tim Kitchen and his team at Exposure Ninja.  They are definitely worth a follow and give you loads of good tips and advice!

If you could give one tip to aspiring marketers what would that be?

Always have a positive attitude, a ‘can-do’ approach and the desire to learn, especially in the ever-evolving world of Digital Marketing.

Be passionate and creative. Tell and sell a brand story. Let it come across in your content and have the willingness to think ‘out of the box’ creatively. Also, try to put yourself in the customer’s shoes when it comes to expectations.

I find it so rewarding in digital when you see people engaging with your brand, engaging with creative and written content you have done and then building brand trust. Acquiring customers from your content and work is a reward in itself!

What are your marketing trends predictions for the year ahead?

AI and voice assistant devices are becoming more and more popular. We only need to look at the rise of Siri, Google and Alexa of late! Talking is a preferred way of interacting and now these smart devices are fulfilling how people want to search, shop and discover new things.

I also think that email marketing is evolving, in that generic marketing emails aren’t as effective as they once were. Now it is more about automation and more importantly, personalisation.
People now only expect to see products or services that they are actually interested in. Email triggers are becoming more effective in driving conversions, such as a triggering emails based on products a user has browsed or carted online and then following up with promotional prices or discount offers.

Thanks Michael for taking the time to speak with us!

We have some great Marketing Heroes interviews lined up and if you’re an expert in the field of Marketing and would like to get involved please drop us an email, as we would love to chat.

Email Marketing Trends 2018 Report