Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Banners Are Dead, Long Live.....

Kudos to my former colleagues and (still) friends at Bridge Worldwide for the really smart banner ad (yes I said banner ad) that won the Gold Cyber Lion at Cannes last week. Just goes to show that there really is life in online advertising yet. Please go ahead and click on the banner, watch the story unfold and enjoy - it won't take you off to a Pringles site. The brand building value in free media of something this cleverly put together is incredible, take a look at the blog trends for the week that the win was announced.

Monday, 29 June 2009

What's On TV?

Interesting way of looking at trending in the TV world.

SnapStream records national TV (ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, MSNBC and CNN), and then creates a database of references. Users can search the database to see how often terms were referred to over a given period - the example here is an analysis of references to MySpace and Facebook in 2009.

They describe themselves thus: SnapStream brings some of the power of "new media" -- search, copy and paste, linkability -- to the "old media" of television.

Monday, 22 June 2009

Digital as a Platform, Direct as a Methodology, Data as an Obsession

I borrowed the title of this post from a M&C Saatchi agency in Australia called Mark (seems fair since they borrowed my name). Today is Lester Wunderman's 89th birthday. I had the privilege of working with Lester for many years and learned much. He still goes into the office every day, sharing his blend of wisdom and magic that helped him create an industry. The 19 Things that all Direct Marketers know is still as crisp, relevant and insightful in this age of channel multiplication, social media and mobile as it was the day it was written over a decade ago.
  1. Direct Marketing Is a Strategy, Not a Tactic
  2. The Consumer, Not the Product, Must Be the Hero
  3. Communicate with Each Customer or Prospect as an Audience of One
  4. Answer the Question “Why Should I?”
  5. Advertising Must Change Behavior, Not Just Attitudes
  6. The Next Step: Profitable Advertising
  7. Build the “Brand Experience”
  8. Create Relationships
  9. Know and Invest in Each Customer’s Lifetime Value
  10. “Suspects” Are Not Prospects
  11. Media Is a Contact Strategy
  12. Be Accessible to Your Customers
  13. Encourage Interactive Dialogues
  14. Learn the Missing “When?”
  15. Create an Advertising Curriculum That Teaches as it Sells
  16. Acquire Customers with the Intention to Loyalize Them
  17. Loyalty Is A Continuity Program
  18. Your Share of Loyal Customers, Not Your Share of Market Creates Profits
  19. You Are What You Know

In talking about Lester Wunderman's approach, Malcolm Gladwell said: "All these strategies amount to a marketing system of extraordinary sensitivity....sophisticated ways of listening, of overcoming the problems of distance and distortion which so handicap other forms of persuasion."

I am now at Rosetta, an interactive marketing agency; were Lester to walk in here today he would instantly recognise a company built on and building upon his vision. The platforms may be different, the decisioning more rapid but the absolute focus on more relevant, personal and impactful marketing is the same.

Happy birthday Mr. Wunderman.

Monday, 15 June 2009

Learning Here & Reapplying There

All marketing needs to inform all marketing as overarching marketing optimization will always produce more significant benefits than channel by channel tinkering. Even in apparently disparate fields such as search engine marketing (acquisition) and email (more readily associated with retention). Marketing insights garnered from one of these channels can readily be applied to inform and optimize the other.

Using the language of intent (the keywords used in a search - both in an engine and on your site) better informs the content and, more specifically, the subject line of your emails. If a specific set of keywords are driving traffic to your site, use them to increase your email open rates. PPC also gives you a great rapid cycle testing arena for your offers, include the best performing (and most profitable) in your email campaigns.

In terms of timing, if you see that the peak period for traffic to a particular service or product on your site is between 6PM and 10PM, time your email promotions to arrive during the same period. Compare results against a control group.

A study last year by Datran Media demonstrated that more than 70% of marketers see email as a complimentary channel to search, I have yet to see evidence of the two direct response channels being used in harmony to deliver the right message at the right time...

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Over Representation

Harvard Business Publishing recently launched a study of over 300,000 Twitter users in May of 2009 which presented some less than attractive findings for the social networking site...

The study compared Twitter users with users of other social networks, and found that:
  • The top 10 percent of the social network’s most active users accounted for about 90 percent of all content,
  • The majority of those users were men.
  • In other social networks, the top 10 percent of users account for 30 percent of all content
  • 80 percent of users are followed by or follow at least one other user.
  • Men have 15 percent more followers than women
  • An average man is almost twice more likely to follow another man than a woman.

To quote the report - “This implies that Twitter’s resembles more of a one-way, one-to-many publishing service more than a two-way, peer-to-peer communication network"

In spite of the silence of the crowds, they continue to flood onto Twitter, Nielsen Online reports that visitors to the site increased by 1,382%, from 475,000 to seven million in the year to February 2009. In comparison Facebook grew by 228% during the same period.

Saturday, 6 June 2009

I Know Where You Are, So What...

Whilst location based mobile services are becoming more available as companies such as Vodafone, Alcatel-Lucent, PlaceCast and Navteq enter the market with solutions, marketers are, to date at least, pretty much ignoring the opportunities. Why is that? Why isn't retail jumping on this and experimenting with location-based offers? I guess the truth is that we haven't found the right model that marries location with other points of contextual relevance to deliver a message based not solely on where, but also on what and when. From a consumer perspective location, location. location just isn't enough in this case and this, like all other forms of (specifically) digital marketing, in order to be impactful, needs to draw on more than one dimension of relevance - contextual, temporal and experiential. Connecting the technology and marketing dots to deliver on this is not easy even today...

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Because That's where The Money Is...

...so said Willie Sutton a prolific bank robber when asked why he robbed banks. The real money in marketing is in retaining the customers we work hard to acquire, studies have consistently shown that modest increases in customer retention produce significant bottom line impact via gains in marketing efficiency and effectiveness such as:
  1. The cost of acquisition occurs only at the outset of the relationship - the longer the relationship the more time to amortize the cost
  2. Account maintenance costs decline as a % of total costs
  3. Long term customers are less price sensitive and less inclined to switch
  4. Long term customers tend to purchase additional products/services
  5. Long term customers can grow the brand via word of mouth and social channels

Why then do marketers still over-index on acquisition over customer retention ( at least, as Lester Wunderman would say "acquire customers with the intention to loyalize them). A recent report from Bain & Company reaffirms that acquiring a new customer can cost 6 to 7 times more than retaining an existing customer, yet the lions share of marketer's budgets are allocated to pure acquisition plays, even in a period of economic downturn. For example, the Lloyd James Group in the U.K. surveyed 1000 finance directors and senior financial managers - more than 70 percent of the respondents favored a reduction in resources for CRM while boosting investment in prospecting for new customers. The truth is that it is often hard to measure the true cost of retention, so I am not sure that I buy the simple maths here, I do know that there needs to be a holistic view of, and balance between the two, intrinsically connected (yet often organisationally distinct) activities...