Tag Archives: Marketing and Advertising

Better Ways for Marketing People to Get Paid

As Tim Williams, author of TAKE A STAND FOR YOUR BRAND explains on this week’s episode of BRANDING BUSINESS (hosted by Ryan Rieches of OC’s biggest branding firm RiechesBaird here on www.OCTalkRadio.net), “for people who are supposedly creative, we don’t spend much time considering alternative ways to get paid beyond some hourly rate….as if creative work and manual labor were somehow both the same”.

Hear his ideas on alternative ways in which ad agencies, marketing people and other creative talent can get paid that more closely matches their corporate contribution and the true value of their work.  Definitely a conversation starter.

How to you pay for creative ideas in your company?

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We’re All Marketers Now

Courtesy of McKinsey Quarterly

For the past decade, marketers have been adjusting to a new era of deep customer engagement. They’ve tacked on new functions, such as social-media management; altered processes to better integrate advertising campaigns online, on television, and in print; and added staff with Web expertise to manage the explosion of digital customer data. Yet in our experience, that’s not enough. To truly engage customers for whom “push” advertising is increasingly irrelevant, companies must do more outside the confines of the traditional marketing organization. At the end of the day, customers no longer separate marketing from the product—it is the product. They don’t separate marketing from their in-store or online experience—it is the experience. In the era of engagement, marketing is the company.

This shift presents an obvious challenge: if everyone’s responsible for marketing, who’s accountable? And what does this new reality imply for the structure and charter of the marketing organization? It’s a problem that parallels the one that emerged in the early days of the quality movement, before it became embedded in the fabric of general management. In a memorable anecdote, one of former Chrysler CEO Lee Iacocca’s key hires, Hal Sperlich, arrived at the automaker in 1977 as the new vice president of product planning. His first question: “Who is in charge of quality?”

“Everybody,” a confident executive replied.

“But who do you hold responsible when there are problems in quality?” Sperlich pressed.

“Nobody.”

“Oh, shoot,” Sperlich thought. “We are in for it now.”1

To avoid being “in for it,” companies of all stripes must not only recognize that everyone is responsible for marketing but also impose accountability by establishing a new set of relationships between the function and the rest of the organization. In essence, companies need to become marketing vehicles, and the marketing organization itself needs to become the customer-engagement engine, responsible for establishing priorities and stimulating dialogue throughout the enterprise as it seeks to design, build, operate, and renew cutting-edge customer-engagement approaches.

As that transformation happens, the marketing organization will look different: there will be a greater distribution of existing marketing tasks to other functions; more councils and informal alliances that coordinate marketing activities across the company; deeper partnerships with external vendors, customers, and perhaps even competitors; and a bigger role for data-driven customer insights. This article provides some real-life examples of these kinds of changes.

Marketing’s cutting edge is being redefined every day. While there’s no definitive map showing how companies can successfully navigate the era of engagement, we hope to help senior executives—not just marketers—start to draw one.

The evolution of engagement
More than two years ago, our colleagues David Court, Dave Elzinga, Susan Mulder, and Ole Jørgen Vetvik unveiled the results of a research effort involving 20,000 customers across five industries and three continents.2 Their work showed how collaborative the buying process has become and how difficult it is to influence customers by relying solely on one-way, push advertising. In the words of American Express chief marketing officer John Hayes, “We went from a monologue to a dialogue. Mass media will continue to play a role. But its role has changed.”

Over the past two years, that evolution has only accelerated. More and more consumers are using digital video recorders to fast-forward through TV commercials and are consuming video content on Web sites such as YouTube and on mobile devices. Billboards alongside train lines and bus routes struggle to capture the attention of people absorbed by the screens of their smartphones. Meanwhile, today’s more empowered, critical, demanding, and price-sensitive customers are turning in ever-growing numbers to social networks, blogs, online review forums, and other channels to quench their thirst for objective advice about products and to identify brands that seem to care about forming relationships with them. Individuals even are posting their own commercials on YouTube. In short, the avenues (or touch points) customers use to interact with companies have continued to multiply.

The problem for many companies is that the very things that make push marketing effective—tight, relatively centralized operational control over a well-defined set of channels and touch points—hold it back in the era of engagement. Many touch points, such as calls to customer service centers and interactions between the sales force and customers, sit outside the traditional marketing organization, which has little or no permission to reach into other business functions or units. Companies have traditionally divided responsibility for touch points among functions. But a comprehensive strategy for engaging customers across them rarely emerges and, if one does, there’s often no system for executing it or measuring its performance.

More pervasive marketing
To engage customers whenever and wherever they interact with a company—in a store; on the phone; responding to an e-mail, a blog post, or an online review—marketing must pervade the entire organization. Companies such as Starbucks and Zappos, for which superior engagement has been a critical source of competitive advantage from the beginning, already exhibit some of these traits. But these companies aren’t our focus, which instead is the kinds of actions everyone else can take as they strive for world-class customer engagement.

The starting point is a mind-set shift around customer interaction touch points. Companies typically think of them as being “owned” by a given function: for instance, marketing owns brand management; sales owns customer relationships; merchandising or retail operations own the in-store experience. In today’s marketing environment, companies will be better off if they stop viewing customer engagement as a series of discrete interactions and instead think about it as customers do: a set of related interactions that, added together, make up the customer experience. That perspective should stimulate fresh dialogue among members of the senior team about who should design the overall system of touch points to create compelling customer engagement, and who then builds, operates, and renews each touch point consistent with that overall vision. There’s no need to worry about traditional functional or business unit ownership: whoever is best placed to tackle an activity should do so.

Design
Designing a great customer-engagement strategy and experience depends on understanding exactly how people interact with a company throughout their decision journey. That interaction could be with the product itself or with service, marketing, sales, public relations, or any other element of the business.

When the hotel group Starwood sought to enhance its engagement with customers, for example, the company pored through data about them and identified clear demographic groups staying at its more than 1,000 properties. In 2006, the company unveiled a specific new positioning for each part of its brand portfolio, ranging in affordability from Four Points by Sheraton to its Luxury Collection and St. Regis properties.

Each brand seeks to deliver a different customer experience, on dimensions ranging from how guests are greeted by staff to the kind of toiletries offered in rooms. Crucially, for each type of property, Starwood sought to design not only the desired experience but also how it would actually be delivered. It therefore had to decide what coordination would be necessary across functions, who would operationally control different touch points, and even what content customers wanted in the company’s Web site, in loyalty program mailings, and other forms of communication.

Starwood’s experience underscores the fact that, despite the growing impact of digital touch points such as social media, effective customer engagement must go beyond pure communication to include the product or service experience itself. “At the end of the day,” says Virgin Atlantic Airways chief executive Steve Ridgway, “we fly exactly the same planes as everybody else. If we get our customers off the plane happy, and they go on to talk about that and get others to come and then come back again themselves—that’s a huge marketing tool.”

Build
Once a company designs how it will engage with customers, it needs the organizational capabilities to deliver: adding staff, building a social-media network infrastructure, retooling customer care operations, or altering reporting structures. Functions far removed from marketing often have important roles to play, so one or more marketing teams at the center may have to build skills in other parts of a company. A global energy company took that approach and then largely dissolved the group when those capabilities were in place.

Allocating responsibility for building touch points is increasingly important because of the degree to which Web-based engagement is requiring companies to create “broadcast” media.3 Some have built publishing divisions to feed the ever-increasing demand for content required by company Web sites, social media, internal and external publications, multimedia sites, and coupons and other promotions. Many luxury-goods companies, for example, have built editorial teams to “socialize” their brands: they are transforming the customer relationship by producing blogs, digital magazines, and other content that can dramatically intensify both the frequency and depth of interactions.

Last year, LVMH Moët Hennessy–Louis Vuitton, for example, launched an online magazine, NOWNESS, that offers what the company calls “information reference” about its luxury brands. The site presents a daily multimedia story with little pure advertising and (in conjunction with LVMH’s efforts on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube) seeks to deepen the engagement customers have with the company’s brands. British luxury brand Burberry has undertaken a similar venture with its Art of the Trench site. France’s Chanel has for years used its own creative and artistic directors to develop content, without any need for help from external agencies.

Content-oriented strategies like these require creative employees who can feed the customer’s ever-increasing need for timely, relevant, and compelling content across a variety of media. They also provide an opportunity for productive dialogue within companies about the role of marketing versus other functions in building critical touch points that drive engagement.

Operate and renew
For companies in industries as diverse as consumer packaged goods and financial services, digital technology has upended the engagement expectations of customers, who, for example, want one Web site to visit and a relationship seamlessly integrated across touch points. Meeting such expectations requires extraordinary operational coordination and responsiveness in activities ranging from providing on-the-ground service delivery to generating online content to staying on top of a customer care issue blowing up on YouTube.

Behind the scenes, that new reality creates a need for coordination and conflict resolution mechanisms within and across functions, as well as budget procedures that allow flexibility and rapid action should the need arise. PepsiCo, for example, has sought to provide a single point of contact for its digital-marketing efforts by creating the role of chief digital officer: an executive without line responsibility who drives the application of best practices across the beverage group’s global digital efforts.

Companies also need a clear approach for monitoring touch points and renewing them as needed. At one major hotel chain, for example, a single group circumnavigates the globe acting as a “monitor and fix” SWAT team. It meets with hotel licensees, educates them about the company’s customer-engagement approach and management of key touch points, demonstrates new behavior, and trains the staff in new operational processes. Given the speed of information sharing today, constant monitoring and adaptation—indeed, continuous improvement of the sort that came to the operations world long ago—is bound to infiltrate marketing and grow in importance.

The marketing organization’s new look
As the chief marketing officer collaborates with the chief executive and other senior-team members to nail down a shared approach for designing, building, operating, and renewing customer touch points, he or she also will require a new kind of marketing organization. For marketing to truly become the customer-engagement engine that orchestrates the delivery of the end-to-end customer experience, it must evolve along four critical dimensions.

Distribute more activities
As marketing becomes more pervasive, the marketing organization will increasingly be defined by a core set of tightly held responsibilities, such as branding and agency relationships, and a set of responsibilities distributed among the functions and groups best placed to manage and use the information generated by customer interactions. Procter & Gamble, for instance, has created a group within the purchasing function to buy digital-media advertising space. The group spans geographic boundaries, reflecting the global nature of the medium, and while it sits within purchasing, it is staffed by people with marketing experience.

At companies where the marketing organization’s responsibilities will be split between core and distributed activities, CMOs will increasingly be held accountable for the performance of groups that don’t report solely to them. When CEOs ask for the marketing-org chart, they will see a complex web of solid- and dotted-line relationships showing the roles that marketing plays in designing, building, or operating touch points across the whole organization.

The chart will also show where marketing activities have been embedded in other functions. One major logistics company, for example, puts marketing resources within each sales district to adapt corporate-level marketing initiatives to local circumstances. This approach mutes complaints from sales reps who feel bombarded with marketing pushes from the head office by giving them simple, customized ideas for driving sales within their regions.

More councils and partnerships
While leading companies have long used marketing councils to boost management coordination, the new marketing organization will require many more of them, with greater representation from other functions. One global financial institution, for example, has created a digital-governance council with representatives from all customer-facing business units. The company’s goal was to ensure that data and analytics are shared, that customers receive the same experience regardless of channel (such as Web sites, branches, call centers, or automated teller machines), and that IT systems meet the customer’s digital-engagement needs.

More robust formal and informal external partnerships will be critical too. Customer forums, such as the one Virgin Atlantic Airways used to create a taxi-sharing app for smartphones, are one example. More structured relationships with distribution partners also can enhance engagement. The consumer-packaged-goods company Nestlé, for example, manages its relationship with retailer Wal-Mart Stores via what it calls the Nestlé–Wal-Mart Team. This unified cross-business, cross-functional group is responsible for everything from in-store activity to promotion, logistics, innovation, and product design. As a result, Wal-Mart has a single point of contact with one of its largest suppliers, Nestlé enjoys a stronger relationship with the retailer, and, critically, both companies gain a better understanding of, and engagement with, packaged-goods consumers.

Elevate the role of customer insights
Generating rich customer insights, always central to effective marketing efforts, is more challenging and important in today’s environment. Companies must listen constantly to consumers across all touch points, analyze and deduce patterns from their behavior, and respond quickly to signs of changing needs.

One implication is that the types of talent required to derive such insights will change. A premium will be placed on problem-solving and strategic-marketing skills, rather than on traditional market research capabilities such as designing surveys and commissioning focus groups. Some organizations also may need help from external partners, a pattern that’s already apparent at several insurers and health care payers that have neither the time nor the budgets to build the necessary data-gathering and -analysis capabilities in-house and at scale.

The insights group’s position in a company could even change. At one high-end hospitality business, for example, responsibility for generating customer insights has moved out of the marketing function entirely. The group now reports directly to the head of strategy, who uses information from it to redesign core business elements such as pricing, sales targeting, and the selection of properties for development.

More data rich and analytically intense
Reinforcing the importance of all these changes is an exponential increase in the volume of customer data and the intensity of the analysis required to process and act on it effectively. Without cross-functional collaboration and a clear delineation of roles, it will be impossible to gather, collate, gain insights from, and disseminate data that streams in from every customer interaction. The sheer volume of data is extraordinary: social-media gaming company Zynga, for example, generates five terabytes (the equivalent of about 1.5 million song files) of data on customer clicks every day.4 What’s more, “Marketing is going to become a much more science-driven activity,” says Duncan Watts of Yahoo! Research. In the trenches, this change suggests a shift toward sophisticated data analytics similar to the revolution that has already taken place in industries such as financial services, as well as in airlines and other industries where yield management is important. Some marketing organizations are already making their moves: to send targeted e-mails to customers, retailer Williams-Sonoma, for example, analyzes an integrated database that tracks some 60 million households on metrics including income, housing values, and number of children. These e-mails obtain response rates 10 to 18 times as high as those sent randomly.5 Such capabilities don’t necessarily have to be built in-house: many companies will enter into creative arrangements with outside parties to exchange data and run joint tests of alternative marketing tactics.

The major barrier to engagement is organizational rather than conceptual: given the growing number of touch points where customers now interact with companies, marketing often can’t do what’s needed all on its own. CMOs and their C-suite colleagues must collaborate intensively to adapt their organizations to the way customers now behave and, in the process, redefine the traditional marketing organization. If companies don’t make the transition, they run the risk of being overtaken by competitors that have mastered the new era of engagement

Bare Naked Brand Names

Courtesy of Internet Business Law Journal  by Naseem Javed

Last century business names were colorfully dressed with uniquely stylized lettering, colorful logos, slogans and contextual support. This century, such ‘stylized dependency’ has been pushed over the cliff by neo-socio-mobile-media-lingo. They’re stripped and typed in black and white text as soundbite-sized ‘bare naked words’, blending into chat lines alongside abbreviations and numbing-mumbo-jumbo. The majority of big name brands are losing their luster. Powerful imagery from the old newspaper era of double sized full page ads are replaced by typed words on small portable devices.

Can you identify the high maintenance big brand names on the following social media chats?

…just checked the wind at the mall, grand service but tag too high…

…I have no option but united, they would know where my real goodies are…

… no matter what, for me prime is the way to go before I try orange or wave…

…and then she gave me a rolex…

Highly distinct brand names like ‘Rolex’ or Panasonic are identifiable in any typed conversation while diluted names like ‘United’ ‘Premier’ ‘Orange’, ‘Wave’ ‘Wind’ disappear in the bursts of text making no sense, causing confusion and least building any distinct name identity. Camouflaged brand names are only going to end up invisible.

Today, the socio-mobile-lingo-depository is the fastest growing and the largest communication pool in the world. Tweeting, Facebooking, MySpacing, YouSmiling, MeWatching, YouListening or Linkedining, alike have transformed name brands into ‘typed lingo’.

The largest majority of the last century names do not fit the next generation digital platforms. If global socio-mobile marketing is mandatory for high level results, names must pass a ‘nudity-test’: a name must be inserted into an everyday social media conversation and checked to see if it’s still identifiable or lost within the text. If it doesn’t, it provides instant proof why cash registers aren’t ringing and what’s killing all the potential sales.

Last century, when names with special styles of lettering appeared in full page ads, there was no need to clarify the meaning or connection of the name with the subject. ‘United Furniture’ with furniture arranged in shape of the letters, ‘United Logistics’ stylized with a large cargo ship or ‘United Bank’ with a monetary symbol and logo to create distinction. Everybody understood what was what.

Today, with some 250,000 different businesses around the world already using ‘United’ as a name brand, the typed word has to appear lost in the depths of the English dictionary. The name values and visibility for such style dependent names are dying on upstream and downstream social media.

In this socio-mobile-marketplace only the very small percentage of highly distinct names has a clear competitive advantage. Microsoft, Rolex and Panasonic are easily identifiable in any sentence, in any format without question.

Corporations are shy to face the nakedness of their own names. When the management of ‘United Logistics’ sees their name brand, they are so conditioned to first see the stylized logo, the slogan and the whole package, with a globe replacing the ‘o’ in the ‘logistics’, a tiny plane forming a circular line arching over the name and bold italic letters telling the fast dynamics of the logistic trade. Now try searching ‘united’ as an example on social media; it will demonstrate the instant erosion of a branded name identity.

Currently, studies show that the largest majority of business names are based on dictionary or geographic words followed by surnames and acronyms or initials. Less than 1% of business names are distinct and unique. While global ad expenditures are touching $700 Billion, why is this aspect of global naming complexity not on any syllabus at any of the MBA programs in the world? The question remains; what is the reason for this waste, and more importantly, who benefits from it?

After the massive success of social media, new domain name management platforms will further kindle huge fires up the major global branding and marketing services. A new stage is being set by ICANN the International Corporation of Assigned names & Numbers and their gTLD global top level domain name program, where name-centricity will drive the digital branding explosion. What should the brand owners do? Strip their business name clean of every support, attachment, and gimmick and assess the risk of them being lost in the crowd of common language. Without a professional name evaluation report the entire marketing and branding budget may be questionable.
A distinct name identity is what separates a name from a word; the stripped down identity test will prove this.

Naseem Javed, founder of ABC Namebank, is a globally recognized authority on corporate nomenclature and related issues of global naming complexities and especially market domination via name identity. He is a lecturer, syndicated columnist, and the author of Naming for Power.  www.abcnamebank.com

Internet Talk Radio:The Newest Social Medium

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“Social media is not an ad. People don’t see your post, tweet or LinkedIn profile and buy. The purpose (and promise) of all social mediums is simply to start a conversation with someone you’d like to meet.”

I belong to a group called CRITICAL MASS FOR BUSINESS. It’s a facilitated CEO PEER GROUP that meets once a month for 4 hours. The group is limited to 12 members, all of whom own similarly sized businesses in non-competeing industries.

Our typical agenda starts with a recap of what happened to all of us over the prior month including reports on whatever we did (or didn’t do) to implement the suggestions, ideas and “action plans” from our last meeting. For many of us (me included) this “accountability to someone other than yourself” may be one of the most important features of this group. We’re all entrepreneurs, not used to reporting to anyone but ourselves. The problem with that approach (however) is that it’s far too easy to make excuses or put off painful decisions when there is no one looking over your shoulder, prodding you to improve and move forward. “I’ll do it tomorrow” too often means it never gets done.

Then comes the truly transformative part of the meeting: the “round table discussions”. Here is where the rubber meets the road and people really get to the heart of their issues. Using a strictly controlled “question and answer process” (guided by our professional facilitators) we probe, distill and digest whatever issues each member wishes to bring forward. It’s not always a pleasant experience to be on “the hot seat” but it’s always informative and often illuminating. This is the only true “no spin zone” I know. You’re in a confidential setting with 11 other struggling entrepreneurs, many of whom are wrestling with the same issues and obstacles you are. And it s the only place I know where you get really honest, no bs feed back. Who else is gonna tell you such truth? Your friends and family (who don’t want to hurt your feelings?) Your employees (who don’t want to lose their jobs?) Or some consultant (who really wants to please you and keep getting paid and whose narrow expertise may not allow them to see the whole picture?)

This is the magical “mastermind” part of the meeting: 12 individual minds coming together as one urging, adding to and otherwise improving upon each previous thought. Organized brainstorming, proving once again that the sum is greater than the individual parts. How can this help? Well, it’s hard to describe unless you’ve experienced it. But let me say that (in my own case) it gave birth to a whole new business.

I was a long time PR person whose core clients (billiards, hot tubs and other home improvement products) had seen a dramatic decline during the recent “Great Recession”. Hot tub sales alone fell by over 70%. So, one by one, my clients were either going out of business or cutting back dramatically on their overall marketing services (including me). I entered the group to find a way to revitalize my business. Instead, the group opened my eyes to a whole new business opportunity.

As I recanted my problems to the group and discussed how foolishly I’d put all my “eggs in one basket” (by narrowly focusing on just one niche), how “fat and happy” and complacent I’d become in the process and how I’d generally stopped learning, growing and aggressively marketing my services to others, it became clear that I needed a new fire or passion to prod me in a new direction and a distinctive service to offer. Then, after casually mentioning that PR companies were being asked (more and more) to take on the role and responsibilities of “social media strategist” for their clients (since ad agencies-used to making ads–and marketing people-used to collecting and analyzing data–neither knew how nor wanted to explore this new aspect of marketing), the group started prodding me to explore this subject and educate myself on this opportunity. That led to long discussions about “what is social media”, “how is it different than traditional advertising, PR and marketing” and what is its fundamental purpose?

That, in turn, led me to some remarkble insights such as “social media isn’t an ad on the Internet”. People don’t just read your blog or “tweets” and buy. Instead, its something we’ve never seen before. The purpose (and promise) of social media is that it allows you to start a conversation with anyone you want to meet, from which you can learn, explain, explore and otherwise engage them in a meaningful dialog in which (hopefully) both sides receive some benefit. That means you can’t just “ask for the order” anymore. You have to be willing to offer some ideas and information for free, upfront, before you start the sales process. Information that your audience (hopefully) will find so interesting and informative that they pass it onto others in their network and community (creating “brand advocates” or “viral marketing” for your goods or services in the process). Then you have to respond to their questions and comments and keep them coming back for more. In other words, you have to have something interesting to say and then keep saying it regularly and often.

That’s why most social media programs fail. Most companies aren’t prepared to become their own media production companies. They run of out meaningful things to say and they don’t regularly keep at it, primarly because it takes time and discipline and it may not show immediate ROI. And quite often, no one in the company is prepared to take on the additional role of “social media spokesman”, which is why it defaults to the traditional PR people (who are used to regularly speaking for their clients).

And that’s when it occurred to me. This is what I should be doing, particularly since I originally started off in radio broadcasting and communication right after college (as a traditional DJ on WMYK, “K94”, in Norfolk,Virginia). Then came the even bigger insight that “I think I know a simpler and more powerful way to do this!” For if the purpose of social media is simply to start a conversation with someone you want to meet, then what could be easier than simply calling them up, interviewing them over the phone and then streaming that conversation live to the world? You could even record, archive and store it on some server, making it available 24/7 as a download for others to listen to and enjoy later as a “podcast” on ITunes and elsewhere.

Wouldn’t that be much easier to produce than trying to research and write a new blog or mini-article each week? And (ultimately) wouldn’t it be much easier for your audience on the Internet to consume (given the fact that most people would rather watch or listen to something on the Internet than read it?) And wouldn’t these weekly live conversations be more interesting and stimulating than just talking to yourself ? (a problem that plagues most other social mediums like blogs, tweets and traditional podcasts) And wouldn’t a live, weekly broadcast, at a regular time and place, be more likely to engage your audience, particularly if they could call-in their questions (just like any traditional talk show) or log-on, in real time, and tweet their comments ? And wouldn’t your guests immediately tell all their friends, customers and clients to listen? And wouldn’t they put a link to that recorded interview up on their site after the fact (which would help drive traffic and links to your site, thereby raising your search engine rankings and giving you a free ad on their website forever?) The answer to all this was “yes”.

Thus was born a new “social medium” and the business to go with it: OC TALK RADIO, Orange County’s only community radio station giving local businesses a voice on the Internet. For more information, check us out at http://www.OCTalkRadio.net.

26 Ways to Use Online Video

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Courtesy of OneMarketMedia.com

“Online video”, “web video” and “Internet video” are terms that will soon fade from our lexicon. They will simply be shortened to “Video”. While the portable bandwidth of DVD’s and now Blu-ray will continue to be used for some time, faster broadband and wireless speeds will result in all media moving “online”. Broadcast television will become just one piece of the Internet. Video will be the dominant marketing media format for business. Throw rich media and social media into the mix and the result is a profound transformation to the way that companies promote themselves.

Your company website will soon house a variety of different video and rich media assets that will be used to differentiate your offering, educate your customers and influence your influencers. Here are 26 examples of how video is being used by companies today to help move their businesses forward:

1. Customer Testimonials
Nothing is more compelling than seeing and hearing your customer (in their own environment) extol the virtues of your products and services and explaining how you helped them achieve their business goals.

2. Video Success Story
It is often challenging to get customers to agree (especially larger customers) to go on camera to talk about your company. You can still present the customer success with your own presenters speaking specifically about the customer win or talking more generically about a company win in that industry.

3. Video Case Study
A video case study combines customer testimonials with more a more in-depth explanation of how your company’s products and services helped your customer be successful. These case studies usually incorporate two voices – a narrator and the voice of your customer. These usually follow the “Problem, Solution, Benefit” format – very similar to their print equivalent.

4. Product Demonstrations
Show how your product works – highlight the features that differentiate it from your competitors. A software walk-through, a 3D cut-away, a high impact demo by a presenter are all excellent ways of showing how your product or service works.

5. Product Presentations
Product demos shows the details of how your products work. These are best used in helping your customers and prospects differentiate between your products and services and those of your competitors. Early on in the sales cycle you need to talk more about benefits – from the customer”s perspective. Product presentations explain how your product can help your customers solve their business problems. Determining where your customers are in their buying cycle is just as important as segmenting your audiences.

6. Corporate Overview
Corporate overviews are often the starting point for companies using video to promote their services. Corporate overviews are usually brief (2-3 minutes) and can include a short history, some location/facilities shots and introductions from your senior management team.

7. Executive Presentations
Whether you are preparing for a quarterly update, responding to a major event in your industry or making a regularly scheduled presentation there is great value in presenting the “face” and “voice” of your leadership team to all of your constituents.

8. Staff Presentations
Social media and other Web 2.0 trends have caused companies to reconsider how they communicate with their external audiences. Your senior leadership team should not be the first and only consideration for representing your company. It is becoming more important to consider showcasing the people that drive the day-to-day operations of your company. Customer service representatives, technical experts and legacy workers are all valuable considerations for this new category of corporate video. Surveys show that there is more trust associated with these employees than with senior management. When you are selling to influencers in organizations – versus economic buyers or the decsion makers it is especially important you represent your company with people that your customers and prospects can relate to.

9. VLOG
Video blogging has been gaining popularity on personal and expert blog sites and is now carrying over to corporate blogging as well.

10. Corporate facilities or equipment tour
While corporate overviews serve many purposes a corporate facilities or equipment tour can be used to highlight the unique characteristics of your building, and infrastructure, to show the breadth of your operations and reach or to highlight special equipment that sets you apart from your competitors. (Uniqueness is certainly a key to success here)

11. Post sale support and maintenance videos
No one reads manuals. You can save thousands of dollars of post sale support by creating informative assembly, installation and maintenance videos for your products and services.

12. Overnight expert videos
If you serve a large geographic area or sell through channels then it is well worth the effort to put together short overnight expert sales support videos that highlight the key selling points, features, benefits, objection handling and follow-up issues to consider by your direct or channel sales force.

13. Training
Corporate video first gained prominence with training (service, support, sales, personal development etc.) and continues to be one of the best uses of video. Online Video is a cost effective substitute to in-class training. You can also integrate video into online training management tools.

14. Health & Safety
The cost of dealing with health and safety related issues within organizations continues to grow. Video is one of the most effective means of minimizing these costs.

15. Internal Communications
In larger companies no one has the time or interest to understand what other groups or functions within the company do or why they exist. Internal videos that highlight activities, procedures and best practices can save money and lead to more effective communications. They are also a great way to show off your local hero’s.

16. Recruitment Videos
Finding the best employees is the single most important function of any company and yet comparatively small amounts of time and money are allocated to this critical task. Recruitment videos that feature company employees, highlight corporate culture and promote the direction of the company can be very influential.

17. Employee orientation
Once your new recruits are on board employee orientation videos are a great way to get new staff up to speed. Company history , structure, procedures, policies and codes of behaviour can all be communicated effectively with video.

18. Marketing
Outbound programs like email marketing and direct mail are taking advantage of video and rich media as a more engaging way to capture and keep the attention of customers and prospects.

19. Landing pages and other web pages
Video is beginning to replace or supplement text and graphics as a content element on many corporate websites. Landing pages can offer a more compelling call to action with video.

20. Event Video
There are many ways to leverage the considerable amount of time and money spent on events and trade shows with video: Capture demos on camera while you have your experts assembled in one location. Capture speaking opportunities from your execs and re-purpose them on your website. Use the opportunity to video short testimonials from your customers while they are at your booth. Capture the event or trade show activities and share with the employees back at the office.

21. Video Press Releases
The standard four paragraph press release is now being supplemented with video and rich media to tell a more engaging story.

22. Viral Video
Many companies are testing viral video as a means of promoting their brand. Striking the balance between maximizing entertainment (pass along) value and minimizing blatant brand promotion is the challenge.

23. Commercials
While advertisers are becoming more selective in how they chose to spend their promotional dollars with broadcast television, other venues for commercials such as online entertainment, online sponsorships, games, event sponsorships and in-theatre are starting to take the place of broadcast and cable commercials. Expect more and more video screens to crop up on every building, device and structure offering an even more diverse set of advertising opportunities.

24. Company Lobby Video
HD video screens are popping up everywhere – why not in your lobby or reception where you can get a jump start on first impressions.

25. Market research, focus groups and polling
Market research firms are now capturing the anecdotal feedback along with the raw statistics of their research. If a picture is worth a thousand words then a video of your customer describing her likes and dislikes of your new product is priceless. Go to YouTube to see how people are describing your products and services.

26. Community relations
If your company is out working in the community, being good corporate citizens, helping the environment, contributing to valuable causes – you should be capturing those efforts on video.

Digital Out Of Home Ads Increasing

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by Garry McGuire IMedia Connection

Digital-out-of-home (DOOH) is demonstrating its value as a relevant, consistent, and effective medium for advertisers. It’s predictable and easy to buy. But reaching maturity, and realizing broad acceptance and prosperity, will take more work.

Here’s my point of view on the key issues facing DOOH network operators, and how they should be addressed.

Focus on audience
DOOH media is planned and bought much the same way as broadcast, online, and print — by audience profile. The significance of people consuming more media out of the home than in-home has become important to advertisers. The right message delivered to the right consumer, at the right time, along the path to purchase — this premise is now particularly important when targeting an audience.

Stay informed.

For more insights into the latest trends in emerging marketing technologies, attend the iMedia Breakthrough Summit, March 20-23. Request your invitation today.
The chief marketing officers and the agency planners out there don’t buy place. They are not looking to get their message running in certain kinds of venues. They want to reach a certain viewer profile broken down by characteristics like age, gender, and lifestyle. The only exception to that is true out-of-home shops that are selling billboards and, thus, selling specific locations and areas.

Digital-out-of-home is more of an online and broadcast environment than it is out-of-home. By selling audience and not place, the medium is going to get bought more broadly. Place is a great qualifier on a media buy, but the big dollars in the media world right now are in broadcast and online, and those are bought based on audience.

Here’s the sort of pitch that we see resonating with people who control media budgets.

If you operate a gas station network, for example, don’t talk about how many screens are running. Talk about the demographics of the people spending time in front of those screens as they pump gas. You want to convey the size of the audience of men and women, 18 to 52 years old, who have an average household income of $100,000 or higher, and are in front of those screens repeatedly. If you have a retail network, don’t talk about the fact that your screens are in a convenience store environment. Talk about how you represent a viewing audience of 10 million alpha moms, or whatever most powerfully characterizes your viewership.

Make this easy for advertisers and media partners
It’s been pointed out many times by media pros, but I’ll repeat it. It takes far more time and energy right now to plan and execute a small DOOH buy than it does to book a much larger broadcast buy. That has to change. The DOOH industry has to make it easy for advertisers and media planners if it wants to firmly be part of the mainstream.

Make yourself available
The biggest agencies have their own internal media planning systems. If you want to be part of major buys next year and beyond, you must figure out how your media inventory shows up in those systems. If you’re not in there, you’re not on the plans. The biggest agencies that control media dollars have in-house systems for broadcast, and they are quickly moving to systems for DOOH, as well. Starcom MediaVest is already using such a system.

If you can’t beat them, join them
You need to use the common nomenclature, measurement metrics, and pricing methodologies of the media business. You can’t invent your own and force them on a well-established industry.

Adapt to the industry’s needs
Be ready to transact the way that media industry members want you to transact with them. It has got to be the way they want to measure it. It has to be the way they want to price it. If you have a sight, sound, and motion DOOH network, and you are positioning it up against broadcast, you better be able to convert from cost-per-thousands (CPMs) to gross rating points. You cannot walk into a broadcast buyer’s office and talk about CPMs. That’s not how they work.

What happens is that planners struggle and then give up on trying to execute a cross-network buy because they can’t do an apples-to-apples comparison. That then means those DOOH networks that don’t report and sell the way agencies want simply don’t get bought.

Get better at data and analytics
Major media research firms are all now very active in the DOOH sector, and we’re seeing substantial work — such as Arbitron’s “Digital Place-Based Video Study” and Nielsen’s “Fourth Screen Network Audience Report” — being done to define audience characteristics.

We’re also seeing guidelines emerge and be refined in North America and Europe that encourage common ways to measure and report audience metrics, network by network.

Big research is really important in this sector because it makes DOOH easier to buy. The exciting thing is that all the research that is coming back from the field is coming back largely the same. There’s a positive trend reinforcing the impact and efficiency of DOOH. Those great results can’t be dismissed as anomalies because the body of evidence is now too large and consistent.

It’s that breadth of research that will hopefully stop what has emerged as a bad trend in this sector — the willingness to do custom research on media buys. We all want to sell our media so much that we offer custom research on every single ad buy. But that’s a mistake. The costs are too high, and it only adds to a story that’s now well established. Let’s focus instead on the larger industry research.

Speak with a common voice
DOOH network operators need to stop sniping at each other and start talking together about how this media format reaches, engages, and has an impact with consumers outside their homes. As long as we are fighting with each other about who has the best fitness network, or coffee shop network, or whatever it is, none of us will get bought. The media business doesn’t want to listen to us as we air our dirty laundry.

There is a lot of media money out there, and it is constantly moving around from different buckets. DOOH networks have a far better chance of drawing down from those buckets if they move off of trying to sell against their direct competitors and focus, instead, on selling the efficacy of the category.

The tide will rise for everyone if we speak with a common, positive voice.

Garry McGuire is the CEO of Reach Media Group

Seven Principles of Advocacy Communications

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Courtesy of PRNewsOnline.com

By James Miller

Communication in the nonprofit, education and cause-marketing arena has its own set of challenges, opportunities and obligations. Here are seven core principles I’ve found to be helpful benchmarks in this unique communications environment.

1. Elevate disparate initiatives under a unifying platform.

Powerful communication begins when you frame your organization’s varied activities and assets under a single, compelling theme. Doing so elevates the organization beyond the sum of its parts. Be sure that your core theme is aligned with your mission and values, and integrate that theme into all of your communications vehicles. That means not only integrating into Web sites and collateral, but also talking points and Twitter feeds. With a core theme in place, disparate initiatives can gain strength through cross-pollination.

Ex. An education client invited experts from one program to serve as guest speakers in another.

2. Rally stakeholders with a clear call to action.

Communicating core messages as calls to action motivates and inspires stakeholders to get involved. It’s important to deliver your rallying cry from the top down through communication from your organization’s leadership. It’s also a good idea to conduct training sessions with the staff most central to your communications effort to standardize goals, benchmarks, messaging and measurement.

Ex. One client found that their members went from reluctant to enthusiastic participants in media interviews once they rallied around the cause of advocating for their profession through the press.

3. Speak with clarity, transparency and credibility.

Simplify your messaging to home in on core institutional goals, achievements and benefits to stakeholders. Use precise language and avoid overblown and meaningless marketing words. Institute a litmus test to reality check programs and services against real-world benchmarks. Substantiate your claims with facts and figures wherever possible. 

4. Personalize your story and make emotional connections.

Humanize your organization with stories that help people connect to it in a more personal way. To achieve this, canvas your organization to identify your best stories and best practices. For maximum impact, tell your stories through video and images, not just the written word.

Ex. A foundation that awards scholarships for advanced science research successfully broadened their reach beyond the scientific community by sharing the personal motivations behind their scholars’ research.

5. Engage in two-way communication with stakeholders.

Build trust in your brand by engaging in conversations. Listen to positive and negative feedback and respond to questions, criticism and praise. Engaging through social media is a big part of it, but participating in conferences and seminars is a great way to connect face to face. It’s important to approach social media with a commitment to continuous involvement. Better not to engage at all than to create the impression you are unresponsive, aloof or, worst of all, hiding something.

Ex. An organization dedicated to teachers established a Web portal with discussion forums for their fellows to share best practices, gain support from like-minded peers and ask questions from the organization’s senior staff.

6. Integrate educational components and teaching moments.

Develop educational opportunities to teach key constituencies about your mission and the problems you are trying to solve. Do it in such a way that you address real issues relevant to key stakeholders. Ask questions. Raise issues. Offer solutions. 

7. Validate with third-party endorsements and partnerships.

When voices outside your organization endorse what you’re doing, you should share the good news. Make your stakeholders aware of endorsements you receive from the public, press, government, business and academia. Be sure to leverage awards, evaluations and other forms of recognition. Integrating great quotes from third-party endorsements into your Web site, collateral and media outreach is a powerful tool unlike any other.

Ex. For one client this took the form of a change in venue. By moving an annual reception from a hotel conference center to a prestigious museum, the organization gained credibility and elevated its reputation. Call it validation by location.

James Miller is senior vice president and managing director of Dentsu Communications, a firm that focuses in nonprofit and education communications.