Posts Tagged ‘advertising’

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:  http://www.boredpanda.com/worst-photoshop-mistakes/ 

Can you spot a fake?

Happy Marketing!

Four reasons why an integrated approach is still the best…

I read the post “Why offline still matters” by Annie Mueller  and I have to say…it was a great reminder to marketers who are jumping on the social media band wagon to stop and reflect on what really works and doesn’t work with respect to marketing.

It reminds me of what I am constantly telling people: 

  • You are not your market! 
  • Don’t be a focus group of 1! 

Just because you like to communicate and receive messages through digital and social media means, doesn’t mean that your target does as well.  That’s why an integrated (online and offline) approach works so well.

When thinking about how you are planning to market to your target audience, here are a few things you should consider:

  1. What is the demographic of those I am trying to reach?—this goes for your B2B market as well.  Just because your target is business owners doesn’t mean that all business owners are the same.  There are huge differences in how Gen X, Gen Y, Baby Boomer and the Silent Generation business owners need to receive information.  If you are targeting business owners that are in the age ranges found in the Baby Boomer and Silent generation, you should be thinking traditional advertising first, digital second.
  2. What industry I am trying to reach (for B2B marketing)?—some industries are much more prone to internet savvy business owners/decision-makers.  If you are targeting small, family-owned manufacturing companies, you might miss your mark entirely if you focus your marketing campaign on digital dollars rather the traditional methods (mail and print advertising).
  3. Is your product local?—companies can have greater success with local TV spots and billboard advertising if they are local rather than national (national usually equals expensive media buys).  But beware!  TV spots and billboards are great for building awareness, but not as good at getting someone to pick up the phone and ordering. 
    • Social media and a digital education campaigns are great for locally-based companies (like Tele Raack, LMT…a great local massage therapist) or a complicated message that needs to be feed through a nurturing/education campaign.
  4. What is your timing?—if timing your message is critical…say you are targeting restaurant owners…your choice of message delivery is really critical.  You can’t tell the postman when to deliver a letter, but you can tell your marketing automation system when to deliver an email and your social media manager when to start posting on Facebook and tweeting like crazy.  Oh, and one last thing with respect to restaurants…if you want to get noticed, go visit with the owners after you have eaten and spent money in the restaurant. 

 Engagement is just as critical offline as it is online.

What methods of marketing will you be using today?

Happy marketing!

Networking…another viable marketing strategy!

Determining the right marketing distribution mix for your product or service is critical for the success of your marketing campaign.  The key is including all viable distribution methods into your consideration set.  Here’s a marketing distribution method that is often overlooked by business owners because of the personal committment it requires…marketing through networking groups. 

Okay, I know what you are thinking…and no, this is not a lesson in Multi-Level Marketing. (MLM).  It’s all about getting out there and “owning” your target market through networking.

So how do you find the right networking source?  Here are some quick ideas…there are many more:

  • Your local chamber of commerce
  • Your local newspaper
  • Your local county/city/town website

What should you look for when evaluating possible networkng groups?  Here are five things I look for:

  1. What is the purpose of the group–you need to know why these folks are getting together…even if your target will be there.  If it is a networking group, you are golden.  If people just get together to have lunch and talk about the weather and no business can be done through the group…PASS!
  2. Will my target audience be there?  Or worst case…will those who influence my target audience be there? 
  3. Is it a local chapter or is it national?  I always strive for local chapters, but hey that’s me.
  4. Are they visible in the community?  This is critical for localized service businesses such as massage therapists, plumbers and restaurants.
  5. How often do they meet and what is the committment in terms of time and costs?

Networking can be a very effective method to get your marketing message across to your target market.  How are you going to take advantage of your networking?

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!

What’s your brand’s dwell time?

In my blog, “Your brand is under attack, will you save it,” I talked about the potential downside to online advertising—that downside being that when you place online advertising with aggregators, you can’t always be sure that you brand message and image won’t be under attack from the ads and stories surrounding it.  So, in this blog I thought I would give you a bit of the upside with respect to how online advertising can be effective if done right—with a little bit of metrics thrown in for good measure.

The usual measures of success for online advertising are click-through and conversion rates.  These are obviously very important to the visibility of your brand and your bottom line.  But, there is one additional measure you might not have considered that can help with both of these metrics—“dwell” rates.    According to Eyeblaster, dwell time is a unique metric that measures user engagement with large branding campaigns without relying on clicks and constant mouse activity.  So, basically it’s the amount of time someone puts their cursor (arrow) over your online ad regardless of whether they actively engage with the online ad.

Here’s why dwell times/rates are important:

  • Eyeblaster’s “Global Benchmark 2010” report analyzed dwell metrics for billions of rich media impressions served in 2009 and found that high dwell correlated with high engagement, brand-related searches and ultimately conversion (data via eMarketer).
    • An increase in dwell rate from 5% to 15% translated to an increase in conversion from 0.4% to 0.6%, up 45%.
    • Joint research conducted by Eyeblaster with Microsoft Advertising and comScore also found that high-dwell campaigns led to a 39% increase in brand-related keyword searches on the part of exposed users.

Now you know that dwell time is important, your next question should be how can I increase my online ad’s dwell time?  The answer appears to be video according to the Global Benchmark Report 2010. 

Dwell Rate and Dwell Time Worldwide, Nonvideo Ads vs. Video Ads, 2009

 

So, having video is important, but ad placement (as always) is also key. As the chart shows below, ads on pages with editorial content achieved better dwell metrics. And, ad formats, such as commercial breaks and floating ads, perform better than standard banners.

US Online Advertising Metrics, by Rich Media Format*, 2009

 

Dwell time can be important for your brand equity/image and your bottom line, but be careful—the Garbage In Garbage Out rules apply.  And your brand image, click-through rates and conversion rates can be negatively impacted by an online ad/video that is off topic/message, off target, too hard to make the story/brand connection and/or (my favorite) too over the top to convey the appropriate message about your brand.

Happy marketing!

Your brand is under attack, will you save it?

As marketers, one of our most important jobs is to protect our brand.  At the very least, we should be making sure that our marketing and advertising efforts aren’t hurting our brands.  Sound preposterous?   Read on.  I have a talked a lot about protecting your brand in the social media space, but one critical thing I haven’t talked about is protecting your brand in the advertising space. 

When it comes to advertising, there are many things you have to consider.  Things like reach, frequency, target audience and message.  One very important thing that sometimes gets overlooked is the physical placement of your ad.  There are benefits to having the front and/or back cover and being right in the middle of the publication.  And, if you can, always have your ad put on the right page rather than the left page of a publication (we read left to right…what’s on the right side is the last thing the reader sees). 

All of that said, here’s what gets missed by some marketers/advertisers. If you aren’t doing a full-page ad, there will be stories and other ads next to yours.  Know what they are going to be!  Here are the things you will want to avoid:

  • Being next to stories/articles about something negative, devastating or horrific. It happens all the time in consumer-based publications and newspapers.  So marketers…do you really want your ad next to the story about the cheating politician or worse…a story about a company that cheated their clients out of millions?
  • Being next to a competitor (with a better ad).  Nothing like having your boss open the publication only to have him/her see your crappy black and white ad next to a competitor’s full color, high impact ad.    

But wait, there’s more!

This problem gets compounded when you are using an ad network and/or ad aggregator to buy and place your ad.  All these companies are doing is negotiating for the best price for you, not the best placement.  For that, luck be your lady.

Since I am all about showing you numbers, here is some market research I found from the Winterberry Group via eMarketer on online ad placement.

  • According to the firm’s white paper “Beyond the Grey Areas,” ad agencies recognize that ad placements must be auditable and that advertisers must be able to verify and know where ads are appearing, as well as to feel safe about their brand.   

Importance of Transparency for Select Online Display Advertising Concerns According to Ad Agencies in North America, March 2010 (scale of 1-5*)

 

So the marketers believe that ad auditability, ad placement, brand safety, ad performance and ad context are all important, BUT, agencies admit they don’t deliver the transparency that brand marketers need. They rated the degree of auditability as only 2.67 on the same 1-5 scale. General brand safety received a rating of 2.8.

Oh the irony!

So, when you are going to advertise, either online or in print, make sure you keep an eye on the safety of your brand and get the most value out of your advertising placement.

Happy marketing!

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