Archive for the ‘Advertising’ Category

Metrics, metrics everywhere and not a fan in sight!

A little overwhelmed with all the social media metrics being thrown around lately?  Me too.  Having a more traditional slant than most digital marketers today, I really like having something concrete on which to hang my metrics hat.  That said, I am willing to stretch and grow as it relates to measuring digital and social media metrics.

As I have said in the past, I am all about ROI when it comes to metrics…specifically, a ROI based on profit, not just revenue.  In the social world, the “tail” for the sales cycle is much longer, so measuring other things while you are on the path to a sale is key. 

So what should you be measuring with respect to your digital and social media marketing spend?  It depends on your business, but here are three of my favorite interim measurements that you should be watching:

  • Engagement Score (ES):  Evaluating your engagement score is a bit more involved than some of the other measurements I am suggesting, but it can be done even by a novice.  The key is to determine what should go into your engagement score.   Specifically, you need to spend time thinking about what an engaged prospect or customer looks like for your business and craft a measurement that fits these criteria.    I would also use a weighted score when crafting the score so that I give more weight to some criteria than others.  But hey, that’s just me.
  • Brand Perception Lift:  Finally, back to market research!  Another great way to tell if your social media and digital marketing efforts are working is through consistently measuring your brand perception (and awareness) among your current and prospect customers.  This will give you an idea of the lift you are getting from the resources you are putting into your online marketing efforts.
  • Leads Generated:  As I said before, it will take time for your digital efforts to bear fruit.  However, your efforts should be getting prospective customers into the pipeline and further and further down the purchase funnel.  If your efforts aren’t getting people converted from a prospect to a real lead, then you should re-evaluate your digital/social media marketing resource allocation.

The two main “old school” measurements of online marketing I use are:

  • Qualified Reach or Qualified Visits—in traditional advertising, we have long used the word reach to describe the amount of people that should be viewing our advertising.  But, past that, we can’t really tell if the message got through the clutter or if the “reached” person actually did anything as a result of our ad.  In the digital age, we have evolved to measuring qualified reach, which is a metric that combines the number of individuals reached by the online advertising/marketing with the number of users that have performed a desired interaction.
  • Clickthrough rates:  In the digital world, this is the “tried and true” method.  This gives you a one-to-one measurement for dollars spent and prospects generated.  The only problem with this metric is that it doesn’t measure intent to purchase or even interest necessarily.  So it is important to measure, but it can’t be the only thing you measure.

So what are U.S. Marketers using to measure interactive marketing performance?  According to a study recently conducted by Chief Marketer (reported through eMarketer), its:  clickthroughs (59%), traffic to websites (53%), lead generation (43%) and page views (38%).   Where did my beloved ROI fall?  It was all the way down at 6th place with just 32% saying it was a measure they used to evaluate interactive marketing efforts.  Oh, and brand lift?  It is measured by just one-in-four (25%).

Measuring the success of your traditional and digital marketing efforts can be long and arduous…but worth it.  How are you measuring your success?

Happy Marketing!

Bad photoretouching = Bad advertising

Photo credit

Bad graphic design and more specifically bad Photoshop work is the bane of the advertising world’s existence–especially when people (such as our target audience) notice. 

Over the years, I have seen some pretty bad work, some done by professionals and some done by amateurs.  

Want to know how to spot a fake or a mistake like a pro?  Here’s how.  Look for:

Strange or bad shadows—while a photo may look perfect, the graphic artist will likely miss the mark when it comes to accurately portraying the shadows associated with the people or objects in the picture.  Worst yet…they probably knwo that the shadow problem exists but don’t want to spend the time to fix it.   They are betting you (and their client) wont notice (see picture above).

Soulless eyes—they say that your eyes are the window to your soul.  Well that may be, but when it comes to spotting “fixed” eyes, it’s pretty easy, especially when there is more than one person in the photo.  To spot the changed-out eyes, you just need to look for the eye position..are everyone’s eyes in the same position?  And you need to look at the lightness of the eyes. If they swapped out the better eyes from a different picture, it is likely the angle was different.  If that’s the case, the brightness of the eyes will be different between the people.

Cloning—too much grass in the picture?  Is the pool a bit longer than it should be?  The graphic designer probably took something out of the picture and had to make up for it by cloning the background around the missing piece to fill in the space.  Cloning isn’t a problem…unless you can see it.

Bad  blending—even those good with Photoshop can have what we call fringe problems.   This occurs when the edges or fringes of an object doesn’t fit the back ground.  To detect this problem, look at the fringe or edge of an object to see if the background looks consistent both from a color and shape perspective.  Edges can also look too sharp or too soft.

The no freaking way factor—this is what I call the “does it make sense part?”.  This is where we use our collective brains to determine if what we are seeing makes sense…like a shark jumping out of the ocean in an attempt to catch a helicopter.  While a cool picture…not realistic.  FAIL!

Want to see some Photoshop failures?  Check out this link: 

Can you spot a fake?

Happy Marketing!

The Numerati are watching…

Who or what are the Numerati you may ask?  Well they aren’t a religion nor are they Santa Claus, but they know when you are sleeping and when you are awake (whether you have been bad or good is up to you and your conscious).  Just ask Stephen Baker

Marketing has certainly reached a tipping point as it relates to targeting.  No longer do we have to develop large targeted advertising and marketing campaigns…thanks to the Numerati.  Okay, back to my original question…who are the Numerati?  They are the technological and statistical gurus who have figured out how to target us without asking us one single question.  Can’t be?  Read on.

Ever wonder how it is that while surfing the web you are consistently receiving banner advertising that seems to be targeted to what you are currently shopping for?  How about online advertising that pops up on your favorite news website for things you are vaguely interested in based on your hobbies?  To use a phrase from Hawaii Five-O last night…you know what they say about coincidences…they take a lot of planning.  And the Numerati do nothing but plan…how to reach you.

Without getting into a lot of techno babble and market research geek, the Numerati are the folks that take volumes of behavioral data from the web and, through the use of some pretty sophisticated modeling and programming, determine what online advertising should resonate with you.   

The Two Main Benefits:

  • It can help you quantify a hard to define/segment market—it goes beyond the typical demographic and psychographic variables
  • Behavioral targeting can significantly reduce the cost of sale (new and ongoing)

The Drawbacks:

  • It’s a model…and models can be wrong
  • There is too much junk out there for a meaningful conclusion for targeting
  • We are lazy and ADD (attention deficit disorder) surfers…not everything we search or click on is meaningful to us.

Marketing is truly at a tipping point.  Soon I wont even have to think about or desire anything! The Numerati will tell me what I want and make it very easy to buy it!

Happy Marketing!

When are B2Bs watching? It depends of course!

According to a study by Bizo, business professionals are more likely to click on digital ads during the weekend, but more likely to take action on such ads during the week—particularly on Wednesdays.   But viewership and action don’t always happen on the same days. 

Since I am very focused on small businesses and how they operate, I found this statistic very interesting:

  • Small Business professionals are most likely to take action on ads shown on Sunday, and 39% more likely to do so on Sunday than for ads shown on Saturday, the day they are least likely to take action.

Here are some interesting industry differences from the study:

  • Agriculture professionals are most likely to take action on ads shown to them on Tuesday, and 50% more likely to do so on Tuesday than for ads shown on Sunday, the day they are least likely to take action. But agriculture professionals are most likely to click on ads shown to them on Wednesday.
  • Software professionals are most likely to take action on ads served on Tuesday, and 600% more likely to do so on Tuesday than for ads served on Sunday, the day they are least likely to take action.
  • Medical professionals are most likely to take action on ads served on Thursday, and 35% more likely to do so on Thursday than for ads served on Saturday, the day they are least likely to act.
  • Real Estate professionals are most likely to take action on ads shown on Saturday, and 99% more likely to do so on Saturday than for ads shown on Wednesday, the day they are least likely to act.

So as usual, the answer is “E, All of the Above”, more commonly referred to as “it depends”.

Happy Marketing!

The next generation of new product development…

As a marketer and a market researcher, I get really jazzed when I find something that makes my job easier…a lot easier.  And I just found something that I believe will revolutionize the new product development component of marketing.  Here’s how:

When you are developing a new product, one of the major headaches you will experience revolves around getting comps (marketing or engineering) of your product to show potential investors, partners and/or distributors.  Not only can this development phase be costly in terms of prototyping, but it can take a lot of time and people resources.   

Well folks, I am very happy to say that times they are a changing as it relates to prototyping.   

Enter the talented folks at PixelMachine!   

To better explain how Pixel Machine makes CGI visualization work for their clients, let’s look at it in a “problem/opportunity/result” way. 

Analysis Paralysis: Stop doodling and start rendering!

(Click here to see the before and after)

Problem: Building physical prototypes of products in development is fantastically expensive. Using illustrations and cobbled together mock-ups not only degrade the effect of the prototype, they can be at odds with your high quality (high price) brand strategy.  Thus, your comps detract from your brand and leave you with zero interest with respect to investors and distribution partners.

Opportunity: CGI can create a realistic and accurate image and video of your product BEFORE it is actually built.  Thus, it allows you to test your product in focus groups and elsewhere, gain valuable consumer and end-user insights and develop initial marketing materials before you have invested the huge amount of money in prototyping. Edits are quick and require only a re-rendering.  Imagine that!

Result: Final renders (that model your product from supplied schematics or illustrations) are developed with accurate materials such as metals, plastics, glass, paper, etc. resulting in physically accurate images suitable for making mission critical development decisions and changes.

 Departmental Inertia: CGI allows Engineering and Marketing to work together, imagine that!

Problem: You’ve spent money on in-house or contract CAD design of your product, but you need photorealistic images or video to promote the product in print, on the web or on mobile devices. Further, CAD rendering quality usually leaves much to be desired.

Opportunity: Leverage your sizable costs of CAD development by using existing CAD files for photorealistic images and video animations.

Result: Using your provided CAD designs, the company creates imagery (still and animated) that is indistinguishable from photography or captured video. They can animate product functionality, show exploded views, 360˚ rotations, etc.  In the end, you receive hi-resolution images and videos of your products at a cost that is far less than ‘from scratch’ model creation… it allows you to get more mileage out of your CAD investment!

While you won’t ever really get around having to do physical prototyping, what CGI visualization allows you to do is do a better job at concepting and evaluating new product ideas before you spend the money, time and people resources to develop a physical product. 

So what does this mean to me?  As a marketer (and a market researcher for that matter), I can have a much more defined and evaluated product before I enter a market or look for “angel” funding.

 Happy Marketing!

Doing business the old fashioned way…

In this world of constant connectivity, it is surprising how disconnected we marketers are when it comes to our relationships with our internal and external clients.

What do I mean by that?  Let’s take social media for instance.  If done right, social media allows marketers to have meaningful, one on one relationships with current and potential customers.  So what do we do?  We “meform” rather than inform in the social world.  By doing this we let the social world know that we are only in it for us, not to help make things better for our customers/the world.  So what happens?  We get tuned out.  STRIKE ONE.

While we are trying to be social, we are also marketing our product/ service/brand through direct mail.  Yes, it can still be done effectively.  Communicating to our targets and customers is important.  The issue with direct mail is we tend to focus the message too much on ourselves and not enough on our how our product/service/brand will benefit our customer/prospect (ie., we focus too much on the features and not enough on the benefits). STRIKE TWO.

Being the integrated marketers that we are, we also turn to digital marketing to communicate our product/service/brand.  We have the best intentions with this media, but what happens?  Often we don’t have an effective message line and/or we have too much copy and/or copy that is too complicated—this gets us deleted faster than an invitation to watch home movies of a recent trip to the earwax museum.   STRIKE THREE.

So how should we be marketing in the social, mail and digital spaces? The old-fashioned way of course!

1) Understand their needs. Don’t be a focus group of one and assume you know what your customers/prospects need and/or want.  Ask them.

2) Develop your brand voice. In the social and digital world it is critically important that current and prospective consumers, particularly Gen Y, “know” who you are.  To accomplish this, you need to establish a voice for your brand that you consistently use.  This can be a challenge for large companies that have more than one “face” in the social and digital space; but it can be done.

3) Be genuine. Those who come across as a “used car salesman” will likely be ignore; particularly in the social space.  Make every experience with your brand a real one.

4) Give them an experience not just and interaction. This is particularly important when marketing in the digital area. To accomplish this, you need to beef up the interactive nature of your website and your mobile marketing.  Sometimes it is simply a matter of building a great game or having an opportunity to learn (particularly about the industry/topic/product/service you deal in) in an easy and fun way on your website or related landing page.

5) Don’t disappear. We are quick to discard a marketing method that doesn’t give us an immediate return.  This is particularly true of social media.  You can’t come in and out of the social and digital spaces and expect customers and prospects to care about you.  It usually doesn’t work that way.  We, as consumers, are way too focused on what’s hot today to keep our attention span.

So remember, marketing isn’t hard, you just need to consistently be there in one voice and be genuine.

Happy marketing!

Brand strength matters…don’t let yours wither on the vine…

In past blogs, I have talked repeatedly about the value of having and protecting a strong brand—if for no other reason than keeping your product from slipping into commodity status.  While most people would agree that intuitively it makes sense that having a strong brand would lead to more sales, not much data has been around for us data junkies to prove it.  Well, I am happy to say that one company, the Reputation Institute went out and did just that…attempt to prove the link between a strong/excellent brand and revenue.

Here are some of the highlights of the findings from the Global Reputation Pulse 2010 research:

  • Strong reputations have a direct link to link to the bottom line in the form of increased:
    • Recommendations/verbal support
    • Purchase consideration
  • According to The Reputation Pulse Study, excellent reputations are built across the following seven dimensions:
    • Products/Services
    • Innovation
    • Governance
    • Workplace
    • Citizenship
    • Leadership
    • Performance

Here are some additional highlights from the 2010 study:

  • Ten companies (Chubb, McDonald’s, Archer Daniels Midland, SunTrust Banks, ExxonMobil, AutoNation, Humana, Marathon Oil, CITGO and Staples) increased their reputation scores by seven points or more from 2009.
  • U.S. consumers feel the most respected and reputable industries, as measured by the reputations of the biggest companies are: 1) Food Manufacturing, 2) Consumer Products, 3) Transportation & Logistics, 3) Computers, 4) Industrial Products, and 5) General Retail.
  • With mergers, bankruptcies and bail-outs, financial industries suffered the most with the greatest negative individual company changes in reputation.
  • Interestingly, utilities and communications companies improved as a whole.
    • While the drivers of excellent reputations differs by industry, country and stakeholder group, the study found that for U.S. companies, Products/Services was the most influential brand dimension; followed by Governance and Citizenship.

So you must be wondering which brand achieved the best brand reputation score overall….drum roll please…it was Johnson & Johnson—for the second year in a row.  Kraft Foods, Kellogg, The Walt Disney Company, PepsiCo, and Sara Lee rounded out the top tier of U.S. companies in 2010, all with excellent reputation.

Achieving and protecting a strong brand is critically important.  Even if you don’t see the direct link between brand excellence/strength and sales, you can certainly make the connection of having a strong brand elevating your product above commodity status (even if you are producing what some would argue is a commodity product—think Band-Aid or Jell-O).   Make sure you and your employees are charged up with protecting your brand!   Perhaps The Reputation Institute will be measuring your brand some day!

Happy Marketing!

For those of you that want more information about the study I reference above, the following describes how the study was conducted. The Global Reputation Pulse 2010 was conducted online in January and February 2010. A Pulse score is a measure of corporate reputation calculated by averaging perceptions of four indicators — trust, esteem, admiration, and good feeling — obtained from a representative sample of at least 100 local respondents who were familiar with the company. Scores range from a low of 0 to a high of 100, Pulse scores that differ by more than +/-0.5 are significantly different at the 95% confidence level. The U.S. mean for all 150 companies included in the study was 67.38. Top line reports on the 2010 Global Reputation Pulse findings can be downloaded at

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