Posts Categorized: Marketing

The Two Things Clients Never Want, But Need the Most

O.k. Never might be an exaggeration. Nonetheless, it’s true that there are two things clients never want to pay for but they need the most. I’m talking about the foundation for all effective communications, and the feedback you get afterwards.

I’m talking about Research and Measurement.

Without research, there’s no way to know if what you’re communicating will matter. There’s no telling whether or not you have your message right. And there’s no way to see if you’re even talking to the right people! Most importantly, you want to be able to predict the outcome of your communications, the results.

And without measurement, there’s no way of knowing whether or not your efforts made a difference. If you’re only counting outputs (what you put out–i.e. tweets, press releases, Facebook posts, LinkedIn Answers, etc.), then you’re not even coming close to being able to tell if you’ve been effective.

And if you can’t measure effectiveness, you also can’t measure value. In other words, you can’t PROVE your hard work and efforts were worth the money. Sales is a common yard stick, but it’s a blunt instrument.

More important in the age of social media is measuring relationships. Are relationships getting stronger as a result of your activities? How will you know unless you measure them? (Check out this paper for a good primer on measuring relationships.)

Too often, clients don’t want to pay for either research or measurement. Too often, clients focus on the tactical output of a campaign, and not the outcomes.

And to these clients, I say: “STOP WASTING YOUR MONEY.” Seriously. Make room in your budget for research and measurement. You will get far more out of your initiatives if your communications are built around a foundation of research–and if you can tell whether or not they’re effective.

Old Spice: Don’t forget the bookmarks!

The marketing world is all a-Twitter about the latest social media extension of the now very famous Old Spice ads (original one here, newest one here). These two ads have received more than 20 million views combined on YouTube, and the ad agency’s team extended it beyond a commercial is as masterful as the original commercials’ production.

In case you haven’t heard, the creative team created a series of short videos where the star of the commercial responded directly to comments on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and other social media outlets.

I won’t go into the details of the campaign here, for there are plenty of analyses elsewhere. But one key detail that is not getting enough attention is how the group seeded it, as revealed in this great interview with the creative team. They didn’t start on Facebook or Twitter. They started on Digg and Reddit, two of the most popular social bookmarking sites. Many people forget (or weren’t even thinking about social media), but before Twitter and Facebook, there was Digg and Reddit, and they were both highly influential communities. It might seem easy to forget about them, with the mainstream media attention being lavished on larger sites, but the Old Spice campaign shows that they can still be an amazing source of traffic.

That said, the Old Spice people knew their audience. They knew that Digg users are fanatical, and would be thrilled to see the pop culture icon wishing Digg founder Kevin Rose get better (he’s been sick).

I get asked a lot what is the value of using social bookmarking sites. Like any other social network, you have to invest time and energy to realize any benefit. That means engaging with people in the network, and in the case of social bookmarking sites, that means not just bookmarking your own content, but sharing content that is interesting and contributes to the community. It also means commenting on other content posted on the site and interacting with people. And unless you’re offering up some pop culture gems, don’t expect your blog post on the theory of fundraising for non-profits in rural Canada to make it to the front page.

Old Marketing Budgets vs. New Marketing Budgets

First let’s get one thing straight: I strongly dislike the terms “old marketing” and “new marketing.” While I agree with most analyses of the massive shifts in consumer behavior that we’re experiencing, there are many characteristics of marketing that has stayed somewhat the same.

True, we have many more tools at our disposal. And true, audiences are so fragmented today (more on that later). But many of the underlying theories of branding, marketing and PR still hold their weight today (in fact, I’ll argue in a later post that social media best practices is rooted in some theories that were explained by Dr. James Grunig, noted public relations theorist and my former professor).

Today, though, I want to focus on budgets, especially in comparison to how budgets were treated in the “golden age of advertising.”

You’ve heard it a million times, I’m sure: clients want you to prove ROI. On everything. As a result, budget is what drives today’s marketing campaigns.

You can’t help but watch a show like Mad Men and not get the impression that huge companies liked to toss around money like candy. There were such a limited number of channels, highly captive audiences, that it was probably a bit like throwing darts blindfolded–at the broad side of a barn. What it came down to was positioning. Get the positioning wrong, and you’ve sunk your client’s product.

Today, there are an infinite number of channels, and an audience (which itself is becoming an outmoded word) that’s as both fragmented and fickle. It’s still all about positioning. But it’s also about finding the right channels and maximizing those channels. And making sure the channels talk to each other. And making sure those channels are two-way conversations. Indeed, it’s not the size of the budget anymore. It’s the effective use of it.