Cross-Medium Ads Drive Sales

June 13, 2008 by

In a recent survey by Clark, Martire & Bartolomeo, one of the conclusions reached is “Seeing products and services advertised in multiple channels increased both consumer turst in them and likelihood to buy.”  Half of respondents said they were more likely to buy a product featured in a newspaper advertisement after seeing it online.

This is encouraging news for newspaper advertisers, and reinforces the idea that multiple medium advertising drives sales.  After viewing a newspaper advertisement, 31% who search online, go to a search engine.  Surprisingly, of the adults who use search engines, 70% purchased at a store or dealer following additional research online.

What does this mean for marketers?  First, marketers need to ensure they have a unified message across all forms of media.  Because most purchases are made in local stores, this means having consistent messaged from the local dealer or store is critical.

Second, markters need to USE multiple forms of media.  With increasing media fragmentation, using multiple forms of media is critical to effectively reach customers and drive them into the sales process.

Third, it’s essential that the web presence of a brand at the corporate and local level reflect the approved messages of the brand.  Customers who use a search engine and go to a local store or dealer website should have the same brand experience as if they were at the brand’s website.

It’s clear that all business is local – most sales still happen in a store, but the process of getting to the final transaction is dramatically changing.  Marketers must stay ahead of these changes to build brand equity while driving sales.

View the report at Marketing Charts.

The New ROI: Brand Networking

June 10, 2008 by

With advertisers struggling with ways to deal with Web 2.0, many marketers question the return on investment of Web 2.0 strategies.  After all, while companies like Facebook and MySpace are themselves worth millions, the number of advertisers that have seen success from using these platforms as advertising tools is small (perhaps nonexistent).  While apps that create “viral buzz” for brands may be the rage of Web 2.0 right now, advertisements that are untargeted and rely on the user to give feedback(read more here) are ignored by users, or may even drive high-profile users from a service.

What’s the solution to this problem? Marketers need to change the way they understand online advertising to look for “Return on Involvement”.  Involvement is the time that customers spend with the brand during their time online.  For usual display or search advertising, the involvement is very low.  Involvement is the greatest when a brand can interact seamlessly with a user while refraining from intrusion.

The optimal solution for this is Brand Networking.  Brand Networking is simply a brand controlled social network that is built around the core relationship between the brand and the customer.  The “core relationship” is the interaction where a customer and brand meet and conduct business.  For example, a social network for parents might be sponsored by a brand that is associated with baby products, or a social network for IT specialists might be sponsored by an infrastructure vendor.  What’s the difference between the brand network and placing an ad at Parents.com (online home of American Baby, Parents and Family Circle)?  Placing an ad has no involvement with the user – branding a social network builds a relationship with the user.

Brand Networks are effective at building long-lasting relationships with users, locking customers in to the brand, becuase they provide value to the community they serve and are relevant to the actions of the user.  Because of the core relationship, users have a high percentage of finding the message and branding to be relevant.  Presently, relevance is the top criticism users have about the advertisements on social networks.

Additionally, brand networks offer brands the opportunity to reward positive actions users take.  Imagine a social network around youth soccer that was owned by a sports drink manufacturer.  Now, what would happen if the social network rewarded users with points to spend (on prizes and rewards) when they bought the sports drink?  Clearly, the sports drink would become top of mind for the parents and players of the youth soccer network.  Would you purchse the sports drink if it could help your child’s team get rewards or tickets to professional sporting events?

In addition to involvement, it’s clear how the scenario above would provide measurable results – a model that builds brand loyalty and provides clear measurements of ROI! Today’s increasing media fragmentation makes getting messages across to customers difficult; now imagine reaching customers without distraction and building a relationship with them – what other form of media offers this?

Tomorrow’s high-income consumers are spending an average of 20 hours each month online and 74% of them are using social networks – brand networking targets not only these younger, internet savvy customers, but older customers who using social networks at increasing rates (presently 53% of adults use the internet for social networks).

Brand Networking guru, AJ “Brand Geek” Loiacono (visit his blog here) has recently started a blog about the topic; stay tuned to it as he and his company are on the cutting edge of this emerging market.

Local Marketing ROI 4x Higher over National Marketing

May 27, 2008 by

In 2007, auto retailers spent $7.3 billion on direct marketing campaigns driving $248.1 billion in sales, yielding an ROI of $33.81.  During the same period, auto manufacturers spent $8 bilion on direct marketing, driving $77.8 billion in sales, an ROI of $9.68.  Source: Direct Marketing Association

When examining the automotive retailers direct mail, one must ask, “Do the local pieces build brand equity or do they only increase the brand awareness of the retailer?” In most cases, unless there is marketing assistance from a dealer association or the brand, the local retailer is branding all communication for the dealership, irregardless of brand.  While this is not a problem for retailers it does not build any brand equity for the brand and could even dilute the brand.

What does this mean for CMOs and marketers?  CMOs need to take the initiative to invest in local strategies that help retailers to “ring the cash register” while building brand equity.  They can do this by implementing solutions that maintain brand standards and use standardized brand-approved themes while being flexible to be used by local retailers.  This ensures brand-building while retaining the ROI of the local campaigns.

Moreover, CMOs should implement these strategies to build brand equity across all forms of media.  Messages that are unified across all forms of media at the local level are the best for overcoming the media fragmentation that exists.

The ROI is clear – local marketing strategies yield the best results.

Local Marketing Rings the Cash Register

May 23, 2008 by

Peter Sachse, CMO of Macy’s, was interviewed in the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday regarding how the “My Macy’s” localization initiative will hopefully improve slumping sales at Macy’s. While there has been media focus on Macy’s switch from a “national” focus to a “local” focus, not much attention has been paid to identifying why local strategies work.

First, local strategies build brand equity. As we can learn from Macy’s, customers had a relationship with the “brands” that Macy’s converted to “Macy’s”. With the conversion, the loyalty was dissolved and only now is Macy’s trying to work to build up its local brand equity.

Second, local strategies overcome media fragmentation. Because mass media is losing its sway over the advertising industry, no longer can any advertiser simply look to television or national newspapers for their promotions. National television campaigns featuring celebrities have helped Macy’s not because of the celebrity, but because they see a product advertised and can go to their local store and purchase it. Moreover, the products being advertised are products any person might need regardless of location. These are essentially promotions and NOT brand building. Its these same types of ads that work at local levels to get traffic in the store.

Third, local strategies help retailers avoid cutting prices. In its most recent quarterly reporting, profits and sales were up at the specialty retailer Abercrombie and Fitch because they changed strategies from cutting prices on clothing to keeping prices steady and increasing store traffic through a controlled number of in-store specials. Imagine if store managers had the tools to pick one or two items of merchandise that they could mark down dramatically to get customers into the store and then see a bump in their full price merchandise. This isn’t imaginary, it’s what Sam Walton did when he first started his Wal-Mart chain. He would find a few items of merchandise he could mark down dramatically to get customers in the store where they would invariably purchase other merchandise at the regular price. Because each store’s inventory and market is different, store managers should be able to make these decisions and execute them to drive store traffic and ring the register.

Marketers need to reevaluate what it means to “go local” and no longer view it as trying to personalize an experience for millions of different customers. Going local needs to be about getting the most relevant message in front of a person in the form of media they will respond to. This means local strategies must cross all forms of media, be in coordination with all messages to build brand equity and still retain the local content necessary to be effective.

Learn more about local marketing and why automation tools solve these problems at www.LiveTechnology.com

Agencies Still Don’t Get It

May 23, 2008 by

In yesterday’s Wall Street Journal, the company avVenta was hailed as “reaping the rewards” of advertising agencies shipping work to overseas contractors to meet the demands of large scale production for online ads. As the article notes, “campaigns are labor-intensive to produce.” Why do agencies continue to rely on manual labor when technology can produce the same results for a fraction of the cost of even the cheapest outsourced labor?

With agencies executing campaigns that have display ads, websites, emails, search ads, videos and game with thousands of variations on each, who would rely on manual labor to create hundreds of thousands of versions when computers can create these in hours?

Imagine no longer having to send work halfway around the world and wait for it to be created and shipped back when an agency can keep all their production in house and execute it in hours.

No one would consider handwriting thousands of copies of documents when they can be created on a computer and sent to a high-capacity printer and created in minutes. Why would anyone consider creating hundreds of thousands of versions of any advertising materials by hand when a computer can do it in less time and for less money than even the cheapest manual labor?

LiveTechnology in the Blogosphere

May 5, 2008 by

LiveTechnology was recently mentioned in the blog of Greg Sterling, the founding principal of Sterling Market Intelligence.  Following two posts about LiveAdMaker and local marketing breakdown, a spirited discussion followed about segmentation in the SMB/SME market.

LiveTechnology views businesses as “enterprises”.  This means that we view local businesses as a self-contained entity because the autonomy when controlling its local advertising and marketing.  For example, a Best Buy store may be a part of the national brand, but ultimately has control over local marketing decisions.  Additionally, the Best Buy is a reseller of branded products.  This creates an intertwined web of advertisers and marketers, both at the national and local levels.

To read more about Greg’s impressions of LiveAdMaker and the discussions about segmentation in the SMB/SME market go to:

http://gesterling.wordpress.com/2008/04/25/ill-bet-youve-youve-never-heard-of/

http://gesterling.wordpress.com/2008/05/05/reuvers-responds-to-smb-segmentation/

Read Greg’s blog at: http://gesterling.wordpress.com

Local Newspaper Websites Lead in Local Online Advertising

May 2, 2008 by

In a report by Borrell Associates, over $2 billion was spent in 2007 by local advertisers on the websites of local newspapers.  This represents a 27% share of the local online advertising market ahead of local yellow pages, television websites and local radio stations.  Local online video advertising is the fastest growing segment with an expected $1.2 billion to be spent in 2008.

Interestingly, a majority of online advertisers at local newspaper websites do not advertise in print editions of the paper.  One explanation for this can be the use of dedicated sales teams to actively solicit advertisers for online.  Unlike other media outlets, newspapers devote two times as many online-only sales people.  This means a salesperson who specializes in online advertising is contacting local businesses to solicit business, not a print salesperson.

What does this mean for local advertisers?  It’s critically important to have a unified strategy to deal with whatever media types are being used.  While a majority of local businesses may only advertise on the newspaper website and not in print, it does not rule out countless other forms of media: radio, television, yellow pages, e-mail, billboard and more.

In order to get the best ROI, creative versioning is essential to coordinating the message the local business wants to present.  90% of local businesses are either branded branches of a national brand or resell national brands – incorporating national brands and themes into local campaigns is critical to capitalizing on the efforts of national brands.

What is Creative Versioning?

April 28, 2008 by

We often get asked, “What is creative versioning?”   Quite simply, creative versioning is the creation of multiple versions of the same marketing piece or advertisement but customized either for media outlet, demographic target or geographic location, to name a few common version types.

While this may not seem to be a big deal, imagine creating hundreds of versions of the same piece, but with slightly different dimensions for multiple newspapers.  This is exactly what happens at most advertising agencies that create advertisements for most clients.  It is very expensive and time consuming because a graphic designer needs to manually create each advertisement for each size.

Creative versioning automation tools end the need for a graphic designer to create multiple versions.  With automated creative versioning tools like LiveAdMaker, one set of rules is established for a piece and then the content follows the rules to stretch and shrink to the desired sizes and selected content.

Using creative versioning tools like LiveAdMaker, companies can execute campaigns faster (because it only takes a few minutes to create a high-resolution piece) and they can have more control over the content that is featured.  For a retailer like Macy’s or Wal-Mart, not all stores will need to feature the same items on sale, therefore traditional manual versioning is inadequate for today’s needs.  With automated creative versioning, retailers, and anyone who needs marketing materials, can finally make on the fly updates to marketing materials, selling the most relevant product at the best price for the local market.

You can learn more about LiveAdMaker at LiveTechnology.com or LiveAdMaker.com

Media Focus: Out-of-Home

April 21, 2008 by

A new report out from Aegis Media’s PosterscopeUSA reveals that young adults and the affluent share a common theme: they spend a lot of time outside their homes.  This is great news for marketers who have an out-of-home marketing strategy.  Today, out-of-home is more than just billboards, it’s digital commercials or display ads in movie theaters, digital display boards at malls, gas station pump signs, coffee shop signs, digital jukeboxes at bars and clubs, and many more!

Does this mean that marketers can take their current ads and just resize them for whatever out-of-home outlet they are targeting?  Of course, not!  Young adults are media savvy and respond when the message they see is not only relevant to them, but also matches the media type.  For example, Saturn launched a gas-pump poster campaign recently in California that had messages promoting their hybrid SUVs with  messages related to stopping at gas stations, such as “You better use the restroom, you won’t fill up again in another 450 miles.”

One of the difficulties in executing a campaign like this is the many sizes of gas pump posters that fit the different sized pumps that each station has.  Again, creative versioning is essential, especially with the out-of-home media type to make these campaigns affordable and effective.  With consumers responding to fewer and fewer types of media, it’s critical that marketers use as many types of media as possible and coordinate their messages.  With creative versioning, the same campaign for hybrid SUVs can be tailored for gas stations, movie theaters, coffee shops, clubs, bars, restaurants and rest stops.  You can learn more about creative versioning at AACV.org and learn how companies are implementing creative versioning by visiting LiveTechnology.com

Brands Use More Forms of Media

April 13, 2008 by

In an article in the New York Times, brands like Kimberly Clark, Johnson & Johnson and Coca-Cola are reportedly using more than traditional television advertising focusing on 30 second spots.  The brands are being encouraged to use more forms of media such as in-store, online and point-of-sale.

Recent research has shown that most customers are “touched” 6 times by different forms of media before making a purchasing decision.  This means that brands need a coordinated strategy to work across multiple forms of media.  However, national advertisements should be partnered with local advertisments that drive sales.  As Macy’s demonstrates, brands that will survive the current media fragmentation will work across multiple forms of media and have a coordinated national and local strategy.

To view the article, go to http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/10/business/media/10adco.html?ref=media