Understanding Google

upscale-programme-blogFrederic Kalinke is a valued partner of the UpScale programme at Birkbeck College. He is Managing Director of Digital Animal and also runs Convertd, a digital marketing school, in his spare time. His workshop: ‘Understanding Google – A Practical Workshop on Digital Marketing’, equips students with the knowledge to fully exploit Google’s products as well as other digital marketing strategies. It provides students with valuable insights from the former Googler and is popularly attended and reviewed by Birkbeck students. The workshops are generously provided by Frederic for free, so we asked him his motivations for his involvement in UpScale and Birkbeck College.This year, Frederic ran workshops on: 14 Feb, 11 March, 13 October, 8 November. More workshops will be scheduled for next year.

What is your background?

I started out on Google’s graduate program, where I managed multimillion pound advertising budgets across AdWords, Display and Video for a number of clients from different industries. I also got a taste for product innovation by obtaining a patent for a new application that transforms YouTube into an audiovisual What’s On guide. The most enjoyable thing I did, however, was to develop my own methodology to teach Google’s myriad of solutions to businesses of all shapes and sizes.

What are you working on now?

I am MD of an advocacy marketing agency called Digital Animal. We’ve built a platform called Amigo that enables brands to deliver campaigns that transform customers into marketing assets. We believe that the digital revolution is not about the always-on connection brands have with their customers and prospects, but the connection between customers. Marketing’s goal should be to encourage and facilitate the conversations that happen when brands are not in room. Amigo delivers personalised experiences to a brand’s best customers and their friends, mirroring the experience a valued customers gets offline in their local shop. I also run Convertd where I teach digital marketing to advertising agencies, management consultancies and law firms.

How and why did you come up with the Understanding Google workshop?

We are living through a period of unprecedented transformation. The internet has ripped apart and redefined several industries within a short space of time. In order to stay on top, I believe people need to understand the principles driving online business, particularly how one acquires and retains customers in a digital age. Early in my workshop I say that understanding how Google works is as important to a business as having a bank account. It’s elementary to survival.

The workshop itself is the product of thousands of discussions with businesses. The mechanics of Google – SEO, AdWords, Display, YouTube, Analytics – and digital marketing in general is a complex subject with many interdependent parts. There are three building blocks in my teaching. First I dedicate enough time on setting the context through a number of icebreaker and thought experiment exercises. We review the digital opportunity, explain the difference between traditional and online advertising and explore the importance of data-driven decision making. Secondly, I make the workshop as practical as possible. There is a lot of audience participation and I make sure to display a cumulative glossary so that the audience can see the concepts they are learning and can put them into a context. This is because I am a big believer in the proverb that “if you tell somebody to do something they will forget, if you show somebody something they will remember, but if you involve somebody they will understand.” Thirdly I use metaphors to teach as they make the unfamiliar familiar and the new memorable. For instance, I use empire building, fishing, football and restaurants as a way to make key digital marketing concepts come alive.

What do you think students gain from attending your workshop?

Attendees will leave the workshop understanding the power of digital advertising as well as practical insights into Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), AdWords, Display, Social Media advertising, Youtube and Google Analytics. Overall I teach over 35 concepts and run a practical exercise within a 2.5 hour workshop so it’s pretty intensive. I also hope attendees leave inspired and empowered, appreciating the power that their newfound knowledge provides them, given that all industries have and will continue to be disrupted by the internet.

What are your motivations for participating in UpScale and partnering with Birkbeck College?

I am a big believer in the power of education and the idea that life is a path with no set destination. Birkbeck as an institution embodies this philosophy by offering courses for people to reskill and zig-zag. I get a lot of energy from teaching people from all backgrounds, ages and walks of life who are investing in their careers. The Upscale program is of particular interest as it focuses on technology and emphases women in tech, ethnic diversity and people with disabilities, all of which are very positive things.

What’s next for you?

My objective is to make Amigo, our technology platform, a global standard. I’ll be happy if marketing teams from around the world use Amigo to deliver highly effective and magical marketing experiences to their customers. I also want to continue running Convertd workshops across London as there’s nothing better than seeing people empowered to make the most out of the digital revolution that continues to spark and spread around us.

Testimonials from student attendees

“Really good at appealing to people who came in knowing nothing to those who already had a basic knowledge. Moved at a fast pace and kept everybody involved”

 

“The resources the Presenter included in the workbook provided for one to do more studying”

 

“Powerful insight around the behind the scenes and little known “secrets” of Google and Google Analytics. For example the How the Quality Score can reduce the cost of AdWords. Huge thanks to the Upscale Programme and Team”

 

“A complex subject was communicated in a clear and understandable way with an engaging and interesting presentational style”

 

“The presenter was able to deliver a digestible presentation and there were a few ‘eureka’ moments”

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The Future of the Book – Dead or Alive?

This post was contributed by Megan McGill, who will be starting Birkbeck’s MA in Modern and Contemporary Literature this summer. Follow Megan on Twitter

Is the book dead? Is the eBook in decline? These are some of the questions that prompted talk at ‘The Future of the Book’ panel on Wednesday evening, chaired by editor of the Writers’ Hub, Rebecca Rouillard. Speaking were Adam Freudenheim of Pushkin Press, Emma Wright of The Emma Press, and Dan Kieran of Unbound. The talk was both engrossing and informative, making the process of editing down eight pages of handwritten notes incredibly difficult. The topics discussed were wide-ranging, from the competition between physical and digital books, the relationship between a publishing house and its readership, and techniques for broadening your audience, giving an insight into the inner-workings of publishing to an audience who may not be, certainly for me personally, that knowledgeable on the topic. It certainly achieved an important closing of the gap between publishing houses and readers that Wright discusses later.

We must first discuss one of the most common questions asked to publishers: books or eBooks? EBooks have proven a massive success for international audiences recently due to the eradication of a need for postage costs; however it’s hard to translate the illustrations of a physical book into a scrolling-screen format. This is problematic with today’s books, with publishers raising their design game over the past five years, experimenting with design, paper, and illustrations as a way to reinstate the importance of physical books. Wright explained how she designs her publications to look purposely handmade as a way to remind the reader that it’s an object made by people, and therefore straying away from the corporate looks many houses have taken up.

Forming this personal relationship between the reader and publisher is becoming increasingly more important, especially when it comes to the provocative subject of the price of books. There’s been an enormous downward focus on the price of books recently; you only have to look at online marketplaces to see this in action. Books prove a better value for money than seeing a live sports game, or going to the cinema, but this pressure to keep their price low still seems to be imperative for many businesses. This doesn’t have to be the way, however. Unbound prints the names of its pledgers in the back of the books they helped fund as a way to show the direct relation between the book and the reader. Kieran explained how the public no longer want to be passive consumers like we saw in the culture of 1990s, but are seeking more enriching personal experiences.

This connection with readers also helps you to know, and therefore grow, your market. This is incredibly important for Wright specifically as she tries to sell poetry to the vast market of non-poetry readers. As a reaction to the erotica boom sparked by 50 Shades of Grey, the Emma Press published an anthology of mildly erotic verse. It’s all about knowing what’s popular and what people want in order to interest new readers, but still keeping to your own way of doing things to maintain your niche.

Did the speakers have any predictions for the future of the book? The eBook boom is levelling off, said Freudenheim, so both print and digital need to be focused on. The physical book isn’t going anywhere, with the majority of publishers still getting 80-5% of their sales from them. For Kieran the importance lies in the use of networks for both publishing houses and authors. Knowing your audience and getting them excited about your releases is the new way of selling books. People will always read and write, it’s how we sell it that will change.  Professional publishing has so many advantages and the majority of successful self-published authors end up becoming professionally published for their subsequent works because of all of these advantages. Large publishers frequently get bad press, but the good aspects of the way they work are truly beneficial. These are the aspects that need to be kept in any development of the industry if it wants to have a rewarding, and successful, future.

Thank you to all of the speakers who took the time to come and teach us about the industry and how many different forms it can take today. I learned so much and am inspired by the stories they told of their personal experiences taking what they’re passionate about and turning it into something new, and rewarding.

The speakers were:

Adam Freudenheim, Pushkin Press. Formerly Penguin’s Publisher of Classics, Modern Classics, and Reference. Now focuses on his passion, translations, discovering popular works from abroad unknown in the UK.

Emma Wright, Founder of The Emma Press. Previously worked for Orion’s eBook division. Now commissions, illustrates and edits books with her friend Rachel Piercey. Press specialises in poetry anthologies, postcards and pamphlets, soon to be releasing their first non-poetry pamphlets of short stories, essays, and plays.

Dan Kieran, Co-founder of Unbound. Unbound is a platform for authors to have works crowdfunded, but also to communicate with their audience. Inspired by the old ways of selling books in the eighteenth century, where readers subscribed in advance for a book.

Learn more about Unbound by clicking here and The Emma Press by clicking here.

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