Marketing Power Tools – Building efficiency through effective use of power tools

June 24, 2010 by

In the same way that two men using power nailers can roof a house in less than a day versus a week using manual hammers, our clients utilize LiveTechnology’s platform of marketing power tools to take cost, time, and hassle out of the process of managing large advertising production management tasks such as ad localization and versioning.  That said, in the same way that construction power tools have specific designed-in capabilities and are sized for the job at hand – so it goes for marketing automation.  In this issue, we take a look at how to evaluate how your organization could benefit from using LiveTechnology’s “power tools”.

A simple process:

When you boil down the process of getting an advertising or marketing message into the marketplace, it really comes down to three simple steps:

  • Create/Ideate:  In this process, the message is ideated, created, written, shot, recorded, etc.  Typically this function is performed by creative services departments at either agencies or within companies.  At this step, people think of the idea and then execute it into something that can be used in the second step.
  • Production:  Production is the process of synthesizing the output of the creative process into something that can be consumed by the third step …
  • Media and Manufacturing:  Media and Manufacturing is the process of utilizing the output of the creative and production steps to deliver the message to the intended audience.  This includes media outlets and channels such as newspapers, websites, magazines, TV stations, direct marketing and more, and includes manufacturing processes such as POP, printing, and more.

The process is relatively efficient and capital-intensive at the ends of the process – and has lots of room for improvement in the middle.

A Question:

Our clients often call us intrigued by the concepts and then struggle to apply them until we help them define how to judge whether or not you need “power tools” in your marketing.  The question always is “Well, how do I know if this is going to work for MY company?”

The Answers:

Don’t you love it when someone answers your question in the form of another question?  The answers lie the questions you should ask yourself when considering the question “do I need marketing automation at my company to help build efficiency in our marketing process.”

1)      Do you have dealers/stores/sales reps/franchisees that sell your brand?

2)      Do those selling your brand at the transaction level use your brand in marketing?

3)      Are those selling your brand locally using your brand correctly?

4)      Do you have directly-owned distribution or is it two- or three-tier?

5)      Do you frequently run advertising in multiple newspapers or print publications on the same day?

6)      Do you have the need to target your ad message to those receiving it?

7)      Do you run online advertising where the message is targeted to either the location or demographic of those viewing the site?

8)      Do you source-code or in some other way, uniquely identify your advertising and marketing materials for the purpose of tracking?

9)      Do you have your agencies create multiple versions of the same thing for any possible reason?

10)   Do you have the need to share your brand’s assets and information with partners or other entities?

Just saying “yes” to a single criteria means you should take a serious look at utilizing marketing technology to build efficiency in your marketing efforts.  Like the use of power tools, using marketing technology application like LiveTechnology’s LiveRetail and LiveMarketer products shouldn’t be done unless you’ve given serious consideration to the job at hand.  But, with a well-founded business case, and well understood marketing needs, marketing automation technology can save up to 90% on the cost of marketing versioning and localization, reduce cycle times by up to 75%, increase advertising accuracy to a rate far greater than what can be achieved manually, and finally, increase your distribution network’s satisfaction with your brand.

Conclusion:

Like a power saw or a power nailer, using marketing automation tools like LiveTechnology’s products, needs to be considered carefully.   But, given the right set of circumstances, the results can be stunning.

~ Stewart Campbell,

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Now is the Perfect Time to Buy Print Media

May 24, 2010 by

As technology improves, more and more brands are shifting their marketing dollars away from traditional media channels like newspaper to more cost effective marketing channels such as online.  This is happening in spite of the fact that most brand managers still believe that newspaper is a better marketing channel.  The brands are just comparing apples to apples with CPM per dollar, and online always wins the battle.  Newspapers are actively working to stop the bleeding within their ad sales department by any means necessary.

This desperate environment for newspaper ad sales is further compounded by the current economy and a separate trend whereby brands are allocating the overflow of funds from national media buys to more local media outlets.  This is becoming increasingly popular, as the ability and process to purchase local media becomes more and more easy, and local media is proving to be more and more effective.

These three factors have created the perfect storm for brands to re-negotiate their print media costs.  Newspapers are now willing to negotiate rates to maintain and solidify current and prospective clients media spend.

One of the best ways to approach the negotiation is through a third party that acts as the representative media buying agency for a number of big brands.  The agency reaches out to the media outlet with the expected local online spend of their brands.  The agency explains that they’re able to switch their clients spend from on-line to print, if the newspaper can match the CPM that is being offered by its online competitors.

More often than not the newspaper accepts the deal, and the brand can start buying local print media at a much lower rate.

– Erika Grizzanti

The QR Code as a Shelf-Talker?

May 17, 2010 by

QR Codes are becoming more common throughout mobile advertising campaigns across the nation.  Advertisers can promote specific events, products, services and more by allowing mobile users to instantly access more information through their mobile phone internet browsers.   A QR code is a 2-demensional barcode that is linked to a particular URL.  Users take a picture using a camera on a smart phone and the embedded URL links to the browser on the phone taking the user to the specified page.  Here, the link may contain video/photos, features, website or anything that the URL has been set up for.

Retailers are taking advantage of QR codes and the ability to connect customers to their products while customers are present in the store.  Known as “Shelf-talkers” a QR code is placed on a products sku tag on the shelf in front of the product.  The customer can then scan the code and learn valuable insight before making a purchase decision.  For example, a retailer can set up a QR code on the sku tag of a DVD.  When a customer is deciding which movie to purchase they can scan the code on their mobile phone and watch a video of the movie trailer.  A retailer can also use a QR code on other products, such as an appliance or electronic to highlight features that wouldn’t be listed on a sku tag in store.

Please click here for an overview for more information on how LiveTechnology is leveraging QR Codes for some of the biggest brands in the world.

QR Codes enable both retailers as well as manufacturers to have a better view of consumer shopping habits, by tracking QR Code and page view activity.   As a result, retailers and manufactures are able to better plan and place their products.

Companies using cutting-edge technology give the appearance of being technologically driven which can translate into a positive foresight.  This is especially important to the customer in a competitive market.  As companies continue to leverage QR codes, they will increase brand and product awareness, learn more about their customers, and eventually develop a stronger bond with their customer.

Newspapers – Own Your Own Backyard

December 12, 2009 by

We have been working for the past two years with several major newspaper groups in applying our marketing technology that has worked so well for brands to help newspaper reinvent themselves.  You can see the full strategy outlined at OwnYourOwnBackyard.com and it is all powered by our technology suite LivePlatform (name could be better).

It boils down to a few key concepts:

Newspapers have been successful because they help to connect buyers (subscribers) and sellers (advertisers).  Newspapers acquire and create interesting content to put around ads, and these ads  help drive business to their advertisers, which keeps them investing money in their media.

Localized product and service search is an opportunity in every market. This is not dominated by Google, but rather by niche players in every market. When you are buying a car, you go to AutoTrader.com (not Google), when you are buying a house you go to Realtor.com (not Google), etc. And no one owns the market of true localized search for retail or services.

A local newspaper should OWN this in their market – what we call Own Your Own Backyard, and at the same time service the businesses in that market around their suite of marketing services.

Newspapers are uniquely positioned to execute this based on the power of their brand and their sales force – two vital components to making this a success.

The full strategy and we are doing it today is detailed at the sites referenced above.

Business Basics

December 10, 2009 by

I have been in multiple client and prospect meetings the past few weeks where the conversation boiled down to distilling the basic concepts of our products and what we do.

We advise clients on the separation of a businesses’ content and their ads (across any and all forms of media). So instead of “creating an ad”, you are managing key business information (first and foremost), and from that business information you can then create marketing and communications materials across over 45 forms of media to promote your business, products, services, people or events.

Taking this approach results in 1) significant cost savings (70-90%) vs. traditional production means, 2) significant time savings and 3) flexibility, speed to market in creating marketing materials at a global, regional and local level.

The basics of business (which threads throughout our products) –  Businesses exist ONLY to sell product(s) or service(s).  And they can sell more product or service ONLY through communications. They need help communicating, and they will pay for services to help them do so efficiently and effectively.

Cut the Fat – Not the Budget

July 6, 2009 by

In a continuation of last week’s “guest post” – we’d like to feature another post by one of our leading cost-cutting consultants, Adam Tabas.  Adam specializes in working with our clients to find potential areas for cost savings where there are seemingly none.

“Cut the Fat – Not the Budget” – Adam Tabas, Senior Savings Consultant

In a marketing world filled with constant innovation, information flow, instant satisfaction, and measurable results, there are inconsistencies and inefficiencies when it comes to advertising for the local level.  Let’s think about what happens during a typical production & approval cycle for localized marketing, and the subsequent adverse effects that are inevitably absorbed by your company.

For our example, lets assume an ad campaign being versioned for 3 separate retail locations of a certain brand, and includes the following media channels: 2 different newspapers (quarter-page & half-page), 1 magazine (full page), and an online banner.

1. Creative Director arranges the creative elements and strategy that will act as the foundation of the ads’ theme.
($200/hr. x 3hrs = $600)

2. Production studio interprets these creative ideas in the form of layout arrangement and configuration—and this process must be repeated over and over again, for EACH ad, EACH location (since local information varies), and EACH outlet (since each outlet requires a different format).

Retail Outlet 1 Customized Ad
Newspaper Quarter-Page Configuration ($150/hr x 1hr. = $150)
Newspaper Half-Page Configuration ($150/hr x 1hr = $150)
Magazine Full-Page Configuration ($150/hr x 1hr = $150)
Banner Ad Configuration ($150/hr x 1hr = $150)

Retail Outlet 2 Customized Ad
Newspaper Quarter-Page Configuration ($150/hr x 1hr. = $150)
Newspaper Half-Page Configuration ($150/hr x 1hr = $150)
Magazine Full-Page Configuration ($150/hr x 1hr = $150)
Banner Ad Configuration ($150/hr x 1hr = $150)

Retail Outlet 3 Customized Ad
Newspaper Quarter-Page Configuration ($150/hr x 1hr. = $150)
Newspaper Half-Page Configuration ($150/hr x 1hr = $150)
Magazine Full-Page Configuration ($150/hr x 1hr = $150)

Banner Ad Configuration ($150/hr x 1hr = $150)
($600 per outlet x 3 outlets = $1800)

3. The “rough draft” version of each ad is channeled up the corporate ladder to Brand-level managers and lawyers, who manually check each one for legal compliances, brand consistencies, and other corporate standards.  And, again, since these managers and lawyers have respective MBA and JD degrees attached to their names, the resulting hours and fees add up—big time.  Let’s assume that for each round of approvals, 1 lawyer and 1 brand manager must each proof the ads:

Lawyer
($200/hr x 1 hr = $200)

Brand Manager
($50/hr x 1 hr = $50)
($1st Approval Round = $250)

4. Once the edits are made, the newly adjusted proofs are sent BACK to the production studios:

Retail Outlet 1 Revisions
($150/hr. x 1hr = $150)
Retail Outlet 2 Revisions
($150/hr. x 1hr = $150)
Retail Outlet 3 Revisions
($150/hr. x 1hr = $150)
($150 per outlet x 3 outlets = $450)

5. Back up the ladder they go to the managers & lawyers for another round of approvals:

Lawyer
($200/hr x ½ hr = $100)
Brand Manager
($50/hr x ½ hr = $25)
(2nd approval round = $125)

6. Not perfect yet, still need some minor “tweaks”:
Retail Outlet 1 Tweaks
($150/hr. x ½ hr = $75)
Retail Outlet 2 Tweaks
($150/hr. x ½ hr = $75)
Retail Outlet 3 Tweaks
($150/hr. x ½ hr = $75)
($75 per outlet x 3 outlets = $225)

7. One final approval:

Lawyer
($200/hr x ¼ hr = $50)
Brand Manager
($50/hr x ½ hr = $25)
(3rd approval round = $75)

TOTAL: $600 + $1800 + $250 + $450 + $125 + $225 + $75 = $3525
(*Note- this total is BEFORE media buying)

I know this is a lot of math, but for a world in which computers are integrated into nearly every business process, the advertising process remains nearly untouched from the years of David Ogilvy – and the math adds up quickly!  Advertisers are saddled with huge fees that nobody seems to be able to get a handle on because they do not know where the fat is hiding.  With a thorough investigation of what time and money is spent on your advertising, huge savings can be realized with a few small steps to integrate technology into this cumbersome and expensive process.

Adam can be reached at atabas@LiveTechnology.com

Mobile Marketing

July 2, 2009 by

At LiveTechnology we have a number of talented individuals focused on working with our clients to advise them on the latest technologies available across all media forms.  One of these individuals is Chris Dabroski, one of our senior leads on helping our clients understand mobile media and how mobile can provide big results to advertisers.

Look for more “Guest Posts” from Chris in the coming weeks:

Mobile advertising is increasing exponentially throughout the United States.  Over 270 million Americans (90% of the population) are easily and directly accessible via cellular communications.  Reaching your target consumer by means of cell phone will be your primary vehicle to close a sale.

As an advertiser you want to provide brand information, drive consumer traffic into your stores, and incentivize brand loyalty.  How can a cell phone accomplish these three goals?  Quick Response Codes (QR code for short) will revolutionize how you provide consumers information. QR codes are two dimensional bar codes; they are black and white blocky images anyone can generate and use to distribute information to cell phones.  The image is read by software in conjunction with your camera function on any phone and provides a text message or a URL.

So how can I use QR Codes to drive consumers to my stores or incentivize brand loyalty?

First you need to create the message you want to be received and generate the code.  Next, your code needs to be distributed on every advertisement the message is targeted for. Providing brand information is effortless.

Attach the specific information you want to attach to the code.  If you manipulate what information you’re attaching you can open up new avenues to reach your consumer.  Attach a QR code with a link to the “find your local store” section of the website and you have a vehicle to drive consumers into your store. It’s as simple as seeing a clever advertisement and generating curiosity in your consumers head.

Next they receive the message and in a few steps they know exactly where to buy the product.  The same manipulation can be used to provide exclusive deals, coupons, and promotions.

These are a few quick uses for QR Codes and as with all new technologies there are some drawbacks.  This media  only works if you have the pre existing software on your phone and recognizes the QR Code.  However, like a tsunami miles off the coast, advertisers will have no idea of the power of this new medium until after it has landed ashore.

Chris Dabroski can be reached at cdabroski@LiveTechnology.com

Technology: Keeping Cash Flowing

June 23, 2009 by

As every business has come to realize over the last few years, cash flow is the heart and soul of any enterprise.  CEOs and CFOs face difficult decisions when tightening the belt to protect their continuing functions.  Routinely, one of the first expenses to look at cutting is the seemingly “discretionary” expense of advertising and marketing; after all, the relatively fixed costs of human resources and production are reluctant expenditures to put on the chopping block unless necessary.

What does this mean for marketers?

Recessionary times put immense pressure on marketers to justify budgets and prove how they contribute to the enterprise’s bottom line.  At the strategic level, many executives view marketing from the GAAP point of view – as an expense, rather than an investment.  CMOs and marketing leaders are generally quick to point out that business professors like Roger Graham at Oregon State University have demonstrated that in the five recessionary periods since 1971, advertising spending contributed to increased earnings for up to three years.

Consider Hyundai Motor America – this company launched a new campaign to promote its “Hyundai Assurance” program which has seen Hyundai increase market share when the automotive industry has declined 38%.  John Quelch, a professor at Harvard Business School, points out that brands that increase advertising while their competitors cutback improve market share and ROI.

What to do when money is tight?

While Hyundai has taken a risk that has seemingly paid off, executives must also recognize that for every Hyundai, there are five other companies that have failed.  Regardless of strategy, the number one goal of every enterprise should be to look to cut wasteful spending.  Although at a high level waste may be hidden behind a murky veil of seemingly innocent contractor fees, the truth is that for all organizations, technology is the number one solution to cut costs while maintaining or growing advertising efforts.

If you advertise, you have an expensive team of people assembling the final “production ready” materials that your customers see and respond to (hopefully!).  Today, you probably accept this as an unchanging fact of doing business – but why?  You would never think of hiring a team of typists to put together a memo for you, yet you, or your creative agency, have a team of production associates who put together all aspects of your advertising – from newspaper to television to digital.  Your word processing software on your computer and your email on your phone has replaced the typists – but why is the large team not relegated to history?

Ultimately, the answer is that organizations either cut budgets or assume they have the most efficiency available.

DO NOT BE DELUDED!

Unless you have full automation of your marketing implementation process, you can spend the same amount of money and get 7x to 12x more output or realize savings of 13% to 17% of your advertising costs.  Think of this sample advertising budget of $100 million split up as follows:

$80 million = media purchasing
$20 million = production of materials/creative

Technology can reduce the latter to $5 million comfortably saving $15 million for this organization.

Make your CFO happy in a challenging time – look into what technology can do for you and your organization!

Media Buying and Selling

June 30, 2008 by

According to Adage, Discover Financial is putting its $85 million media buying account into review.  This is a great opportunity to touch on a huge difference between brands and their local entities.  Brands buy media through a media buying company while local businesses are sold media by local media outlets.

Why does this make a difference?

Because when a brand wants to change media buyers, it “launches a review” of its media buying account.  Local businesses do not have the luxury of a media buyer, they deal with dozens of salespeople from local radio, television, newspaper, printshops and more.  Moreover, they don’t “launch a review” they know these salespeople and have relationships with them; they are members of the Chamber of Commerce and do business with each other regularly.

Understanding this relationship is critical when helping brands to understand how their local businesses interact in their local communities and why, in many cases, programs aimed at helping local businesses end up failing.  A huge stumbling block brands and agencies fail to realize are that these relationships cannot be easily changed.  In many cases, local initiatives have strict rules requiring utilization of specific media types or fulfillment partners.  These rules ignore the long-lasting relationships that local businesses have.

Understanding the relationships that local businesses have are critical when evaluating local marketing strategies.  A local marketing strategy that understands this concept and supports it will ultimately be  successful rather than a solution that is tied to specific media partners or restircts media partners.

Advertising is Local

June 30, 2008 by

DirecTV CMO, Paul Guyardo was quoted in Adage as saying:

“Three years ago, the marketing strategy was pretty much to have this one national marketing strategy. The reality of it is that the competition is local. The competition is not national competition. The competition is Comcast. It’s Time Warner. It’s Cox. It’s Charter. It’s Fios. And you’ve got to be able to really understand what’s going on and understand where things are heating up geographically, where they’re dialing off, and read and react and adjust your plans accordingly.”

This isn’t just try for satellite vs. cable, it’s every business!  85% of all sales are still made in stores within 15 miles of the customer’s home.  Every business needs a local strategy because the battle for a customer’s sale is ultimately waged near to the site of purchase.  This means using multiple forms of media and versioning ads to effectively reach local markets.

As Greg Sterling noted in his blog post about Yahoo and Publicis serving mobile ads the holy grail is “one to one marketing.”  Why shouldn’t this same standard apply to all marketing?  What marketer wouldn’t want to have a personalized ad in any medium for any customer?

The production technology is already here!  LiveAdMaker can produce unlimited versions of the same pieces, customized down to every detail, the only limitation is on the delivery medium.  Read the Adage and Greg Sterling articles at:

http://adage.com/cmostrategy/article?article_id=127842

http://gesterling.wordpress.com/2008/06/30/local-and-the-future-of-ad-serving/