Tuesday, March 31, 2009

core genius

"In writing advertising it must always be kept in mind that the customer often knows more about the goods than the advertising writers because they have had experience in buying them..."
- John Wanamaker
He also said: "Half the money I spend on advertising is a waste. The problem is I don't know which half."
Often called the Father of Advertising, Wanamaker was a genius in merchandising. He understood the core premise of advertising: it's about the consumer.
How often do we forget the consumer or donor when we write, design and publish? How often is our audience pushed aside for organizational detail and sector language? How often do we allow our own tastes to influence our decisions?
In my early marketing years we were asked to beat a very successful control package. It reigned supreme for over 10 years. In my youthful naiveté I thought: "How hard could it be?" So Kev and I (Kevin and I have been working as business colleagues and partners for more than 15 years -- why mess with a good thing?) created a test piece. The core idea resonated with each of us, but when the creative was done we both looked at it and said: "We really hate it."
It out performed the control considerably.
What we were so close to forgetting was: it isn't about what I like or what I would respond to. It's about our audience.
Before we launched the new creative we did a focus test group with people who matched our audience demographics. They loved it. So we decided to include the piece in our test.
Had we relied on our own tastes and design leanings we would have made a big mistake.
Every day I challenge myself to think beyond myself and look to the demographics, the tests and the results. When I am in a meeting and there is a lot of chatter about what the likes and dislikes of the people in the room, I know immediately I am not in a marketing meeting -- I am in a room of amateurs.

Monday, March 30, 2009

outside of my little box

As a marketer I often wax eloquent on the benefits of outside of the box thinking. My natural idealism is multiplied many times by the cultural cynicism of my post-modern environment (alas, yes, I am old enough to still fit into that piece of the world). For my entire life I have been encouraged to see outside the box -- which, of course, in one of the many grand ironies of our world, is simply another box!
Of course, the new generation lives in a completely different "box."
Some day we'll talk about that little box... but my real point is how do I, as a marketer, learn?
I speak to marketing experts every day.
But, interestingly, it's rare that I see a new approach or even an interesting test. Yes, the web is a new environment -- but we are still applying our boxed solutions to it. We all read about the multi-dimensional opportunities of digital marketing -- but what are we dong?
There is a fine line between applying known marketing principles and just doing the same old, same old.... what are you learning?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Facebook is counting

The fastest growing group of users is women over 55... but they are still a small segment of the Facebook population.
Today's count?
6 million users 13-17
19.5 million 18-25
13.4 million 26-34
9.7 million 35-44
4.6 million 45-54
2.8 million over 55
The biggest demographic is women in between 19 - 25.
How have you been successful in using Facebook?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Notion of "Free"

Ongoing question: how free is social networking?

Nissan had no budget to release the Rogue -- so they chose viral. But let's be honest here. How free is viral? They still had to produce the video (a couple of hundred thousand dropped there). They posted and tracked (hours and hourly fees). So when all is said and done -- the off hand comment that "social is free" means we didn't pay for ad space.

Social provides a convenient space for posting. The production of that posting still needs to be considered in the equation.

Be smart -- use social media, but understand the budget implications.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

3D glasses

"It's like going to a 3D movie without the glasses."
That's from Ian Schafer CEO of Deep Focus.
Some context?
Using the same measurement tools for web as for traditional marketing (how do you define engagement?)
Don't limit the success of your digital marketing by limiting the analysis. It all starts with understanding what purpose your web site plays in your overall marketing strategy.
While that sounds simplistic and encourages a "DUH!" Hang on...
Too many organizations are trying to put everything they know on their sites. It becomes a dumping ground for organization clattertrap. (you used to store this in cardboard boxes in an off-site storage unit.)
Even though they have access to analytic tools -- no one bothers. The plethora of data seems complicated and confusing.
The most difficult barrier to an effective website is content. Once the content is active, it's analysis... what are you doing to integrate your web site into your strategic plan?

Where is the party....

I sat in a meeting yesterday afternoon where we were planning a launch... the tag line of the meeting seemed to be "but we have to be careful, we don't have budgets this year."
The alternative to marketing seemed to be social networks... Facebook, Twitter, RSS, My Space....
Let's get serious.
Social networks are not an alternative to serious, ROI driven marketing. First of all, users of social networks are there to play. They are adept at ignoring the nonsense on the side bar and hone in on the latest photo updates.
As a marketer your role is to increase the profit of your company. You do that by strategic marketing, understanding the return on investment of everything you do.
Don't get me wrong... play with social networks, experiment, be there. But understand that there is a cost. Someone has to have the time to play with it.
The most important function of social network sites is to help you understand your customer.
We are in the early days of digital and interactive marketing. Keep your eyes open... it's going to be a fun ride.

Monday, March 23, 2009

trapped in SEM

Ever think that technology is moving faster than you are?

SEM: Search Engine Marketing.... as defined by Wikipedia (I couldn't resist) is: Search engine marketing, or SEM, is a form of Internet marketing that seeks to promote websites by increasing their visibility in search engine result pages (SERPs). According to the Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization, SEM methods include: search engine optimization (or SEO), paid placement, contextual advertising, and paid inclusion.[1] Other sources, including the New York Times, define SEM as the practice of buying paid search listings.[2][3]

Eric Clemons, professor of operations and information management at The Wharton School for Management" says that Google's business model is all about "misdirection, or sending customers to Web locations other than the ones for which they are searching...Monetization of misdirection frequently takes the form of charging companies for keywords and threatening to divert their customers to a competitor if they fail to pay adequately for keywords that the customer is likely to use in searches for the companies' products."

So basically he is suggesting that you use your competitor's words and product lines and lead them to your site.

(That's like putting Pepsi in a Coke can and telling the Pepsi drinker that it's all the same.....)

Hard to believe -- I'm thinking that customers would figure that out pretty fast and no longer go to Google to search for the things they want.

We had some stunning success with SEM over Christmas.... what drove the numbers?

The organization's real name.

What sank success?

Using leads that brought searchers to something they weren't expecting.

I'd say that misdirection is poor use of SEM -- but there are still a lot of people out there experimenting without the benefit of knowledge, tests or marketing savvy.

If you want to read the whole article go to http://searchengineland.com/search-ads-are-misdirection-advertising-17028 (You'll have to cut and paste... the add a link button did not add a link....) (I apologize for the language!)

Friday, March 20, 2009

OK -- not trapped...

The history of advertising parallels the history of competition. We advertise, market, fund raise to gain attention in order to promote our product. It's really that simple -- the more people that hear about our product, service or mission, the more will come alongside.
What is confusing the market today (and it has been confused before) is the complexity of channels. Intuitively we believe that integration will optimize results, but we have not yet truly realized the advantage of integration between brand and direct.
It's easier for a campaign. TV drives to web or phone... but how about web driving to TV? Or radio to print? Or radio and web to TV and print?
Ultimately our budgets prevent solid integration -- we simply can't afford to use all channels.
So we need to choose the channels that serve us best.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Are we trapped?

When it comes to tackling digital media, agencies and brands are still too locked into traditional ways of doing business to exploit the full potential of advertising and marketing online.
Lots of controversy on the ability of marketers to integrate between brand, direct response and interactive vehicles.
It's a challenge.... how do we integrate vehicles, maximize our ROI and spend in a downturn?