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August 26, 2015

Is Social Media Marketing Dead? Thinks Out Loud Episode 135

August 26, 2015 | By | No Comments

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Is social media marketing dead? Probably not.

Is Social Media Marketing Dead? – Headlines and Show Notes

You might also want to check out these slides I had the pleasure of presenting recently about how to lead mobile-focused digital transformation within large organizations (a topic we’ve been talking about a fair bit lately). Here are the slides for your reference:

Contact information for the podcast: podcast@timpeter.com

Technical details: Recorded using an Audio-Technica AT2035 studio condenser microphone through a Mackie Onyx Blackjack USB recording interface into Logic Express 9 for the Mac.

Running time: 16m 54s

You can subscribe to Thinks Out Loud in iTunes [iTunes link], subscribe via our dedicated podcast RSS feed (or better yet, given that Google has now killed Reader, sign up for our free newsletter). You can also download/listen to the podcast here on Thinks using the player below:

Tim Peter

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March 27, 2015

8 Amazing Social, Mobile, Millennial Marketing and E-Commerce Posts

March 27, 2015 | By | No Comments

Social, mobile, Millennial marketing and e-commerceAnother busy week, Big Thinkers, so we’re going to get right to the list with this round-up of 8 amazing social, mobile, Millennial marketing and e-commerce posts. Enjoy:

  1. Leading off, eMarketer tells us that mobile will account for 72% of US digital ad spend by 2019. Um… that’s a lot. Of course, when you consider that, no, Millennials never put down their phones and that the path to purchase starts and ends on smartphones for UK Millennials (and probably most others, too), it’s not terribly surprising.
  2. All of the above highlights why I believe mobile will disrupt your industry and offer 3 ways to protect your business. With the number of mobile and Millennial milestones we keep reaching, it’s happening incredibly fast, too.
  3. One of the biggest disruptions ahead is coming in the form of Google’s new “mobile-friendly” algorithm. As Search Engine Land notes, Google’s mobile-friendly algorithm is bigger than Panda or Penguin and the company has also clarified that the mobile-friendly algorithm will roll out over a week, be a yes/no response & more.
  4. GetElastic also helps you get ready for your mobile-heavy customers, with a look at mobile content in context: rules of responsive experience and these 7 tips for targeting the mobile-only shopper. Outstanding stuff there.
  5. Further underscoring the importance of mobile, TechCrunch notes that Yelp hooks up with startups to offer a larger selection of e-commerce bookings. That also underscores my “predication” about why Apple might choose Yelp as its go-to search engine.
  6. And this boom in mobile e-commerce is the reason eMarketer advises you to make way for the digital, deal-seeking Millennial mother. Good read.
  7. Shifting to social, Marketing Charts asks, “Why Do Millennials Use Facebook and Twitter?” and BuzzFeed News says that Facebook is eating the Internet. What you really want to do, of course, it tie Millennials, mobile, marketing, social and e-commerce together, which is the point of my recent presentation, “Social Media Integration: All Marketing is Social.”
  8. And while we’re on the topic of “putting it all together,” take a few minutes to review another recent presentation, “Putting Digital to Work: 4 Key Actions to Drive Digital Transformation,”, read the 4 keys to executing on digital or listen to a recent podcast that explains why, in in digital marketing, the money is in the list.

Hope you enjoyed this look at 8 amazing social, mobile, Millennial marketing and e-commerce posts. If you’re looking for even more good stuff, don’t miss this “Baker’s Dozen of the Best Mobile, E-Commerce, and Digital Marketing Writings This Week,” these “10 Hugely Important Digital, Mobile, and E-Commerce Observations from the Past Week”, the “8 Must-Read Posts Connecting Content, Search and Mobile Commerce”, our monthly best of round-up “10 Can’t Miss Mobile Commerce and Marketing Columns: The Top Posts from February 2015″ or the rest of our E-commerce Link Digest series.

And if you want to learn even more about how customers changing behavior shapes e-commerce and marketing, be sure an register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

You can also check out these slides and video from my recent webinar, “Digital Marketing Directions: Three Key Trends Driving Your Marketing Next Year”:

And, finally, you might want to take a look at some of our past coverage of the e-commerce, mobile commerce, and digital marketing overall, including:

Travel

  1. Why Apple Might Choose Yelp as Its Go-To Search Engine (Travel Tuesday)
  2. Among America’s millennials who travel, half have spouses and children – Tnooz
  3. Huge List of Lessons Learned at HSMAI’s Digital Marketing Strategy Conference – Travel Tuesday
  4. Expedia extends mobile dominance
  5. 7 Hot Hotel Marketing Insights: Hospitality Marketing Link Digest
  6. 5 Top Mobile Marketing Tips from Travel and Hospitality Industry Leaders | Adobe
  7. Huge List of Lessons Learned at HSMAI’s Digital Marketing Strategy Conference – Travel Tuesday
Tim Peter

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March 26, 2015

Social Media Integration: All Marketing is Social [Presentation]

March 26, 2015 | By | No Comments

Social media integration: All marketing is social

Developing an effective digital marketing strategy is critically important for businesses today. But, equally important, you’ve got to be able to execute that strategy, put it in practice, make it work. Lately, I’ve been doing more and more speaking engagements where the topic has focused not just on strategy but also on real-world examples and case studies that demonstrate how leading companies have put digital to work in their organizations (including many of my own clients’ stories).

I shared the slides from my “Putting Digital to Work” talk the other day to provide insights into how many companies have succeeded in making digital work for their organizations. Today, I thought you might enjoy these slides from a talk I’ve just given called “Social Media Integration: All Marketing is Social,” which looks at how you can build social into your overall customer experience. This isn’t just about gaining friends and fans and followers; it’s about listening to and learning from your customers, and making your marketing work most effectively by getting your customers to tell your brand story for you. In short, it’s about results.

Here are the slides for your reference:

If you want to learn even more about how customers changing behavior shapes e-commerce and marketing, be sure an register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

And, finally, you might want to take a look at some of our past coverage of the e-commerce, mobile commerce, and digital marketing overall, including:

Tim Peter

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September 22, 2014

Is Google+ Dead, Dying, or Something Else Altogether?

September 22, 2014 | By | 3 Comments

Is Google+ dead?Larry Kim writes on Wordstream’s blog that Google has dropped its mandatory Gmail integration, which used to require users to create a Google+ account when they signed up for Gmail (and some other services, too). Kim notes:

“Rumors of the decoupling of Google+ and Gmail first surfaced in the spring. Google, unsurprisingly, hasn’t exactly gone out of its way to shout about the change from the rooftops, instead choosing to quietly shelve the mandatory integration.

Although the change means that new Gmail users will no longer be forced to sign up for Google+, they’ll still have the option to do so, as you can see in the image above.”

Loads of folks have wondered for some time whether Google might be killing off its social network, especially since the departure of former head Vic Gundotra. Let me be clear: Google+ isn’t dead… but it may be dying. Despite its popularity among a focused, passionate user group (photographers, for one, seem to love the service), it’s never really caught on as a mainstream alternative to Facebook. But that’s not the important part. No, the real question, though, is whether Google+ is dying for your business.

And the answer is, for many businesses, probably not. Google continues to emphasize Google+ in its Google My Business and Google+ Brands offerings. And evidence suggests the search giant increasingly values brands in its search results. Claiming your brand’s identity within Google+ should only continue to benefit you in the near-to-mid term.

Now, does that mean that Google+ is the perfect social channel for your brand and your business? Of course not. But, to be fair, no “perfect” channel exists. Instead, use Google+ for the benefits it offers — simple content posting, clear profile for Maps and search, some favorability for search rankings. It doesn’t matter whether Google+ is dead, dying, or (most likely), evolving into something else altogether (for example, many business’s direct access to Google’s back-end directory). What matters is that you use it correctly and get the benefits you deserve.

Curious about the marketing and e-commerce trends that will drive your business in 2015? Check out the slides and video from my recent webinar, “Digital Marketing Directions: Three Key Trends Driving Your Marketing Next Year”:

And, if you’re interested in learning even more about how customers changing behavior shapes e-commerce and marketing, register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

Finally, you might also want to check out some of our past coverage of the mobile, local, social web and how to make it work for your business, including:

Tim Peter

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March 18, 2014

The 4 Rules of Social Marketing for Hotel Marketers (Travel Tuesday)

March 18, 2014 | By | No Comments

Couple by pool sharing their stayA hotel group recently invited me to talk about how they could use social media more effectively for marketing. Their key question was: “What rules exist in social media for hotel marketers?” I thought you might enjoy finding out some more about that, too.

Based on my experience, 4 rules exist when it comes to social marketing in the hospitality industry (and in most other industries, too). They are:

  1. Social is people. Your guests (or clients, customers, members, or whatever you prefer to call them), have individual needs and concerns. They’re busy folks on a mission to solve their problem, not spend a lot of time listening to you. “Social” isn’t a channel that you can use to simply shout about yourself. Well, you can. But you won’t see any positive results. Instead, you need to listen, understand, and engage with customers in social on their terms. That is, as human beings.
  2. All marketing is social. Broadly, the role of marketing is to connect customers with a solution. And since customers are social by definition, your marketing must be social, too. More specifically, you’ve probably noticed the increase in ratings and reviews in search results, and the way your competitors make it easy for their guests to share information with their friends and family and fans and followers on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and all the rest. Have you made it easy for your guests to do the same?
  3. Your brand = What you say + what guests experience. Every single guest in your hotel is now, effectively, a professional reviewer. And, as you’re likely aware, they’re more than happy to share their experiences with those friends and family and fans and followers I just mentioned. As I’ve noted before, working to increase the quality and quantity of your property’s reviews and ratings represents the single most effective way to improve your online marketing.
  4. There are no rules. As Barbossa memorably notes in Pirates of the Caribbean, these are “…more what you’d call ‘guidelines’ than actual rules.” Social media continues to evolve. And your guests’ use of social evolves along with it. The “rules” that “everybody knows” today may turn out to be different tomorrow (in fact, I’d bet on it). So, instead, you’re best bet is to test and see what works for you to drive the results you need.

Anyway, that’s a quick look at what works today. When you get a moment, you can check out the whole presentation here:

If you’re interested in learning even more about the future of e-commerce and marketing via the social, local, mobile web, register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

And you might also enjoy some of our past coverage of the social, local, mobile web and what it means for your business, including:

Tim Peter

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February 14, 2014

Why Doesn’t Social Shopping Work?

February 14, 2014 | By | No Comments

Why doesn't social shopping work?eMarketer has some fantastic new research out that shows Millennials use different social networks throughout their purchase path to post comments and buy assorted types of product. It’s a crucial fact to understanding your customers. More importantly, that fact underscores why social shopping “doesn’t work.” (Don’t worry, I’ll come back to why that’s in quotes in a moment).

First, if you ask most people what the world’s largest social network is, they’ll undoubtedly say, “Facebook.”

They’ll also be wrong.

Facebook is not the world’s largest social network. Not even close. Neither is Instagram or Google+, YouTube, Twitter, or Tumblr. None of them.

Ok, you ask, so what is the world’s largest social network? Simple: the Internet is the world’s largest social network. All the tools most people call “social networks” are in reality social platforms.

And the reason Millennials use different social platforms to talk with friends, post, and buy is because their social network—their friends and family and fans and followers—is spread across a wide variety of those platforms.

Millennials rely on different tools to bring different people into the conversation based on what their needs are for a given purchase. As I’ve said many, many times, they don’t go online; they are online. Constantly. They use the tools that help them accomplish their goal at any particular time. For instance, they might choose Tumblr and Snapchat to check with friends, then choose Facebook when, strange as it may seem, they want mom and dad’s advice. A similar dynamic typically applies to Boomers and Gen X,

Which brings me to “why social shopping doesn’t work.”

The thing is, it does work. Customers depend on ratings, reviews and the advice of friends and family all through the purchase path. The challenge is seeing your efforts across these services deliver results.

Most businesses are really bad at tracking customer interactions across the array of devices and platforms and media consumers experience all day long. (From a privacy perspective, that may be more feature than bug).

But if you can’t draw a clear picture of when your customer uses Wanelo to highlight an adorbs new skirt, Snapchat to show her friends what it looks like in the fitting room, and Facebook to check and make sure her mom thinks it’s OK to wear to her cousin’s wedding, the most common explanation is “it doesn’t work.”

But, just like believing that Facebook is the largest social network, it’s an incorrect explanation.

Increasingly, the companies achieving the greatest success selling through social are those who most effectively understand how their customers use social throughout the shopping process, then adjust their strategy and tactics to ensure they help customers every step of the way.

It doesn’t matter if you’re talking to Millennials, Boomers, Gen X, businesses, or all of the above. If you can’t tell what your customers do, what difference does it make who they are?

Interested in learning more about the future of e-commerce and marketing via the social, local, mobile web? Register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

You might also enjoy some of our past coverage of the social, local, mobile web and what it means for your business, including:

Tim Peter

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December 5, 2013

Top 5 Social Media Trends for 2014

December 5, 2013 | By | No Comments

2014 social trendsEvery year, social media marketing becomes a more important component of online strategies. The biggest social networks are still the best and fastest ways for any business to spread marketing messages. But of course, as with every online strategy and the tech world as a whole, the rules keep changing.

What will 2014 bring to the social media table? Here are five trends for marketers to watch as we enter a new year of brand building and share-focused campaigns.

Companies Will Embrace User-Generated Content

By now, every marketer understands that the biggest key to successful social media campaigns is emphasizing the social aspect—the part that encourages participation and sharing. In 2014, more businesses will get on board with the idea of user-generated content.
This is already a popular strategy on a small scale. It’s been demonstrated that social media posts that ask a question receive better responses, more traction, and higher engagement. Now, many companies will take it a step further by inviting users to submit content related to their business—photos, videos, even personal stories or testimonials.

Inviting user-generated content not only increases engagement, but also lets companies measure ROI, a constant challenge for social media marketers.

Social Media Marketers Will Need to Diversify

In less than a decade, social media networks have exploded from just a few main players to a multitude of sites. While Facebook and Twitter still reign supreme, there are plenty of other networks producing results for businesses: Google+, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, Tumbler, Vine, and Instagram, to name a few.

Next year, more companies will experiment with multiple networks. It’s important to find the social media networks that work best for your type of business, but maintaining more than one will increase your cross-channel exposure and let you introduce different types of content into the mix.

Google+ Will Become a Must

Speaking of diversity, many social media marketers will discover that Google+ simply can’t be ignored any longer. The search engine giant’s social network is steadily invading more channels. For example, the Google-owned YouTube recently launched a comment section redesign that requires either a YouTube channel or a Google+ account in order to leave a comment.

More importantly, Google’s most recent statistics reflect more than 300 million active monthly users on the Google+ network. It’s a more visual platform than either Facebook or Twitter, and comes with greater opportunities for businesses to improve their SEO through an active Google+ account.

Businesses Will Get Better at Monetizing Social
Every business wants to turn a profit. In fact, an initial stumbling block for entering the arena of social media was the big question, “But how will it make money?” Since the answer seemed to be “it won’t,” a lot of companies avoided making social media a major part of their online marketing strategy.

Facebook and Twitter both failed to generate a profit in the beginning. However, Facebook has been consistently beating revenue expectations quarter after quarter, and Twitter isn’t far behind with the recent announcement that it’s filed the paperwork for an IPO. In 2014, expect more opportunities for revenue streams to begin surfacing among social platforms.

Marketers Will Spend More on Social Media

A survey from Decipher, conducted on behalf of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) and the American Marketing Association (AMA), found that seven out of 10 marketers expect to increase social media spending in 2014.

That’s 70 percent of businesses putting more into social, compared to the 53 percent who will invest more in email marketing and the mere 16 percent who will increase print marketing spending.

Another report deals with the overall spending increase for this channel. ZenithOptimedia released a combined report and forecast that estimated social media advertising spending of $4.6 billion for 2013—up more than a billion from 2012’s $3.4 billion. And by 2015, the forecast estimates that social spending will reach around $8 billion.

Where do you see your company on the social media landscape for 2014? Let us know in the comments!

Interested in learning more about the future of marketing in a multiscreen world? Register to receive a special report Tim produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

And, if all that’s not enough, you might also enjoy some of our past coverage of the trends shaping the social, local, mobile web and what they mean for your business, including:

About the Author:
Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.

Image credit: Image courtesy of falco.

Tim Peter

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November 26, 2013

How Facebook Thinks About Travel (Travel Tuesday)

November 26, 2013 | By | No Comments

If you didn’t get a chance to make it to PhoCusWright last week (like me, I’m afraid), Tnooz has a few videos up, including this gem from Facebook’s director of products, Sam Lessin, about the role social plays in travel.

Some of Lessin’s talk overlaps with things I’ve talked about before, such as how mobile has made it an “all e-commerce” world.

Check out the video when you get a chance here (and, if you’re having issues with the embed, you can view the video on Tnooz here):

Of course, I also think you’d benefit from reading more about this topic, both here on Tim Peter Thinks and around the web. If you’re interested in learning more about the future of e-commerce and marketing via the social, local, mobile web, register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” It’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, (though the lessons apply to just about any business). You can get your free copy of the report here.

You might also enjoy some of our past coverage of the social, local, mobile web and what it means for your business, including:




Tim Peter

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November 6, 2013

Why Isn't Social Working? – Thinks Out Loud Episode 49

November 6, 2013 | By | No Comments

Content marketing and social success

Why Isn’t Social Working? Headlines and Show Notes

The Skype “Born Friends” video is here:

And, here are the slides from my “The Truth: How the Social, Local, Mobile Web Affects Sales Online and Offline” presentation:

You can also register to receive a free copy of my special report, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World,” produced in conjunction with Vizergy, here. While it’s targeted to the hospitality industry specifically, most of the lessons apply across verticals.

Contact information for the podcast: podcast@timpeter.com

Technical details: Recorded using a Shure SM57 microphone
through a Mackie Onyx Blackjack USB recording interface into Logic Express 9 for the Mac.

Running time: 16m 31s

You can subscribe to Thinks Out Loud in iTunes [iTunes link], subscribe via our dedicated podcast RSS feed (or better yet, given that Google has now killed Reader, sign up for our free newsletter). You can also download/listen to the podcast here on Thinks using the player below:

Tim Peter

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November 1, 2013

Email Marketing: When & How Often to Hit Send by Megan Totka

November 1, 2013 | By | No Comments

Email marketing timingDespite the rise of social media and mobile technology, permission-based email lists are still the reigning champion of online marketing strategies. A recent study from ExactTarget showed that a staggering 77% of consumers prefer email for receiving permission-based marketing over other channels In fact, we’ve been calling email “the forgotten social network” for several years now.

Of course, you need the right strategies to make email marketing work for you. Your email marketing campaigns should have compelling subject lines, a professional and aesthetically appealing design, and great content to help you overcome Gmail’s tabbed inbox interface.

What’s missing from this list?

Timing.

Why Timing Counts in Email Marketing

In order to be effective, your marketing emails need to be opened and read. Your catchy headlines and fantastic content will be wasted if your emails get lost in the shuffle. There are a lot of reasons people delete emails unread, or open them without actually reading the content and subsequently forget about them. Many of these reasons are related to timing.

The trick is to send out your emails at the best time of the day, on the best day of the week, and at the right intervals to get as many people as possible to open them.

How Often? Finding Your Email Marketing Interval

The best send frequency for email marketing messages has long been a subject of debate. If you look, you can find evidence that less is more, more is more, and every range in between is the “right” one, too. So how do you decide?

Fortunately, there are a few basic rules to apply here. We know that if you send email too often (say, every day), your customers will get either bored or annoyed, and start deleting your messages unread—or unsubscribe. And if you don’t send often enough (say, quarterly or bi-annually), your customers will forget who you are and what you do. In effect, you’re starting at the beginning of the conversion funnel every time.

The right interval really depends on your business, your customers’ expectations, and the type of content you send. If you use email lists to send out information-packed newsletters with lots of articles and resources, monthly is a good interval—it takes time to put all that information together, and quality is more important. If you’ve got a list for new subscribers that you’re using to send a series of building content, you might want to get those out close together—say three times a week.

In general, once a week or once every two weeks is a good interval. That way you’re not burying your subscribers in emails, but your messages are arriving often enough that they’ll remember you.

When to Send: Best Days and Times for Marketing Emails

Knowing which days of the week and times of the day more people open emails can give your email marketing campaigns a boost. Recent research from MarketingSherpa asked email marketers to let them know which days of the week gave them the best results. According to the findings:

  • Weekdays are more effective than weekends
  • Tuesdays had the highest effectiveness, with 26% saying their campaigns performed best on that day
  • Wednesdays are a close second at 23%, while Thursdays at 18% beat out Mondays at 15%, and double the effectiveness of Fridays at 9%
  • Sundays are the worst, with 42% saying they’re least effective. Saturday is right behind Sunday at 39% least effective.

As for the time of day, earlier seems to be better. Emails sent between midnight and 3 a.m.—so they’re waiting in your subscribers’ inboxes when they first check their email—are most effective, according to the latest Email Marketing Metrics Report from MailerMailer.

Of course, the best way to find your own most effective days and times is to analyze the results from your email marketing campaigns with send timing in mind. Find out when your highest open rates are, and adjust your mailing schedule accordingly.

Interested in learning more about the future of marketing in a multiscreen world? Register to receive a special report Tim produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

And, if all that’s not enough, you might also enjoy some of our past coverage of the social, local, mobile web and what it means for your business, including:

About the Author:
Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.

Image credit: Image courtesy of William Warby.