Monday, December 22, 2008

Emerging Media Trends


One of the first posts of this Blog was entitled "What I do Know." In that post I spoke vaguely of the power of web sites, social networking and blue tooth technology. At that point in time I was sure that social networking sites were the way to start a buzz and that emerging media were a trend not to be ignored. As I have progressed, studied and researched I have stumbled across facts that contradict my initial thoughts, but one thing remains true; emerging media is something that is here to stay and without proper knowledge and utilization, marketing campaigns will not be able to compete with those that effectively and efficiently make the most of this media. Further, I would like to offer my prespective on the future of emerging media.

50 years from now, instead of seeing a media mix that is primarily divided so that broadcast and print have the majority of allocation, we will see that non traditional and electronic communications will receive the majority of allocation. I believe that as consumers become more and more hurried and the world continues to speed along, traditional media will be pushed to the side, but not be trampled on and lost. Television, print and radio advertising will still be around but non traditional approaches and electronic communications will be the leader in terms of monies spent and allocated and will generate a significantly higher ROI than more traditional media.

The 2007 Marketer Profiles Yearbook reported that in terms of expenditures, traditional media has grown by a mere 0.6%, which is the smallest gain in traditional media since the 2001 recession. Additionally, P&G CEO A.G. Lafley Jr. stated that advertising spending has shifted from traditional media to spending on internet advertising, in store and trail activity. When domestic advertising spending is compared between 2005 and 2006, the percentage of gain for the internet is higher than TV or print. Even though spending is less on the Internet, the medium gained 17.3% between 2005 and 2006, cable television only gained 3.4% and local magazines only 7.9%. This trend shows that electronic communications is prevalent and through time, perhaps 50 years, will surpass over traditional media.

Fascinatingly, in this fast passed world, technology has allowed the consumer to absorb the same amount of information in 1 year that took 100 years in the 17th Century. It has become our culture to operate at an extremely face pace which ultimately will result in traditional media being pushed to the side and marketing to follow the new culture that will reflect the changing consumer.

In an article entitled “Marketing in Accelerated Culture,” Jay Patissal explains that “Agencies and marketers must develop and implement ideas for fastpace” (Pattisall, 2006). According to Pattisall, through the coming years we will see the development of marketers becoming savvy on utilizing the internet and creating quick advertisements. Broadcast and print will continue to maintain the same or slightly lower rates and it is not likely that any of the traditional media today will become overly antiquated.

References

Pattisall, J. (2006, March 21). Marketing in accelerated culture. MarketingProfs. Retrieved October 27, 2008 from http://www.marketingprofs.com/6/pattisall1.asp.

Advertising Age Data Center 2007 Marketers Profiles Yearbook. (2007, June 25). 1-104.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Search Engine Advertising

It has to be said, search engine advertising is the next big thing in emerging media. But, did you know that search engines are 15% commercial and companies such as MSN and AOL are not exactly honest about their use of “sponsored” sites throughout their search results?

Further, 70% of searchers don’t look past the first or second page of search results; this number is astonishing especially considering all the ads that are probably located within those first two pages.

When ethics are considered, I don’t find it unethical to post information that is paid as long as it is clearly identified in the search that it is in fact an ad. What’s interesting is that a simple search for travel on AOL and MSN delivered remarkably different results. Each company listed their travel service high on the first page of results and on MSN’s results page, AOL was no where to be found. This is concerning because as a consumer I want search results to contain unbiased information that yields results that I can trust and use. When I hear that companies such as the aforementioned are acting without scruples, then I begin to become concerned about the reliability of search results.

Google did score high in both the McLaughlin’s article and the National Public Radio segment. A Google search gives the consumer unbiased, honest search results with the obvious sponsored links on the top and side that are differentiated by a different color background. In fact according to McLaughlin, “Google deliver(s) exceptionally relevant matches and it’s also the best of the bunch at identifying ads” (2002). The company holds such high merit that it received two awards at “PC World’s 20th World Class Awards.” I think that companies should use Google as a model in applying ethics to search advertising.

I also think that internet search advertising will be a benefit in the long run in that it inspires competition; companies bid on how much they are willing to pay each time a consumer clicks their ad and the biggest bid gets the highest spot. Also, a plus for marketers, internet advertisers are reaching only those already interested in that they are already searching for the product or service. It has the ability to reach a highly targeted audience. Additionally, search advertising has encouraged spending by small business and it has been identified as the fastest growing medium of all time.

References

McLaughlin, L., & Spring, T. (2002). The straight story on search engines. PC World, 20, 115-122.

National Public Radio news segment. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=1836736

Top 10 New Media Things to Consider in 2009


1. Make email marketing a priority


2. Explore podcasts to see how they will fit into your next campaign


3. Remain accountable for communications and utilize marketing funds wisely


4. Embrace Mobile Marketing


5. Efficiently nail down your target audience and ensure that you are utilizing the proper techniques of communication




7. Monitor Blogs for consumer feedback on your company


8. Consider Social Media but tread lightly


9. Regain the consumer’s trust


10. Become an expert on the next big thing in emerging media

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Why Email Marketing Should be Part of Your Next Campaign


Although many may shy from email marketing because of the fear that SPAM might ruin the company’s credibility, the fact is that email marketing is a powerful tool when used correctly and appropriately.

Email marketing can deliver sales and revenue and has the unique ability to create and form lasting relationships. According to Jenkins email marketing is an “incredibly underrated tool for building, continuing and extending a relationship with a prospect” (2008). Email marketing can be efficiently utilized in branding, communication efforts and loyalty. Email marketing can facilitate loyalty by offering enticing incentives though email and by developing that long lasting relationship with subscribers that brand managers live for.

If the aforementioned values aren’t good enough how do you feel about utilizing email to reduce cost? With the word recession on everybody’s lips, this is a sure sell especially when email marketing has the ability to be a great bargain.

Email marketing can also be very effectively used to create a viral marketing campaign. Samsung, for example used email in conjunction with podcasts and social networks to create a viral campaign that generated a 71.4% spike in applicants and 1.5 million votes were cast as a result of the campaign. How did they do it?

Samsung hosts a fresh film competition to find the next big film maker. 10 film crews are assembled and they have “one week to cast, shoot and edit a 10 minute film” (Miller, 2007). When faced with the challenge of promoting the event and spreading the word, Samsung fired up the viral campaign that delivered the results as described above. Part of the campaign involved sending 2 million emails to the target audience, and amazing results were delivered because this critical element was integrated into the campaign.

In closing, I hope I have convinced you to give email marketing another look and I encourage you to check back for my list of things to do in 2009. I guarantee email marketing will be close to the top on my list!
References

Jenkins, S. (2008, December 15). The truth (and lies) about email marketing. iMediaConnection. Retrieved December 15, 2008 from http://www.imediaconnection.com/content/21413.asp
Miller, S. (2007, July 23). Tool: viral marketing. Brandweek. 48, 28.

Web Site Design Blunders


Many argue that impeccable web site design is a strategy that should not be over looked. In this day and age of technological savvy consumer designing an effective web site is needed for businesses to put their best face forward. An article on eWeek.com by Jim Rapoza outlined what I agree are fatal mistakes of web site design. I would like to share the most salient with you and offer some of my own insight.

1. Making the consumer click 7 or 8 times just to reach the final checkout page. After the 3rd click the consumer has gone elsewhere for that same product.

2. Weird icons that hide important information. If the user can’t understand what the icon is for, then it shouldn’t be there. Especially, if that icon is hiding information that is beneficial for the consumer.

3. Pages filled with graphics that overwhelm the consumer

4. Scripting errors. There’s nothing more annoying than clicking on a link and getting an error message or a page that is no longer there. Not only does this practice alienate consumers, but it also shows that the website is not up to date.

5. Too much animation, it tends to annoy consumers

6. Inproper use an appropriate color scheme and font choice; chances are the realtor is not going to like black Chiller Font on an orange background.

7. Navigation that is not easy and effortless

8. Text that is full of grammatical errors.

9. Overcrowding: using too many links or providing too much information is not a good way to insure your consumers are going to find the information they are looking for.

10. Not providing a site specific search engine.

Finally, did you know that according to a study conducted by Consumer Web Watch, 65% of consumers will not purchase from a poorly designed web site, even if it means not purchasing their favorite brand. Additionally, nearly half of respondents stated that web site design or “design look” is the most important aspect of a site.

The moral of the story is that although many times web site design and maintenance is pushed aside, this may be one of the most important aspects of a marketing plan. Many consumers have stated that if a web site is designed poorly that will effect their decision to shop in the brick and mortar stores of those companies.


References

Rapoza, J. (2007, September). Jim Rapoza's Top Web Developer Mistakes. eWeek. Retrieved December 14, 2008 from http://etech.eweek.com/slideshow/index.php?directory=webmistakes.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Advergaming: to engage or not to engage


When marketing to children through the use of online games, the opportunities are endless. When looking at childhood obesity rates, marketers are faced with the moral obligation to ensure they communicate in a manner that is consistent with parents’ morals and values. Major children’s brand Nickelodeon has announced that by January 2009, their characters will only be found on products that are part of a healthy, well balanced diet. Due to societal pressure and moral obligations, marketing to children has shifted from junk food marketing to promoting “health and wellness messaging to children” (Heller, 2007). Furthermore, brands have increasingly been committed to teaching children the benefits of going outside to play rather than sitting around the house watching television or playing online.

Marketers will argue that marketing to children educates, empowers and facilitates the learning and growing process. According to Neeley marketing “can develop [children’s] critical evaluation skills, and may become more savvy consumers” (2004). Marketers have a moral obligation to recognize the learning opportunities that exist through advertising and should take care not to exploit the opportunity by imposing opinions and promoting products that are counterintuitive to growth and development.

Children are highly influenced by visual and auditory stimulus, such as animated characters in online games. Because of this it has been shown that children are more likely to recognize these characters and as such more likely to listen to their messages. Therefore, marketers have great power to influence children with these animated characters and are more likely to make these characters a main focus in online games. When used responsibly, these characters can deliver positive messages that are inline with parents’ morals and values and marketers can still promote their brand in a way that is befitting of the brand and its position.

It has become increasingly more difficult for children to make the distinction between reality and fantasy in the online environment particularly through advergames and spokes-characters. When used responsibly, marketers can use these characters and the online environment to their advantage and for the greater good of the child population.

So, now that you know some of the facts, will you engage children through advergaming?

References

Heller, &. (2007, Aug 23). Nickelodeon ends character licensing to junk food. Retrieved December 8, 2008 from http://www.foodnavigator-usa.com/Financial-Industry/Nickelodeon-ends-character-licensing-to-junk-food

Neeley, S., & Schumann, D. (2004). Using animated spokes-characters in advertising to young children. Journal of Advertising, 33, 7-23.

Do Marketers Create Brand Continuity Between English Sites and Hispanic Sites?

In a review of several Fortune 100 Companies, a startling revelation has taken place. It seems as those companies who have created sites in the Spanish language do not take as much care in sending the same brand messages. I was always taught that as you flip through a site you should always be aware that you are in the same sites. Many times when sites are updated or have been taken on by a different person, the site look changes and consumers are more apt to receive conflicting brand messages. This same principle should be applied when constructing a site in different languages.

For example, Disney and Walgreens both have taken the time to create sites for Hispanic consumers that are in the Spanish language. That’s great, but these sites don’t appear to offer the same promotions and they don’t have the streaming videos and animation like the English sites do. Also, it must be noted that the younger group of Hispanic American consumers prefer to be spoken to in English and they prefer a people of Latin decent for visual orientation.

An article I read stated that even though in 2000 Hispanics “represented over 50% of the U.S. population growth” (Kutchera, 2008) marketers have still not embraced the online medium as adamantly as other media. The article goes into some detail concerning options for using the online environment to market to Hispanics. It is a great read for those companies looking at more effectively marketing to the Hispanic community.

References

Kutchera, J. (2008, December 4). New targeting methods for reaching u.s. hispanics. MediaPost. Retrieved December 5, 2008 from https://webmail.us.army.mil/en/mail.html?lang=en&laurel=on&cal=1.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Black Friday: The Results Are In!

As a follow up response to my original Black Friday posting I would like to provide some interesting information on the marketing efforts of 2 super giants; Macy’s and Wal-Mart. If any of you have opted-in to Advertising Age (and I suggest if you haven’t you do as it is very informative), you have probably seen this article in your inbox; however, I am going to take a different look so please keep reading!

So my original question was, how are retailers going to manage this day of all days, the day that officially kicks off the Holiday shopping season? Both Wal-Mart and Macy’s went about their marketing in noticeably different directions. Macy’s celebrated their 150th anniversary, Martha Stewart made a cameo in the “Believe” campaign, their annual Thanksgiving Day Parade brought national coverage and “price and promotion offers” ran rampant.

In contrast, Wal-Mart concentrated on the theme “saving you money to deliver special family moments” (Young, 2008). The popular “Carol of the Bells” featuring cashiers flicking the lights above the registers in time with Christmas music was a hit again this year and of course they featured price and promotion offers just as Macy’s did.

Now what did they do online? Wal-Mart fared better than Macy’s with emerging media tactics. Wal-Mart very effectively created a buzz when they leaked their holiday catalog a week and a half early and they employed “Black Friday comparison websites and search engines” (Young, 2008) and they actively promoted Cyber Monday activity.

Macy’s employed an electronic Believe Meter on their “Believe” microsite and they had a Santa letter kit which was downloadable for free. Finally, the “Be Claus” feature allowed consumers to upload a photo and make themselves into Santa Claus.

The meat of each company’s marketing campaign lies within their mobile marketing techniques! Here’s what tops the cake! Even though my poll last week revealed that 100% of respondents would not accept mobile marketing, consumers of Wal-Mart and Macys felt exceedingly different. As Santa’s float passed observers during Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade they received a text asking them whether they wanted to receive a free download.

Wal-Mart’s mobile campaign alerted consumer “with special holiday savings, instant gift ideas, recipes, product information and reviews” (Young, 208). Furthermore they could opt in by either dialing #WMT from their cell phones or visiting www.walmart.com/mobileinfo.

In conclusion, I am happy to report that brand managers and marketing personnel have begun to actively, aggressively and positively employ emerging media in a successful manner. This trend will surely continue as we maintain the sophisticated means in which we live and interact with each other. Emerging media has proved to be an exciting turn for marketers and adds a very rich new dimension to the world of marketing.


References

Young, A. (2008, December 3). Macy’s vs wal-mart: the battle for black Friday. Advertising Age.
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