Friday, 30 March 2007

Marketers Slow To Adopt New Paths

A study by Forrester Research (Interactive Marketing Channels to Watch in 2007) has again pointed to a reluctance to innovate in marketing departments. The research finds that while email, banners and search are still a firm favourite, and blogs, podcasts, RSS, social networks, and online video are making inroads -mobile and in-game marketing are left on the side of the road. The most significant gains have been made in the social media space. In 2006 less than 13 % of marketers were experimenting with blog advertising and around 10 % with RSS, while the 2007 report found; "Today, 40 percent of marketers are using or piloting RSS while 34 percent use or are piloting blogs".

The agencies have a key role to play here in bringing these digital paths to their clients and creating the environments in which small scale test and learn strategies enable marketers to see the benefits of opening conversations with their consumers in more enlightened and interactive ways...

Wednesday, 28 March 2007

ZenZui for Mobile

Following several years of user interface research and a successful internal experiment, Microsoft have announced the launch of a spin-off company called ZenZui. Essentially promising a better way to navigate the mobile web, the user interface is represented by a series of tiles (see image below), selecting one of the tiles takes you to the content associate with it. Each of the tiles is available for relevant sponsorship you could imagine a Tile that launches the Weather Channel being sponsored by an allergy medication provider...

Monday, 26 March 2007

Now That's What I call Social Advertising

Squidoo the company set up by Seth Godin et al, is allowing marketers to buy time on their site to present their offers (i.e. 25 USD a week), users of the site then get to vote up their favorite offers. As a result, the best (dare I say most relevant?) offers get pushed to the top and generate more traffic. Now, that's what...

it's called SquidOffers and there is more information here.

Friday, 23 March 2007

CMOs & Technology-Enabled Marketing

In the 2006 annual survey, the CMO council found that their members' key concerns for the year were to:
quantify and measure the value of marketing programs and investments. Improve their efficiency and effectiveness and, finally, grow customer insight and conversations.

And how would they see technology helping?

CMO's Top 10 Technology-Enabled Marketing Initiatives in 2007
  1. Marketing performance measurement dashboard
  2. Email campaign management
  3. Lead generation qualification or reactivation
  4. Customer relationship management
  5. Customer intelligence and analytics
  6. Sales and marketing integration tools
  7. Viral word of mouth
  8. Marketing resource/process management
  9. Customer networking and affinity building
  10. Loyalty and rewards

Source: CMO Council Marketing Outlook 2007

Wednesday, 21 March 2007

More on Pay Per Action

Cost per impression, cost per click or cost per action - the one commonality is cost. And, like every cost there must be a counter-value. Advertisers (and not Google) are responsible for ensuring that that value is realised by making sure that the result of a visit to a site or a landing page is a profitable one. Start by segmenting your audience, making the landing page relevant by aligning the content of the page to the ad, banner, search result etc, test and optimise the different elements of the page and use metrics to listen carefully to what the consumers (visitors) are telling you. In the absence of this, the cost/value ratio will continue to be out of whack whatever the model.

Tuesday, 20 March 2007

Click To Action

Google have announced a beta release of its Pay-Per-Action product for AdWords. The beta will run only in the US and roll out will take place over the next few weeks. Advertisers can list as many action types as they desire. A description for each action is provided to the publishers as well as an offer of how much they are prepared to pay for each action.
AdSense publishers will be able to opt-in to display PPA ads from Google, they also get to preview the ads, including company name, logo etc, before the ads go live.

This has long been rumored - I will be watching it closely.

Monday, 19 March 2007

Market Conversations

(optimization is listening)

As Jim Stengel from P&G pointed out recently the future will be built around interactive (conversational) technologies - specifically mobile, word-of-mouth, and customer co-creation of brand experiences. He talks of turning the world's largest marketer into a starter of conversations...

Somewhat earlier, the Cluetrain Manifesto written in 1999, established 95 theses - I have listed the first 10 - the remainder are here:

  1. Markets are conversations.
  2. Markets consist of human beings, not demographic sectors.
  3. Conversations among human beings sound human. They are conducted in a human voice.
  4. Whether delivering information, opinions, perspectives, dissenting arguments or humorous asides, the human voice is typically open, natural, uncontrived.
  5. People recognize each other as such from the sound of this voice.
  6. The Internet is enabling conversations among human beings that were simply not possible in the era of mass media.
  7. Hyperlinks subvert hierarchy.
  8. In both internetworked markets and among intranetworked employees, people are speaking to each other in a powerful new way.
  9. These networked conversations are enabling powerful new forms of social organization and knowledge exchange to emerge.
  10. As a result, markets are getting smarter, more informed, more organized. Participation in a networked market changes people fundamentally.

Saturday, 17 March 2007

Code Name Titan

Steve Ballmer demonstrated Microsoft's new CRM application at the annual Convergence conference last week. The CRM Live application has been made available to 300 members of the company's technology adopters program. The company is expected to increase that number in the second quarter of this year. Microsoft CRM Live is the same application as that code named Titan for release later this year. Customers will be able to run the software as a service (SaaS) application from within Outlook or a browser window. Additionally, partners will be able to build vertical iterations for specific industries.

Brad Wilson, general manager of Microsoft CRM confirmed that usability and interoperability with other office applications will be a central focus:
"In the last 10 years, companies have spent a lot of money on deploying CRM
technology and solutions," , said during a presentation. "It takes too long to
deploy, it's too difficult to align business and IT. Probably the biggest single
issue is you've gone through all this time and expense and people don't use it."

Monday, 12 March 2007

Models For Mobile (advertising) bis...

The fact that the last 3 posts have been focused on mobile marketing is more a reflection of where relationship marketing is going rather that any personal preference I may have.

Nokia have announced the launch of a revolutionary way to advertise on the mobile – removing the barriers of working with many different operators across different markets (and of course within the same market) and increasing essential targeting and optimisation capabilities…. The Nokia ad service can potentially work on all Nokia handsets regardless of the operator. So advertisers get one company to deal with and they can target customers effectively because the gateways are run by Nokia… The keys are:
  • Virtually global reach
  • Simplicity for the advertiser
  • Advertisers can optimize their spend by delivering specific ads to target groups in specific markets
  • Consolidate metrics
  • Relevant (and therefore effective) messages to the customer

Read more here.

Thursday, 8 March 2007

Models For Mobile (advertising)

One of the most discussed mobile advertising models is to offer subscribers incentives for viewing adverts. Virgin Mobile in the US has been testing this model with its Sugar Mama program. In its first seven months of operation, more than 3 million free voice minutes were granted to over 250,000 registered customers. The model requires the users to watch TV commercials or music videos and to answer a short questionnaire after each (brevity is the mother of attention). Users can also answer questionnaires or agree to receive texts twice a week in exchange for free minutes. There are other models which are emerging such as location-based and search related. The nice thing about this one is its opt-in nature. A further development will make it more effective - targeted ads and questionnaires based on the mobile users profile and usage... A suivre

Monday, 5 March 2007

Why The Mobile Is The Biggest CRM Platform Ever

Apart from being the most broadly adopted channel. The mobile offers several advantages for relationship management over any other platform.

In an interesting post on the Communities Dominate Brands blog the authors discuss mobile as the 7th mass media. Inherent in their findings are massive opportunities for relationship marketers.

  • It is the first truly personal mass media. IT'S MY PHONE....
  • It is the first always-on mass media. The mobile is the ultimate alert and news media, faster by several orders of magnitude over any other media.
  • It is the first always-carried mass media.
  • It is the first mass media with a built-in payment mechanism. Even on the Internet, payment always required setting up a separate payment system like Paypal or giving long number series of credit card info etc. Hardly "click-to-buy". But on mobile, it is that
  • It uniquely offers the media audience the input tool at the point of inspiration.

Friday, 2 March 2007

Listen & Learn

An interesting article from DM News by Michael Grant and Jonathan Margulies discusses how multi-channel marketing is enabled and driven by technology:

  • Customer relationship management tools organize customer and prospect contact
    efforts and govern the usage of applicable data across the sales process
  • Database segmentation tools provide a foundation for the storage and profitable
    use of customer and prospect data, whether for prospecting or predictive
    modeling purposes; and
  • Marketing automation platforms serve as a “highway”
    that organizes the flow of data, resources and strategic intent throughout the
    marketing process.

The authors (rightly IMHO) identify the challenge as being to use these tools in such a manner that generates true incremental value. Technology available today can help build campaigns that listen and adapt themselves to better meet the evolving expectations of their audience. The challenge is to design listening strategies that intelligently leverage these capabilities....