Category Archives: Advertising

The Marketing Technology Landscape

I’m not 100%  sure how to address the growing complexity of the marketing function, except to suggest that you take some time to re-evaluate and redefine what marketing is about. Consider layering in your technology mix along with your media and marketing mix. Then bring together a team of mobilists, technologists, data analysts and creative folks and you can get the ball rolling.

– Ted Morris, 4ScreensMedia

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Social Media: Where Does It Belong?

As part of a continuing series for the ACA – Association of Canadian Advertisers, the following post offers an ‘enterprise view’ of how to organize for social media. For the most part, advertisers are keely aware that any customer-facing activity does not fall exclusively within the domain of a singular function, department or business discipline. Indeed, the cross-enterprise approach is often the only way to provide a consistent delivery of customer value and in turn get feedback on performance.  This also avoids one of the most dangerous of obstacles that inhibits business  transformation…

To read on, please go to:

http://www.acaweb.ca/en/social-media-where-does-it-belong/

En Francais:

http://www.acaweb.ca/fr/qui-controle-les-medias-sociaux/

– Ted Morris

Seeing Through the Cloud of New Media Choices

A Cloud By Any Other Name Is Still A Cloud: Outcomes are only clear once out of the cloud.

I recently had the good fortune to write an article on behalf of the Association of Canadian Advertisers – ACA. My intent was to provide a fly-over of the complexities of the current media environment and the effect of Social Media as an additive element to what the Boston Consulting Group – BCG refers to as the “CMO Dilemma”   in managing the overall media mix within a Galaxy of Media Choices. To emphasize – this is not a matter of choosing one communications medium over another, nor is this advocacy for Social Media. It’s about making the best choices in the determining the optimal media mix for a product category, brand or creative concept.

The ACA’s membership is advertisers. Numbering some 100+,  all are household names such as Clorox, MacDonald’s Restaurants, Coca-Cola Ltd, Hasbro, Visa, Kraft and Nokia. One aspect of the ACA’s mission is to ensure that their membership “…maximizes their investments in all forms of marketing communications”. The italics is mine, if only to underscore the tremendous challenges that face the CMO in seeing through the cloud of new media choices and effectively managing media mix resources. It’s easy to theorize and point out media success stories, it’s another thing to roll your sleeves up and do the heavy lifting.

Here is the full text of the article:

http://www.acaweb.ca/en/social-media-seeing-through-the-cloud-of-new-media-choices/

En francais: Les médias sociaux : comment s’y retrouver dans ce nuage de choix?

http://www.acaweb.ca/fr/les-medias-sociaux-comment-s%e2%80%99y-retrouver-dans-ce-nuage-de-choix/#more-3875

– Ted Morris, 4ScreensMedia

Mind The Gap

“At Gap brand, our customers have always come first. We’ve been listening to and watching all of the comments this past week. We heard them say over and over again they are passionate about our blue box logo, and they want it back. So we’ve made the decision to do just that – we will bring it back across all channels.” This is from a recent press release from Gap Inc. regarding a change in its corporate logo. The full text can be found here: link.

So the socialmedialists feel that they won the day. The people (crowd) has spoken. While some have speculated that this was a PR stunt, The Gap Inc. nonetheless appears have capitulated and reverted to its original logo. Amen.

My speculation is that this event was symptomatic of something else: a brand that is indeed struggling amidst a retail industry vertical that is recovering fairly well since the 2008 economic downturn. The stock price peaked near $26 around April 23, 2010 and has fallen 30% to around $18 today. Historically, the stock hasn’t done much in the past 5 years, remaining under $20.

From a marketing perspective, the outcome of the social media/crowdsourced and subsequent response by Gap Inc. suggests a brand that has lost control. There is little sense that the outcry actually came from Gap customers or whether the research that GAP conducted was segmented with respect to brand loyalists, frequent shoppers, Gap customers at large versus non-customers and people who generally make a habit of railing against brands for sport. To take this further, there was little evidence that Gap distinguished between social media in the broadest context or WOM – Word of Mouth otherwise known as earned media, a key metric of contextual online brand conversation. I would also surmise that the Gap’s logo wasn’t top of mind with its various customer segments as opposed to merchandise selection & availability, customer service and the on-line shopping experience.

At the end of the day, whether or not a company chooses to change its logo,  the value proposition has to be clear, strong and reflective of customer wants and needs. If the value is not there, perceived or otherwise and if the product/service delivery does not meet or exceed expectations and create conditions for repeat purchasing, logo changing will do nothing to affect corporate performance. This goes for any company in a fiercely competitive market.

– Ted Morris, 4ScreensMedia

Advertisers and Consumers Like Television

I recently heard someone ask “If ROI is so important, why do brands still advertise & market on television?” Here is part of the answer to a very complex business issue.

According to the IAB – Interactive Advertising Bureau, Nielsen estimates that, for the fall 2010-11 broadcast season, there will be 115.9m US TV households, and 294.65m persons 2+ watching. To put this in perspective, that’s almost equal to the total number of both households and population of the United States. Nielsen also recently published some key media statistics:

> 114M US households have a least one television, almost 30% own 4 or more TVs; the average American watches 31.5 hours of TV per week; kids 6-11 watch 8 hours of live TV per week.

> almost 99% of video content is watched on traditional television; 100M+ are cable and satellite TV ready.

A complementary perspective is offered by comScore. In a piece written by comScore Co-Founder Gian Fulgoni, The Lure of TV Advertising for Internet Businesses, it’s clear that even companies that are significant Internet players, are attracted to the lure of television. Some of these companies include Yahoo, AOL, Autotrader.com, Google, Expedia, Monster.com, Priceline and eHarmony. Fulgoni points out that over the past decade, television ad spend share has increased from 38% to 46%…”confirming that despite the illusion created by some media pundits who would have us believe that TV is on the ropes…”

Even as the Internet continues to grow in appeal, brands prefer television as an advertising medium. While consumers are watching more television than ever and there is no let up in sight in terms of total time spent viewing there are two key drivers, as noted by comScore, driving advertiser appeal. The first is that a lot of people can be reached, during high-rated shows, in a very short amount of time. This is very appealing to advertisers, where time is indeed money – well spent. The other is related to risk. Almost all television advertising is copy tested,especially for major brands, before going on air in order to ensure that the intended message is hitting the mark with the target audience.

With viral advertising, notably on YouTube, campaign success is largely a role of the dice. For every campaign of note, such as the recent Old Spice series, there a thousands of videos that rarely get a mention, let alone reach the people they were meant for. While it is cheap to air an ad on one of the Freemium channels, it is very difficult to understand reach and frequency in relation to target audience. You cannot anticipate who will view what, when and how often before going on air unlike television advertising that is tied to a program’s intended viewing audience. Otherwise, it’s a bit like playing media planning roulette and risking loss of control of the brand. 

As Fulgoni aptly notes “The cost of being wrong becomes substantial”.

– Ted Morris, 4ScreensMedia

Algorithms Predict, Brands Build Relationships

Bloomberg news recently published “Can Computers Predict the Next Big Thing?” a perspective on predictive analytics. 

One of the most ingenious predictive capabilities involved the identification of ‘organic’ trends in the form of viral buzz.  By seeding the most talked about items, one brand’s campaign was successful in leveraging organic content  (earned media), resulting in a spike in sales.

At the end of the day, as the article rightly implies, the power of a brand lies in its ability to persuade and strike a chord at the emotional level in humans – the very thing an application or algorithm cannot do.

– Ted Morris, 4ScreensMedia

Customer-Centric Media: Paid, Owned, Earned

Sean Corcoran, Forrester analyst, recently posted a commentary on the relationship between earned and paid media. He makes some good points to which I have added my 2 cents in italics:

“…there are still many social media “experts” who believe that paid media has no role in social media marketing. This is also wrong.  Absolutely. It also underscores why one should avoid such “experts”. True experts take the agnostic approach and provide a balanced perspective of the choices available to managers in the appropriate business context.

In fact, paid and earned media can have a very close relationship and should be leveraged together (along with owned media) for the best results. Here are some ways in which paid and earned media can work together: 

  • Brands use advertising to scale participation for their social assets (this has been especially leveraged by brands on Facebook)
  • Advertising content can become viral (e.g. Old Spice campaign)
  • Advertising creative can be co-created with the community
  • Listening platforms can provide real-time assessments of campaign success (like a mirror to word-of-mouth, or maybe like a fun house mirror)
  • Earned media can become advertising content (often happens with ratings and reviews)
  • Social media data can be used to target audiences through online media (see Media6Degrees or 33Across)

This makes so much sense as companies are looking to form bonds with their consumers via conversations. The best marketing campaigns leverage multiple media whether it be broadcast to create brand awareness or POS or print/local radio for promotion and social for generating Word-of-Mouth brand mentions & buzz.

> Social Media content creation is very hard to scale. Viral growth is open-ended and unpredictable. It depends on several factors notably creative, the social  platform and timing. Television reach & frequency is largely a matter of adspend and targeting since the medium is rich in normative audience data.

> Co-created advertising is media that can be re-used, repurposed and leveraged to drive on-going audience engagement. It also has the advantage of providing almost immediate feedback and new ideas for near real-time message refinement.

> Listening platforms, at their best can monitor all media formats. The main advantage is that they provide intelligence much faster than traditional marketing/media research.

> Earned media is the currency that acts like a ‘credit’ attributed to the brand by its constituents, whether they be advocates, influencers or a more general audience with a brand experience.

What’s the point? Social media marketing is very important but it can’t be done alone. While advertising, though on the ropes and lessening in its importance, will continue to play a role in providing scale and immediacy. Interactive marketers need to start balancing their media together for optimal results.

Not sure that I agree that advertising is on the ropes. Adspend budgets are up in 2010 while social media accounts for a fraction of the total adspend (as separate from digital adspend). In summary the keyword, as Corcoran says, is balance. Since the “Galaxy of media choices“, to paraphrase the Boston Consulting Group, is extensive and complex, it’s a matter of making the right choices in context of the brand, the measurable objectives and target audience, as the best way to optimize adspend and results.

-Ted Morris, 4ScreensMedia