Church of the Customer: Advertising archives
November 12, 2009
Advertising without advertising
October 13, 2009
A social media truism
When times are good, participate.
When times are tough, participate more.
(Doesn't that read better than "advertise" in that old saying?)
October 08, 2009
Facebook fan pages are the future
Facebook fan pages are the future for three reasons: They're free, easy to create and build a nearly instantaneous pathway to evangelists, prospects or the curious.
When fans interact with a fan page on Facebook, that interaction is sent through the fan's news feed, which goes to all their friends, practically daring a chunk of them to see what the page is about.
Compared to Twitter, Facebook fan pages rule. You're not limited by Twitter's 140-character posts, plus it's far easier for fan page members to preview a photo, video or weblink than what Twitter offers.
What more could a brand manager want?
Finally, a Facebook fan page can be a strong leading indicator of how well a brand is doing at any one time with buzz-spreaders, some of whom could represent connected, influential customers. Its feedback is all qualitative, but a Facebook fan page could help guide a brand in 3 ways:
- It immediately surfaces questions, problems or issues. A fan page can create an immediate fix-it list.
- It tells you how well you're connecting with fans through Facebook's free "Insights" feature that graphs subscribes, unsubscribes, post quality and total interactions. Plus, you get some tasty demographic stats about your fans -- won't get that from Google Analytics or Twitter.
- It tells you what resonates with fans by the number of comments and "likes" people give each post.
With a little bit of imagination, it shouldn't be too hard for a brand manager to devise a spreadsheet filled with marketing tactics that emerge from a vibrant Facebook fan page.
P.P.S. You should friend me on Facebook here.
February 19, 2009
Good news and bad news on marketing budgets
There's good news and bad news. The bad news first, from the Association of National Advertisers as reported by Media Post. A new survey of ANA of its members on how they are cutting marketing budgets in this nasty recession:
- 87% are adding departmental travel and expense restrictions
- 77% are reducing advertising campaign media budgets
- 72% are reducing advertising campaign production budgets
- 68% are challenging agencies to reduce internal expenses and/or identify cost reductions
- 58% are eliminating or delaying new projects
- 57% are freezing salaries or demanding hiring freezes
- 48% are looking to reduce agency compensation
Here's my take on the opportunities within that bad news:
- If travel is being cut, that's good news for producers of webinars and virtual events
- If ad campaign media budgets are being cut, that's good news for customer loyalty evangelists whose voices are often drowned out by business development and sales
- If ad campaign production budgets are being cut, that's good news for people who manage metric-driven systems like SEO and NPS
- If agencies are being forced to reduce internal expenses, that's good news for companies that make inexpensive project management or collaboration software
- If agency compensation is being cut, that's good news for start-up agencies that don't have the overhead of existing ones, or agencies that haven't had the impetus to reinvent themselves using a social media lens rather than a broadcast media lens
September 15, 2008
Your marketing mix
Marketing mix sounds like it could be a box item on a store shelf.
Yet for some reason, that's the familiar term among marketing veeps and managers when it comes to thinking about the coming year. (And it's about that time.)
Here's a great Fishburne cartoon to print out and include in your plan if the boss insists on using the same ol' mix that just doesn't work anymore.
August 23, 2007
The $100 million boob job
The WSJ asked a rhetorical question today:
Can a splashy ad campaign featuring the likes of domestic entrepreneur Martha Stewart, tycoon Donald Trump and singer-actress Jessica Simpson help revive Macy's sagging fortunes?
Even if they spend $100 million on advertising.
In one of those "what are they thinking" efforts, Macy's really is going to spend $100 million to saturate us with already over-saturated celebrities to profess how they now love Macy's. $100 million.
The real solution, of course, is that only improved word of mouth from thousands of existing customers, not a bushel of shill-happy celebrities will turn Macy's around. Or any retailer whose fortunes are sagging.
Such an effort requires a holistic and coordinated effort from operations, design, human resources and marketing. It requires an unwavering belief from the CEO and a company-wide can-do spirit. It's a lot of work.
That's the problem. It also requires significant changes in culture and personnel. That's why it'll be easier to blame the CMO or the ad agency when revenues worsen or better yet, take the $20 million severance package when the board shows you the door.
May 25, 2007
Chicken Little pecks again
Citizen-created content is "stressful, costly and time-consuming"... for the brand.
That's the latest fear-mongering about citizen-created content that has wormed its way into the pages of the New York Times. As the paper did with the advent of blogging a few years ago, the NYT is following the journalistic recipe of inciting fear about subjects for which it does not understand. (I worked at a big-city newspaper for eight years and saw this wide-eyed fear writing all the time.)
Don't be too surprised if the pitch for this particular story came from the ad agency owner who's quoted in the piece. Message-creating agencies are threatened most by sharing power and influence with citizen-participants. The loss of control is threatening, but nothing will stop the democratization of participation. There's too much broadband and too many cellphones and laptops and too many people accustomed the idea of sharing their opinions. Better to accept it now than two or three years from now when an upstart gains marketshare because it embraced participation and all of its quirks.
So to the people at Heinz who are in the midst of hosting a citizen-created ad contest, ignore the noobs. Your contest is not about "creating great advertising." It's giving everyday people a voice and a vocation. Those two tactics alone generate word of mouth. Just scrolling through some of the entries I watched 10 different ads for Heinz. Isn't that the idea? Trust me, none of them harmed my impression of your ketchup.
Press on with your experiment and use it as the foundation for building relationships that bypass the black holes of sales channels. Not everything submitted to your contest is going to look polished, like it came from an agency.
Which is precisely the idea.
February 04, 2007
Neither can we
"I can't even imagine having that much money in my life and then to spend it on one 30-second spot."
-- Katie Crabb, after winning a contest to design an ad that costs $2.6 million to air during the Super Bowl, as told to the Associated Press
January 15, 2007
“Ubiquity is the new exclusivity"
That's how one ad person sees the world, as quoted today in the NY Times ("Anywhere the Eye Can See, It's Likely to See an Ad"). The average American is now exposed to about 5,000 ad messages per day, but that's not enough for an ad person who sees the world through the sights of a shotgun and the rest of us as ducks.
If all of the natural spaces in the world also prominently feature billboards, stickers or posters, that's a fait accompli to the believer in ubiquity. The common good is someone else's problem. Oh wait, that's the new exclusivity.
If radio ads meant to be played specifically for children on school buses helps put food on someone's table, or some other tired excuse, then the moral trade-off of marketing to a captive audience simply becomes ambiguous. Besides, everyone else is doing it.
A company that waterboards society and its culture with advertising is an organization that not only lacks imagination and creative skill but is probably incapable of creating or maintaining any kind of meaningful relationship.
Like a sociopath.
July 26, 2006
What Microsoft is probably thinking
Fun with Photoshop! See more citizen-hacked ads here.