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Huge congratulations to our Managing Director, Susan Hallam, who was made an MBE in the 2018 Queen's New Years honours. This appointment is in recognition of Susan's contributions to entrepreneurship and innovation, and her lifetime work in digital marketing.

Susan Hallam MBEThe awarding of an MBE recognises Susan’s national and international reputation for digital excellence.

She is an enthusiastic and inspirational leader in the digital field.  Her pragmatic and infectious passion for making businesses successful on the internet has been shared with thousands of businesses across the UK and internationally. Her thought leadership benefits a wide range of businesses, from multinationals to startups.

Her innovative approach to digital marketing benefits not only the business community, but extends as well to her own agency, Hallam Internet, which she founded in 2000. Now employing more than 50 people, Hallam has experienced rapid expansion and growth, and are already looking to recruit 9 new team members in 2018.

Susan leads a team of digital specialists whose innovative work has been recognised by winning a wide range of peer-reviewed digital marketing industry awards. Hallam has also won local accolades including Nottingham’s Creative Business of the Year 2017, and Susan has personally won the Women in Business Awards Creative Business of the Year

I had the chance to catch up with Susan and ask her a bit more about her MBE, and where she feels the world of digital marketing is heading.

Congratulations on Your MBE, Susan. Has It Had Time to Sink In?

I have to admit when the brown government envelope appeared in my post at home, I thought it might be the tax man chasing me. Instead, it was a letter from the Cabinet Office informing me that the Prime Minister was proposing my name to the Queen for the honour of an MBE.

To be frank, I couldn’t believe it – and who would have thought all those years ago as a little girl in America that I would be receiving an honour from the Queen!

I’ve had to keep the knowledge of the award secret since mid-November or so. It’s given me a chance to reflect on my amazing colleagues at Hallam, and I see this award as recognition for all the brilliant people I work with.

The MBE reflects especially on my work at Hallam, but my digital career also extends over my time as a senior lecturer in Computing at Nottingham Trent University, as well as the pioneering work I did at BT in delivering the internet to small businesses in the UK.

What Are Your Predictions for Digital in 2018?

When it comes to digital marketing, the rate of change is accelerating and 2018 will be no exception to this rule. One particular trend, Artificial Intelligence (AI) – and more specifically machine learning – will continue to transform the digital space. AI is how the Amazon Alexa understands and interprets your voice commands, how Google generates responses to search queries, and how Facebook cleans the spam out of your feed.

The big change for 2018 is the cascading of AI from the technology giants to the general business marketplace. One practical application of AI is the set of tools that give a personalised experience to your digital visitors.

Services like Google Optimise use AI at the heart of its tools to design and test different variations of your web pages to see which are most effective. Sophisticated email marketing platforms automatically segment and target specific audiences in your database. And when it comes to Google, the use of machine learning enables your business to use automated targeting, automated bidding, and automated ad creation to efficiently and effectively address your target market.

It may be super cool that your new iPhone X uses machine learning to recognise your face, even as your face ages over time, but don’t let the hype surrounding AI blind you to the ways in which it can help you solve your own specific business problems. AI is one technology that gives a competitive advantage to well-established businesses over nimble startups. Successful businesses will usually have a treasure trove of data idling away in various corners. Data is the food that feeds the AI engine, and your business may already have a headstart. How can you use this data to solve your business problems? And there exists a range of AI tools already on the market that you can utilise.

Combine your data with these tools, and this could give you a significant competitive advantage in 2018.

And, finally, I predict the new GDPR (General Data Protection Act Regulations) will cause serious problems for some businesses in 2018. GDPR comes into effect in May 2018 and businesses will need to make a number of statutory changes to remain compliant; otherwise they will face the risk of a penalty of up to €20 million or 4% of annual global turnover – whichever is higher. Businesses already compliant with current Data Protection Act regulations will find the transition easier. But there remains a significant set of actions businesses need to take regarding how they handle data, how they obtain consent, and to reassess all their current marketing data to ensure they meet with the regulation. We have written a GDPR digital marketing compliance guide here.

Huge congratulations to Susan for her MBE in the field of digital marketing, and here’s to a successful 2018 for Hallam Internet!




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