Sunday, July 31, 2011

Imminent Default, US Credit Limit, and Politcal Branding

Here we are, apparently on the edge of a default on our national debt as the U.S. Congress tries to forge legislation to increase the credit limit while including more than trillion dollars in immediate expense reductions. A solution may also be close. My question for the MarketingWitz fans: which party is doing a better job managing its brand during these legislation squabbles?

Regardless of your political leanings, this is an important moment for both political parties. The Republicans appear to be getting the better deal - expense reductions without revenue increases - yet cannot declare a big win because many in the party remain unsatisfied with the depth of cuts and lack of items such as a balanced budget ammendment attached to the bil. When all components of your brand are not aligned (think sales and marketing, or marketing claims versus product performance) the brand suffers with customers. Clearly the Republicans are not aligned and this will hurt their brand in the 2012 elections.

The Democrats have thier issues as well when viewed from a brand perspective. The President has worked for a larger deal and given significant concessions to the other party. Is this being positioned as a great compromise by a visionary leader or as a capitulation by a weak leader? Time will tell, assuming a deal is concluded before the default occur, but at this point the President appears to have been marginalized in the solution as final legislative deal-making has shifted to Congress. From a brand marketing perspecitve, what do you do when your flagship product (aka the President) has weakening sales? Do you rally around and shore up the core or cut and run by extending the brand to other flanking items?

It's an interesting way to look at the political environment as the nation deals with serious economic challenges.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Social Media Metrics - Measuring Interactions

For all those marketers trying to figure out how the best return on marketing metrics for social media, MarketingWitz strongly recommends the Internet Advertising Bureau overview of social media marketing metrics. Good stuff.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Return on Marketing Investment Metrics Keep Evolving

Marketing campaign performance has been measured since the first ad was posted, but the complexity of return on marketing investment metrics has increased exponentially along with the complexity of campaigns. ROMI, return on marketing investment, is increasingly difficult to assess as the marketing toolbox of available marketing tactics continues to expand and as technology allows increasingly detailed assessment.

This is true for both traditional marketing and newer technology driven marketing. Traditional television advertising measurement has advanced well beyond the early days when marketers assessed return on advertising investment based on sales response over the life of a campaign and then moved into specific ad assessments such as awareness and key attribute impact (e.g. do the ads increase the "likability" of a brand.) Today we must also consider the interaction between the ad exposure impact and whether the ad drives increased web traffic (additional impressions) or measurable increases in social media activity.

As recently as a the last decade (yes, the '00's), eMail success was evalated base on click-through rates. After all, that was the objective of the typical email marketing campaign. Today there is a wealth of new data about every eMail campaign - Delivery rate, Opt-out/Unsubscribe rate, Open rate, Pass-Along rate, Time to Open, etc. and, oh yes, click-through. With the advent of multiple devices per user (laptop, home computer, office computer, mobile device, etc.) user screen eMails on multiple devices and may open an email on one device but not take action until using a different device later. (I screen eMails on my Blackberry and iPhone - yes, I have both - but often wait until I'm on a laptop to write anything other than a short reply.) The result is that savvy marketers are now looking at addtional metrics, such as Opens Per Opened (avg. times opened per opened email) to better understand customer behaviors.

As marketers, we need to continue to adpat our metrics to understand return on marketing investment as cusotmer behaviors change.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Would Your Brand Tee Off With Tiger Woods?

Is Tiger Woods good for your brand? Before this month almost any brand might have said "yes: to a Tiger Woods endorsement. Today, the answer isn't so clear. Accenture has apparently ended it's Tiger Woods campaign. Nike remains a supporter of Tiger. Gillette has backed off.

So, the question is, how would you determine whether to keep Tiger Woods or dump him? David Vinjamuri of writes eloquently about Tiger Woods and celebrity endorsement and I agree with his assessment. Both Accenture and Nike are right. One dumped him, one kept him. Nike is right to kepe Tiger because he represents athleticism and athletic performance. His endorsement is a direct endorsement of the Nike brand vlaue proposition. Accenture had a more difficult decision. Their ad campaign emphasized the ability of Tiger Woods to focus on the challenge and make sound judgements. It's a less direct endorsement of the Accenture brand value proposition. And it certainly reminds the consumer of the recent controversy over Tiger Woods' judgement off the golf course. Read the post by David Vinjamuri - insightful.

Does this define Integrated Marketing?

Integrated Media. I've shared this defintion before, but it's so funny that it's worth sharing again. I first saw this published in Media Magazine:

"integrated agency: n., pl. -cis.(Lat. Integrate, to make whole - integer, complete - (Med. Lat. agentia (agens, effective) 1. An agency that does all the things a regular, ordinary agency does, but with the addition of a superfluous modifier."

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Verizon "has a Map for that" taking on ATT and iPhone

I love it when an ad campaign comes along that delivers both competitive insight and creativity in a way that grabs my attention. The Apple "Mac vs. PC" ads are an example, and the Microsoft "I'm a PC" response campaign is also a terrific example. Rarely does a response ad campaign work. I think the Microsoft advertising works well to blunt the Apple ads, but Apple still wins on overall creativity.

However, today I heard the latest Verizon ad and I think it is one of the best recent examples of an effective competitive ad blended with excellent creativity driven by solid business strategy. The Verizon ad targets ATT by indirectly attacking the Apple iPhone (which is tied to the ATT 3G network in the U.S.) Verizon marketing executives and the ad agency wanted to promote the strength of the Verizon network versus the coverage of the ATT network. The ad tells us that if we want to see the Verizon network "we have a map for that" and if you want to compare it to the smaller ATT network "we have a map for that". It's a great play on words versus the iPhone "we have an App for that" spots. Creative. Benefit focused. Simple. That's one way to gain a return on your marketing and advertising budget.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Advertising Metrics Must Change with Advertising Models

Marketing measurement and key marketing metrics will change dramatically over the next 5 years. A recent study on the future of advertising conducted by IBM suggests that "the next 5 years will hold more change to the advertsing world than the past 50 years." These changes wil necessitate changes in traditional marketing metrics. Impressions and reach will diminish in value as metrics while deeper individual lead relationship metrics will evolve and become more critical strategic marketing metrics. The IBM study describes this scenario:

Imagine an advertising world where ... spending on interactive, one-to-one advertising formats surpasses traditional, one-to-many advertising vehicles, and a significant share of ad space is sold through auctions and exchanges. Advertisers know who viewed and acted on an ad, and pay based on real impact rather than estimated “impressions.” Consumers self-select which ads they watch and share preferred ads with peers. User-generated advertising is as prevalent (and appealing) as agency-created spots.

Four key drivers of this change are identified as: Attention (consumer in control), Creativity (user generated), Measurement, and Ad Inventory (increased use of emerging exchanges). How is your business set to handle this change? Will you lag or lead?

Friday, September 04, 2009

Increasing Internet Marketing ROI Via Link Building

Moving from a broad strategic marketing post (see previous post) to something more tactical, do you know how strong the SEO effort is for your brand web site? I came across this web post and it is a simple overview of key issued related to link buidling for SEO. A quick read with references to other sources. Utlimately it's about increasing the ROI of your online marketing efforts.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Levitt and Drucker on Marketing - Old definitions still apply

A marketing definition that is often overlooked:
"Because its business is to find and keep customers, the business enterprise has two - and only two - basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are 'costs'." (Peter Drucker)

Theodore Levitt said it differently, but a nice comparison of the selling versus marketing.
"The difference between selling and marketing is that selling is getting rid of what you have, while marketing is having what people want." (Theodore Levitt)

As you conisder these two comments, here are two thoughts for the day to consider:
1. Are your marketing metrics and marketing efforts tied to innvoation in your origanization?
2. Does your sales team market your products by solving customer needs or are they selling your inventory?

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Jet Blue Tweets Discount Air Fares - New Promotion Approach

Jet Blue and United have starting using Twitter for discount air fare promotions. This is an interesting test of an approach to generate marketing ROI from Twitter. As reported in this USA Today article, Jet Blue is sending out Tweets, typically on Mondays, announcing reduced airfares on unsold seats. The trick is that followers must react quickly to capture these discounted rates. (By the way, love the name "Cheeps" even though it may be too downscale and may cheapen the brand equity.) A recent tweet offered a $9 fare from JFK to Nantucket. It's a hihgly targeted approach to fill underutilized and expiring capacity by offering these discounts to a limited audience without widespread exposure to the rest of the market. There's always a new wrinkle for brand marketers... If you are small business, how might you use this approach to promote your brand in your local market?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Free - Digital Marketing Economics

Chris Anderson, Wired Magazine, has just published "Free: The Future of a Radical Price" suggesting that the declining cost of technology will drives digital products to be free because the marginal cost of product approached zero. The application of Moore's law, which suggests that the amount of memory delivered for a given cost will double every two years (a rough statement of the law, not a quote), to the cost of delivering digital products is one of the foundations for the suggestion that pricing will go to zero because the cost to deliver approaches zero.

It's interesting, because the cost appoaches zero but never acheives zero. Therefore, someone must still pay for the cost of delivering the product. Facebook is free, but the servers that house the data cost money. Google is free, but the it costs money to run the search bots, store and serve the data. The marginal cost of a Google search may approach zero, but it is not zero?

So what is the model? If free to oonsumers, there appear to be only one alternative - third party party payment. Third party payment to cover costs and provide profit margin can come from advertisers (the media model), or from a subset of the consuming market. This subset might be fees to subscribers for premium services. In other words, in order to be free to most a few must pay for a premium offering. A second version might be the blades/razor model, the content is free (or near free) but you must purchase the player/iPod/iPhone/Kindle. In the end, "Free" isn't really free, it's the ability to allocate product to a broad population by charging a few or charging in another manner. What do you think?

Zappos Creates Market Value in Amazon Eyes

Amazon is acquiring for $847 Million. With over a billion in revenue (See Forbes article) and reportedly earning $40MM, Zappos has clearly shown that there is profit is shoes. Not only profit, but equity value as well.

Where does all that value come from? Customer service. Zappos has differentiated itself among all shoe sellers by devoted, passionate, exceptional customer service. they successfully took a near-commodity product category and created brand value by differentiating themselves on service - filling a much needed gap in the online marketplace. (By the way, Amazon values customer service and has been a leader in technology solutions for serice - witness their book recommendations.) The lesson for marketers is to look for unconventional ways to differentiate the entire solution bundle (products and services), and you can create real market value.