Richard Bowden is British Airways’ Digital Marketing Innovation Manager, responsible for global Social Media presence, portable device marketing and digital innovation planning.

How do you see the future of search and social media over the next 2 years?

I would expect the relationship between Social and Search to grow much stronger. Social will play an ever-greater role in a search engine’s algorithm, resulting in higher quality search results for users. This underlines the growing importance of social content and signals in SEO. Brands need to consider its potential when determining their digital marketing strategy.

What are some of the biggest mistakes that novice digital marketers consistently make?

One key consideration is to always start with a deep understanding of the customer and digital touch points and conversation points. This simple rule shouldn’t be underestimated in a fluid digital environment.

What are the top five attributes of an effective digital campaign?

A deep understanding of what the target audience values and the triggers that spark conversation, a tailored cross platform approach and scope to optimise, setting clear targets and a brave, innovative approach.

How does British Airways/your team leverage location aware marketing?

We consider not only the location, but where a customer is in their travel journey when thinking about any location aware services. This ensures we deliver the most relevant information and customers access the most relevant services as needed.

The British Airways smartphone app is an example of this. It can be personalised to allow the customer to access their flight details and allowing us to intelligently serve information and services based on where they are in their journey, such as check in alert 24 hours before the flight departs, mobile boarding pass on their smartphone before they leave the house and gate number alert or messages when they’re at the airport.

Finally, what are your favourite campaigns and why?

I thought the Yeo Valley campaign last year worked well to drive significant target audience cut through and buzz, effectively complimenting the ATL piece. I also thought the execution and placement of the Google Chrome Speed Test campaign ( was very engaging, adding warmth to a technology proposition and helping to deliver impressive results. These are just two of many others!